Serving Belmont, Mount Holly, Stanley, Cramerton, and McAdenville
Volume 78 â€˘ Issue 19 â€˘ Wednesday, May 8, 2013
No hiking on the thread trail! Torrential rains flood River Park in Cramerton; more rain predicted.
McCormick, fellow crewmembers to be remembered ALAN HODGE email@example.com
Plans are in the works for a commemorative marker in South Dakota recognizing the four crewmembers of an NC Air National Guard C-130, including Maj. Joe McCormick, 36, of Belmont, who perished when the plane crashed while fighting wildfires. His wife Heather, and children Luke, Thomas, Henry, and Margaret, all of Belmont, survive McCormick. In addition to Maj. McCormick, the airmen who were killed included Lt. Col. Paul
Mikeal, of Mooresville, Maj. Ryan David of Boone, and Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon. Crewmen in the rear of the plane that were seriously injured included Sgt. Josh Marlowe of Boiling Springs and Chief Master Sgt. Andy Major Huneycutt. The plane went down Joe McCormick fighting what was called the White Draw Fire near Edgemont, South Dakota, as it was dropping fire retardant. The blaze consumed
See DOT, 6A
Bomb threats at Lowell schools By Alan Hodge Alan.firstname.lastname@example.org
Holbrook Middle School in Lowell was evacuated last Thursday when a student reported seeing a bomb threat written on the boyâ€™s bathroom wall. The student reported the markings to the school resource officer. Students were immediately evacuated from the school while officers conducted a sweep. Two K-9 police dogs were also brought in to sniff out the school. The search took about half an hour. Neither officers nor dogs found any trace of a bomb and the students were sent home at the end of the day. For extra security, additional officers were on duty at the school on Friday. In addition to Lowell police, other departments that assisted in the incident included officers from Ranlo, Cramerton, Gaston County, and the Gaston County Sheriffâ€™s Department. As if that werenâ€™t enough, a bomb threat was made the very next day, Friday, at Lowell Elementary and the evacuation and search process was repeated all over again. Officers were in place at both schools on Monday. â€œOur first concern is for the safety of the children and staff not only at those schools but all schools in Gaston County,â€? said schools spokeswoman Bonnie Reidy. Anyone with knowledge of who might have made the threats can call the Lowell PD at 704-866-3300 or CrimeStoppers at 704861-8000.
around 2,000. Najacht is a retired colonel who served 31 years in the Army National Guard. He kicked off the campaign by running an editorial letter in his paper and also by putting in the first $100 towards the marker. â€œThe six risked their lives trying to save lives and property by fighting White Draw Fire from the air,â€? Najachtâ€™s letter stated. â€œThe least we can do is recognize their valiant efforts and memorialize their names, lest we forget the high cost they paid. It just seems like the right thing to do. We urge everyone to consider donating what they can See McCORMICK, 6A
GARIBALDIFEST & MORE!
DOT to hold hearings on N.C. 273 The NC Department of Transportation will hold an informal public hearing on Tuesday, May 14, on proposed improvements to N.C. 273 (South Main Street) in Mount Holly. NCDOT is proposing to widen about 1.3 miles of N.C. 273 to a â€œsuperstreetâ€? with four lanes divided by a median from Tuckaseege Road (at Beatty Drive) to Highland Street (at A&E Drive). A â€œsuperstreetâ€? eliminates left turns from a side street onto the main street. This design requires a vehicle that would turn left to make a right turn and then a Uturn at a designated area. The project will improve traffic flow and allow more cars to travel along N.C. 273. Other proposed improvements include providing sidewalks on both sides of N.C. 273 and wider outside travel lanes to accommodate bicycles. The public hearing will take place from
9,000 acres. Later investigation of the crash cited weather as a factor. The plane was attached to the NCANG 145th MAW, at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Following the accident, a somber memorial ceremony took place at the base that included a flyover by C130s. Maj. McCormick was interred on July 13 at Evergreen Cemetery in Belmont with full military honors. Now, folks in South Dakota are working to make sure the fliers are not forgotten there. A drive to have a marker erected in their honor was started by Charles Najacht, publisher of the Custer County Weekly Chronicle, a weekly newspaper with a circulation of
USA Crits pro bicycle racers took to the streets of Belmont Saturday. See more race and Garibaldifest photos on page 4A!
Crits race rounds out Garibaldifest By Alan Hodge Alan.email@example.com
Belmont had a blast last Saturday when thousands of folks streamed into the downtown area for the Garibaldifest as well as the first annual USA Crits pro bicycle race. Both events were held under cloudy, blustery and cool weather conditions but dodged a big rain bullet that saw torrents fall not long after the day came to a close.
Over 100 male and female bike riders stormed the half-mile course that ran through the middle of town reaching speeds of up to 40mph on the Glenway Street backstretch and only slightly slower velocities on the Main Street straightaway. Mobs of spectators lined the course and cheered on their favorite riders. The Belmont race was part of the USA Crits Speed Week and was put together in collaboration between Carolinas Health
Care, the City of Belmont, South Main Cycles, and the Belmont Merchants Association. The top three male finishers were Carlos Alzate, 30, of Asheville who is a member of the United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team, his teammate Bradley White, 31, from Holland, Michigan, and Jean Michel LeChance, 28, from Quebec, Canada who is a member of Team Predator Carbon See GARIBALDIFEST, 6A
New benches grace parks Boston fundraiser thanks to Austin Hansen rescheduled for May 19 By Alan Hodge
Photo by Alan Hodge
Austin Hansen is seen chillinâ€™ in Stowe Park on one of the benches he built and installed there for his Eagle Scout project. Austin constructed six benches for Stowe Park and two more for Davis Park. ALAN HODGE firstname.lastname@example.org
A lot of people who visit Stowe and Davis parks in Belmont will get to rest easy and in style thanks to 17-year-old Austin Hansen and his Eagle Scout project.
The son of Jeff and Lynn Hansen, Austin is a senior at South Point High School who joined the Scouts when he was just seven years old but had high aspirations from the start. â€œI knew even then I wanted to See HANSEN, 8A
When 10-year-old Belmont Central Elementary fourth grader Bradley Haggai saw and heard about the bombings during the Boston Marathon, he was shocked, especially since one of the fatalities was eightyear-old Martin Richard. â€œI thought it was scary,â€? he said. â€œI didnâ€™t know what else was going to happen. I was sad and wondered what it would be like if it had happened to one of my friends.â€? But his fear quickly turned into action when he learned that Martinâ€™s mom and sister had also been injured by the blast. â€œI was lying in bed later and wondered what I could do to help the family,â€? Bradley said. â€œThen I came up with the idea of having a fundraiser walk and run event here in Belmont.â€? The fruit of Bradleyâ€™s brainstorm will take place May 19 at
Photo by Alan Hodge
Belmont Central Elementary student Bradley Haggai came up with the idea of a fundraising walk/run event to take place May 19 at the school to benefit the family of Martin Richard, 8, who was killed in the Boston Marathon blast. 3pm at Belmont Central when a 2.62-mile walk/run minimarathon will raise funds for See FUNDRAISER, 6A
Call us today at 704.263.4646 of Stanley
Open Monday - Friday â€˘ Located on Hwy 27 South in Stanley - across from Food Lion
The Banner News
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
â– OBITUARIES Ronnie Lee Abernathy U.S. Army veteran MOUNT HOLLY- Ronnie Lee Abernathy, 78, of 213 Rose Street, died on Sunday, April 28, 2013. He was preceded in death by his mother Marjorie L o i s Abernathy Arnold a n d stepfat h e r Frank Arnold. He was a US Army Veteran and was a retired printer-typesetter. He is survived by a cousin Robby Robinson of Robbinsville, NC; second cousin Karina Robinson; cousin Charles E. Abernathy of Charlotte; second cousins Deborah A. Dowdy of Char-
Donald J. Hartsell Loved woodworking STANLEY- Donald Jennings Hartsell, 63, 309 Willow Street, passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2013. He w a s born in Mecklenburg County, son of the late William Jennings and Fannie Smith Hartsell. He retired from McGuire Nuclear Station after 35 years of service. He loved woodworking. Mr. Hartsell adored his son and loved spending time with him. They truly had a special bond. He is survived by his wife, Martha Nell Hartsell; one son, Kevin Hartsell of the home; one sister, Betty
lotte and her husband Jonathan and son Nathan and Charles Scott Abernathy of Concord; third cousins Alan, Aleah, and Adam Abernathy all of Concord, NC. A service to celebrate the life of Mr. Abernathy was held 2pm Friday, May 3, at the Woodlawn Chapel of Woodlawn Funeral Home. Burial followed at Hillcrest Gardens Cemetery. The family received friends from 79pm Thursday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to Mount Holly VFW Post. Condolence messages may be left at www.woodlawnfuneral.org. Woodlawn Funeral Home in Mount Holly served the family.
Loving mother and grandmother BELMONT- Katherine Johnson McElveen, 93, died April 28, 2013 at her home. She was born in Pelzer, SC; daughter of the late Owen Cecil and Bessie Rainey Johnson and was preceded in death by a grandson Jeffrey Scott Parker, two brothers and a sister. Survivors include a daughter Barbara Lee Parker of Belmont; a grandson Rev.
Hewell Gene Murphy U.S. Air Force veteran
Bollinger and husband Johnny of Mount Holly; A special cousin, Jimmy Hicks of Stanley; a number of nieces and nephews. A service to celebrate the life of Mr. Hartsell will be held 12pm Thursday, May 9, at the Woodlawn Chapel of Woodlawn Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Gardens Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Gaston Skills, 1301 Bessemer City Road, Gastonia NC 28052. Condolence messages may be left at www.woodlawnfuneral.org. Woodlawn Funeral Home in Mount Holly is serving the family.
MOUNT HOLLYHewell Gene Murphy, 78, of 903 Pierce Avenue, passed away on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. He was born in Gaston County, son of the late Willard G. and Cora Setzer Murphy. He was preceded in death by two brothers Joel and Don Murphy. M r . Murphy retired f r o m Sears in Charlotte. He was a US Air Force Veteran. He was an active lifelong member of North Belmont Church of God where he held the offices of Trustee, Elder and Sunday School Teacher among others. He enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He is survived by his wife of 45 years Geraldine Rowland Murphy; two daughters Teresa M. McCarter and husband Rob of Belmont
Ernestine Pope A wonderful listener
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MOUNT HOLLYErnestine Riley Pope â€œTeenieâ€?, 78, 301 Adrian Street, died Friday, May 3, 2013. She was born in Gaston County, daughter of the l a t e Ernest a n d Bertha Barber Riley. She was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, William Earl Pope; one brother, Paul Riley; four sisters, Virginia Riley, Margaret Bryant, Christine Barber, and Mabel Moss. She was a wonderful listener; a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and sister. She is survived by two sons, Earl Pope and wife Linda of Charlotte, and Scott Pope and wife Sheila of Mount Holly; one daughter, Stephanie Pope Helton and husband Randy of Mount Holly; one sister, Patricia Jenkins of Mount Holly; one brother, Jack Riley of Hickory Grove, SC; six grand-
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and Renae M. Auten and husband Kim of Mount Holly; one son Chris Murphy and wife Courtney of Mount Holly; three grandchildren Brian Anderson, Luke Auten and Jake Murphy; one great grandchild Braeden Anderson; three nephews Gary, Mike and Robbie Murphy. A service to celebrate the life of Mr. Murphy was held 3pm Saturday, May 4, at the North Belmont Church of God with Pastor Carl Overton officiating. Burial followed at Greenwood Cemetery in Belmont with Reverend Dewey Murphy officiating. The family received friends one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials may be made to the North Belmont Church of God, 2316 Acme Road, Belmont NC 28012. Condolence messages may be left at www.woodlawnfuneral.org. Woodlawn Funeral Home in Mount Holly served the family.
children, Heather Pope Counselman and husband Mike of Wilmington, NC, Jessica Helton Sikes and husband Justin of Stanley, Courtney Pope of Charlotte, Jeremy Pope of Little Rock, Arkansas, Justin Pope of Mount Holly, and Derek Helton and companion Chrystal Collins of Mount Holly; and four great-grandchildren, Ally Sikes, Sidney Sikes, Madi Sikes, and Rylie Counselman. A service to celebrate the life of Mrs. Pope was held at 3pm Tuesday, May 7, at Grace Baptist Church, 300 Westland Farm Road, Mount Holly with Reverend Joe Mullins officiating. Burial followed at Hillcrest Gardens Cemetery. The family received friends from 6 until 9pm Monday at Woodlawn Funeral Home, Mount Holly. Memorials may be made to the Robin Johnson Hospice House, 5005 Shepherds Way Drive, Dallas, NC 28034. Woodlawn Funeral Home, Mount Holly is serving the family.
Ruth Norman Smith Retired teacher from Ida Rankin Elementary GASTONIA- Ruth Norman Blackwood Smith, 95, of Terrace Ridge Assisted Living, died on Sunday, April 28, 2013. She was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina, daughter of the late Ora White and Floyd Norman. She was preceded in death by two husbands Colonel Irvine Smith and Edward Woodston Blackwood and a son Ray Blackwood. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Mount Holly. She was a graduate from Salem College and taught for over 30 years at Ida Rankin Elementary School. She is survived by two children Eddie Blackwood and wife Angela of Mount Holly and Ann Johnson and husband Sam of Raleigh; eight grandchildren Marty Blackwood and wife Michele of Matthews and children Ben, Lindsay and Matthew. John Blackwood and wife Jane of Mount Holly and children Drew and wife Hilary of Boston and
Amy Renee Bradley A student at Webb Street School MOUNT HOLLY- On April 29, 2013, Amy Renee Clevenger Bradley, age 17, began dancing and singing in the presence of Jesus. She was born in Gainesville, Texas, was a member of Catawba Heights Baptist Church, and was a student at Webb Street School in Gastonia. Survivors include her parents James and Ronda Bradley; brothers Sean and Scott; sisters Nikki, Kaitlyn, Makayla, and Serenity; her birth siblings Rebecca, Jeffrey, and Dillon; her birth parents Jeffrey and Kimberly Clevenger; several loving aunts, uncles and cousins;
July 6, 1930 to the late Wesley S. England and Amanda Wells England. Services are being held privately by the family and handled by Benson Funeral & Cremation Services of Mt. Holly.
MOUNT HOLLY- Beatrice Irene England, 82, of Gastonia, died April 29, 2013 at Belaire Health Care in Gastonia. Ms. England was born in Gaston County
â– BELMONT April 30: Kimberly Ann Hall, resist, delay, obstruct, arrested by Officer P. Hunter, 817 Gaston Ave. Ext. April 30: Robin Wallace Rhyne Jr., probation violation, arrested by Officer P. Hunter, 817 Gaston Ave. May 1: Brandon Michael Craig-Aylward, drug violations, equipment paraphernalia, possessing concealing,
arrested by Officer R. Berry, 210 Park St. May 1: Hayley Leighann Eubanks, consuming under age of 21, open container, arrested by Officer R. Berry, 210 Park St. May 1: Reanna Meranna Rosetti, possess marijuana, arrested by Officer R. Berry, 210 Park St. See POLICE, 5A
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and her grandparents. The family received friends at Catawba Heights Baptist Church on Thursday May 2, starting at 5:30pm with a service to Celebrate Amyâ€™s life to begin at 7pm with Pastor Raymond Johns officiating. Memorials may be made to Catawba Heights Baptist Church in memory of Amy for the â€œPure Worship Gangâ€?, 311 Belmont Road, Belmont, NC 28012. Condolence messages may be sent to the family at woodlawnfuneral.org. Woodlawn Funeral Home of Mount Holly was in charge of arrangements.
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Luke of Boone. Greg Blackwood and wife Jennifer of Mount Holly and children Connor, Gavin and Davis. Julia Upton and husband David of Belmont and children Jamey and daughter Emily and Jordan. Katie Parker and husband Graham of Wake Forest, NC and children Lilly Eric and Kyra. Abigail Johnson of Nashville, TN. Scott Blackwood and wife Erin of Mount Holly and children Gabriel, Natasha, Sebastian, Atraiyu and Phoenix and Justin Blackwood of Mount Holly. A service to celebrate the life of Mrs. Smith was held at 4pm Wednesday, May 1, at the First United Methodist Church in Mount Holly with Reverend Mitch Murrow officiating. The family received friends from 2-4pm Wednesday at the church. Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church â€œWe Care Fundâ€?, 140 North Main Street, Mount Holly, NC 28120. Condolence messages may be left at www.woodlawnfuneral.org. Woodlawn Funeral Home in Mount Holly is serving the family.
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Reginald Lee Parker Jr. and wife Gina of Oak Island, NC; two great grandsons Johnny and Christopher Parker; a great granddaughter Kayla Parker Colon; and 6 great great grandchildren. A graveside service conducted by Rev. Reginald Lee Parker, Jr. was held at 11am Wednesday May 1 at Greenwood Cemetery. Woodlawn Funeral Home of Mt Holly was in charge of arrangements.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The Banner News
Riverbend Steam Station to be demolished ulators. Nonetheless, the ash basins have been a source of contention for many months between environmental groups such as the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and the utility, especially regarding potential seepage of elements such as arsenic, cobalt, manganese, iron, barium, boron, strontium, and zinc into the lake. The debate over Duke Energyâ€™s method of handling ash at Riverbend escalated last month with a notice from the Southern Environmental Law Center and Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation that they intended to sue the utility company over the matter. â€œSeepage is normal and necessary for an earthen damâ€™s structural integrity,â€? said Culbert. â€œWe have routinely informed the state of the seepage occurring at the toe of our ash dams. The volume of seepage is extremely small and has no impact to the overall water quality in the lake. We monitor groundwater around the Riverbend ash basins and report that data to state regulators. We find elevated levels of iron, manganese and low pH, which pose no health risk. Arsenic levels in Mountain Island Lake are at the lowest amounts laboratory instruments can accurately measure just a short distance from the plant.â€? Duke is still looking at how the ash ponds will be handled. â€œWe are evaluating multiple closure options to ensure we select methods that provide high long-term water quality protection,â€? Culbert said. According to Duke Energy, the ash basins provide an important stormwater management function for the site and will need to continue operating for a limited time after the plant retires. â€œThe question is why Duke isnâ€™t willing to clean up the coal ash ponds now before additional contamination seeps into the groundwater and Mountain Island Lake,â€? said Gaskins. After the ash basins are closed, Duke Energy says it will continue monitoring groundwater there for many years and will continue to manage and steward the site.
By Alan Hodge Alan.email@example.com
The Riverbend Steam Station officially closed on April 1 and now the job has started of tearing it down. The coal-fired facility was built in 1929 and formed Mountain Island Lake. Once coal units retire, attention and planning turns to decommissioning. This is a comprehensive and methodical process that takes several years and involves engineering studies to determine the best site-specific decisions. According to Duke Energy, the firmâ€™s long-term vision for retired units across its system is to safely return them to ground level. This includes salvaging what equipment that can be repurposed at other sites, conducting any environmental abatement needed, selling any scrap material, safely dismantling and removing the powerhouse, stack and any auxiliary structures no longer needed and then restoring the site. â€œThis approach is best suited to ensure continued safety, security and environmental compliance at the site into the future, both for the company and the community,â€? said Duke Energy spokesperson Erin Culbert. â€œWe are in the very early stages of decommissioning at Riverbend. This includes performing shutdown activities, such as draining oil and washing equipment.â€? Rick Gaskins, executive director at Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, thinks the decommissioning could pose some environmental problems. â€œThe decommissioning process has the potential to introduce an extraordinary amount of pollutants into the environment,â€? Gaskins said. â€œThe coal ash waste ponds are not permitted to receive and should not receive wastes from the decommissioning process. Furthermore, the wastes from decommissioning should not be disposed of on-site.â€? Duke Energy says it plans to close the ash basins at Riverbend once they are no longer needed, in close coordination with state reg-
â€œWe will continue our commitment to safety and protecting the environment
through and after site decommissioning,â€? said Culbert.
Cost drops for NC drivers For the first time in four years, North Carolina motorists will pay lower annual driving costs than the previous year, as improved fuel economy, falling gas prices and lower insurance costs benefit drivers. The owner of an average sedan in the state can expect to pay $9,362 in 2013 to drive, based on current prices, compared to $10,558 last year. The total costs include insurance, maintenance, gasoline, tires, taxes, registration, depreciation and finance charges, based on driving 15,000 miles a year. Prices at the pump are significantly less than last year. The current price of a gallon of regular unleaded is at $3.429 in North Carolina, versus $3.774 at the same time in 2012. Costs for a new vehicle were about flat compared to last year: $25,062 is the average for a sedan compared to $25,067 last year. Motorists can expect to pay an average of 62 cents per mile in 2013, an eight-cent drop compared to 2012, if gasoline prices remain steady. â€œThe decrease in vehicle costs is great news for North
Photo by Alan Hodge
The cost of gasoline has been dropping steadily over the past several weeks. This photo of the Nichols store in Belmont shows a price that drivers have been enjoying. Carolina drivers,â€? said Dave Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. â€œDriving costs had been rising steadily since 2009, and now motorists are finally seeing some relief.â€? Maintenance costs were up 11% compared to last year, while the cost of tires was flat to last year. Another bright spot for North Carolina motorists is the cost of insurance premiums for sedans, which fell from $647 annually in 2012 to $619 this year. Drivers of minivans will also see their costs drop this year, down nine cents from 76 cents per mile in 2012 to 67 cents per mile in 2013. Total costs for drivers of SUVs
also dropped from 86 cents per mile in 2012 to 79 cents per mile in 2013. Annual driving costs calculations use standardized criteria designed to model the average use of a vehicle for personal transportation over five years and 75,000 miles of ownership. Actual driving costs will vary based on individual driving habits, location, operating costs and other factors. A national pamphlet, â€œYour Driving Costs,â€? is available through AAA Carolinas by calling 704-5697883. The pamphlet provides detailed information on the costs associated with owning and operating a vehicle nationally.
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