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Volume 115 • Issue 5

75¢

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Council work session items approved for further discussion at Feb. 8, regular session by MICHAEL E. POWELL Editor michael@cfmedia.info

The three 2021 Gaston Together MLK Unity Awards honorees at the MLK Monument in Gastonia. From left: Rev. Dr. Rodney Freeman, Mrs. Shaaron Miller Funderburk, and Gastonia Police Chief Travis Brittain. (photo provided)

2021 Gaston Together

MLK Unity Awards honor Brittain, Freeman and Funderburk by MICHAEL E. POWELL Editor michael@cfmedia.info

In a recent media release from Gaston Together Executive Director Donna Lockett, the Gaston Clergy & Citizens Coalition (GC3), an initiative of Gaston Together, presented the 2021 Gaston County MLK Unity Awards to Gastonia Police Chief Travis Brittain, Rev. Dr. Rodney Freeman and Shaaron

Miller Funderburk on Monday, Jan. 18, at 10:30 a.m. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions for North Carolina, Lockett noted the event was livestreamed through the following social media format – Facebook: Mt. Zion Restoration Church. Wrote Ms. Lockett, “The MLK Unity Award was established in 2004 by See MLK, Page 4

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the City Council met for their January work session. There were nine items on the agenda, with all nine receiving Council members’ unanimous approval, thereby moving the proposed topics to the regular session meeting of Feb. 8. One item was tabled until Council’s next work session, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23. That item, fifth on the agenda, was the discussion for the location of a proposed Miles Gantt Food Pantry, which was previously submitted by Mr. Jody Fowler. City Manager Jeff Cash said the first item for consideration on the work session agenda (Item II.) – a revised resolution approving results of the city’s bonds – was essentially fixing a “typo”, or a typing error, on the original resolution. “That was corrected and the correction voted on unanimously by the council,” he said.

2020 failed GOP legal claim could change how future elections are run by JORDAN WILKIE Carolina Public Press

Republicans around the country turned to an untested legal theory to challenge changes to state election laws during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent national election results.

The theory, called the independent state legislature doctrine, would vest more authority in state legislatures to set rules for federal elections with fewer checks by other state bodies like courts or board of elections. North Carolinian Republicans used the theory, based on a strict reading of the U.S. Constitution’s elections clause, to challenge almost every stage of election governance. See ELECTIONS, Page 6

Council also voted unanimously on setting a public hearing for the conditional use permit for GIS parcel #216371, which is for a new wireless telecommunications tower to be built on land owned by Larry Gunnell and Steven R. Gunnell, located on Doc Wehunt Rd., Cherryville. The applicants are Vertical Bridge Development, LLC, located in Boca Raton. The property site area is 38.11 acres, and the application was submitted on Dec. 17, 2020, according to the information supplied by the City staff. Next up was consider-

ation of setting a public hearing date on a rezoning request for GIS parcel #22267, located at 112 Howell St., Cherryville. “Council approved rezoning it from R-9 usage to GMC (General Manufacturing) status,” noted Mr. Cash. Regarding the discussion of the Terrace Estate Subdivision, City Manager Cash said that would be also discussed at the Feb. 8, regular City Council session. That subdivision is located of Black Rock School Road. Council also unanimously approved putting

a memorial plaque on the Cherryville ABC store in honor and memory of the late Terry R. Fisher, who managed the store for a number of years before his retirement. The proposed name of the memorial is, “Terry R. Fisher Memorial ABC Board.” The application was filed on Jan. 14, 2021 by current ABC Board General Manager, Allen R. Fraley, who is one of the ABC Board members, along with Board Chairman, James R. Beam, and members Gail Jenkins and Timothy Moss. See COUNCIL, Page 4

College’s athletic signings hit “home run” for new program Four “big name” signings in first tier lineup

Durham County Board of Elections staff process absentee ballots in October 2020 at the agency’s warehouse. Each blue bin holds ballots from a different precinct. The workers are removing ballots from absentee-by-mail envelopes and flatten them, to be scanned in batches later on. (photo by Jordan Wilkie/Carolina Public Press)

The Cherryville City Council meets twice a month, unless otherwise noted, at the Cherryville Fire Station House. (Eagle file photo by Michael E. Powell)

According to a recent media release from Gaston College, the Gaston College Board of Trustees voted unanimously last November to add athletics to its rich history of academic excellence and leadership. College spokesperson Stephanie Michael-Pickett noted the college has been without athletics for nearly 50 years, adding that when Dr. John Hauser became President last June, he began the process to end that drought. A national search was officially organized to hire key leaders, wrote Michael-Pickett, to lead the program, who said, “The first tier of the lineup is now complete with the hiring of Athletic Director Gene Banks, Associate Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach Dickey Nutt; Head Baseball Coach Shohn Doty; and Director, Athletic Program Development and Sports Marketing John Horshok. Said Dr. Hauser, in the media release, “This is an amazing group who will bring instant credibility and excitement to our college

and campus. Our alumni, students, faculty, staff and community deserve a full college experience and athletics will provide both local enthusiasm and national exposure for Gaston College.” Banks will manage the coaching staff as Athletic Director (AD) and he brings his legendary Duke University credentials to Gaston College along with the management skills he developed playing and coaching in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and internationally. After being named the top high school player in the country, Banks helped launch the Duke dynasty and played on Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first team before performing for the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. He later coached the Washington Wizards with Flip Saunders. He has previous experience as an AD at Bennett College and has a popular streaming podcast, “The Bank Shot”, and continues to help support youth programs through his long-running namesake foundation. In addition to his athletic director duties, he will be involved with the College’s new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as work with WSGE 91.7 FM –

GENE BANKS Athletic Director

SHOHN DOTY Head Baseball Coach

DICKEY NUTT Associate Athletic Director/Head Basketball Coach

JOHN HORSHOK Director Athletic Program Development and Sports Marketing

the College’s award-winning radio station. “I am joining Gaston College to strive to achieve athletics excellence,” Banks said. “This is a truly remarkable opportunity to design a program from scratch and combine top-notch athletics with a unique community

partnership approach.” Banks added, “I can’t wait! We want to bring more fun and excitement to Gaston College than they have ever had!” Nutt is a coach in NCAA Division I basketball with 273 wins as well as an award See GASTON, Page 4

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