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Updated: 34 sec ago

West Henderson rallies for big win at Tuscola

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 23:57
WAYNESVILLE — With the visiting West Henderson Falcons clinging to a two-point lead, the Tuscola stands erupted when Parker Allen threw what appeared to be a 27-yard touchdown pass to take the lead with just over a minute left in the game.
What they did not see was an official ruled that Allen's pass hit the ground and was incomplete.
After tacking on a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to a member of the Tuscola coaching staff, the Falcons (6-3, 4-1 WNC Athletic Conference) went into victory formation, sealing a thrilling, come-from-behind 23-21 win over the Mountaineers (4-5, 3-2 WNCAC) on Friday night.
"This was a great game. I give a lot of credit to Tuscola, but this was a team effort for us tonight," said Falcon head coach Paul Whitaker.
The comeback started early in the fourth quarter, as Brendan Goings (10 carries, 37 yards) pounded the interior for the Falcons and Taylor Geyer caught a 23-yard pass from William Couch, before Goings plunged in for a 3-yard score to cut the lead to 21-17.
A Falcon drive that started at their own 32 stalled out deep in Mountaineer territory. Then their defense rose to the occasion, as Tanner Bullock scooped up a botched handoff at the Tuscola 17-yard line.
After Cody Jackson (16 carries for 82 yards, one catch for 63 yards) set the table for Goings to find paydirt for the second time from the 3, the Falcons had their first lead of the night at 23-21.
"It was about as bad of a first half as we could have played. We knew we were in the game, as we only down 14-7 at the half," said Whitaker.
With the ball on the Falcons' 6, the Mountaineers were threatening to extend their lead before halftime. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a sack by Bullock pushed the Mountaineers back to midfield to thwart the drive.
The Falcon victory sets the stage for a key WNCAC showdown next Friday, as the undefeated Franklin Panthers make the trip up to Mills River.
Categories: News

West Henderson rallies for big win at Tuscola

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 23:57
WAYNESVILLE — With the visiting West Henderson Falcons clinging to a two-point lead, the Tuscola stands erupted when Parker Allen threw what appeared to be a 27-yard touchdown pass to take the lead with just over a minute left in the game.
What they did not see was an official ruled that Allen's pass hit the ground and was incomplete.
After tacking on a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to a member of the Tuscola coaching staff, the Falcons (6-3, 4-1 WNC Athletic Conference) went into victory formation, sealing a thrilling, come-from-behind 23-21 win over the Mountaineers (4-5, 3-2 WNCAC) on Friday night.
"This was a great game. I give a lot of credit to Tuscola, but this was a team effort for us tonight," said Falcon head coach Paul Whitaker.
The comeback started early in the fourth quarter, as Brendan Goings (10 carries, 37 yards) pounded the interior for the Falcons and Taylor Geyer caught a 23-yard pass from William Couch, before Goings plunged in for a 3-yard score to cut the lead to 21-17.
A Falcon drive that started at their own 32 stalled out deep in Mountaineer territory. Then their defense rose to the occasion, as Tanner Bullock scooped up a botched handoff at the Tuscola 17-yard line.
After Cody Jackson (16 carries for 82 yards, one catch for 63 yards) set the table for Goings to find paydirt for the second time from the 3, the Falcons had their first lead of the night at 23-21.
"It was about as bad of a first half as we could have played. We knew we were in the game, as we only down 14-7 at the half," said Whitaker.
With the ball on the Falcons' 6, the Mountaineers were threatening to extend their lead before halftime. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a sack by Bullock pushed the Mountaineers back to midfield to thwart the drive.
The Falcon victory sets the stage for a key WNCAC showdown next Friday, as the undefeated Franklin Panthers make the trip up to Mills River.
Categories: News

Prep football roundup: North falls to Pisgah; Rosman wins at home

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 23:43
CANTON — North Henderson held a 10-7 lead over Pisgah in the third quarter, and then the Black Bears erupted for 25 unanswered points en route to a 35-10 WNC Athletic Conference victory.
The Knights remain winless at 0-9 and 0-5 in the conference, while the Bears improve to 6-3 and 4-1, tied with West Henderson for second place in the league.
The game was halted with three minutes left when a Pisgah fan had to be rushed to the hospital by a helicopter from an apparent heart attack. There was no immediate word on the fan’s condition.
North will host Brevard next Friday night.
ROSMAN 46, CHEROKEE 22: At Rosman, running back Tanner Green had four touchdown runs, and quarterback Joshua Rice had two as the Tigers piled up 525 yards rushing in a big Smoky Mountain Conference victory. The Braves fall to 3-6 and 1-3 in the SMC, while the Tigers improve to 4-5 and 3-2. Green started the scoring with a 54-yard TD run in the first quarter, and Rice added a 26-yard run. Green had another big run in the second half, this time from 41 yards out. Later in the third quarter, he broke loose again for a 48-yard TD run. Gage Orr had a 42-yard run for a touchdown right after Green’s big run. The Tigers will close out their conference schedule next Friday night at Swain County.
FRANKLIN 44, EAST HENDERSON 6: At Franklin, Jeremiah Young had four touchdown runs to lead the Panthers to their ninth straight win. They are now 9-0 and 5-0 in the WNC Athletic Conference. The Eagles fall to 3-6 and 3-2. East’s lone score came late in the fourth quarter with Jesse Rogers hauled in a 20-yard TD pass from Trace Goldsmith. East will be back on the road again next Friday night with a trip to Tuscola.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN 48, BREVARD 14: In Sylva, Brevard scored on its opening drive but wouldn’t score again until the final minutes of the game. The Mustangs finished with 367 yards of total offense, and the defense had a big 55-yard interception return by Josh Gas to start the second half. The Blue Devils remain winless at 0-9 and 0-5 in the WNC Athletic Conference, while the Mustangs improve to 2-7 and 1-4. Brevard will be at North Henderson next Friday night in a battle of winless teams.
Categories: News

Prep football roundup: North falls to Pisgah; Rosman wins at home

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 23:43
CANTON — North Henderson held a 10-7 lead over Pisgah in the third quarter, and then the Black Bears erupted for 25 unanswered points en route to a 35-10 WNC Athletic Conference victory.
The Knights remain winless at 0-9 and 0-5 in the conference, while the Bears improve to 6-3 and 4-1, tied with West Henderson for second place in the league.
The game was halted with three minutes left when a Pisgah fan had to be rushed to the hospital by a helicopter from an apparent heart attack. There was no immediate word on the fan’s condition.
North will host Brevard next Friday night.
ROSMAN 46, CHEROKEE 22: At Rosman, running back Tanner Green had four touchdown runs, and quarterback Joshua Rice had two as the Tigers piled up 525 yards rushing in a big Smoky Mountain Conference victory. The Braves fall to 3-6 and 1-3 in the SMC, while the Tigers improve to 4-5 and 3-2. Green started the scoring with a 54-yard TD run in the first quarter, and Rice added a 26-yard run. Green had another big run in the second half, this time from 41 yards out. Later in the third quarter, he broke loose again for a 48-yard TD run. Gage Orr had a 42-yard run for a touchdown right after Green’s big run. The Tigers will close out their conference schedule next Friday night at Swain County.
FRANKLIN 44, EAST HENDERSON 6: At Franklin, Jeremiah Young had four touchdown runs to lead the Panthers to their ninth straight win. They are now 9-0 and 5-0 in the WNC Athletic Conference. The Eagles fall to 3-6 and 3-2. East’s lone score came late in the fourth quarter with Jesse Rogers hauled in a 20-yard TD pass from Trace Goldsmith. East will be back on the road again next Friday night with a trip to Tuscola.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN 48, BREVARD 14: In Sylva, Brevard scored on its opening drive but wouldn’t score again until the final minutes of the game. The Mustangs finished with 367 yards of total offense, and the defense had a big 55-yard interception return by Josh Gas to start the second half. The Blue Devils remain winless at 0-9 and 0-5 in the WNC Athletic Conference, while the Mustangs improve to 2-7 and 1-4. Brevard will be at North Henderson next Friday night in a battle of winless teams.
Categories: News

ZeekRewards president indicted on federal charges

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 21:36
CHARLOTTE – The president of ZeekRewards, Paul Burks, has been indicted on federal charges for operating an Internet Ponzi scheme that took in more than $850 million dollars, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
The criminal indictment was returned Friday by a federal grand jury in Charlotte, charging Burks, 67, of Lexington, with wire and mail fraud conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, and tax fraud conspiracy, according to a news release.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, from January 2010 through August 2012, Burks was the owner of Rex Venture Group LLC (RVG), through which he owned and operated Zeekler, a sham Internet-based penny auction company, and its purported advertising division, ZeekRewards (collectively “Zeek”).
The indictment alleges that Burks and his conspirators induced victims – including over 1,500 victims in the Charlotte area – to invest in their fraudulent scheme, by falsely representing that Zeekler was generating massive retail profits from its penny auctions, and that the public could share in such profits through investment in ZeekRewards.
The indictment alleges that Burks and others claimed, at one point, that investors would be guaranteed a 125 percent return on their investment. The indictment also alleges that Burks and his conspirators represented that victim-investors in ZeekRewards could participate in the Retail Profit Pool, which supposedly allowed victims collectively to share 50 percent of Zeek's daily net profits. The indictment alleges that Burksand his conspirators did not keep books and records needed to calculate such daily figures, and that Burks simply made up the daily “profit” numbers.
The indictment further alleges that, contrary to the conspirators' claims, the true revenue from the scheme did not come from the penny auction's “massive profits.” Instead, about 98 percent of all incoming funds came from victim-investors, which were then used to make Ponzi-style payments to earlier victim investors.
In addition to promising massive returns on investments, the indictment alleges that the conspirators also used a number of ways to promote Zeek to current and potential investors. For example, according to the indictment, the conspirators hosted weekly conference calls and leadership calls, where participants could call in and listen to Burks and others make false representations intended to encourage victim-investors to continue to invest money and to recruit others to invest in Zeek.
The indictment further alleges that Burks organized and attended “Red Carpet Events,” where victim investors came to hear details of the scheme in person. During these events, according to the indictment, Burks and his conspirators made false representations about the massive retail profits generated by Zeek.
The conspirators also used electronic and print media, including websites, emails and journals, to make false and misleading statements about the success of Zeekler to recruit victim investors.
The indictment alleges that as the Ponzi scheme grew in size and scope, it began to unravel as the outstanding liability resulting from the bogus 125 percent return on investment continued to rise beyond control. According to the indictment, by August 2012, the conspirators fraudulently represented to the collective victims that their investments were worth approximately $2.8 billion, but had no accurate books and records to even determine how much cash on hand was available to pay such liability.
According to the indictment, by Aug. 17, 2012, Burks and his conspirators had only $320 million (or about 11 percent of $2.8 billion) available to pay out investors. The indictment alleges that over the course of the scheme, Burks diverted approximately $10.1 million to himself.
Burks is charged with tax fraud conspiracy for failing to file corporate tax returns or to make corporate tax payments for his companies, among other things. In addition, the indictment alleges, for tax year 2011, Burks issued fraudulent IRS Forms 1099s, causing victim-investors to file inaccurate tax returns for phantom income they never actually received.
The court has issued a summons against Burks and he is expected to appear in federal court for his initial appearance in the coming days. The wire and mail fraud conspiracy charge, the mail fraud charge and wire fraud charge each carry a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. The tax fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine.
Two of Burks' conspirators, Dawn Wright Olivares, Zeek's chief operating officer, and her step-son and Zeek's senior technology officer, Daniel C. Olivares, pleaded guilty in December 2013 to investment fraud conspiracy. Dawn Wright Olivares also pleaded guilty to tax fraud conspiracy. Both defendants await sentencing.
The prosecution is handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Jenny Grus Sugar, Corey Ellis and Mark T. Odulio of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte.
Additional information and updated court filings about this and related cases filings can be accessed at the district's website: www.justice.gov/usao/ncw/ncwvwa.html.
Categories: News

ZeekRewards president indicted on federal charges

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 21:36
CHARLOTTE – The president of ZeekRewards, Paul Burks, has been indicted on federal charges for operating an Internet Ponzi scheme that took in more than $850 million dollars, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
The criminal indictment was returned Friday by a federal grand jury in Charlotte, charging Burks, 67, of Lexington, with wire and mail fraud conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, and tax fraud conspiracy, according to a news release.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, from January 2010 through August 2012, Burks was the owner of Rex Venture Group LLC (RVG), through which he owned and operated Zeekler, a sham Internet-based penny auction company, and its purported advertising division, ZeekRewards (collectively “Zeek”).
The indictment alleges that Burks and his conspirators induced victims – including over 1,500 victims in the Charlotte area – to invest in their fraudulent scheme, by falsely representing that Zeekler was generating massive retail profits from its penny auctions, and that the public could share in such profits through investment in ZeekRewards.
The indictment alleges that Burks and others claimed, at one point, that investors would be guaranteed a 125 percent return on their investment. The indictment also alleges that Burks and his conspirators represented that victim-investors in ZeekRewards could participate in the Retail Profit Pool, which supposedly allowed victims collectively to share 50 percent of Zeek's daily net profits. The indictment alleges that Burksand his conspirators did not keep books and records needed to calculate such daily figures, and that Burks simply made up the daily “profit” numbers.
The indictment further alleges that, contrary to the conspirators' claims, the true revenue from the scheme did not come from the penny auction's “massive profits.” Instead, about 98 percent of all incoming funds came from victim-investors, which were then used to make Ponzi-style payments to earlier victim investors.
In addition to promising massive returns on investments, the indictment alleges that the conspirators also used a number of ways to promote Zeek to current and potential investors. For example, according to the indictment, the conspirators hosted weekly conference calls and leadership calls, where participants could call in and listen to Burks and others make false representations intended to encourage victim-investors to continue to invest money and to recruit others to invest in Zeek.
The indictment further alleges that Burks organized and attended “Red Carpet Events,” where victim investors came to hear details of the scheme in person. During these events, according to the indictment, Burks and his conspirators made false representations about the massive retail profits generated by Zeek.
The conspirators also used electronic and print media, including websites, emails and journals, to make false and misleading statements about the success of Zeekler to recruit victim investors.
The indictment alleges that as the Ponzi scheme grew in size and scope, it began to unravel as the outstanding liability resulting from the bogus 125 percent return on investment continued to rise beyond control. According to the indictment, by August 2012, the conspirators fraudulently represented to the collective victims that their investments were worth approximately $2.8 billion, but had no accurate books and records to even determine how much cash on hand was available to pay such liability.
According to the indictment, by Aug. 17, 2012, Burks and his conspirators had only $320 million (or about 11 percent of $2.8 billion) available to pay out investors. The indictment alleges that over the course of the scheme, Burks diverted approximately $10.1 million to himself.
Burks is charged with tax fraud conspiracy for failing to file corporate tax returns or to make corporate tax payments for his companies, among other things. In addition, the indictment alleges, for tax year 2011, Burks issued fraudulent IRS Forms 1099s, causing victim-investors to file inaccurate tax returns for phantom income they never actually received.
The court has issued a summons against Burks and he is expected to appear in federal court for his initial appearance in the coming days. The wire and mail fraud conspiracy charge, the mail fraud charge and wire fraud charge each carry a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. The tax fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine.
Two of Burks' conspirators, Dawn Wright Olivares, Zeek's chief operating officer, and her step-son and Zeek's senior technology officer, Daniel C. Olivares, pleaded guilty in December 2013 to investment fraud conspiracy. Dawn Wright Olivares also pleaded guilty to tax fraud conspiracy. Both defendants await sentencing.
The prosecution is handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Jenny Grus Sugar, Corey Ellis and Mark T. Odulio of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte.
Additional information and updated court filings about this and related cases filings can be accessed at the district's website: www.justice.gov/usao/ncw/ncwvwa.html.
Categories: News

Official identifies gunman in high school shooting

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 20:44
MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) — A government official has identified the shooter at a Washington state high school as student Jaylen Fryberg.
The official, who has direct knowledge of the situation, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Officials and witnesses say Fryberg walked into the high school cafeteria and opened fire, killing one person and shooting several others before turning the gun on himself.
Students and parents say Fryberg played on the Marysville-Pilchuck High School football team and was recently crowned as a Homecoming prince at the high school, located 30 miles north of Seattle.
Student Malia Grato says she was friendly with Fryberg and described him as quiet, good guy.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
A student walked into his Seattle-area high school cafeteria on Friday and opened fire without shouting or arguing, killing one person and shooting several others in the head before turning the gun on himself, officials and witnesses said.
Students said the gunman, who authorities have not identified, was staring at students as he shot them inside the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. As other students heard the gunshots, they ran out of the cafeteria and building in a chaotic dash to safety while others were told to stay put inside classrooms.
The shooter was a student at the school 30 miles north of Seattle, but Marysville Police Commander Robb Lamoureux said he could not provide more information on the gunman or his motive. Lamoureux said the shooter died of a self-inflicted wound.
Three of the people who were shot had head wounds and were in critical condition. Two young women were taken to Providence Everett Medical Center, and a 15-year-old boy was at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, hospital officials said.
Another victim, a 14-year-old boy, was listed in serious condition at Harborview as well, the hospital said.
Witnesses described the gunman as methodical in the cafeteria.
Brian Patrick said his daughter, a freshman, was 10 feet from the gunman when the shooting occurred. She ran from the cafeteria and immediately called her mother.
Patrick said his daughter told him, "The guy walked into the cafeteria, pulled out a gun and started shooting. No arguing, no yelling."
Student Alan Perez was eating his lunch at a nearby table when he heard the gunshots.
"He had a little gun in his hand. I saw the flash from the muzzle," he told KING-TV.
Another student, Austin Taylor, told the station the shooter "was just staring down every one of his victims as he shot them."
Senior Jayden Eugenio, 17, was in the library when a fire alarm went off. Someone came on the intercom and said shots had been fired and students should stay inside.
"I was shaking, you would never believe this would happen in your school," he said.
Outside the school, students started streaming out of the building, with some trying to jump a fence to get away, witnesses said.
Cedar Parker, a 17-year-old senior, said he was driving away from campus when the shooting happened. He let several students into his car as he heard others yelling for their friends: "Where are you?"
A crowd of parents waited in a parking lot outside a nearby church where they were being reunited with their children. Buses pulled up periodically to drop off students evacuated from the school, with some running to hug their mothers or fathers.
Patrick said after the shooting, his other daughter, a senior at the school, called him "hysterical" from her classroom.
"I thought, 'God let my kids be safe," he said.
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said the agency was assisting local law enforcement and providing specialists to work with victims and their families.
Marysville-Pilchuck High School has many students from the Tulalip Indian tribe. State Sen. John McCoy, a tribal member, said the shooting had devastated the community.
"We're all related in one shape or form. We live and work and play together," he said.
Another shooting occurred June 5 in the metro area at Seattle Pacific University, where a gunman killed one student and wounded two others.
___
Categories: News

Official identifies gunman in high school shooting

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 20:44
MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) — A government official has identified the shooter at a Washington state high school as student Jaylen Fryberg.
The official, who has direct knowledge of the situation, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Officials and witnesses say Fryberg walked into the high school cafeteria and opened fire, killing one person and shooting several others before turning the gun on himself.
Students and parents say Fryberg played on the Marysville-Pilchuck High School football team and was recently crowned as a Homecoming prince at the high school, located 30 miles north of Seattle.
Student Malia Grato says she was friendly with Fryberg and described him as quiet, good guy.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
A student walked into his Seattle-area high school cafeteria on Friday and opened fire without shouting or arguing, killing one person and shooting several others in the head before turning the gun on himself, officials and witnesses said.
Students said the gunman, who authorities have not identified, was staring at students as he shot them inside the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. As other students heard the gunshots, they ran out of the cafeteria and building in a chaotic dash to safety while others were told to stay put inside classrooms.
The shooter was a student at the school 30 miles north of Seattle, but Marysville Police Commander Robb Lamoureux said he could not provide more information on the gunman or his motive. Lamoureux said the shooter died of a self-inflicted wound.
Three of the people who were shot had head wounds and were in critical condition. Two young women were taken to Providence Everett Medical Center, and a 15-year-old boy was at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, hospital officials said.
Another victim, a 14-year-old boy, was listed in serious condition at Harborview as well, the hospital said.
Witnesses described the gunman as methodical in the cafeteria.
Brian Patrick said his daughter, a freshman, was 10 feet from the gunman when the shooting occurred. She ran from the cafeteria and immediately called her mother.
Patrick said his daughter told him, "The guy walked into the cafeteria, pulled out a gun and started shooting. No arguing, no yelling."
Student Alan Perez was eating his lunch at a nearby table when he heard the gunshots.
"He had a little gun in his hand. I saw the flash from the muzzle," he told KING-TV.
Another student, Austin Taylor, told the station the shooter "was just staring down every one of his victims as he shot them."
Senior Jayden Eugenio, 17, was in the library when a fire alarm went off. Someone came on the intercom and said shots had been fired and students should stay inside.
"I was shaking, you would never believe this would happen in your school," he said.
Outside the school, students started streaming out of the building, with some trying to jump a fence to get away, witnesses said.
Cedar Parker, a 17-year-old senior, said he was driving away from campus when the shooting happened. He let several students into his car as he heard others yelling for their friends: "Where are you?"
A crowd of parents waited in a parking lot outside a nearby church where they were being reunited with their children. Buses pulled up periodically to drop off students evacuated from the school, with some running to hug their mothers or fathers.
Patrick said after the shooting, his other daughter, a senior at the school, called him "hysterical" from her classroom.
"I thought, 'God let my kids be safe," he said.
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said the agency was assisting local law enforcement and providing specialists to work with victims and their families.
Marysville-Pilchuck High School has many students from the Tulalip Indian tribe. State Sen. John McCoy, a tribal member, said the shooting had devastated the community.
"We're all related in one shape or form. We live and work and play together," he said.
Another shooting occurred June 5 in the metro area at Seattle Pacific University, where a gunman killed one student and wounded two others.
___
Categories: News

Police find house with meth lab near schools

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 18:09
A Tryon resident was making methamphetamine in his home at 241 Hidden Hill Road when the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Tryon Police Department executed a search warrant Thursday night.
Thirty-seven-year-old Timothy Lee Bryson and his girlfriend’s 10-year-old son were at home when officers arrived and caught Bryson in the act, according to a news release issued by the Sheriff’s Office Friday. The home was within 400 feet of Tryon Elementary and less than 1,000 feet from Forbes Preschool.
Police began watching the residence and monitoring the activities of its occupants after receiving complaints from others in the neighborhood of suspicious occurrences, according to the release. The search warrant was issued by a Superior Court judge Thursday afternoon.
“Once entry was made into the residence, officers found an active methamphetamine lab where Bryson was in the process of actually making meth product at the time,” the release says.
The lab was described as “Red P” for the extremely toxic and volatile phosphine gases its byproducts produced.
“This is the first time a meth lab of this kind has been found in Polk County,” according to the release. It was the fifth one of its kind found in the state this year.
Meth labs can cause long-term respiratory problems and even death, which is why the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Clandestine Lab Unit, along with chemists, responded to aid in the cleanup, according to the release. “This is standard procedure due to the high level of hazardous and toxic materials that has to be disposed of by certified technicians.”
The young boy was suffering from respiratory problems and taken to the hospital for evaluation, according to BJ Bayne, lieutenant of investigations at the Sheriff’s Office. The child is now in the custody of the Department of Social Services pending arrangements with other family members. The boy’s pets, including a cat, were taken to a local veterinarian for decontamination. They did not like the bath that followed, according to Bayne.
Bryson was charged with felony manufacture of methamphetamine, felony possession of methamphetamine precursors, felony maintaining a place for the furtherance of a controlled substance, and a felony count of manufacturing, selling or delivering a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. He is being held in lieu of a $146,000 secured bond and had his first appearance in court on Friday.
Other charges may be pending as the investigation continues.
The meth lab was dismantled and the site was cleaned up with help from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Tryon Fire Department.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

Police find house with meth lab near schools

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 18:09
A Tryon resident was making methamphetamine in his home at 241 Hidden Hill Road when the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Tryon Police Department executed a search warrant Thursday night.
Thirty-seven-year-old Timothy Lee Bryson and his girlfriend’s 10-year-old son were at home when officers arrived and caught Bryson in the act, according to a news release issued by the Sheriff’s Office Friday. The home was within 400 feet of Tryon Elementary and less than 1,000 feet from Forbes Preschool.
Police began watching the residence and monitoring the activities of its occupants after receiving complaints from others in the neighborhood of suspicious occurrences, according to the release. The search warrant was issued by a Superior Court judge Thursday afternoon.
“Once entry was made into the residence, officers found an active methamphetamine lab where Bryson was in the process of actually making meth product at the time,” the release says.
The lab was described as “Red P” for the extremely toxic and volatile phosphine gases its byproducts produced.
“This is the first time a meth lab of this kind has been found in Polk County,” according to the release. It was the fifth one of its kind found in the state this year.
Meth labs can cause long-term respiratory problems and even death, which is why the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Clandestine Lab Unit, along with chemists, responded to aid in the cleanup, according to the release. “This is standard procedure due to the high level of hazardous and toxic materials that has to be disposed of by certified technicians.”
The young boy was suffering from respiratory problems and taken to the hospital for evaluation, according to BJ Bayne, lieutenant of investigations at the Sheriff’s Office. The child is now in the custody of the Department of Social Services pending arrangements with other family members. The boy’s pets, including a cat, were taken to a local veterinarian for decontamination. They did not like the bath that followed, according to Bayne.
Bryson was charged with felony manufacture of methamphetamine, felony possession of methamphetamine precursors, felony maintaining a place for the furtherance of a controlled substance, and a felony count of manufacturing, selling or delivering a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. He is being held in lieu of a $146,000 secured bond and had his first appearance in court on Friday.
Other charges may be pending as the investigation continues.
The meth lab was dismantled and the site was cleaned up with help from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Tryon Fire Department.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Oct. 24

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:01
Reservations due for Marine Corps dinner
The Blue Ridge Detachment of the Marine Corps League is inviting all Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have served with Marine units to attend the 239th Marine Birthday Dinner, to be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at The Chariot, 15 N. Church St., Hendersonville. Attire is red blazer or coat and tie. Cost is $25 per person. To attend, write who will be attending and a check, payable to MCL, to Rich Windish, 234 Rowland Drive, Laurel Park N.C. 28739. Information must be received by Nov. 3.
Meetings
The board of directors of the Henderson County Heritage Museum will meet at 2 p.m. Monday in the community room on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse in Hendersonville.
The Laurel Park ABC Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the ABC Store in Laurel Park Village.
The Mills River Parks and Recreation board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Conference Room of Town Hall.
Events
The Moorelife Concert in the Park will take place from 2-4 p.m. Sunday in Fletcher Park, 85 Howard Gap Road, Fletcher. Proceeds will benefit the South-Atlantic Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Fund in honor of Paige Moore Holder.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Oct. 24

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:01
Reservations due for Marine Corps dinner
The Blue Ridge Detachment of the Marine Corps League is inviting all Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have served with Marine units to attend the 239th Marine Birthday Dinner, to be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at The Chariot, 15 N. Church St., Hendersonville. Attire is red blazer or coat and tie. Cost is $25 per person. To attend, write who will be attending and a check, payable to MCL, to Rich Windish, 234 Rowland Drive, Laurel Park N.C. 28739. Information must be received by Nov. 3.
Meetings
The board of directors of the Henderson County Heritage Museum will meet at 2 p.m. Monday in the community room on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse in Hendersonville.
The Laurel Park ABC Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the ABC Store in Laurel Park Village.
The Mills River Parks and Recreation board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Conference Room of Town Hall.
Events
The Moorelife Concert in the Park will take place from 2-4 p.m. Sunday in Fletcher Park, 85 Howard Gap Road, Fletcher. Proceeds will benefit the South-Atlantic Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Fund in honor of Paige Moore Holder.
Categories: News

Upcoming Halloween events and fall festivals

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 09:49
Hendersonville
Movie in the Park and Halloween Carnival, Oct. 25
Henderson County Parks and Recreation will hold a Movie in the Park and Halloween Carnival Saturday at Jackson Park, 801 Fourth Ave. E., Hendersonville. The carnival will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Field 8. The movie, Frankenweenie, will be shown at 8 p.m. on Field 9.
There will be carnival games, inflatables, treats, hayrides and a DJ. Stay for the movie on the big screen. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Visit www.HCPRD.com or call 828-697-4884 for more information.
Halloween Hootenanny, Oct. 29
A Halloween Hootenanny with Kindred Spirits will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Mills River Library, 124 Town Center Drive, Suite 1, Mills River, and again at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Henderson County Public Library’s Kaplan Auditorium, 311 N. Washington St., Hendersonville. The hour-long sing-along will include songs such as “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” and “Puff the Magic Dragon."
Trick or Treat Street, Oct. 31
Trick-or-Treat Street will be held on Main Street in Hendersonville on Friday, Oct. 31 from Allen Street to Sixth Avenue. Merchants will offer trick-or-treaing, along with a costume contest and dance party, from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
For more information, call 828-233-3216 or visit www.downtownhendersonville.org.
Día de Muertos Fair, Oct. 31
El Centro will hold its annual Día de Muertos Fair from 5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31 at Super Mercado, 2111 Asheville Highway, Suite A2, Hendersonville. The event will showcase the music, food, activities and decorations following traditional celebrations.
El Centro is working to make sugar skulls that children will be able to decorate with beads, paint and glitter, along with gathering materials to make papel picado, which is colorful tissue paper cut into designs and strung along indoors and outdoors in Mexico.
There will be a pinata, inflatables, games and other activities for children. A costume contest for children ages 2 to 15 will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The event will also feature traditional Mexican dishes, live music and dancing. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have died. Visitors to the fair are invited to bring photographs or flowers for the altar to honor their loved ones.Find El Centro on Facebook at www.facebook.com/el.c.comunitario for more information.
Highway Patrol trunk-and-treat, Oct. 31
State Highway Patrol troopers from Troop G, District 3 will sponsor a trunk-and-treat event outside their office at 125 Baystone Drive, Hendersonville, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. The safe Halloween event will be held in the front parking lot of the station.
In addition to candy, kids will be treated to an inside look at Highway Patrol squad cars. The event is being held in an effort to provide a safe environment for children to trick-or-treat.
Fletcher
Halloween carnival, Oct. 25
The Halloween Carnival at Fletcher Community Park will be held from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday on Field 5. The event is free, but officials will collect canned goods for a local food pantry.
A costume contest will be held at 4 p.m., with registration ending at 3:45 p.m. Children will compete in the 4 and under, 5-7 or 8-11 age groups. Awards will be given in three categories: Best Traditional Costume, Most Creative Costume and Best Homemade Costume.
More than 15 carnival-style games will be set up on the field for all the little ghouls and goblins. Games include Pumpkin Putt-Putt, Halloween Hoops and Dizzy Bat Race. There will also be three inflatables — a bounce house, obstacle course and a slide. Face painting will be offered by volunteers, and children can stop by the Halloween craft tent to make a ghoulish bag to keep treats in.
Visit www.fletcherparks.org or call 828-687-0751 for more information.
Fall Harvest Days at WNC Ag Center, Oct. 23-25
Fall Harvest Days continues through Saturday at the WNC Ag Center. The 29th Antique Engine and Tractor Show features antique tractors, hit n' miss engines of all sizes, tractor pulls and vendors selling parts. More than 250 vendors/exhibitors with tools, antiques, collectibles, toys and odd stuff will be at the event. Tractor Parade daily, weather permitting, at 3 p.m. Gates open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $8 per day and includes ACAETA pulls. Children under 12 are admitted free with paid adult.
Tractor pulls will be held Saturday. A pull for farm tractors 1964 and earlier will be held at 10 a.m., and a Kiddy and Adult Pedal Pull at noon. Tractor pulls will be outside, weather permitting. Visit www.mountainfair.org for more information.
Mills River
Fall festival, Oct. 25-26
North River Farms is hosting a free fall festival Saturday and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. Admission is free, and will include live music, a corn maze, corn hole games, a corn box, and equipment displays. There will be additional options available for a fee such as hay rides, pony rides, three different bounce houses and inflatables, and games.
Tommy Brandt, Tommy Brandt Jr., and Megan Woods will provide musical entertainment on Saturday from 1-3:30 p.m., followed by Mountain Thunder from 3:30- 6 p.m. Sunday, the rambunctious old-time sounds of Hogtown Squealers will fill the air from 1-3:30 p.m., followed by Lonesome Road from 3:30-6 p.m.
Food, drinks and ice cream will be available to purchase, including delicious BBQ from Wally's Backwoods BBQ. The festival will be held rain or shine, and there is plenty of covered barn space to accommodate rainy weather.
North River Farms is located at 3333 North Mills River Road in Mills River. For more information, call North River Farms at 828-890-5316.
Brevard
Halloweenfest and Osktoberfest, Oct. 25
Halloweenfest will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in downtown Brevard, following the Flight of the Vampire 5k, 10k and fun run at 9 a.m. The free festival includes a costume contest and parade at 11 a.m., chili cook-off and pie bake-off, street vendors, pumpkin carving contest, Boo-T-Full Me fashion show, street dance and "pumpkin roll" down Jailhouse Hill, as well as the Mountain Music Mash amateur music competition at 10 a.m.
A haunted house will be in the basement of Jamie's Creole Brasserie, Brevard's newest restaurant, and proceeds will support Habitat for Humanity. The Transylvania Heritage Museum will conduct guided ghost tours, and the Transylvania County Farmers Market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.
The third annual Osktoberfest will follow the festival, put on by Oskar Blues brewery. The event begins at 6 p.m. with live music, a beer garden and food. A Halloween Masquerade Ball will be held at 7:30 p.m.
For a full schedule of festival and Osktoberfest events, time and other information, visit http://brevardnc.org or http://halloweenfestnc.com.
Pisgah Forest
The Legend of Tommy Hodges, Oct. 24 & 25
"The Legend of Tommy Hodges" outdoor drama will be staged at the Cradle of Forestry in America Friday and Saturday. And so goes the legend ... It was Halloween night in 1906 when one of the students from the Biltmore Forest School disappeared. His name was Tommy Hodges.
The Cradle of Forestry will present this outdoor drama along the paved, one-mile Biltmore Campus Trail. As the audience walks the trail from scene to scene, attendees will meet characters from the historic Pink Beds community and hears stories, some based on the diaries of students who attended the Biltmore Forest School from 1903-1907. Warm clothing, walking shoes and flashlights are recommended.
Showtimes are 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission to the show is $6 for ages 16 and up, $3 for ages 5-15 and America the Beautiful and Golden Age Passport holders; hot cider and cookies. The Cradle of Forestry Historic Site is located on Highway 276 near Brevard. Visit www.cradleofforestry.com for more information.
Chimney Rock
Park in the Dark, Oct. 31
Friends of Chimney Rock State Park will host Park in the Dark, an after-hours event on Friday, Oct. 31 from 7:30-10 p.m. Park in the Dark will feature storytelling, campfires, night hiking, wildlife encounters, costumed characters and more.
The 491-step Outcroppings Trail and the elevator, both of which lead to the top of Chimney Rock, will be open, providing the opportunity to experience the beauty of the park under the stars. Membership in Friends of Chimney Rock State Park is required, and guests must pre-register; people who are not currently members of the Friends can sign up to participate.
Friends of CSRP is a nonprofit organization whose primary goal is to support the reopening of Chimney Rock State Park's Skyline Trail, which leads to a view of the top of the Hickory Nut Falls. Membership to the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park is $35 per year for an individual, or $60 per year for a family. Additional corporate and other sponsorship levels are also available.
Gates will open at 7 p.m. for the event. Gates will remain open for 30 minutes, after which no admittance will be permitted.
Call 800-277-9611 to pre-register; Friends will pay a $5 per-car parking fee. This event is available to the first 70 registrants only.
Categories: News

Upcoming Halloween events and fall festivals

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 09:49
Hendersonville
Movie in the Park and Halloween Carnival, Oct. 25
Henderson County Parks and Recreation will hold a Movie in the Park and Halloween Carnival Saturday at Jackson Park, 801 Fourth Ave. E., Hendersonville. The carnival will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Field 8. The movie, Frankenweenie, will be shown at 8 p.m. on Field 9.
There will be carnival games, inflatables, treats, hayrides and a DJ. Stay for the movie on the big screen. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Visit www.HCPRD.com or call 828-697-4884 for more information.
Halloween Hootenanny, Oct. 29
A Halloween Hootenanny with Kindred Spirits will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Mills River Library, 124 Town Center Drive, Suite 1, Mills River, and again at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Henderson County Public Library’s Kaplan Auditorium, 311 N. Washington St., Hendersonville. The hour-long sing-along will include songs such as “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” and “Puff the Magic Dragon."
Trick or Treat Street, Oct. 31
Trick-or-Treat Street will be held on Main Street in Hendersonville on Friday, Oct. 31 from Allen Street to Sixth Avenue. Merchants will offer trick-or-treaing, along with a costume contest and dance party, from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
For more information, call 828-233-3216 or visit www.downtownhendersonville.org.
Día de Muertos Fair, Oct. 31
El Centro will hold its annual Día de Muertos Fair from 5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31 at Super Mercado, 2111 Asheville Highway, Suite A2, Hendersonville. The event will showcase the music, food, activities and decorations following traditional celebrations.
El Centro is working to make sugar skulls that children will be able to decorate with beads, paint and glitter, along with gathering materials to make papel picado, which is colorful tissue paper cut into designs and strung along indoors and outdoors in Mexico.
There will be a pinata, inflatables, games and other activities for children. A costume contest for children ages 2 to 15 will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The event will also feature traditional Mexican dishes, live music and dancing. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have died. Visitors to the fair are invited to bring photographs or flowers for the altar to honor their loved ones.Find El Centro on Facebook at www.facebook.com/el.c.comunitario for more information.
Highway Patrol trunk-and-treat, Oct. 31
State Highway Patrol troopers from Troop G, District 3 will sponsor a trunk-and-treat event outside their office at 125 Baystone Drive, Hendersonville, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. The safe Halloween event will be held in the front parking lot of the station.
In addition to candy, kids will be treated to an inside look at Highway Patrol squad cars. The event is being held in an effort to provide a safe environment for children to trick-or-treat.
Fletcher
Halloween carnival, Oct. 25
The Halloween Carnival at Fletcher Community Park will be held from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday on Field 5. The event is free, but officials will collect canned goods for a local food pantry.
A costume contest will be held at 4 p.m., with registration ending at 3:45 p.m. Children will compete in the 4 and under, 5-7 or 8-11 age groups. Awards will be given in three categories: Best Traditional Costume, Most Creative Costume and Best Homemade Costume.
More than 15 carnival-style games will be set up on the field for all the little ghouls and goblins. Games include Pumpkin Putt-Putt, Halloween Hoops and Dizzy Bat Race. There will also be three inflatables — a bounce house, obstacle course and a slide. Face painting will be offered by volunteers, and children can stop by the Halloween craft tent to make a ghoulish bag to keep treats in.
Visit www.fletcherparks.org or call 828-687-0751 for more information.
Fall Harvest Days at WNC Ag Center, Oct. 23-25
Fall Harvest Days continues through Saturday at the WNC Ag Center. The 29th Antique Engine and Tractor Show features antique tractors, hit n' miss engines of all sizes, tractor pulls and vendors selling parts. More than 250 vendors/exhibitors with tools, antiques, collectibles, toys and odd stuff will be at the event. Tractor Parade daily, weather permitting, at 3 p.m. Gates open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $8 per day and includes ACAETA pulls. Children under 12 are admitted free with paid adult.
Tractor pulls will be held Saturday. A pull for farm tractors 1964 and earlier will be held at 10 a.m., and a Kiddy and Adult Pedal Pull at noon. Tractor pulls will be outside, weather permitting. Visit www.mountainfair.org for more information.
Mills River
Fall festival, Oct. 25-26
North River Farms is hosting a free fall festival Saturday and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. Admission is free, and will include live music, a corn maze, corn hole games, a corn box, and equipment displays. There will be additional options available for a fee such as hay rides, pony rides, three different bounce houses and inflatables, and games.
Tommy Brandt, Tommy Brandt Jr., and Megan Woods will provide musical entertainment on Saturday from 1-3:30 p.m., followed by Mountain Thunder from 3:30- 6 p.m. Sunday, the rambunctious old-time sounds of Hogtown Squealers will fill the air from 1-3:30 p.m., followed by Lonesome Road from 3:30-6 p.m.
Food, drinks and ice cream will be available to purchase, including delicious BBQ from Wally's Backwoods BBQ. The festival will be held rain or shine, and there is plenty of covered barn space to accommodate rainy weather.
North River Farms is located at 3333 North Mills River Road in Mills River. For more information, call North River Farms at 828-890-5316.
Brevard
Halloweenfest and Osktoberfest, Oct. 25
Halloweenfest will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in downtown Brevard, following the Flight of the Vampire 5k, 10k and fun run at 9 a.m. The free festival includes a costume contest and parade at 11 a.m., chili cook-off and pie bake-off, street vendors, pumpkin carving contest, Boo-T-Full Me fashion show, street dance and "pumpkin roll" down Jailhouse Hill, as well as the Mountain Music Mash amateur music competition at 10 a.m.
A haunted house will be in the basement of Jamie's Creole Brasserie, Brevard's newest restaurant, and proceeds will support Habitat for Humanity. The Transylvania Heritage Museum will conduct guided ghost tours, and the Transylvania County Farmers Market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.
The third annual Osktoberfest will follow the festival, put on by Oskar Blues brewery. The event begins at 6 p.m. with live music, a beer garden and food. A Halloween Masquerade Ball will be held at 7:30 p.m.
For a full schedule of festival and Osktoberfest events, time and other information, visit http://brevardnc.org or http://halloweenfestnc.com.
Pisgah Forest
The Legend of Tommy Hodges, Oct. 24 & 25
"The Legend of Tommy Hodges" outdoor drama will be staged at the Cradle of Forestry in America Friday and Saturday. And so goes the legend ... It was Halloween night in 1906 when one of the students from the Biltmore Forest School disappeared. His name was Tommy Hodges.
The Cradle of Forestry will present this outdoor drama along the paved, one-mile Biltmore Campus Trail. As the audience walks the trail from scene to scene, attendees will meet characters from the historic Pink Beds community and hears stories, some based on the diaries of students who attended the Biltmore Forest School from 1903-1907. Warm clothing, walking shoes and flashlights are recommended.
Showtimes are 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission to the show is $6 for ages 16 and up, $3 for ages 5-15 and America the Beautiful and Golden Age Passport holders; hot cider and cookies. The Cradle of Forestry Historic Site is located on Highway 276 near Brevard. Visit www.cradleofforestry.com for more information.
Chimney Rock
Park in the Dark, Oct. 31
Friends of Chimney Rock State Park will host Park in the Dark, an after-hours event on Friday, Oct. 31 from 7:30-10 p.m. Park in the Dark will feature storytelling, campfires, night hiking, wildlife encounters, costumed characters and more.
The 491-step Outcroppings Trail and the elevator, both of which lead to the top of Chimney Rock, will be open, providing the opportunity to experience the beauty of the park under the stars. Membership in Friends of Chimney Rock State Park is required, and guests must pre-register; people who are not currently members of the Friends can sign up to participate.
Friends of CSRP is a nonprofit organization whose primary goal is to support the reopening of Chimney Rock State Park's Skyline Trail, which leads to a view of the top of the Hickory Nut Falls. Membership to the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park is $35 per year for an individual, or $60 per year for a family. Additional corporate and other sponsorship levels are also available.
Gates will open at 7 p.m. for the event. Gates will remain open for 30 minutes, after which no admittance will be permitted.
Call 800-277-9611 to pre-register; Friends will pay a $5 per-car parking fee. This event is available to the first 70 registrants only.
Categories: News

Women Helping Women dinner celebrates triumphs

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:48
Attendees of Pardee Foundation's Women Helping Women Dinner Thursday night were captivated by the story of Jackie Austin's journey to find a cure for her five-year mystery illness, which drained her both financially and physically.
When Austin's daughter got the chance of a lifetime to intern on a farm in Tuscany, 53-year-old Austin said she knew she had to visit. So she saved up, holding garage sales every chance she got, and headed abroad with friends.
The active mother spent time roaming the countryside, dining with farm hands and cuddling up to furry farm critters. In the mornings while her roommates were still sleeping, the early riser said she would head out to the farm, but wasn't aware that she should not have been handling animals abroad. Having experience working at vet's offices, she'd always a had a soft spot for animals.
"There would be a little baby lamb who had been born a few hours early and I would walk up and the mother wouldn't get upset and I picked this warm little wet thing up," Austin said. "I mean, all of my pictures are me kissing some animal and I got really sick while I was there, and we think that was when it all started."
Austin said a bright red ring formed around her ankles and grew like tentacles all the way up her legs. She knew she needed to get home to see a doctor. Unfortunately, it took her five years to find the right one — Dr. James Caserio with Pardee Hospital.
Austin's mysterious health condition was not solved until the Asheville resident was united with Women Helping Women, which provides financial assistance for uninsured and under-insured women for their health care needs at Pardee.
Since 1998, Women Helping Women has raised more than $1.8 million to help nearly 1,000 Pardee patients receive critical care for women's cancers and other diseases. Between Thursday night's dinner and Friday's Women Helping Women Luncheon at Kenmure Country Club, the foundation has raised $144,000 more.
Keynote speaker for Thursday's dinner was Dr. Karyn Stitzenberg, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Division of Surgical Oncology, who addressed the audience about advances in cancer research, care and treatment. Her research as a member of the faculty at UNC focuses on the organization of cancer care and the ways in which system- and provider-level factors impact access to care and outcomes for patients with cancer.
Stitzenberg said access to care can greatly affect a patient's odds of recovery from melanoma, and the farther a patient lives from where they get their care, the lower their chances of beating their illness.
Another obstacle is money. One new cancer drug comes in a round of four treatments, she said, with each treatment costing $30,000.
Also at the dinner, Pat Haire, Lynn Sealander Jones and Pam Kessaris were honored as the 2014 Women of Hope. The three women will be honored again during Friday's luncheon.
"These three women exemplify strength, courage and hope," Pardee Hospital Foundation Executive Director Kimerly Hinkelman said in an email to the Times-News. "Their stories have inspired and encouraged us, and it is an incredible feeling to be able to honor them and to celebrate their survivorship."
Haire fought both ovarian and uterine cancer. After multiple surgeries and radiation, she has been free of cancer for three years.
Jones is a registered nurse who has spent her entire nursing career caring for cancer patients. In 2012, she was in an automobile accident that led to the discovery of cancer in her right arm. She can no longer work as a cancer nurse, but still finds a way to help others by performing cancer research.
Kessaris' life changed drastically after being hit by a drunk driver and trapped inside a burning vehicle in Lake Charles, La. She has endured years of physical therapy and has had more than 20 reconstructive surgeries.
Each of these women will have her portrait hung at the Elizabeth Reilly Breast Center, along with their words of encouragement, beside the past recipients of the honor.
Austin's journey
When Austin returned to the U.S., doctors listened to her story of kissing newborn baby lambs and threw it out as irrelevant information. The lines on her legs, she was told, were simply caused by cellulitis and she was given antibiotics, but never got better.
"It was just a steady downfall from there, and I am a competive rower and to be a decorative painter, you have to be physically very strong because you're painting clouds on ceilings and there is a lot of grunt work that goes with it," Austin said. "I was up on these ladders and I would look down at the ground and the ground would disappear and it would just be black. I would think, "whoa, what is wrong with me?"
She thought it might be hormonal, but deep down, Austin said she had a feeling something was very wrong. It got to the point where one day as she was walking down a fire escape she realized that she could not see the next step as she was about to take it.
"I sat down and I thought, 'this is probably not good and I probably shouldn't drive,' and I called my family doctor," Austin said. "And this is sort of the start of the frustrating part of this journey, which is why I am so grateful to Women Helping Women."
She called her doctor and said she couldn't see the ground, was not even sure if she could get up, and asked what she should do.
"And the girl said, 'oh, we could fit you in on Friday,' — this was Monday," Austin said.
It was just one of many times when Austin was met with abrupt tones, put on hold or generally brushed aside even when she would explain that she was alone, scared and looking for help. Then she began seeing blood in her stool and was told she had a bleed somewhere in her body.
Eight doctors in hospitals from Winston-Salem to Chapel Hill referred to it as undiagnosed gastrointestinal bleeding and suspected she had a cluster of veins that were spontaneously rupturing.
For five years, Austin's health declined as she was repeatedly scoped by doctors looking through her GI system, cameras searching for a cause of the bleeding — even undergoing very new controversial procedures in which she swallowed.
When doctors discovered her iron levels were drastically dropping, they insisted she begin iron infusions at the cancer center alongside chemotherapy patients, but because too much iron can kill you, Austin had to wait until her iron levels dropped so low that she could hear the sound of her heart beating within her chest. Those treatments lasted from early 2011 until November of 2013.
The gambit of medical procedures and travels ran Austin dry financially, and she lost both her her house and the ability to work.
One of her children's friends, Callie Walston Davis, was moved by Austin's struggle and utilized her marketing skills to share Austin's story. Just before Austin was set to move in with family in Florida, Davis called saying she had to meet with Hinkelman in Hendersonville. After an emotional lunch, Austin had an appointment to see Caserio.
"Third week of November, I am told it is not worth testing your stools, you're just going to have to live like this," Austin said. "I got into Dr. Caserio's office... and I told him about the farm. He said, 'But they've tested you. I am sure?' and I said, 'No, they've refused,' and he said, 'You've got to be kidding me.'"
After a stool sample test, Caserio informed Austin that she had H/Pylori, a bacteria growing inside her stomach that could have eventually morphed into lymphoma. An antibiotics cocktail and a proton inhibitor for two weeks ended Austin's battle.
While Austin is still working to rebuild her strength, she finally has answers.
"I feel like they (Women Helping Women) opened their arms and said, 'We're going to take care of you and figure this out and you're going to be OK,' is how it felt physically," Austin said. "I am 100 percent sure that I am cured and it is over and I can finally just not spend all of my time off in hospitals and start over again."
The experience has changed her life, and everything about her.
"I am back and I would not be back, I might not even be sitting here ... if it wasn't for Women Helping Women because really it just boils down to that."
Categories: News

Women Helping Women dinner celebrates triumphs

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:48
Attendees of Pardee Foundation's Women Helping Women Dinner Thursday night were captivated by the story of Jackie Austin's journey to find a cure for her five-year mystery illness, which drained her both financially and physically.
When Austin's daughter got the chance of a lifetime to intern on a farm in Tuscany, 53-year-old Austin said she knew she had to visit. So she saved up, holding garage sales every chance she got, and headed abroad with friends.
The active mother spent time roaming the countryside, dining with farm hands and cuddling up to furry farm critters. In the mornings while her roommates were still sleeping, the early riser said she would head out to the farm, but wasn't aware that she should not have been handling animals abroad. Having experience working at vet's offices, she'd always a had a soft spot for animals.
"There would be a little baby lamb who had been born a few hours early and I would walk up and the mother wouldn't get upset and I picked this warm little wet thing up," Austin said. "I mean, all of my pictures are me kissing some animal and I got really sick while I was there, and we think that was when it all started."
Austin said a bright red ring formed around her ankles and grew like tentacles all the way up her legs. She knew she needed to get home to see a doctor. Unfortunately, it took her five years to find the right one — Dr. James Caserio with Pardee Hospital.
Austin's mysterious health condition was not solved until the Asheville resident was united with Women Helping Women, which provides financial assistance for uninsured and under-insured women for their health care needs at Pardee.
Since 1998, Women Helping Women has raised more than $1.8 million to help nearly 1,000 Pardee patients receive critical care for women's cancers and other diseases. Between Thursday night's dinner and Friday's Women Helping Women Luncheon at Kenmure Country Club, the foundation has raised $144,000 more.
Keynote speaker for Thursday's dinner was Dr. Karyn Stitzenberg, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Division of Surgical Oncology, who addressed the audience about advances in cancer research, care and treatment. Her research as a member of the faculty at UNC focuses on the organization of cancer care and the ways in which system- and provider-level factors impact access to care and outcomes for patients with cancer.
Stitzenberg said access to care can greatly affect a patient's odds of recovery from melanoma, and the farther a patient lives from where they get their care, the lower their chances of beating their illness.
Another obstacle is money. One new cancer drug comes in a round of four treatments, she said, with each treatment costing $30,000.
Also at the dinner, Pat Haire, Lynn Sealander Jones and Pam Kessaris were honored as the 2014 Women of Hope. The three women will be honored again during Friday's luncheon.
"These three women exemplify strength, courage and hope," Pardee Hospital Foundation Executive Director Kimerly Hinkelman said in an email to the Times-News. "Their stories have inspired and encouraged us, and it is an incredible feeling to be able to honor them and to celebrate their survivorship."
Haire fought both ovarian and uterine cancer. After multiple surgeries and radiation, she has been free of cancer for three years.
Jones is a registered nurse who has spent her entire nursing career caring for cancer patients. In 2012, she was in an automobile accident that led to the discovery of cancer in her right arm. She can no longer work as a cancer nurse, but still finds a way to help others by performing cancer research.
Kessaris' life changed drastically after being hit by a drunk driver and trapped inside a burning vehicle in Lake Charles, La. She has endured years of physical therapy and has had more than 20 reconstructive surgeries.
Each of these women will have her portrait hung at the Elizabeth Reilly Breast Center, along with their words of encouragement, beside the past recipients of the honor.
Austin's journey
When Austin returned to the U.S., doctors listened to her story of kissing newborn baby lambs and threw it out as irrelevant information. The lines on her legs, she was told, were simply caused by cellulitis and she was given antibiotics, but never got better.
"It was just a steady downfall from there, and I am a competive rower and to be a decorative painter, you have to be physically very strong because you're painting clouds on ceilings and there is a lot of grunt work that goes with it," Austin said. "I was up on these ladders and I would look down at the ground and the ground would disappear and it would just be black. I would think, "whoa, what is wrong with me?"
She thought it might be hormonal, but deep down, Austin said she had a feeling something was very wrong. It got to the point where one day as she was walking down a fire escape she realized that she could not see the next step as she was about to take it.
"I sat down and I thought, 'this is probably not good and I probably shouldn't drive,' and I called my family doctor," Austin said. "And this is sort of the start of the frustrating part of this journey, which is why I am so grateful to Women Helping Women."
She called her doctor and said she couldn't see the ground, was not even sure if she could get up, and asked what she should do.
"And the girl said, 'oh, we could fit you in on Friday,' — this was Monday," Austin said.
It was just one of many times when Austin was met with abrupt tones, put on hold or generally brushed aside even when she would explain that she was alone, scared and looking for help. Then she began seeing blood in her stool and was told she had a bleed somewhere in her body.
Eight doctors in hospitals from Winston-Salem to Chapel Hill referred to it as undiagnosed gastrointestinal bleeding and suspected she had a cluster of veins that were spontaneously rupturing.
For five years, Austin's health declined as she was repeatedly scoped by doctors looking through her GI system, cameras searching for a cause of the bleeding — even undergoing very new controversial procedures in which she swallowed.
When doctors discovered her iron levels were drastically dropping, they insisted she begin iron infusions at the cancer center alongside chemotherapy patients, but because too much iron can kill you, Austin had to wait until her iron levels dropped so low that she could hear the sound of her heart beating within her chest. Those treatments lasted from early 2011 until November of 2013.
The gambit of medical procedures and travels ran Austin dry financially, and she lost both her her house and the ability to work.
One of her children's friends, Callie Walston Davis, was moved by Austin's struggle and utilized her marketing skills to share Austin's story. Just before Austin was set to move in with family in Florida, Davis called saying she had to meet with Hinkelman in Hendersonville. After an emotional lunch, Austin had an appointment to see Caserio.
"Third week of November, I am told it is not worth testing your stools, you're just going to have to live like this," Austin said. "I got into Dr. Caserio's office... and I told him about the farm. He said, 'But they've tested you. I am sure?' and I said, 'No, they've refused,' and he said, 'You've got to be kidding me.'"
After a stool sample test, Caserio informed Austin that she had H/Pylori, a bacteria growing inside her stomach that could have eventually morphed into lymphoma. An antibiotics cocktail and a proton inhibitor for two weeks ended Austin's battle.
While Austin is still working to rebuild her strength, she finally has answers.
"I feel like they (Women Helping Women) opened their arms and said, 'We're going to take care of you and figure this out and you're going to be OK,' is how it felt physically," Austin said. "I am 100 percent sure that I am cured and it is over and I can finally just not spend all of my time off in hospitals and start over again."
The experience has changed her life, and everything about her.
"I am back and I would not be back, I might not even be sitting here ... if it wasn't for Women Helping Women because really it just boils down to that."
Categories: News

Border deaths drop to 15-year low

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 06:55
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The number of people who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to the lowest level in 15 years as more immigrants turned themselves in to authorities in Texas and fewer took their chances with the dangerous trek across the Arizona desert.
The U.S. government recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended in September — the lowest number since 1999. In 2013, the number of deaths was 445.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector finished the 2014 budget year with 115 deaths, compared with 107 in the Tucson sector, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press. It marks the first time since 2001 that Arizona has not been the deadliest place to cross the border.
Arizona has long been the most dangerous border region because of triple-digit temperatures, rough desert terrain and the sheer volume of immigrants coming in to the state from Mexico. But more immigrants are now entering through Texas and not Arizona, driven by a surge of people from Central America.
The Tucson and Rio Grande Valley both saw their numbers of deaths decline from 2013, although Arizona's drop was more precipitous.
Border enforcement officials say the lower numbers are in part due to increased rescue efforts as well as a Spanish-language media campaign discouraging Latin Americans from walking across the border.
Tucson Sector Division Chief Raleigh Leonard says the addition of 10 new rescue beacons that were strategically placed in areas where immigrants traverse most often has been a factor in the decrease in deaths.
"I think we can all agree that crossing the border is an illegal act, but nothing that should be assigned the penalty of death," Leonard said in an interview.
Immigrant rights advocates are skeptical that it is solely the Border Patrol's efforts contributing to the decrease in deaths.
"At best, what the Border Patrol is accomplishing is a geographical shift in where these deaths are happening — rather than adequately responding to the scale of the crisis," said Geoffrey Boyce, a border enforcement and immigration researcher at the University of Arizona and a volunteer with the Tucson-based nonprofit No More Deaths.
The Rio Grande Valley sector was flooded with a surge in unaccompanied minors and families with children who turned themselves in at border crossings in Texas. Most were from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where gang violence and a poor economy have driven out huge numbers of people. That surge has dwindled recently, however, as U.S. and Central American authorities have launched a public relations campaign warning parents against sending their children to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Tucson Sector, once the busiest in the nation, has seen a steep decline in border crossers. Fewer Mexicans are crossing into the U.S. as the economy here has faltered and drug violence at home has improved.
The Border Patrol also responds to hundreds of cases each year of immigrants who need to be rescued while crossing the desert, long an issue in the Arizona desert. The Border Patrol conducted 509 rescues in the 2014 fiscal year in the Tucson sector, compared to 802 in 2013.
Some of the rescues are made with the help of beacons that were activated 142 times this year. The beacons are 30-feet tall, solar-powered and have sun reflectors and blue lights on top that are visible for 10 miles. The beacons also have signs in three languages directing users to push a red button that sends out a signal for help. Agents respond usually within 10 minutes to an hour.
The agency has a team dedicated solely to rescues, called Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue.
Agents in this elite group spend their days searching for immigrants and responding when one seeks help. They assist not only those who cross the border in search for jobs, but also drug mules and smugglers who become injured or dehydrated in the summer heat.
It was only 10 a.m. and already 95 degrees on a day in late June when the unit's agents provided medical assistance to a 28-year-old man suspected of smuggling drugs near Sells, Arizona.
The thin man had an ID from El Salvador and said he lived in Tucson. He oscillated between Spanish and English, but his message was the same: He was in extreme pain.
The agents gave him a gallon of a sports beverage. He was to drink it slowly, they told him, or else it would make him sick. Next, they connected a saline bag intravenously and checked his vitals.
The agents monitored him and re-examined his vitals, concluding that he wasn't dehydrated but suffering from muscle fatigue. Minutes later, agents who used a drug-sniffing K-9 to search the area found several bundles of marijuana and another suspected smuggler.
The men were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, but were not charged with smuggling because the loads of marijuana were not found on them.
"To us, it could be a mule, an illegal immigrant. They're all the same. They're human beings," Leonard said.
___
Categories: News

Border deaths drop to 15-year low

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 06:55
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The number of people who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to the lowest level in 15 years as more immigrants turned themselves in to authorities in Texas and fewer took their chances with the dangerous trek across the Arizona desert.
The U.S. government recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended in September — the lowest number since 1999. In 2013, the number of deaths was 445.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector finished the 2014 budget year with 115 deaths, compared with 107 in the Tucson sector, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press. It marks the first time since 2001 that Arizona has not been the deadliest place to cross the border.
Arizona has long been the most dangerous border region because of triple-digit temperatures, rough desert terrain and the sheer volume of immigrants coming in to the state from Mexico. But more immigrants are now entering through Texas and not Arizona, driven by a surge of people from Central America.
The Tucson and Rio Grande Valley both saw their numbers of deaths decline from 2013, although Arizona's drop was more precipitous.
Border enforcement officials say the lower numbers are in part due to increased rescue efforts as well as a Spanish-language media campaign discouraging Latin Americans from walking across the border.
Tucson Sector Division Chief Raleigh Leonard says the addition of 10 new rescue beacons that were strategically placed in areas where immigrants traverse most often has been a factor in the decrease in deaths.
"I think we can all agree that crossing the border is an illegal act, but nothing that should be assigned the penalty of death," Leonard said in an interview.
Immigrant rights advocates are skeptical that it is solely the Border Patrol's efforts contributing to the decrease in deaths.
"At best, what the Border Patrol is accomplishing is a geographical shift in where these deaths are happening — rather than adequately responding to the scale of the crisis," said Geoffrey Boyce, a border enforcement and immigration researcher at the University of Arizona and a volunteer with the Tucson-based nonprofit No More Deaths.
The Rio Grande Valley sector was flooded with a surge in unaccompanied minors and families with children who turned themselves in at border crossings in Texas. Most were from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where gang violence and a poor economy have driven out huge numbers of people. That surge has dwindled recently, however, as U.S. and Central American authorities have launched a public relations campaign warning parents against sending their children to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Tucson Sector, once the busiest in the nation, has seen a steep decline in border crossers. Fewer Mexicans are crossing into the U.S. as the economy here has faltered and drug violence at home has improved.
The Border Patrol also responds to hundreds of cases each year of immigrants who need to be rescued while crossing the desert, long an issue in the Arizona desert. The Border Patrol conducted 509 rescues in the 2014 fiscal year in the Tucson sector, compared to 802 in 2013.
Some of the rescues are made with the help of beacons that were activated 142 times this year. The beacons are 30-feet tall, solar-powered and have sun reflectors and blue lights on top that are visible for 10 miles. The beacons also have signs in three languages directing users to push a red button that sends out a signal for help. Agents respond usually within 10 minutes to an hour.
The agency has a team dedicated solely to rescues, called Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue.
Agents in this elite group spend their days searching for immigrants and responding when one seeks help. They assist not only those who cross the border in search for jobs, but also drug mules and smugglers who become injured or dehydrated in the summer heat.
It was only 10 a.m. and already 95 degrees on a day in late June when the unit's agents provided medical assistance to a 28-year-old man suspected of smuggling drugs near Sells, Arizona.
The thin man had an ID from El Salvador and said he lived in Tucson. He oscillated between Spanish and English, but his message was the same: He was in extreme pain.
The agents gave him a gallon of a sports beverage. He was to drink it slowly, they told him, or else it would make him sick. Next, they connected a saline bag intravenously and checked his vitals.
The agents monitored him and re-examined his vitals, concluding that he wasn't dehydrated but suffering from muscle fatigue. Minutes later, agents who used a drug-sniffing K-9 to search the area found several bundles of marijuana and another suspected smuggler.
The men were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, but were not charged with smuggling because the loads of marijuana were not found on them.
"To us, it could be a mule, an illegal immigrant. They're all the same. They're human beings," Leonard said.
___
Categories: News

Toddlers found along road 'likely wandered away' from home

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 06:54
Beverly Myers was waking from a nap in the living room of her home at 1395 Crab Creek Road Thursday afternoon when her mother heard a car door slam, then saw a truck driving off.
Two toddlers were in the roadway.
The busy thoroughfare connecting Henderson and Transylvania counties is constantly buzzing with cars. The 2- and 3-year-old boys were barefoot. One made his way to the Myers' driveway. The other remained in the road.
“She said, 'Get up! Get up! Get up! There's a kid!'” Myers said. “'Call 911. There's a kid abandoned!' That's your first thought is someone dropped off kids.”
The women ran outside to usher the tykes to safety. They wiped the smudges from their faces and called 911.
“Mom happened to look up at the road and she said this truck stopped and these two little kids, two little toddlers were left,” Myers told a dispatcher in a call logged at 12:42 p.m. “We've got them in our house.”
The Henderson County Sheriff's Office and Department of Social Services soon responded, and after beginning an investigation, detectives suspect the kids wandered away from home while their mother was asleep.
“It appears they wandered away from home as opposed to being abandoned in the roadway,” Chief Deputy Frank Stout said late Thursday afternoon. “At this time the children are safe and investigators from the Sheriff's Office and Department of Social Services are interviewing the mother of the children.”
No charges had been filed against the parents at that time, but the investigation continues, Stout said.
Myers said she told 911 the truck was big and may have been brown. It was headed toward Transylvania County. As police rushed to the scene, eyes peeled for the truck, a curly blond-headed 3-year-old boy, dressed only in black basketball shorts, clutched inflatable swimming rings and other poolside paraphernalia inside the Myers home. His dark-haired, diapered 2-year-old brother, dressed in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas, cried for the toys.
Myers, who works with children as a substitute teacher in the county, said she tried to distract them and keep them happy by playing with them until officers arrived. She couldn't get their names.
“They were not interested in cartoons. (They were) interested in all the yarn in the house because we knit for Toasty Toes,” Myers said. She rushed to kid-proof the living room from knitting needles as they played.
“The kids are in good condition and I'm sure that they will be evaluated further by medical staff,” Stout said shortly after 2 p.m. at the Myers home. “First and foremost, our priorities are with the children and making sure that they are healthy and well cared for.”
Officers and officials with DSS took the toddlers to the Sheriff's Office, hoping they would be able to identify the young boys and find out how they ended up in the road.
Minutes later, Myers said a neighbor showed up in his bathrobe, asking, “Have you seen two kids?”
Her neighbor told him that the kids were taken to the Sheriff's Office.
As officers were en route to their Grove Street headquarters, a woman called 911 and reported her children missing very close to the area where the toddlers were found.
The brown truck remains a mystery.
“You have three scenarios. One, someone's dropping off kids because they're mean. Two, kids wandered from a nap, like it happens on the news all the time,” Myers said, adding that another possibility is that someone stopped to try to help.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

5 With Appeal, Oct. 24

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 04:31
The 12th Annual Bearfootin' Public Art Auction will take place Saturday at the Historic Courthouse Square on Main Street, Hendersonville.
Musician Emily Bodley will perform at 2:30 p.m., and bidder registration will begin at 4:30 p.m.
The auction of painted bear sculptures — on display all summer in the Main Street business district — takes place each October to raise funds for a variety of local nonprofits, including the City of Hendersonville's Main Street Program. Last year, the Bearfootin' Public Art Auction raised nearly $20,000.
Nonprofits represented by a bear include the Council on Aging for Henderson County, Interfaith Assistance Ministry and the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County. Overall, there are more than 20 local nonprofits represented.
Do you have your eye on a bear but can't make the auction? Call 233-3216 or email lholloway@cityofhendersonville.org for more information.
Blue Ridge Community College will host the Blue Ridge Wine and Artisan Cider Festival from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday on the Flat Rock campus.
Hosted by Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation, the festival will focus on area winemakers showcasing their wine products. Proceeds from the event will benefit the brewing, distillation, fermentation and horticulture technology programs, as well as student scholarships at Blue Ridge Community College.
Season's at Highland Lake restaurant will participate as a food vendor, and award-winning Executive Chef Michelle Bailey and her team are creating an assortment of seasonally inspired dishes to pair with the wine and cider options of the festival.
For the past two years, the Hendersonville area has hosted the WNC Mountain Wine Festival, and the Blue Ridge Wine and Artisan Cider Festival is building on this endeavor.
Tasting tickets are $25 in advance and can be ordered online at www.blueridge.edu/wineandcider or in person with cash or check at the Cashier Office on the BRCC Henderson County campus. The ticket price includes admission to free tastings from each vendor, a commemorative wine glass and local musical entertainment. Tasting tickets will be available at the door for $30. Free parking is available for all event participants.
Blue Ridge Wine and Artisan Cider Festival is an indoors/outdoors event and will be held rain or shine.
For more information, visit www.blueridge.edu/wineandcider or call 694-1710.
Flat Rock Playhouse's production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" closes this weekend, with its final performance at 2 p.m. Sunday at Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage, 2661 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock.
Taking place in ancient Rome, the story follows the path of the crafty Roman slave, Pseudolus, as he attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the beautiful girl next door. However, the road to freedom is a bit bumpy as he encounters mistaken identities, wild chases and crazy characters.
Cast members are Nick Santa-Maria, Scott Treadway, Scott Cote, Jarid Faubel, Lilly Tobin, Sam Sherwood, Ralph Redpath, Preston Dyar, Linda Edwards, Betsy Bisson, Jane Bushway, Mary Claire King, Katie Zanca, Maddie Franke, Ethan Andersen, James Wells and Dion Mills.
Performances are 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Ttickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling the Playhouse box office at 693-0731, 866-732-8008 or online at www.flatrockplayhouse.org.
North River Farms is hosting a free fall festival from 1-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 3333 N. Mills River Road, Mills River.
Attractions will include bands, a corn maze, corn hole games, a corn box and equipment displays. There will be additional options available for a fee such as hay rides, pony rides, bounce houses and games.
Tommy Brandt, Tommy Brandt Jr. and Megan Woods will provide the musical entertainment from 1-3:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by Mountain Thunder from 3:30-6 p.m. The rambunctious old-time sounds of Hogtown Squealers will fill the air from 1-3:30 p.m. Sunday, followed by Lonesome Road from 3:30-6 p.m.
Food, drinks and ice cream will be available to purchase, including barbecue from Wally's Backwoods BBQ.
The festival will be held rain or shine, and there is plenty of covered barn space to accommodate rainy weather. For more information, call North River Farms at 890-5316.
Categories: News