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Updated: 1 min 20 sec ago

GM says parts are ready to fix recalled small cars

9 min 30 sec ago
MILFORD, Mich. — General Motors CEO Mary Barra told investors Wednesday that GM will rely on new models and a big push to sell more cars in China to boost profits in coming years, as the company tries to shift the spotlight from a mishandled recall of older small cars.
Barra needed to reassure investors that GM has a strong plan going forward. The stock has dropped about 18 percent this year. It rose 2.6 percent in afternoon trading.
GM recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide earlier this year to fix faulty ignition switches that are now blamed for at least 23 deaths nationwide. Barra said suppliers have made enough parts to fix all of the switches, but only 1.1 million small cars have had the repairs so far.
GM has admitted knowing about the problem for a decade, yet it didn't recall the cars until this February. The switches can cause the engine to stall, deactivating the cars' air bags.
Barra said GM is staying with an estimate of $400 million to $600 million to compensate ignition switch crash victims. The company has hired compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg to pay victims. He made his first payments last week.
New models are the linchpin of GM's strategy to grow profit margins. The company said it expects 27 percent of its global sales to come from new or freshened models next year. That figure will rise to 47 percent by 2019 as it accelerates new model rollouts. Barra wouldn't say how many new models would be introduced each year.
But the new vehicles, coupled with cost savings and other measures, should get GM to a 10 percent pretax profit margin in North America by 2016 and 10 percent for the whole company by early next decade. Profit margin is the percentage of each dollar in revenue a company actually keeps.
GM's "absolute onslaught" of new vehicles starts with midsize pickup trucks that are now arriving in GM dealerships and will be followed by the Chevrolet Trax subcompact SUV early next year, President Dan Ammann said. Those two vehicles should boost annual sales by about 200,000 vehicles, and are critical to GM's plans to expand profit margins, Ammann said.
A new Opel Corsa small car is being shown at the Paris Motor Show this week for sale by year end, and GM plans a new Opel Astra compact next year. Then, in 2015 and 2016, GM will freshen the Chevy Malibu midsize car and Cruze compact, followed by the Chevrolet Equinox small crossover SUV.
In China, GM is pinning high hopes on the Cadillac luxury brand, which has struggled in the U.S. despite earning numerous awards. GM expects to introduce nine new Cadillac models in China over the next five years. China, the company predicted, will become the world's largest luxury car market later this decade.
To handle Chinese growth, GM plans to spend $14 billion through 2018 to open five new assembly plants to support sales of just under 5 million per year. Last year the company sold nearly 3.2 million vehicles in China.
GM also expects Europe to return to profitability in 2016, and says it continues to address challenges in international operations outside of China.
Barra said if the company performs according to plan, dividends will rise. "When we do that our shareholders will receive the return on investment that they deserve," she said, without giving specifics.
GM expects "significant" losses in international operations outside China this year as it pulls the Chevrolet brand out of Europe and launches new products in the Middle East. "Marginal" losses are expected in South America on economic weakness in Brazil and Argentina.
Barra said the ignition switch recall crisis has resulted in cultural changes and a stronger leadership team. And she's now pushing harder for changes.
"For me personally, I'm a little more impatient, and I think that's a good thing," she told reporters at the company's proving ground in Milford, Michigan, north of Detroit.
Investors viewed GM's news more favorably than Monday's outlook from rival Ford Motor Co., which said it expects pretax profits for the year to come in below previous predictions. Ford shares have fallen more than 10 percent since its presentation to investors and were down 1.2 percent to $14.61 in afternoon trading Wednesday.
Categories: News

Police investigating homicide at apartment

9 min 43 sec ago
Hendersonville police officers are investigating a homicide at Park Residences Apartments, after a 57-year-old man was found dead in his home Wednesday.
Thomas Reagan Nelson was found this morning at 44 Eastbury Drive, according to a news release from the Hendersonville Police Department.
Officers found Nelson's body while responding to a health and welfare check this morning at the request of one of his relatives. Nelson had been bound and assaulted, according to the release, and his vehicle was missing from the apartment complex.
Officers are looking for the vehicle, a black 2001 BMW 530I with a tan interior and either a missing or broken right rearview mirror. The police department said the vehicle is not registered and no license plate information is available. The State Bureau of Investigation is also at the scene.
Police are requesting anyone with any information to contact the Hendersonville Police Department at 828-697-3025 or crime stoppers at 828-697-STOP (7867).
Categories: News

Court blocks parts of new NC voting law

44 min 12 sec ago
RALEIGH, N.C. — Parts of North Carolina's new voting law, considered one of the toughest in the nation, were set aside for next month's elections because they were likely to disenfranchise black voters, a federal appeals court panel ruled Wednesday.
In a 2-1 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suspended provisions of the Republican-backed law that would have eliminated same-day registration during early voting and voided ballots cast on Election Day outside of a person's assigned precinct.
"Whether the number is 30 or 30,000, surely some North Carolina minority voters will be disproportionately adversely affected in the upcoming election," wrote Judge James Wynn, a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice and an African American. "Once the election occurs, there can be no do-over and no redress. The injury to these voters is real and completely irreparable if nothing is done to enjoin this law."
The law was challenged by civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department. North Carolina has one of the nation's most closely watched U.S. Senate races that could determine whether Democrats retain control of the chamber.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, Gov. Pat McCrory and the leaders of the state House and Senate all have assigned or hired attorneys to defend the state law. Spokesmen did not immediately respond when asked whether they planned to appeal.
Judge Diana Gribbon Motz dissented, saying it's too close to Election Day to force North Carolina to change its planned procedures.
Absentee ballots were mailed Sept. 5, attorneys defending the law said during arguments at a special hearing in Charlotte on Sept. 25.
A requirement included in the law for voters to show identification when casting ballots is not set to take effect until 2016.
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Emery Dalesio can be reached at twitter.com/emerydalesio
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Follow Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker at Twitter.com/mbieseck
Categories: News

Teens charged with felonies after break-ins

1 hour 58 min ago
Two teens suspected of breaking into homes after walking away from a camp in the Lake Toxaway area Monday now face felony charges.
The teens, ages 15 and 16, left the camp in the early morning hours Monday, prompting a multi-agency search by law enforcement, Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney said in a news release Wednesday. The search centered around the Silversteen Road area.
Later in the day, a series of unoccupied homes were broken into with various items, including firearms, being reported as stolen, Mahoney said in the release. Help from other agencies was requested and a perimeter was set up.
Search teams began looking for the teens in the wooded area. K9 teams were used, which allowed law enforcement to narrow the area the two were believed to be in, and the search continued throughout the night.
On Tuesday morning, additional K9 teams along with a helicopter began a thorough search of the area within the perimeter. During the afternoon, the two juveniles were located and taken into custody within that perimeter, Mahoney said.
Both teens have been charged with two counts of felony breaking and entering, one count of felony larceny, one count of felony larceny of a firearm, and two counts of injury to personal property. More charges are expected as the investigation continues.
"The amount of cooperation between law enforcement and first responders was incredible," Mahoney said. "When the call went out, responders came rushing in. I could not be prouder of the men and women from our area that I have the opportunity to serve with. They did a phenomenal job under a great deal of stress."
The following agencies assisted the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office in the search: Brevard Police Department; Hendersonville Police Department; Henderson County Sheriff's Office; Jackson County Sheriff's Office; N.C. State Bureau of Investigation; N.C. Highway Patrol; U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement; Transylvania County Emergency Management; Brevard Rescue Squad; and Lake Toxaway Fire Department.
Categories: News

Drug and device firms paid $3.5B to care providers

2 hours 10 min ago
WASHINGTON — From research grants to travel junkets, drug and medical device companies paid doctors and leading hospitals billions of dollars last year, the government disclosed Tuesday in a new effort to spotlight potential ethical conflicts in medicine.
The value of industry payments and other financial benefits totaled nearly $3.5 billion in the five-month period from August through December 2013, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which released the data.
The massive trove of information named companies and many of the recipients. Also listed were types of payments, with details down to travel destinations. Some 546,000 clinicians and 1,360 teaching hospitals received benefits.
It's part of a new initiative called Open Payments, required by President Barack Obama's health care law. It was intended to allow patients to easily look up their own doctors online, but that functionality isn't fully developed. In future years, the information will cover a full 12 months and will be easier to search, officials said.
Consumer groups said it's a step toward much-needed transparency. They see a built-in conflict of interest that can influence prescribing decisions, the use of high-tech tests and even types of surgeries performed.
But doctors and industry said the government rushed to release the data, and they raised questions about accuracy and lack of context. The administration said it's not pointing a finger at the medical profession or the pharmaceutical industry.
"Open Payments does not identify which financial relationships ... could cause conflicts of interest," said Shantanu Agrawal, the agency official overseeing the project. "It simply makes the data available to the public."
An initial Associated Press analysis found that orthopedists, cardiologists and adult medicine specialists were among the likeliest to receive payments from drug and device companies. Most of the contributions came in the form of cash payments, followed by in-kind gifts and services, and stock options.
Genetech Inc., Pfizer Inc. and DePuy Synthes topped the list of companies.
AP's analysis excluded research grants.
Some doctors also had ownership stakes in companies, and the government counted the value of those stakes as part of the overall $3.5 billion it termed as "payments."
Under Obama, government policy has shifted toward opening the books of the medical profession. A few months ago Medicare released its huge claims database, showing program payments to more than 825,000 providers for 2012. Unlike other provisions of his health care law, Open Payments is supported by lawmakers of both political parties.
Drug companies traditionally have prized their relationships with doctors, the gatekeepers between patients and prescription medications.
Some doctors' offices have started curbing pharmaceutical marketing, which can include anything from free pens and pizzas to paid speaking engagements and golf outings at fancy resorts. Clinical research is another area of financial relationships, and harder to assess. Many doctors receive significant payments to help drug companies conduct research that can benefit society.
The American Medical Association said it remains "very concerned" about release of the payments file, adding that the data may contain inaccuracies and lacks context to help the average person evaluate the information. The administration provided individual doctors an opportunity to inspect their data prior to release, but the AMA says the window was short and the process cumbersome.
Consumer groups say disclosure is overdue.
"Research has shown over and over that these financial relationships influence doctors, even a meal," said John Santa, medical director for health projects with Consumers Union. "Studies also show that doctors believe it does not affect them, but strongly believe it affects other doctors."
AMA President Robert Wah said in a statement that some financial dealings between doctors and the drug industry help patients, particularly when it comes to research. "There are relationships that can help drive innovation in patient care," Wah said.
The information released Tuesday covers payments by drug and medical device manufacturers to doctors and teaching hospitals, as well as the ownership stakes. Manufacturers must report payments and gifts unless they are valued at under $10. Doctors, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists and chiropractors are covered.
The data, however, are preliminary. Officials said identifying details were removed in about 40 percent of the records because of unresolved questions. Another 300,000 records are still being verified, and were not included, so the total value of payments is expected to be higher.
The disclosure provision was championed in Congress by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who said he hopes the data will become a resource for consumers over time.
"The patient who is prescribed a drug that might be beneficial, yet risky, will be able to learn whether the prescribing doctor accepted drug company money to study the risks." Grassley said in a statement. "The information might not change the outcome, but it's something a patient might like to know."
Others worry it will discourage doctors from participating in research.
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Online: Open Payments: www.cms.gov/openpayments
Categories: News

Fletcher YMCA opens to the community today

2 hours 15 min ago
With giveaways and membership deals, the Fletcher YMCA will open the doors for its grand opening today at 6 a.m.
The Fletcher YMCA is nestled on the first floor of a 40,000-square-foot facility that also houses Pardee Hospital's cardiac rehabilitation and physical therapy offices upstairs. The shared facility is adjacent to the Mission Pardee Health Campus along Highway 25.
“We're offering new equipment, some pieces that we don't even have at other locations, so they're brand new,” YMCA District Member Engagement Director Tyler McCall said.
Unlike other local Ys, the Fletcher facility comes fully equipped with low-impact machines and programs specially chosen to meet the needs of patients undergoing rehabilitation, including machines such as a seated elliptical and a therapy pool for patients in rehabilitation with Pardee.
The rehab pool has a lift for access, stairs and wedges for training, and a resistance current.
The Fletcher Y is the first in Western North Carolina with a display kitchen, which sits within a large multipurpose room with angled mirrors on the ceiling above the cooking area. The Y will offer healthy cooking demonstrations as part of its diabetes prevention program, and the kitchen can also be used by community partners.
“This space is going to give us such a wonderful opportunity to reach the Fletcher community as well have test kitchen available to us, we have a nice big meeting space,” Medical Wellness Manager Eric Calloway said.
The diabetes prevention program will begin in January as a yearlong classroom based program.
“We're going to have all of our wonderful medical wellness programs out of the Fletcher YMCA,” Calloway said. “We're really excited about it. We get to do healthy cooking demos for participants learning that healthy cooking doesn't have to be boring—different strategies for eating healthier.”
The first three months of the program include intensive weekly meetings and group work, but then moves to monthly maintenance sessions to talk about what's happening and any struggles participants are having according to McCall.
The building is complete with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the wellness area and has brightly colored curved walls.
An orange 440-foot walking track weaves through the free weights, strength equipment and cardio area and past the group exercise room, looping back at the locker rooms.
Cardio equipment and strength training machines face the large windows. Treadmills at the Fletcher Y are equipped with smartphone hook-ups, so patrons can access their fitness apps and track their progress. They also come loaded with video tours of walks and runs from around the world, so members can enjoy the scenery of places such as Germany and New Zealand as they use the machines.
Exercise machines throughout the facility have QR codes on the side that link members directly to instructional videos on their smartphones.
Group Education Director Karyn Kattermann said the Fletcher Y will offer new classes that are different from those found at other Y locations, such as 3D Core using ballast balls and BOSU Balance Trainers, yoga and spin classes.
“We'll have some high-intensity classes in the evenings; we'll have some active older adult classes in the morning — all the normal standars you'll see on any schedule like strength and core, things like that, Pilates — so we'll have all good-ole standbys that everybody expects, but then we'll have things like the BOSU class and the ballast ball class that we don't have at the other centers,” Kattermann said.
And for members with children, the Youth Development Center is open Monday through Saturday with hands-on staff who actively engage and educate children through stories and games.
The Fletcher Y, located at 2775 Hendersonville Road, is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, and 1-6 p.m. Sundays.
For more information about the Fletcher YMCA, visit www.ymcawnc.org or call 828-552-3600.
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Reach Bindewald at renee.bindewald@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7890.
Categories: News

Forensic pathologist testifies in Moore murder trial

2 hours 32 min ago
Forensic pathologist Dr. Jerri McLemore testified Wednesday that Walter Cleveland Davis died of blunt trauma to the head. He was 52 years old.
Daniel Clay Moore, a houseguest of Davis at the time of his death, is accused of killing Davis with a hammer in October 2012.
McLemore told the jury that Davis suffered an estimated 19 blows to his head and other blows to his torso, with most of the injuries reportedly afflicting the back portion of his body.
Two toxicology tests conducted from a blood sample drawn from Davis’ body during autopsy showed no presence of alcohol or any other controlled substance outside of caffeine and nicotine, she said.
McLemore testified to the test results, although she admitted after the jury was excused that she did not conduct the tests herself and had not viewed the results of the second more comprehensive toxicology test until Wednesday morning in court.
Under cross-examination, McLemore testified she could not tell exactly which blow happened first or which one proved to be fatal. She admitted any blow to the head could have led to Davis’ death or at least to a concussion. She also told the jury her examination could not determine how long the beating lasted.
Check back with blueridgenow.com for more updates or follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver

Categories: News

A Step Back: 1975, the Thrilla in Manila

4 hours 11 min ago
Thirty-nine years ago on this day, one of the greatest boxing matches in history took place.
That year Oct. 1 also fell on a Wednesday. The fight, which was the third showdown between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, was called “The Thrilla in Manila,” and it certainly was.
So for this week's Step Back, that's where we're going, to the year 1975. A year when gas was 44 cents a gallon and the average cost of a new house was $39,000.
I was just 4 years old. There's an old photo of me back then wearing a T-shirt with one of the most popular commercial jingles of 75: “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”
Of course I don't remember the Thrilla in Manila, other than what I've seen on classic TV showings. Ali ended up winning by TKO after 14 rounds. Frazier's trainer, Eddie Futch, wouldn't allow Frazier to keep fighting, despite Frazier's protests and also despite both of Frazier's eyes being swollen shut.
California was king of the basketball world, as it had both the NBA champions (Golden State Warriors) and NCAA champions (UCLA Bruins).
The Warriors breezed by the Washington Bullets (now the Washington Wizards) in four games for the NBA title.
The Bruins held off the Kentucky Wildcats in John Wooden's final game as UCLA's coach. During his 27 years as coach of the Bruins, he led them to 10 NCAA titles, including seven in a row from 1967-73.
In college football, another California team won the NCAA championship as the Southern California Trojans edged Ohio State 18-17. And in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers held on for a 16-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Jack Nicklaus was unstoppable on the links, winning The Masters and also the PGA Championship. Unlike the past 10 years, the Ryder Cup was won by the Americans. Another major event happened on the second-to-last day of the year (Dec. 30)in 1975 — future golfing great Tiger Woods was born.
In baseball, the Cincinnati Reds, known as the “Big Red Machine” won the World Series in seven games over the Boston Red Sox. Non-Hall of Famer Pete Rose earned the Most Valuable Player of the '75 Series. The Reds went on to repeat, winning the 1976 title in a sweep of the New York Yankees.
On the track, Richard Petty was still dominating NASCAR. He earned his sixth championship in 1975 and went on to win his seventh and final one four years later in 1979. On Sept. 17, 1975, another driver poised to equal Petty's and Dale Earnhardt's mark of seven titles was born: Jimmie Johnson, who currently has six NASCAR titles.
Back home in high school sports, Hendersonville's boys basketball team was dominating area teams. The Bearcats made it all the way to the 3-A state quarterfinals, where they ended up falling to D.H. Conley. On the gridiron, Western North Carolina did have a state champion in 1975, as Pisgah took home the 3-A title.
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Reach Hensley at Dean.Hensley@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7868.
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Follow Dean Hensley on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BRNDean
Categories: News

Mountain Home man charged with abuse of 4-year-old

6 hours 13 min ago
A 24-year-old Mountain Home man has been charged with felony child abuse and resisting a public officer in connection with an assault on the suspect's 4-year-old stepchild.
According to a news release, the Henderson County Sheriff's Office received a report of suspected child abuse at 11 p.m. Monday at a residence on Flintwood Lane. They found that a 4-year-old had suffered multiple bruises to the arms, face, legs and back, according to an arrest warrant.
The warrant states that the child had been left in the care of Christopher David Blake Rogers, of Flintwood Lane, Mountain Home. Rogers, the child's stepfather, was charged with felony child abuse, according to the warrant.
Rogers' bond was set at $10,000, and he was scheduled for a first court appearance on Wednesday morning. As a condition of his bond, he is to have no contact with the victim.
Categories: News

McCrory legal bills mount in Voter ID case

6 hours 30 min ago
RALEIGH, N.C. — The legal bills keep mounting for outside attorneys to defend changes to North Carolina election law, which critics call the toughest in the country.
A year ago, Gov. Pat McCrory hired his own attorney to represent him in a federal lawsuit alleging new Republican-backed voting changes were intended to suppress minority voter turnout. Since then, South Carolina-based lawyer Karl S. "Butch" Bowers Jr. has billed the state $301,824 for work at his rate of $360 an hour, invoices provided by the governor's office show.
Bowers was hired after state Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat gearing up to challenge McCrory in 2016, opposed the changes, McCrory spokesman Ryan Tronovitch said Tuesday.
That "prejudiced his ability to provide a vigorous defense of common sense voter ID law," Tronovitch wrote in an email. "It's disappointing that we need an outside attorney to defend this common sense law, but it's worth it to protect our voting integrity and process for generations to come."
State attorneys from Cooper's office defended the election law before a federal appeals court last week.
Bowers, who served as the Justice Department's special counsel for voting matters during the administration of President George W. Bush, didn't respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday.
The General Assembly has hired its own set of lawyers to defend the sweeping elections legislation, which cuts early voting by a week, ends same-day voter registration and includes a stringent photo ID requirement. Attorneys from labor and employment law firm Ogletree Deakins have charged taxpayers $1.14 million to represent lawmakers.
Ogletree Deakins attorneys also billed taxpayers about $1.8 million as of August to help the attorney general defend congressional and legislative redistricting maps following the 2010 Census.
It's not unusual for lawmakers and governors to go to court, said James Tierney, the director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia University's law school.
"Everybody wants to be attorney general," said Tierney, a former Maine attorney general. "All of them think they can do it better than the attorney general, without exception."
The attorney general sent the governor a letter last year urging McCrory to veto the sweeping elections bill approved by the GOP-dominated state legislature and warning the changes were highly likely to face court challenge.
"There were dozens of reasons to veto this bad elections bill with its restrictions on voting, more corporate campaign money and reduced public disclosure being just a few," Cooper said then.
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Emery Dalesio can be reached at http://twitter.com/
Categories: News

New 'Hendo Hunt' will challenge knowledge of Main Street

7 hours 3 min ago
Think you know your hometown? Hendersonville's upcoming “Hendo Hunt” event in November aims to challenge local schools, businesses and individuals to decode clues along downtown's Main Street — while raising money for three nonprofits.
The Nov. 8 fact-finding scavenger hunt is the newest event developed by Elevents, a relatively new Henderson County organization that uses its event planning and entertainment expertise to raise awareness and funds for other community agencies and nonprofits.
Graham Mew, spokesman for Elevents, said the goal of the Hendo Hunt is threefold: raise money from the $2 event fees for Team ECCO, Free REIN and Friends of the Mill House; encourage Hendersonville residents to learn more about their downtown area; and boost the Main Street economy.
Profits from the event will benefit downtown Hendersonville's own Team ECCO aquarium and marine education programs, Friends of the Mill House — a 200-year-old organization supporting The Millhouse Lodge — and Free REIN, a therapeutic riding program for children and adults with physical, mental and emotional limitations.
And, Mew said, “It gets everyone downtown, walking into businesses.”
During the Hendo Hunt, players will receive a Monopoly-style game board with downtown Main Street businesses occupying the spaces. The corners of the board will be anchors held by Hendo Hunt's main sponsors, which are still needed.
Clues on the back of the game board will, once decoded, send players to various downtown spots, both challenging locals' knowledge and sending potential customers directly to small businesses.
Mew said the businesses hiding clues will give stamps or stickers to treasure hunters who've guessed correctly, and the goal of the game is to collect all the businesses' stamps in the fastest time.
He said players and teams can start anytime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 8, and both the start and completion times of turned-in game boards will be recorded to see who scavenged the fastest.
Mew said there will be awards and prizes for the individual or team that wins, as well as raffle prizes — and possibly a Twitter- or Instagram-driven photo contest — during the hunt.
Ideally, Elevents would like to see high school teams compete against each other and local banks pitted against another local banks for bragging rights.
Mew said, “If we have 100 people coming through there, we've driving 100 people to Main Street on a Saturday in November,” during prime Christmas-shopping season.
“The city is behind it, because it helps drive business,” he said. “So the city wins. The merchants all win. The people all win, because they know what's on Main Street now.”
Elevents is still looking for donors and sponsors for the Hendo Hunt. To participate or donate, call 828-388-1767 or email info@ELEVENTS.org.
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Reach McGowan at molly.mcgowan@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7871.
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Follow Molly McGowan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TNmollymcgowan
Categories: News

Kindergarten enrollment dips, upper grades see increase

7 hours 12 min ago
Henderson County Public Schools saw a decrease in new kindergarteners this school year, offset by an increase in new middle and high school student enrollments, according to enrollment numbers recorded on the 20th day of school.
“Day 20 numbers” measure the average daily membership and actual enrollment numbers, said Senior Director for Human Resources John Bryant.
“Day 20 numbers are used to project what enrollment will be in the next school year,” he added, and are used by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to determine funding allotments.
“That helps us to make some determinations as to how many students we can anticipate, and it's also part of the calculator for (state) funding,” Bryant said.
On Monday, Sept. 22, Bryant said the actual enrollment in the district's schools was 13,741, with an average daily membership of 13,684.
“That is 91 students larger than we were on day 20 last year,” he said. “We're growing, (but) at what we'd consider an expected rate. Had we grown nine or 10 more students, the funding formulas would have potentially increased for the school system.”
Funding from the Department of Public Instruction for the 2014-15 school year is based on day 20 numbers from the 2013-14 school year; had those numbers increased or decreased by 100 students, the funds the school system would receive for the next year would increase or decrease, respectively.
According to the 2014-15 day 20 numbers, “We have 75 fewer kindergartners enrolled this year than last,” Bryant said. “We have seen an increase in our middle school and high school enrollments — about double that.”
That means students who had completed elementary or middle school in other school systems enrolled in county schools for their middle or high school years.
“They may be choosing our upper level education,” Bryant said. “It generally is a good sign.”
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Reach McGowan at molly.mcgowan@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7871.
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Follow Molly McGowan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TNmollymcgowan
Categories: News

Brevard beats East Henderson, eyes WNCAC foe

7 hours 32 min ago
EAST FLAT ROCK — There was no looking past East Henderson on Tuesday night for the Brevard volleyball team.
A matchup with West Henderson looms on Thursday, but that fact didn't hinder the Lady Blue Devils as they beat the Lady Eagles 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-20).
Brevard took control from the start in the first set. The Lady Blue Devils (16-3, 9-1 WNCAC) jumped out to a 9-5 lead. That lead expanded to 16-5 on a serve by Abby Williams. Williams finished the night with five aces. Brevard, led by Mac McNiel and Ashley McBee, finished off the first set 25-14.
East (2-13, 1-9) came out more fired up in the second set. Led by big hitter Bailey Waldbart, the Lady Eagles led 10-9 early. The Lady Blue Devils, however, took control on a 7-0 run and didn't look back. Brevard won the second set 25-15.
The third set was the most highly contested. The Lady Eagles battled the whole way. East took a 9-6 lead early and stayed close but couldn't quite pull even with Brevard. Down 22-18, East scored two points to pull the set to 22-20, but the Lady Blue Devils scored five straight points to end the match.
"I've been very pleased with our progress," East coach Elizabeth Pippen said, "but thought we weren't mentally prepared."
Waldbart led the way for East with nine kills and two blocks. Kayla Johnson had four kills. Lindsey Watkins had 10 assists.
For Brevard, McNiel had eight kills, a block, 11 assists and an ace. McBee had five kills, a block, 16 assists and an ace. Kjersti Anderson had nine kills, three blocks, eight digs and an ace. Jamie Hyatt had four kills and five aces.
The Lady Blue Devils will now turn their attention to the Lady Falcons. West is the only WNC Athletic Conference loss for Brevard this season.
"I think we just need to work hard," Brevard's Hyatt said. "We need to work as one."
Brevard also has to make the Lady Falcons work a little harder, coach Cori Bryson said.
"We've got to get quicker on our transitions," she said. "We've got to serve tougher."
The ultimate goal is to get the West out of their fierce offensive set, Bryson said.
Brevard will play at West at 6 p.m. on Thursday. East will host Smoky Mountain.
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Reach Millwood at Joey.Millwood@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7883.
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Follow Joey Millwood on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BRNJoey
Categories: News

Officials confirm first Ebola case diagnosed in US

7 hours 53 min ago
DALLAS — The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. was confirmed Tuesday in a patient who recently traveled from Liberia to Dallas — a sign of the farreaching impact of the out-of-control epidemic in West Africa.
The unidentified man was critically ill and has been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sunday, federal health officials said. They would not reveal his nationality or age.
Authorities have begun tracking down family and friends who might have had close contact with him and could be at risk for becoming ill. But officials said there are no other suspected cases in Texas.
At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Director Tom Frieden said the man left Liberia on Sept. 19, arrived the next day to visit relatives and started feeling ill four or five days later. He said it was not clear how the patient became infected.
There was no risk to any fellow airline passengers because the man had no symptoms when he was traveling, Frieden said.
Ebola symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding, and can appear as long as 21 days after exposure to the virus. The disease is not contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread.
“The bottom line here is that I have no doubt we will control this importation, or this case of Ebola, so that it does not spread widely in this country,” Frieden told reporters.
“It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks,” he added. “But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.”
In Washington, President Barack Obama was briefed about the diagnosis in a call from Frieden, the White House said.
Four American aid workers who became infected in West Africa have been flown back to the U.S. for treatment after they became sick. They were cared for in special isolation facilities at hospitals in Atlanta and Nebraska. Three have recovered.
Also, a U.S. doctor exposed to the virus in Sierra Leone is under observation in a similar facility at the National Institutes of Health.
The U.S. has only four such isolation units. Asked whether the Texas patient would be moved to one of those specialty facilities, Frieden said there was no need, and virtually any hospital can provide the proper care and infection control.
Dr. Edward Goodman, an epidemiologist at the hospital, said the U.S. was much better prepared to handle the disease than African hospitals, which often are short of doctors, gloves, gowns and masks.
“We don’t have those problems. So we’re perfectly capable of taking care of this patient with no risk to other people,” Goodman said.
After arriving in the U.S. on Sept. 20, the man began to develop symptoms last Wednesday and initially sought care two days later. But he was released. At the time, hospital officials did not know he had been in West Africa. He returned later as his condition worsened.
Blood tests by Texas health officials and the CDC separately confirmed an Ebola diagnosis on Tuesday.
State health officials described the patient as seriously ill. Goodman said he was able to communicate and was hungry. The hospital is discussing whether experimental treatments would be appropriate, Frieden said.
Since the summer, U.S. health officials have been preparing for the possibility that an individual traveler could unknowingly arrive with the infection. Health authorities have advised hospitals on how to prevent the virus from spreading within their facilities.
Categories: News

Fitness guru's fight with leukemia

7 hours 58 min ago
Well-known S.C. bodybuilder and fitness guru Clyde Norris is used to winning, but when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 his definition of victory changed.
In his new book, “Cancer: 4th and Inches,” Norris details his battle with acute myeloid leukemia, a disease that kills a significant percent of patients. Norris said a long history of physical training — setting goals and working to achieve them — and collaborating with a team to win, allowed him to conquer the disease.
“Everyone knows someone who has cancer, but sometimes people don't like to talk about it,” Norris said. “… I want to tell people what I went through and the importance of the will to win. I know several people who went into the hospital the same time I did who didn't make it. They gave up.”
In July 2011, Norris went to his doctor because of a headache. In addition to the headache, Norris said he'd come down with the flu twice during the spring and summer, which wasn't normal for the nutrition and fitness expert. After running tests, the doctor came to Norris' gym to tell him something was wrong and he needed to go to the hospital immediately. The leukemia diagnosis came less than a week later at Spartanburg Medical Center.
Norris first connected his battle with cancer to his long history of playing football when the oncologists told him about their 28-day treatment plan.
“We had a plan,” Norris wrote in the book. “It reminded me of my collegiate football games. A plan I must follow to get the results needed to win. In essence, this was my journey, with fourth and inches.”
In football, a fourth down play is critical for the offensive team because it is the last chance to move the ball the mandatory 10 yards. When the ball is inches from that 10-yard goal on fourth down, the team must move the ball, or the other team will take over.
“It's a critical point,” Norris said. “You're either going to make a first down, and continue trying for a touchdown, or you're going to punt. I was either going to get better, or I wasn't.”
After two rounds of chemotherapy treatment, Norris was referred to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. On his first day, with the white-coated doctors surrounding him reading from clipboards and developing their plan, Norris said he was brought back to the image of a football huddle, and the analogy of being part of a team with a plan stayed with him.
Through six rounds of chemotherapy, the 218-pound bodybuilder dwindled to only 148 pounds. He lost control of his body and was at times too weak to sit upright in bed. In the book, Norris said doctors came to talk to him about depression and one advised him to put his personal affairs in order and consider funeral arrangements.
“It was tough to see your body deteriorate right before your eyes,” Norris said.
When the chemotherapy was finally successful in eradicating the cancer from his body, Norris said he felt like he won his fourth-and-inches play, but the next 10 yards would be just as hard-fought.
Norris needed a bone marrow transplant, but none of his family members were a match. The Be the Match database for bone marrow donors was able to find him a match and a willing donor within three days. Norris said he knows how lucky he was because many people — especially in minority populations — struggle to find donor matches.
His body tried to reject the marrow and Norris became very sick, at one point passing out in his hospital room and collapsing on the floor. He was taken to the intensive care unit, heavily sedated, and put on a respirator for several days.
Norris said writing the book was an intense, emotional journey for him, and began simply as a way for him to process all he had been through.
“It brought back a lot of memories … times I was so sick, times I was in ICU, what I can remember of it. … I would think about things that happened and I'd put (the manuscript) away for four or five days,” he said.
Norris' cancer is in remission, and last year he was able to open Clyde's Fitness on Kennedy Street in Spartanburg, S.C. He closed his first gym — Main Street Fitness — while he was in Charleston for treatment. Norris is back to doing what he loves most, helping others reach their fitness goals and lifting weights. He hopes to compete in the Mr. Universe competition in 2015.
“I'm not exactly back to where I was, but I'm getting stronger,” Norris said.
Norris still takes dozens off pills each day to ward of the effects of cancer treatment. He has to take anti-rejection medication and supplements to help his body absorb key nutrients. As a result of the chemotherapy, he had to have cataract surgery on both eyes, and battles respiratory infections and other side effects. He regularly sees a cardiologist, pulmonologist, ophthalmologist and dermatologist.
“There hasn't been a 30-day period I haven't been back and forth to Charleston,” Norris said. “… It made me take a step back a minute and smell the roses. I was always go, go, go, working 15 hours a day. I don't do that so much now, mostly because I can't.”
Norris said he hopes his story is an inspiration to people battling cancer and their family and friends. He said he wants people to understand the critical importance of a team approach, and a positive attitude in treatment and recovery.
He said he also hopes his story impresses on people the importance of going to the doctor, because even healthy people get sick.
Copies of the book are available at Clyde's Fitness and at BJ Music on Whitney Road in Spartanburg, S.C. Norris will be signing books at BJ Music on Saturday.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Oct. 1

13 hours 15 min ago
Blessing of the Animals canceled
The second Blessing of the Animals Service, which was scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday at Grace Lutheran Church in Hendersonville, has been canceled. For more information, call 882-693-4890.
Republican Party to hold rally, fundraiser
The Henderson County Republican Party will host a grand opening rally and fundraiser at its new headquarters from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at The Opportunity House, 1411 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville.
Helping to kick off the event is Sen. Tom Apodaca, Sheriff Charlie McDonald, Reps. Chuck McGrady and Chris Whitmire, with closing remarks from Congressman Mark Meadows. The public is invited to meet the candidates, enjoy refreshments and join fundraising efforts.
Meetings
Hendersonville City Council will meet at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the Operations Center. The city will be applying for a North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund 2014 Grant to benefit Berkeley Mills Park, and public comments are encouraged.
The Glenn C. Marlow Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:30 p.m. today in the media center of the school.
The Sugarloaf Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:30 p.m. today in Room 404 of the school.
Events
A bamboo walking tour will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Haiku Bamboo Nursery, 468 Rhodes Mountain Road, Hendersonville. Cost is $20. For reservations, call 685-3053.
A Harvest Boot Scootin Boogey Ball will be held Saturday by Southern Lights Square and Round Dance Club at the Whitmire Activity Building, Lily Pond Road, Hendersonville. Advance dance at 6 p.m., early rounds at 7 p.m., squares and rounds at 7:30 p.m. Guest caller: Marty Northrup. Cuers: Lou and Al Krech. Info: 694-3636, 828-808-7051.
The Henderson County Democratic Party will hold its monthly hot buffet breakfast with unlimited coffee from 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday at 905 S. Greenville Highway, Hendersonville. Cost is $8 per person/free for first-timers. Info: 692-6424.
Keiji Oshima, the "Bamboo Craft Master," will demonstrate the bamboo craft from 1-3 p.m. Friday at Haiku Bamboo Shop, 20 Tuttle Road, Hendersonville. Free. Info: 685-3053.
The League of Women Voters of Henderson County will hold a voter information/registration event from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Etowah Library, 101 Brickyard Road, Etowah.
The Mediation Center will conduct its eighth annual Bob Silvia Memorial Golf Tournament on Thursday at Connestee Falls Golf Club, 98 Overlook Clubhouse Drive, Brevard. The range opens at 10:30 a.m. and the shotgun start takes place at noon.
Registration is $85 for individuals and $320 for a foursome. Supporters of the Mediation Center who are not playing in the tournament may reserve a space for the dinner at a cost of $20 per person. Contact Amy Neshat at 251-6089, ext. 210 or info@mediatewnc.org for reservations.
Categories: News

Attorney: Fight ensued when defendant tried to end relationship

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 23:22
Witnesses in the murder trial of Daniel Clay Moore Tuesday described finding a bloodbath when they went to check on 52-year-old Walt Davis, who was missing from work at the Esmeralda Inn.
Davis was found dead inside his Bat Cave home more than three days after he reportedly died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to an autopsy report.
The state’s first witnesses said they discovered a bloody and broken phone outside Davis' home, two days before Davis' body was found and one day after police believe he died. It would turn out to be a harbinger of things to come.
Opening statements
Moore is accused of killing Davis with a hammer in October 2012, but opening statements Tuesday morning varied on why he did it.
Attorneys painted a grisly scene inside an otherwise quiet Bat Cave cabin on the shores of Grassy Creek. That was where Davis' friends made a “horrific” discovery, said Assistant District Attorney Doug Pearson. Davis had missed work at the inn when his co-workers decided to go check on him.
“They found their friend, Walt, dead. You’re going to hear testimony of what kind of evidence was found in that house. You’re going to hear about a lot of blood,” Pearson told the jury.
Moore had moved in with Davis weeks before the gruesome discovery, but was nowhere to be found when officers were called to the cabin.
Moore’s defense attorney, Todd Williams, told the jury that the rent wasn’t “free,” that Davis had invited Moore to live with him in exchange for working around the house. A relationship developed between the two, but when Moore decided to be with another man, Williams said, a fight ensued.
Daniel Moore
Moore was born in Alabama and was raised by his grandmother, Williams said. “His father was abusive both to him and to his mother. Daniel Moore was sexually abused as a child.”
“As a youth, he grew up in the church, a Pentecostal church in Alabama,” Williams said. “He was in the choir… he became a youth pastor. At age 16, he had a daughter. By age 21, his daughter had passed… By age 21, Daniel Moore had come out as a man who was interested in same-sex relationships and was suffering from immense grief over the loss of his child. He began drinking.”
Williams said Moore was removed from the church and, over the years, his drinking grew steadily worse and he developed a taste for drugs.
He told the jury that Moore moved with his boyfriend to Western North Carolina, hoping a change of scenery might help Moore break his addiction to drugs and alcohol. The substance abuse continued and Moore found himself without a boyfriend or a place to live.
Williams said that when they broke up, Moore turned to his friend, Davis, a man he met at O.Henry’s, a bar in Asheville.
“Davis invited Mr. Moore to stay with him to do work around the house,” Williams said. “Now, what you’re going to hear is that Mr. Davis had resources. Mr. Moore didn’t have resources. Mr. Davis would buy Mr. Moore drinks, buy Mr. Moore drugs. Mr. Moore had a regular habit of drinking 15-20 drinks a night. We’re talking about bourbon. He had a very severe drinking problem.
“There was a lot of partying, a lot of late nights. You’ll hear that one time, Mr. Moore and Mr. Davis were consuming meth that Mr. Davis had purchased … and in exchange for some of the meth, Mr. Davis invited Mr. Moore to perform oral sex on him,” Williams said.
But after nights of partying and waking up in bed with Davis, Moore’s attorney said his client found a new boyfriend and told Davis he was leaving him.
“Mr. Davis became enraged,” Williams said. “He grabbed a hold of Mr. Moore. A fight ensued. Mr. Moore believed that Mr. Davis was kissing him, grabbing him by his private parts and forcing him down… Mr. Moore, you’re going to hear, believed that a sexual assault was in progress. It was then that the hammer that was nearby was grabbed and then used to defend Mr. Moore. After you hear all this evidence, you’re going to find Mr. Moore not guilty of first-degree murder.”
A bloody phone
Melissa and Everett P. Johnson Jr. were celebrating a rare child-free day with a drive through the country to explore new sights when they saw a dirt road that beckoned a closer look.
The Fairview couple ventured off of Highway 9 down Minihaha Drive around 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2012 and found the former Old Mill Market. The store was closed and the property was up for sale, but Melissa Johnson said her eyes were drawn to an old water wheel on the site and then to a homemade train fashioned out of barrels.
Their son loves trains, she said. Melissa Johnson grabbed a sale brochure to inquire about the train and they started to leave when a lady showed up and encouraged them to see the waterfall on the property.
They went to the waterfall and noticed a cabin by the rushing creek.
“We were talking about how charming the cabin was because there’s a balcony with stairs that lead straight down to the water,” she said.
Her husband started walking toward the waterfall.
“As he was over there, I found a phone. I found the top part of a phone laying on the ground,” Melissa Johnson said.
The broken cellphone was found between the cabin, where Davis would be found two days later, and the creek, where a rescue worker would find the hammer. An autopsy report would later show Davis died a minute after midnight on Oct. 8, 2012.
The cellphone was broken, Melissa Johnson said, its battery and back panel missing. She picked it up and noticed blood and “what appeared to be a perfect fingerprint on the phone.”
The Johnsons took pictures of the scene and of the broken phone, placed the phone into an empty sandwich bag and called the police.
Gruesome discovery
Erin “Scout” McCormick, who worked with Davis at the Esmeralda Inn for about a year and a half, told the jury Davis was a friend who was “constantly giving all the time.”
McCormick came in to work at 2 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2012 and noticed the kitchen was extra busy that day.
“When I was asking what I could do, how everything was going, I was told that it was really busy because Walt (Davis) had been a no-call, no-show,” McCormick said, which was “very” unusual.
“In the short time period when I was the interim front-house manager and he was under me, he actually would call me occasionally worried that he was going to be late and he’d still end up being on time,” McCormick said.
Davis was due in at 7:30 a.m. Later testimony revealed that calls to his cellphone at 7:45 a.m. and noon were never answered. Text messages went unreturned.
“When you discovered that he had not showed up for work, what was your first thought?” Pearson asked.
“Something was wrong,” McCormick answered.
The co-worker had been to Davis’ house on other occasions and volunteered to go check on him. McCormick pulled up next to Davis’ red Geo Tracker outside his home at 27 Minihaha Drive around 2:30 p.m. The front door was locked.
“I could hear the television on … so I had to knock really loud and was yelling his name and there was no response, but his car was there and he didn’t have another vehicle,” McCormick said. “So I kind of started making my way toward the back of the house, looking through windows and knocking and still yelling his name, what I was hoping would be loud enough for him to hear me because the television was really loud.”
McCormick knew that the sliding glass door to Davis’ bedroom on his back porch was never locked, “so at that point I called work” and asked the owner of the inn, Aileen Kelly, what to do next.
“Something felt really wrong. It was just a scary feeling, in general,” McCormick said.
Keeping Kelly on the line, McCormick slid open the door and stepped inside, took a couple of steps around the bed – and screamed.
“I found him on his back,” McCormick said. “There was a lot of blood and I started panicking. It seemed obvious to me that it was not an accident… I was screaming his name and I was scared. I was scared I might be trapped” in the back of the house.
Fearing the killer may still be in the home, McCormick kept Kelly on the line and fled.
“Were you under the impression that money wasn’t a problem for Walt (Davis)?” Williams asked under cross-examination, after hearing Davis had paid McCormick’s way to the state fair one year.
“I wouldn’t say that money wasn’t a problem. He never gave the impression that he was loaded,” McCormick said. “I think he was always willing to share not just money, but anything. He would watch a movie and the next day he’d ask you if you’d seen it and if you hadn’t, the next day you’d have it in your hands.”
Taking the stand after McCormick, Kelly said that a man named “Daniel” had moved in with Davis a couple of weeks prior, but nothing Davis said about Moore led her to believe the two were in a relationship.
Kelly told the jury that she could only remember Davis coming in late to work one time before and that he was a “very dedicated employee.” She said he would often offer his house to anyone at work who needed a place to stay.
After hearing McCormick scream on the phone that Davis was covered in blood, Kelly called 911. The two returned to Davis’ home to wait for help to arrive.
Deputies find a bloodbath
Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Master Deputy Terry Foster was the first to arrive.
He said he had been called to the area two days prior for the discovery of the phone. On Oct. 11, 2012, he was sent to the cabin on a “health and welfare check.”
He found Kelly and McCormick outside the home “shook up and very concerned.”
Inside, he discovered a lifeless Davis and called for backup. Attempts to clear the scene of a possible suspect were thwarted by the blood evidence that drenched the house’s interior.
“In my 24 years (in law enforcement), I had never seen … that much blood in the area of a residence, in the kitchen and down the hallway. I couldn’t go down the hallway without running through the evidence that was already there,” he said.
Officers testified that shoeprints trailed through the blood on the floors.
Special Agent James McClellan, a 14-year veteran crime scene examiner with the State Bureau of Investigation, said that after the scene was thoroughly photographed, they placed brown paper on the blood-stained floor to give them a path to walk on.
He told the jury about the photos. Several showed a blood-stained kitchen counter, a blood-splattered ceiling and a trail of blood leading from the kitchen down the hall to the back bedroom where Davis was found.
His legs were in the hall, McClellan said, but Davis’ hips and upper torso where lying face-up in his bedroom.
Davis seemed to have suffered “laceration-type wounds,” McClellan said, telling the jury that he looked for the type of object that could have caused the wounds, but found nothing inside the residence. He thought of a claw hammer, he said, and asked for a search to be conducted outside.
Paul Kaplan, a full-time firefighter and member of the Henderson County Rescue Squad who specializes in swift-water rescue, came out to help. He told the jury that in his search of the roaring, swift-moving creek he felt the claw-side of a hammer with his knee, took photographs to record the discovery and carefully collected it for evidence.
Testifying after Kaplan, McClellan said that the hammer was found about 50 feet away from the home.
The trial is set to resume at 9:30 a.m. with testimony from a forensic specialist who examined Davis’ body. McClellan’s testimony will reconvene after the medical examiner.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver

Categories: News

Prep roundup: West now 18-0; HHS, North win

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 22:06
VOLLEYBALL
HENDERSONVILLE 3, AVERY COUNTY 0
Highlights: Scores of this Western Highlands Conference match were 25-20, 25-8, 25-13. For HHS, Cassie Born had 12 kills and seven digs, Micayla Bedoian had nine kills and three blocks, Victoria Schandevel had four aces, 20 assists and five digs, Blaire Hawkins had 11 assists and Sydney Gilliam had two aces, six kills and two blocks.
JV: HHS, 2-0.
Record: HHS, 16-1, 9-0 WHC.
Next match: HHS, Thursday at Mitchell.
NORTH HENDERSON 3, TUSCOLA 0
Highlights: Scores of this WNC Athletic Conference match were 25-14, 25-5, 25-15. For North, Caroline Marsh had 12 kills and seven blocks, Megan Edwards had 13 assists and six serving points, Jonnie Petree had nine digs, seven aces and 12 serving points and Alex Oates had 11 assists, four aces and eight serving points.
JV: North, 2-0.
Record: North, 12-6, 7-3 WNCAC.
Next match: North, Thursday at Franklin.
WEST HENDERSON 3, PISGAH 0
Highlights: Scores of this WNC Athletic Conference match in Canton were 25-21, 25-21, 25-12. For unbeaten West, Rachel Kordonowy had 20 digs, Sierra Jones had 50 assists and 10 digs, Mary Catherine Ball had 16 kills, Destynee Ga lloway had 12 kills and nine digs, Gracie Carrick had eight kills, Taylor Houck had 14 kills, Lexi Thomas had seven digs and Haley Staton had four kills.
JV: West, 2-0.
Record: West, 18-0, 10-0 WNCAC.
Next match: West, Thursday vs. Brevard.
TENNIS
HENDERSONVILLE 8, AVERY COUNTY 1
Tuesday at North Henderson HS
Singles
Lindsey Wiseman (A) d. Haley Fair 10-2, Erin Lindsey (H) d. Catura Taylor 10-4, Amy Yarborough (H) d. Savannah Church 10-1, Natasha Townsend (H) d. Ollianne Raney 10-4, Annabelle Webb (H) d. Morgan Parris 10-0, Rachel Morrow (H) d. Destiny Morrison 10-3
Doubles
Fair-Yarborough (H) d. Wiseman-Raney (A) 8-6, Townsend-Lindsey (H) d. Church-Taylor 8-2, Webb-Morrow (H) d. Parris-Johnson 8-1
Record: HHS, 8-5, 6-0 WHC.
Next match: HHS, Thursday at Owen.
BREVARD 7, WEST HENDERSON 2
Tuesday at West Henderson
Singles
Savannah Smith (W) d. Victoria Roberts 10-1, Kathleen Elliott (B) d. Carolina Herrera 10-1, Ava Loftis (B) d. Kendall Gilliam 10-0, Aly Henneberry (B) d. Mary Laine Bridges 10-1, Bailey Shuler (B) d. Larissa Cooper 10-3, Delaney Holland (B) d. Danie Cooper 10-2
Doubles
Smith/Herrera (W) d. Roberts/Elliott 8-2, Henneberry/Shuler (B) d. Gilliam/Bridges 8-4, Holland/Hannah Stansel (B) d. Cooper/Cooper 8-4
Record: Brevard, 11-2, 10-0 WNCAC.
Next match: Brevard, today at North Henderson. West, Thursday vs. Tuscola.
SOCCER
CHRIST SCHOOL 10, SHANNON FOREST 1
Highlights: Christ School scored seven goals in the first half en route to a 10-1 victory over Shannon Forest on Tuesday. Mark Dwers and Fabrice Dallies each scored two goals in the first half. Sam Grabenstein, Will Iorio, and Graham Lail each scored a goal in the first half. Connor Allison, Liam McCann, and Dave Warriner each scored a goal in the second half. Riley Smith had two assists. David Blair, John Dwers, McCann each had an assist. Tyler Bradley scored the goal for Shannon Forest.
Record: Christ School, 7-4-4
Next match: Christ School, Friday at Asheville Christian.
Categories: News

Secret Service head takes onus for White House breach

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 19:39
WASHINGTON — Facing blistering criticism from Congress, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson acknowledged on Tuesday the agency failed in executing its plan to protect the White House when a man with a knife entered the mansion and ran through half the ground floor before being subdued.
"It's unacceptable," Pierson told lawmakers, promising a review of how the storied but blemished agency carries out its mission of protecting the president and how it failed to intercept the intruder much earlier.
"I'll make sure that it does not happen again," she said, declaring that she took full responsibility for the failures.
Pierson disclosed that there have been six fence-jumpers this year alone, including one just eight days before Army veteran Omar J. Gonzalez scaled the fence on Sept. 19.
Pierson appeared Tuesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
"The fact is the system broke down," declared committee chairman Darrell Issa. "An intruder walked in the front door of the White House, and that is unacceptable."
Not only that, he said, but the intruder penetrated at least five rings of security protecting what is supposed to be one of the world's most secure properties.
"How on earth did it happen?" he asked. "This failure ... has tested the trust of the American people in the Secret Service, a trust we clearly depend on to protect the president."
Lawmakers from both parties were aghast, too, about a four-day delay in 2011 before the Secret Service realized a man had fired a high-powered rifle at the White House.
The Washington Post reported on the weekend that some Secret Service officers believed immediately that shots had been fired into the mansion but they were "largely ignored" or afraid to challenge their bosses' conclusions that the shooting was not directed at the White House.
Such breaches, combined with recurring reports of misbehavior within the agency, cause "many people to ask whether there is a much broader problem with the Secret Service," said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, top Democrat on the committee.
Members of Congress briefed by the agency apparently weren't told of the full extent of the breaches. Details emerged only later.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Monday night that whistleblowers told the committee that the recent intruder ran through the White House, into the East Room and near the doors to the Green Room before being apprehended. They also reported to lawmakers that accused intruder Gonzalez made it past a guard stationed inside the White House, Chaffetz said.
On the way to the East Room, the intruder would have passed a stairwell that leads to the first family's residence.
"I'm worried that over the last several years, security has gotten worse — not better," Chaffetz said.
Pierson said Tuesday that the front door to the White House now locks automatically in a security breach. She said that on Sept. 19 a Secret Service guard was attempting to lock one of the doors manually when the intruder knocked the agent down.
In the hours after the Sept. 19 fence-jumper incident, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told The Associated Press that Gonzalez had been apprehended just inside the North Portico doors of the White House. The agency also said that night the Army veteran had been unarmed — an assertion that was revealed to be false the next day, when officials acknowledged Gonzalez had a knife with him when he was apprehended.
Senate Judiciary Committee staffers who were briefed about the investigation by the administration a week after the incident were never told how far Gonzalez made it into the building, according to a congressional official who wasn't authorized to discuss the investigation and requested anonymity. The official said the committee later was told that the suspect had, indeed, made it far beyond the front door.
Chaffetz said the committee's request for a briefing from the Secret Service on the incident was denied, a response he called "disappointing and frustrating."
Pierson's predecessor, Mark J. Sullivan, apologized to lawmakers in 2012 after details emerged of a night of debauchery involving 13 Secret Service agents and officers in advance of the president's arrival at a summit in Colombia. Sullivan retired about 10 months later.
Details of how far Gonzalez got into the White House were disclosed Monday.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, The Washington Post reported that Gonzalez ran past the guard at the front door, past the staircase leading up to the Obamas' living quarters and into the East Room, which is about halfway across the first floor of the building. Gonzalez was eventually "tackled" by a counter-assault agent, the Post said.
Getting so far into the building would have required Gonzalez to dash through the main entrance hall, turn a corner, then run through the center hallway halfway across the first floor of the building, which spans 168 feet in total, according to the White House Historical Association.
Since the incident, the White House has treaded carefully. Although White House spokesman Josh Earnest acknowledged the president was "obviously concerned" about the intrusion, he expressed confidence in the Secret Service as recently as Monday.
It would be untenable for any president, not just Obama, to pointedly criticize the men and women who put themselves at risk to protect his life and family. That inherent conflict of interest means Congress, not the executive branch, is the most effective oversight authority for the Secret Service, its agents and officers.
"The president and the first lady, like all parents, are concerned about the safety of their children, but the president and first lady also have confidence in the men and women of the Secret Service to do a very important job," Earnest said.
___
On Twitter follow Alicia A. Caldwell at www.twitter.com/acaldwellap and Josh Lederman at https://twitter.com/joshledermanAP
Categories: News

Judge dismisses murder charge in Transylvania cold case

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 17:55
A Superior Court judge has dismissed a murder indictment charging Michael Owen with the 1996 disappearance and presumed death of Transylvania County resident Edna Glaze, according to a news release issued Tuesday by District Attorney Greg Newman.
Judge Philip Ginn ruled in favor of a motion filed by defense lawyer Chris Stepp to dismiss the murder charge because of the length of time between Owen’s identification as a suspect in 2000 and the grand jury indictment in 2013, according to the release.
The judge ruled that the time gap violated Owen’s due process rights of preparing a defense to the charge, the release states.
“The hearing occurred last week in the Henderson County Superior Court following the murder trial of Eric Wilson,” the release states. “Ms. Edna Glaze, age 76, a Brevard resident, was reported missing on March 19, 1996. She was never located, and her body has never been found. A suspect was identified, however, in 2000 when an anonymous letter was delivered to Brevard Police naming Michael Owen as the person responsible for the disappearance of Ms. Glaze.”
According to a search warrant affidavit filed in August 2000, Owen confessed to killing Glaze, but when her body was not found in the spot where Owen said he placed it, Owen was not arrested. District Attorney Jeff Hunt decided against prosecuting Owen without the body or other physical evidence corroborating Owen’s admission.
Newman, who was appointed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to succeed Hunt in July 2013, was asked to review the case by Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney and Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris. Newman agreed to prosecute the case, and a Transylvania County grand jury indicted Owen on a charge of first-degree murder in November 2013.
Owen was arrested has remained in custody awaiting trial since that time, the release states.
“This case clearly meant a great deal to the law enforcement community in Transylvania County,” Newman said in the news release, “because Ms. Glaze was so highly regarded in Brevard. Several people assisted law enforcement in searching for Ms. Glaze, and a tremendous amount of time and effort were put into the investigation of her disappearance. I am convinced by the evidence that Mr. Owen is responsible for the death of Ms. Glaze and should stand trial for his actions. Unfortunately, the process does not always produce the results we want, but I respect the rule of law and appreciate the heroic efforts of both the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Department and Brevard Police for seeking the truth about what happened to Ms. Glaze.”
Mahoney added, “We always wanted to provide closure for Ms. Glaze’s family, and I continue to believe that Michael Owen knows more than he admitted when he confessed to her murder 14 years ago. Many law enforcement officers poured heart and soul into this investigation for many years, and I am saddened that the responsible party will not be held accountable for the disappearance and death of Ms. Glaze. She (Ms. Glaze) was a sweet lady and did not deserve to have her life end the way that it did.”
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