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Council OKs incentives requests

HIGH POINT — The City Council on Monday unanimously authorized incentives requests for two projects.

One is for Dive Bar, a company that’s considering opening an arcade bar at 312 N. Elm St. downtown. The other is for Smart Era Lighting Systems, which makes solar-powered products and is seeking a state grant to redevelop two south High Point buildings for office, assembly and warehouse space.

Dive Bar is considering leasing 4,794 square feet in a former medical office building across the street from Truist Point stadium for an establishment that would serve alcoholic beverages and offer pool tables and various types of arcade games.

Organizers hope to be operational there by the end of the year, pending lease negotiations, permit approvals and other factors.

Dive Bar operates in Mooresville and Hickory, and High Point is its top destination for its next location in part because of the growth in the area around the ballpark, according to the company.

If the project goes forward here, the company would create 19 new positions and invest $650,000 in building upfits and equipment.

The council authorized $124,798 in rent assistance incentives for Dive Bar over a four-year period.

Smart Era Lighting Systems, which makes solar lighting, signs and billboards, and bench charging stations, is seeking a state building reuse grant of $100,000, and the council authorized a local match of $5,000 for the project.

The company purchased 21,400 square feet of building space at 1710 and 1720 King St. in March, and is looking to invest additional funds to renovate and equip the facilities.

The company would relocate five jobs and create 13 new jobs paying average annual wages of $58,670 over a three-year period.

Grant awards will be announced in June, and the project could begin construction then, according to the city.

Jamestown man cycling to fight cancer

JAMESTOWN — John Harran has always enjoyed cycling, but now the pastime is giving him a reward that goes beyond fun and fitness.

It gives him fulfillment.

“I love to ride for a cause that’s going to do some good and help somebody,” the 61-year-old Jamestown man says. “I really enjoy getting involved that way.”

This weekend, Harran will be one of the more than 400 cyclists participating in the 2023 Victory Ride To Cure Cancer, an annual biking trek that raises money for The V Foundation For Cancer Research. Since its inception, the ride has raised more than $1.3 million for The V Foundation, which was founded by ESPN and the late North Carolina State University basketball coach, Jim Valvano.

This year’s ride will be held Saturday in Knightdale, with participants cycling either a 10-, 30- or 60-mile route. Harran, who will ride with a team of five others, plans to ride the 60-mile route. His team, which is participating under the name Kernersville Cycling Club, also includes Cameron Sweeney (captain), John Lang, Dallas Smith, Paul Hammond and Lisa Featherngill.

“This is my second year participating,” he says, “and it’s something I plan on doing for a long time.”

Harran participated in his first Victory Ride last year, after learning about the event from fellow cyclists.

“I love to ride anyway, and what a great way to do it, by riding and getting people to donate to the cause,” Harran says. “(Fighting cancer) is a cause that touches everybody, so it’s nice to know the foundation gets this money where it’s doing some good.”

Harran says he’s been putting in some extra training time to prepare for Saturday’s ride.

“I try to ride about 120 to 150 miles a week, and I’ve been boosting that up recently,” he says. “This is a ride, not a race, so it’s not about speed but endurance. And when I’m done, I want to sit back and enjoy it and feel like I was prepared.”

The other part of participating, of course, is raising money for The V Foundation. Harran has raised more than $250 thus far, and his team as a whole has raised nearly $3,000.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so online by visiting and clicking on “Donate,” then searching for Harran individually or Kernersville Cycling Club.

“This is a great experience where I feel like I’m making a difference,” Harran says. “Everyone’s pulling together to get something done, and it feels good to be a part of that.”

City: Water, sewer rate hikes to continue

HIGH POINT — City water and sewer rates are proposed to go up again this year, and the trend is likely to continue.

Another 4% increase is slated to hit in October, pending City Council approval, and it’s unlikely High Point will deviate from annual 3-5% rate hikes anytime soon.

“I would say that is not in the current model, which extends roughly 10 to 15 years out,” Financial Services Director Bobby Fitzjohn told the council at a budget session this week.

He explained the rate hikes are proposed to finance about $170 million of major water and wastewater projects in the coming years, including a new dam at City Lake and filtering equipment for newly regulated chemical contaminants in drinking water called PFAS.

“We have a robust capital schedule ahead of us that we have to fund. Customer growth is not organic enough. We’re not adding enough customers to do that on its own,” Fitzjohn said.

The city says higher operating costs, including salaries and benefits of employees, as well as chemicals and other materials, are also driving the rate increases.

The city is planning to issue revenue bonds to finance these projects, based on the model proposed by its financial adviser, Davenport & Co. of Richmond, Virginia, which has also put forth a debt-financing strategy for other projects that include the proposed new City Hall at N. Main Street and Church Avenue.

Woman dies in mobile home fire
  • Updated

THOMASVILLE — A 68-year-old woman who was bedridden was killed in a mobile home fire Sunday afternoon, and a neighbor was injured trying to save the woman’s life.

Shirley Cranford died in the fire at her residence on South Road. The blaze was reported just after 1:15 p.m.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Thomasville Fire Department Chief Jason Myers said Monday.

“The fire was confined pretty much to the room of origin,” he said.

Cranford was found dead inside the mobile home.

Cranford served as a longtime carrier for The High Point Enterprise. She enjoyed and was devoted to delivering the newspaper until her health prevented her from doing so, said Jessica Beeson, a former circulation manager for The Enterprise who remains a carrier.

“She did everything she could up until she couldn’t deliver anymore, and that was hard for her,” Beeson said.

Cranford, who also was a former circulation director, was a plainspoken person who knew how to get people’s attention, Beeson said.

“She spoke her mind,” Beeson said. “It was the hard, tough love that you need. She would tell you the hard truth that you needed to hear.”

A man who was Cranford’s neighbor went into the mobile home and tried to get her out but wasn’t able to. He was taken to an area hospital for evaluation, Myers said. Information about his injuries was not available, but he is expected to recover.

Assisting at the fire were the Davidson County Fire Marshal, Davidson County EMS and the Thomasville Police Department.


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