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The owners of the historic Rankin-Mercer House in Gastonia decorate it for the holidays and invite the community in for a bit of neighborly hospitality, Christmas cheer and the opportunity to help charitable organizations

Ever since Tyler Church’s mother lost her battle with lung cancer when he was 12 years old the Hickory resident and his father have focused on racing as quality father-son time. However, they never envisioned their small family operation emerging as the 2014 Pro All Stars Series South Super Late Model champion.

About 70 Vietnam War veterans and scores of others gathered at the site formerly known as North Cabarrus Park Nov. 15 to dedicate it under its new name, Vietnam Veterans Park. They were joined by a retired three-star general and a nationally known war correspondent and author in honoring all Vietnam Veterans, living or fallen.

Nov. 22, the Schiele Museum of Natural History invites visitors to immerse themselves in the “living history” of harvest time in the 18th-century.

As the Lenoir-Rhyne men’s basketball team heads into the 2014-15 season, head coach John Lentz has a talented, but extremely young, team. Only two of the top seven players from last year’s 16-11 squad return for Lentz, whose team was scheduled to begin their season against UNC Pembroke in Salisbury on Friday night in the South Atlantic Conference/Peach Belt Challenge.

With a plan underway by Burke and Catawba counties to close a jail they have jointly operated since the mid-1990s, officials are taking steps to start the long-discussed transition.

Holidays at the Garden: The Holidays at the Garden lighting display and celebration will open to the public Nov. 21 at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Road, Belmont. The display features 500,000 lights and a 16-foot orchid tree. Children can visit with Santa Thursday-Sunday each week beginning Nov. 28 and daily beginning Dec. 14. Entertainment will be provided nightly by Southern Park Music School.

Holiday Pops Weekend: The Western Piedmont Symphony will host its inaugural Holiday Pops Weekend Nov. 21-23 at the SALT Block Auditorium, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. The event replaces the symphony’s Festival of Trees fundraiser, which retired last season after 15 years.

Chamber singers perform: The UNC Charlotte Chamber Singers will present an eclectic concert of sacred music from the 16th through 20th centuries at 3 p.m. Nov. 23 in the Belmont Abbey Basilica. The performance will feature William Byrd’s “Mass for Four Voices.”

White earns regional honor: Rosalind White of Cherryville High School was recently named the 2014-15 Southwest Region School Social Worker of the Year.

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