KM Herald 3-3-21

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Dilling HEATING & COOLING A higher degree of trust and dependability

704.739.3446 Residential & Commercial Service Serving Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg and Surrounding Counties since 1955.

Volume 133 • Issue 9

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

City Council meeting

$1.5M approved for Downtown Streetscape By Loretta Cozart City Council unanimously approved a budget amendment in the amount of $1.5M for the Phase II Streetscape project which should be completed by August. Funds for the project are being taken from General Fund ($500,000), Capital Reserve Fund ($500,000), and Electric Fund ($500,000). “We’ve never had a fullblown Streetscape study and project during my 32year tenure with the City of Kings Mountain,” said City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “This will be done with no rate increase, tax increase, or borrowing money from a financial institution.” “I’d like to add that I feel

we have gone beyond with funding and projects downtown with the city stepping up to the plate, and that I hope this will bring an enthusiasm and desire from the private sector to make the improvements necessary to fill the empty buildings in the downtown and achieve our ultimate goal. That goal is 100% occupancy downtown,” Sellers said. Other budget amendments approved during the meeting include: • A budget amendment in the amount of $24,000 to budget receipt of grant funding from Firehouse Subs Foundation to purchase AED’s (defibrillators) for Police cars. The grant requires no match, so the equipment is fully fi-

nanced by the grant. • A budget amendment in the amount of $150,000 to budget expenditures for HVAC repairs/upgrades necessary at City Hall. The project is necessary due to the fact the current software controlling the thermostats is no longer supported. Also, issues with the air handler need to be addressed due to inadequate, or in some cases excessive, heating and cooling in certain areas of the building. • A budget amendment in the amount of $175,000 to budget expenditures for roof replacements/repairs at the YMCA and Police Departments. Both roofs currently leak and require imminent repair and or replacement See STREETSCAPE, Page 5A

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Murder suspects arrested On February 18, at 11:45 pm, the Gaston County Police 911 Center received a report of a shooting at Lowery Wood Rd. and Lewis Farm Rd. Upon arrival officers found two males, Robert Lucas (Luke) Gibby, 22 years old, and Adam Kale Wood, 19 years old, near the intersection deceased. Approximately two hours later, another male, Todd Payton Lee Waggoner, 21 years old, entered Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem with non-life threatening injuries. This male reported to have been at the scene earlier in the night. Through the investigative process, three suspects have been identified. Warrants have been obtained and served for two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder on the following suspects: Michael Shane Barnes, 19, 95 Callie Lane, Taylorsville, NC, and Kaleb Isiah Carver, 21, 24 Steve Watts Drive, Taylors-



ville, NC. Both suspects are currently incarcerated in the Gaston County Jail on a hold pending a first appearance in Gaston County District Court. The third suspect is a juvenile that has been charged on juvenile petitions and arrested for two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder. The juvenile’s information cannot be released at this time. The Gaston County Police wish to thank the pub-

lic and out law enforcement partners for their help in this investigation. The following agencies assisted during the investigation North Carolina SBI, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Bessemer City Police Department, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Wilks County Sheriff’s Office, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Wilkesboro City Police Department, and Gaston County Sheriff’s office.

Due to pandemic census delays

Elections could be moved to 2022

By Loretta Cozart

The new Broad River plant joins more than 40 other Duke Energy solar plants in NC. Photo provided by Duke Energy

Duke Energy begins construction on 50 MW solar project Expanding its significant clean-energy portfolio, Duke Energy has begun construction on the 50-MW Broad River Solar power plant in Cleveland County. The project will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial subsidiary of Duke Energy. The project was selected as part of the competitive bidding process established by 2017’s landmark solar legislation in North Carolina. The power plant will contain more than 170,000 solar panels across approximately 500 acres near Boiling Springs. The facility will power the equivalent of 12,500 homes. It is expected to reach commer-

cial operation by the end of 2021. “Solar power continues to play a big role in our aggressive pursuit to reduce carbon emissions and achieve our net-zero carbon goal for 2050,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We’ll continue to deliver renewable energy by building and purchasing more carbon-free power for our customers.” Under North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy, proposed projects must be built where there is a need for energy capacity on the Duke Energy system in North Carolina or South Carolina. The bids can come from any company, including Duke Energy, and can be in the form of power purchase agreements (PPA), utility self-developed facilities or utility asset acquisitions.

“In addition to increasing the renewable energy resources in the state, the project will also deliver significant economic benefits to Cleveland County,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Renewables. During peak construction, Broad River Solar will generate approximately 120 jobs. Along with indirect economic benefits that accompany solar project development, such as increased local spending in the service and construction industries, Broad River Solar will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing local tax revenues to the county and local school districts, as well as meaningful payments to the participating landowners. The facility’s design, procurement of inverters, See DUKE, Page 5A

Kings Mountain and Shelby could see their elections moved to 2022 due to census delays. The Census Bu- CLIFTON PHILBECK reau ended the self-response and field data collection operations for the 2020 census on Oct. 15. The statutory deadline for the delivery of apportionment data was missed because of the delays caused by the pandemic and the anomalies found in the census data. On Jan. 27, the Census Bureau announced the ap-

portionment data is expected to be delivered by April 30. However, on Feb.12, the Bureau announced the timeline for releasing the redistricting data to the states would occur by September 30. North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 160A Cities and Towns, is very specific with regard to redistricting after the decennial census and the process to move the election is very complicated. The statute reads, “Municipal redistricting must be completed by third business day before the opening of the filing period, (Wednesday, July 21, 2021). If the city or town determines that it will not be possible to adopt the redistricting changes before the third business day before

opening of the filing period, the municipality may adopt a resolution delaying the election.” This is because the council of any city which elects the members of its governing board on a district basis, like Kings Mountain, or where candidates for such office must reside in a district in order to run, like Shelby, is required to evaluate the existing district boundaries to determine whether it would be lawful to hold the next election without revising districts to correct population imbalances. If such revision is necessary, the council must consider whether it will be possible to adopt the changes See ELECTIONS, Page 5A

Clev. County Board of Education approves 2021-2022 school calendar By Loretta Cozart Cleveland County Board of Education unanimously approved implementing a new school calendar to in the fall term. School will start on Monday, Aug 23, and end on Friday, June 3, 2022. North Carolina law requires the term to begin on the Monday closest to August 26. Schools superintendent Dr. Stephen Fisher explained, “This is problematic because

that schedule makes it difficult for students to complete exams before Christmas,” he said. Two calendars were shared online for the community’s feedback: one that follows the current calendar, and another that would allow students to take exams before leaving for winter break. Fisher shared that during the two-week window for community response, 769 people submitted their preference on the two school calendars offered. “Those in favor of the new calendar num-

bered 630, or 81%. Those who preferred to keep the current calendar numbered 139, or 18%.” “The challenge with the new calendar is that it is outof-balance,” Fisher said. “The first semester has 83 days, and the second semester has 97 days. But the second semester typically has bad weather in January and February, and A/P exams also take place in the spring.” The school board unanimously approved the new calendar beginning in the fall. See CALENDAR, Page 5A

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