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Hendersonville Times-News: Top Stories

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Updated: 18 min 30 sec ago

School children struck by a motorist

1 hour 32 min ago
Media outlets are reporting that four Transylvania County school children were struck by a motorist near the entrance to Connestee Falls subdivision around 7 a.m. today.
Transylvania County Schools Superintendent Jeff McDaris is holding a news conference at this time to give details to the public.
A Times-News reporter is on the scene. Please check back with BlueRidgeNow.com for more on this developing story.
Categories: News

Christmas tree farms a gift for beneficial bugs

8 hours 47 min ago
A year-long study of Christmas tree farms by a local N.C. State researcher finds that when it comes to pollinators and other beneficial insects, Christmas tree farms keep on giving long after the holiday season is over.
Jill Sidebottom of the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River studied six tree farms in five Western North Carolina counties and found that field borders and groundcover around Christmas trees provide habitat for many beneficial insects.
While a Christmas tree farm may look like a monoculture from afar, Sidebottom found over 80 species of plants growing amidst Christmas tree plantations, including chickweed, goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace, clover, milkweed, ironweed and yarrow.
Those plants helped attract a surprising array of pollinators and other beneficial insects, some of which eat Christmas tree pests. Honeybees, bumble bees and other native pollinators have been declining in the U.S., which has been linked to pesticide use and loss of nectaring habitat.
Sidebottom found that when growers use less of the herbicide Roundup to keep grasses from outcompeting their young Fraser firs, groundcovers naturally shift toward woodland perennials that support pollinators and bugs that prey on Christmas tree pests.
“It's a win-win situation if we can keep our flowers,” Sidebottom said, because it allows natural predators to help control pests instead of applying more pesticides that can hurt beneficial insects. That also saves Christmas tree farmers the cost of expensive chemical sprays, she added.
“With the economic downturn, a lot of growers have had difficulty pulling a profit,” she said. “So reducing the use of pesticides... takes into account economic benefits and environmental aspects.”
With help from Extension agents in Watauga, Mitchell, Avery and other Christmas tree counties, Sidebottom set out to investigate how and when bees utilize Fraser fir farms in the region. She wanted to see how many native bees were working tree farms in light of the use of certain pesticides reputed as bee killers.
The study found honeybees during 69 percent of 66 field visits, along with 16 other genres such as sweat bees, bumblebees and carpenter bees. Other pollinators identified included at least nine types of butterflies.
Sidebottom was particularly interested in the effects of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which have been linked to mass honeybee die-offs in Europe and the U.S. They are used by some tree growers to control an exotic scale that affects firs and hemlocks, she said.
Based on when she found bees in Christmas trees, Sidebottom recommends Fraser fir growers limit their spraying to times when bees aren't actively foraging near their crop, such as early in the morning. She also suggests applying insecticides in the late fall or winter, when pollinators are absent.
“(One insecticide called) Safari can be applied to the trunk of the trees to control scale, and then there's absolutely no exposure to bees at all,” Sidebottom said, since Fraser firs don't produce pollen until they're too tall for the Christmas tree market.
Along with bees and butterflies, Sidebottom's study found many beneficial predators living in overgrown field roads, borders and cutover tracts. Her next project will focus on these tree pest predators, including lady beetles, lacewings, praying mantises and a parasitic wasp that controls the exotic scale.
In forested environs, the wasp “seems to do a pretty good job of controlling elongate hemlock scale,” she said, but not in Christmas tree farms. “I want to learn why and help growers target times of the year when they can control their pests (with sprays) and have the least impact on good bugs.”
To read more about Sidebottom's pollinator study, visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/programs/xmas/control/pollinator/details.html.
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or than.axtell@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

HonorAir donates coats, winter clothing to vets

8 hours 47 min ago
HonorAir has again provided coats, gloves, shoes and clothing for many veterans who reside at the Veterans' Restoration Quarters and female veterans at Steadfast House.
On Tuesday, founder Jeff Miller presented a $5,000 check as a challenge gift for the community not to forget veterans at Christmas. These funds will help provide needed work clothes, boots and tools for 200 veterans at the VRQ, and 12 women at Steadfast House.
The funds will also help Veteran Services of the Carolinas, which is serving 26 Western North Carolina counties. This program is helping to put 300 veteran families back into the workforce and into permanent housing.
Make checks to Veteran Services of the Carolinas to help provide Christmas for up to 600 veteran families.
Veterans' Restoration Quarters offers 246 beds for men, with 160 designated for transitional housing; 36 beds for emergency overnight shelter; and 50 single permanent supportive housing units. Steadfast House provides transitional housing for 27 single women and up to seven moms with children, including 10 beds for veterans plus two beds for emergency shelter, for an average census of 43.
Categories: News

5 With Appeal, Dec. 19

8 hours 47 min ago
This is the final weekend to see the Flat Rock Playhouse production of Charles Dickens' classic tale “A Christmas Carol” on the Clyde and Nina Allen Mainstage, 2661 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock.
“A Christmas Carol” tells the story of bitter old miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from supernatural visits by Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
The cast is comprised of well-known Vagabonds and 24 talented youngsters from the YouTheatre program.
“A Christmas Carol” will be presented at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are $40, $25 for students with valid ID, and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by calling the playhouse box office at 693-0731, toll-free at 866-732-8008 or online at www.FlatRockPlayhouse.org.
The Hendersonville Little Theatre at 229 S. Washington St. will hold its final performances of “Little Women” this weekend.
Adapted from Louisa May Alcott's beloved novel, the story of the March sisters is brought to life under the direction of Jonathan Forrester.
The cast includes Blakley Bristol as Beth, Annabelle Cram as Jo, Michelle Fleming as Meg, Hollis Green as Amy and Kathleen Riddle as Marmee.
Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $15 for ages 18-25, and $10 for those under age 18.
Reservations can be made by calling 692-1082 or visiting www.hendersonvillelittletheatre.org.
The Blue Ridge Ringers, a Western North Carolina community handbell ensemble, will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday at Hendersonville Presbyterian Church, 699 N. Grove St., Hendersonville.
Organized in September 1995, this five-octave ensemble rings under the direction of Robert Currier of Brevard. The concert is free.
A special Brevard Fourth Friday holiday gallery walk begins at 5 p.m. today throughout downtown Brevard. Participants will experience art, music and wine.
A brochure for the gallery walks can be found at any of the participating galleries or at the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call the TC Arts Council at 828-884-2787 or visit www.artsof brevard.org and click on Art Tours.
In anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, Henderson County government will host a Children's Day at noon Monday at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Hendersonville. Children of all ages and parents are invited to attend a special showing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in the Board of Commissioners Meeting Room. Popcorn will be shared with all attendees.
Those who wish to attend are asked to gather in the front lobby of the Historic Courthouse approximately five minutes prior to the movie start time.
Categories: News

NC Rules panel approves new fracking standards

8 hours 47 min ago
RALEIGH (AP) — A state panel's approval of regulations for fracking should allow North Carolina lawmakers to take the matter up next year on the schedule envisioned by Republican legislative leaders.
The state Rules Review Commission on Wednesday approved the regulations with the understanding that technical corrections for 13 of them would be worked out between now and January, said Vikram Rao, chairman of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission. Rao said he expects the Legislature to receive the set of rules in January.
"Considering that the total in front of them exceeded 120 rules and the short time to do it, just 13 requiring adjustment is an amazingly good outcome," he said in an email.
Prior to Wednesday's meeting, the Rules Review Commission's staff attorney had argued three rules included substantial changes from versions previously put out for public comment, said Mining and Energy Commission member James Womack. Had the Rules Review Commission rejected those rules, they could have been subject to revision or another comment period — which could have delayed the issuing of fracking permits.
The Mining and Energy Commission had given its own approval to the rules a month ago after considering public comments and making revisions. The measures covered items like chemical disclosure, well shafts, water storage, water testing and buffer zones.
The rules now head to the Legislature, which has the final say during the session that starts next month.
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law last summer clearing the way for permits to be issued next year for fracking, which involves injecting water, sand and chemicals to break apart underground rocks so oil and gas can escape.
Scientists believe pockets of natural gas exist in layers of shale under Chatham, Lee and Moore counties southwest of Raleigh, but there are disputes about how much is there.
David McGowan, executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council, said the commission's decision moves the state further toward developing resources that will lower energy prices and help the state "become a magnet for investment and job creation."
Mary Maclean Asbill, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, attended Wednesday's meeting and said that while each commission did a good job of sorting out the issues, the Legislature had created an unreasonable schedule.
"Yesterday's RRC meeting highlighted how aggressive and unreasonable the rulemaking schedule was from the get go," she said.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Dec. 19

8 hours 47 min ago
Interfaith service to benefit El Centro Communitario
The 15th annual Hendersonville Interfaith Service for Peace will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 900 Blythe St., Hendersonville.
This year’s service will include an exploration of four Pathways to Peace that anyone can take, modeled by each of five special guest speakers, plus musical performances by Joel Helfand, Andrew Rogelberg, and the “OK Chorale” under the baton of Robert Hudson.
Free-will donations will benefit El Centro Communitario, a community support service of the Latino Advocacy Coalition in Henderson County.
The service is co-produced by United Religions Initiative of Henderson County and Interfaith Action. For more information, call 692-6114.
Meetings
The Henderson County Heritage Museum Board of Directors will meet at 2 p.m. Monday in the Community Room on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse in Hendersonville.
Categories: News

Sports & Bacon: A Christmas List

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 20:59
Christmas is next week. I can't believe it.
Me being the Christmas lover that I am, I've been consumed by the general happiness that comes with the month of December.
What am I talking about? I was thinking about Christmas in January. It's true. You can ask my wife.
It's probably a little late to talk about, but most people come up with a list for their heart's desire at Christmas. It starts as a little kid when you're writing letters to Santa, delivering them to the post office and hoping for that entire list to be under your tree on Christmas morning.
When you hear the word "list," probably the first two types of lists that hit your mind are Christmas lists and "Honey To-Do" lists.
I decided that this year, I'd write my first annual Christmas wish list. However, this list isn't for me. In the spirit of the season, I'm going to share my list with some folks you might know. Here's the first annual (if I can remember to do it next year) "What They Need Christmas List."
1. Apparently, college football teams want less fans to get nice televisions for Christmas so that Santa can bring them more ticket sales. The high definition is just a little too much like being at a game.
2. Speaking of fans ... can Santa put some in the seats for the Miami Hurricanes, Florida Marlins and the whole NBA?
3. With the news that Sony has cancelled the release of its latest movie called "The Interview," the motion picture company might like a backbone for Christmas.
4. Speaking of "The Interview," stars Seth Rogen and John Franco are probably on the market for a script that doesn't include assassinating the dictator of North Korea.
5. Former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini needs a lock and key for his mouth from the big guy in the red suit.
6. Speaking of Nebraska, Cornhusker fans probably want a coach that didn't finish 5-7 last season at Oregon State.
7. Every college football fan in America wants an 8-game playoff.
8. Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is benched for … wait for it ... Jimmy Clausen this coming Sunday. Cutler appears to need a new job.
9. The same can be said for Robert Griffin III.
10. Michigan is swinging for the fences in its head coach search. Big Blue wants San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh for Christmas.
11. The oddest wish this Christmas comes from the NHL. The hockey league wants Santa to get rid of the mumps that have suddenly struck multiple hockey players.
12. The New York Yankees want Santa to take Alex Rodriguez and his contract back to the North Pole with him.
13. The NFL players want Roger Goodell to get coal in his stocking.
14. And finally … I can't let the list go by without including at least one wish for myself. I wish for all of you to have a very, merry Christmas.
Categories: News

Hendersonville man dies in early morning, single-vehicle wreck

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:47
Police say a deadly mix of alcohol and speeding may have led to a single-vehicle wreck that took the life of a Hendersonville man in the wee hours of Thursday morning on Crab Creek Road.
Matthew Jones, 32, of Crab Creek Road was driving east toward downtown Hendersonville when his car veered off the right side of the road, said Trooper Kelly Rhodes, traffic safety information officer for the Highway Patrol’s Troop G. The car then rolled over and struck a tree.
Troopers say Jones’ passenger, 22-year-old Michael Clayton of Francis Road, was wearing his seatbelt, but was partially ejected in the crash. Clayton died at the scene.
Jones and another passenger, 25-year-old Justin Burris of Chimney Rock Road, were not injured in the collision, which troopers suspect involved speeding and alcohol, Kelly said.
Jones was charged with felony death by motor vehicle.
First responders say the accident happened in the vicinity of Ben Ray Lane around 2 a.m. It was nearly two-and-a-half miles from Jones’ home.
According to a Facebook page for Michael Clayton, he was a former student of North Henderson High, had studied at Blue Ridge Community College, was a “pro gamer” and an independent musician.
Categories: News

Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:30
DETROIT (AP) — Ford says it's expanding a recall for faulty driver's side air bag inflators to the entire U.S. as demanded by the government.
The move adds 447,000 Ford vehicles to the list of those recalled due to driver's inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp. The inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel into drivers and passengers.
Ford's action puts pressure on BMW and Chrysler, the only two automakers that haven't agreed to national recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made the demand, saying the inflators are dangerous.
Honda and Mazda recalls already are national. Previously the recalls were limited to high-humidity states mainly along the Gulf Coast.
Ford's national recall covers certain 2005 to 2008 Mustangs and 2005 and 2006 GT sports cars.
Categories: News

Students deliver handmade gifts to seniors

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:30
Residents in the skilled nursing and assisted living center at Carolina Village Retirement Community received a special holiday treat Thursday.
Seventh-grade students from Rugby Middle who spent the morning handcrafting beaded snowflake ornaments, ballerinas and holiday cards stopped by to deliver their creations.
Elise Trexler and Alyssa Paull, both 12, were touched by the life story that resident Irene Clark, 94, shared with them. Clark had grown up in Boone, where her grandfather raised cattle. She recalled how in the winter, once the snow started falling it wouldn't stop.
“One snow after the other,” she said.
Fittingly, Trexler hung a snowflake ornament from Clark's trapeze bar positioned above her bed.
The 94-year-old also told the students how she always made good grades and how nice it was of them to pay her a visit.
“I think it was good of them, otherwise it gets pretty boring,” Clark said.
Paull and Trexler were happy to stop by.
“It makes me feel pretty good we get to do this,” Trexler said. “Some people don't have family or relatives that come to visit them during Christmas or holidays, so I like being able to come.”
John Renegar, medical center administrator at Carolina Village, said the students' visit is an amazing experience for the residents.
“They absolutely love intergenerational activities,” Renegar said. “And the fact the kids come and converse and just spend time with them means a lot.”
Language arts teacher Katie McCrary said the students have been studying Charles Dickens — the impact society had on the author, and the impact he had on society. The students read “A Christmas Carol” and discussed the journey of Scrooge and why he wanted to give back to the community.
“We talked about how we could give back to our community and this was something teachers collaborated on, and the kids were thrilled to be able to do this,” she said.
Jessica Bryson, 12, said she knew the story before studying it in school, but revisiting it now has made her take a step back and see things in a new perspective. She said it's a nice feeling to give back to the community, but mentioned how it can be difficult.
“It's a little hard talking to people you don't know,” she said. “But it's good to have this experience.”
And while residents like Clark and Mary Burke, who said she was thrilled to tears that the students stopped by, were left with handmade gifts, students like Caleb Youmans, 12, were excited with the words of wisdom residents passed on to them.
“Ride the horse, but don't let the horse ride you,” a man told Youmans after sharing his life story.
Reach Biba at 828-694-7871 or jacob.biba@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Police await autopsy in woman's death

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 15:57
In the days before Margaret Kelly's death, authorities say she attempted to obtain an involuntary commitment order for her son, but her request was denied by a magistrate.
Kelly’s son, 28-year-old Brendan James Allen, formerly of Cincinnati, was identified as a "person of interest" in the investigation into her death.
Allen is being held in Florida on a charge of felony larceny of Kelly's motor vehicle, which was missing from her 441 N. Harper Drive home, where she was found deceased Dec. 7.
Major Frank Stout of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said that the department is still waiting on autopsy results from the state’s medical examiner’s office, which could take several weeks.
Authorities say Kelly attempted to obtain the commitment order sometime around Thanksgiving, but the request was denied after a magistrate found no probable cause to issue the order. The request was not put into the public record since no order was issued.
Prior to Dec. 7, the last emergency call to the North Harper Drive home was logged in 2012, according to Stout. He said the call regarded a disturbance between Kelly and Allen, who had traveled to her home from Ohio and would not leave at her request. Stout said the incident was resolved without an arrest.
In a call to emergency dispatchers Dec. 7, Kelly’s daughter said that Allen had been staying with her and her mother, but was not at home when she found her mother’s body.
Police in North Miami Beach, Fla., arrested Allen on the stolen vehicle possession charge on Dec. 8. Allen faces no other charges at this time, but the investigation into Kelly’s death remains active.
Reach Weaver at emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

Timber harvest set for Holmes forest

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 15:29
The N.C. Forest Service is planning to harvest timber at Holmes Educational State Forest in January.
The harvest, which could take several weeks to complete, will take place on roughly 8 acres just north of Crab Creek Road. The Forest Service says the tract is “currently overcrowded with poor-quality trees because of disease, fire suppression and storm damage.”
The timber harvest has two main objectives, according to the Forest Service: to create an ideal area for the natural regeneration of healthy white pine and yellow poplar, and to enhance non-game animal habitat by increasing plant diversity.
“The harvesting of trees is one way we can provide educational and demonstration opportunities to local landowners and visitors to show that actively managing a forest has great benefits not only for people, but wildlife as well,” said Susan Fay, forest supervisor.
The harvest will have minimal impact on visitors because there is limited public access to that part of the forest, Fay said.
All proceeds from the timber sale will be used for improvements at Holmes ESF, such as refurbishing part of the main office into an indoor classroom.
For more information about Holmes ESF, visit www.ncesf.org.
Categories: News

Landowners have options after watershed change

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 13:46
Thanks to an astute businessman who was convinced the state was mistaken, nearly 20 Mills River property owners will have the opportunity to use more of their land once the county approves a redrawn watershed map.
The state had included 117 acres along Highway 280, Penland Road and Emma Sharp Road within the Water Supply III watershed for the Mills River, which limits how much paving and rooftop development landowners can install.
But James A. Goode thought the state's watershed map wrongly lumped about 13 acres of his property within the Mills River water supply, so he asked engineers at William G. Lapsley & Associates to resurvey it.
They confirmed Goode's land drained to the French Broad, not the lower Mills used by the cities of Asheville and Hendersonville as a drinking water supply for more than 50,000 taps.
Now the state has agreed to realign the water supply drainage to exclude Goode's land and that of 12 other property owners, allowing them greater options for development. Another seven landowners will have their land removed from the watershed in part. Goode also owns one of the parcels that will be reoved in part.
"If it's in the watershed, you can't cover more than 50 percent of the property," explained Lee Galloway, interim town manager for Mills River. "But if it's not in the watershed, you can exceed that. If you're trying to market your property, not being in the watershed benefits you as a property owner."
Goode, 73, has been amassing land along the Highway 280 corridor for roughly 20 years, he said, sometimes "an acre at a time." He didn't realize his land fell under the "WS III" watershed restrictions until he tried to build a car wash across from the new Ingles store on Boylston Highway.
"I went to get a permit for a car wash and then I found out I would have to make the car wash completely recycle all the water," he said. "No runoff whatsoever. That's what got me trying to turn it around."
Goode said he discussed his suspicion that his land drained away from the lower Mills River with retired engineer Richard Hayes. Hayes agreed Goode's land was not within the Mills watershed.
"Then I talked to Bill Lapsley and employed him to go through the procedures, which, Lord, it's a real deal to get somebody to admit they made a mistake down there in Raleigh," Goode said. "They don't want to say they messed up when they drawed the lines."
The process of fixing the erroneous watershed mapping took almost three years, according to Henderson County Senior Planner Autumn Radcliff. The town of Mills River and Henderson County had to agree to the change, which then had to be reviewed and approved by the N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources.
"It's just been kind of a back-and-forth process, seeing what we needed to do and getting things back from the state," Radcliff said. "There were a lot of entities involved."
After reviewing aerial topography, N.C. Department of Transportation records and logging several field visits, state officials finally sent Radcliff a letter Nov. 6 affirming their mistake.
"We agree the revised map you submitted for approval does represent the location of the lower Mills River WS-III-BW watershed boundary more accurately than the existing map," wrote Julie Ventaloro, the state's watershed protection program coordinator.
Now the new watershed map must be adopted by the county Board of Commissioners, after the county planning board and commissioners each hold a public hearing. The planning board's hearing is 5:30 p.m. today in the meeting room at 100 N. King St., Hendersonville.
For the 19 landowners affected, the shift in watershed boundaries generally means "a little more flexibility," Radcliff said. "As far as single-family residential, it won't matter too much to them. It's just one less permit they'll have to deal with."
But for people like Goode seeking to market their properties for commercial uses, the changes are more significant, according to County Engineer Marcus Jones.
Within the water supply watershed, he said, landowners can put up to 24 percent of their land in impervious surface "as long as you have 30-foot buffers from streams and natural stormwater controls, like grass swales."
Developers can put up to half the land under rooftop or pavement if they create 100-foot stream buffers, "so the impact of that can be pretty significant," Jones said.
By comparison, landowners outside the watershed in Mills River fall under the state's standard stormwater program. Jones said that program allows builders much more flexibility, "as long as you're limiting your post-development runoff to where it's similar to what it was pre-development."
Once the change is implemented, Goode said he'll be able to "do now on half, three-quarters of an acre what it used to take 2-and-a-quarter acres to do."
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or than.axtell@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Hendersonville man faces child sex offense charges

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 12:36
A Hendersonville man faces two felony counts of first-degree sex offense with a child for incidents that occurred in 2004.
Investigators of the Henderson County Sheriff's Office Violent Crimes Unit have charged 46-year-old Albaro Luna Zepeda of 118 Southern Drive in Hendersonville with two felony counts of first-degree sex offense with a child.
The charges were brought after the victim, who is now 16, met with investigators concerning inappropriate contact by Zepeda when she was under the age of 13.
Zepeda was interviewed by investigators and is currently incarcerated in the Henderson County Detention Facility under a $150,000 secured bond. Zepeda was scheduled to have his first court appearance in Henderson County District Court Thursday.
Felony sex offense with a child is punishable by at least 25 years in prison, followed by lifetime satellite-based monitoring.
Categories: News

Pizza pub opens in Horse Shoe Plaza

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 02:01
You can take the Italian out of Italy, but you can't take the Italy out of the Italian. That's the idea behind husband-and-wife team Jerry and Mia Clearwater's new restaurant, Grazies Italian Pizza Pub, which opened last week in Horse Shoe Plaza.
Jerry Clearwater, who comes from an Italian family, grew up in Winchester County, N.Y. There, he and his family owned a string of different, but all Italian, restaurants.
So it only made sense for the Clearwaters to open another Italian restaurant when they moved back to Hendersonville after seven years living in Wisconsin. They owned Villa Roma restaurant in Horse Shoe Plaza from 2000 to 2003, but sold it as they were leaving for Wisconsin. The restaurant closed in June 2014.
The couple returned to Western North Carolina on Oct. 1 and got to work opening Grazies at the Villa Roma location, which delighted both of their children, who live in the area, and residents who missed their old restaurant.
"Good people down here!" Mia Clearwater said. "About 80 percent of our customers so far are old customers ... and they are happy he's back."
Because of the support of the community and everyone who helped open up the restaurant, the Clearwaters decided on the name Grazies, which means thanks.
Expect the standard pizza and pasta dishes, but with homemade touches from the family-owned-and-operated restaurant. Grazies also boasts a full bar.
Grazies is located at 3754 Brevard Road, Suite 108, in Horse Shoe Plaza. The restaurant's hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 828-595-9880.
Reach Kerns at charli.kerns@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7881.
Categories: News

Residents could soon settle lawsuit with Cummings Cove

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 02:01
A settlement reached last week in a lawsuit between residents of Hendersonville’s Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club and their development wiped the slate clean of the social membership dues the residents railed against two years ago.
Fifty-nine residents filed suit against the club and Cummings Cove Company LLC on Oct. 4, 2012 after a change to the club’s covenants forced them to become social members at a cost of $100 a month.
The plaintiffs claimed they were also required to spend a minimum of a “few hundred dollars” a year at the club’s restaurant. They told the Times-News in 2012 they found “no other recourse” but to file a lawsuit to combat the extra charges imposed on them for the privilege of using certain facilities they said they did not request.
In a settlement heard in Henderson County Superior Court Dec. 8, the plaintiffs waived the right to file any future lawsuits on the same grounds against their development and agreed that the settlement may not apply to future property owners. In exchange, the development agreed to free the plaintiffs from any social membership dues and to wipe the books clean of any past charges.
The agreement has not yet been signed by the judge, according to homeowners.
The membership mandate and the dues applied to all property owners throughout the life of their ownership of property in the 650-acre gated community comprised of 600 parcels, ranging in price from $60,000 to $1 million, in four neighborhoods. Cummings Cove Company LLC was the third developer of the site.
The lawsuit asserted that Cummings Cove Company amended the development’s covenants in March 2012 to include a social membership levied on all homeowners to access the club’s three tennis courts and swimming pool, whether they used them or not. The membership did not include access to the club’s golf course or fitness facility.
The plaintiffs claimed that when they purchased property at the club, the social membership clause was either nonexistent, not active, voluntary or not enforced.
The club’s covenants have changed in county deed books three times since the development’s bylaws were chartered in 1985, according to the suit. The original covenants automatically granted each owner social membership, requiring homeowners to pay an annual fee.
Twenty-six plaintiffs claimed in 2012 that even though the social membership requirement was on the books when they arrived, they were told by previous developers not to worry, that it was elective. Some said they were given waivers.
In September 2000, the covenants were changed with the county’s register of deeds, stripping away the automatic social membership provision and annual dues, according to the lawsuit. In May 2009, more changes were filed. The 2000 exemptions still held true.
But in March 2012, residents said, the developer changed the rules again, reviving the social membership clause and annual dues.
A letter announcing the change was issued to homeowners two months later. The first monthly bill charging $100 per household appeared in mailboxes July 1, 2012. Thirty months (or $3,000 worth of charges per homeowner) later, they were erased by the settlement reached Dec. 8.
“What the agreement provides is that the members of our group will not be subject to that requirement and, secondly, any past bills that have been accruing on that, they’ll be wiped off the books,” said Gene Laber, executive committee vice chairman of the Cove Homeowners’ Rights Group.
The settlement applies to the entire Homeowners’ Rights Group of 71 members and 14 other past members listed in the agreement. It also applies to any future developers of the Cummings Cove community.
Laber said a vote was taken on whether to accept the deal in June. It passed by a majority.
If the plaintiffs had won the lawsuit and their initial plea to have the covenant struck down by the courts was granted, Laber suspects the exemption might have applied to subsequent property owners.
Not having future property owners exempt from the social membership requirement broke the deal for at least one homeowner. Richard Kranker, who was against the settlement’s restrictions, withdrew from the lawsuit and the Homeowners’ Rights Group after the vote.
Kranker asked that he and his wife be excluded from any settlement with the group on Dec. 1. He declined to comment on the settlement and his withdrawal until the judge issues his final decision in the case, which residents say could be days away.
Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club Executive Director of Operations Garry Sherrill also declined to comment on the settlement.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

Woman's Club reflects on 100 years of community service

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 02:01
From assisting with establishing the first local health department to the first curb market, the Hendersonville Woman’s Club has been active in the community since its founding by Claudia Holt Oates in 1915.
The club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary in 2015, and members stay true to its roots.
Oates joined forces with other civic-minded women who wanted to assist with local cultural and educational affairs. They worked with the superintendent of the schools and organized the early Parent Teacher Associations, and brought books and supplies into local libraries and schools.
The club’s work with the Veterans Administration hospital dates back to 1920. To this day, members make the trip to Asheville to play bingo for prizes with the veterans four times a year.
President Priscilla Wilson said the club has evolved and changed to help meet the needs of the community. As nonprofits have developed to support locals in need, the club has shifted its work from direct aid to supporting the nonprofits’ efforts as well as individual needs as they arise.
When she was first approached about joining the organization, 15-year member Margit Smith said she passed on the opportunity, thinking it was just a social outlet.
“And then somebody else approached me and I found out the things that they were doing in the community, and then I joined,” Smith said. “I never miss a meeting and make sure that the girls have work to do.”
Smith is in charge of organizing the group’s community service efforts, from stuffing butterfly pillows for the Elizabeth House at Four Seasons hospice to making “ditty” bags for the Hendersonville Rescue Mission filled with toiletries for its clients.
Smith’s work to engage members in community service drew Wilson to the club.
“I just felt like the Woman’s Club was just perfect because they touch so many different groups,” Wilson said. “If someone came to them with a particular need, they take a serious look at it.”
Visiting nonprofits to hear their stories and the work they do, Wilson said, has kept her coming back for more.
“You get to meet so many people and you get to really realize, by the people you meet in these organizations, in this day and age there are so many wonderful people out there,” Wilson said. “These are the people that never get PR; these are the people that just go do their jobs, they help people, and these are the kinds of people that hold our whole world together.”
For more information about the Hendersonville Woman’s Club, call Wilson at 891-9650.
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or renee.bindewald@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Dec. 18

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 02:01
Post offices open this Sunday
The Hendersonville Post Office, at 427 Fifth Ave. W., and Asheville Grace Post Office, at 725 Merrimon Ave., will offer full retail services from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday to aide those sending last-minute holiday cards and packages.
Meetings
The Hendersonville Environmental Sustainability Board will meet at 4 p.m. today in the City Operations Center.
The Hendersonville Special Events Committee will meet at 10 a.m. today in the City Operations Center.
Events
Bright Star Children's Theatre presents “Holidays Around the World” at 11 a.m. at Mills River library, 124 Town Center Drive #1, Mills River, and at 2 p.m. at the Henderson County Public Library, 311 N. Washington St., Hendersonville.
The Environmental and Conservation Organization will hold a nighttime walk to Hooker Falls to celebrate the winter solstice at 7 p.m. Sunday in Dupont State Recreational Forest. Meet at the Hooker Falls parking lot on DuPont/Staton Road in DuPont. There is no charge. The event is open to the public. Participants can register by calling the ECO office at 692-0385.
“Have an Oops-Free Holiday with Your Dog” training sessions will be held at noon and 1 p.m. Wednesday at Henderson County Animal Services, 828 Stoney Mountain Road, Hendersonville. Reservations required by calling 697-4723.
Youth OUTright WNC Inc. will hold a Christmas/solstice/holiday party and white elephant gift exchange from 4-6 p.m. Sunday at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 20 E. Oak St., Asheville. Info: www.youthoutright.org.
Categories: News

West boys get first win of season against HHS

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 22:31
West Henderson basketball coach Billy Phillips said earlier in the week that his team's confidence was growing daily.
Just a night after giving Pisgah all they could handle, the Falcons (1-8) flashed plenty of confidence in a dominating 65-46 win over Hendersonville on Wednesday night.
"We played well," Phillips said afterwards. "Our confidence is really growing."
Sam Polovina led the charge with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Statistically, it was the senior's best game of the season, but on a daily basis he impacts the Falcons with his leadership, Phillips said.
"He's been very consistent all year," the coach said. "He's been (a leader) like that every day in practice."
West pretty much took this game from the onset. The Falcons had an 18-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Falcons turned it up another notch.
Polovina scored nine points in the first four minutes of the third quarter to lead the Falcons to a 36-21 lead heading into the half.
In the third quarter, Hendersonville's Bradley Schmidt tried to rally his team for a comeback. The senior scored the first five points in the third quarter, but West responded with seven unanswered points. Schmidt finished the night with 19 points.
The two rivals exchanged body blows for much of the third quarter, but Hendersonville (5-3) couldn't dig out of the hole. In the fourth quarter, West's Davis Phillips took over. The sophomore scored seven points in the finals minutes of the game to lead West. He finished with 14 points. Tristan Thomas added 10 points.
In the earlier contest, the West girls dominated at times in a 58-45 victory. Hendersonville, however, wouldn't be shaken. In the first half, Kendall Gilliam hit four 3-pointers to lead the Lady Falcons to a double-digit lead. At one point, West was up 21-7.
The Lady Bearcats fought back and went into the half down just 29-24. Hendersonville had some moments like that against Mountain Heritage last Friday and coach Eric Gash saw them again on Wednesday night. Gash told his players to trust their game.
"There were hints of us really starting to believe that," Gash said. Lakerrion Lammons and Raven Thompson led Hendersonville with 12 points each.
At the start of the third quarter, however, the Lady Falcons (2-7) came out firing again. This time it was Savannah Smith. The junior hit four 3-pointers in the second half. West shot 47 percent from behind the arc.
"I think it helps us," Gilliam said of the big night behind the arc. "We do a lot better when we're shooting that well. The defense has to play a lot tougher to stop us."
Gilliam finished with 14 points. Smith scored a game-high 16 points. Taylor Houck scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Lady Falcons held off a late surge by the Lady Bearcats (2-6) and tasted victory for just the second time this season and that was his message to his girls after the game.
"I told them, ‘don't forget what it tastes like to win ball games,'" West coach Robbie Lowrance said. "(They need to) keep that taste."
West will travel to Brevard on Friday night. Hendersonville travels to Madison.
Categories: News

Prep roundup: East boys earn fifth win

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 22:12
BOYS BASKETBALL
EAST HENDERSON 59, POLK COUNTY 42
EAST:;17;17;15;10;—;59
POLK:;5;18;9;10;—;42
POLK — Chupp 4, Twitty 10, Painter 4, Wheeler 8, Derkach 2, Twitty 9, Searcy 1
EAST — Lane Justus 30, Glynn 4, Brooks 1, Alston 9, Harris 7, Taylor 4, Morgan 2, Culbertson 2
Highlights: For East, Justus had 15 points in each half, and Josh Glynn had eight rebounds. Nykeem Brooks and Justus each had five steals, and Glynn had four.
JV: East won.
Records: East, 5-2. Polk, 0-8.
Next game: East, Friday vs. Smoky Mountain. Polk, Friday at Mountain Heritage.
NORTH HENDERSON 93, THOMAS JEFFERSON 82
TJ:;29;13;17;23;—;82
NORTH:;15;28;20;30;—;93
TJ — Mintz 27, Simmons 27, Fenner 18, Bond 2, McGinnes 2, Corder 6
NORTH — Drew Williams 30, Kyle Decker 19, Ryan Decker 12, Austin Nelson 25, McCarson 6, Pace 2, Rankey 2
Highlights: For North, Drew Williams had five assists, and Ryan Decker had 13 rebounds and four assists. Nelson had 14 rebounds, and Kyle Decker had five assists. North shot 80 percent from the foul line.
JV: North, 45-28.
Record: North, 5-3.
Next game: North, Friday vs. Franklin.
GIRLS BASKETBALL
NORTH HENDERSON 39, THOMAS JEFFERSON 17
TJ:;3;0;7;7;—;17
NORTH:;7;11;10;11;—;39
TJ — Burch 8, Edwards 5, Black 2, Edwards 2
NORTH — Caroline Marsh 10, Hannah Brackett 10, Petree 9, Caldwell 8, Reb. Bagwell 2, Rev. Bagwell, Miller, Simpson, Banz, Bullock, Edwards
Highlights: For North, Brackett had eight rebounds, Caldwell had six steals and five rebounds, and Rebecca Bagwell had six steal and seven rebounds.
Record: North, 6-2.
Next game: North, Friday vs. Franklin.
POLK COUNTY 57, EAST HENDERSON 15
EAST:;6;4;2;3;—;15
POLK:; 19;12;11;15;—;57
POLK — Hayley Kropp 15, Overholt 5, Sarah Phipps 17, Ross 2, Owen 4, A. Kropp 2, India Godlock 12
Highlights: For Polk, Hayley Kropp and Sarah Phipps each had nine rebounds. Godlock added four steals, Savannah Ross had five assists and Autumn Owen had seven rebounds.
Records: East, 4-3. Polk, 6-2.
Next game: East, Friday vs. Smoky Mountain. Polk, Friday at Mountain Heritage.
SWIMMING
Tuesday in Marion
BOYS
Team scores
Watauga 132, South Caldwell 118, West Henderson 117, Hendersonville 109, McDowell 13
West, HHS placers in top three
200 medley relay — 1. West (Jake Johnson-Andrew Guffey-Levi Gibbs- George Tsakalos) 1:57.19, 200 free — 3. Charlie Bradshaw (H) 2:15.69, 200 IM — 2. Tsakalos (W) 2:36.38, 3. Guffey (W) 2:36.60, 50 free — 3. James Jackson (H) 25.61, 100 fly — 1. Johnson (W) 57.42, 500 free — 1. Johnson (W) 5:03.01, 200 free relay — 1. West (Tsakalos-Guffey-Gavin Blake-Johnson) 1:43.54, 100 breast — 2. Ryan Nix (H) 1:13.69, 3. Ian Gerrits (H) 1:18.27, 400 free relay — 3. West (Zach Raymer-Gibbs-Blake Wooten-Blake) 4:35.03.
GIRLS
Team scores
South Caldwell 173, Watauga 128, West Henderson 97, Hendersonville 76, McDowell 43
West, HHS placers in top three
200 medley relay — 3. West (Rebekah Littauer-MacKenzie Keel-Maddee Pennock-Arielle Blake) 2:17.85,
200 IM — Karina Lubian-Lopez (H) 2:28.69, 50 free — Blake (W) 27.57, 100 fly — 3. Lubian-Lopez (H) 1:09.00, 500 free — 3. Keel (W) 7:25.18, 200 free relay — 2. West (Vivian Rodriguez-Samantha Gonski-Makayla Garren-Shannon Sellers) 2:00.90
WRESTLING
NORTH HENDERSON 53, ROBBINSVILLE 16
Wednesday at Robbinsville
106: Tyler Broome (R) md. Jake Cannon, 113: Jonathan Dalton (N) by forfeit, 120: Mitchel Langford (N) p. Kolin Guffey, 126: Leo Ramirez (N) p. Brady Lovin, 132: Pete Willingham (N) by forfeit, 138: Will Baldwin (N) tf. Logan Carver, 145: Paul Searcy (N) p. Lane Millsaps, 152: Juan Chavez (N) by forfeit, 160: Marco Perez (N) by forfeit, 170: Bryan Tobey (N) d. Kyle Ingersoll, 182: Creed Lovin (R) d. Brandon Fuller, 195: Blake Sawyer (R) d. David Jovel, 220: Celedonio Cardenas (N) d. Chad McCoy, heavyweight: Toby Hedrick (R) p. Damian Murphy
NORTH HENDERSON 68, OWEN 9
Wednesday at Robbinsville
106: Jake Cannon (N) by forfeit, 113: Jonathan Dalton (N) tf. Dakota Weaver, 120: Mitchel Langford (N) p. Michael Briggs, 126: Leo Ramirez (N) p. Caleb Stafford, 132: Will Baldwin (N) by forfeit, 138: Paul Searcy (N) by forfeit, 145: Marco Asuncion (N) by forfeit, 152: Juan Chavez (N) by forfeit, 160: Thomas Neal (O) d. Marco Perez, 170: Zach Cannon (O) p. Bryan Tobey, 182: Brandon Fuller (N) by forfeit, 195: David Jovel (N) by forfeit, 220: Celedonio Cardenas (N) d. Chance Watkins, heavyweight: Damian Murphy (N) by forfeit
Record: North, 7-4.
Next match: North, Friday in tri-match with Franklin and Hendersonville at Hendersonville.
LIBERTY (S.C.) 66, EAST HENDERSON 6
Tuesday at Landrum
106: Devin Johnston (L) p. Jesus Martinez, 113: Jacob Rogers (L) by forfeit, 120: Aden Long (L) by forfeit, 126: Matt Frey (L) by forfeit, 132: Tristan Oglesby (L) p. Martin Guerrero, 138: Kyle Chrzanowski (L) md. Cole Ours, 145: Brandon Murphy (L) md. Nathan King, 152: Garrett Ammerman (E) p. Cameron Garrison, 160: Kris Murphy (L) d. Ethan Willis, 170: Sam Vidal (L) md. Kyle Smith, 182: Lucas Bates (L) by forfeit, 195: John Michael McGaha (L) by forfeit, 220: Breck Dismukes (L) p. Marshall Frank, heavyweight: DeAndre Mansell (L) d. Patrick Matousek
LANDRUM (S.C.) 51, EAST HENDERSON 27
Tuesday at Landrum
106: Pearlie Helle (L) by forfeit, 113: Jesus Martinez (E) by forfeit, 120: JT Willingham (L) by forfeit, 126: Kennon McAbee (L) by forfeit, 132: Wren Pierce (L) p. Martin Guerrero, 138: Cole Ours (E) p. Joey Chacon, 145: Nathan King (E) d. Clay Prass, 152: Alex Samenko (L) d. Garrett Ammerman, 160: Ethan Willis (E) p. Hunter Rossi, 170: Heath Jordan (L) p. Kyle Smith, 182: Paul Zimmerman (L) by forfeit, 195: John Zimmerman (L) by forfeit, 220: Feenix Smith (L) p. Marshall Frank, heavyweight: Patrick Matousek (E) p. Sam Vinesett
TRACK AND FIELD
Reindeer Games
Wednesday at Polk County
BOYS
Team scores
Asheville 81.7, Polk County 67, North Buncombe 51, East Henderson 47, Franklin 38.5, Kings Mountain 37.5, Hendersonville 37.2, T.C. Roberson 34, A.C. Reynolds 26, Shelby 23, West Henderson 22.5, North Henderson 20, Mitchell 14.2, Highlands 14, Tuscola 13.2, Pisgah 13.2, Murphy 11, Burns 1
GIRLS
Team scores
T.C. Roberson 115, East Henderson 63, Polk County 59, Asheville 50, West Henderson 47, Shelby 43, North Buncombe 41, A.C. Reynolds 36, Hendersonville 33.5, Pisgah 19, Highlands 18.5, Franklin 18.5, Kings Mountain 17.5, Tuscola 16, Burns 2
Categories: News