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Updated: 29 min 56 sec ago

School nurses handling double the load

Sun, 05/10/2015 - 03:01
When Delores Parris began her career as a school nurse in Henderson County nearly 15 years ago, she was one of three nurses, and provided care to over 4,000 students spanning seven schools.
“With seven schools you could only go to one maybe half a day a week,” Parris admitted. “So you were going in doing care plans, looking at immunizations, hitting the highlights, and then having to go to another school. You didn't really get to know the students.”
Since then, the number of nurses has gradually increased — currently there are 10 working in the school system. Though the number of schools Parris covers has been reduced by more than half, between the three she covers — Edneyville Elementary, Apple Valley Middle and North Henderson High — Parris is still providing care for nearly 2,500 students, more than three times what the National Association of School Nurses and Centers for Disease Control recommends, and almost twice the average for the district.
Although the NASN and CDC recommend one nurse for every 750 students, there is just a single school nurse for every 1,400 students locally, according to Henderson County Department of Public Health Director Steve Smith.
Each nurse splits time between two to three schools, leaving much of the responsibility in regard to student care to fall on teachers and staff. Teachers have to diagnose and treat, losing instructional time. Parents leave children with chronic and life-threatening health issues for several hours a day in the hands of teachers without medical training.
At Upward Elementary Thursday, a school nurse three miles away at another school answered a call from a teacher concerned about a student. The nurse rushed to Upward just in time to help a student as he had a seizure.
County and school leaders have committed to improving the ratio, but that will take money and time. Meanwhile, school nurses continue to be stretched thin.
Teachers as nurses
Clear Creek Elementary teacher Samantha Hyder knew at the beginning of the school year she would have a diabetic student, 10-year-old Coleen Barron, in her fourth-grade class, though she had no idea the responsibility it would entail.
“I've had to give shots and call home and keep track of insulin,” Hyder said. “It ended up being a lot more responsibility than I expected.”
She has no qualms about stepping in, because, as Hyder described it, “they're my kids and I will do anything I can to take care of her, to make sure her and all of them get what they need.”
She understands the school's nurse — who is currently on maternity leave and for whom Parris filled in Thursday to help Coleen and Hyder with a new insulin pump — is stretched thin, but the time it takes to help Barron manage her diabetes, or bandage a cut for another student or assess a stomachache, is time taken away from instruction.
Prior to lunch Thursday, Hyder estimated she had already lost about 45 minutes of instructional time and the day wasn't over yet. Coleen's pump alarm had gone off, and she had two students approach her to say they were bleeding.
“A lot of them come up to me and say, 'I have this. I have that,'” Hyder said. “Or when they fall on the playground, and I don't know if it's broken, sprained, cut, if I should call, if I shouldn't call.”
And with Coleen, Hyder said she constantly has to make calls.
“I'd love to be able to go, 'Let's go talk to the nurse, '” she said.
The 10-year-old, a vocal advocate for more school nurses, seems to agree, admitting more are needed so each student can get more attention.
“Like every other day there seems to be a medical problem within the school,” Coleen said. “We need more.”
She brings to light a common concern among nurses, teachers and public health officials — nurses can't be in two places at once.
“When I've talked to other districts that have pretty high ratios, the nurse might have 1,200, 1,300, 1,400 students, but they're in bigger schools so they're at one place, so no matter what comes up they can deal with it,” Smith said. “But if the nurse isn't at a particular school that day and they get a call when they're at the other school dealing with something, then that gets really dicey for them about how to prioritize things.”
When there's no nurse, Hyder said, “we're having to do stuff that we're not necessarily qualified to do, and it makes it really scary for us.”
Chronic conditions and exceptional children
A lot of what school nurses do on a daily basis revolves around case management, according to Kim Berry, school nurse supervisor with the Henderson County Department of Public Health.
“If you have a student with a chronic condition, say, asthma. If you can help them learn to take care of themselves and manage their asthma, they're not going to have that many absences,” Berry said. “And asthma is the No. 1 reason for absenteeism in the schools.”
School nurses like Parris and Berry, who is based at West Henderson High, have to make sure students with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes are using their preventative medications and know how to monitor their conditions and take care of themselves.
“Even though we're doing a whole lot better with that now than 15 years ago, there's a lot more that could be done,” Berry said.
She has noticed an increase in chronic conditions among students, as well as children with food allergies and severe special needs, posing even a greater challenge to nurses, teachers and public health officials when it comes to providing care.
“Right now we have about one school nurse to every 1,400 students, but that's based on a general formula that says ideally you should have one nurse for every 750 students,” Smith said. “But that doesn't take into consideration kids with higher-tiered needs, a lot of those are in the exceptional children's program in the school system, and they have about 1,700, 1,800 kids in that population. The ratios for those kinds of kids should be much lower. Some say, depending on what their health needs are, one nurse to every 125 or one nurse to every 250.”
An incident at Upward Elementary last week only makes the case stronger.
On Thursday, school nurse Keri Stepp received a text message from a teacher at Upward who was concerned about an Exceptional Children student who appeared lethargic.
Stepp, three miles away at Hillandale Elementary, called the teacher to assess the situation, asking basic questions about the student's breathing and color. She decided to go to Upward and check on the student herself.
Finding the student indeed lethargic, Stepp said she tried to rouse the student, but soon the child experienced a seizure and stopped breathing.
The teacher performed rescue breathing and Stepp administered the student's seizure medication. Rescue personnel were called and the student was taken to the hospital. According to Upward Elementary Principal Brooke Ballard, the student was discharged from the hospital Friday and is doing well.
Stepp admits there are a lot of instances when a situation arises at one school when she's at the other, and Thursday's episode was the biggest emergency she's had to face. Fortunately, she was only five minutes away.
Funding
Smith believes school nurses are doing a commendable job considering the resources that are allotted, but admits there are days when they have more on their plate than they can reasonably manage.
“That's the only reason we're advocating for adding a school nurse… is that I hear from them every day about how they have so many kinds of demands coming at them they don't feel that they're doing the best job possible in terms of meeting all those needs.”
According to Smith, nine more school nurses would need to be hired to meet the recommendations set forth by the NASN and CDC.
“It does come down to money,” Smith said in regard to meeting those recommendations. “For us on the population health side, with school nurses there's no revenue stream. So if we want to add school nurses, it really does come down to local dollars.”
In March, Henderson County commissioners approved money for another school nurse, with a majority of commissioners expressing support for adding two nurses annually for the next four years, bringing the county to the recommended level.
The issue will soon be brought up in county budget discussions, but according to Smith, a tentative plan to bring on more nurses had been in place years previously, only to be put on hold due to the economic downturn.
“The commissioners have been very attentive to this issue and very supportive in the past. We're pleased to have what we have today,” Smith said. “There are certainly districts that are worse off, but there are many that are better, and it just becomes a matter of priorities.”
Reach Biba at 828-694-7871 or jacob.biba@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: May 10

Sun, 05/10/2015 - 03:01
Business and Professional Women’s Luncheon this Thursday</b.
The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce will host the Business and Professional Women’s Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Kenmure Country Club, 100 Country Club Road, Flat Rock. The luncheon is one of many events celebrating Small Businesses in Henderson County.
The speaker for the Women’s Luncheon is Dianne Dinkel, president and CEO of ATHENA International.
The Henderson County ATHENA Leadership Award given in memory of Vanessa Y. Mintz, sponsored by the Chamber, Morris Broadband and Judy Stroud/State Farm Insurance, will also be presented at the luncheon. This will be the eighth year for the award in Henderson County.
This award honors an individual who has achieved excellence in her/his business or profession, has served the community in a meaningful way and has assisted women in their attainment of professional goals and leadership skills.
Cost to attend is $40 per person or $300 for a reserved table of eight. Call the Chamber at 692-1413 to reserve a seat.
Meetings
The Henderson County Heritage Museum will meet at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Henderson County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will meet at noon Tuesday at the Athletics & Activity Center conference room.
The Hendersonville Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday in Mrs. Lawson’s room.
The Hillandale Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the media center.
The Mills River School Improvement Team will meet at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the media center.
The Laurel Park Parks and Greenways Board will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in town hall.
Laurel Park Town Council will hold a budget workshop at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Hendersonville Country Club.
The Village of Flat Rock will hold a council meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Assembly Room.
Events
The Henderson County Democratic Discussion Group will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Mike’s on Main, 303 N. Main St., Hendersonville.
An orientation for potential Blue Ridge Literacy Council volunteers will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the BRLC offices on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock. For more information or to register, call 828-696-3811 or visit www.litcouncil.org.
Tarheel Piecemakers Quilt Club will hold a social at 9:30 a.m. and a meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Balfour Methodist Church, 2567 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville. Visitors welcome. Info: janicewill@yahoo.com.
Categories: News

Not many have been 'better than Ezra' this season

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 22:33
Ezra Morrison was all set to make his first varsity start of his career on March 3 against North Buncombe.
That start wasn't meant to be as the sophomore was hit in the face with a bat before the game got started. He ended up needing four stitches in his lip.
“I was really bummed out,” Morrison said. “All I was focused on was playing the next day and it hurt really bad.”
Morrison did play the next game and the game after that and was a vital force this season on the mound for the Knights.
North rebounded in a big way from last season. Last year, injuries threw the Knights off balance for the long haul, but this season, North put together a solid year and is heading towards the playoffs with some momentum. Last season, the Knights won just six games. This season, North finished 12-12, but was 9-5 for a third-place finish in the WNC Athletic Conference.
Morrison has been a big part of that momentum, including pitching the Knights to a 2-1 victory over first-place Smoky Mountain this week.
“He's definitely coming along,” North coach Justin King said. “He's been a big part of our season.”
It was sort of a surprise for King. He expected to let Morrison log a bunch of innings, but the sophomore's effectiveness in his first year as a varsity starter was a pleasant surprise, he said.
Morrison is 5-2 this year and has posted a 1.19 ERA. He's struck out 35 batters and opponents are hitting just .231 against him.
Morrison said his strategy on the mound is simply to “keep it low, paint the corners, throw strikes and let my defense pick me up.”
That last part has been key for Morrison this season, King said.
“The thing that helped him out the most this year was that he trusted the defense,” the coach said. “He didn't try and do it all by himself.”
That allows Morrison to not try to strike out every batter he faces. That trust in his defense is a big element to what makes him so effective on the mound. Of course, a positive mindset goes a long way as well.
“I just let what happens happen,” he said. “I always think I'm better than any hitter I face. I have to have that good mindset that I'm better than him.”
King has enjoyed watching Morrison's success this season, because the sophomore has been going to the Knights' camp since he was in fourth or fifth grade. Now King is relying on the sophomore along with pitcher Ryan Decker and Dalton McKee for a deep playoff run.
“He loves baseball,” King said. “He loves being around baseball and playing the game. It's fun to watch him blossom as a baseball player and a young man.”
As for the bumpy start to his season, Morrison won't soon forget. All he has to do is look in the mirror.
“I got a cool scar out of it,” he said.
Categories: News

Lady Bearcats win 2-A regional track title

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 19:27
Led by three first-place finishes and three other top-four finishes, Hendersonville High's girls track and field team captured the 2-A West Regional title on Saturday at Bunker Hill High in Claremont.
Leading the way for the Lady Bearcats was Amy Yarborough, who won regional titles in both discus and shot put. Tylor Singleton won the other HHS regional title with a first-place finish in pole vault.
Emma Laughter ended up third in pole vault, and Gina Clayton was third in 100 hurdles. The other state qualifier for HHS was Andrea Kolarova, who was fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Seven Hendersonville boys qualified for next week's 2-A state championship meet with top-four finishes. Alex Arcara had the top finish for the Bearcats with a runner-up finish in pole vault. The 800 relay team of Terrold Gary, Jahmel Smith, Demetrius Smith and Ethan Berry finished fourth as did Hakeem Jenkins in the triple jump.
The 400 relay team of Demetrius Smith, Michael Cook, Gary and Berry finished third, and the 1600 relay team of Gary, Jenkins, Fletcher Talley and Berry also finished third.
The Bearcats ended up seventh in team scores.
The 2-A state championship will be held May 16 at N.C. A&T in Greensboro.
Categories: News

Schrader is 2-A runner-up; Fuqua falls in semifinals

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 16:32
The anticipated matchup between two of the area's best high school boys tennis players didn't materialize on Saturday in Cary at the 2-A individual state championship tournament.
Hendersonville's Jacob Fuqua and Brevard's Joseph Schrader, both former Times-News Players of the Year, played in Saturday morning's 2-A singles semifinals. Fuqua, who's heading to the Charlotte 49ers on a tennis scholarship in the fall, ended up losing in the semifinals to eventual state champion Marshall Parker of Shelby by scores of 6-1, 6-3.
In the other semifinal, Schrader defeated Newton-Conover's Ryen Reid in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. The sophomore had a chance at his first state title as he went up against Parker in the finals. Parker took the first set 6-3, and Schrader took the next set by the same score. In the third and deciding set, Parker came out on top 6-4 to win his second singles state title in the last three years.
It was the first time in his high school career that Fuqua didn't make the state finals match. He was 1-A state runner-up his freshman year, the 1-A state champion his sophomore year and the 2-A state runner-up his junior year.
In doubles, Schrader's teammates, Andy McCall and Joe Roberts, ended up falling 6-2, 6-4 to Carrboro's Max Fritsch and Jake Zinn in the semifinals. Fritsch and Zinn went on to win the title with a 6-1, 6-4 win over their teammates, Jason Wykoff and Sean Ross.
Categories: News

North puts away West 7-1 to earn league's second seed

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:13
EAST FLAT ROCK — Down 1-0 to West Henderson after five innings on Friday at East Henderson, North Henderson's softball team's offense exploded, much to the relief of Lady Knights coach Jessica McCarson.
“Man, it was pretty tense there for awhile,” she said after her team plated four runs in the sixth and three more on a bases-clearing double in the seventh by Cheyenne Mathews to win 7-1 and earn the second seed from the WNC Athletic Conference for next week's 3-A state playoffs.
“There's a chance we may be home in the first round, and we hope so. We all have to wait to see where the state puts us,” McCarson said.
The WNCAC has just two seeds in the playoffs, and since North and West had matching conference records, they played Friday at a neutral site (East) to determine who got the second seed.
Early on it looked like it belonged to West. Lady Falcon ace Laurel Koontz had a no-hitter going through four innings, and in the bottom of the fifth, Michaela Morris blasted a Megan Edwards offering over the left-field fence to make it 1-0.
Koontz's no-hitter was broken up by Larri Robinson in the top of the fifth, but North couldn't get a run across.
In the next inning, the Lady Knights had four straight hits. Ellie Caldwell led off with a single, and three batters later, she slid home from third on a passed ball to tie the score. The Lady Knights (14-8) went ahead for good when Alex Oates trotted home from third on an RBI single by Sierra Stimson.
Lori Robinson plated the fourth run of the inning on an RBI single, as North went ahead 4-1.
West's other run came exactly like its first — on a monster home run by Morris. This one came in the seventh and sounded like it dented the East scoreboard in left.
Mathews led North at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. The only other Lady Knight with multiple hits was Robinson, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.
North senior second baseman Alex Oates shined on defense with a diving stop of a sure West hit in the bottom of the fourth. She also ran down a West foul ball and came close to making another diving catch.
“She had quite a game. I thought she was going to make that last play. She was all over the place today,” McCarson said.
Koontz (2-for-4) and Morris (2-for-4, two home runs) were the only West batters with more than one hit.
The Lady Falcons (11-10) will likely be a wild card in the playoffs and be on the road in Wednesday's first round.
Categories: News

Tippett leading the way for West baseball this season

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:13
West Henderson’s baseball team is waiting anxiously today as the North Carolina High School Athletic Association decides its fate.
The Falcons beat East Henderson 8-3 on Thursday night but aren’t guaranteed a spot on the playoffs. The brackets will be released later today.
While the Falcon season has had its ups and downs, the one steady force this season has been catcher Scott Tippett. Tippett played last year in the outfield and some at the dish, but this year he’s become a force for the Falcons behind the plate.
His bond with the pitching staff, knowledge of the game and his bat have made Tippett an instrumental piece of the puzzle for the Falcons.
“We were kind of expecting big things from him because he is that type of kid that works hard,” West coach Brandon Ball said. “We were looking for him to be a leader and carry us this year and he’s done that.”
Tippett is leading the team with a .362 batting average. He’s scored 14 times and has driven in 15 RBIs. Tippett has hit nine doubles this season.
He’s just as much of an asset behind the plate as well. Tippett is really close with the pitching staff and that friendship has carried over into making him a steady force for the Falcon staff to rely on.
“He works well with all the pitchers,” Ball said. “He gets to know them. He understands what they can do and what they can’t do.”
As for the Falcons as a team, Tippett is anxious to see if West gets into the playoffs. Early on, the Falcon bats struggled, but lately they’ve hit a stride and the puzzle is coming together at the right time, he said.
“I think that we’re coming together,” the junior catcher said. “We’re all hitting like we should and pitching like we should. We’re all making the plays we should. I think we’ll do pretty good if we get into the playoffs.”
If they do, Ball hopes that the leadership Tippett has provided pays off. He brings a mental edge to the Falcons that will help in the playoffs.
“He’s one of the toughest kids on the team,” Ball said. “He’s probably one of the best teammates.”
Playoff brackets will be announced and the first round of the playoffs will take place on Wednesday.
Categories: News

Schrader, Fuqua could face off in 2-A finals

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:13
CARY — All four area tennis players competing in the 2-A individual state championship tournament advanced to Saturday's semifinals with two wins on Friday at the Cary Tennis Center.
In singles there's a good chance two of the area's best players will face off for the state title — Brevard sophomore Joseph Schrader and Hendersonville senior Jacob Fuqua. Schrader defeated Fuqua last week to win the West Regional title.
Schrader advanced to today's semifinals against Newton-Conover's Ryen Reid with two straight-set wins on Friday. He defeated Matyas Jurena of Parkwood in the first round by scores of 6-1, 6-0 and then put away Carrboro's Brian Frieburghouse in the quarterfinals by scores of 6-2, 6-4.
Fuqua, who's headed to UNC Charlotte in the fall, had a straight-set win (6-1, 6-0) over West Davidson's Brett Moore in the opening match. In the quarterfinals, he dropped the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (5) to Washington's Connor Wilkins. But Fuqua rebounded with two quick sets of 6-0, 6-3 to advance to Saturday's semifinals against Shelby's Marshall Parker.
If Schrader and Fuqua win their 9 a.m. matches, they'll face off in the state championship match later in the day. Fuqua has reached the state finals all three years of his high school career. He was the 1-A runner-up as a freshman, won the 1-A state title as a sophomore and finished runner-up in the 2-A finals last year.
In doubles, Brevard's Andy McCall and Joe Roberts had two straight-set wins to advance to today's semifinals. They defeated Kevin Reynolds and Hunter Jordan of Wilkes Central by scores of 6-1, 6-0 in the first round and then won 6-2, 7-6 (2) over Tejas Dalvi and Mrinaj Janampalli of N.C. School of Science and Math.
Mcall and Roberts will be taking on Carrboro's Max Fritsch and Jake Zinn in Saturday's 2-A semifinals at 9 a.m.
Categories: News

East's Baldwin wins his eighth, ninth state titles

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:13
On Friday, East Henderson runner Tanis Baldwin wrapped up his career with a nice little bow.
The senior runner finished his Eagle days with two track state championships to bring his career total to nine state titles. Baldwin paced the field in the 800-meter run and the 1600-meter run.
That was the first 800-meter state title for Baldwin who ran the race in 1:52.11. In the 1600-meter, the senior won the event by three seconds after finishing in 4:17.10.
Baldwin and East Henderson finished ninth in the state with 22 points. Baldwin scored 20 of those and Josh Glynn finished seventh in the pole vault for the other two points. Marvin Ridge won the team state championship with 60 points.
On the girls' side, East Henderson scored eight points. All of that came from Bailey Waldbart's pole vault. Waldbart made a 6-0 vault, but finished second in the tiebreaker.
Southern Guilford won the girls' meet with 61 points.
There were plenty of other local athletes in action as well including East's Sydney Morgan and Katie Hara in the pole vault (11th and 12th respectively), East's Nick Lyons in the triple jump (15th), East's 4x400 boys' relay team (14th), West Henderson's 4x800 girls' relay team (13th), East's 4x800 girls' relay team (16th), West's Madison Conner in the high jump (10th), and the North Henderson 4x100 relay team (13th).
The 2-A West Regional championships are Saturday at Bunker Hill High School.
Categories: News

Officers rewarded for going above and beyond

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:12
Twenty officers were honored during the Hendersonville Police Department’s seventh annual Awards Banquet at Bay Breeze Restaurant on Tuesday for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Among the many recognized was Sgt. Kenny Hipps, who received a purple heart after he was stabbed by a knife-wielding suspect last year. His partner at the scene, Officer Jennifer Drake, was given the Medal of Valor for her actions to protect Hipps.
“The Hendersonville Police Department is committed to employee appreciation and recognition. We thank the many dedicated employees of our staff that attend these occasions and participate in our process,” the department said in a news release Friday.
The following awards were presented during the ceremony:
--Julia Alston — School Crossing Guard of the Year 2014
--Maria Wagner – Reserve Employee of the Year
--Margaret Lehman - Non-sworn Employee of the Year 2014
--Jon Wing — Rookie Officer of the Year 2014
--Kyle Thiel — Detective of the Year 2014
--Jeff Tankersley — Officer of the Year 2014
--Lt. Leon Worthy — Supervisor of the Year 2014
The following awards were based on citizens’ input and feedback garnered over the year regarding the performance of the employees’ duties:
--Dispatcher Amber Glisson — Meritorious Service Award
--Officer Jeff Tankersley — Life Saving Award
--Cory Payne — Chief’s Award for Service Excellence
--Garrett Gardin — Chief’s Award for Service Excellence
--Pete Laite — Chief’s Award for Service Excellence
--Robert Underwood — Chief’s Award for Service Excellence
The department’s Outstanding Team Award for 2014 went to “Team Four” — Lt. Mike Vesely, Sgt. Jimmy Case, Officer Toney Valdibia, Officer Garrett Gardin, Officer Corey Payne and Officer Andy Massey.
Categories: News

2 Asheville residents among plane crash victims

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:12
ATLANTA (AP) — A small passenger airplane dropped from the sky, grazed the hood of a tractor-trailer and crashed into an Atlanta interstate Friday, killing all four people aboard and starting an intense fire on the busy highway.
Killed were Greg Byrd and Phillip Byrd of Asheville, Christopher Byrd and Jackie Kulzer of Atlanta, and a pet, multiple media ourlets reported.
The Piper PA-32 took off from DeKalb Peachtree Airport and apparently ran into trouble not long afterward, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Kathleen Bergen said.
Motorist Don McGhee, 48, said he saw the aircraft nearly hit a traffic light pole near the highway onramp.
“It looked like it was struggling. You could see him trying to get the nose of the plane up. It was edging up, and then it just dropped,” McGhee said. “It was just a huge fire, just smoke and fire.”
Witnesses said the blaze prevented anyone on the ground from helping any victims in the wreckage. Those who tried included commercial truck driver Gerald Smith.
Smith said that as the aircraft plummeted, he had just enough time to slam on his brakes. He saw the plane swooping in low toward the passenger door of his tractor-trailer.
“It grazed my hood, and the next thing I knew I looked over to my left and that plane had crashed against the median wall,” Smith said. “I first started to walk over there, but it was blazing up and there was no way to help anybody try to get out of the plane. I just turned and dropped my head and walked away.”
DeKalb Fire Capt. Eric Jackson said all four people onboard died in the crash. The plane nearly struck a vehicle being driven by a former DeKalb County firefighter.
“It's a miracle, literally a miracle, that no other cars were hit,” Jackson told reporters.
Federal investigators said they will reconstruct the plane to determine what caused the aircraft to go down. Eric Alleyne of the National Transportation Safety Board said he expects reconstruction of the charred aircraft to take roughly two weeks.
The tail, other wreckage and charred concrete could be seen at the median barrier where the plane crashed. Smaller debris littered the area, including a propeller lying on the roadway about 40 feet from most of the wreckage.
“Of course the airplane is somewhat complex, but it shouldn't be a problem,” Alleyne said. The plane fueled up before leaving the airport and it's unclear whether the pilot made any emergency calls after takeoff, Alleyne said. He added that the NTSB will review the plane's maintenance records and the pilot's experience.
Emergency officials shut down Interstate 285 in both directions, causing large traffic jams that spilled over onto local roads. The scene of the crash needed to be preserved for the investigation, Jackson said.
The freeway was reopened early Friday afternoon after the wreckage was moved.
Categories: News

City reopens Boyd Park mini-golf course

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:12
The city of Hendersonville reopened the Laura E. Corn Mini-Golf at Boyd Park today. The mini-golf course is located at 810 N. Church St.
The operating schedule is: From May 8-June 12, 3-9:30 p.m. on Fridays, and 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; from June 13-Sept. 7, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. daily; closed Sept. 8-10; and from 3-9:30 p.m. Sept. 11-27.
Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for youth (ages 3-17), and free for ages 2 and under.
For more information, contact Tom Wooten, public works director, at 828-697-3084.
Categories: News

Veterinarian operates on dog that ate 23 bullets

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:01
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas veterinarian has kept a dog from going out with a bang after the animal ate 23 live rifle rounds.
Benno, the 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, had surgery last week to remove the .308 caliber ammunition from his stomach. Owner Larry Brassfield said Benno has eaten socks, magnets and marbles, but he didn’t expect the animal would bother a bag of bullets by his bed.
Brassfield and his wife realized Benno needed medical attention after the pet vomited up four rounds. Veterinarian Sarah Sexton at All Creatures Animal Hospital removed 17 rounds from Benno’s stomach but left two in his esophagus, which the dog was allowed to discharge on his own.
“This is something they certainly did not cover in school,” Sexton said. “I’ve had dogs eat things before, mostly stuffed toys. Once I had one swallow a hearing aid, but I think this takes the cake.”
Brassfield said he won’t leave ammo lying around anymore but isn’t optimistic that Benno will stick to dog food. “You can baby-proof a house,” Brassfield said. “But I don’t think it’s possible to Benno-proof a house. Lord knows, we’ve tried and failed.”
Categories: News

Pets get Meals on Wheels thanks to Kennel Club

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 03:01
Pavlov's response might just kick in when homebound seniors receive their Meals on Wheels delivery.
Local dogs and cats are also benefitting from the meal program, thanks to Hendersonville Kennel Club volunteers who supply bags of food and treats to Council on Aging for inclusion with meals meant for humans.
“It's been such a godsend for them to consistently donate cat and dog food,” said Annette Buckner, nutrition director for the Meals on Wheels program at COA.
About a quarter of the 200 regular daily deliveries include pet food bags.
Without this extra help, it's very likely that some clients would have to give up their pets, Buckner said. Seniors might also feed their own meal to their animals instead of eating it themselves if they did not have pet food.
Around two years ago, the Hendersonville Kennel Club started purchasing dog and cat food that Petco offered at a discount, using proceeds from the Community Endowment Fund.
Now, an agreement with the Phillips Pet Food and Supplies distributing company brings in broken pet food bags that wouldn't otherwise be sold to give to Meals on Wheels.
The designated bags are delivered with regular shipments to Pet Source on Spartanburg Highway, just down the street from the Council on Aging's office on King Creek Boulevard.
“We're happy to be involved in the community,” said Judy Smith, president of the Hendersonville Kennel Club.
Smith had heard of a similar program when she was president of a kennel club in Dallas, which had a great response from many in the community.
After moving to Henderson County, Smith said conversations with neighbors who volunteer as Meals on Wheels drivers about the needs of pet-owning clients prompted a conversation with Buckner.
“We believe that our seniors deserve to have a pet,” Smith said. “In some of the situations, this is all the family they have.”
Meals on Wheels client Robert Harrison now receives cat food for Lucky, an abandoned cat he took in during this winter's cold months. Harrison said he's grateful any time he can get a little cat food.
“The girls bring the food and he chomps away,” he said. “He likes their food better than what I get him.”
Though Harrison didn't think he wanted a cat, Lucky is pretty special.
“He's a doll; he jumps on my chest when I'm in my chair,” said Harrison. “He's a companion, since I live alone.”
Portions for pets
Volunteers at HKC make sure there is always a supply of pet food at the Meals on Wheels for drivers to add to the regular deliveries.
When the large bags of bulk food arrive at COA, staff and volunteers portion the pet food and treats into smaller, individual bags. The case worker makes notations for the pet(s) living in the household as well.
“Volunteers can just grab some bags when they have pets on their route. (They) love taking it to the clients,” said Buckner. “The clients also love it — the food helps them stretch their food budget and help out their buddies.”
When treats are added for the pets, along with the regular allotment of food, the animals may tune in to the food delivery. At least one volunteer has reported a client's dog meeting him at the door, hoping to get a treat, according to Buckner.
The Kennel Club raises money for projects through its annual Blue Ridge Classic of the Carolinas dog show, which takes place May 22-25 at the Ag Center. COA staff will be assisting at the dog show, for which Smith is co-chair. Either Buckner or a Meals on Wheels case worker will help a judge present the Best in Show trophy on May 23.
A presentation at the show will tell the public about the Kennel Club's involvement in community programs like Meals on Wheels.
Recently, the HKC raised money to furnish pet oxygen masks to firefighters and presented an educational program at the Salvation Army for children, focusing on issues like how to approach a strange dog and how to best care for an animal, according to Smith.
Reach De Bona at beth.debona@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7890.
Categories: News

Emma, Noah top list of most popular baby names in 2014

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 03:01
WASHINGTON (AP) — Emma is back.
After slipping from the top of the most popular baby names six years ago, Emma was back at No. 1 in 2014. Noah was the top baby name for boys for the second year in a row.
The Social Security Administration released the annual list of top baby names Friday. Emma was followed by Olivia, Sophia, Isabella and Ava. Noah was followed by Liam, Mason, Jacob and William.
Emma's popularity soared in 2002, the same year that Rachel, a character on the popular TV show "Friends," named her baby Emma. Also boosting the name, actress Emma Watson played Hermione Granger in the popular Harry Potter movies.
Emma has been ranked among the top three baby names for girls since 2003, reaching No. 1 in 2008. In 2013, Emma was No. 2 behind Sophia.
"In this era when trends come and go faster than ever before, that's incredible staying power," said Laura Wattenberg, founder of BabynameWizard.com. "Emma seems to be the only name that America has been able to agree on in recent years."
Emma was a popular name in the early 1900s, reaching as high as No. 13 in 1900. The name fell out of fashion in the middle of the century but started gaining popularity again in the 1990s.
Emma's comeback represents two popular trends in baby names, Wattenberg said.
"Emma is a real antique and it came back with the revival of Victorian names," she said.
It is also short and smooth, like Mia, Liam and Noah.
"They're tiny little names that are perfectly smooth," Wattenberg said. "They have no hard edges to them."
James is also making a comeback, at No. 9. And Charlotte cracked the top 10 for the first time, at No. 10.
James was one of the most popular names of the 20th Century, though it was last No. 1 in 1952. In 2013, it was No. 13.
Charlotte may be due for a surge.
Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate announced Monday that they were naming their baby daughter Charlotte. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, also named her daughter Charlotte.
"Charlotte's definitely going to hit the top three in the next three years," said Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of Babynames.com.
The Social Security Administration's website provides lists of the top 1,000 baby names for each year, dating to 1880. The top baby names that year were John and Mary. John is now No. 26 and Mary has fallen to No. 120.
Officials hope that people visiting the website to research baby names will also learn about Social Security programs. This year, the agency is promoting a new blog called "Social Security Matters."
Pop culture has long influenced baby names. And so has religion.
Though today, the most popular names aren't nearly as popular as the ones from 50 years ago.
Last year, 19,144 newborns were named Noah, and 20,799 babies were named Emma.
In 1964, more than 82,000 babies were named Michael, the top name for boys that year. More than 54,000 babies were named Lisa, the top name for girls that year.
"Parents don't want a top 10 name," Moss said. "They are looking for more unique names."
Social Security also charts the fastest-rising names each year. These names may not be in the top 10 or even the top 100, but they moved up more spots than any other.
For girls, the runaway winner was Aranza, which jumped 3,625 spots to No. 607. Aranza is a popular Mexican singer. Also, there is a character named Aranza on the Mexican telenovela "Por Siempre Mi Amor," which debuted in 2013.
Also rising: Montserrat and Monserrat (different spelling), and Maisie.
Maisie Williams is an actress on the HBO show, "Game of Thrones." She apparently carries some weight in the world of baby names. She plays a character called Arya — Arya jumped 62 spots to No. 216 on the list.
For boys, the biggest riser was Bode, which jumped 645 spots to No. 783. Also among the top risers were Bodie and Bodhi. Bode Miller is an Olympic skier. Bodhi is a Buddhist term for enlightenment or awakening.
Axl jumped 624 spots, to number 850. Hard rock fans may remember Axl Rose, the lead singer of Guns N' Roses, a very popular band in the '80s and '90s. Younger fans may know that Fergie, a singer in the Black Eyed Peas, named her son Axl in 2013.
"Anybody who chooses that name has already heard of Axl Rose," Wattenberg said. "But maybe they hadn't quite made the mental leap to thinking, 'Hey, I can actually name a baby that,' until they saw Fergie do it."
Online:
Social Security Administration: www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames
The Baby Name Wizard: www.babynamewizard.com
Babynames.com: www.babynames.com
Categories: News

Residents write their life stories at new studio

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 03:01
Merriam-Webster defines a historian as a student or writer of past events, especially for a scholarly article. Historians can be general or focus on geography, period, biography, historical viewpoint or world history.
Then there is the outlier, what Sam Uhl calls a personal historian.
“The focus here is asking where individuals have come from, who they are now and where they think they're going,” said Uhl, founder of The Cheerful Word studio.
The business, which opened at 318 N. Main St. in Hendersonville last month, provides services for people to learn how to share, write and publish their life stories.
Uhl got started in her career as a personal historian in Buffalo, N.Y., decades before her first official paycheck. Her mother worked in a nursing home and, as a child, Uhl spent hours listening to the residents recount their experiences. Inspired by the stories, Uhl kept listening into her teens and through college as a home health aide for the terminally ill.
“I started to write snippets of their stories and leave them on the nightstands,” Uhl said.
Families would find notes that revealed the personalities and experiences of individuals before they became Dad or Grandma.
“The families often discovered this huge connection to the past,” Uhl added.
Over the years, she expanded the patients' tales during her dwindling spare time. Finally, a friend suggested she turn her hobby into a career. Despite initial reservations and perhaps a little guilt about charging, Uhl pitched her services at a women's networking meeting in Cary. Two of the women wrote checks after Uhl finished.
“That's the day it turned from a hobby into a business,” Uhl said.
A couple of years into her practice as a sole proprietor, she discovered Hendersonville while visiting her daughter, Meghan McDonald, and fell in love with the area. She also saw a great need for her services among the area's older residents, and decided to relocate to the city.
Uhl continued to write people's conversational memoirs, books and legacy letters. She also offered workshops, including an eight-week guided course that business partner and The Cheerful Word VP Joe Kaplan took a year ago.
“After the course, I wanted to write a book on growing up in Canton's only Jewish family,” Kaplan said. Over the following year, he and Uhl worked together on “You Can't Coach Height,” when Kaplan realized something.
“I asked Sam, 'You can't be making money off me. How are you doing this?'” Kaplan said, having been in small business all his life. Uhl admitted, “Business administration isn't my strong suit. So, when Joe said he wanted to help, I almost jumped across the table to say yes.”
McDonald also came on board as creative director. As it developed, The Cheerful Word's top priority became having a fixed location on Main Street, Kaplan said. The business needed a tangible presence for regulars to go and passersby to discover.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony April 1 also consequently marked the fact that Kaplan and Uhl are the only two of more than 650 business members of the Association of Personal Historians to have a studio.
The business partners agree the studio is the capstone of The Cheerful Word's growth — for now. Kaplan's book released on Amazon this week, and seven clients are at different stages of completing their books. Uhl is looking for more editors to The Cheerful Word's growing contractor pool, which includes publishers, transcribers and marketers.
The trio see only prosperity ahead for The Cheerful Word. As long as people want to share their stories, Uhl will listen and write.
For more information, contact 828-595-9802 or go to www.cheerfulword.com.
Reach Kerns at charli.kerns@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7881. Follow @BRNCharli on Twitter.
Categories: News

Vision alumni raise $5,000 for endowment fund

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 03:01
Vision alumni reached their goal of raising $5,000 to start the John L. Boyd Vision Endowment Fund, carrying on Boyd’s legacy to have funding available to help all people learn about their community and its leaders through the Vision program.
Vision’s class of 2014 alums started a campaign last May to raise enough money to start an endowment. The leader of Vision’s class of 2014, Wendy Hamil, presented Boyd with the check at the Class of 2015 Vision Graduation luncheon on Tuesday.
The endowment has been created with the Community Foundation of Henderson County. President of the foundation, McCray Benson, and Foundation Relations Manager Lee Henderson-Hill brought a large-sized check to the luncheon and Hamil said Boyd was “simply stunned... We still have monies to raise in order to create a fund that will offer more scholarships to Vision, and this was certainly a tremendous start with the generosity of so many.”
Categories: News

Community Briefs: May 9

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 03:01
Volunteers needed at healing farm
Veterans Healing Farm is in need of volunteers for the spring and summer to harvest, pack and distribute produce. Veterans Healing Farm is a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans adjust to civilian life and teaching them how to raise farm animals, grow produce and more. For more information, visit veteranshealingfarm.com.
Meetings
The Atkinson Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:30 p.m. Monday in the media center.
The Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees will meet at 4 p.m. Monday in room 150 of the Patton Building.
The Hendersonville Board of Adjustment will meet at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Operations Center.
The Hendersonville Planning Board will meet at 4 p.m. Monday in the Operations Center.
The Hendersonville Seventh Avenue Advisory Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Historic Train Depot.
The Environmental Sustainability Board will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Operations Center to discuss a poster contest for the recycling awareness program.
The Henderson County Board of Public Education will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the boardroom of the administrative offices. The board will go into closed session at 6 p.m. prior to the meeting for the purpose of considering personnel matters and to discuss information that is privileged, confidential or not a public record.
The Village of Flat Rock Park and Recreation Foundation will meet at 5 p.m. Monday in the Highlander Room.
Events
The Brevard-Hendersonville Parkinson’s Support Group will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the fellowship hall of Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian Church, 249 E. Main St., Brevard. Info: the Brengels at 685-7673 or the Eden’s at 862-8820.
The Carolina Camera Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 34 Melrose Ave., Tryon.
The Democratic Women of Henderson County will meet at 5:30 p.m. for social time and hold a meeting and program at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Three Chopt Sandwich Shoppe, 103 Third Ave. E., Hendersonville. Dinner will be available.
First Baptist Church of East Flat Rock will hold the next MANNA food distribution from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday in the Fellowship Hall. Participants are asked to bring bags and small boxes. Handicapped access is available. For more information, contact the church office at 692-0765.
The Henderson County Public Library will host author and outdoor enthusiast Bill Walker at 2 p.m. Monday in the Kaplan Auditorium, 301 N. Washington St., Hendersonville. Info: 697-4725.
Categories: News

School board discusses plans for preliminary budget

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 22:34
During a budget workshop Friday, school board members dialed in a preliminary budget request that will be presented to county commissioners after formal approval from the board at its meeting Monday night.
The preliminary request for the 2015-16 school year totals more than $23 million, plus an additional $1 million request for capital outlay (infrastructure) projects and $1.5 million to provide one laptop to every high school student.
The preliminary budget discussed Friday represents an increase of about $2 million over the amount the county gave the school system for the 2014-15 school year, which included a combined $1 million for capital projects and technology.
The preliminary budget takes into account predicted increases in salary and payroll benefits, along with an increase in the amount the school system must give to charter schools, Bernie Sochia, Henderson County Public Schools’ chief financial officer, said in a budget presentation to board members Friday.
Following Sochia’s presentation detailing the budget request, board member Rick Wood expressed his hope that county commissioners will understand why the board is seeking an increase in funding.
“Sometimes in the past people just look at the bottom line and said, ‘Well, that’s a big increase.’ But this helps us understand and hopefully helps them understand,” Wood said.
The preliminary budget also takes into account capital projects such as roof replacements, paving, HVAC and transportation, an issue that hasn’t been addressed in the previous four years, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Bo Caldwell told the board.
Accounting for 19.5 percent of the proposed $1 million capital budget, transportation improvements would include the purchase of eight stop arm cameras for school buses as well as a new wrecker.
“Why in the world do we need a wrecker?” Caldwell asked. “Well, unfortunately I wish I could tell you that all of our buses always are running and we never have to pull one, but unfortunately we do.”
Caldwell noted that the wrecker the school system currently has isn’t capable of towing the new, larger school buses in the school system’s fleet.
The board also heard from Rick Fender, senior director for technology services, who discussed options for a one-to-one computer program that would equip high school students with Chromebook computers for use at school and at home.
Four options were presented, ranging from a gradual rollout that would provide Chromebooks to incoming freshmen classes for the next four years, to a four-year lease-to-own option that would cost an additional $91,000 in finance charges.
Fender, though, saved his favorite option for last.
“This option is, ‘Show me the money,’” Fender said about a one-time purchase plan amounting to $1.5 million, which would provide the technology to all high school students starting with the 2015-16 school year. “Let’s do it all at one time. Let’s save $91,000 and just get this done."
Reach Biba at 828-694-7871 or jacob.biba@blueridgenow.com.

Categories: News

First named storm of pre-hurricane season forms in Atlantic

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 19:25
MIAMI (AP) — A tropical storm warning was issued Friday for parts of North and South Carolina as Ana approached the U.S. coast, kicking up rough surf and rip currents ahead of what was forecast to be a rainy weekend.
The storm formed nearly a month before the Atlantic Hurricane season officially kicks off June 1. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday that Ana's maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 kph) with slight strengthening forecast during the next day or so.
The storm is centered about 170 miles (275 kilometers) south-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Hurricane Center says it's been nearly stationary over the last few hours but is expected to move north-northwest later in the day.
The tropical storm warning was expanded Friday afternoon and now extends from the south Santee River in South Carolina to Cape Lookout, North Carolina.
Rain is a concern because the system is moving so slow and won't clear out quickly. Ana is expected to deliver 2 to 4 inches of rain over the weekend, with some areas getting up to 6 inches.
Ana is currently a subtropical system, meaning it has characteristics of both a tropical storm, which gets its energy from warm ocean waters, and a traditional storm system driven by temperature changes.
"There's that just little prefix 'sub' before the storm that has meaning for meteorologists, but to the public it doesn't really matter," said James Franklin, chief of the Hurricane Center's Hurricane Specialist Unit.
Forecasters are also warning people to avoid dangerous surf and rip currents being kicked up by the storm. Some isolated flooding is also expected in some areas along the coast.
"We've lost a lot of lives in rip currents, let's try not to do that this weekend," said Hurricane Center director Rick Knabb.
May storms aren't unusual, with one forming every few years or so, Knabb said. But Ana marks the earliest subtropical or tropical storm to form in the Atlantic since another storm named Ana in 2003, the Hurricane Center said in a tweet.
Categories: News