Skip to Content

Hendersonville Times-News: Top Stories

Syndicate content Local News from Times-News
Local News from Times-News
Updated: 18 min 25 sec ago

Hiker photographed bear before it killed him

2 hours 32 min ago
WEST MILFORD, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey hiker killed by a bear in September took a series of photos of the animal with his cellphone before it mauled him to death.
Police in West Milford have released five photos taken by 22-year-old Darsh Patel before he was killed by the 300-pound black bear while hiking with four friends in the Apshawa Preserve, 45 miles northwest of New York.
The photos show the bear behind a fallen tree in the woods. Investigators say the phone was found with puncture marks from the bear.
The photos were released after NJ.com filed an open records request.
West Milford police and the state Environmental Protection Department said last month that the bear did not seem interested in food and exhibited "stalking type behavior."
Categories: News

Protesters force lockdown of St. Louis City Hall

4 hours 7 min ago
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Several people protesting the Ferguson grand jury decision stormed into City Hall in St. Louis on Wednesday, leading police to lock down the building and to call in more than a hundred additional officers.
At least two people were arrested after the incident, in which the protesters shouted "Shame, shame" while rushing into the building.
Those who made it inside City Hall were part of a group of about 300 protesters who marched and held a mock trial of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown during an Aug. 9 confrontation in the St. Louis suburb.
An influx of National Guardsmen helped make the second night of protests after the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson much calmer than the first, when 12 commercial buildings were burned down and several others were set ablaze. There were 58 arrests overnight at area protests, including 45 in Ferguson and 13 in St. Louis.
Demonstrators took to the streets again Tuesday night, but there were hundreds of additional troops standing watch over neighborhoods and businesses. Officers still used some tear gas and pepper spray, and demonstrators set a squad car on fire and broke windows at City Hall.
Since the grand jury's decision was announced Monday night, protesters in cities throughout the country have rallied behind the refrain "hands up, don't shoot," and drawn attention to other police killings. As the tension in Ferguson eased somewhat, Wilson broke his long public silence, insisting on national television that he could not have done anything differently in the confrontation.
The toll from Monday's protests — 12 commercial buildings burned to the ground, plus eight other blazes and a dozen vehicles torched — prompted Missouri governor Jay Nixon to send a large contingent of extra National Guard troops.
The governor ordered the initial force of 700 to be increased to 2,200 in the hopes that their presence would help local law enforcement keep order in the St. Louis suburb.
Guard units protected the Ferguson Police Department and left crowd control, arrests and use of tear gas to local officers. In one commercial area Wednesday morning, a soldier was stationed at every few storefronts, and some were on rooftops.
Some streets that were overrun on Monday night were deserted the next, except for the occasional police cruiser or National Guard vehicle. Some Guard crews monitored empty parking lots.
Large demonstrations were held throughout the country for a second day Tuesday. Some were peaceful, such as in New York, where Union Square was the jumping-off point for a large protest that splintered into smaller groups that walked to places like Times Square and the entrances of the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges. Hundreds of Seattle high school students walked out of classes, and several hundred people marched down a Cleveland freeway ramp to block rush-hour traffic.
Other events weren't as calm. In Oakland, California, a crowd of protesters smashed windows at car dealership, restaurants and convenience stores. A rally that drew thousands in Minneapolis took a turn when a car struck a protester and drove through a pack of others. And in Portland, Oregon, police used pepper spray and made arrests after about 300 people disrupted bus and light rail traffic by walking across a Willamette River bridge.
During an interview with ABC News, Wilson said he has a clean conscience because "I know I did my job right."
Wilson, 28, had been with the Ferguson police force for less than three years before the Aug. 9 shooting. He told ABC that Brown's shooting was the first time he fired his gun on the job.
Asked whether the encounter would have unfolded the same way if Brown had been white, Wilson said yes.
Attorneys for the Brown family vowed to push for federal charges against Wilson and said the grand jury process was rigged from the start to clear Wilson. One of them, Anthony Gray suggested that the office of the county's top prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, presented certain testimony to discredit the process, including from witnesses who did not see the shooting.
Brown's parents made public calls for peace in the run-up to Monday's announcement, and on Tuesday, their representatives again stressed that the people setting fires were not on Michael Brown's side.
Videos that were widely circulated on Tuesday showed Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, standing atop a car and breaking down as the announcement of the grand jury decision blares over the stereo.
Her husband, Brown's stepfather, comforts her, then begins angrily yelling "Burn this bitch down!" to a crowd gathered around him. Asked about the comment at a news conference, family attorney Benjamin Crump said the reaction was, "raw emotion. Not appropriate at all. Completely inappropriate."
The Brown family attorneys said they hope an ongoing federal civil rights investigation leads to charges. But federal investigations of police misconduct face a steep legal standard, requiring proof that an officer willfully violated a victim's civil rights.
Testimony from Wilson that he felt threatened, and physical evidence almost certainly complicates any efforts to seek federal charges.
Under federal law, "you have to prove as a prosecutor that the officer knew at the moment that he pulled the trigger that he was using too much force, that he was violating the Constitution," said Seth Rosenthal, a former Justice Department civil rights prosecutor.
The Justice Department has also launched a broad probe into the Ferguson Police Department, looking for patterns of discrimination.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the department aims to complete those investigations as quickly as possible "to restore trust, to rebuild understanding and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and community members."
Regardless of the outcome of the federal investigations, Brown's family also could file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Wilson.
Categories: News

US stock indexes hold near record; Deere slumps

6 hours 24 min ago
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks aren't moving much in midday trading as indexes remain near record levels.
Investors were looking over some mixed news on the economy Wednesday.
Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in October, but more people filed for unemployment benefits last week.
Deere fell 1 percent after the company said its farm equipment sales and profits will keep falling.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,069 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,799. The Nasdaq composite rose 17 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,775.
U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.24 percent.
Categories: News

Holiday feasts mean busy week for local plumbers

6 hours 33 min ago
During the Thanksgiving holiday, turkey and all the fixings place extra strain on more than just waistlines; increased cooking and improper disposal of leftovers can also put stress on drains and garbage disposals.
Clogged drains and malfunctioning garbage disposals following the holiday feast contribute to a 50 percent increase in emergency calls to plumbers the day after Thanksgiving, according to a news release from Mr. Rooter Plumbing.
Locally, plumbers with Mr. Rooter Plumbing of WNC work nonstop from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the following Sunday unclogging drain stoppages, said Field Manager Adam Glovan.
“I myself have been out at 3 a.m. Thanksgiving morning clearing people's drains,” he said.
Like Mr. Rooter Plumbing of WNC, All About Plumbing & Septic in Hendersonville is open on Thanksgiving, whereas some plumbers in the area turn off their phones by 4 p.m. Wednesday, said owner and general manager Alex Wilson.
“I think we get a lot of calls on Wednesday at the last minute, because (people) think we're closed on Thursday,” Wilson said. “We get a lot of calls at the last minute, because they've got family over.”
More family means more food, and oftentimes more leftovers being thrown away.
“People are doing a lot more cooking than they normally would, so a lot more grease and food particles go down the drain,” Glovan said.
“Most people know not to put turkey bones down the disposal,” he added, and Mr. Rooter Plumbing also recommends keeping potato and onion peels out of the disposal as well.
“If you're using your disposal for any kind of pasta, any carbohydrate or stringy vegetables, make sure you put down a little bit at a time with water running the whole time,” Glovan said, so as not to overload the garbage disposal.
“Grease is a major issue,” he added. “We always recommend putting it into a can and disposing of it that way.”
And when it comes to rinsing off greasy plates, Glovan said, “We always recommend using cold water. That way the grease is going down in a solid instead of a liquid.”
He explained that if the grease is heated by hot water and emulsified, it will only cool off further down the drain, sticking to the pipe's walls and causing clogs.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing also warns against operating a dishwasher if users suspect a problem, since it discharges into the disposal.
Reach McGowan at molly.mcgowan@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7871.
Categories: News

Winter storm warning for some NC mountains

8 hours 51 min ago
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — There's definitely snow on the way to Grandmother's house in the northern mountains of North Carolina for Thanksgiving.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the higher elevations in five counties until late Wednesday afternoon.
Forecasters say the warning is in effect in higher elevations of Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties. A winter weather advisory is in effect at lower elevations.
There is also the possibility of winter weather again Thanksgiving Day in the area.
Up to 7 inches of snow is possible in higher elevations on Wednesday. Up to 3 inches of snow is expected in the lower elevations Wednesday.
Another 2 to 4 inches is possible overnight into early Thursday.
Some schools are closed in the area.
Categories: News

Korean War veteran coaches Wofford to victory

9 hours 13 min ago
Wofford College proved to Jack Morris on Tuesday night that it's not how you start, it's how you finish.
No, not the game against Ohio Valley, although the Terriers fell behind early before coasting to an 82-54 victory. The lesson here was about life, about dreams and how you're never too old to believe.
Morris, an 84-year-old Korean War veteran, served as Wofford's honorary coach for the game. If not for serving his country and taking care of his family, Morris might have been a basketball coach.
That's what he wanted to do. As a young man growing up in Georgia, basketball was the thing that got inside him.
For 40 glorious minutes Tuesday night, the Terriers gave him the opportunity.
“I just never dreamed of anything like this,” Morris said after the game. “I just appreciate them letting me be here with them. Seeing them play was really something else. They're good players and good boys.”
Morris spent the day with the team, joining the players for their morning walkthrough and sitting in on the pregame talk. Shortly before the start of the game, he made his way across the Benjamin Johnson Arena floor and took his seat on the bench with the Terriers assistants.
“He looked like a little kid at times,” Wofford head coach Mike Young said. “He had a smile so wide it was like he was in seventh heaven. He was serious about it, too. I think he took a lot of pride in being here.”
Morris got his shot thanks to a program called Second Wind Dreams. Created in 1997, Second Wind Dreams works to fulfill the wishes of elderly citizens. Eden Terrace, where Morris has called home since 2013, recently became a new partner with the program and reached out to Wofford and Young.
“He had aspirations of coaching for a living,” Young said. “But his plans got derailed after his military service. Here in his twilight, giving him the chance to be a part of it is just fantastic.”
Karl Cochran, Wofford's leading scorer Tuesday night with 21 points, said the players welcomed Morris into the family.
“We didn't hesitate to adopt him as part of the team,” Cochran said. “Coach Young told us he had wanted to be a coach all his life. Why wouldn't we want to jump on the chance to do that for him?”
With a career record of 1-0, Morris said he'll now settle into retirement. The Terriers sent him off with an autographed basketball and the memory of a lifetime.
“This was an experience I'll never forget,” he said.
Categories: News

Henderson County man charged with sexual battery

10 hours 27 min ago
A Henderson county man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after detectives charged him with sexual battery and taking indecent liberties with a child.
Last Friday evening, the Henderson County sheriff's deputies responded to the home of a victim and met with multiple parents, and a report was subsequently filed.
Detectives took over the investigation and conducted numerous extensive interviews, identifying three separate juvenile victims.
Sixty-eight-year-old Jimmy Ray Taylor, of Old Hendersonville Road in Fletcher, was later arrested and charged with one felony account of sexual battery and two felony accounts of indecent liberties with a child.
Taylor's bond was set at $ 4,500.00. Jimmy Taylor's first appearance is scheduled this morning at 9:00 a.m. in the Henderson County courthouse.
Categories: News

Election board certifies results

10 hours 52 min ago
RALEIGH — North Carolina election officials gave formal approval Tuesday to the results of an election that included Republicans preserving veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.
The State Board of Elections voted to certify results for all federal, judicial and multicounty contests, including a state Supreme Court race that was the last statewide election up in the air.
Earlier this month, all 100 county boards of election met to authenticate single-county contests, checking vote totals and adding outstanding ballots.
The board’s vote certifies the GOP majority of 34-16 in the state Senate, representing one more Republican seat than during the previous two years. In the House, Republicans lost four incumbents but flipped a seat left open by retiring Democrat to keep 74 of the 120 seats.
Among federal races, Thom Tillis’ win over U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan helped Republicans gain control of the 100-seat chamber in Washington.
Results of a recount released Monday night showed Associate Justice Cheri Beasley maintaining a victory margin of more than 5,400 votes over her challenger, attorney Mike Robinson.
Robinson issued a statement saying that he called Beasley to concede after the recount.
“The recount conducted by the State Board of Elections did not result in a change in the outcome of the contest between Justice Beasley and me,” he said. “As a result, I have called Justice Beasley and congratulated her on her victory and return to the Supreme Court for an eight-year term.”
Beasley thanked her supporters Tuesday afternoon. The race was officially nonpartisan, but Robinson identified himself as a conservative in his campaign. Beasley was appointed to the high court in 2012 by then-Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat.
Categories: News

Equestrian center helps drive log cabin company's success

11 hours 8 min ago
2014 is shaping up to be extremely good for Blue Ridge Log Cabins in Campobello, particularly after five tough years.
As a part of the manufacturing and housing sectors, the Great Recession was like a double whammy, company president Chip Smith said. But sales are up significantly from 2013, he said, and Blue Ridge has developed a mutually beneficial relationship with the investors behind the Tryon Resort and Tryon International Equestrian Center in nearby Polk County, N.C.
The company has launched a new Mountain Architecture Series of smaller homes that feature a larger variety of exterior facades and interior designs, and the DIY Channel will begin filming a project there in January.
And thanks to the Tryon development, Blue Ridge Log Cabins is starting a second production line and adding employees.
“It's been really good for us,” Smith said. “We're in to helping them develop the second phase of their project. We're going to have to add 20 to 30 people just to keep up with their demand, their time frame.”
Situated on about 40 acres off Interstate 26, Blue Ridge Log Cabins employs about 100 people and contracts with another 75 or so. Log cabins are assembled in four to six sections from raw materials in the company's 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility; the sections are delivered to customers using a trucking company Smith also owns and then assembled on-site.
At least 90 percent of the materials come from within a 100-mile radius, he said.
Smith, who bought the company in 2003, declined to disclose specific financial information, but he did say the company would deliver 13 finished modular, log cabin homes to six states by the end of the year. Blue Ridge has built 1,300 homes over a 10-year period, all different, he said.
The company already has supplied about 20 structures to the Tryon International Equestrian Center, including cabins for guests to rent, offices, bathhouses and a restaurant — the Tryon Café, which is already operational. Blue Ridge is working with the equestrian center to develop its Legends Club, a 10,000-square-foot hospitality complex that will include about 2,000 square feet of restaurant space.
The equestrian center partners first made contact with Blue Ridge Log Cabins in February. Sales had already begun to trend upward, Smith said, but the company's month-by-month capacity could possibly double due to the direct and indirect impact of the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of the group of investors behind the equestrian center, said he was impressed with the “very sophisticated approach” to home building at Blue Ridge. He said he “placed a bet” that Smith's business could work at the rapid pace he required.
“The organization was critical for us to hit the time lines we were pursuing, which were very aggressive. I had a tremendous amount of confidence in Chip Smith and his team,” Bellissimo said in a phone interview. “We placed the right bet, because they were on budget and on time, which is a great thing to happen on a project as big and complex as this.”
The Tryon Café, which is less than 2,000 square feet, was built and finished in two weeks.
“That was one of those great moments in this project,” Bellissimo said.
The equestrian center will contract with Blue Ridge for 50 more structures due April 1, he said.
The Tryon development will also build nearly 60 spaces for vendors to set up in, including 20 more permanent structures from Blue Ridge, Bellissimo said.
Smith visited the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla., which is backed by the same group of investors as the Tryon venture, to better understand Bellissimo's vision, “to realize what he was trying to achieve.”
“He is a visionary, but an astute business person — high-energy, knows exactly what he wants to do; very demanding, and yet to fall short of any projections he's made,” Smith said.
Blue Ridge has engaged people in Wellington who have bought (or planned to buy) horse farms in this area — and others who have come to the area for the equestrian center and discovered they'd like a log cabin for property in other parts of the country.
“When they find out we're working with (the equestrian center) … they have pretty high standards, so they realize we're a company they need to be working with,” Smith said.
The homes range between $90 and $150 per square foot. So, a 4,500-square-foot home at $100 per square foot would cost $450,000.
Homes are delivered with light fixtures, appliances and countertops already installed — even the light bulbs are in place. Plumbing and electrical work is done in the Campobello facility.
“Mark told us the equestrian community moves fast,” said Sarah Davis, marketing director for Blue Ridge Log Cabins. “They know what they want. The fact that we have a product that they can be in before the next season … it's just a perfect fit.”
Bellissimo said Smith and the staff at Blue Ridge have made themselves accessible seven days a week. It's not uncommon for emails to start showing up around 4 a.m. or phone calls as late as 11 p.m.
“For a project that was so aggressively paced, that was very critical,” Bellissimo said. “They carried a lot of weight on that, and that's why we stepped up and will continue to place big orders going forward.”
Doug Terrell, vice president of manufacturing at Blue Ridge Log Cabins, said the relationship with the equestrian center “has changed the way we think.”
“If you're doing one or two homes, here or there, it's easy to find a subcontractor. But when you're doing five a week, you have to rethink how you do things,” he said.
Jason Hunsinger, engineering manager at Blue Ridge, is one of the people Bellissimo will trade emails with in the wee hours of the morning.
“For us, we have to think out of the box a little bit to meet some of his time frames,” Hunsinger said.
His phone rang, and he excused himself: “That's them now.”
Categories: News

Joseph's Center taking shape on Seventh Ave.

17 hours 2 min ago
Drills chipped away at the concrete floor of a back room in a former hardware store at 701 Seventh Ave. East Monday. Chairs and tables, draped in a layer of dust, claimed the left side of the 3,200-square-foot room along with a washer and dryer — all donated to a new center set to fill a need in the community.
The unoccupied space, now cluttered with items from a supportive community, will soon be transformed into an outreach center to help the helpless, befriend the friendless and guide the lost.
Austin Watson, chairman of the board of directors for Joseph's Outreach Ministries, said they hope to have Joseph's Center up and running by the end of January.
“We'd like to be open now, but you know how things go when you have building codes and other things you have to face,” he said during a tour of the evolving facility Monday. “We're not going to be a place that offers handouts. We're going to be a place that helps people find resources.”
Watson said the goal is not to compete for services already offered by long-time institutions such as the Hendersonville Rescue Mission and Interfaith Assistance Ministry. Their plan instead is to fill the gaps.
Joseph's Outreach Ministries is partnering with agencies like the Rescue Mission, Mainstay, IAM, the school district's HELP Program, Agape Outreach Ministries, veterans affairs and local churches to help where they're needed.
“Representatives from the Rescue Mission and Joseph's Outreach Ministries met on Nov. 17 to discuss ways in which the two organizations can complement each other with the services they offer,” according to a news release from Joseph's Outreach Ministries Sunday. “Both groups appointed liaisons to coordinate activities and clarify their respective clients and services.”
Watson said they've had about four or five meetings with the mission and are excited about the partnership moving forward.
“We had a very good discussion and outlined a number of ways where we provide different services to those in need. We look forward to working with Rev. Anthony (McMinn) and his team to help even more people in more ways,” Watson said in the release.
The Rescue Mission serves men, women and children in its shelter, provides three meals a day, seven days a week, and has two transitional housing facilities for the homeless. The mission's new outreach center on Seventh Avenue offers restrooms, showers, phones, clothes, a gym, medical clinic, gospel center, GED training, electronics charging stations, and an interface with day laborers.
Joseph's Outreach Ministries currently offers transitional housing through Hope to Home and Mainstay. It supports homeless meal programs at the Nazarene Church and Providence Baptist Church, according to the release.
In addition to phones, restrooms and showers, Joseph's Center will offer laundry, assistance for veterans, Homeless Coalition Intake support, mailboxes, limited storage for clients, life skills training, youth tutoring and support and interface with businesses seeking day laborers. The center will be open to adults in the mornings and homeless youth in the afternoons.
The need is there, Watson said. He saw it in the faces of more than 60 people who were fed Monday at one of the First Church of the Nazarene's weekly meals.
“First Baptist (Church) does it every Thursday and they feed over 100,” he said. Agape Outreach Ministries catches some of the working crowd and families with children by offering meals each Sunday afternoon at a church on Cherry Street. Watson estimates they feed 50 or more each Sunday.
It's seen in the faces of more than 300 homeless children, currently enrolled in grades K-12 and tracked by Henderson County Public Schools. It's also seen in the hundreds of men and women who seek shelter at the Rescue Mission, and in countless others struggling to survive on fixed incomes.
“Most people don't realize we're all living close to the edge. Just because you have a big house and cars and stuff, it doesn't mean you can't lose it,” Watson said. “I believe in sharing. I believe that's what we're supposed to do and our whole board is that way... We're here to work with the whole community... all of Henderson County.”
Joseph's Outreach Ministries was founded by First United Methodist Church and has studied the community's homeless issues for the past four years. The board's newest mission, the Joseph's Center, has been a year in the making.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter @EmilyWORDWeaver or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

Thanksgiving week closings

17 hours 2 min ago
All Henderson County local government offices and agencies and the Henderson County Courthouse will be closed Thursday and Friday.
The Henderson County transfer station and convenience center will be closed Thursday, resuming normal operating hours Friday.
The Henderson County Public Library and its branches will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday. They will be closed Thursday and Friday, resuming normal operating hours Saturday.
The Henderson County Tourism Development Authority will be closed Thursday, and operate under holiday hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.
Laurel Park Town Hall and Public Works will be closed Thursday and Friday.
The Village of Flat Rock Village Hall will be closed Thursday and Friday.
The Times-News office will be closed Thursday and reopen at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The customer service department will be taking calls on Thanksgiving Day from 6 to 8 a.m. only. The automated system at 692-5763 or 1-800-849-8059 will be available for registering service issues, but no newspapers will be redelivered on the holiday.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Nov. 26

17 hours 2 min ago
Angel Tree locations announced
The Angel Tree program of The Salvation Army has begun, and angels may be adopted at the following locations: Walmart, Sam’s Club, JCPenney, Ace Hardware, Home Trust Bank, Pat’s Hair Salon, Howard Tax Service, Postage Express, Dr. Pete Richards and at the Salvation Army headquarters Social Services entrance at East Fourth Avenue and Grove Street.
Meetings
The Village of Flat Rock will hold a council agenda workshop meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the assembly room.
The Village of Flat Rock will hold a foundation meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the assembly room.
The Village of Flat Rock will hold a park workshop meeting at 10 a.m. Monday in the assembly room.
Events
The Apple Valley Model Railroad Club will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Train Depot, 650 Maple St., Hendersonville. Info: www.avmrc.com.
Ole Timey Christmas will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Henderson County Curb Market, 221 N. Church St., Hendersonville. Info: 692-8012.
Categories: News

HHS boys' basketball tops East in season opener

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 22:49
EAST FLAT ROCK — Hendersonville showed some rust on Tuesday night, coach Marvin Featherstone said, but used its fast-paced style of play to pull away from East Henderson in the second half for a 67-57 win in the Bearcats' first game of the season.
The first half was a stalemate. Both teams would go on spurts to pull away, but neither could get any distance for long. For East Henderson, Lane Justus led the way in the first half. The senior guard scored 11 of his game-high 25 points to lead the Eagles (0-1).
For most of the first half, Hendersonville's top two returning players were forced to the bench. Brothers Michael and Bradley Schmidt were in foul trouble in the fourth quarter before returning halfway through the second quarter.
Hendersonville pushed through the foul trouble and looked like it'd take a 29-26 lead into the half. Wesley Culbertson had other plans. The junior took off down court and just past the halfcourt line, he launched a 3-pointer that banked in as the buzzer sounded.
That momentum, however, didn't carry over into the second half. Hendersonville came out in the third quarter with an 11-4 run to stretch the lead to double-digits.
East fought back. Justus scored a basket on one end to start the fourth quarter with the Eagles down 50-42. On the other end of the court, East's Gunnar Harris blocked a shot that started a fast break and ended with Justus getting a layup.
The Bearcats (1-0) answered with a basket from Colin Mesa. Justus, however, came right back with a 3-pointer on the other end. The Eagles were with three at that point at 52-49.
Hendersonville, however, turned up the pressure and had a 10-2 run that sealed the deal. That pressure, East coach Bruce Gilliam said, turned the game around.
"Hendersonville's press and its physicality really took it to us," Gilliam said. "We turned the ball over and didn't rebound. They made better decisions than we did with the ball."
For Featherstone, it wasn't perfect, but there were bright spots. Freshman guard Tykel Landrum proved he was ready for varsity basketball. He finished the night with 13 points, four steals, six rebounds and three assists.
"He did a bunch of great things," Featherstone said. "He's going to be a special player for us down the road."
Featherstone was thrilled with his bench. With foul trouble in the first quarter, he got valuable minutes from his depth, the coach said.
Aside from Landrum, the Bearcats had Michael Schmidt also score 13 points. The junior also added six rebounds and five steals. He was happy with the way Hendersonville came out of the gates.
"It felt really good," he said. "We've got great chemistry. It can only get better from here."
In the earlier game, the East Henderson girls beat Hendersonville 36-16.
Lilly Blankenship led the charge for the Lady Eagles with 11 points. Micayla Rose chipped in nine points. Tiara Gray led the way for Hendersonville with seven points.
East and Hendersonville will play again next Tuesday.
Categories: News

North Carolina NAACP headed to Ferguson protest

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 21:10
DURHAM (AP) — A delegation from the NAACP is headed to Missouri to join protests against the decision not to file criminal charges against a police officer in the shooting death on an unarmed teenager, the group's president said Tuesday.
Speaking at a media conference in Durham, North Carolina NAACP President William Barber said he would be in Ferguson, Missouri, on Friday for the beginning of a 100-mile march from the St. Louis suburb to the capital in Jefferson.
Barber said Monday's decision by a grand jury not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson for shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown is really an indictment of the American criminal justice system as a whole. Wilson, who is white, claims he shot Brown, who was black, after the teenager hit him in the face and charged at him in a threatening manner.
Barber said he regretted the violence that broke out in Ferguson after the decision was announced, but he said the nation also needs to address the levels of violence against citizens by their own government.
"What we saw last night is an indictment on a system that has still not answered this fundamental question: How far was Mike Brown from the officer when he was shot, unarmed, in the head?" Barber asked.
Barber also called for police officers to be required to wear body-mounted video cameras to record incidents involving deadly force.
"We can no longer just allow funeral after funeral after funeral, and killing after killing after killing to go on, and America not render a verdict on herself," Barber said.
Categories: News

Etowah Baptist invites community to dinner

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 20:47
ETOWAH — The gymnasium of Etowah Baptist Church filled with members of the community Tuesday evening for a free holiday dinner prepared by volunteers.
One of the event's founding organizers, Walker Carriker, said the church was expecting more than 600 people to come out for the traditional Thanksgiving fixings, entertainment and outreach.
“A little over six years ago, my pastor came to me and asked what I thought about our disaster relief team members putting on a Thanksgiving meal,” Carriker said. “Initially, it was for the homeless and unfortunate because 2009 was a hard year, a lot of people lost their jobs and so forth, so this was our way of supporting them.”
Carriker said he wanted to offer the chance to serve to all of the church's members, and the event has grown each year. In the back of the gym behind a dividing wall was a closing closet filled with donated items, and attendees could take home anything they wanted - from casual wear to fluffy winter coats.
On the opposite end of the gym was a children's corner with Thanksgiving-themed crafts and coloring sheets, as well as a Christmas decoration station.
Throughout the evening, various members of the church community sang and performed on stage.
A line was set up for those who wanted to take their meal to go, as well as two counseling rooms where visitors could learn more about other outreach programs within the community and about the church's offerings.
“Everything is fun and we try to make it a fun thing,” Carriker said. “It is kind of like being on the disaster relief team; we know we have a job to get done, so why not have fun with it.”
Roberta “Tina” Britt, 50, traveled down from Flat Rock with her friends, who are like family to her.
“I love that I know there's people out there that Jesus touched and helped us,” Britt said.
Bob Brooks of Zorconia, who is "like a father" to Britt, said he was happy to drive the whole gang out for dinner together.
“I just think that it is really nice that people are able to get together in times that are hard,” Britt said.
Helen Atkins, joined by her daughter, Crystal Atkins, 26, and her daughter's fiancé, Jesse Montgomery, 24, said she thought the evening and food were great.
Britt said she couldn't wait for the music to start and hoped there might be a chance for dancing.
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or renee.bindewald@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Buckle up or face ticket this holiday

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 17:24
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina troopers will be cracking down on seat belt violations over Thanksgiving week as travel experts predict more people will be driving on the state's roads.
The Governor's Highway Safety Program announced Monday that it will hold a "Click It Or Ticket" program through Sunday. This year's effort comes just months after the state set a record with seatbelt usage of more than 90 percent.
"If you are involved in a crash, wearing a seat belt reduces your risk of critical injury or death by 50 percent. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the busy holiday travel season, and it is the perfect time to remind North Carolinians to buckle up no matter where in the car they sit," Don Nail, director of the program, said in a statement.
About 1.2 million North Carolinians are expected to drive on the state's roads this week, up about 50,000 from last year, according to AAA Carolinas.
The state Department of Transportation will help those travelers by suspending most construction projects on major highways from Tuesday afternoon through the weekend. The busiest days on North Carolina roads are expected to be Wednesday and Sunday.
Forecasters said Wednesday could be an especially messy travel day with rain expected across much of the state and snow in the mountains. Snow will also be likely in states to the north.
AAA Carolinas said this week's travelers will find gas much less expensive. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in North Carolina is $2.77, 46 cents less than last Thanksgiving and 57 cents below the average price per gallon at Labor Day.
"Lower prices at the pump have encouraged more people to hit the road this Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with their family and friends," AAA Carolinas President David E. Parsons said in a statement.
Categories: News

Polk County bridge to close for replacement

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 17:23
SHELBY — The N.C. Department of Transportation is replacing a Polk County bridge and will need to close part of Warrior Drive beginning Monday, Dec. 1.
The bridge at Warrior Drive, which spans a tributary of the North Pacolet River, was built in 1956. The bridge is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, which means it was built to design standards no longer in use and needs to be replaced. A concrete culvert will be built to replace the existing structure.
During construction, a signed detour route will take motorists from Howard Gap Road to Harmon Field Road, then from U.S. 176 back to Warrior Drive.
The road is expected to reopen by early May 2015. Apple Tuck and Associates of Rutherfordton is the contractor for the $248,102 project.
For more details about North Carolina’s bridges, visit the NCDOT’s bridge information website.
Categories: News

Tractor run to benefit Toys for Tots

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 16:24
The second Henderson County Toys for Tots Tractor Run will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, beginning at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River and ending at Jackson Park.
Toys and registration fees collected for the ride will go to benefit the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive in Western North Carolina, which has provided more than 10,000 toys to needy children over the holidays.
To register your tractor, truck, classic car, motorcycle or “anything with wheels,” bring a new, unwrapped $10 toy or $10 cash to the research station’s farm shop parking lot between 8 and 9 a.m. Saturday. The address is 74 Research Drive, Mills River.
The convoy of tractors and other vehicles will wind their way to Jackson Park by roughly 11 p.m., where organizers will hold a post-toy run party. Appalachian Fire will play bluegrass music and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit of Asheville will sell $10 barbecue plates, with proceeds going to Toys for Tots.
“Last year, we had 41 tractors,” said organizer Aaron Martin. “And I’m hoping that we double that this year.”
A bus donated by Young Transportation will take everyone back to the research station to get their trucks and trailers, Martin said.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WNCToysforTotsTractorRun or email tractorsfortots@gmail.com, or call Martin at 828-674-0587.
Categories: News

Thursday is the new Black Friday

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 13:59
Midnight openings on Black Friday might become a thing of the past.
Despite retailers getting off to an earlier start on Thanksgiving Day, pre-holiday sales and online shopping, thousands of local residents are expected to flock to area shopping malls to enjoy the annual tradition of finding special deals. But there are a few things they will need to know in order to beat the crowds.
The National Retail Federation recently estimated nearly 45 million people shopped on Thanksgiving Day last year, a 27 percent increase compared to the previous year. In 2013, more than 92 million people sought out deals on Black Friday, while about 131 million consumers took advantage of Cyber Monday.
The federation expects lower unemployment rates, improved consumer confidence and other economic factors — lower gas prices and increased availability of credit, for instance — will bolster sales during the Black Friday weekend this year.
The organization said it anticipates retail sales will reach nearly $617 billion during the holiday shopping season, which is about a 4 percent increase compared to 2013.
"Overall, we expect holiday spending to reflect recent economic momentum," said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for National Retail Federation, in a statement. "The economy is expanding and there doesn't appear to be any distinct shift away from the moderate pace of growth. Growth is expected to continue to be slow and steady following the unusually high degree of volatility we saw in the first half of the year."
WestGate Mall will open its doors at 6 p.m. Thursday and will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday, said Spencer Dawkins, general manager. Dawkins urged shoppers to check out the mall's website, www.westgate-mall.com, for details and coupons.
"We are looking forward to a happy and safe shopping season," Dawkins said. "Shoppers can now see Santa Clause located in our Food Court, and they can now enjoy our new Kids Play Area located at the Belk wing of the mall."
Simon Property Group, the owner of Gaffney Premium Outlets, Haywood Mall in Greenville and Anderson Mall, recently announced "enhanced" hours to "accommodate the needs of busy holiday shoppers."
Gaffney Premium Outlets will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday and will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday. The mall will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Haywood and Anderson malls will be open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and stay open until 1 a.m. Friday. They will reopen at 6 a.m. Friday and close at 10 p.m. Both malls will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
"We're looking forward to another successful holiday season. Gaffney Premium Outlets has always been a great place for families and friends to carry out their Black Friday shopping traditions," said outlet spokeswoman Jessica Niblack. "This year, Gaffney Premium Outlets is opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving to help shoppers get ready to spread love for the holidays. Our stores are doing a great job at offering some amazing deals, and our guests will see that this is the place to come out and find incredible value."
Electronics retailer Best Buy will open its Spartanburg store at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The store will close at 1 a.m. on Friday and then reopen from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. that day. On Saturday, Best Buy will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. It will operate from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Store Manager Mike Moseley said he expects Best Buy to be busy throughout the weekend.
"We do expect there to be good excitement," he said. "We have some really great deals."
Shops in downtown Spartanburg will be open for the fourth annual Small Business Saturday, a day that encourages shoppers to buy from small, local businesses.
Categories: News

Charlotte one of few US cities to report September home price gains

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 10:16
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in September at the slowest pace in more than two years, reflecting modest sales gains and a rising number of available homes.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, increased 4.9 percent in September from 12 months earlier. But that's down from 5.6 percent in August and the smallest gain since October 2012.
On a monthly basis, the 20-city index was unchanged, the first flat reading in seven months. The monthly changes aren't adjusted for seasonal factors such as colder weather, which can impact sales. Prices dropped in nine of 20 cities from August.
Home price gains have slowed this year after rapid, double-digit increases in the previous two years. Investors helped drive the strong gains by bidding up prices but have started to cut back on their purchases. Smaller price gains and low mortgage rates could make housing more affordable.
More Americans are also listing their homes for sale, helping keep prices in check. Nationwide, 2.22 million homes were on the market in October, up 5.2 percent from a year earlier.
After the roller-coaster of collapsing home prices during the housing bust, followed by big increases in 2012 and 2013, many economists have welcomed the modest gains this year.
"This slowdown is a critical step on the road back to a normal," said Stan Humphries, chief economist at real estate data provider Zillow. "The market is becoming more balanced between buyers and sellers."
The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The September figures are the latest available.
Eighteen of the 20 cities reported slower price increases over the past 12 months. Only Charlotte, North Carolina, and Dallas reported larger annual gains than in August.
Miami posted the strongest 12-month gain at 10.3 percent, followed by Las Vegas at 9.1 percent. September was the first time that Las Vegas reported a price increase below 10 percent in more than two years. Investors have bid up prices in that city, which saw a large housing bust and many home foreclosures.
Healthy sales in Miami likely contributed to the big price gain. Home sales jumped 21.2 percent in Miami last month, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage, the strongest increase among the 39 markets it tracks.
The smallest price gains in the Case-Shiller report were in Cleveland, where they rose 0.8 percent in September from a year earlier, and Washington, D.C., where prices increased just 2.1 percent.
Mortgage rates have also slipped in recent weeks, providing another boost to potential homebuyers. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage declined to 3.99 percent last week from 4.01 percent the previous week.
Rates have hovered around 4 percent for the past month, down about a half-point from the beginning of the year, even as the Federal Reserve has wound down a bond-buying stimulus campaign.
The Fed's bond purchases were intended to keep interest rates low, leading many economists to forecast that mortgage rates would rise once the purchases ended. But so far, that hasn't happened.
Nationwide, sales of existing homes rose in October to their fastest pace this year, evidence that the housing market is rebounding from a slowdown last spring.
Still, household incomes after adjusting for inflation have been flat for the past several years, making it harder for many Americans, particularly first-time buyers, to afford a home. Many younger Americans are also saddled with student loan debt and are renting rather than buying. Last month, first-time buyers made up just 29 percent of home sales, below the 40 percent they have historically represented.
Categories: News