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Updated: 24 min 47 sec ago

Experts: Science class can dazzle with less danger

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 08:44
DENVER — A dazzling show of fire and color can make science come alive for young students, but it can also inflict serious and painful injuries, as flash fires in Nevada and Colorado showed this month.
Educators and investigators say some teachers lack the training required by law and don't know about standard safety measures that can dramatically lower the inherent dangers of hands-on experiments — experiments they say are vital to science education.
"You've got to have it hands-on, but you have to make it a safer experience through that training," said Ken Roy, a safety consultant for the National Science Teachers Association and a longtime teacher.
Four students were injured, one seriously, when a teacher was pouring methanol onto a table top and igniting it during a chemistry class demonstration Monday at Denver's Science, Math and Arts Academy, a charter high school. A 4-foot jet of flame erupted out of the methanol bottle and burned one of the students, investigators said.
School officials said the student's parents asked them not to release any information about his condition.
On Sept. 3, 13 people, mostly children, were burned by a methanol-fueled flash fire during a science demonstration at the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno.
Both incidents are under investigation.
Daniel Horowitz, managing director of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, said the board has not been able to find any national standards for teacher training and procedures.
"As long as that's the case, other schools may fall in to the same trap," he said.
Schools and museums are not required to report such incidents, so no one knows for sure how often they happen.
Jim Kaufman, president of the nonprofit Laboratory Safety Institute, estimates that about five methanol-related accidents occur in high school labs every year.
The Chemical Safety Board, which investigates chemical accidents, said it knows of at least 11 methanol-related fires in science demonstrations since 2000, and more are coming to light amid the news of the Reno and Denver fires.
The Denver teacher wanted the table top fire to be bigger, so he was pouring more methanol from a gallon-size jug when the chemical inside the container caught fire, said Mark Wingard, a Chemical Safety Board investigator. The heat expanded the methanol inside the jug, and it erupted in a stream out of the narrow opening, said Dan Tillema, another board investigator.
The teacher had minor injuries and declined medical treatment, officials said.
Methanol, a form of alcohol, is often used as a fuel source for a popular classroom demonstration that shows how different chemicals emit different colors when they burn. But it emits flammable vapor at temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, experts say, making it dangerous.
Safer alternatives to methanol are available, Roy said, but methanol is commonly used because it's convenient and because many teachers learned the experiment that way.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires school districts to train and supervise teachers who handle hazardous chemicals like methanol, Roy said, but many schools don't have training and no one is keeping track.
Roy said that in lab accidents he has looked into over the past few years, training has been rare.
"In almost every case, I find that the teachers have not been trained as required by law," he said.
Safety guidelines and instructional videos are available online. A safety data sheet on the website of the Methanol Institute, an industry group, recommends the use of safety goggles, gloves and ventilation for using the chemical.
Neither the teacher nor the students were wearing goggles or other gear in the Denver incident, and although the school laboratory had three ventilation hoods, none was being used at the time of the fire, Wingard said.
Investigators have also said the teacher did not have any special training in handling methanol.
Lindsay Neil, a spokeswoman for the Science, Math and Arts Academy, said Thursday she could not comment because of the ongoing investigations.
Roy said many teachers do handle hazardous chemicals safely. The Science Teachers Association offers training and online help and recommends that teachers learn and follow the safety requirements for any chemicals they use.
Like highways, school labs can never be made completely safe but can be made safer with the right precautions, Roy said.
"When those things are in place, the chance drops dramatically for having a safety incident. But if you ignore them, well of course, things are going to happen," he said.
U.S. Chemical Safety Board statement on Nevada fire:
U.S. Chemical Safety Board video on a methanol fire victim:
Methanol Institute:
Categories: News

Library celebrates 100th with speakers, historical play

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 20:57
Visitors who walked through the portals of the Henderson County Public Library encountered a scene from another era Sunday.
There were sepia-toned photographs of the library’s earliest years, old-timey children’s toys such as Lincoln Logs and paper dolls, and library staff looking – in the words of Library Director Bill Snyder – like they’d “just stepped out of a time machine.”
More than 160 people got to experience that time travel as the library celebrated its 100th birthday with a centennial event filled with history and nostalgia.
On a soggy September day in 1914, Hendersonville residents cheered the opening of the county’s first library, a 3,000-square-foot structure on the corner of Fourth Avenue and King Street built with a grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
“The people 100 years ago had a dream,” said Snyder. “And I think when they founded the library, they were basically saying three things. Number one, we take pride in our past. Number two, we are confident of our present. And number three, we have hope for our future.”
The library has come a long way in the last century, Snyder told a standing-room-only audience in the Kaplan Auditorium. When it first opened, customers could choose from a collection of roughly 600 books.
“We now have over a quarter-million items available to them,” he said, many of them checked out in electronic formats. Snyder, who will retire at month’s end after 25 years here, said the main branch had one IBM computer in 1989; now every location has multiple devices for patrons to use and browse.
The advent of online search engines has dramatically changed the efficiency of library services, Snyder said.
“When I started in libraries, if somebody came in and wanted a song, we had to go to a song index and find out what books they might be in,” he recalled. “Then we would spend 25, 30 minutes trying to find one of those books and then look it up. Now we Google it in 10 seconds.”
For the last 57 years, the Friends of Henderson County Public Library has evolved right along with the library system, said Vice President Ray McKenzie-Wilson. Begun with 34 members in 1957, its current membership has grown to 1,100 today.
Initially, McKenzie-Wilson said, the Friends relied on tax-deductible contributions to fund its work of supplementing library materials. Now more than 200 volunteers help the organization hold a twice-annual book sale that is its main funding source.
The group’s first book sale raised $968, he said, while this year’s event is projected to bring in close to $105,000 by the end of the year, including lobby and online sales. Throughout its history, the book sale has supplemented county coffers to the tune of $1.6 million, McKenzie-Wilson said.
Commissioner Larry Young, who represents his colleagues on the library’s board of directors, told the audience the library serves a “big function” in Henderson County. He said the county has weathered hard economic times better than most.
“We’re sorry that we had to cut services somewhat back in the recession, which is still going on, I think,” Young said. But Henderson County’s economic growth has steadily grown, he said, ranking it in the top 2 or 3 percent of 5,500 counties in the United States.
“So you’ve got a lot to be thankful for,” he said.
Following the centennial ceremony, four actors performed Tom Orr’s play, “Realms of Gold.” As historical images from the Baker-Barber Photograph Collection flashed onto a screen behind them, the performers chronicled the library’s evolution using early press accounts and local recollections.
Among the play’s nuggets: author F. Scott Fitzgerald stopped by the library at closing time one evening to check out a book before retiring to the nearby Skyland Hotel. And poet Carl Sandburg was at one time the library’s highest volume user of interlibrary loans.
Snyder said the library has gone from a small library with limited resources to being what “has been described statistically as the best county library in North Carolina. And that says a lot, not so much for the library, but for the citizens of Henderson County. We could not do it if you didn’t want us to do it.”
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Sept. 21

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 03:01
Bullington Gardens will hold dahlia event
Bullington Gardens will host a special fall program, Dazzling Dahlia Days, from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday at 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville.
The event will include a guided tour of Bullington's dahlia garden, featuring more than 150 varieties and over 450 individual dahlias. The tour will be led by Brian Killingsworth, the organization's dahlia expert. Guests will be able to vote for their favorite dahlia of Killingsworth's top 10. The favorite will be Bullington's Dahlia of the Year.
Refreshments will be served. Participants should wear comfortable shoes. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, call Bullington Gardens at 698-6104 or visit
Memory Café holding free workshop
Memory Café of Hendersonville will present “Building a Bridge Over Troubled Waters: How to Connect With a Memory-Impaired Person,” from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at Crosswalk Student Center, 577 Buncombe St., Hendersonville.
The event is a workshop for caregivers, families and health care professionals. Guest speaker will be Mary Donnelly, Memory Caregivers Network coordinator.
The event is free and there will be free on-site respite care for registered guests. To register for the workshop or respite care, call 693-3493 by Tuesday.
The Hendersonville Business Advisory Committee will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday in the Operations Center.
Blue Ridge Literacy Council and Blue Ridge Community Health Services have teamed with the League of Women Voters Henderson County to offer a voter registration and education event from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at Eleanor W. Meloun Community Room on the campus of Blue Ridge Community Health Services, 2579 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville. Info: Blue Ridge Literacy Council at 696-3811; Blue Ridge Community Health Services at 233-2225; League of Women Voters at 692-4012.
The Camera Club of Hendersonville will meet from 6:30–9 p.m. Tuesday in the Chamber of Commerce building. The meeting will feature a presentation by Ball Photo Shop of Asheville. Visitors welcome. Info:
The Civil War Round Table of Western North Carolina will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Operations Center Meeting Room, 305 Williams St., Hendersonville. Cost is $5. Info: 329-0789.
The Henderson County Republican Women’s Club will hold a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at 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

Behind the Lights: East Henderson

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 21:56
EAST FLAT ROCK -- The East Henderson cheerleader voices filled the halls of Hillandale Elementary School before anyone could see them on Friday morning.
Waiting beyond the gymnasium doors were hundreds of kids lining all the elementary school's walls anxiously awaiting the Eagle football team.
Within seconds, the cheerleaders emerged from the gym and were met with cheers from the kids. Behind the cheerleaders was a line of football players clad in green jerseys. The long football procession left the gym, went out a side door and then entered back into the school on the first grade hall.
The East football players were smiling as they walked through halls lined with smiling children. The kids held up posters that they'd made to rally the Eagles, urging to victory later that night.
Friday morning was the first of what will be a tradition for East Henderson under new coach John "Mac" McMillan. Tabbed the "Eagle Walk," the East players will visit the elementary schools in their district each Friday morning of home games.
On this Friday as the walk was completed, the Eagle players and cheerleaders filed back into the gym, which was filled with kids. With everyone in the gym, a spontaneous dodge ball game erupted as the kids bombarded the players with balls and followed that up with a contest with the cheerleaders.
Once the dodge ball, high fives and cheers were over, the Eagle players waited patiently on the sidewalk as the cheerleaders handed them pictures and posters the kids had made them.
They hopped back on the buses and made their way back to East.
The day was just beginning.
No. 7
After eating their pregame meal at Rise Fellowship Church, the Eagles settled into the fieldhouse to await the gridiron clash with Polk County. In the weight room, "Facing the Giants" played on a television. In the locker rooms, players sat around. Some talked. Some stretched out on the floor. Some sat silently with ear buds on listening to music.
The coaches were scattered throughout, coming in and out of the locker rooms. The bulk of the assistant coaches settled in around a conference table in the coaches' locker room. Offensive coordinator Sam Perry was busy plotting a fantasy football trade with defensive coordinator Jeff Floyd.
The group of coaches then bounced around different trades, joking about who'd win what games this week, in their coaches' fantasy football league.
As the clock ticked, however, the shift slowly began. Talks of fantasy football faded and the seriousness of real football took hold. The players went out for their stretched and returned to the fieldhouse just a little past 6 p.m.
The first meeting was a reminder session with Perry. Perry walked them through plays and reminded the players of how vital the offensive line's role would be against the Wolverines.
After Perry was finished, Floyd took his turn to talk to the team about defense.
His primary focus was on No. 7. For Polk County, that is quarterback Jamal Wheeler.
The No. 7 theme continued as McMillan addressed the Eagles just before the game began. The player sat in front of their lockers. Many of those lockers had the pictures and scribbling of the Hillandale Elementary kids posted.
"I we can keep the ball away from No. 7, he can't hurt you," McMillan told his team.
As the seconds continued to tick away, assistant coach Rashad Smith talked to the players. Smith just completed his career at North Carolina St. after a stellar high school career in Georgia.
"They coaches," he said, "we got all the faith in ya'll."
He stressed the unity and the camaraderie of a team.
"You won't get it done I you don't believe in the man next to you," Smith said. "One person can move a rock. As a team, we can move the world."
And just moments before the Eagles filed out to the field to bunch up behind the banner and cheerleaders, McMillan addressed his team one more time.
"You are a band of brothers right here," he said. "You've got to fight together."
He reminded them of all their hard work and how he knew that they were tired of the losing streak that they were on.
"It's time to take (all that) out on Polk County," he said.
The Eagles held the Wolverines to just 13 points in the first half. In large part, they kept Wheeler aka No. 7 in check.
East suffered from two fumbles that stalled two drives and cost them seven points on the other side. Just as the first half was ending, however, the Eagles defense stole a little momentum that inspired hope in the locker rooms at the half.
The Eagles lost a fumble with less than a minute to go in the first half. Jamal Wheeler connected on a 26-yard pass to his brother Storm Wheeler that gave the Wolverines a first and goal from the 8-yard-line. The Eagle defense knocked down the pass as the buzzer went off to end the second quarter.
The locker room was much more animated at the half. A calm, cool façade became fire at the half. Perry stood at the front of the room and told the players that the game would come down to pride.
Floyd asked the players if they were ready to win a ball game.
McMillan's emotions flowed into his players at the half. He talked about protecting the football and his voice filled the room.
"They know they're in a dogfight," he told his players. "Take a deep breath. Smile. We can win this football game."
He let those words in. They were met with nods from his players as their energy built.
"We're all together," McMillan continued. "We're one. We're East. Let's go out and that ball game."
Putting it behind
The second half, however, didn't go as the Eagles planned.
The first drive for Polk County as the half got started took 48 seconds and ended with a 56-yard touchdown run by Jamal Wheeler.
The Eagles lost another fumble that resulted in a touchdown and Polk's Jason Chupp picked off a pass and took it 26 yards for a touchdown. When the dust settled, Polk won the game 34-0.
As the East team and fans met at midfield, McMillan once again stared his players in the face.
This time, the words were somber.
"It's eating at me bad," he said. I'm going to watch the film tomorrow and put it behind me."
As he spoke, hope filled his words again. The season isn't over. It really hadn't begun. Next week, East will host Pisgah in the first WNC Athletic Conference game of the season.
"Take every we've done and find as much positive out of it and take it with you to Pisgah," he said.
Categories: News

License plate scanner networks capture movements

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 15:01
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A rapidly expanding digital network that uses cameras mounted to traffic signals and police cruisers captures the movements of millions of vehicles across the U.S., regardless of whether the drivers are being investigated by law enforcement.
The license plate scanning systems have multiplied across the U.S. over the last decade, funded largely by Homeland Security grants, and judges recently have upheld authorities' rights to keep details from hundreds of millions of scans a secret from the public.
Such decisions come as a patchwork of local laws and regulations govern the use of such technology and the distribution of the information they collect, inflaming civil liberties advocates who see this as the next battleground in the fight over high-tech surveillance.
"If I'm not being investigated for a crime, there shouldn't be a secret police file on me" that details "where I go, where I shop, where I visit," said Michael Robertson, a tech entrepreneur fighting in court for access to his own files. "That's crazy, Nazi police-type stuff."
A San Diego judge has tentatively ruled that a local government agency can deny Robertson's request for scans on his own vehicle under California's open records law because the information pertains to police investigations. Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal heard additional arguments in the case Friday and plans to issue a final decision soon. Robertson said he plans to appeal if the tentative decision stands.
The San Diego case comes less than a month after another state judge, using the same reasoning, denied a petition by the ACLU of Southern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for one week of records on all vehicles collected by the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The ACLU says that network adds 3 million scans each week to a database shared with dozens of other agencies that now includes details from more than 455 million encounters.
About 7 in 10 law enforcement agencies used license plate scanners in 2012 and an overwhelming majority planned to acquire such systems or expand their use, according to a study by the Police Executive Research Forum, a research and policy group.
Civil liberties advocates say these files need to be open to public scrutiny to prevent government overreach and unconstitutional privacy invasions.
On the other side are government and law enforcement officials who say they're not misusing the systems and that tracking and storing the data can help with criminal investigations, either to incriminate or exonerate a suspect.
"At some point, you have to trust and believe that the agencies that you utilize for law enforcement are doing what's right and what's best for the community, and they're not targeting your community," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. John Gaw said.
In San Diego's case, records are kept for up to two years, but other agencies keep them five years or more and are limited mainly by server space.
"If that information is deleted or purged too quickly, then we lost that, and we can never go back," said Lt. Karen Stubkjaer of the San Diego Sheriff's Department.
In Robertson's case against the San Diego Association of Governments, he was seeking access to a sweeping system that links the San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff's Department and eight other law enforcement agencies. The sheriff's department alone has made 9.8 million scans since the system was introduced in 2009, Stubkjaer said.
Robertson, who founded and later sold the digital musical service, has no problem with officials using the technology for legitimate purposes like tracking down stolen cars. But he says license plate readers are ripe for abuse, and there's no reason for long-term storage of data on innocent people.
"I want a strong police force," he said. "But I also want my personal freedom."
Neither the San Diego case nor the Los Angeles ruling sets legal precedent, but they're part of a growing debate.
"License plate readers are part of a larger conversation," said Chuck Wexler, head of the Police Executive Research Forum. "Technology is changing how the police view crime, and it is raising a number of public policy issues: How long do you hold on to this information? And what part of this information should the public have access to?"
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Sept. 20

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 03:01
<>'Food raiser' will benefit local youth
Operation Re-Pack will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 27 at Jackson Park. Bring nonperishable food items for the Back Pack Program. Bring at least one food item to help feed Henderson County's youth. Live music will be provided by Calculated Error from Jim Beaver's School of Music. A classic car cruise-in will also be a part of the festivities. For more information, call 606-1058.
Ladies Auxiliary president to tour area
National President of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Ann Panteleakos will arrive at the Asheville Airport Sunday and tour the area Sunday and Monday. A dinner in her honor will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Lion's Den on Highway 64 in Pisgah Forest.
Cost is $12 for steak, shrimp, vegetables, salad, dessert and tea. Info: 883-8592. Advance reservations are appreciated.
Robotics team to hold open house
Henderson County Public Schools' Robotics Team 1225 will hold an open house at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Mechatronics Lab, room 128 in the Spearman building of Blue Ridge Community College. Any high school student interested in computer programming, automation and design and engineering is encouraged to attend.
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 Henderson County Early College High School Improvement Team will meet at 3 p.m. Monday in room 120 of the Industrial Skills Building of the school.
The Hendersonville Business Advisory Committee will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday in the Operations Center.
The Mills River Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at town hall.
The Laurel Park ABC Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the ABC Store in Laurel Park Village.
The Transylvania County Board of Social Services will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the first floor conference room of the social services building.
The Free Clinics will offer free flu shots and a variety of preventative health screenings to the community from 3–6 p.m. Monday at 841 Case St., Hendersonville. Info: 697-8422 or
“Growing Henderson County Strong,” a celebration of smart, sustainable economic development in Western North Carolina, will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Self-Help Credit Union, 855 Spartanburg Highway, Hendersonville. RSVP by email at
A reception/fundraiser for Sheriff Charles McDonald sponsored by Henderson County Republican Women’s Club will be held from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Opportunity House, 1411 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville. Cost is $25. Mail checks to the Committee to Elect Sheriff Charles McDonald, P.O. Box 1385, Fletcher, NC 28732. Info: 693-7057.
Categories: News

Mountain Heritage puts away Falcons

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 23:43
Johnson Field was filled with excitement, optimism and future Falcon players in the form of West Henderson Youth Football players on Friday night.
Three first-half touchdown passes by Mountain Heritage freshman Trey Robinson took the air out of the stadium, though, propelling the Cougars to a 40-21 throttling of the host Falcons.
"My hat's off to Mountain Heritage. They came ready to play and I didn't have our kids ready," said Falcon head coach Paul Whitaker.
On the third play from scrimmage, Robinson (three passing TDs, one rushing TD) connected with Dalton Cannon (three TDs) from 75 yards out to grab a quick 8-0 lead.
Following a Falcon (2-2) drive that stalled out at the Cougars (3-2) 14-yard line, Robinson hit a wide-open Cannon in the middle of the field for 49-yard score, extending the lead to 16-0.
With the Cougars driving for another score, junior Tanner Bullock forced a well-timed fumble that got the Falcon faithful back on their feet and into the game.
Capitalizing on the turnover, last week's Times-News Prep Player of the Week William Crouch hooked up with Cody Jackson (50 yards rushing, 62 yards receiving) on a 50-yard pass down the right sidelines, cutting the deficit to 16-7.
An inspired Falcon offense came out after halftime and converted three key fourth-downs but were not able to convert a fourth as they were threatening to cut into the Cougars' lead.
Showing off his ability to run the ball as well, Robinson took it to the house from 46 yards out, for a back-breaking 32-7 Cougar lead late in the third quarter.
With the Falcons forced to throw the ball, Crouch hit Taylor Geyer for a 45-yard TD pass and a pair of 52 and 34-yard passes on their final scoring drive. Geyer had 12 catches for 181 yards.
"We start conference play next week. Everyone is 0-0. We have to get better in all phases of the game. I am confident that our coaching staff will put together a good gameplan for next week," said Whitaker.
West will start its WNC Athletic Conference play next week, as it hosts county-rival North Henderson on Friday.
Categories: News

Prep football roundup: Brevard, North fall

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 23:41
BREVARD — Isaac Bingle had two long field goals of 33 and 37 yards, but Cherokee's offense couldn't be stopped at Brevard Memorial Stadium on Friday night in a 30-19 win against the Blue Devils.
The Braves (2-3) do-it-all player Brandon Buchanan had three touchdown runs and a 36-yard touchdown pass to Channing Lossiah, as they left town with their second win of the season.
The Blue Devils remain winless on the year at 0-4.
Sophomore running back Tanner Petit had two touchdown runs for Brevard from 22 and 14 yards out. He finished the night with 83 yards on 15 carries, and Langston Wilkes led the rushing attack with 14 carries for 105 yards.
Tanner Ellenberger threw for 215 yards, and his top target was Colin McCracken, who had five catches for 101 yards.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Blue Devils. They begin WNC Athletic Conference play next Friday with a trip to Franklin and follow that up with a trip to Tuscola on Oct. 3. They return home Oct. 10 to host East Henderson.
ROBBINSVILLE 49, NORTH HENDERSON 3: After getting an early field goal in the first quarter, North was shut out the rest of the way in the battle of the Knights at Robbinsville. The Black Knights jumped out to a 35-3 lead at halftime and never looked back. Robbinsville remains undefeated at 4-0, while North remains winless at 0-4. North will open WNC Athletic Conference play next Friday with a trip to West Henderson. Note: Complete stats were not called in by press time.
Categories: News

HHS gets revenge against Christ School

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 23:38
The Hendersonville Bearcats got revenge from last year's loss to Christ School on Friday night with a convincing 33-7 win over the Greenies at Dietz Field.
Leading the way was wide receiver Cole Cleary, who had three touchdowns, including two big receiving touchdowns, one from 84 yards and another from 59. His other score was on a 20-yard run.
Michael Cook had the opening 46-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
Last year, the Bearcats (4-1) suffered a tough 20-14 loss at Christ School. But on Friday night, Hendersonville's defense pitched a shutout. The defense was led by junior linebacker Trey McClure, who finished with eight solo tackles.
After a scoreless first quarter, Hendersonville got on the board when quarterback Michael Schmidt hit Cook. The extra-point attempt was blocked.
With just 10 seconds left in the first half, Schmidt hit Cleary on a 59-yard strike. The 2-point conversion pass attempt failed, leaving the score 12-0 at the half.
Terrold Gary found the end zone next for HHS, plunging in from the 1. Drew Eudy's kick made it 19-0.
The Bearcats then put the game away early in the fourth when Schmidt found Cleary on a crossing pattern. Cleary then raced 60 yards after the catch for an 84-yard touchdown. Eudy's kick made it 26-0.
The Greenies (2-2) added a touchdown pass midway through the fourth, and the Bearcats struck again on an 18-yard run by Cleary for the final score.
Hendersonville opens Western Highlands Conference play next Friday with a trip to Mountain Heritage.
Categories: News

Polks County shuts out East Henderson

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 23:27
EAST FLAT ROCK — A lot of folks know about Polk County's Jamal Wheeler. What they might not know is that the Wolverines have another Wheeler — Storm Wheeler.
Jamal Wheeler, the exciting Wolverine quarterback, is Storm Wheeler's adopted brother. The two players complement each other well for the Wolverines and along with Jordan Smith, formed a powerful trio to lead the Wolverines to a 34-0 road victory against East Henderson on Friday night.
Jamal Wheeler rushed for 98 yards and Storm Wheeler rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries. The two are speed and power.
"It kind of just clicks," Storm Wheeler said. "We practice all the time together."
The Wolverines (3-2) rushed for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Jamal Wheeler also passed for 166 yards and a touchdown.
Storm Wheeler scored the lone touchdown in the first quarter on 6-yard run. In the second quarter, Jamal Wheeler connected with Tanner Garrett on a 38-yard touchdown strike.
For the Eagles, the issue was turnovers. East (0-4) lost three fumbles and had an interception. The Wolverines scored three touchdowns off of the turnovers, but after a fumble in the second quarter, the Eagle defense held on a first-and-goal from their 8 to give them some momentum heading into the half.
The Wolverines went into the half with a 13-0 lead.
In the third quarter, however, the Wolverine offense came out flying. It took Polk four plays and 48 seconds for Jamal Wheeler to take the ball 56 yards for a touchdown down the left side of the field.
The Eagles looked as though they would respond. East put together an eight-play drive and marched down to Polk's 19-yard-line. That drive, however, was stunted by a third fumble and Polk's D.J. Twitty recovered his second fumble of the night.
Polk followed up the turnover with an eight-play drive that ended on a Smith 26-yard touchdown run. Smith finished the night with 89 yards rushing and 68 yards receiving.
"Jordan Smith was huge tonight," Polk coach Jamie Thompson said.
Thompson was also proud of his defense.
"We didn't give up a big play all night," he said. "Our players got after it."
Polk's Jason Chupp scored the final Wolverine touchdown in the fourth quarter with a 26-yard Pick 6.
For East, there were some positives. The Eagles rushed for 181 yards, led by Nick Lyon's 82 yards.
"The kids fought hard," East coach John McMillan said. "What we told the kids is that the preseason is over for us. Conference is next week."
Both Polk and East will start conference play next week. Polk will be on the road at Madison and the Eagles will host Pisgah. Both kick off at 7:30 p.m.
Categories: News

Brevard holds home opener Saturday against Eagles

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 18:47
Brevard College's football team will finally get to step foot on its brand-new artificial turf when it takes the field to host Carson-Newman at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The turf was installed over the summer to replace the natural grass field that was taking a beating each year with all of its use between Brevard High's football and soccer teams, along with the Tornados' football team.
Brevard started the season with losses on the road to two Division-I programs, Western Carolina (45-21) and Liberty (56-31). While the Tornado defense has been struggling, their offense is already putting up big numbers. In last week's loss against the Flames, Brevard rushed for 392 yards, and its offense finished with 425 total yards.
Leading the ground attack was BC senior fullback Jordan Ollis. The former Polk County High standout had 165 yards and three touchdowns and currently leads the BC offense with 55 carries for 273 yards and four touchdowns.
The Eagles (1-1, 0-0 South Atlantic Conference), who dropped from 13th to 21st in the Division II rankings, are eager to open league play after a tough loss last week at Wayne State.
The Eagles are 7-0 all-time against Brevard, but the Tornados have been close of late. Two years ago, Brevard and Carson-Newman were tied at seven at halftime before the Eagles pulled away for a 35-19 win in the second half. In 2011, the Eagles needed a Carlos Lopez field goal as time expired to pull out a 27-24 win.
The game will be broadcast live on WSQL 1240 AM and also online at
Categories: News

Take a tumble at Transylvania Adventure Games

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 18:40
BREVARD -- Any perfect-weather camping trip or smooth-sailing theme park outing quickly loses its luster in the collective memory of a family. But add a measure of distress — clouds of black flies or a lost child — and you have the stuff great memories are made of.
And because memories bind families together, spending time at the end of a rope — in real life or just metaphorically — is sure to provide new material for another chapter of family lore to be told for generations.
Creating memories for families — without tempting real-life disasters — is what the first Transylvania County Adventure Games (TAG), slated for Saturday at the Transylvania County Recreation Center, aims to be all about.
A timed obstacle course, open to competitors 5 and older, promises to provide just the backdrop for such memorable moments. Participants can compete on their own or in teams of two. Each course round is $5 per person. Bragging rights and team-building skills are included at no extra charge.
Proceeds from TAG, which organizers hope to make an annual event, will benefit Mountain Sun Community School.
“We want to give you an experience that is challenging and fun, that involves some team-building — and will leave you with a story,” says Harvest Leasure, the chief organizer of TAG. “We want it to be the kind of event that will be exciting to share with others afterwards.”
Because the best family stories gather momentum from a multitude of perspectives — added on as the tale makes its way around the dinner table — making an event visually appealing was important, Leasure says.
“We were looking for something that would be as much fun for those watching from the sidelines as the ones competing in it, all in an atmosphere that encourages cheering and good-natured competition,” he says.
While the exact layout and nature of the dozen or so obstacles of TAG’s course remain off limits until the day of the event, the fun of witnessing failed physical attempts or experiencing the feelings of triumph after making it past an obstacles can only be equaled by the rewards of cheering for someone overcoming a mental hurdle, says Max Posnock, a lively second-grader, who should know.
Max, whose perfect day would include a jaunt back to the time of dinosaurs, is one of a few young testers who has gotten to try some of the obstacles ahead of the big day.
Not one to shy from a good physical challenge, Max says he felt like “an underground miner” while working his way through the obstacles, “because going under things was like (being) underground and going on the top made me feel like I was on the elevator in the mine.”
When asked about his favorite obstacle and the trickiest spot in the course, Max says he is looking forward to the big tractor tire obstacle and will try to remember to turn backwards when going down the climbing wall.
“I want lots and lots of people to come to TAG, because it will be a lot of fun,” Max says, quickly adding that even the more challenging obstacles are fun and get easier with practice. “I practiced many times,” he adds.
Among the obstacles, participants will encounter both physical and mental challenges, Leasure says. “The idea is to make it challenging for everyone, regardless of natural abilities,” he says.
Obstacles will range from a coffee-can catwalk, to hay bale pyramid climbs to transporting a bucket of water without spilling a drop over a ramp — while sitting on a skateboard.
For those neither well balanced nor fast, mental exercises along the obstacle course, such as memorizing and recalling a series of objects or whistling a tune — after eating a cracker — will be the place to shine and strut.
All in all, Leasure says his hope for the TAG event is simple: To entertain spectators and celebrate families, who enjoy challenging each other in a good-natured way, while spending time outdoors.
“There is definitely a mental and a spectacle component to it, and we hope that will set us apart,” he said of the challenge of adding another charitable event to a year’s worth of others, more established, events.
In addition to the obstacle course, the TAG event will feature food and beverage vendors for physical comforts, as well as face-painting, a crafts table and a mini-obstacle course, free of charge, and meant for those not able or too young to compete in the timed obstacle course.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Mountain Sun Community School, a private, nonprofit school on the Keystone Camp campus in Brevard. Offering a holistic, personalized and nature-inspired education for children from kindergarten to eighth grade, Mountain Sun will be represented at the event by staff, parent and student volunteers, highlighting the close partnership between the TAG event’s aim and the school’s mission, according to Dilshad Posnock, chair of the Mountain Sun Community School Board of Trustees.
Our “school believes that a connection to the natural world and outdoor exploration are vital to the development of each student,” Posnock said. “TAG seems to combine physical activity and problem-solving in a way that represents the school’s philosophy perfectly.”
Categories: News

DA dismisses most remaining protest arrests in NC

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 18:13
RALEIGH (AP) — The top prosecutor in North Carolina's capital is dropping criminal charges against hundreds of people arrested at mass protests at the state legislature last year.
Wake County District Attorney Ned Mangum said Friday his move was prompted by a June 30 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the constitutional rights of people to peacefully assemble and protest government policies.
That federal decision, which struck down a Massachusetts law limiting protests outside abortion clinics, has since been cited by North Carolina judges in rulings in favor of Moral Monday protesters.
The demonstrators were arrested by General Assembly police while chanting civil rights slogans, singing hymns and holding signs. Nearly all were charged with second-degree trespassing, failure to disperse and violating legislative building rules, which are misdemeanors.
At their peak, the weekly events attracted thousands to downtown Raleigh to oppose a far-reaching conservative agenda enacted by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP lawmakers. Groups in other Southern states, including Georgia and South Carolina, have since launched similar protests.
Of the nearly 1,000 people arrested in 2013, about half resolved their cases by agreeing to do community service and pay a modest fee. Mangum's action dismisses almost all the remaining cases.
"You have classes in law school about what the First Amendment means, and it can get complicated," Mangum said. "In this instance, it has to do with the time, place and manner of restrictions and how police interact with individuals."
Mangum said cases against a few dozen 2013 protesters will remain active because they were arrested on a day when the General Assembly was supposed to be closed to the public. In a few other cases, protesters were arrested during sit-ins inside legislators' offices, which are considered private.
The Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP and a leader of the protest movement, urged Mangum to dismiss those remaining cases, as well.
"We never went in to be arrested," said Barber, who was among the first handcuffed in 2013. "The General Assembly is the people's house. ... Rather than meet with us for a fair debate on the issues, they arrested us."
Spokespeople for North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger Sr. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Tillis is now campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Kay Hagan.
Prior to the 2014 legislative session, Republican lawmakers made numerous changes to the building rules. The new rules have also come under criticism for language that appears to give sweeping powers to legislative police officers to arrest people they feel may become disruptive, even if those individuals have not yet actually broken the law.
Mangum declined to comment on the specifics of what he would now consider appropriate forms of protests at the General Assembly.
"It's not a free for all down at the General Assembly," Mangum said. "There are limits to what individuals can do at the legislature."
Categories: News

Airline hosts scavenger hunt for Talk Like A Pirate Day

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 17:02
Looking as if they were preparing to board a pirate ship rather than an airplane, adults and children with eye patches and stuffed parrots on their shoulders trickled into Asheville Regional Airport's lobby Friday afternoon.
To celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day and connect with the communities their flights serve, Allegiant hosted citywide scavenger hunts starting at airports in Asheville, Des Moines, Iowa, and Allentown, Pa. on Friday.
“We have to go to these places on the map and take pictures,” pirate-for-a-day Jessica Chipriano told her parents, John and Kathy Stefanik.
She pointed to an “X Marks Vacation” map handed out by Allegiant spokesperson Micah Lillard, which listed Pritchard Park, Highland Brewing Co. and WLOS as the places to stop in Asheville.
Game players were instructed to take “selfies” at each location, and encouraged to tweet their progress using hashtag “#XMarksVacation.”
Those who returned to the airport with photos taken at each location on the map were entered to win four roundtrip tickets to St. Pete-Clearwater, and grabbed some booty out of the Allegiant treasure chest.
At the end of the contest, Kelly Wilson of Asheville won the four-pack of tickets after taking part in the scavenger hunt with her 3-year-old daughter.
Lillard said the Talk Like a Pirate Day celebration was a great way to meet Allegiant passengers face-to-face, and promote the five destinations to which the airline flies from Asheville: Orlando, Tampa Bay, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.
“We wanted to really engage with some of the people in communities we fly to,” he said.
Lillard said the Asheville airport was chosen to participate in the day's event based on its popularity among Allegiant travelers.
“We identified these locations as cities that we have a fair amount of traffic to and from,” he said. “We just saw a high demand for vacation traffic out of Western North Carolina. And we've had a great response to our services here.”
Reach McGowan at or 828-694-7871.
Categories: News

Oskar Blues makes list of fastest-growing companies

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 16:59
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

Roll Call: Votes in Congress

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 16:27
Here’s how North Carolina members of Congress voted on major issues during the week ending Sept. 19.
U.S. SUPPORT OF SYRIAN REBELS: The House on Sept. 17 voted, 273 for and 156 against, to authorize the U.S. government to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels in their battle against the militant group known as the Islamic State. The amendment was added to a measure (HJ Res 124, below) that would fund the federal government on a stopgap basis between the start of fiscal 2015 on Oct. 1 and Dec. 11.
Walter Jones, R-N.C., said: “I think about the $1.7 trillion we spent in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think about the 4,000 Americans who gave their lives, the 30,000 wounded, the 100,000 Iraqis who were killed — and here we go again. … This is a failed policy and it will be proven to be a failed policy.”
A yes vote was to authorize U.S. support for Syrian rebel forces against Islamic militants.
Voting yes: Democrats G.K. Butterfield, Mike McIntyre and David Price, and Republicans Renee Ellmers, Virginia Foxx, Howard Coble, Richard Hudson, Robert Pittenger, Patrick McHenry and George Holding
Voting no: Republicans Walter Jones, Mark Meadows
STOPGAP SPENDING, MIDDLE EAST WAR: Voting 319 for and 108 against, the House on Sept. 17 passed a stopgap measure (HJ Res 124, above) to fund government operations between Oct. 1 and Dec. 11 at an annual rate of $1.012 trillion in discretionary spending while authorizing U.S. training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels.
A yes vote was to send the spending bill to President Obama for his signature.
Voting yes: Butterfield, Ellmers, Price, Foxx, Coble, McIntyre, Hudson, Pittenger, McHenry, Holding
Voting no: Jones, Meadows
DEMOCRATIC POLICY GOALS: Voting 199 for and 228 against, the House on Sept. 17 turned back a bid by Democrats to add five of their policy goals to HJ Res 124 (above). The motion called for raising the minimum wage, requiring that women receive equal pay for equal work, allowing most student loans to be refinanced, denying government contracts to companies that move headquarters overseas and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank for the long term.
A yes vote backed the Democratic motion.
Voting yes: Butterfield, Price, McIntyre
Voting no: Ellmers, Jones, Foxx, Coble, Hudson, Pittenger, McHenry, Meadows, Holding
AUDIT OF FEDERAL RESERVE: Voting 333 for and 92 against, the House on Sept. 17 passed a bill (HR 24) authorizing the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to conduct a top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, with authority to inspect internal communications among Fed governors and staff. Established in 1913 as both an independent agency and central bank, the Fed is charged with setting U.S. monetary policy, with fiscal policy left to the legislative and executive branches. This bill would inject politicians directly into internal Fed deliberations over matters such as setting interest rates and regulating the currency supply.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was dead on arrival.
Voting yes: Ellmers, Jones, Foxx, Howard Coble, McIntyre, Hudson, Pittenger, McHenry, Meadows, Holding
Voting no: Butterfield, Price
REPUBLICAN ENERGY PACKAGE: Voting 226 for and 191 against, members on Sept. 18 approved a package (HR 2) of 19 GOP-drafted energy bills that previously cleared the House as stand-alone measures before faltering in the Democratic-controlled Senate in the face of environmental concerns and other objections. In part, the bills would expand offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, require speedy administration approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, expedite Department of Energy approvals of applications for exporting liquefied natural gas and prohibit federal regulation on federal and tribal lands of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was dead on arrival.
Voting yes: Ellmers, Foxx, Coble, McIntyre, Hudson, Pittenger, McHenry, Meadows, Holding
Voting no: Butterfield, Jones, Price
OIL EXPORTS TO TERRORISM-ENABLERS: Voting 193 for and 222 against, the House on Sept. 18 defeated a Democratic motion that sought to amend HR 2 (above) so that it would “prohibit U.S. oil exports to any country, company or individual that supports or harbors terrorist organizations, including ISIS or al Qaeda.”
A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic motion.
Voting yes: Butterfield, Price, McIntyre
Voting no: Ellmers, Jones, Foxx, Coble, Hudson, Pittenger, McHenry, Meadows, Holding
REPUBLICAN JOBS PACKAGE: Voting 253 for and 163 against, members on Sept. 18 approved a package (HR 4) of 15 jobs bills that previously passed the House as individual measures, and then died in the Democratic-led Senate. In part, the bills would expedite logging in national forests, scale back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law, make bonus depreciation and certain charitable contributions by businesses a permanent part of the U.S. tax code, ease certain environmental rules to promote job creation and give Congress veto power over federal regulations having at least a $100 million annual impact on the economy.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it appeared certain to die.
Voting yes: Ellmers, Foxx, Coble, McIntyre, Hudson, Pittenger, McHenry, Meadows, Holding
Voting no: Butterfield, Jones, Price
DEMOCRATS’ TAX CHANGES: Voting 191 for and 218 against, the House on Sept. 18 defeated a motion by Democrats to amend HR 4 (above) in a way that would deny federal tax breaks to companies that shift U.S. jobs overseas or which reincorporate abroad to avoid U.S. taxation, a process known as “inversion.” The motion also sought to require the Republican leadership to put Democratic issues such as a minimum-wage increase, pay equity for women and student-loan refinancing to House votes.
A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic motion.
Voting yes: Butterfield, Price, McIntyre
Voting no: Ellmers, Jones, Foxx, Coble, Hudson, Pittenger, McHenry, Meadows, Holding
STOPGAP SPENDING, MIDDLE EAST WAR: Voting 73 for and 22 against, the Senate on Sept. 18 passed a measure (HJ Res 124, above) to fund U.S. government operations for the first 10 weeks of fiscal 2015 at an annual rate of $1.012 trillion in discretionary spending. Although the measure authorizes U.S. training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels, there was no separate Senate vote on that issue. The bill extends the Export-Import Bank through June 30, 2015, increases funding for veterans’ health care and provides new funds for aiding Ukraine and countering the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
A yes vote was to send the measure to President Obama for his signature.
Voting yes: Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Richard Burr
FEMALE-MALE PAY EQUITY: Voting 52 for and 40 against, the Senate on Sept. 15 failed to reach 60 votes for ending GOP blockage of a Democratic-sponsored bill (S 2199) closing loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act and giving women more legal tools for gaining pay equity with male co-workers. The so-called Paycheck Fairness Act would require equal pay for comparable work except when differences can be justified by narrowly defined business necessities or factors such as education, training or experience. The bill would prevent employer retaliation against those who inquire about co-workers’ wages or disclose their own pay in the course of investigations. Additionally, the bill would make it easier for plaintiffs to file class-action suits and enable them to seek punitive and compensatory damages.
A yes vote was to advance the bill to a final vote.
Voting yes: Hagan
Voting no: Burr
Congress is in recess until Nov. 12.
Categories: News

NC jobless rate rises to 6.8 percent for August

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 16:04
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina's unemployment rate increased for the second straight month to 6.8 percent in August, pushing it further above the national jobless rate.
Figures released Friday show that North Carolina's seasonally adjusted unemployment increased by 0.3 percentage points from July. The national rate was 6.1 percent for August.
In North Carolina, the number of people with jobs fell by nearly 29,000 from July. The state's labor force also dropped, continuing a trend that's seen the number of those with jobs or looking for work drop by about 29,000 in the past year.
In recent months, North Carolina's jobless rate had dipped as low as 6.2 percent in April before starting to inch up again. Still, state unemployment has dropped in the past year from 8 percent in August 2013.
North Carolina was among 24 states that saw monthly unemployment rate increases for August, while 15 had decreases and 11 were flat.
A North Carolina-based economist says the true picture of joblessness in North Carolina may be worse than Friday's numbers reflect because state and national unemployment rolls don't reflect people who've given up looking for work. Dora Gicheva, an assistant professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, say those who try to re-enter the labor force after a long time without work can face a stigma from employers.
"Everything else equal, firms prefer to hire workers who are either working or who have been unemployed for a brief period. They take long-term unemployment as a bad signal," she said.
Gicheva also noted that the average weekly hours for North Carolina manufacturing workers increased by 42 minutes from July, when the number was 43 hours per week. She says that could show that employers are reluctant to hire.
"I think that shows that employers are trying not to hire new workers. Instead they are asking workers to put in longer hours," she said.
Categories: News

UK remains united after Scotland referendum

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 16:04
EDINBURGH, Scotland — The United Kingdom will stay united. Voters in Scotland resoundingly rejected independence in a historic referendum that shook the country to its core.
But No to a break-up doesn't mean a return to the status quo. The referendum led to promises of further powers for each of the four nations in the United Kingdom — a pledge that will change the country forever.
The vote's results announced Friday prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to Britain's economic and political establishment, including Prime Minister David Cameron, who faced calls for his resignation if Scotland had broken away.
In Thursday's referendum, 55 percent were against independence to 45 percent in favor. There was an unprecedented turnout of just under 85 percent.
"We have chosen unity over division," Alistair Darling, head of the No campaign, said early Friday in Glasgow. "Today is a momentous day for Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole."
Independence leader Alex Salmond's impassioned plea to launch a new nation fell short, with Scots choosing instead the security of remaining in union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Yet the campaign tapped a wellspring of youth and energy so vibrant that even in concession, his tone was upbeat.
"This has been a triumph for the democratic process and for participation in politics," he said to cheering supporters.
In the initial euphoria after the result, the pound rose to a high of $1.6509. It has since drifted back below $1.64 as traders book profits built up this week as the pound advanced on hopes of a No result. Britain's FTSE 100 index was also one of the best-performing stock markets in Europe, trading 0.7 percent higher on the day.
A visibly relieved Cameron promised to live up to earlier promises to give Scotland new powers on taxes, spending and welfare. He told reporters outside his Downing Street office that the new plans will be agreed upon by November, with draft legislation by January.
But then he took it further. He said change was coming to other parts of the country amid the watershed vote.
"Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs," Cameron said. "The rights of these voters need to be respected, preserved and enhanced as well."
The voted riveted the nation. Those glued to returns included "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, who had given 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) to the No campaign.
"Been up all night watching Scotland make history," she tweeted. "A huge turnout, a peaceful democratic process: we should be proud."
The No campaign won the capital city, Edinburgh, by a margin of 61 percent to 38 percent and triumphed by 59 percent to 41 percent in Aberdeen, the country's oil center. The Yes campaign won Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city, but it was not enough.
As dawn broke to lead-gray skies over Glasgow, the dream of independence that had seemed so tantalizingly close evaporated in the soft drizzle.
George Square, the rallying point for thousands of Yes supporters in the final days of the campaign, was littered with placards and debris of a campaign in which many had invested more than two years of their lives.
"I had never voted before or got involved with politics in any way but this time I thought my vote would count for something," said truck driver Calum Noble, 25, as his voice cracked with emotion. "I wanted a better country but it's all been for nothing. I don't believe we will get any of the things the London politicians promised."
But popular opinion on a leafy residential street in Edinburgh's west end told a different tale. Young and old sat by their televisions waiting for news in a half dozen homes. Nearly all said they had voted No.
"Just because I'm not out in the street in a kilt screaming how Scottish I am, that doesn't mean I'm not a proud Scot. I am. And a proud Brit. That's the point the Yes side doesn't respect," said Ger Robertson, 47, who chose instead to celebrate Scotland's verdict in his living room with a dram of his favorite single-malt whisky.
Salmond had argued that Scots could go it alone because of its extensive oil reserves and high levels of ingenuity and education. He said Scotland would flourish alone, free of interference from any London-based government.
Many saw it as a "heads versus hearts" campaign, with cautious older Scots concluding that independence would be too risky financially, while younger ones were enamored with the idea of building their own country.
The result saved Cameron from a historic defeat and also helped opposition chief Ed Miliband by keeping his many Labour Party lawmakers in Scotland in place. Labour would have found it much harder to win a national election in 2015 without that support from Scotland.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a Scot, returned to prominence with a dramatic barnstorming campaign in support of the union in the final days before the referendum vote. Brown argued passionately that Scots could be devoted to Scotland but still proud of their place in the U.K., rejecting the argument that independence was the patriotic choice.
"There is not a cemetery in Europe that does not have Scots, English, Welsh and Irish lined side by side," Brown said before the vote. "We not only won these wars together, we built the peace together. What we have built together by sacrificing and sharing, let no narrow nationalism split asunder."
For his part, Cameron — aware that his Conservative Party is widely loathed in Scotland — begged voters not to use a vote for independence as a way to bash the Tories.
The vote against independence keeps the United Kingdom from losing a substantial part of its territory and oil reserves and prevents it from having to find a new base for its nuclear arsenal, now housed in Scotland. It had also faced a possible loss of influence within international institutions including the 28-nation European Union, NATO and the United Nations.
The decision also means Britain can avoid a prolonged period of financial insecurity that had been predicted by some if Scotland broke away.
"This has been a long, hard fight and both sides have campaigned fiercely," said Norma Austin Hart, a Labour Party member of Edinburgh City Council. "This has not been like a normal election campaign. There have been debates in town halls and school halls and church halls.
"It's been so intense," she said. "But the people of Scotland have decided."
Danica Kirka reported from London. Associated Press writers Shawn Pogatchnik in Edinburgh; Paul Kelbie in Glasgow; and Gregory Katz in London contributed to this report.
Categories: News

Restaurant brings Mediterranean cuisine to Main Street

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 16:04
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.
Reach McGowan at or 828-694-7871.
Follow Molly McGowan on Twitter at
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Sept. 19

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 16:04
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
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.
The Mills River Agricultural Advisory Committee will meet at 9 a.m. today in the conference room of Town Hall.
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.
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