Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing

Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing takes the oath of office Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of Union County

Here is Union County Weekly's annual look at the people who made news last year. 


Arts & Entertainment

Matthew Black: Cheers … Monroe formed a social district in downtown

Lorayn Deluca: Filmed music video for “Angels Missing Wings”

John Griffin:  99.1 added second frequency; rebranded as Fun One Radio

Ryan Jones: Upgrades to Monroe’s Belk Tonawanda Park opened to the public 

Mallory Norton: Took Weddington marching band to Pearl Harbor parade

James Vesce: Dowd Centre Theatre had a robust slate of entertainment



Ron Brown: State Utility Contractors won the chamber’s Excellence in Business Award

Zach Hinschberger, Alec Barnes & Darren Tucker: Opened Americana Beer Company in Monroe

Nelda Jean Davis: Chamber presented her with lifetime achievement award

Faith Griffin: Her idea won the 53 Ideas Pitch Competition at SPCC

Jason Houseman: Adding Scooter’s Coffee to Weddington, Matthews & Charlotte

Carol Jones: Heart & Home Realty won chamber’s small business award

Robert Kardos: Broke ground on communities in Weddington and Marvin

Chris Platé: Named president of NC Economic Developer Association 

Ocie Vest: Monroe council rejected attempt to rezone 340 acres for a 689 lots


Mrs. Claus boosts morale from troops

This file photos show Robin Barron-Golobish in action as Mrs. Claus. She serves as a funeral director for Heritage Funeral and Cremation Services

Ballantyne/Charlotte Chapel.


Robin-Barron-Golobish: Boosted morale of troops for fifth year as Mrs. Claus

Smoky & Margaret Bissell: Donated Weddington farm to Country Day School

Gracie Moree: Wingate student used research to help mother recover from cancer

Jason Myers: The WBTV meteorologist was killed in helicopter crash 

Jan Smith: Former educator and Wesley Chapel mayor passed away Aug. 10

Jerome Sutton: Indian Trail thanked him for 30 years as crossing guard


fb pharr

Maria Pharr. Photo courtesy of South Piedmont Community College


Kevin Beals: Principal left Sardis Elementary to lead CATA

Candice Boatright: Benton Heights Elementary earned Leader in Me honor 

Gina Chisum: Principal left Indian Trail Elementary for Sun Valley Middle 

Cassie Eley: Piedmont Middle leader named UCPS Principal of the Year 

Sandra Greene: New face joined  the Union County Board of Education

Virginia Griffith: Cuthbertson Middle staffer won Beginning Teacher of Year 

John Paul Hinson: Retired from UCPS after 67 years in transportation

Kathy Heintel: Took over as UCPS school board chair

Abby Holland: Directed Wayfind scholars program to elevate UCPS students

Andrew Houlihan: UCPS leader thanked county for passing $134M bonds

Cheryl Konopka: Won UCPS Teacher of Year at Rocky River Elementary

John Marshall: Inked five-year extension as Union Academy leader

Cathy Perry: Replaced Michael Murray as principal of Cuthbertson Middle

Maria Pharr: SPCC president celebrated passing of a $32.7M bond 

Casey Rimmer: Lauded for innovative leadership by Education Week

Gary Sides: UCPS board member introduced policy to ban explicit content 

Ashley Smith: Principal retired after Sun Valley Middle won Leader in Me


OliviaStrong Foundation charitable gift

Olivia and her family presented the OliviaStrong Foundation charitable gift at the Novant Health Hemby Golf Classic on Aug. 15.Photo courtesy of Novant Health


Keith Adams: Common Heart continued to feed and empower people

Ulunda Baker: Nonprofit leader actively served on other boards

Molly Barker: Girls on the Run International founder spoke at Wingate

Lew Davis: Bridge to Recovery broke ground on treatment center expansion

Andrew Friend: Council on Aging in Union County brought back its senior expo 

Jennifer Gordon: Carolina Waterfowl Rescue saved over 5,000 animals

Gus Gustafson: Monroe Civitans built wheelchair ramps for older adults

Chris Jackson: Goodwill CEO opened a store on Idlewild Road 

RJ Lightsey: Oversaw literacy program that moved from Common Heart to SPCC 

Jessie Lindberg: Turning Point won nonprofit award from chamber

Jeff Newton: Homebuilder continued building St. Jude Dream Homes

​​Olivia Reardon: OliviaStrong Foundation gave children's hospital $500,000


Union County staff and commissioners  Brian Matthews

Brian Matthews


Brian Borne: Hired as Monroe city manager in June after nearly a year as interim

Frank Deese: Marshville partnered with HAVEN Creative to create new branding 

Lee Jenson: Planning director accepted national awards for county 2050 plan

Beverly Liles: Finance director was key figure in budget talks between UCPS & county

David Lucore: Monroe’s energy services director retired after 33 years with the city 

Brian Matthews: Has been serving as interim county manager since December 

Ashley Nowell: Shared idea to form nonprofit to promote downtown Waxhaw 

Alex Sewell: Stallings Town Manager received four-year contract extension

Lisa Stiwinter: Monroe planning director oversaw UDO and zoning map update

Robert Teft: Weddington planner oversaw proposals for downtown master plan

Mark Watson: County manager fired by 3-2 vote on Dec. 5 by new board 

Jeff Wells: Waxhaw’s town manager hired police chief & directed improvements


Monroe woman thanks firefighters that saved her life in apartment fire

Anita Plater thanks firefighters for getting her out of an apartment fire. Plater was unconscious during the rescue and treated for smoke inhalation. Photo courtesy of City of Monroe 



Andrew Ansley: Opened new Emergency Services Center on Aug. 23

Chris Byrum: Won School Resource Officer of the Year in N.C.

Eddie Cathey: Entered 20th year of service as Union County sheriff

Gregg Collins: Law enforcement veteran hired as Waxhaw police chief

Michael Eiss: Waxhaw police chief retired after nearly 20 years with the force

Ron Fowler: Monroe Fire Department earned accreditation from CFAI

Seth Goldwire: Welcomed patients to Atrium Health Union West in February

Kevin James: Captain was parade marshal before retiring from sheriff’s office

Dennis Joyner: Health director announced  monkeypox arrived Aug. 16

Bobby Kilgore: Monroe named new police station after longtime officer & mayor

Anita Plater: Thanked Monroe firefighters for removing her from burning apartment

Kevin Rigoli: Fire marshal touted new dry hydrant at Cane Creek Park



Mayor David Cohn and town staff drop off supplies at Cameron’s House of Hope. Photo courtesy of Town of Indian Trail


Michael Alvarez: Indian Trail mayor died Jan. 19 during third term

David Cohn: Longtime commissioner unretired to serve as Indian Trail mayor 

Mark Brody: N.C. House rep spoke out against proposed solar farm  

Amanda Fuller: Wesley Chapel mayor presided over Five Stones preschool hearings

Marion Holloway: Monroe mayor signed proclamation in support of the Ukraine

Brian Helms: Conservative values propelled him as top vote-getter in county race

Richard Helms & David Williams: Vehemently opposed manager’s firing

Craig Horn: Weddington leaders considered council-manager form of government

Angelia James: Colleagues removed her from Monroe City Council on April 7

Melissa Merrell: Went from school board chair to county commission vice chair

Dennis Rape: County commission chair lost seat in May primary

Stony Rushing: Once on the outs, he now chairs county commissioners

Anne Simpson: Waxhaw leader gathered stakeholders to improve Cuthbertson Road. 

Jerry Simpson: Events center named after outgoing county  commissioner

Jonathan Thomas: Chaired planning board, ran for a seat on county commission



Dustin Allen: Coached Cuthertson boys and girls track teams to second straight state titles

Max Anthony:  The WCWAA celebrated its 40th anniversary on Oct. 15

Nathan Carnes: Won the 4A state wrestling championship among 220-pounders

Gary Ellington: Coached Weddington to second straight state hoops title

Chase Lowe: State basketball MVP signed with William & Mary

Michelle Phifer: Union Academy AD cheered ballpark groundbreaking

Steve Smith Sr.: Former Carolina Panther continued analyst career; considered for Hall of Fame

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