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Hendersonville Times-News: Top Stories

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Updated: 23 min 53 sec ago

Oskar Blues makes list of fastest-growing companies

52 min 55 sec ago
With nine-plus years of double-digit growth and buoyed recently by the success of its Eastern production facility and tasting room in Brevard, Oskar Blues Brewery has landed a spot in the top half of the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the country.
"As an Inc. 5000 honoree, Oskar Blues Brewery now shares a pedigree with Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, Jamba Juice, Timberland, Clif Bar, Pandora, Patagonia, Oracle and other notable alumni. You are in good company, which is exactly where you belong," Eric Schurenberg, Inc. Magazine president and editor-in-chief, wrote in a letter to Oskar Blues owner Dale Katechis, according to a news release from the Brevard brewery on Wednesday.
Thanks to the addition of the North Carolina facility, Colorado-based Oskar Blues saw a 40 percent-plus increase in beer production and distribution over the past year. In 2013, the Brevard facility cranked out 46,000 barrels of beer and expects to nearly double that number this year — making it the largest craft brewery in the state after Sierra Nevada.
The Brevard brewery has helped Oskar Blues increase distribution to 35 U.S. states and four countries overall. It also currently employs 43 workers, and has played a major role in tourism for Transylvania County.
According to Clark Lovelace, executive director of the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, as of Aug. 31, foot traffic and phone calls at the visitors center — as well as requests for tourism brochure mailings — all are up more than 10 percent over last year.
In July, more people stopped in the visitors center than in any single month since the TDA began tracking such numbers.
Brevard officials say Oskar Blues has been an integral part of this tourism surge, particularly with regard to a younger demographic of visitors than the area is accustomed to seeing.
"I think we are lucky to have a business like Oskar Blues here that brings people to the area, integrates itself in a positive way within the community and is something that we can point to as a success story," Lovelace said. "I'm proud to have Oskar Blues here in Transylvania County, plus, millions of cans that say 'Brevard, North Carolina' on it — it doesn't get much better than that."
Heath Seymour, executive director of the nonprofit Heart of Brevard, whose mission is to maintain a vital downtown, praised Oskar Blues' sponsorship and assistance with numerous downtown events throughout the year such as the White Squirrel Festival, July 4th celebration and upcoming Halloween Fest on Oct. 25.
"I can't say enough about how much they do here," he said, "and there are a lot of people who appreciate them being here."
Oskar Blues, which yielded more than 70,000 barrels of beer in Colorado last year, had a total output of 119,000 barrels in 2013, putting the company at No. 24 on the Brewers Association's annual Top 50 Breweries list. Both the Brevard and Longmont, Colo., Oskar Blues breweries are continuing to expand in 2014, including adding 60,000 square feet of production space in Colorado. That space will include a six-lane bowling alley that will be open to Tasty Weasel Taproom customers.
Oskar Blues' growth has encompassed a number of new projects in 2014, including the opening of the Oskar Blues REEB Ranch in Henderson County; the release of the first American nitrogen canned craft beer, Old Chub Nitro; creating the CAN'd Aid Foundation, which has raised more than $1.2 million for Colorado flood relief, recycling, sustainability initiatives and more; and the addition of two more Oskar Blues family restaurants in Colorado — CyclHOPS Bike CAN-tina and CHUBurger at Coors Field in Denver.
Categories: News

Restaurant brings Mediterranean cuisine to Main Street

1 hour 17 min ago
A high-profile designer of Mediterranean-style Miami homes is focusing his architectural skills on a corner building in downtown Hendersonville, priming it to house his other passion — authentic Italian cuisine.
Renzo Maietto hails from Verbania, Italy, and in 1977 relocated to Miami, where he designed and built lavish homes like the $3.9 million Casa Florence mansion.
Throughout his 30-year building career, Maietto has maintained his family's tradition of preparing Italian meals. Since falling in love with Western North Carolina in 2006, Maietto is bringing traditional Italian to 502 N. Main St. with Renzo's Ristorante.
“I got so affectionate with the city, I cannot move,” he said, adding that the region's mountains, lakes and seasons are what he'd been missing since he was born.
Maietto is leasing the two-story, 5,000-square-foot building that formerly housed Mrs. G and Me restaurant, and completely revamping its interior.
“Practically nothing of the old remains,” he said.
The bar, main seating area and kitchen will be located downstairs, and the upper floor will house private rooms for events – including one with a working fireplace.
Marietto plans to open the restaurant in the next six weeks.
“It's going to be the best Italian restaurant you can imagine,” he said, explaining that he won't be serving the heavy, New York-style Italian, but rather the true Mediterranean cuisine of north, central and south Italy.
He'll also be serving wines from Italian vineyards that don't usually export in bulk, since he visits his homeland frequently.
“I had this passion since I was 6 years old,” Maietto said, when he began helping his grandmother in the kitchen of the restaurant where she worked, and was nicknamed “the knob” since he did the job of knobs on electrical stoves, increasing and decreasing heat in the restaurant's coal stove.
Picking up tips from his grandmother, Maietto said he learned “the flavor from the past,” which he said can't be taught in culinary school.
Maietto will serve as the master chef at Renzo's Ristorante, and plans to create authentic recipes using the freshest Henderson County produce.
“We'll integrate all the local farming into Italian cuisine,” Maietto said.
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Reach McGowan at molly.mcgowan@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7871.
___
Follow Molly McGowan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TNmollymcgowan
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Sept. 19

6 hours 52 min ago
Patriot Club to meet, begin lecture series
The Sentinel Patriot Club will begin the lecture and discussion series “The Providential Founding of Our Republic” featuring constitutional scholar, attorney and author Henry Leissing as the course instructor at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 25 at Bay Breeze, 1830 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville.
The meeting is open to the public. There are no dues, costs or fees for attending and lunch is optional. For more information, visit www.sentinelpatriot.com.
Tables available for yard sale
Tables are available for the Shriners/Elks indoor/outdoor yard sale, held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 27 at The Elks Lodge, 546 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. Tables measure 6 feet and are available at $20 or two for $30. All proceeds benefit the Shriners Hospital in Greenville, S.C. Call 697-2263 or 699-5696 to reserve a table.
Meetings
The Mills River Agricultural Advisory Committee will meet at 9 a.m. today in the conference room of Town Hall.
Events
The Barnyard Bandits 4-H Club will hold an auction at 6 p.m. Saturday with a free meal for buyers at 5 p.m. at the Livestock Sales Arena at the WNC Agriculture Center, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher. Info: 243-8360.
A Boot Scootin' Boogey dance 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. Caller: Stan Russell. Cuers: Lou and Al Krech. Info: 694-3636, 685-3849.
A car seat check will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Valley Hill Fire Department, 1675 Willow Road, Hendersonville.
The Fletcher Parks & Recreation Department will host its final Concert in the Park of the season from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday at Fletcher Community Park.
The Henderson County Animal Services Center and the Obedience Club of Asheville will offer free good manners tests and training tips to dog owners as part of Canine Good Citizen Day at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Henderson County Animal Services Center, 828 Stoney Mountain Road, Hendersonville. Info: 697-4723.
Lost Playwrights will meet from 2-4 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium of Henderson County Library, 301 N. Washington St., Hendersonville. Anyone interested in any aspect of theater or creative writing is invited. There are no dues.
Professor Jerry Howe will be identifying minerals from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Mineral & Lapidary Museum, 400 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Info: 698-1977.
“Remember Newtown” will mark the 21st month since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. with an observance at noon Saturday in front of the Historic Courthouse on Main Street. Participants will read the names of the 20 children and the six educators who lost their lives in the shooting rampage. Pictures of each victim will be displayed as the names are read.
The Henderson County Republican Women's Club will hold a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cedars, 227 Seventh Ave. W., Hendersonville. Cost for members is $14 and cost for nonmembers is $20. Mail checks to the HCRWC at P.O. Box 2734, Hendersonville, NC 28798. Info: 692-9333.
Categories: News

Week 5: East Henderson hosts Polk County

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:50
Two weeks ago, East Henderson made three consecutive plays against Hendersonville that new head coach John McMillan was happy about.
The Bearcats had pounced on the Eagles early, but McMillan's Eagles fought back. They scored a touchdown before the half to show a little life, but it was three plays in the second half that showed a sense of urgency that McMillan had been waiting on.
He hopes that carries over this week against Polk County coming off of a bye week.
"They found a little bit of fire," McMillan said. "They started believing they were going to win."
The three-play sequence put 14 points on the board in less than a minute. Nykeem Brooks rushed for a touchdown. East then recovered an onside kick. On the next play from scrimmage, Cole Revis took the ball 41 yards for a touchdown.
The Eagles (0-3) showed that spark, but it wasn't enough.
In that game, the Eagles had dug too deep of a hole, which is something that they will have to avoid to finally get into the win column, the coach said.
"We've got to not beat ourselves," he said. "We are competing, but we're having too many breakdowns. We have to work harder to be in the game at the end."
So far this season, the Eagles' wing-based offense has gained some traction. East has three backs who have rushed for over 100 yards. Nick Lyons leads the way with 177 yards. Revis is right behind him with 172 and Brooks has 108 rushing yards.
The Eagles will need that ground game and a good game on defense with the Wolverines coming to East Flat Rock.
The Wolverines (2-2) have finally hit the groove that head coach Jamie Thompson expected. Polk had to fight through two brutal games against Shelby and Asheville to start the season but have dominated the last two weeks in wins over R-S Central and Landrum (S.C.).
Jamal Wheeler will be leading the way for the Wolverines. The junior quarterback has rushed for 386 and passed for 420 with a combined eight touchdowns.
Radio: WHKP 1450 AM
Online: WHKP.com
Twitter: @BRNJoey
Other games:
Cherokee (1-3) at Brevard (0-3)
Last season: Brevard beat Cherokee 51-12.
Last week: Cherokee lost to Raben Gap (Ga.) 41-26. Brevard didn't play.
Setup: Brevard comes into the week not only looking for its first win, but its first win on the new turf at home. Tanner Ellenberger has been the offensive star for the Blue Devils this season. The quarterback has thrown for 418 yards and rushed for 106 yards this season. Alec Dubreuil has rushed for 107 yards. Hunter Johnson has caught eight passes for 110 yards. Cherokee, on the other hand, snapped a 15-game losing streak against Chocktaw Central (Miss.) two weeks ago. Cherokee is led by quarterback Brandon Buchanan. Buchanan has thrown for 668 yards and rushed for 212 yards this season.
Radio: WSQL 1240
Online: WSQLradio.com
Twitter: @BRNDean
Christ School (2-1) at Hendersonville (3-1)
Last season: Christ School beat Hendersonville 20-14.
Last week: Hendersonville beat North Henderson 34-7. Christ School beat Forsythe County Day School 51-19.
Setup: Hendersonville is grooving. Since starting the season with a loss to Asheville, the Bearcats have won three consecutive games. The offense has largely been led by Michael Schmidt, Cole Cleary, Tykel Landrum and Terrold Gary. The defense has been strong as well. The Bearcats have been winning the turnover battle and Landrum had two interceptions last week. Christ School has scored 100 points the last two weeks. Landon Archangelo has thrown for 216 yards and Sage Holley has rushed for 406 yards to lead the way.
Radio: WTZQ 1600 AM
Online: WTZQ.com
Twitter: @BRNDean
North Henderson (0-3) at Robbinsville (3-0)
Last season: Robbinsville beat North Henderson 29-21.
Last week: North lost to Hendersonville 34-7. Robbinsville didn't play.
Setup: North is coming off a tough loss to Hendersonville last week and will have to make the long trek to Robbinsville. Robbinsville has been formidable this season. Tailback Cruz Galaviz is leading the way for the Black Knights with 485 yards rushing. Quarterback Skyler Matheson has rushed for 304 yards and passed for 198 yards. North has had trouble on the offensive side of the ball. Trevor Craft has thrown for 333 yards this season. Dalton Whitaker has hauled in 191 yards receiving.
Twitter: @BRNDean, @NHHS_Knights
Mountain Heritage (2-2) at West Henderson (2-1)
Last season: Mountain Heritage beat West Henderson 47-31.
Last week: West beat North Buncombe 35-28. Mountain Heritage beat Rosman 41-12.
Setup: West took to the air last week to beat an undefeated North Buncombe squad. Quarterback William Crouch now has 291 yards passing and 215 yards of that came in last week's contest. The effect was a balanced attack from the Falcons as they went on the road to beat an undefeated team. Mountain Heritage's offense is based almost solely on freshman quarterback Trey Robinson. Robinson has thrown for 434 yards and rushed for 398 yards.
Twitter: @BRNDean, @WELCOMETOTHEPIT
___
Reach Millwood at Joey.Millwood@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7883.
___
Follow Joey Millwood on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BRNJoey
Categories: News

Ianine's hat trick lifts HHS to county title

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:50
Six days removed from the Hendersonville High football team winning the Henderson County title, the boys soccer team followed suit Thursday night at Dietz Field with a 5-0 win over North Henderson.
Leading the way was William Ianine with a hat trick (all three in the second half), and the other two first-half goals were by Chris Abel.
The Bearcats were coming off a tough conference loss to Owen, and that had coach Freddy Oviedo concerned.
"That was a tough loss the night before, but the guys bounced back big tonight," he said after his team improved to 8-4. "The guys said coming into the match that they had to win it, and they won it big."
Hendersonville dominated from the opening kick and finished the night out-shooting the Knights (3-7) 28-11.
"It was our third game of the week, and it was also North's third game of the week. It was tough on both teams, but both teams played hard," Oviedo said.
North coach Wayne Nock said one of the biggest factors of the match was team speed.
"Their defense is just incredible. That's hands-down the fastest defensive team we've seen all year," he said. "East and West both have great teams, and Hendersonville beat both of them. We knew coming into the match that it was going to be a challenge."
Nock said he was equally concerned about fatigue since it was his team's third match of the week.
"That's always tough. But when it's two county teams going at it, both teams always leave everything they have on the field," he said.
The opening JV match ended in a 1-1 tie.
Up next for both squads are conference matches next week, with North traveling to Pisgah on Monday and HHS going to Polk County on Wednesday.
___
Reach Hensley at Dean.Hensley@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7868.
___
Follow Dean Hensley on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BRNDean
Categories: News

Pigskin Picks: Time for cooler weather

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:49
I love Friday nights on the sidelines at football games. There's not much that can add to the love that exists already.
The only thing to this point that will enhance that experience is cooler weather. So far, Fridays have been blazing hot. Last Friday was the lone exception because of the monsoon that rolled through before the game actually started.
You see, we reporters are a lot like the football players who we cover. Well, sort of. It takes us a while to get into game shape. The first couple of football games are rough.
They're especially rough with the seething heat. I can't speak for all reporters, but this reporter doesn't work out at all. I'm not in the best of shape. When I get out and start walking up and down the sidelines on Fridays, that's generally the first exercise I've had since … well … last fall.
I really realized it during Week 2 at the Hendersonville at West Henderson game. The Bearcat offense reminded me that I needed to get up and down the sidelines a little faster. I'm taking notes at the 50-yard line, and Michael Schmidt has the Bearcat offense already lined up for another play.
I'm starting to finally get into game shape though. I'm exaggerating of course, but let me tell you, it's no exaggeration that I've been waiting on cooler weather since football began. If this week is any indication, it might finally feel like a fall football night this week.
As for the picks, I had my best week ever last week. I was the lone voice that expected West Henderson to top an undefeated North Buncombe team. Here's to hoping I can continue that roll into next week.
u u u
Last week: 14-3
Season: 48-25
Games back: 6
Cherokee at Brevard
This one looks a little backwards at first glance. Cherokee has a win and Brevard doesn't. Cherokee snapped a 15-game losing streak this season and the Blue Devils have yet to win a game. It may seem a little backwards, but it won't be after tonight. Brevard's winless streak ends tonight…Brevard, 35-7.
Polk Co. at East Henderson
By far, for me, this is the toughest pick of the week. I mean, Polk County looks like it's rolling after two consecutive dominating wins. East Henderson looks as though it's floundering in coach John McMillan's first season. So what is making this difficult? The Eagles showed toughness and an ability to score against Hendersonville two weeks ago. This game is going to go one of two ways. Either East is going to get some stops on defense and win a close one or Polk will win big. I can't shake what I saw against Hendersonville…East, 24-21.
Christ School at Hendersonville
Last season was a tough one for Hendersonville. Christ School got the win last season, but this Bearcat squad just looks different. Sure, Christ School has put up 100 points in the last two weeks, but come on. Neither of those teams had the same caliber of a squad that Christ School will see tonight. I think Hendersonville is just too overwhelming on offense and will run away with this one…Hendersonville, 45-7.
North Henderson at Robbinsville
North Henderson is still looking for its first win. I don't think a long trip to Robbinsville is a good scenario for that first win to come. Robbinsville is a 1-A squad, but it's as tough a 1-A program can get. I just don't think the hometown Knights can pull this one off…Robbinsville, 35-24.
Mountain Heritage at West Henderson
I'm not sure if anyone is aware, but West Henderson is building the case of being a legit threat this season. If the Falcons can avoid the turnovers they had against Hendersonville and if their offense can continue to show the balance it had against North Buncombe, West is going to win a few more games this season. I understand that North Buncombe scored 28 unanswered points, but I bet that's something coach Paul Whitaker and his staff looked at hard over the last week. I think West keeps it rolling this week…West, 24-14.
OTHER
Q. Foundation at ASHEVILLE
FRANKLIN at Enka
McDowell at OWEN
Mitchell at NORTH BUNCOMBE
REYNOLDS at South Point
T.C. Roberson at CREST
SWAIN COUNTY at Tuscola
Andrews at COPPER BASIN (Tenn.)
HAYESVILLE at Silverdale (Tenn.)
MURPHY at Gilmer (Ga.)
THOMAS JEFFERSON at Asheville School
___
Reach Millwood at Joey.Millwood@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7883.
___
Follow Joey Millwood on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BRNJoey
Mike Morgan
Last week: 13-4
Season: 54-19
Games back: None
Cherokee at BREVARD
POLK COUNTY at East Henderson
CHRIST SCHOOL at Hendersonville
North Henderson at ROBBINSVILLE
Mountain Heritage at WEST HENDERSON
Q. Foundation at ASHEVILLE
FRANKLIN at Enka
McDowell at OWEN
Mitchell at NORTH BUNCOMBE
Reynolds at SOUTH POINT
T.C. Roberson at CREST
SWAIN COUNTY at Tuscola
Andrews at COPPER BASIN (TENN)
HAYESVILLE at Silverdale (Tenn.)
MURPHY at Gilmer (Ga.)
Thomas Jefferson at ASHEVILLE SCHOOL
Dennis Little
Last week: 14-3
Season: 52-21
Games back: 2
Cherokee at BREVARD
POLK COUNTY at East Henderson
Christ School at HENDERSONVILLE
North Henderson at ROBBINSVILLE
Mountain Heritage at WEST HENDERSON
OTHER
Q. Foundation at ASHEVILLE
FRANKLIN at Enka
McDowell at OWEN
Mitchell at NORTH BUNCOMBE
Reynolds at SOUTH POINT
T.C. Roberson at CREST
SWAIN COUNTY at Tuscola
Andrews at COPPER BASIN (TENN)
HAYESVILLE at Silverdale (Tenn.)
MURPHY at Gilmer (Ga.)
THOMAS JEFFERSON at Asheville School
Lucas Lovelace
Last week: 14-3
Season: 48-25
Games back: 6
Cherokee at BREVARD
Polk County at EAST HENDERSON
Christ School at HENDERSONVILLE
NORTH HENDERSON at Robbinsville
Mountain Heritage at WEST HENDERSON
OTHER
Q. Foundation at ASHEVILLE
FRANKLIN at Enka
McDowell at OWEN
Mitchell at NORTH BUNCOMBE
Reynolds at SOUTH POINT
T.C. Roberson at CREST
SWAIN COUNTY at Tuscola
ANDREWS at Copper Basin (Tenn.)
Hayesville at SILVERDALE (Tenn.)
MURPHY at Gilmer (Ga.)
Thomas Jefferson at ASHEVILLE SCHOOL
John Domansky
Last week: 12-5
Season: 46-27
Games back: 8
Cherokee at BREVARD
POLK COUNTY at East Henderson
Christ School at HENDERSONVILLE
North Henderson at ROBBINSVILLE
Mountain Heritage at WEST HENDERSON
OTHER
Q. Foundation at ASHEVILLE
FRANKLIN at Enka
McDowell at OWEN
Mitchell at NORTH BUNCOMBE
Reynolds at SOUTH POINT
T.C. Roberson at CREST
SWAIN COUNTY at Tuscola
Andrews at COPPER BASIN (Tenn.)
Hayesville at SILVERDALE (Tenn.)
MURPHY at Gilmer (Ga.)
Thomas Jefferson at ASHEVILLE SCHOOL
Categories: News

Hendersonville sails by Polk County

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:49
The hype had been built. The driver's seat for the Western Highlands Conference was on the line.
Sandwiched by two rowdy crowds, Hendersonville hosted Polk County on Thursday night and dominated from start to finish en route to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-18) victory.
Time after time, the setters for the Lady Bearcats (13-1, 6-0) found Cassie Born or Micayla Bedoian, and time after time, the two seniors delivered. Born finished with 12 kills and Bedoian added eight.
And it wasn't just the duo's thunderous hits. The Hendersonville back line responded time and again with controlled defense that led to good sets.
"We worked all week on coming in and playing our game from the start," said Hendersonville coach Erica Cantrell, who was happy with her team's poise.
The offense flowed on Thursday night, Cantrell said, as the defense led to good sets and the court chemistry allowed the setters to find Born and Bedoian.
"We definitely have an edge with them being such power hitters," Cantrell said.
And the power doesn't stop there, as Sydney Gilliam, Victoria Schandevel and Cyrena Bedoian all had big kills on the night.
For the Lady Wolverines (9-4, 5-1), it never quite got off the ground.
Within the first minute of the match, referees handed out a yellow card to Polk coach Molly Corhn and the Lady Wolverines never recovered. The coach, who is generally pacing the sideline, had to sit the entire match and she felt that hurt her squad.
"I feel like they feed off my energy," Corhn said.
That led her team to not play as loose, she said.
"I think our biggest weakness tonight is that we played timid," Corhn said.
The Lady Wolverines led in the first set, but Hendersonville outscored them 6-3 to finish off a 25-21 set victory. In the second set, Hendersonville jumped out to a 7-2 lead and the hole was just too much for Polk to dig itself out of.
Polk's Sarah Phipps had three kills down the stretch, but it wasn't enough as Micayla Bedoian sent the final kill into the Lady Wolverine defense to end the second set 25-16. Phipps had 11 kills and 13 digs to lead Polk.
In the third set, the two teams fought furiously for the first few points in a back-and-forth struggle. Polk took an 8-7 lead. Hendersonville fought back to take a 12-10 lead and then pulled further away at 18-13 after a Born kill.
Down 24-17, Polk's Phipps got a big kill to extend the game, but on the next Lady Wolverine serve, Micayla Bedoian again scored the set-winning kill.
The Lady Bearcats expected a tough match, Micayla Bedoian said, but was happy about how it unfolded.
"We came out level-headed," the senior said. "We expected to come out , play our hardest and play as a team."
Hendersonville will host Mountain Heritage and Polk will host Madison on Tuesday night at 6.
___
Reach Millwood at Joey.Millwood@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7883.
___
Follow Joey Millwood on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BRNJoey
Categories: News

Prep roundup: West volleyball now 14-0

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:09
VOLLEYBALL
WEST HENDERSON 3, EAST HENDERSON 0
Higlights: Scores of this WNC Athletic Conference match were 25-18, 25-17, 25-11. For West, Mary Catherine Bell had 10 kills, Gracie Carrick had seven kills, Destynee Galloway had seven kills, Taylor Houck had six kills and Sierra Jones had 23 assists. For East, Bailey Waldbart had four kills, two blocks and an ace, Kayla Johnson had four kills and eight assists, Tiffany Dorn had eight assissts and Sabreena Goldsmith had eight digs.
JV: West, 2-0.
Records: West, 14-0, 7-0 WNCAC. East, 2-10, 1-6.
Next match: West, Tuesday at North Henderson. East, Tuesday at Pisgah.
NORTH HENDERSON 3, SMOKY MOUNTAIN 0
Highlights: Scores of this WNC Athletic Conference match were 25-10, 25-9, 25-18. For North, Caroline Marsh had 15 kills, Ellie Caldwell had 16 digs and 14 serving points, Lori Simpson had nine kills, Rebekah Bagwell had 15 serving points and Alex Oates had 25 assists.
JV: SM, 2-1
Record: North, 7-5, 5-2 WNCAC.
Next match: North, Saturday in a tri-match at Watauga with Statesville.
BREVARD 3, PISGAH 2
Highlights: Brevard fell behind after dropping the first two sets to Pisgah on Thursday night but roared back for a 3-2 WNC Athletic Conference victory. The Lady Blue Devils lost the first two sets 18-25 and 20-25 before winning the final three sets 25-21, 25-14 and 15-7. Ashley McBee led the way with 22 kils, 19 assists, 14 digs and 1 block. Mac McNiel had nine kills, 33 assists and 15 digs. Kjersti Anderson had 13 kills and 19 digs. Katelyn Galloway had 19 digs and Jamie Hyatt had seven kills and two blocks.
JV: Brevard, 2-0
Record: Brevard, 13-2, 6-1 WNCAC.
Next match: Brevard, Thursday vs. Franklin.
TENNIS
WEST HENDERSON 8, NORTH HENDERSON 1
Singles
Savannah Smith (W) d. Sally Gross 10-1, Carolina Herrera (W) d. Kerrigan Osborne 10-4, Kendall Gilliam (W) d. Faith Thomas 10-3, Mary Elaine Bridges (W) d. Maddie Ball 10-5, Larissa Cooper (W) d. Gabi Harness 10-5, Sofia Cruz (N) d. Danie Cooper 10-8
Doubles
Smith-Herrera (W) d. Gros-Osborne 8-0, Gilliam-Bridges (W) d. Ball-Thomas 8-4, Robinson-McCawley (W) d. Gutierrez-Patel 8-6
HENDERSONVILLE 8, POLK COUNTY 1
Thursday at Jackson Park
Singles
Alivia Livesay (P) d. Haley Fair 10-2, Erin Lindsey (H) d. Shannon Collins 10-0, Amy Yarborough (H) d. Rhian Alley 10-0, Natasha Townsend (H) d. Alicia Twitty 10-0, Annabelle Webb (H) d. Trinity Branham 10-0, Rachel Morrow (H) d. Bella Moreno 10-0
Doubles
Fair-Yarborough (H) d. Livesay-Collins 6-1, Townsend-Lindsey (H) d. Ally-Moreno 6-0, Webb-Morrow (H) d. Twitty-Morris 6-0
Record: HHS, 4-4, 2-0 WHC.
Next match: HHS, Tuesday at Mountain Heritage.
BREVARD 9, FRANKLIN 0
Thursday at Brevard
Singles
Kathleen Elliott (B) d. Hull 7-6 (12-10), 1-6, 1-0 (10-8), Victoria Roberts (B) d. Kloeppel 6-0, 6-0, Ava Loftis (B) d. Makhaila Anderson 6-1, 6-2, Aly Henneberry (B) d. Holly Sapp 6-3, 7-5, Delaney Holland (B) d. Haylee Garrett 6-1, 6-4, Hannah Stansel (B) d. McKenzie Bowman 6-3, 6-3
Doubles
Elliott/Roberts (B) d. Hull/Anderson 8-3, Loftis/Henneberry (B) d. Kloeppel/Sapp 8-5, Holland/Stansel (B) d. Garrett/Bowman 8-4
Record: Brevard, 8-1, 7-0 WNCAC.
Next match: Brevard, Monday vs. Carolina Day.
GOLF
Thursday at Crooked Creek GC
Team scores
T.C. Roberson 147, Hendersonville 152
Individual top three
Maya White (R) 35, Juliet Townsend (H) 44, Isabel Prelaz (R) 52
Next match: Hendersonville, Monday at Hendersonville Country Club.
Categories: News

Thieves steal collection for St. Baldrick's Foundation

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 19:32
An estimated $230 collected for children battling cancer filled a cowboy boot inside Helms Barbershop Wednesday night. When Josh Ballard, the shop's barber, returned Thursday morning, the money was gone.
There were no signs of a forced entry when Ballard arrived at the shop and went through his normal routine of opening up.
“When I leave, I close all my blinds, and I turn my TV and my air conditioner off and I lock my doors,” he said. “I came in here and did my normal thing. I unlocked my doors, opened my blinds, turned my TV on.”
Ballard checked the boot and was sickened to find it empty.
He called the police. The Henderson County Sheriff's Office investigated the incident, but noted in their report that nothing else besides the collection was missing from the shop.
After officers left, Ballard stopped to think about the donations and estimated close to $230 was stolen from the boot. The collection was earmarked for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a self-described “volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers.”
Ballard first learned about the foundation a couple of years ago when a customer walked in with a St. Baldrick's shirt on.
“I said, 'What's that for?' He said, 'That's childhood cancer,'” Ballard said.
The customer told him that he received the shirt when he let volunteers shave his head to raise money for the foundation. A father himself, Ballard said he was intrigued and looked into how he could volunteer with the group's next local event.
His sponsor asked him to help with fundraising, and Ballard has a goal to raise $2,500. He joined efforts with TJ Ballard, owner of the Fit Club, and Todd Letterman, a lieutenant with the Hendersonville Police Department.
TJ Ballard is accepting pledges for each pushup he can do in the time it takes Josh Ballard to shave Letterman's head. Josh Ballard estimates it should take him about three minutes.
“But I wasn't getting a whole lot of response with that, so I came up with the $1 challenge,” Josh Ballard said.
Hoping to hop aboard the money train from the recent viral ALS ice bucket challenges, Josh Ballard issued a challenge that didn't require ice, water or buckets of any kind.
“I had put up a dollar challenge on Facebook,” he said. “Everybody had been doing that ALS ice bucket challenge, so I had challenged everybody just to bring me a dollar. You didn't have to get wet. You didn't have to get cold. You didn't have to do anything, just bring me a dollar.”
Four quarters, 10 dimes, 20 nickels, 100 pennies — the barber said he wasn't picky. He just asked for $1. Many people gave more. Some kids emptied their piggy banks. One lady brought in a roll of dimes — $5. Another donated a roll of nickels — $2. But by morning, after two weeks of fundraising, all Josh Ballard had was an empty boot.
“Not one penny left at all. It was kind of disheartening,” he said.
He put a new message on Facebook warning the perpetrator they'd be punished one way or the other. He asked his friends to help by giving one more dollar, one more time.
Thursday, as he was recalling the morning's discovery, a friend came in the shop and emptied her wallet.
Josh Ballard is now keeping the money in a safer place. To donate, swing by the shop at 303 Erkwood Drive or call 828-674-9300.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

2014 a tough year for Pardee, CEO tells county

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 19:24
Pardee Hospital is projecting an operating loss of $4.47 million this fiscal year, CEO Jay Kirby told county commissioners Wednesday, making 2014 “one of the most difficult years” it’s seen in the past decade.
“This year’s operating margin will be a negative, something that’s likely a cause of concern for our board,” Kirby said. “But once you peel the onion... you understand where it came from.”
Roughly half of that 3 percent drop in projected income was due to employee health costs coming in over budget for the self-insured hospital. The cost of treating Pardee staff has run about $6 million the last several years, Kirby said, but exceeded $9 million in 2014.
“We’ve had an inordinate amount of team members with oncology issues that we’ve stepped up and made sure they’ve gotten tremendous access to care,” Kirby said, adding the hospital staff has also seen more cardiovascular and neonatal issues than usual.
In addition to that “anomaly,” Kirby said Pardee is among hospitals across the nation forced to deal with a trend of federal cuts in Medicare reimbursements and declining inpatient admissions.
Supplemented by $2.63 million in non-operating income, Pardee projects to finish the fiscal year Sept. 30 with a loss of $1.8 million, or 1.2 percent. However, he said next year the hospital is on track to net $4.2 million, or a 2.6 percent margin.
“That exceeds well over 50 percent of the hospitals in the United States,” he said.
Kirby said Pardee will achieve that goal by increasing prices an average of 5 percent, leaving 73 previously budgeted positions unfilled and changing its benefits plan. Employees will get a 2 percent bump in merit pay as well.
The 2015 budget approved by Pardee’s board of directors Aug. 27 includes $20 million in planned capital spending, including $7 million for a new cancer center and $2 million for Phase 3 improvements at the Mission-Pardee health campus.
“You might say, that’s awful bold for an organization and an industry that’s in transition,” Kirby told commissioners. “But just as this body has managed well, so has the Pardee board. We continue to have a strong balance sheet and strong financial metrics.”
While inpatient visits are down, Kirby said Pardee’s outpatient volumes “have been strong.” Urgent care volumes are up 40 percent over last year, he said, and the hospital expects to see 10,000 new patients at the Mission-Pardee health campus’ urgent care facility.
Kirby said Pardee has well over 130 days cash-on-hand, which has afforded it an “A” rating from Moody’s Investors Services. Its cash-to-debt ratio is nearly double Moody’s benchmark of 222 percent, he added, and its debt-to-capital ratio is 8.6 percent.
Still, Kirby stressed it will be harder for U.S. hospitals to stay profitable because of lowered reimbursement rates from both government and insurers.
He said the rating agency Fitch “believes the long-term impact to hospital providers in states that do not expand Medicaid (such as North Carolina) will be even worse than the rest of the country,” he said.
Because the federal government is shifting its emphasis toward “accountable care,” Kirby said Pardee is developing relationships with YMCA, Blue Ridge Community Health Services, Mission Health Partners, UNC Health and Four Seasons hospice.
Commissioner Grady Hawkins noted that the drop in operating margin from 2.9 percent in 2013 to negative 3 percent this year was “a big swing.” He asked if Kirby attributed that decline to the Affordable Care Act or a combination of other expenses.
Kirby said it was roughly half employee health costs, with federal cuts in Medicare reimbursements second to that.
“Again, we’ve been vigilant in reducing our costs ... but it’s just very difficult to manage that employee health expense and it’s difficult to manage government decision-making,” he said.
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or than.axtell@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Old landfill discovered near Sullivan's Park

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 14:44
A construction crew was excavating a trench for the Jackson Park Sewer Interceptor near Sullivan's Park in July when workers made an interesting discovery.
Just underneath the soil they churned, the crew unearthed a graveyard of debris. Old metal drums and car bumpers sprouted into view.
“The debris was just under the soil in areas that had previously been part of wetland areas,” said City Engineer Brent Detwiler, just “west of the Oklawaha Greenway and north of Seventh Avenue.”
The contractors told the city and after a little more digging, engineers found that the area was listed in a state database of old municipal dumps — 600 in all — which opened and closed long before regulators had a say in their operation.
“They basically call it the old city dump,” said City Manager John Connet. “It's been closed since at least the early '70s.”
The site was suspected to have been a private dump years before it became a city landfill. A private junkyard is thought to have operated on its edges.
Little is known about exactly when the dump opened or how it finally closed or what may have been dumped there, although longtime residents have an idea.
But for the most part, the littered land remains a dirty little secret. A mystery, wrapped in a receptacle-encased enigma, buried in the soil. As with any old dumps that didn't require liners or caps to keep contaminants out of the environment, the site could demand an extensive cleanup.
“We just want to ... have a true understanding of what the area is and what is underground,” Connet said.
Remnants of the old dump popped up when the Hendersonville Housing Authority was working on properties near the site in 2007. The scattered waste reappeared this summer as a crew with Lawrenceville, Ga.-based John D. Stephens Inc. worked to lay a new line for the Sewer Interceptor.
Connet said they set out to learn more and found that refunds from the state are available to help clean up the site.
“The state of North Carolina has a program to assess, categorize and prioritize cleanup at pre-regulatory municipal landfills and dumps throughout the state. They have funding available to reimburse municipalities for investigative work,” Detwiler said. “We are getting proposals from environmental firms in order to select one to delineate the site and put together a work plan meeting the state requirements.”
In addition to being refunded for their efforts in the state-led process, the city can get a truer picture of the dump's size, contents and a glimpse at its history.
For some, the history of the dump is hard to forget.
“Unfortunately I lived down in that area when I was just a little fellow, right close to the old dump,” said Grady Vaughn, who celebrated his 101st birthday Monday.
Vaughn has many happy memories of his life in a house on the corner of Cherry Street and Seventh Avenue East, but the dump is another story.
“It started out up on Pace Street,” he said, and ended up “on top of a hill right above Mud Creek.”
Garbage was loosely piled in trash cans the city would pick up to dump. “They would dump it up on that hill and let it slide down,” Vaughn said.
“Sometimes,” he added, the trash “would catch on fire of its own free will ... It would fill the whole end of town with smoke.”
The dumping eventually trickled down the hill to a “little swamp” along the edge of Mud Creek, he said. Kids were advised to stay out of the creek.
On the south end of the landfill was a private auto salvage yard.
“On the upper end of the dump was the city sewer” outflow, where Vaughn says raw sewage was pumped into Mud Creek. It wasn't until years later that lawmakers began requiring the sewage to be treated first.
A never-ending noxious odor from the dump permeated life along Seventh Avenue. The “odor didn't cease, it intensified,” Vaughn said. He estimated his family lived with the odor and smoke of combusting trash for close to 30 years.
“I was a teen then and I could remember very well, they covered the swamp and decided they were going to have to move” to a new dump, he said. The dump was relocated to a new site near the railway trestle where a brick chimney incinerator was erected. It moved a few more times after that, once to First Avenue and then out at the “old county home area.”
“Today they have one of the best disposals I've ever heard of,” Vaughn said, referring to the Henderson County Convenience Center on Stoney Mountain Road, where waste is collected in bins that are taken out of the state for processing. Trash tipping fees are reduced substantially by the neighboring Recycling Center.
The city recently applied for eligibility in the state's program that will reimburse its efforts in eventually bringing the site to a full closure. The first step in the process is an extensive assessment.
Hendersonville is seeking qualified companies to assess the pre-regulatory municipal landfill that now houses part of the city's dog park, greenway and wetlands. The dump, coined in a state database as the “Mud Creek Dump,” lies between just east of Lincoln Circle and Martin Circle near the western slopes of Mud Creek.
“The state has a list of over 600 hundred such sites. Any necessary cleanup at these dumps is prioritized based on potential health risks,” Detwiler said. “At this point we do not have any other information until an assessment is completed and the state has determined the next course of action, if any.”
After the assessment and a detailed work plan is drafted, a state-led remedial phase of work will begin to fully close the old dump.
Request for Qualifications of companies interested in leading the assessment are due to the city by 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10. Selected firms will be notified by Oct. 24.
For more information, visit www.cityofhendersonville.org/index.aspx?recordid=803&page=28
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Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
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Follow Emily Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/emilywordweaver
Categories: News

Final Rhythm & Brews concert kicks off Thursday

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:38
Historic Downtown Hendersonville will kick off its final Rhythm & Brews concert this summer at 5 p.m. Thursday with an “explosion of Americana music” at the corner of Fourth Avenue and King Street.
Hendersonville acoustic sensation The Stipe Brothers, with Dan Ruiz and Kent Rector, will start the free show at 5 p.m. The band has performed at venues including Southern Appalachian Brewery and Jongo Java.
Saluda's Aaron Burdett will warm up the stage at 6 p.m., strumming out a musical blend of folk-rock, bluegrass and blues styles.
Another talented and acclaimed Americana group — Blue Dogs — will continue the evening's Rock-Americana theme on stage from 7 to 9 p.m. The band hails from Charleston and has shared the stage with artists such as Willie Nelson, Widespread Panic and Hootie and the Blowfish. Blue Dogs received national exposure singing the national anthem on NBC at the final Southern 500 NASCAR race in Darlington, S.C., in 2004.
Rhythm & Brews also features Henderson County craft brewers Sierra Nevada, Southern Appalachian Brewery and Flat Rock Cider Works' Naked Apple Hard Cider. Glasses of wine will be offered by homegrown Burntshirt Vineyards and Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards.
Alcohol will be sold at the event from 5 to 8:45 p.m.
A kid-friendly Family Zone with games, face painting and fun activities will be offered at the Hands On! A Child's Gallery corner.
The 2014 Rhythm & Brews also features food vendors, including Underground Bakery, Main Street's Green Room Café, Monte's Sub Shop and Avery's Hot Dogs.
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Reach Weaver at emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
___
Follow Emily Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/emilywordweaver
Categories: News

Berger changes ad after elections complaint

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:01
RALEIGH — Senate leader Phil Berger’s campaign on Wednesday changed a television commercial highlighting his role in passing a voter ID requirement bill after it became the subject of an elections complaint.
The North Carolina NAACP asked the State Board of Elections this week to investigate the ad, which the civil rights group alleges was unlawful because it gave misleading information to potential voters that could discourage them from casting ballots this fall.
The ad, running on Triadarea television stations serving Berger’s Rockingham and Guilford counties district, said “Now, thanks to Phil Berger, voters must show a photo ID to vote.” But that requirement doesn’t take effect until 2016. This year, poll workers are asking voters whether they have a photo ID and giving them information about how to obtain one if they don’t.
Campaign spokesman Ray Martin called the complaint groundless and the original ad accurate, but told a board official in a letter it would modify the commercial to “remove any question, even questions clearly motivated by partisan animus, regarding the purpose of the ad.”
The new ad, posted on Berger’s website, replaces a portion of the commercial’s narration to say “In 2016, thanks to Phil Berger, voters must show a photo ID.” The ad will be updated on TV, too, according to Martin.
The state NAACP had no response to Berger’s modification as of late Wednesday. The group and its president, the Rev. William Barber, have been at odds with Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Gov. Pat McCrory over the GOP agenda making its way through state government.
Berger’s committee asked the state elections board to dismiss the complaint by the NAACP, which cited a lowgrade felony if someone uses mass communication that intimidates or discourages potential voters from going to the polls. The NAACP wanted the original ad taken down and the Guilford County district attorney to prosecute Berger and potentially others.
State board spokesman Josh Lawson said the panel’s review would “continue to resolution, as required by statute.”
Berger, who faces Democrat William Osborne in November, used the ad controversy Wednesday as a fundraising tool on social media and at his campaign Web address, where the updated ad was posted.
“Watch the TV spot that Rev. Barber and President Obama don’t want you to see,” the page read while seeking donations to keep it on the air. Obama was identified in the commercial. The U.S. government sued last year to block the voter ID law from taking effect. The lawsuit and two others are pending.
Categories: News

State health official to offer Medicaid options

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:30
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina's health secretary said Wednesday her agency is collecting information for Gov. Pat McCrory to offer him possible ways to expand Medicaid coverage to more people under the federal health care overhaul.
The Republican-led General Assembly and McCrory declined to accept expansion last year because they said the state Medicaid office consistently faced shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars. A state audit and other troubled operations led McCrory to call the $13 billion program "broken."
But Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos told a legislative committee the agency's financial and structural improvements make offering credible options doable.
"We are at a point .... where we have an ability to evaluate options for the state and will be presenting those options to the governor," Wos told the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee. Last week, Wos trumpeted to another General Assembly panel how the Division of Medical Assistance held a $64 million cash balance at the end of the last fiscal year.
Wos stressed it would be up to others to decide on expansion, most of which would be paid by the federal government for the near future. Expansion is designed for hundreds of thousands of uninsured North Carolina residents who make too much for traditional Medicaid but not enough for subsidized insurance exchange plans. Medicaid currently enrolls more than 1.8 million state residents — mostly poor children, older adults and the disabled.
Wos gave no timetable for offering McCrory those options but said it would be more than just determining whether it would make financial sense. For example, she said, there needs to be enough health care providers to oversee any wave of new enrollees.
McCrory said in July he would be willing to revisit Medicaid expansion if cost overruns were repaired and provided the federal government in part gave the state flexibility to target any coverage increase based on North Carolina's needs.
Earlier Wednesday, DHHS also announced plans for a retooled organizational structure for the division, the first of its kind in 36 years. It shifts from two division sections to what the agency calls five clearly defined functions. An outside consultant has been helping with organizational, finance and budget forecasting within Medicaid.
Again Wednesday, Wos rejected arguments from the legislature, particularly the Senate, to remove Medicaid from DHHS, saying it would undo recent progress.
Categories: News

Border Patrol to test body cameras

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:30
SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Border Patrol purchased body cameras and will begin testing them this year at its training academy, two people briefed on the move said Wednesday, as new leadership moves to blunt criticism about agents' use of force.
R. Gil Kerlikowske, who has led the Border Patrol's parent agency since March, announced the plans Tuesday to a small group of activists who have pressed for cameras, according to a person who attended the briefing and spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussion was intended to be private. Testing will occur at the Border Patrol academy in Artesia, New Mexico.
The Customs and Border Protection commissioner didn't tell activists how many cameras were bought or discuss when or whether they would be introduced to any of the roughly 21,000 agents in the field, the person said. The meeting in Detroit was the latest discussion that Kerlikowske has held with some of his most vocal critics of the Border Patrol's use of force.
Another person briefed on the plans said testing will occur from October and December and that it was unclear if or when they would be introduced in the field.
Kerlikowske scheduled a news conference Thursday in Washington to discuss what his office said were "developments toward CBP's commitment to increase transparency and accountability." Michael Friel, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, declined to comment on body cameras or the nature of Thursday's announcement.
The measure is a first step toward satisfying activists who have long demanded cameras as a way to keep a check on potential abuses. It is likely to meet opposition from the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing more than 17,000 agents, which has said cameras would be expensive and may cause agents to hesitate when their lives are threatened.
Shawn Moran, a spokesman for the agents' union, said the development came as no surprise after the White House said this week that requiring police officers to wear body cameras was a potential solution for bridging mistrust between law enforcement and the public.
"We want to make sure these are used to back up agents, not to persecute them," Moran said. "If they're used correctly by the agency, they will offer an independent account in use-of-force incidents or any type of incident. We do have concerns management would use them to look for administrative violations."
The camera proposal gained traction under Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief who has moved more aggressively than his predecessors to address complaints that Customs and Border Protection is slow to investigate incidents of deadly force and alleged abuses by agents and inspectors and lacking in transparency.
In May, Kerlikowske ordered the release of a highly critical Customs and Border Protection-commissioned report that raised questions about the deadly force. The agency's internal affairs head was replaced in June with a longtime FBI official who said last week that an initial review of cases involving use of force and alleged misconduct by agents and inspectors since 2009 found 155 that merit further investigation.
Kerlikowske told activists Tuesday that he wanted to change how authorities investigate possible criminal misconduct by Customs and Border Protection employees, a person who attended the briefing said. Under a longstanding arrangement within the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigates before Customs and Border Protection gets a turn.
Categories: News

Scots voting today on their future with the UK

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:30
EDINBURGH, Scotland — Scots held the fate of the United Kingdom in their hands Thursday as they voted in a referendum on becoming an independent state, deciding whether to unravel a marriage with England that built an empire but has increasingly been felt by many Scots as stifling and one-sided.
The question on the ballot paper is simplicity itself: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Yet it has divided Scots during months of campaigning, and polls suggest the result is too close to call.
The future of the 307-year old union with England will be decided in 15 hours on Thursday; polls close at 10 p.m. (2100GMT, 5 p.m. EDT). Turnout is expected to be high, with more than 4.2 million people registered to vote — 97 percent of those eligible.
On a foggy morning in Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, voters lined up outside some polling stations even before they opened at 7 a.m.
The campaign has generated an unprecedented volume and intensity of public debate and participation. The Yes side, in particular, has energized young people and previously disillusioned working-class voters.
As polls opened, the mood was electric, tinged by nervousness.
For some voters, this was a day they had dreamed of for decades.
"Fifty years I fought for this," said 83-year-old Isabelle Smith, a Yes supporter in Edinburgh's maritime district of Newhaven, a former fishing port. "And we are going to win. I can feel it in my bones.
For Smith, who went to the polling station decked out in a blue-and-white pro-independence shirt and rosette, statehood for Scotland was a dream nurtured during three decades living in the United States with her late husband.
"The one thing America has that the Scots don't have is confidence," said Smith, who returned to Scotland years ago. "But they're getting it, they're walking tall.
"No matter what, Scotland will never, ever be the same again."
Smith's three children and seven grandchildren are all Americans, and several flew to Scotland for the referendum to support her.
Many opponents of independence agreed that the campaign had reinvigorated Scottish democracy.
"I support the No side, but it's been a fascinating, worthwhile discussion about Scotland's future," said writing consultant David Clarke.
"If it's a No it's a win-win situation. If it's a Yes, we will have to deal with the fact that it's a Yes."
First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the independence campaign, cast his vote near his home in northeastern Scotland. If the Yes side prevails he will realize a long-held dream of leading his country to independence after an alliance with England formed in 1707.
In a final speech on Wednesday night, Salmond told voters: "This is our opportunity of a lifetime and we must seize it with both hands."
Pro-independence forces got a last-minute boost from tennis star Andy Murray, who signaled his support of the Yes campaign in a tweet to his 2.7 million followers early Thursday.
Anti-independence leaders including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown have implored Scots not to break their links with the rest of the United Kingdom.
At Edinburgh polling stations, excitement vied with apprehension about Scotland's choice.
Thomas Roberts said he had voted Yes because he felt optimistic about its future as an independent country.
"Why not roll the dice for once?" he said.
Once the polls close, ballot boxes will be transported to 32 regional centers for counting. The result is anticipated Friday morning.
Roberts said he was looking forward to watching the results in a pub, many of which are staying open overnight.
"I'm going to sit with a beer in my hand watching the results coming in," Roberts said.
Financial consultant Michael MacPhee, a No voter, said he would observe the returns coming in "with anxiety."
Scottish independence was "the daftest idea I've ever heard," he said.
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Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless
Categories: News

Iran rules out cooperating with US in Iraq

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:30
NEW YORK (AP) — Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday ruled out cooperating with the United States in helping Iraq fight Islamic State militants and warned that the terrorist group poses a much broader global threat that needs new thinking to eradicate.
Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran has serious doubts about the willingness and ability of the United States to react seriously to the "menace" from the Islamic State group "across the board" and not just pick and choose where to confront it as it has just started doing in Iraq.
"This is a very mobile organization," he told the Council on Foreign Relations. "This is not a threat against a single community nor a threat against a single region. It was not confined to Syria, nor will it be confined to Iraq. It is a global threat."
The U.S.-Iranian relationship is at a delicate moment, with a new round of talks on a deal to rein in Iran's nuclear program set to begin on Thursday, which Zarif said is his top priority. Leaders of the two countries — who talked a year ago — are also arriving next week for the annual ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.
Iran was the first country to provide help to neighboring Iraq when the Islamic State group swept across the border from Syria in July. France wanted Iran to attend an international conference in Paris on Monday aimed at coordinating actions to crush the Islamic State extremists in Iraq, but the United States said "no."
Zarif called the 24 participating nations at the Paris conference "a coalition of repenters" because most supported the Islamic State group "in one form or another" from its inception following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
At the end of the day, he said, they created "a Frankenstein that came to haunt its creators."
Zarif said Iran's assistance — without any troops — helped Iraq prevent the Islamic State group from taking over Baghdad and the Kurdish capital Irbil.
Zarif said it's now time for the international community "and particularly the coalition of the repenters" to stop providing financing, military equipment and safe passage for the group and its fighters.
He didn't name any coalition members, but Saudi Arabia and Qatar provided financing to the al-Qaida breakaway group, and Turkey has not stopped thousands of foreign fighters from crossing into Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State group.
Zarif said the international community must begin to deal with the resentment and disenfranchisement that allows the Islamic State group to attract young people from the Middle East to Europe and the United States.
The international community, he said, must also recognize that in a globalized world problems can't be solved through coercion, exclusion or imposing solutions.
Zarif agreed with U.S. President Barack Obama that the group is neither Islamic nor a state so he referred to it by a previous name, ISIS. But he was critical of the U.S. approach to dealing with the threat from the group.
In Iraq, where the U.S. is carrying out airstrikes, Zarif said, "it will not be eradicated through aerial bombardment."
In Syria, where the U.S. is beefing up military support for the moderate opposition to confront the extremists and step up opposition to President Bashar Assad's government, he said, "you cannot fight ISIS and the government in Damascus together."
When Zarif was asked what circumstances could lead the two countries to collaborate or even discuss the threat posed by the Islamic State group in Iraq, he said he told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran has two fundamental principles — "it should be for the Iraqis to decide and we should not be rewarding terrorists."
He also implicitly criticized the U.S. for supporting Iraq's new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to replace Nouri al-Malaki, saying Iraqis must be allowed to determine their own politics.
"And that was one of the problems we had in the initial approach by the United States, and that is why we turned it down," Zarif said.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Sept. 18

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:30
Hazardous waste collection taking place today
The Henderson County Solid Waste Division will hold its final 2014 Household Hazardous Waste collection event from 9 a.m. to noon today at the Henderson County Convenience Center, which is also known as the recycling center. It is located at 265 Convenience Center Drive, just off Stoney Mountain Road.
The Solid Waste Division hosts these annual events to provide safe recycling and disposal of household chemicals and cleaners, pesticides, insecticides, thermostats and liquid paint. With the exception of liquid paint, which incurs a $2 per liquid gallon fee (paid with cash or check only), all other items for recycling may be brought in free of charge.
For more information, visit www.hendersoncountync.org/engineering/solidwaste/hhwindex.html or call Environmental Programs at 694-6524.
Luncheon to feature Sen. Apodaca
The Henderson County Republican Women's Club will hold a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cedars, 227 Seventh Ave. W., Hendersonville. Guest speaker will be Sen. Tom Apodaca.
Cost for members is $14 and cost for nonmembers is $20. Mail checks to the HCRWC at P.O. Box 2734, Hendersonville, NC 28798. For more information, call 692-9333.
Tables available at yard sale
Tables are available for the Shriners/Elks indoor/outdoor yard sale, held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Elks Lodge, 546 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. Tables measure 6 feet and are available at $20, or two for $30. All proceeds from table rentals benefit the Shriners Hospital in Greenville, S.C. Call 697-2263 or 699-5696 to reserve a table.
Meetings
The Board Directors of the Henderson County Heritage Museum will meet at 2 p.m. Monday in the community room of the Historic Courthouse.
The Fletcher Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:35 p.m. Tuesday in the media center of the school.
The Hendersonville Business Advisory Committee will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at the Operations Center.
The Hendersonville Environmental Sustainability Board will meet at 4 p.m. today in the conference room of the Operations Center.
The Hendersonville Special Events Committee will meet at 10 a.m. today in the Operations Center.
The Laurel Park Town Council will hold a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. today at town hall.
The Laurel Park ABC Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the ABC Store in Laurel Park Village.
Events
ASAP’s Farm Tour will be held from 1-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at barns across Western North Carolina. Advance passes are $25; day-of-tour passes are $30, or individual farms can be toured for $10. Info: asapconnections.org.
The Hendersonville Kennel Club will hold an AKC conformation handling class and dog socialization at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Salvation Army gym, 239 Third Ave. E., Hendersonville. Cost for members is $3 and for nonmembers. Bring a chair. For more information, contact Victoria Galaspy at 290-8223 or showbassets@ aim.com or visit hkc-nc.org.
Pisgah Legal Services, a nonprofit organization, is holding a volunteer information session on at 1 p.m. Friday at 62 Charlotte St., Asheville, for anyone interested in becoming a certified Affordable Care Act volunteer navigator for the upcoming open enrollment period. Info: Beth Herrman at Pisgah Legal Services, 828-210-3787, or email beth@pisgahlegal.org.
The Transylvania County branch of the NAACP is hosting a free fall rally from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday as its first official event since the branch was chartered in February. It will be held at the Silversteen playground in the Rosenwald Community.
Categories: News

New U.S. citizens celebrated at Sandburg Home

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:22
With her hometown in the Novopskov district of Ukraine in the midst of war, Taisa Vynazovaya, 21, recited the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America alongside her mother Wednesday morning at the Carl Sandburg Home.
The two were among 28 people who became citizens during a Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Naturalization Ceremony. The new American citizens came from 24 nations, including Laos, Ghana, Thailand and Columbia.
During his keynote address, University of South Carolina Emeritus Professor Dan Carter welcomed each member of the group to stand in representation of their home country, congratulating them on their accomplishment.
“You follow in the wake of other peoples from around the world that have made this journey with the notable exception of Native Americans,” Carter said. “We are a nation of immigrants; whether a decade ago or the 18th century, we came to this country for very different reasons.”
Carter said they follow in the American tradition of building a nation of immigrants and quoted former President Jimmy Carter, urging them not to let America become a melting pot of cultures, but to hold on to their identity, creating a beautiful mosaic.
After Raisa and Taisa Vynazovaya received their certificates of citizenship, the two smiled at each other and looked at their certificates.
The Vyazovayas moved to the United States in 2002 when Taisa was 9, and in February began their road to citizenship as a family.
“My dad, we all turned in our application and stuff together in February, but he already has his passport and everything,” Taisa Vynazovaya said.
Her mother, Raisa Vynazovaya, said her English teacher, Tanya Gary, and citizenship test tutor Judy Roach from the Buncombe County Literacy Council played a vital role in helping her on her journey, and she was moved to see both in the audience.
“It is a very important day in my life,” Raisa Vynazovaya said. “We're not planning to move anywhere else now that we're in this country.”
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Reach Bindewald at renee.bindewald@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7890.
Categories: News

New NC transportation plan unveiled; I-26 'a priority'

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 09:12
ASHEVILLE — Gov. Pat McCrory assured regional leaders Wednesday that the widening of Interstate 26 is a “major priority” in his 25-Year Vision, a state transportation plan intended to improve connectivity within and beyond state lines.
The Asheville Regional Airport was the governor's last stop during Wednesday's cross-state tour to unveil his transportation plan.
“This plan is intended to connect small towns to large cities” and address regional challenges, N.C.Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata said during a news conference at the a irport.
McCrory said the plan is about connecting people with jobs and activities, maintaining reliable routes of transportation for commerce — including rails and ports — and supporting North Carolina's tourism industry by improving connectivity with adjacent states.
Tata said that over the past year, his staff has evaluated more 1,800 highway and 1,300 non-highway projects and “created an efficient list of projects that will lead us into the next 10 to 25 years.”
The long-awaited widening of I-26, with a hefty pricetag of $153 million, is one of the plan's priorities, McCrory said. However, Tata said there's no set construction or completion date for the project.
“We are still working through the timing and the phasing,” he added.
When it comes to prioritizing projects, McCrory and Tata said the new Strategic Mobility Formula — established by the Strategic Transportation Investments Law — takes the politics out of building and maintaining roadways.
McCrory said the mobility formula prioritizes projects based on where jobs are needed, where congestion issues exist and where safety can be improved. And when projects are being evaluated, they are not going to be segregated by forms of transportation, such as road, rail and waterway.
“That's kind of the big difference,” McCrory said.
Other Western North Carolina transportation projects on McCrory's list include improvement projects on U.S. 321, and U.S. 74 from Asheville to Wilmington so beach-goers have a “straight shot” to the North Carolina coast.
Asheville City Councilman Jan Davis urged the governor to not lose sight of the I-26 project, which heavily impacts Western North Carolina's commerce.
“We're listening to you loud and clear,” McCrory answered.
He said the state's western region has its own set of obstacles to infrastructure development, including its mountainous terrain and higher costs. In his 25-Year Vision plan, the governor lists western solutions including improving interstate connections and enhancing industrial rail to support commerce and agribusiness.
McCrory added that one of the statewide comprehensive solutions — supporting greater broadband connectivity in existing right-of-way — will be emphasized in the western part of the state.
Comprehensive solutions for transportation statewide include improving passenger rail networks and expanding bicycle and pedestrian networks.
Next, the state will have to take a look at alternative funding solutions to complete the transportation projects, including public-private partnerships.
McCrory said he also plans to recommend to the General Assembly in January that they approve a $1 billion bond to finance an extra 21 infrastructure projects. He said those particular projects are those that would better connect rural areas to bigger cities, and recommended taking advantage of the historically low interest rates.
For more information and to view the 25-Year Vision plan, visit www.ncvision25.gov.
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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