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Hendersonville Times-News: Top Stories

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Updated: 24 min 40 sec ago

Flat Rock Playhouse names Bryant artistic director

2 hours 10 min ago
The Board of Trustees of Flat Rock Playhouse has named Lisa K. Bryant its fourth artistic director in the 62-year history of the theater.
Bryant has been serving as the Playhouse's acting artistic director since May and prior to that was the associate artistic director beginning in 2012.
Bryant brings a long history of artistic excellence, leadership and collaboration to her new role, according to a news release issued Monday morning. "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "My Fair Lady," "Cats," "Once On This Island" and "RENT" are just a few of the shows Bryant has directed at Flat Rock Playhouse. Each has received rave reviews and delivered solid box office results.
Playhouse Board President Cliff Stalter said in a prepared statement, “Lisa is admired by several generations of Vagabonds for her artistic vision, her management skills, her passion for the YouTheatre program, and her respect for everyone who works on The Rock. She is the right person to lead Flat Rock Playhouse artistry into the future.
"Since becoming acting artistic director in May, Lisa has demonstrated every attribute we are looking for in our new artistic director," Stalter said. "It became clear that we do not need to conduct a national search. We have the best candidate right here. The public's response to both the shows she has directed and the season she has put together for 2015 confirms for us that she has a natural feel for the type of theater our community wants to support."
"I love Flat Rock Playhouse and am thrilled to be its next artistic director," Bryant stated in the release. "I am a product of the incredible artists and stewards who preceded me, and I hope that each day ahead is a positive and meaningful testament to their influence and legacy.
"I am deeply grateful to the staff and board for their continued support," Bryant said. "It is a great blessing to be surrounded by such diverse talent and creativity. I look forward to helping lead Flat Rock Playhouse to the next level of excellence as we evolve to meet the interests of our community and the rapidly changing entertainment marketplace."
Bryant began her career with Flat Rock Playhouse as an Apprentice in 1994. Since then she has played a variety of roles, including intern, actor, teacher, writer and Apprentice director.
Over the years, Bryant has developed broad experience in a variety of places. She earned her BFA in Musical Theatre from Elon University and her MFA in Performance from the University of Central Florida. The majority of her career has been as an actress. Leading roles at FRP include "Hairspray," "South Pacific," "42nd Street" and "And Then There Were None." She starred in the short film "Miss Julianne," which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and earned her numerous acting accolades. Additionally, she starred in the indie film "The Karaoke King."
From 2006-2010, Bryant served as the lead acting teacher for the Flat Rock Playhouse YouTheatre and as Co-Apprentice director. She also taught for three years locally at North Henderson High School. She grew student participation in the program by 500 percent and enjoyed unprecedented sold-out performances of productions ranging from "The Crucible" to "The Wizard of Oz."
"There is nothing better for an organization than to have a person from within who stands out so clearly that you realize that there is no need to search further than your own backyard,” Stalter stated. "Lisa is that person. The board and staff look forward to her leadership and artistic excellence in the years ahead."
Flat Rock Playhouse also recently initiated a national search for a new managing director who will partner with the artistic director in leading the institution. The board will provide updates on the progress of this search as it progresses.
Categories: News

DuPont to close at night, except by permit

3 hours 14 min ago
DuPont State Recreational Forest staff will be instituting hours of operation beginning Nov. 2. The forest will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Only forest employees and authorized persons will be allowed within the forest between closing and opening hours except under permit.
Hours will be posted at each of the state forest’s access areas: High Falls, Hooker Falls, Corn Mill Shoals, Fawn Lake, Lake Imaging and Guion Farm.
DuPont rangers will offer free permits for legitimate use of the forest after hours, according to a release from the N.C. Forest Service. Requests for permits may be submitted through the DuPont website or by email to afterhours.dsrf@ncagr.gov.
“As with any permitted activity, the volume of permits issued will be based on available staff resources and observed impacts to the forest,” the forest service stated in the release. “The permits must be displayed on vehicles parking at access areas and various trail entrances.”
The after-hours permit will allow for up to four people to use the forest, as long as they remain in a group during the permitted activity. The most current version of DuPont’s after-hours policy can be found at http://ncforestservice.gov/dsrf/contacts.
There will be an introductory period between Nov. 2 and Jan. 1 in which the enforcement of the policy will be primarily through education and verbal warnings.
After the introductory period, the N.C. Forest Service and local law enforcement will fully enforce the hours of operation. Violations can result in expulsion from the forest and a citation for a Class III misdemeanor.
To learn more about DuPont State Recreational Forest, visit http://ncforestservice.gov or call the forest at 828-877-6527.
Categories: News

Fall foliage nears peak, but don't forget to look down

4 hours 22 min ago
Heavy rains and wind last week knocked down many turning leaves at the highest elevations, but experts say the best of fall color is still to come locally.
In his latest fall color report for Oct. 19, Biology Professor Howard Neufeld of Appalachian State University says the views of changing foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville are “sweeping in their grandeur, magnificence and extent.”
He suggests the Looking Glass Rock overlook at milepost 417 as one impressive display, with other great views at Waterrock Knob and Graveyard Fields. Though this weekend was probably the best time to see fall foliage at those elevations, Neufeld said “colors may be better below 2,000 feet” by next weekend.
Through this week, the fall color forecast pinpoints DuPont State Recreational Forest, the N.C. Arboretum, the Biltmore Estate as likely spots to catch peak color. And Chimney Rock State Park still has plenty of changing foliage to come in the next two weeks, said Park Naturalist Emily Walker.
Buckeyes and hickories are starting to paint the Hickory Nut Gorge a golden cast of yellow and bronze, but Walker said the peak of fall foliage will likely occur around next weekend in Chimney Rock, Lake Lure and South Mountain State Park.
“I was up at Bearwallow Mountain this weekend, and there was some incredible color up there already,” she said. “But as you go down in elevation, we'll see a big change this week with these nice cool nights. I think our color will last another couple of weeks, as long as we don't have another windstorm.”
Most tourists who come to the mountains looking for fall color fixate on the changing tree foliage, but below that canopy lies a colorful display of a different sort. Ecologists say fall wildflowers can rival those of spring in color, and brightly-hued seeds of many understory plants also add vibrancy to autumn's palette.
“Those long-range views are great, but when you get under the canopy in the morning or late afternoon, you're really under the dome, so to speak,” said Kevin Caldwell, a botanist with Mountains-To-Sea Ecological in Barnardsville. “It's one of my favorite things about fall, seeing the understory light up with color at those times.”
Caldwell said wildflowers such as heartleaf asters, heath asters and goldenrod are commonly found at most elevations now. Along stream banks, he's still spotting large colonies of nodding ladies' tresses – an orchid with white flowers spiraling down a terminal spike – and witch hazel shrubs in bloom.
“My absolute favorite color of anything right now is moose hobble,” Caldwell said. A member of the Viburnum genus, the shrub produces bright red berries in the fall followed by vivid burgundy leaves. “It's higher on up, but it's worth a trip to the northern hardwood zone (above 4,500 feet) to see them.”
Those seeking the brighter yellow flowers of fall should check out Chimney Rock's trail to 2,480-foot Exclamation Point, along which Walker said displays of coreopsis and sunflowers are still blooming. It's called the Skyline Trail on older maps.
Park visitors can find a multitude of asters and goldenrods throughout the park, she said, along with white snakeroot and a few remnant turtleheads in shades of white and pink. But some of the brightest colors below the treetops are the berries of dogwood, hollies, spicebush and strawberry bush, sometimes known locally as “hearts-a-bustin'.”
Caldwell, who conducts plant and wildlife surveys for land trusts and private landowners, said the key to finding color under the canopy is to “move around. You just can't go one place, because it's very localized. And that window of time makes for a better experience anyway.”
For more information about Mountains-To-Sea Ecological, visit www.mtsecological.com. To find out more about visiting Chimney Rock Park, visit www.chimneyrockpark.com .
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or than.axtell@blueridgenow.com.

Categories: News

Community Briefs: Oct. 20

6 hours 47 min ago
Henry Leissing featured at Patriot Club meeting
The Sentinel Patriot Club will begin the lecture & discussion series, “The Providential Founding of Our Republic,” featuring constitutional scholar, attorney and author Henry Leissing as the course instructor, at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Bay Breeze Restaurant, 1830 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville.
The meeting is open to the public, there are no dues, costs or fees for attending and lunch optional. For more information about the club, visit www.sentinelpatriot.com.
Meetings
The Fletcher Planning Board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, 300 Old Cane Creek Road. For more information, contact Planning Director Eric Rufa at 687-3985.
The Henderson County Board of Social Services will meet at noon Tuesday in the Social Services Board Room of the Human Services Building.
Events
An important meeting to discuss the future of the Hendersonville Area Computer Society will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at Opportunity House, 1411 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville. All club members are urged to attend. The program will conclude with a presentation of “Speech to Text” apps and how they may be used.
The Henderson County Gem & Mineral Society will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Salvation Army Activity Center, 239 Third Ave. E., Hendersonville. Info: 877-4073 or campbellj@comporium.net.
A meeting for those interested in becoming a volunteer Henderson County AARP Tax Aide will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Kaplan Auditorium in the Henderson County Public Library, 311 N. Washington St., Hendersonville.
Info: 699-3322.
A town hall featuring Marty Katz will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Emanuel's Corner Community Center, 726 First Ave. W., Hendersonville. Info: www.electmartykatzsher-iff. com or martykatz4sheriff@gmail.com.
Categories: News

Candidate profiles: Apodaca, Wood running for NC Senate

6 hours 47 min ago
N.C. Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) faces School Board member Rick Wood, a Democrat, in the general election. The Times-News asked each candidate four questions and allowed answers of up to 200 words for each. Here are their responses.
The Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 has been hailed for forcing Duke Energy to clean up its unlined coal ash ponds, but several unresolved questions remain, including whether Duke will pass on costs of cleanup to its ratepayers. Does Raleigh need to follow up with further coal ash legislation and if so, what should it address?
Apodaca: North Carolina is the first state in the country to crack down on the use of coal ash ponds. Along with my House colleague, Chuck McGrady, we led the fight to pass the nation's toughest law. Duke Energy is responsible for cleaning up the mess and preventing any future problems. The experts on the state's Utilities Commission - not politicians - should decide on the exact framework for cost recovery. I do anticipate the legislature will review additional improvements to this complicated issue in the coming years to ensure our waterways are protected.
Wood:I want to commend Rep. Chuck McGrady for his leadership on this issue. Sen. Tom Apodaca's efforts seem more calculated to protect Duke Energy than the people. I would've voted for an amendment by Sen. Josh Stein to prohibit Duke Energy from passing costs of the coal ash cleanup to rate-payers. Instead, Apodaca blocked it by offering a substitute amendment of jibber-jabber; its purpose was to keep Republicans from having to vote on the issue. In doing so, Apodaca became the only member of the General Assembly to stand up for Duke Energy. Now rate-payers may see monthly bills increase by as much as $20.
Duke Energy has said it cannot meet the deadline for cleanup and there's no penalty. I'd vote for a stiff penalty. Gov. Pat McCrory was so unhappy with the bill that he let it become law without signing it and said he's considering a constitutional challenge to certain provisions.
One more thing is Apodaca's behavior during the debate. He was quoted in a newspaper calling McGrady and his colleagues in the House “rogues” for insisting the bill contain stronger provisions than Apodaca and his Senate colleagues wanted. That's unbecoming of a person representing our district.
The legislature passed this year what GOP leaders called one of the biggest teacher pay increases in state history, yet the N.C. Association of Educators says the salary plan for teachers "is not a comprehensive commitment to reach the national average." In your opinion, why is there this disconnect?
Apodaca: We inherited a multi-billion dollar shortfall, which meant it was necessary to balance the budget first. As the economy has stabilized, we have raised expectations for reading achievement in early grades, started the process of moving to digital textbooks, and provided an overdue pay raise for teachers. I've always been a strong advocate for public schools - K-12, community colleges, and our universities. The NCAE is a special interest group affiliated with the Democratic Party. My allegiance is to our local teachers and parents - not the NCAE.
Wood: In terms of the percentage of the pay increase, it's not the largest increase. Significantly larger increases were passed during the administrations of Gov. Terry Sanford, Jim Holshouser, Jim Martin, Jim Hunt and Mike Easley.
While beginning teachers deserve an increase, this shouldn't come at the expense of veteran teachers who have devoted their lives to public schools. As a result of the new pay schedule, some veteran teachers will see their net income decreased. That's not fair.
We're seeing an exodus of experienced teachers leaving for better jobs in nearby states. Texas schools have made several successful recruiting trips here. More alarming is that fewer college students are choosing teaching careers. That will have a lasting harmful impact upon the quality of our schools.
It's not just the matter of teacher pay that's hurting our schools. According to the chief financial officer for the Department of Public Instruction, funding for classroom activities such as textbooks, supplies, teaching assistance, transportation and other essential services is $1 billion less than six years ago. Meanwhile, our student population has increased by 45,000. This translates into $2 million less in the classrooms of Henderson, Transylvania and southern Buncombe — about $600 per student less.
Aldona Wos, the state's secretary of health and human services, recently announced the state's Medicaid program has a $63 million budget surplus. Should Gov. McCrory and the legislature revisit whether to expand Medicaid and if so, under what circumstances?
Apodaca: I'd like to see as many North Carolinians as possible have health insurance. We need Medicaid as a safety net for those in need and I've voted for budgets which support them. The best solution is to create more jobs so employees can have private health insurance rather than spend more tax dollars on Medicaid. Unfortunately, Obamacare has imposed costs on employers which make them more reluctant to hire. The state's next step is Medicaid reform to ensure budget predictability for the program on a consistent basis.
Wood: Yes, I would have supported expanding Medicaid when the federal government first offered to do so at no cost to the state for three years. Our hospitals desperately need this help. When North Carolina refused this offer, money that would have come here has been redistributed to other states. That just isn't good business.
Tax reform implemented by the General Assembly will create a flat income tax rate of 5.75 percent for 2015 and will lower corporate taxes to 5 percent by then. Do you support or oppose further reductions in the corporate and state income tax rate?
Apodaca: We were on the wrong track for years with high taxes and record unemployment. The Republicans won the legislative majority in 2011 for the first time in over a century. Since then we've balanced the budget, reduced taxes for everyone, and the economy is recovering. We aren't where we need to be yet and I won't quit fighting until the private sector can create more jobs and our schools have the funding they need. A competitive pro-growth tax code helps create jobs which, in turn, creates more taxpayers, which in turn, allows us to invest more in education.
Wood: I oppose the recent income tax cuts because they disproportionately benefit the wealthy at the cost of huge cuts to public education, health and protection of the environment. Sen. Apodaca predicted these cuts would generate gobs of additional revenue. They have done just the opposite. Friday, Oct. 10, the state budget director announced that current state revenue is down $313 million for the first three months of the current fiscal year.
At that rate, Sen. Apodaca and his colleagues will face a $1billion budget shortfall when they meet next year to appropriate a new budget. That will mean even more draconian cuts to our public schools.
Also last week, the State Commerce Department disclosed that new job announcements are down 30 percent from the previous year and new investment announcements are down 60 percent. This pretty much discounts the “less is more” revenue theory by Senator Apodaca and his colleagues. I would oppose additional reductions in the corporate and state income tax rate.
Categories: News

Hearing today on NC homeowners insurance rates

6 hours 50 min ago
RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina's insurance commissioner is holding a hearing on a request from companies that want to increase homeowner insurance prices by an average of more than 25 percent in January.
The Fayetteville Observer reported (http://bit.ly/1wnE02C) that Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin will hold the hearing today in Raleigh.
Experts from the North Carolina Rate Bureau and the Department of Insurance will present their cases to Goodwin. The bureau represents insurance companies.
More than 10,000 public comments were submitted this past January and 25 people spoke during a hearing held that month. Goodwin says the public can attend today's meeting but won't be allowed to speak.
A news release says Goodwin is holding the hearing because the proposed rates appear to the Department of Insurance to be excessive and discriminatory.
Categories: News

Asheville man dies in Myrtle Beach shooting

6 hours 57 min ago
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say a North Carolina man has died in a shooting in South Carolina.
Horry County Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard told local media that 34-year-old Stephen Skinner of Asheville, N.C., was shot to death early Saturday.
Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes said officers were called to an apartment after 2:30 a.m. Saturday and found Skinner lying on the ground. Skinner died at the scene.
No arrests have been made.
Categories: News

Community college adds equine, hospitality courses

6 hours 59 min ago
Isothermal Community College is expanding its training for jobs in the equine and hospitality industries — in part because of the Tryon Resort and Tryon International Equestrian Center, and in part to bolster those industries that have long been a part of Polk and Rutherford counties.
The college has already begun offering continuing education classes for people who work or want to work with horses — short-term programs that include equine dentistry, equine tourism and preparation for competition. Similar training for the hospitality industry is in the works.
Isothermal has prepared two-year curriculums on both fronts that are pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and officials hope to begin offering the degree programs in fall 2015.
The community college, which primarily serves Polk and Rutherford counties, began formulating its equine sciences program about a year-and-a-half ago. As word about the Tryon Resort began to spread, college officials started working with the partners behind that development to hone their offerings.
The 1,400-acre property will be anchored by the Tryon International Equestrian Center, which is already holding horse shows, and will include a hotel, spa and resort, an 800-lot subdivision and an 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course.
“It’s kind of serendipitous,” said Michael Gavin, director of marketing and community relations at the college. “We started doing some of this, and then all of a sudden we started hearing about some of the plans for the equestrian center. And it really goes hand in glove with what we’re trying to do.”
It’s not clear how many jobs the resort and associated equestrian center will generate, directly or indirectly. The equestrian center plans to hold spring, summer and fall shows.
Mark Bellissimo, the managing partner of the group of investors behind the venture, has said the lack of existing nearby hotel accommodations is already being felt.
What is known is that plenty of work goes into taking care of horses, especially for a venture of this magnitude — whether that’s horse groomers, horse dentists, horse massage therapists or something else. The equestrian center is expected to have 1,000 permanent stalls when that part of the resort is completed, likely by spring.
“There’s a passion among horse people that’s kind of unparalleled. They get each other going,” said Kate Barkschat, director of Isothermal’s Polk Center in Columbus. “It’s very well-rooted in this area.”
In a region still reeling from the loss of textiles, part of college officials’ thinking was to focus on the businesses and industries that have been the bread and butter for the area for decades.
“To a lot of people, (the resort) is viewed as a godsend to the area,” said Thad Harrill, the college’s vice president of community and workforce education. “This is big for the Southeast. And we’re going to be right in the middle of it.”
So far, Isothermal is working with two industry standards organizations for specific certifications.
Groom Elite 101 is a 40-hour, nationally recognized groom certification program for horse care workers with some experience.
On the hospitality side, students can earn tiered certifications through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.
The road to hospitality certification will begin with an eight-hour assessment, where students learn about what qualities the hospitality industry desires — just like nursing or any other field, some may find that it’s not for them. It takes thick skin, a strong work ethic and a constant smile, Harrill said.
“We all know what being treated well feels like and what it looks like,” he said. “So, what we’ve got to do is help people who are thinking about this industry think about that on the front-end so they can be successful.”
The assessment is followed by several weeks of developing “soft skills” — dealing with conflict or taking initiative, for example. It can be challenging to deal with a hostile guest one minute and then have to be pleasant the next, said Mark Franklin, Isothermal’s director of customized training and development.
Students then will complete the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute’s Guest Service Gold certification program, which lasts several weeks and includes an exam.
Isothermal has formed steering committees to help develop its equine and hospitality programs.
The equine group was formed early on and includes longtime equestrians and businesspeople who work with horses; the hospitality group includes representatives of many established bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, golf courses and other destination points in the area. The latter group began meeting this summer.
The endpoint of the equine sciences program will be an agribusiness degree with an equine focus.
Isothermal has worked with North Carolina State University to make sure its courses are transferable for students who want to pursue a four-year degree, Gavin said.
Because of accreditation standards, the bulk of that coursework should be transferable to other schools with similar programs, such as Clemson University, he said.
The community college is reaching out to high schools in Polk and Rutherford counties to expose students to possible career paths in both industries.
Continuing education classes cost a flat fee and generally last up to a few weeks; the cost of curriculum classes varies based on whether a student resides inside or outside of North Carolina. The community college is already approved to offer a small business management curriculum course with a focus on the equine industry.
Plans call for continuing education and curriculum classes for both industries to be offered at Isothermal’s main campus in Spindale and at the Polk Center.
“Where there’s a need, we fill it,” Harrill said.
Categories: News

More machines, longer hours to greet voters Thursday

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 03:01
Henderson County election officials say there will be no lack of opportunity for absentee voters to cast their ballots, despite this being the first general election with fewer early voting hours.
The General Assembly voted last year to reduce one-stop voting from 17 days to 10 days, stipulating that early voting sites remain open the same cumulative hours as before. But the law allowed counties to request exemptions, and Henderson was among 30 counties that did.
While there'll be roughly 40 fewer hours of early voting available this general election than in 2012, county Elections Director Beverly Cunningham said extended hours and additional touch-screen machines will offset the reduced hours.
"It's not like there's less time to vote, because we have more voting machines," she said. "Plus, we've extended our hours considerably. Normally, we close at 6, and the second week (of early voting), we're open until 8 o'clock. We've tried to make up the difference in other ways."
In-person early voting begins Thursday at five locations, including the Board of Elections office at 75 E. Central St., the Edneyville Community Center, the Etowah Library, Flat Rock Village Hall and Fletcher library.
The Board of Elections office will have between 12 and 15 touch-screen machines available in the back of the office, a former warehouse. Starting Thursday, voters can cast their early votes there weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until at least 6 p.m., plus Saturdays through Nov. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
From Oct. 27 through Oct. 30, the elections office will stay open for one-stop voters until 8 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on Halloween.
At the satellite early voting sites, citizens can vote from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays between Thursday and Oct. 31 and from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 1.
Based on the 1,000 absentee ballot requests already received, Cunningham said her office is "seeing an average interest in an off-year general election." About 250 have been returned so far. The final day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 28.
Cunningham said a marriage amendment in 2012 "sparked higher interest than usual in an off-year election. But there has been a lot of interest (this year) in the local elections, the U.S. House race and that U.S. Senate race. We're prepared for every registered voter in Henderson County to cast a ballot, if they show up."
The race between N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis and Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is one of the nation's most closely watched races, since its outcome could tilt the balance of power in the U.S. Senate to Republicans.
In his first re-election bid, Congressman Mark Meadows (R-Cashiers) faces Democrat Tom Hill, a retired physicist from Zirconia, while N.C. Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) faces his first opposition since 2010 from School Board member Rick Wood, a Democrat.
Other important local races include the races for N.C. House Districts 113 and 117, as well as for Henderson County sheriff. There are a number of uncontested races as well, including those for three commissioners' seats, register of deeds and clerk of Superior Court.
For more information about early voting hours or mail-in absentee voting, call the Board of Elections office at 828-697-4970 or visit www.hendersoncountync.org/elections.
Categories: News

2013 Crime Report shows decrease in offenses

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 03:01
The State Bureau of Investigation’s 2013 Uniform Crime Report, released last week, showed a downward trend in crimes committed across North Carolina and in Henderson County last year. In Polk and Transylvania counties, however, certain crimes were on the rise.
Polk County, which reported one murder in the past six years, saw an increase of 46 crimes of aggravated assault, larceny and motor vehicle thefts compared to 2012 figures. Acts of larceny accounted for a majority of the boost, with 201 crimes in 2013 compared to 161 in 2012.
The rise in the index crimes disrupted a 10-year downward trend, first unsettled by a spike in infractions in 2011. Cases of burglary were down by 27 crimes in Polk County last year. Rape dropped from seven occurrences in 2012 to six in 2013, and reported robberies remained the same at one in 2012 and 2013.
Cases of rape and robbery were declining in Transylvania County last year. Aggravated assault, however, was up by three incidents, burglary spiked by 13 crimes, larceny rose by 52 incidents and motor vehicle theft was up by five crimes, according to reporting agencies in the county.
Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney contributed the rise in property crimes to the criminal activities of two young men tied to a rash of break-ins that plagued the county in January 2013.
A homeowner on Morningside Drive called 911 when he saw what he described as two males breaking into a car near his home on the morning of Jan. 27, 2013. Officers from Brevard Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office had received reports of more than 60 break-ins in five weeks, when they got the hot tip of the burglary in progress.
Officers from both agencies — some on the clock and others off duty — rushed to the scene and apprehended the suspects after a chase.
Detectives linked 21-year-old Charles Eugene “CJ” Moore of Brevard to 56 vehicle break-ins. His accomplice, Kevin Anthony Harmer, 23, of Brevard was tied to 17 break-ins, involving at least 15 motor vehicles, according to court records.
Harmer was charged with five counts of felony larceny, 17 counts of breaking and entering, 11 counts of misdemeanor larceny and one felony count of possession of stolen goods. Moore was charged with three counts of felony habitual breaking-and-entering, seven counts of felony larceny, including the theft of a firearm, 60 counts of breaking-and-entering and 30 counts of misdemeanor larceny.
“The number of crimes the two committed match the increase we saw in the year,” Mahoney said. “We were successful in catching these two and recovered a large amount of the property they stole.”
Despite the increases in property crimes, Mahoney said the county is back on pace this year to equal its crime index rate from 2012, which was a 20-year low.
“Although crime rates fluctuate up and down, we continue to see a downward trend over the past 10 years,” he said.
The last murder in Transylvania County occurred in 2011. Reports of rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft all reflected a decrease from the cases noted in 2004. Larceny was the only crime in the index to show a rise over the 10-year stretch.
Downward trend
The Uniform Crime Report indicates that overall crime in North Carolina has decreased by 7 percent from the previous year, continuing a six-year downward trend, according to a recent news release from the SBI.
The rate of violent crime — which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — decreased 5.4 percent statewide from 2012 to 2013, according to the release. The rate of property crime, which consists of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, decreased 7.2 percent across the state.
For crime index offenses, the number of juveniles under age 18 arrested declined 11 percent in 2013, while adults arrested for the same offenses decreased 5 percent, according to the release. Violent crimes committed by juveniles under 18 increased 1 percent statewide, while adult arrests for violent crimes dropped 8 percent. Property crimes showed a 13 percent decrease among juvenile offenders and a 3 percent decline among adults.
Henderson County showed a 12 percent decrease in the index crime rate in 2013 compared to its previous year. The county’s violent crime rate was 9 percent lower than in 2012, and property crime rate dropped by 12.6 percent.
Cases of murder were down from six in 2012 to four in 2013, rapes declined by eight cases, and aggravated assaults and motor vehicle thefts were each down by 15.
Henderson County’s biggest improvements in crime rates, however, were reflected in charges of burglary, which fell from 785 cases in 2012 to 547 in 2013 (a 238-case drop), and larceny, which was down by 69 charges.
With break-ins and thefts plaguing more and more residents, Sheriff Charles McDonald outlined a plan last year to reduce residential break-ins and larcenies by 12 percent in March.
The result of the department’s efforts more than doubled its goal. Residential break-ins and larcenies in the county fell by 28.86 percent from March 1, 2013 to Feb. 28. Motor vehicle break-ins and all other larcenies were down by 21.64 percent in March.
McDonald credits the reduction in crime with enhanced communications and teamwork throughout the department, support from prosecutors with the District Attorney’s Office, new crime-mapping software to pinpoint hotspots, a new crime analyst to map the trends as they occur and a special task force, focusing specifically on break-ins and thefts.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Oct. 19

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 03:01
Blue Ridge Center for Lifelong Learning fall courses
Registration is now open for the October Blue Ridge Center for Lifelong Learning classes. Classes include “What Makes a Film Romantic” by Beth Ellers, “Growing Herbs in a Home Garden” by Betty Lockwood, and “Local Treasures II highlighting the building of Biltmore and the Hendersonville Little Theater.”
LeRoy Goldman will present his 2014 elections predictions on Oct. 31.
The Blue Ridge Center for Lifelong Learning at Blue Ridge Community College offers opportunities for education and enrichment targeted to adult lifelonglearners. For more information and class start dates, visit www.brcll.com or call 694-1740.
Drive Fore! A Cause to benefit FRP
The Cliffs and the local community will team up on Nov. 1 in support of Flat Rock Playhouse with Drive Fore! A Cause. Played on The Cliffs’ new Mountain Park golf course, at 250 Knightsridge Road, Travelers Rest, S.C., the inaugural Drive Fore! A Cause tournament will support the Playhouse and will continue to serve as a catalyst to raise money for local nonprofit organizations in coming years. The Cliffs is currently the season sponsor for the Playhouse’s 2014 Season of Laughter and Love.
Proceeds from the day will support the artistic and education programs at the Playhouse, including mainstage productions, YouTheatre camps and classes and community outreach programs.
Featuring a Captain’s Choice format, teams of four will spend a day on the links to determine the top three teams, followed by a post-round party featuring music and entertainment by Flat Rock Playhouse. An awards ceremony will round out the day.
Entry fee is $750/foursome or $200/player and includes breakfast, golf and cart fees, on-course lunch and post-round. A portion of all entry fees is tax-deductible.
Participants may reserve their spot by visiting Flat Rock Playhouse’s website, www.flatrockplayhouse.org, and registering by Friday.
Meetings
The Hendersonville ABC Board will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday in the ABC Office.
The Etowah Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday in the media center.
The Fletcher Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:35 p.m. Wednesday in the media center.
The Henderson County Early College High School Improvement Team will meet at 3 p.m. Monday in room 120 of the Industrial Skills Building of the school.
Henderson County Public Schools will host its annual Henderson County Public Schools Title I Parent Meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the board room of the Administrative Building. All parents encouraged to attend. Info: 697-4768.
The Laurel Park Town Council will hold a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Laurel Park Town Hall to replace its cancelled Tuesday meeting.
Mills River Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall. This is a rescheduled meeting.
Events
The Center for Cultural Preservation will kick off Keeping the Fires Burning-Heroes of Mountain Culture with “WNC's First People- Cherokee Culture Yesterday and Today” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Blue Ridge Community College's Patton Building Room 150. Suggested donation of $5. Info: 692-8062 or www.saveculture.org.
Margret R. Pardee Hospital, Hope RX and the Henderson County Sheriff's Office will hold a pill drop from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at Pardee Memorial Hospital, 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. Dispose of expired, unwanted, unused or over the counter medications in a safe, controlled environment. The only exception to acceptable medications will be needles and chemotherapy drugs.
A meeting for those interested in becoming a volunteer Henderson County AARP Tax Aide will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Kaplan Auditorium in the Henderson County Public Library, 311 N. Washington St., Hendersonville.
Info: 699-3322.
Mills River officials will hold a drop-in public input session to gather public comment on Phase II of Mills River Park from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall. The public's opinion is being sought in conjunction with a grant application from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Info: 890-2901 or www. millsriver.org.
The National Forests in N.C. will hold the next round of public meetings to share information about the proposed Forest Plan, including potential management areas and desired conditions, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Forge Valley Event Center, 8818 Boylston Highway, Mills River.
A town hall featuring Marty Katz will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Emanuel's Corner Community Center, 726 First Ave. W., Hendersonville. Info: www.electmartykatzsher-iff. com or martykatz4sheriff@gmail.com.
Tryon Fine Arts Center will screen “Young Frankenstein” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, with a pre-show party at 5:30 p.m. at 34 Melrose Ave., Tryon. Tickets for the pre-show party are $20 and include a ticket to “Young Frankenstein.” Tickets for the film are $6 at the door. Call for reservation to the pre-show party: 859-8322.
Categories: News

Favorite haunts: Halloween attractions offer thrills, chills

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 01:29
Jake Halsey, 17, stood nervously alongside friends Jonathan Catemaxca, 17, Giovani Ochoa, 17, and Sergio Ochoa, 14, waiting to enter The Myers Haunted House on a recent Friday night.
The promise of an adrenaline rush had lured the four teens down a dirt road in East Flat Rock for the second year in a row.
“If we had a roller coaster in town, trust me, I'd be there every day,” Jake said as he anticipated the go-ahead from Lydia McCarson, who works at the front door.
McCarson, who started off as a zombie five years ago and was cast as the “Silent Hill” nurse before manning the door, was waiting for the signal from inside, where owner Joey Pratt and other cast members were getting into position.
Pratt, who plays Michael Myers, started The Myers Haunted House six years ago with his mother, Beatrice. His love for Halloween and scaring people was the impetus for their endeavor, along with the opportunity to meet new people.
“I wouldn't have met half these people if I wouldn't have started doing this,” Pratt said. “We have new people every year, and some we've had forever.”
Just like Lydia McCarson's sister Doe, who has been working with Pratt for five years.
“It's fun scaring people,” Doe McCarson said.
But Doe McCarson, who plays Belle the Butcher, says the camaraderie of the cast is what she cherishes most. At the end of each night, she said, the cast huddles around to reminisce about the best scare each had for that particular evening. So far this year, her fondest memory is backing a group of six people all the way into the next room, too frightened to enter.
“We're all family. We get to express ourselves creatively. And we get to have Halloween for the whole month,” McCarson said.
It wasn't long before Lydia McCarson received the signal and let Jake and his friends enter.
“This is just a house, and there's no room to run,” Jake said as the four teens grabbed one another and began to navigate their way through the maze of strobe lights, fog machines, sirens and screams.
They slowly entered the home, easily making it farther than the evening's first visitor, who didn't even get through the front door. She peered inside, saw the open casket and decided it wasn't for her. She got her money back.
Deeper inside the haunted house, the teens couldn't see farther than the friend in front. Frequently they would stop in their tracks, not knowing which way to go. Sometimes they would happen upon a locked door. Disappointed, they wouldn't know what to do, but when they returned to the same door moments later, they found it unlocked. “Go! Go! Go!” they would shout.
Jake and his friends encountered a cast that included classic horror movie characters Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorhees, and of course Belle the Butcher and Michael Myers.
But Jake, in particular, was most afraid of another common horror character. “I'm scared to death of clowns,” he admitted.
Outside the house for the final stretch, a clown appeared and gave Jake chase. A comment from the clown regarding Jake's pleasant smell seemed to put Jake at ease for a moment. “I smell good?” he asked the clown. “It's new cologne,” Jake said with a smile.
The Myers Haunted House is at 237 Bell Ave. in East Flat Rock. It is open Thursday through Sunday at 8 p.m., with the last entrance at midnight. The week of Halloween, it will be open every day, through Nov. 2. The cost is $10 per person, with discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Parking is free.
Following are other haunted area events.
This year, the 32nd annual Halloweenfest will be held in conjunction with the third annual Osktoberfest in Brevard on Saturday. According to Heart of Brevard Executive Director Heath Seymour, a host of new events will benefit area nonprofits.
A haunted house will be in the basement of Jamie's Creole Brasserie, Brevard's newest restaurant, Seymour said, and proceeds will support Habitat for Humanity. A chili cook-off will support the Boys & Girls Club, and the Transylvania Heritage Museum will be offering guided ghost tours.
Osktoberfest kicks off at 6 p.m. with live music and a beer garden.
At 1605 Everett Road, Brevard, this year's Halloween-themed maze will take place from 7-10 p.m. Friday.
According to Blue Ridge Corn Maze owner Taylor Mackey, proceeds from this year's event will benefit Rise and Shine, an afterschool program in Brevard. Tickets are $8 per person, with discounts for groups of 20 or more.
The Haunted Farm in Hendersonville has added 15 new scenes, 25 new characters and 1,000 more square feet to this year's haunted lineup.
Open from dark to midnight, The Haunted Farm is at 624 Townsend Road and will be open Friday, Saturday and Oct. 30 through Nov. 1. Tickets are $19 per person, and parking is $3.
Categories: News

All six area volleyball teams win first-round matches

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 20:20
Two-time defending state champion Hendersonville began its quest for a third-straight volleyball state title on Saturday with a quick 3-0 win over Trinity at Jim Pardue Gymnasium.
The 11th-seeded Lady Bearcats won 25-10, 25-10 and 25-17 over the No. 22 seed in the first round of the 2-A state playoffs. Hendersonville won the 2-A state title last year and the 1-A state title in 2012.
Leading the way for HHS was Sydney Gilliam with 10 kills, 11 digs and three aces and Cassie Born with 10 kills and five digs. Cyrena Bedoian had 16 asssts, two kills and three aces, Micayla Bedoian had nine kills and three blocks, and Blaire Hawkins added 14 assists.
Hendersonville will travel to sixth-seeded Draughn in Tuesday's second round.
In other 2-A playoff action, fifth-seeded Brevard won 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-20) over 28th-seed Smoky Mountain, and seventh-seeded Polk County won 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-12) over 26th-seed Franklin.
In 3-A, No. 2 seed West Henderson defeated No. 31 seed South Point 3-0 (25-4, 25-16, 25-16). Rachel Kordonowy led the way defensively with 20 digs, and Sierra Jones had 31 assists. Mary Catherine Ball had nine kills, six digs, two aces and a block, and Gracie Carrick had 12 kills and two blocks.
The Lady Falcons will be home in Tuesday's second round.
In the other 3-A match, 17th-seeded North Henderson downed 16th-seeded Jesse Carson 3-1. The scores were 25-27, 25-19, 25-19 and 25-14. The Lady Knights will be at top-seeded Cox Mill in Tuesday's second round. Cox Mill is undefeated on the season with a 26-0 mark.
In 1-A action at Rosman, the fifth-seeded Lady Tigers disposed of 28th-seeded Bessemer City 3-0. Scores were 25-6, 25-4, 25-10. For Rosman, Hannah Reese had 18 kills, 14 digs and two aces. Callie Chappell had 14 kills and 28 digs, and Hannah Sanders had 24 assists. Rosman will host 12th-seeded North Moore in Tuesday's second round.
Categories: News

Teen donates her hair to celebrate Quinceañera

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 17:45
Tears rolled down Rebecca Lira's cheeks as she had more than three feet of hair cut to go to Wigs for Kids on her birthday Saturday afternoon at Friends Salon and Spa in Hendersonville.
Not only was it Rebecca's first time in a salon, but the day marked the first time she'd ever had a haircut.
In Latin American tradition, a girl's 15th birthday or Quinceañera calls for lavish festivities to celebrate her transition into womanhood, but Lira said she's not the big puffy dress kind of girl and wanted to celebrate in a different way.
“Ever since I have known her – for five years — she's said, 'I am going to cut my hair on my 15th birthday,' ” Rebecca's mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sister's program, Connie “Sunny” Ruble, said, adding that she was glad the day fell on the weekend so she could be there for support.
Rebecca's mother said the teen watched a video of someone cutting her hair off for donation when she was very young and ever since has stood by the fact that she wanted to wait.
“She just decided and I never thought she'd actually wait, but she did,” Virginia Lira said.
Standing 4-foot-11, Rebecca's hair fell nearly to her ankles as she walked into the salon, but by the time she left, it was at her shoulders.
The West Henderson High freshman said her long hair came with its own daily routine -- getting up in time each morning for her mother to help with brushing and braiding.
“I've really gotten used to it as a normal part of my day, brushing this long hair to the side,” Rebecca said.
She's glad that they won't go through shampoo or conditioner as quickly anymore, Rebecca said, but it's sad too, because it means she's growing up.
Rebecca said she cut her hair because she wanted to be able to make a difference for someone, and her mother said she chose Wigs for Kids because of how important Rebecca said it was that her hair go to help children.
Ruble said that Rebecca is an excellent student in school who is also just a great kid, whether it is standing up for her peers when they're bullied at school or holding her own as the only girl at the skate park.
“She always thinks about others more than herself and is very giving, kind and passionate,” Ruble said. “She's just a good kid. She's a wonderful kid.”
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or renee.bindewald@blueirdgenow.com.
Categories: News

Residents: 'God is being taken out of Saluda'

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 17:42
A town hall meeting in Saluda Thursday evening drew a crowd eager to respond to recent changes they believe are not in keeping with the city's traditional ways. As one citizen put it, “Saluda has gone to the devil!”
Enforcement of a long-standing, but often ignored, sign ordinance has meant the removal of off-premise signs found to be non-compliant, many of them signs directing motorists to churches. Though nonconforming, the signs have been in place for years.
At least three preachers were in attendance at the meeting with the town mayor and commissioners to express concerns about the removal of church signs, as well as about the ongoing debate over a sign proclaiming Saluda a “veteran friendly city” and the consumption of alcohol in the park.
The Planning Board has been working to develop a new sign ordinance for the town, and officials have been asked to enforce the current ordinance as the process unfolds.
Alcohol use in McCreery Park was a point of contention for many of the people who spoke. A 3-1 vote by the board in April allowed those attending concerts in the park to bring alcohol and for alcohol to be served for those with a special permit. Because the park's amphitheater is adjacent to the playground, many expressed concern about the children as well as the resulting noise from the summertime concerts.
Downtown resident Cissy Thompson berated the mayor and commissioners with, “You've got a lot of answering to do.” She then asked them to stand in turn and tell everyone how long they had lived in Saluda, what direction they wished to see the town take and how long they had left to serve.
Recent Facebook posts on a now defunct Saluda open page showed a division between natives and those who have moved to Saluda more recently. Divisive comments and claims that some comments were being deleted led to the page being inactivated last month.
Now two community pages exist. “Saluda, NC” is a page set up by the Saluda Business Association and promotes businesses and events, while “Saluda, NC – We The People” contains postings among its followers about many of the issues discussed at the meeting.
Of the council members, only Commissioner Leon Morgan claimed to be a native, with others having moved to Saluda in the last four to 24 years, most because of a family connection themselves or through their spouses. Mayor Fred Baisden said his father had been in Saluda in the 1920s and that he had been spending time in the town for 64 years.
“I could have lived somewhere else,” he said. “I chose here to live.”
Morgan stressed that he was the only council member to vote against allowing alcohol in the park. Throughout the meeting, citizens often showed favoritism toward Morgan with their comments.
Commissioner Lynn Cass defended herself against comments posted on the former Facebook page, saying that she had been called “atheist” and “communist.” At a Sept. 11 meeting of the Planning Board, Cass expressed her support for the church signs.
“They mean a lot to everyone,” she said. “They mean a lot to me too.”
“I want us to work together,” she said Thursday. “I really do.” She added that a lot of “misinformation” had fueled dissension, especially over the veterans sign, which, besides being in violation of NCDOT regulations, now stands on property owned by Saluda Community Land Trust without the permission of the trust.
Commissioner Carolyn Ashburn said she came to Saluda because of her husband's family connection to the area. Better communication between city hall and the community is on her wish list for the town. She noted that this is the third town hall meeting held so that citizens can express their concerns.
“We're hearing what you're saying,” she said.
Ashburn is a native of Watauga County. “Coming from Boone,” she said, “I know what development can do to an unregulated area.”
Other issues of concern to commissioners and the mayor included water and sewer lines, the park, City Hall renovations and downtown restrooms.
Zoning Administrator Jonathan Cannon was asked about the sudden removal of the signs. Cannon replied that he was asked to enforce the existing sign ordinance “without discrimination.” In the last few months, he has removed half a truckload, he said, all of which can be found at the city's maintenance shed. NCDOT also removed signs, he added, and those have probably been disposed of by the state.
The Planning Board has been working on a new sign ordinance for the town. Their last meeting was attended by a roomful of citizens, many of them angry over what they have heard will not be allowed under the new ordinance.
A public input meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Saluda Library. All business and property owners in the C-H (city historic) district have been invited, but all citizens are welcome at the public meeting, Cannon said.
After public input, the board will prepare amendments for commissioners to review, and a public hearing will be scheduled before an ordinance is voted on and put in place by commissioners.
Support for church signs'
Meanwhile, in reaction to concerns that, as some put it, “God is being taken out of Saluda,” street preaching services are being held downtown at the corner of Greenville and Main streets at 6 on Friday evenings. A posting on the "Saluda, NC-We The People" Facebook page by Rob Morrow, pastor of Grace Missionary Independent Baptist Church, urges, “[C]ome on Saluda, let's turn this city around for God's glory.”
Morrow and his wife, Cindy, spoke at the meeting, as did the Rev. James Shields of Piney Grove Baptist and the Rev. Henry Vegter of Friendship Baptist Church, who, when he asked for those who were for the church signs to stand up, brought nearly the entire crowd to its feet.
Margaret Holbert, who said she had lived in the city for 62 years after marrying a Saluda native, said, “Those church signs have always been a part of our history.”
Categories: News

East High cadets compete at Strike Eagle Drill Meet

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 15:37
Traditionally, high school Junior ROTC drill meets are judged by recruiters and other local military men and women, but at East High's Strike Eagle Drill Meet on Saturday morning, upperclassmen got to take the reins.
“Our event here is very unique in that only 9th and 10th graders are competing and only juniors and seniors are judging,” Lt. Col. John Wilkerson said. “This is completely cadet run, and it's unique in that only the young cadets are competing, so it's really a big deal for the young kids who at some drill meets they don't get to compete because the juniors and seniors are taking all of the spots.”
Cadets traveling from schools such as Enka and Tuscola came prepared for competition in uniform and could be found practicing running their drills during their downtime.
The competition consists of various events in which cadets are judged based on their ability to follow their commander's calls in marching, and individually on their dress and responses to judges.
“The judges will go and inspect their personal appearance, their shoes, their uniform, did they shave — all that -- and they also ask questions to test their knowledge like, 'Who is the Secretary of State,'” Wilkerson said. “They have to memorize a list of things like the Secretary of Defense, and then they'll just kind of ask questions to gauge their bearing like, 'What's your favorite class in school,' just to see how they react. Did they freak out or did they remain calm?”
The JROTC program at East does not recruit for the military, but rather is a citizenship program that encourages and builds leadership in its students.
Master Sgt. Mike Jensen said East's program builds skills for its students' lives to make them successful, no matter what they choose to do. Graduates of the program have gone on to become teachers, policemen and firefighters, as well as going into the military.
“We get them to think and take responsibility for simple tasks, and then they work their way up until — we have one cadet that is in charge of this drill meet, and that's a big task,” Jensen said. “… If you get a kid to be successful with a small thing and build them up, they're going to go gangbusters. They're going to lead, they're going to have skills and can be successful anywhere.”
Jensen said too many students leave high school without ever having to be responsible, but in his program they are encouraged to try until they get it right and are rewarded for their efforts.
Even if it takes a student several attempts to get a task right, Jensen said that the public recognition they receive seems to go a long way for their self-esteem and ability to lead.
Fifteen-year-old Caleb Brown said he was nervous commanding for the first time during competition. He was scared he'd forget to call to "change step" or "present arms."
“It is really nerve wracking, honestly,” Brown said. “I am doing individual, and I am really, really nervous because it is a lot.”
Brown said that when they run drills in class, he's very comfortable around his classmates, but when they have an audience, the pressure is really on them to perform perfectly.
“Here it is just really uncomfortable and kind of scary,” the sophomore said.
“At the last minute, I was put as an element leader for flight, and that was just yesterday,” Brown said. “And, I practiced it … I was afraid of messing up, but I didn't.”
Cheyenne Mancillas is a cadet staff sergeant at East who said JROTC is not only her favorite class, but is also like a family.
“My favorite part about ROTC would have to be the cadets in it because all of them are very loyal, and they're just so sweet,” Mancillas said. “We treat everyone like a family, and that's what this corps is — we're a family.”
Mancillas said that both in and out of school, cadets make a point to spend as much time as they can with each other, even if it is practicing drills.
“When it comes to competitions, it is so stressful, and I know because I am going to be commanding them,” Mancillas said. “It's an adrenaline rush. It really is, and it's fun. After the first event, it is a breeze.”
The sophomore said she hopes to follow in her grandfather's steps and join the Navy after school, but is also considering the Marines.
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or renee.bindewald@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

County health department prepares for Ebola threat

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 09:42
Although local health leaders agree that Ebola is not likely to appear in Henderson County, its presence in America has given them an opportunity to come together and assess their preparedness.
The Henderson County Department of Public Health's Epidemiology Team had a special meeting Friday to prepare protocols for how to handle a case of Ebola.
DPH said it maintains an Epidemiology Team to strengthen the department's capacity to respond to events such as Ebola along with individuals from the Department of Public Health, Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, hospitals, primary care providers, urgent care providers, epidemiologists, and regional and state officials.
DPH and its partners have been monitoring and preparing for Ebola since August.
“The three biggest points to remember are, No. 1 — North Carolina does not currently have a diagnosed case of Ebola,” Health Education Director Stacy Taylor said. “The second one is that medical providers, public health and first responders across the county are working together to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to events such as Ebola. And the last most important part is about the public information line; North Carolina has opened an Ebola public information line at 1-800-222-1222, and that is to answer any questions and to provide information to people who may believe they have been exposed.”
Henderson County Emergency Services Director Rocky Hyder said Friday's meeting helped to refine existing plans and consolidate everything under one umbrella.
“The main thing we discussed today is the benefits of all working together under one organization in one plan — both hospitals, the health department, county government, city governments — we're all going to work under our emergency operations plan just to make sure that we facilitate the best services that we can for the community, and that we're sharing resources instead of competing for them,” Hyder said.
Hyder said the system is based on a community effort in which everyone has to participate, including members of the public, who need to provide accurate information to health care and emergency workers.
“What scares me right now is the fact that someone would purposefully deceive us or not tell us that they have a communicable disease or they've been exposed, and we have to find that out through the processes of elimination, which could take hours or in some cases days, and that is a concern to me,” Hyder said.
With the current systems in place and the ongoing preparations the community has committed to taking, Taylor said she feels safe in Henderson County.
“I feel like there has been a lot of preparation work that has been done over the last several months and continues even today,” she said.
Health care providers are required by law to report any cases of illness to DPH that might pose a risk to public health. Those cases include Ebola virus disease, MERS-CoV, measles, polio, tuberculosis, pandemic influenza and about 100 other diseases.
“Though North Carolina has not had a diagnosed case of Ebola, our awareness and planning entails preparing for the possibility of such an infection occurring even in Henderson County,” Health Director Steve Smith said in a news release about Friday's meeting. “DPH is continually monitoring communicable disease trends both within and outside North Carolina, which involves working with our medical partners in the private sector, including Pardee Hospital and Park Ridge Health.”
Tina Kinsey, director of marketing and public relations for Asheville Regional Airport, said that although the airport is not a point of entry or re-entry into the country, the heightened awareness has given them an opportunity to revisit its emergency plan. The airport partners closely with Buncombe County EMS and mutual aid.
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or renee.bindewald@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Review: 'The Sandburgs of Connemara' entertaining

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 09:15
I wasn’t surprised, as I’ve known Steve and Michael Carlisle for many years now, and have been on the enjoyable receiving end of their talents on many occasions. I was, however, very impressed with “The Sandburgs of Connemara,” a one-act “lovely little play” comprised of a collection of 12 vignettes depicting the Sandburgs from 1945 until 1967 at Connemara.
Written and produced by brother Steve, this portrayal of the family of perhaps the most important personage to call our beautiful Apple Country their home during the 20th century, related those colorful years with well-chosen words, delightful music and wonderful singing. Augmented by the musical talents of brother Michael, who wrote the score and the play's three songs, this great little play provides warm, educational insights into an important chapter in Henderson County's history.
Actor Brian Evers did a great job of showing us the genius of this gentle soul who was perhaps the best word-crafter in the history of our nation. Carl's wife “Paula” Sandburg was played by Kim Cozort, and their daughter Helga by Carol Duermit.
Duermit and Steve Carlisle played other roles as they arose from this history narrative; Duermit -- the other Sandburg daughters and their cook, and Carlisle -- Edward R. Murrow, Robroy Farquhar and others.
Our community is most fortunate to have the historic county courthouse as a terrific venue for this kind of educational entertainment. Steve Carlisle's “The Sandburgs of Connemara” took full advantage of its ambiance. Excellent writing, enjoyable music, and a terrific primer of history came together to provide those in the audience with a large platter of enjoyment.
Bravo!
Author and Vietnam War veteran Nicholas Warr lives in Hendersonville, where he works as a freelance writer and lectures inside and outside of the Marine Corps on urban warfare and leadership.
Categories: News

Brevard College to build new dorm, sees increase in enrollment

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 03:01
BREVARD — Brevard College is building a new residence hall with help from a $6.38 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan, in part to accommodate its growing number of students.
The new building will be the college’s fifth residence hall, and the third located in what faculty and students consider the “residential quad” on campus, said Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Marcus Webb.
“This new residence hall will embrace the creek and probably be the best view in Brevard,” since it’s been designed to incorporate several windows, a terrace and gathering spots, Brevard College President David Joyce said in a news release.
“It’s a combination of suite-style rooms, and then a number of single rooms. It’s all designed around the idea that the rooms are pods, with some amenities, but have common living areas to encourage communal living,” Joyce said. “Down the road, we hope to build a pavilion in the middle of the residential quad.”
Webb said students can also choose to live in two off-campus leased residences, but the college has a high number of students living on campus.
“As of this fall, we were between 78 and 80 percent residential,” Webb said. “That’s a high percentage.”
He said one of the reasons for the new addition is Brevard College’s increasing enrollment numbers, which hit a record high this fall.
“We’ve seen record growth for the last few years,” Webb said. “Fall 2013 has been our largest incoming class since we’ve been a four-year institution,” and this fall the college saw its largest overall enrollment – 705 students – since becoming a four-year college, he said.
Webb said those enrollment numbers are expected to continually increase, and Joyce said in the release that he hopes for 1,000 students by the 2019-20 academic year.
The new residence hall is projected to be complete for use in fall 2016.
Reach McGowan at molly.mcgowan@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7871.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Oct. 18

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 03:01
Eagle Scout gathering set for Thursday
Boy Scouts of America, Daniel Boone Council of Western North Carolina is sponsoring “A Gathering of Eagles!–An evening of food, fellowship and fun with Western North Carolina's Eagle Scout Alumni at 6 p.m. Thursday at Etowah Lions Park, 447 Etowah School Road, Etowah.
There will be an update on the programs of Scouting in WNC, BBQ and a chance to share Scouting experiences. To RSVP, contact Lauren Lampley at lauren.lampley@scouting.org or call 243-6598.
The Free Clinics to hold smoking cessation programs
The Free Clinics will offer a free seven-week Freedom from Smoking Program from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday evenings, Oct. 21–Dec. 2 at 841 Case St., Hendersonville. This American Lung Association program will be taught by a trained facilitator, and includes medications, quit kits, and group support in a fun, interactive, small group setting.
Minimal fees may apply for those with private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. Call 697-8422 to sign up or for more information.
Meetings
The Hendersonville ABC Board will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday in the ABC Office.
The Etowah Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday in the media center.
The Fletcher Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:35 p.m. Wednesday in the media center.
The Fletcher Planning Board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Fletcher Town Hall, 300 Old Cane Creek Road. For more information, contact Planning Director Eric Rufa at 687-3985.
The Henderson County Board of Social Services will meet at noon Tuesday in the Social Services Board Room of the Human Services Building in Hendersonville.
Henderson County Public Schools will host its annual Henderson County Public Schools Title I Parent Meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the board room of the Administrative Building. All parents encouraged to attend. Info: 697-4768.
The Laurel Park Town Council will hold a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Town Hall to replace its canceled Tuesday meeting.
Mills River Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall. This is a rescheduled meeting.
Events
Checks for the Republican Fall Rally, to be held from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Burntshirt Vineyards, 2695 Sugarloaf Road, Hendersonville, must be received by Tuesday. Mail reservation checks to HCRWC, P.O. Box 2734, Hendersonville, NC 28793.
An important meeting to discuss the future of the Hendersonville Area Computer Society will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at Opportunity House, 1411 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville. All club members are urged to attend. The program will conclude with a presentation of “Speech to Text” apps and how they may be used.
The Henderson County Gem & Mineral Society will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Salvation Army Activity Center, 239 Third Ave. E., Hendersonville. Info: 877-4073 or campbellj@comporium.net.
A Mental Health First Aid training opportunity will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at Blue Ridge Community Health Services, 2579 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville. Register at www.tinyurl.com/MHFA-Henderson2014 or call 1-888-955-6264 for more information.
The Salvation Army will begin taking Angel Tree applications from 9-11:30 a.m. Monday, continuing through Thursday and from 2-4 p.m. Friday at The Salvation Army, 239 Third Ave. E., Hendersonville. Bring two forms of valid ID for everyone living in the household, income verification and expense information (rent receipts, utility, repair bills, car/ins payments.
Also bring clothing sizes and wish list for children ages 12 and under. For more information, call 693-4181.
Categories: News