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Community Briefs: Aug. 21

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 08:16
Children & Family Resource Center to hold open house
The Children & Family Resource Center will hold an Open House Celebration to celebrate its 15th anniversary. The event will be held from 4-6:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at 851 Case St., Hendersonville. A cake and champagne toast will follow remarks at 5:30 p.m.
For more information, call 698-0674.

Girls night will benefit ECCO
Team ECCO will host Mermaid’s Evening Out from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 4 at 511 N. Main St., Hendersonville. The event is limited to 15 spaces.
Enjoy a girls-only evening with a 20-minute relaxation session by The Healing Touch and design your own mermaid journal, complete with crystal bookmark. Wine, refreshments and prizes will be available.
All proceeds will benefit the educational intern programs for girls at Team ECCO. For more information, visit www.teamecco.org.
Meetings
The Henderson County Heritage Museum Board of Directors will meet at 2 p.m. Monday in the Community Room on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse.
The Seventh Avenue Advisory Committee will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Historic Depot to discuss and set priorities based on UNC School of Government report and Liollio Architecture recommendations.
The Laurel Park ABC Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the ABC Store in Laurel Park Village.
Events
Edneyville Public Library will host Chimney Rock State Park Ranger Stephen Tillotson for his program, “Peregrine Falcons: the Super Birds of the Park,” at 11 a.m. Saturday at the library, 2 Firehouse Road, Hendersonville. Info: 685-0110.
“Hawgs for Hunger” Benefit Poker Run will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Hunter Nissan, 1340 Spartanburg Highway, Hendersonville. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Proceeds go to Project We Care Henderson. Cost: $20 per bike, including a free T-shirt. Info: www.projectwecarehenderson.com.
Categories: News

Tourists' magic number now at 1

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 22:57
The Asheville Tourists’ magic number to clinch a spot in the South Atlantic League playoffs is now 1 following Wednesday’s 8-6 win at Kannapolis and Charleston’s 7-2 loss to Greenville.
Asheville has 11 games remaining on the schedule and in order to make the playoffs, it needs to win at least one of those games or have Charleston lose at least one of its reamining games.
The Tourists face Kannapolis again at 7 p.m. Thursday night in Kannapolis to wrap up the three-game series and then travel to Delmarva for a three-game series over the weekend. Asheville is off Monday and returns to McCormick Field for its final three home games of the season starting Tuesday.
Categories: News

Cancer center will bring 'advanced care' to WNC

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 21:09
Cancer patients won't have to drive to Chapel Hill for advanced therapies once Pardee Hospital opens a state-of-the-art cancer center within a new medical education facility here, hospital President Jay Kirby told county commissioners Wednesday.
Kirby said the cancer center - part of a joint venture between Wingate University, Blue Ridge Community College, the county and Hendersonville - is being designed with help from UNC Health Care, whose N.C. Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill has been nationally recognized for its high quality of care.
“With our partnership with UNC, we are designing this cancer program to bring therapies that could be done in Chapel Hill to Western North Carolina,” Kirby said. “We are using the latest in design in therapies that we've learned from them and included them in the design process.”
As more cancer treatments move from hospitals to outpatient settings, Kirby said, “we see this is as a tremendous opportunity not only for Henderson County, but for Western North Carolina to bring advanced care closer to our region.”
Pardee's cancer center is expected to balloon the cost of the medical education facility from roughly $16.2 million to possibly $25 million, county officials said. Henderson County is building the facility for use by Wingate University, Blue Ridge Community College and Pardee on city-bought property.
John Mitchell, the county's business and community development director, said the city of Hendersonville is on schedule to “deliver the property to us the first of September.” A final schematic meeting between all parties and the county's architect is scheduled for Aug. 24, he said.
“We are currently in discussions with Pardee, with our architect and some of their staff about what additional cost will be for the cancer center, as opposed to a medical office building,” Mitchell told commissioners. “And at this moment, (we're) just awaiting final assurances from them about how that cost will be made up.”
Kirby told commissioners there are some “unique aspects of the building that will be indicative of just a cancer program,” including a linear accelerator used in radiology. Pardee is willing to “make sure we pay our fair share” of the additional costs associated with the radiology/oncology component, he said.
But “that's just a percentage of the building, not the entire building,” he added. “So we're working closely with the county's architect to ensure a mutual understanding.”
The hospital plans to relocate its Hendersonville Hematology and Oncology from behind Ingles in Laurel Park to the joint facility, he said, along with two general surgery practices known as Pardee Surgical Associates. Both of those are considered medical offices, he said.
Mitchell said county staff has toured several other cancer centers in the region “to look at best practices.”
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or than.axtell@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Airport unveils $4.4M Public Safety building

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 19:07
Less than two weeks after breaking ground on its massive runway project, Asheville Regional Airport has opened its $4.4 million Department of Public Safety building.
Airport officials used the Jaws of Life to snip “Caution” tape Wednesday afternoon during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, effectively opening the facility that replaces its 40-year-old predecessor.
Located on top of a hill adjacent to the old building, the airport's new Department of Public Safety building is larger — with five apparatus bays instead of four — and has an improved line of sight to the airfield, said Tina Kinsey, director of marketing, public relations and air service development.
“We're higher, for one,” said Public Safety Chief Kevan Smith.
He said the height, direct access to the airfield and expanse of windows facing the airfield give public safety officers improved visuals.
“We have more staff members and larger equipment,” said airport Executive Director Lew Bleiweis.
As an airport grows, Bleiweis explained, the Federal Aviation Association requires additional equipment, based on the largest aircraft that frequents the airport and how often that type of aircraft lands.
Smith said that over the years, the equipment itself has grown in capability and size, hence the move to a larger facility.
“We have infrared cameras and thermo imaging devices now,” he said, adding that the latter can be used to locate hotspots within an aircraft.
That's in addition to the department's three neon yellow aircraft rescue firefighting vehicles, two trailers used to haul supplies and three police vehicles.
The department has seen a growth in personnel as well, adding three team members. And, Smith said, those additional three team members made quite the difference.
“It allowed us to put an extra person on patrol on each shift,” he said.
Public Safety Officer Tristan Stroupe said the department runs four shifts per day, with three designated public safety officers and one firefighter per shift.
“We are cross-trained in firefighting and emergency services,” Smith said. “We have at least one EMT on duty at all times.”
The Department of Public Safety's new building has four dormitory areas to accommodate the officers and firefighters changing shifts, as well as a fitness room and full kitchen.
“We also have a centralized, state-of-the-art ... communications center,” said Doug Tate, vice chair of the Asheville Regional Airport Authority Board.
Smith said the hardware and software for the department's communications center has all been upgraded, and more CCTV cameras have been added for increased security.
The department also provides mutual aid to local law enforcement agencies in both Henderson and Buncombe counties, Smith said. In case of large fuel spills, the aircraft rescue firefighting vehicles are especially useful, he added.
“We provide heavy blankets of foam,” he said, explaining the vehicles carry Class B foam used on fuel fires. “We carry a lot more of it at one time.”
“We're a very small department,” Smith said. “But we have a very large clientele.”
Reach McGowan at molly.mcgowan@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7871.
Categories: News

County, Pardee agree to lease, not buy, joint outpatient center

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 17:15
Henderson County commissioners on Wednesday signed off on a decision by Pardee Hospital to opt out of one "key tenet" of a 2012 agreement with Mission Hospital to jointly operate an outpatient center straddling the Buncombe County line in Fletcher.
Pardee CEO Jay Kirby told commissioners "circumstances have changed" since the two hospitals agreed to share land, building ownership and governance at the joint venture. Pardee's board no longer wants to purchase half of the current outpatient building, a decision that commissioners ratified with a 4-0 vote.
"That would close that door, but you can always reopen negotiations years from now if you chose to," said Commissioner Mike Edney, an ex-officio member of Pardee's board.
Rather than sink $16 million into buying a building it can lease for 30 years, Kirby told commissioners Pardee would rather invest its capital in facilities that are fully within Henderson County — specifically a new YMCA on the Fletcher joint venture campus and a new health education facility in Hendersonville.
"Given that we have a 15-year lease that can be renewed for an additional 15 years, it just does not make sense for us to commit $16 million for something that will have an approximate 10 percent return," Kirby said, adding the YMCA alone is projected to have a 14 to 15 percent rate of return.
Kirby said Pardee still intends to buy half of the land for the joint venture, and the two hospitals will continue to share governance. He said Pardee's board and administration believe "those are the two most vital areas for us to invest in on that campus."
Since commissioners asked for joint facility ownership in 2012, much has changed for Pardee, Kirby said.
The hospital has entered into a management agreement with UNC Healthcare, forged partnerships with the YMCA of Western North Carolina that include a $2 million investment, and plans to invest between $6 million and $7 million in a cancer center at a new facility shared with Wingate University and Blue Ridge Community College.
"That's $9 million right there that we will re-plow into purely Henderson County and not an entity that straddles Henderson and Buncombe," Kirby said.
Since commissioners approved the joint venture in 2012, Pardee has also entered a strategic planning process to see "where we should focus our efforts in the future," Kirby said. The hospital has also looked more carefully at its master facilities plan, he said.
Citing a recent ribbon-cutting at Park Ridge Health's outpatient center in South Asheville and Mission's expansion into Haywood County, Kirby said "every hospital is looking to decentralize their campuses and get out and meet the growing needs of this region."
He said the Fletcher YMCA facility, slated to open fully by October, will "not straddle the county line — it will sit squarely in Henderson County." The 40,000-square-foot facility will host Pardee's cardiac rehabilitation and physical therapy offices upstairs.
At the same time it's investing in satellite projects, Pardee is upgrading its operating rooms to the tune of $2 million. "Clearly, maintaining the safety and the position we've attained in terms of OR outcomes, along with our medical staff, is very important," Kirby said.
While tackling such improvements, Kirby said Pardee has also lost $1.8 million in Medicare payments over the past year due to the Affordable Care Act.
Add to that growing competition from pharmacy "minute clinics" and other outpatient centers, he said, and "it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage and maintain the margins and the employment of hospitals."
Commissioner Grady Hawkins wondered about the timing of Pardee's purchase of half the joint venture land, given the hospital's loss of Medicare revenue. Kirby said the hospital has some time before it has to make that purchase and is carefully weighing appraisals.
"But it's your intention to buy 50 percent of land, if our appraisals get to the point that we show it's advantageous to the hospital?" asked Vice Chairman Tommy Thompson. Kirby said yes.
"I'm sure we'll see a lot more changes in the near future when this thing gets fully implemented," said Chairman Charlie Messer.
In other business, commissioners:
• Gave their blessing for Hendersonville High School's "Catbacker Club" to use parking lots at the former Boyd Automotive dealership the county now owns for fundraising. Athletic Director B.J. Laughter said the lots would be primarily used for parking and tailgating at varsity football games, but could expand to JV games if demand is there. The board agreed, since they won't be using the area this school year.
• Approved a 120-day moratorium on renaming any county road to allow county staff to rework a property address ordinance. However, commissioners allowed residents who already have renaming requests in the pipeline to move forward, including Stoney Mountain Estate resident James McClain.
• Urged residents of Hillside Lane to speak up if they're interested in having their gravel secondary road paved by the N.C. Department of Transportation. Hawkins said under a new state law approved by legislators in 2013, the state's secondary road paving program requires property owners to donate a 45-foot right-of-way. "If they don't hear from us, we just get dropped from the list," he said.
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or than.axtell@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Galloway to be Mills River's interim town manager

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 15:04
Mills River Mayor Larry Freeman announced this week that town council has made arrangements for management after Town Manager Jaime Laughter leaves the position at the end of September.
Town manager for the past eight years, Laughter is leaving to become the county manager in Transylvania County effective Oct. 1.
Freeman said this week that town council made the decision Thursday night to hire Lee Galloway of Waynesville to serve as the town’s interim manager. A native of Brevard and former town manager for Waynesville, Galloway is retired after almost 40 years in municipal management. He last served as interim manager for the city of Hendersonville from December of 2012 to May of 2013.
Freeman also said this week that Mills River Town Council made the decision on Monday afternoon to hire Stephen Straus and Developmental Associates LLC of Chapel Hill to lead the search for a permanent town manager.
The firm, Freeman said, has led recent successful searches for top management for Charlotte, Raleigh, Asheville and Hendersonville and for Duke, Wake Forest and UNC universities.
Contracts between the town and both Galloway and the search firm are being finalized this week and will likely be approved at the town’s Aug. 28 council meeting.
“The town of Mills River has a highly competent and dedicated staff in place to carry on the town’s business after Jaime leaves,” Freeman said. “And with Galloway and Straus coming on board to provide professional temporary leadership and to guide the search for a new manager, the town is well positioned to move forward.”
As for how long before a new permanent manager is hired, Freeman would only say, “It’ll take as long as it takes to find just the right person, just the right ‘fit,’ for the town of Mills River.”
Categories: News

Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards earns gold medal

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 13:03
Hendersonville’s Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards is one of 11 wineries awarded gold medals in The Asheville Wine and Food Festival Wine Competition, with its 2013 Viognier earning the title “Best of the Appalachians.”
The French Broad Vignerons announced on Wednesday the results of the wine competition and stated in a news release that those wines earning gold or silver medals became the first to be named “Best of the Appalachians.”
Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards’ winning viognier is in fact its first vintage of the variety, and will likely be a rarity for the winery.
“Viognier is a very hard grape to grow,” said owner Alan Ward.
“It was a grape that was almost extinct at one point,” added Barbara Walker, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards’ tasting room manager.
“It’s the only white grape we know of that you ferment with the skins on,” Ward said.
“This is the first bottling of viognier for us, and it’s a very limited supply,” Walker said.
The 2013 Viognier is available at the winery at 588 Chestnut Gap Road, while other “Best of the Appalachians” winners may be ordered online through the North Carolina Wine Gift website.
Other gold medal winners include Mountain Brook Vineyard in Tryon, Parker-Binns Vineyard in Mill Spring, JOLO Winery and Vineyards in Pilot Mountain, Addison Farms Vineyard in Leicester, Flint Hill Vineyards in East Bend, Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery in Ronda, Silver Fork Winery in Morganton, City Scape Winery in Pelzer, S.C., Jones Von Drehle Vineyards & Winery in Thurmond, and Monteluce Winery in Dahlonega, Ga.
Jones von Drehle’s Estate Rock & Rail red blend was the competition’s double gold medal winner. The Biltmore Estate Wine Company in Asheville received a silver medal for its Biltmore Estate Chateu Reserve Blanc de Blanc Brut.
Addison Farms Vineyard, City Scape Winery, Jones Von Drehle Vineyards & Winery, Lake James Cellars in Glen Alpine, Montaluce Winery, Mountain Brook Vineyard, Parker-Binns Vineyard, Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, Shelton Vineyards, Silver Fork Winery and Tiger Mountain Vineyards also took home silver medals.
To check out which “Best of the Appalachians” wines are available online, visit www.NorthCarolinaWineGifts.com. For a complete list of gold, silver and bronze medal winners, visit www.FrenchBroadVignerons.org.
Categories: News

Hope, resentment emerge in new charter school landscape

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 12:30
NEW ORLEANS — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans.
The majority of public school students will attend charter schools established by a state-run school district created in the aftermath of the storm.
Supporters hail it as a grand experiment and post-disaster deliverance of foundering schools. The charters, which still receive public money, can operate free from the politics and bureaucracy of the local school board and citywide union contracts. Principals have more authority to innovate. Schools that fail to improve — all public schools are held to the same standards — can lose their charter.
"Before Katrina, you could see that schools were allowed to stay open even if they failed students for decades," said Patrick Dobard, superintendent of the Recovery School District, or RSD, the state entity that oversees most New Orleans schools.
But critics, including some parents, say the new system has shut down neighborhood schools, while the best schools remain geographically distant for some low-income and minority families. "If you're white, you have a better chance to attend a neighborhood school which you can walk to," says parent Karan Harper Royal, an African-American parent.
An overhaul on such a broad scale would have been unthinkable before Aug. 29, 2005, when levee breaches during Katrina led to catastrophic flooding. About 80 percent of the city was swamped. The Orleans Parish School System was unable to open its 120 schools, which served about 65,000 students.
Amid the chaos, state officials saw an opportunity to seize control of schools from a school system widely viewed as corrupt and inept. Then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco and the Legislature passed laws effectively ramping up a 2003 program allowing the state to assume control of any school deemed failing under the state accountability system — most New Orleans public schools at the time.
Now, in a sometimes confusing patchwork of school governance, the RSD oversees 57 schools, all charters; the Orleans Parish School Board oversees 20 schools, most charters as well. A handful of schools are overseen by other state entities.
Charters have taken off around the country, with 1 in 20 students in America attending such a school, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Typically, they supplement an existing system and have been criticized at times for leaving the harder-to-educate students to the traditional schools.
Education experts are closely watching the New Orleans experience because the city has taken charters to a whole new level.
In New Orleans, overall enrollment is 44,700, down about 31 percent from pre-Katrina days, but a higher proportion of students are from families with low incomes.
Progress is measurable but uneven, despite increases in per-pupil spending. According to ratings released in October, only nine schools in the city were failing, down from 78 pre-Katrina.
Still, most charter schools overseen by the RSD rate no better than a "C'' grade in the state accountability system, while a half-dozen schools still run by the school board get an "A." More than half of the RSD's third-through-eighth-grade students have basic "fundamental" knowledge and skill in subjects like reading and math, up from 23 percent seven years ago, according to the state education department. Still, only 12 percent display "mastery" of subject matter.
"Somebody said to me once: 'We went from a disastrous system where very few young people were graduating ready for college, to a mediocre system. And that's a miracle.' Because we had to get off the bottom," said John Ayers, executive director of the Cowen Institute, a Tulane University public education think tank.
RSD schools are open to any child in the city. Some of the Orleans Parish schools are as well, although there may be testing requirements; at least one also reserves some spaces for neighborhood children.
Parents fill out a single application listing their top three choices, regardless of school system. Some schools hold lotteries, when applicants outnumber available seats.
"I'd rather have a neighborhood school," Rosa Hernandez said recently outside a Family Resource Center established to help parents through the selection process. A grandchild attends a school near her home and Hernandez was trying to get another enrolled in that same school. "We waited an hour and a half in there," she said. "They told us we didn't have space for this school year."
A little more than half of New Orleans voters favor the choice system over neighborhood schools, according to a poll released in June by the Cowen Institute.
Royal, a member of an organization that filed a civil rights complaint with the Justice Department, said her son rode the bus three to four hours a day to attend Lusher in largely affluent uptown New Orleans before she decided to drive him herself. One of the city's best schools, it is a charter overseen by the Orleans Parish School Board.
The school system provided bus tokens — public schools are required to provide transportation — but she said her son needed the time to study and sleep.
Some parents, facing high tuition for private schools and uncertainty over enrollment in a good public one, have turned to home schooling.
"The fear, the dread, just a lot of stress involved with trying to get into the one you want," said home-schooling mother Dawn Howard, who moved with her family to New Orleans from Hammond, Louisiana, after Katrina. "And there's not an even playing field among the schools. They're all performing at different levels, and it seems like everyone's trying to get into the same ones."
Some charter critics see signs of hope. Charters are beginning to give more voice to teachers, said Larry Carter, president of the New Orleans teacher union, which saw its collective bargaining agreement with all city public schools, in effect, washed away after the storm. The union recently won official recognition from the board running the Benjamin Franklin High School, a charter school overseen by the school board.
In a recent interview, Dobard predicted it will take seven to 10 years to bring all schools up to par. He, too, professes a sense of loss regarding neighborhood schools but is adamant that the citywide choice system is better.
Cherished traditions centering around high school bands and football rivalries too often overshadowed decades of academic failure, Dobard said.
"I have no one who's told me, 'Man, we had the best, most robust chemistry teacher at this school where we had a bad band,'" he said.
___
Associated Press writers Stacey Plaisance in New Orleans and Kimberly Hefling in Washington contributed to this report.
Categories: News

Former banker sentenced in Seven Falls case

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:35
A Hendersonville man was sentenced to eight months in federal prison last week after pleading guilty to his role in an investment scheme that brought down two banks in its attempt to keep a dying development alive.
Andrew Quinn Hager, a real estate investor and former banker, admitted to conspiring to commit bank fraud in March 2013, after reaching a plea deal and agreeing to help attorneys in their case against Seven Falls developer Keith Arthur Vinson.
Hager was sentenced to eight months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, eight months of which require him to be confined at home. He is the fifth of 11 defendants to be sentenced in the case.
Prosecutors say Hager and a partner, who was cleared of charges, took out a $637,500 loan from the Bank of Asheville under the premise of using the loan to purchase a lot in Seven Falls. It was actually used to help fund the failing luxury golf course community, according to court records.
Prosecutors say that falsified financial records were used to secure the loan, which Hager never intended to repay.
“Vinson promised to buy back the lot from Hager after two years,” according to court records. Hager “served as a straw borrower for Vinson and his codefendants, and none of his own money was used to repay the loan. Vinson continued to market and sell these seemingly 'sold' lots as developer's inventory. The conspirators agreed that if any of the 'sold' lots were later purchased by bona-fide buyers, that all of the proceeds of such sales would be applied to other lot loans.”
Conspirators applied for 25 short-term loans from six banks between April 2008 and July 2008. But when the loans came due, no one paid. Prosecutors say the scheme bilked more than $23 million from the Bank of Asheville and Pisgah Community Bank, which later failed.
The amount of Hager's restitution will be decided at a later date.
Robert “Craig” Gourlay and David G. Smith, who both authorized loans in the millions of dollars at Pisgah Community Bank, are being held in federal prisons.
Gourlay was sentenced last year to 15 months in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons followed by three years of supervised release. He is being held at the U.S. penitentiary in Atlanta and is scheduled for release on Feb. 20.
Smith was sentenced to nine months followed by three years of supervised release. He is being held at the Federal Medical Center prison in Lexington, Kent., and is scheduled for release on Oct. 11.
Gourlay and Smith were each ordered to repay $6,237,453 in restitution.
A former pastor of Asheville's C3 Church, Nicholas Dimitris, who served as a straw borrower in the scheme, was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He was ordered to repay $3,273,226 in restitution.
Dimitris is being held at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lee County, Va., and is scheduled for release on Christmas Eve.
George Gordon “Buddy” Greenwood, former president of the Bank of Asheville, was given a six-month reprieve in his four-year prison sentence in exchange for his help in the case on Feb. 3. Greenwood pleaded guilty to embezzlement by a bank officer and money laundering charges in June 2011.
He is being held in a medium-security facility in Edgefield, S.C., and is scheduled for release July 15. Greenwood was ordered to repay nearly $9.3 million in restitution.
Six co-defendants, including Vinson, wait to be sentenced.
Real estate investors and private money lenders Avery Ted “Buck” Cashion III of Lake Lure and Raymond “Ray” Chapman of Brevard pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States in September.
Aaron Ollis, a real estate appraiser for 25 years in Western North Carolina, and Thomas “Ted” Durham Jr., a former president of Pisgah Community Bank, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.
George M. Gabler, who worked as a certified public accountant since 1978, pleaded guilty to one count of withholding information about a crime.
Vinson was found guilty of 13 fraud and conspiracy charges in October. He faces a possible prison sentence of 24 to 26 years. The other conspirators, yet to be sentenced, face a maximum of up to five years in prison and fines.
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Reach Weaver at emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Categories: News

Mural brightens Green Light Ink wall on Locust Street

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:29
Walking down Locust Street toward Seventh Avenue, passersby will notice a splash of color adorning the side of Green Light Ink with its newest addition, a mural of a 15-foot-tall grizzly bear.
With white fangs and a raised paw, the beast pops off the wall's bright background, which will soon include blades of grass and geometric design.
Artist Daniel Smith said he's excited shop owner Al Pabst is bringing art to the area. Smith, who worked on planning and painting various sections of the Lexington Gateway for the Asheville Mural Project, said he's wanted to paint one in Hendersonville for a long time.
Pabst said he chose the bear because he wanted to add something “wild” to the neighborhood. He knew Smith from his days running Jongo Java.
“This whole side of town is developing a little bit, so we just wanted to do something cool,” Pabst said.
Tuesday marked Smith's fourth day of work, and hopes to be finishing up Friday.
“I have always known it was inside, but I took a safe job because I had a family to raise,” Smith said about his passion for art.
Smith moved to Hendersonville 13 years ago, working with signs. Then he began throwing pottery at a studio downtown in his free time and fell in love.
“I loved it so much that I didn't really care what people thought about it, so there was no fear involved, and I don't know where I crossed that line,” Smith said. “Then I met this gal, she was a painter, and they were closing that studio at that same time, the pottery studio, so it was kind of seamless, and I started painting.”
Smith said that was the first time he really worked with oil on canvas, which quickly led him to getting a spot in the Woolworth studio in downtown Asheville.
“Things just kind of took off from there, and I kind of backed off from my job and it's scary; financially, it's scary as hell,” Smith said. “I don't know what I'll be doing next month, but it's working out.”
After painting all morning on Wednesday, Smith said he'd probably go home, take a nap and wake up to more painting at home in his studio.
Samples of his work are currently on display at the Arts Council of Henderson County's 11th annual Bring us Your Best Exhibition in the Blue Ridge Conference Hall of the Technology Education and Development Center on Blue Ridge Community College's Flat Rock campus until Aug. 29.
For more information on Smith's work visit www.achildinside.com.
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Reach Bindewald at renee.bindewald@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7890.
Categories: News

Coal ash bill revived, headed toward passage

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:28
Weeks after some declared the bill dead, Sen. Tom Apodaca and Rep. Chuck McGrady said a law to force Duke Energy to clean up its 33 coal ash dumps is again heading toward passage in the short session of the General Assembly.
En route to Raleigh on Tuesday evening, Apodaca said he intended to sign a conference report that three House legislators, including McGrady, OK'd earlier in the day.
“Under House rules, it has to be filed before midnight,” Apodaca said. “We'll get it filed tonight and it'll hopefully pass tomorrow... We tweaked the language to get the House a little more comfortable with the low-risk ponds. From what I understand, it's in pretty good shape.”
When McGrady left an environmental legislators' conference in Minneapolis, Minn. early Tuesday to return to Raleigh, he expected “either no bill or a bill that I'd vote against. The language that had been put forth up to that point was only getting worse, not better.”
But McGrady credited Senate negotiators with proposing new language that changed his perspective. He signed the conference report Tuesday, along with Rep. Tim Moffit (who was appointed because another House conferee was absent) and Rep. Mike Hager.
“I'm very happy with the language that the Senate put forward, and that we're apparently about to adopt a coal bill,” McGrady said. “I'm pleasantly surprised.”
In a statement Tuesday, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), also praised Apodaca, saying, "As a resident of the community most severely impacted by the recent Dan River coal ash spill, I am personally grateful to Sen. Tom Apodaca, who has spent hundreds of hours working on this bill, along with all House and Senate conferees for persevering to get this done.”
The coal ash legislation had become a focal point of the short session, and a campaign issue for some lawmakers, following a Feb. 2 spill at Duke's Eden plant that dumped roughly 40,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River.
Negotiations between the House and Senate over differences in their respective bills ground to a halt July 31 after McGrady and two colleagues proposed language prohibiting any coal ash pond sitting at or below the water table to be “capped in place,” or drained and topped with dirt.
Senate leaders cried foul, saying the last-minute language was not properly vetted before either legislative body and could have consequences for the 29 coal plants that were not deemed “high-risk” by both bills.
McGrady said the language was an attempt to appease environmental groups concerned that Duke would simply cover up ponds that would continue to leach toxins into groundwater.
“My desire for tightening the low-priority site criteria was to say, and put into law, that that wasn't going to happen,” he said. “This primarily isn't a mountain issue. You're really talking about, for coal ash ponds that are sitting in groundwater, what do you do with them?”
Under the new language embraced by both sides Tuesday, the answer is to close them no later than Dec. 31, 2029. Any pond even partly “beneath the seasonal high groundwater table” must be drained, and only those with monitoring systems to ensure they won't exceed state water quality standards can be capped in place.
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources could not approve a cap-in-place closure plan for any low-risk pond unless it finds design measures are in place to prevent “post-closure exceedences of groundwater quality standards...” under the conference substitute.
Meanwhile, the legislation would allow Duke to utilize disposal technologies other than excavating and landfilling ponds. There simply aren't enough landfills in North Carolina to allow that for every pond, McGrady said, and recycling ash for concrete or reusing it for structural fill could be more practical in some instances.
“The change for low-priority sites is critically important,” McGrady said. There was a series of amendments proposed on both sides to name various sites as high priority, he said, “to make sure those sites were cleaned up. By changing this low-priority site criteria, we've just done it in another way.”
Apodaca put any past differences with McGrady aside Tuesday, saying that environmental protection is “an area of Chuck's expertise and he worked hard on this. He should be commended.”
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Reach Axtell at than.axtell@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7860.
Categories: News

Teen organizes rally in response to Ferguson

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 09:35
Shanita Jackson, 17, reacted with anger and sadness when Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was shot in 2012, but news of Michael Brown's fatal shooting in Ferguson, Mo., earlier this month evoked in her a new emotion.
“This time I felt shame,” said Jackson. “It shouldn't have taken another life for people like me and others to question, 'Why is this happening and why are black men getting shot down and the killers aren't suffering any repercussions?'”
The Early College High senior and slam poet is working with Brody Flowers of Asheville to organize a rally in Pack Square Pavilion on Sunday.
“We're coming together to grieve, and stand in solidarity with Michael Brown and Sean Bell and Oscar Grant, and Trayvon Martin,” Jackson said.
She spent all day Tuesday at the Henderson County Public Library making posters for the rally, depicting the “Hands up, don't shoot” protest that's been sweeping the nation — as well as quotes from other peer activists she's found on Twitter and Facebook.
“I do think that young voices ... young black voices ... really need to be expressed right now,” Jackson said.
She wants her peers to understand that what happened in Ferguson could happen anywhere, and that they've already been conditioned to live in fear of authority figures.
“We are raised to fear the police,” Jackson said. “And we are raised to almost be invisible.”
She said it's nothing her mother has explicitly told her or her brothers, but “When we go out in public, we know not to be loud,” lest they draw attention.
“It's a social cue that we picked up,” Jackson said. “When we pass police officers, they could be the friendliest people in the world, but we avoid eye contact. We know that black life isn't valued as it should be.”
In the same vein, Jackson and her mother are always concerned when her 19-year-old brother leaves the house and walks to the gym, asking him to “Please call us when you get to where you're going.”
“I'm honestly tired of having to live with that mentality,” Jackson said.
She said Sunday's rally, scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., will be a peaceful one, and the Facebook event — “We Remember: A Memorial for Those Lost to Police Brutality” — reinforces that.
“Our main concern is letting people know their rights,” Jackson said, adding that a speaker lineup is in the works. “I understand that this protest isn't going to be an end-all, be-all solution, but it's a step in the right direction. It's better than me sitting in my living room, crying and yelling at the TV.”
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Reach McGowan at molly.mcgowan@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7871.
___
Follow Molly McGowan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TNmollymcgowan
Categories: News

For The Record: Aug. 20

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 08:41
Births
Pardee Hospital
- A son was born Aug. 5, 2014 to Annie and Craig Moore of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born Aug. 7, 2014 to Ana Delmy Interiano Argueta and David A. Alvarenga Canales of Inman, S.C.
- A son was born Aug. 8, 2014 to Starla Raines and Bobby McAbee of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born Aug. 12, 2014 to Donna Justice and Chris Stroud of Hendersonville.
- A son was born Aug. 13, 2014 to Desiree Villecco and Dakota Wolfe of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born Aug. 14, 2014 to Jessica and Brad Embler of Hendersonville.
- A son was born Aug. 15, 2014 to Nikki and Josh Henderson of Zirconia.
- A son was born Aug. 15, 2014 to Diana and John Ballard of Zirconia.
- A son was born Aug. 16, 2014 to Chantel and Brian Carver of Hendersonville.
Park Ridge Health
- A daughter was born July 22, 2014 to Andrew and Nicole Morris of Columbus.
- A daughter was born July 23, 2014 to Mitchell and Charlotte Rapp of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born July 25, 2014 to Melissa Stone of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born July 28, 2014 to Kris and Whitney Wetmore of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born July 28, 2014 to Robbie and Tiffany Lawrence Hendersonville.
- A son was born July 29, 2014 to Peter and Jennifer Ratkowski of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born July 29, 2014 to Xavier Mackey and Yolanda Smith of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born July 29, 2014 to Cody Seay and Brianna Smith of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born July 30, 2014 to Joshua and Samantha Pratt of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born July 30, 2014 to Aaron and Lacey Conley of Brevard.
- A son was born July 31, 2014 to Patrick Mays and Marissa Magnuson of Hendersonville.
- A son was born Aug. 2, 2014 to Brent and Kyle Thomas of Flat Rock.
- A son was born Aug. 4, 2014 to Trevor and Kalie Jernigan of East Flat Rock.
- A son was born Aug. 9, 2014 to Michael Shane Gentry and Katherine Rosalie Olszewski of Fletcher.
- A son was born Aug. 11, 2014 to William Robbins and Candace Watkins of Hendersonville.
- A daughter was born Aug. 13, 2014 to Jordan and Cherie Randall of Etowah.
- A daughter was born Aug. 13, 2014 to Jim and Andrea Giordano of Brevard.
- A son was born Aug. 15, 2014 to Lukas Ramirez and Summer Valvo of Hendersonville.
Emergency Notes
Henderson County fire calls
The Henderson County Fire Commission reported the following alarms between noon Monday and noon Tuesday.
- Blue Ridge, auto accident, 9:15 p.m.; assist invalid, 8:28 a.m.
- Dana, breathing problems, 9:13 p.m.
- Etowah-Horse Shoe, falls, 11:14 a.m.
- Fletcher, breathing problems, 6:25 p.m.; breathing problems, 5:50 a.m.
- Green River, all other, 3 a.m.
- Mills River, auto accident, 5:13 p.m.; breathing problems, 10:43 p.m.; chest pain (non-traumatic), 8:35 a.m.
- Mountain Home, unconscious/fainting (near), 12:40 a.m.; public service, 10:26 a.m.
- Valley Hill, full arrest, 2:38 p.m.; public service, 7:57 p.m.; full arrest, 2:37 a.m.; stroke, 5:47 a.m.; chest pain (non-traumatic), 10:01 a.m.; public service, 11:05 a.m.
Hendersonville fire calls
The Hendersonville Fire Department responded to the following calls from noon Monday to noon Tuesday.
- Auto accident, 1:59 p.m.
- Fire alarm, 3:45 p.m.
- Illegal burn, 6:14 p.m.
- Fire alarm, 6:58 p.m.
- Psychiatric, 7:18 p.m.
- Auto accident, 7:34 p.m.
- Life line, 7:57 p.m.
- Breathing problems, 9:56 p.m.
- Overdose/poisoning (ingestion), 4:12 a.m.
- Transfer/interfacility/palliative care, 5:44 a.m.
- Stroke, 10:24 a.m.
Crime Report
Henderson County Sheriff
The Henderson County Sheriff's Department responded to 349 calls Monday.
Hendersonville Police
The Hendersonville Police Department reported 94 calls Monday. Officers made three arrests, investigated one accident and provided four assists to other agencies.
Incidents
The following crimes and incidents were reported Monday, according to law enforcement records:
Henderson County Sheriff's Department
- Breaking and entering, East Walker Street, 10:35 a.m.
- Larceny, Peachtree Lane, 12 p.m.
- Fraud, Boylston Highway, 1:26 p.m.
- Vandalism, Town Center Drive, 2:40 p.m.
- Larceny, Cinnamon Way, 3:54 p.m.
- Larceny, Springside Drive, 4:26 p.m.
- Missing person, Lake Hosea Drive, 6:36 p.m.
Hendersonville Police Department
- Security check, Main Street, 4:53 a.m.
- Breaking and entering, larceny, Hillside Commons Drive, 7:40 a.m.
- Accident, North Grove Street, 9:19 a.m.
- Damage to property, Hillside Commons Drive, 11:08 a.m.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Aug. 20

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 03:01
Books for Good to hold first sale
Books for Good, a nonprofit organization established in 2013 to sell donated items (primarily books) on behalf of other organizations, will have its first sale this weekend. A book sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at 50 Heritage Park Drive, Fletcher.
For more information or to volunteer, call 989-4655 or visit www.booksforgood.net.
Meetings
The Henderson County Board of Elections will meet at 5 p.m. today at the board offices in Hendersonville.
The Hendersonville Downtown Advisory Committee will meet at 9 a.m. today in the Operations Center.
The Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission will meet at 5 p.m. today in the Operations Center.
The Hendersonville Special Events Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Operations Center.
Events
The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce’s Leads South networking group will discuss identity theft at 8 a.m. Thursday at Claddagh Inn, 755 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Philip Hendel, an associate with LegalShield, will present five aspects of identity theft.
No charge for members and non-members of the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce.
Lost Playwrights will meet from 2-4 p.m. Saturday in the Kaplan Auditorium of Henderson County Public Library, 301 N. Washington St., Hendersonville.
Tom Lapp will demonstrate faceting gemstones on Saturday at the Mineral & Lapidary Museum, 400 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Info: 698-1977.
Categories: News

West Henderson outlasts Polk in a classic five-setter

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 22:50
The heat was suffocating in the West Henderson gymnasium Tuesday night, but the battle taking place on the floor was much more humid.
The Lady Falcon volleyball team hosted Polk County, which marked the return of former volleyball player Molly Corhn to her old stomping grounds. Corhn and her Lady Wolverines brought the heat in her first-ever match as a head coach but couldn't pull off the upset of her alma mater.
They pushed West to the limit, however, as the Lady Falcons won the match 3-2 (25-27, 26-24, 26-24, 16-25, 15-9).
"We definitely had our first-game jitters," West coach Tiffany Lowrance said. "We played not to lose. We need to play to win."
Polk jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first set, but the score was reset after a rotation issue at 1-1. After that, the battle raged. The two teams tied the set up eight times before West took a 23-21 lead after two Mary Catherine Ball kills.
Polk broke serve there but gave a point right back to the Lady Falcons. One point away from victory, the Lady Falcons couldn't hold. Polk broke West's serve and then tied the game up at 24 and then took three out of the final four points to win the first set 27-25.
The next two sets were much of the same. The second set had nine lead changes, and Polk led 24-23 before West scored the final three points to win the second set 26-24.
Polk started the third set with a 7-1 run. A West timeout settled the Lady Falcons down. West went on a 7-1 run after the timeout to tie things up. Polk, however, took the lead back and at one point was up 20-16 after Reagan Waddell served up two aces in four consecutive points.
West called another timeout. This time the Lady Falcons went on a 9-3 run after the timeout. With the scored tied at 24, West scored three consecutive points, and the game ended on a Ball kill to give the Lady Falcons a 2-1 game lead.
Polk dominated the fourth game 25-16. West then handled business in the fifth and final set in a 15-9 win to secure the match.
Ball and Gracie Carrick had two kills each in the final set. Carrick finished with 16 kills and Ball with 21 kills and nine digs. Kasey Kilpatrick had 24 assists and Rachel Kordonowy had 41 digs.
Carrick came up big over and over again at the net on Tuesday night as most of her kills came from the center of the net.
"The passing was good," the junior said. "If we get a perfect pass then we need to put it down. It's just really exciting to be able to do that."
For Corhn, the trip back to West was a good one, despite not getting the win. She saw growth and energy from her team.
"We held our own and I couldn't be more proud," she said. "They really showed heart. They wanted it. They really wanted it."
___
Reach Millwood at Joey.Millwood@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7883.
___
Follow Joey Millwood on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BRNJoey
Categories: News

Prep roundup: Brevard downs HHS in tennis

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 22:08
GIRLS TENNIS
BREVARD 8, HENDERSONVILLE 1
Tuesday at Jackson Park
Singles
Kathleen Elliott (B) d. Haley Sair 6-3, 6-1, Ava Loftis (B) d. Erin Lindsey 6-4, 6-3, Victoria Roberts (B) d. Amy Yarborough 6-1, 6-1, Bailey Shuler (B) d. Natosha Townsend 6-1, 6-3, Aly Henneberry (B) d. Annabelle Webb 6-2, 6-2, Delaney Holland (B) d. Lina Yokote 6-0, 6-0
Doubles
Sair-Yarborough (H) d. Elliott-Loftis 8-5, Loftis-Henneberry (B) d. Lindsey-Townsend 8-3, Roberts-Holland (B) d. Webb-Rachel Morrow 8-2
Records: Brevard, 1-0. HHS, 0-1.
Next match: HHS, today at Carolina Day.
CAROLINA DAY 9, NORTH HENDERSON 0
Tuesday at Asheville Racquet Club South
Singles
Elizabeth Wood (C) d. Sally Gross 6-3, 6-1, Mia Trupiano (C) d. Kerrigan Osborne 6-0, 6-2, Sydney Stainer (C) d. Maddie Ball 6-1, 6-0, Katie Hull (C) d. Faith Thomas 6-3, 6-1, Maggie Hilderbran (C) d. Gabi Harness 6-0, 6-0, Emily Hull (C) d. Breanna Slagle 6-0, 6-0
Doubles
Wood-Hull (C) d. Gross-Osborne 8-5, Trupiano-Stainer (C) d. Ball-Thomas 8-0, Ana Tsiros-Suhani Gupta (C) d. Gabi Harness-Slagle 8-3
Record: North, 1-1.
Next match: North, Monday vs. Carolina Day.
NORTH HENDERSON 6, ERWIN 3
Monday at North Henderson
Singles
Sally Gross (N) d. Michelle Montero 10-1, Kerrigan Osborne (N) d. Marina Weissman 10-1, Maddie Ball (N) d. Natalie Case 10-8, Faith Thomas (N) d. Sydney McAbee 10-1, Gabi Harness (N) d. Kylie Jinks 10-0, Aleca Martinez (E) d. Breanna Slagle 10-4
Doubles
Montero-Case (E) d. Thomas-Janki Patel 8-3, Harness-Adela Gutierrez (N) d. Weissman-Martinez 8-4, Avery Odum-Megan Dockery (E) d. Slagle-Sophia Cruz 8-5
SOCCER
CHRIST SCHOOL 2, WNC TRAILBLAZERS 2
Highlights: It was 1-1 at halftime. For Christ School, Jack Ruch had a goal, with an assist by Young Perry and Cal Jansen scored the other goal, with an assist by James Wild. The Greenies outshot the Trailblazers 22-5, and goalkeeper Will Iorio had two saves.
Record: Christ School, 0-0-1.
Next match: Christ School, today vs. Smoky Mountain.
VOLLEYBALL
HENDERSONVILLE 3, T.C. ROBERSON 0
Highlights: Scores of this non-conference match were 25-16, 25-7, 25-21. For HHS, Blaire Hawkins had 11 assists and six digs, Cassie Born had 10 kills and 10 digs, Kara Menck had nine digs, Micayla Bedoian had eight kills, and Victoria Schandevel had 13 assists and five digs.
Record: HHS, 2-0.
Next match: HHS, today at Pisgah.
Categories: News

No photos: Parents opt to keep babies off Facebook

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 19:29
NEW YORK — Behold the cascade of baby photos, the flood of funny kid anecdotes and the steady stream of school milestones on Facebook.
It all makes Sonia Rao, a stay-at-home mother of a 1-year-old in Mountain View, California, "a little uncomfortable."
"I just have a vague discomfort having her photograph out there for anyone to look at," says Rao. "When you meet a new person and go to their account, you can look them up, look at photos, videos, know that they are traveling."
At a time when just about everyone and their mother — father, grandmother and aunt — is intent on publicizing the newest generation's early years on social media sites, an increasing number of parents like Rao are bucking the trend by consciously keeping their children's photos, names and entire identities off the Internet.
Reasons for the baby blackout vary. Some parents have privacy and safety concerns. Others worry about what companies might do with their child's image and personal data. Some simply do it out of respect for their kids' autonomy before they are old enough to make decisions for themselves.
"I have a no tolerance policy," says Scott Steinberg, a St. Louis-based business and technology consultant who has more than 4,800 Facebook friends. Steinberg says he shares no photos, videos or any information about his child.
"If I don't want somebody to know about my child, to take an active interest in them, to recognize them in a city street or as they are leaving the schoolyard, the easiest way to do that is to not have any identifying information out about them," he says.
As for Rao, she says she is otherwise active on Facebook, and even had an Instagram account for her dog before the baby was born. She's happy posting photos of the canine, but not the many snapshots of her daughter and the dog together —no matter how cute they are. Rao does share baby pictures, via email or text, but only with close friends and family.
Facebook, for its part, encourages parents to use the site's privacy setting if they want to limit who can see their baby photos and other posts. It's possible, for example, to create a group of close friends and relatives to share kid updates with. But that's not enough for some users.
New parents Josh Furman and his wife, Alisha Klapholz, are "very protective" of their newborn. The Silver Spring, Maryland couple believes it's in their daughter's best interest to limit her Internet presence for as long as possible. As such, they haven't posted her legal name on Facebook and don't post photos of her on the site. Instead, they share her Hebrew name and also came up with a nickname to use just on Facebook. They ask friends and family to do the same.
"In 2014 we sort of feel like the repercussions of sharing private data are totally unpredictable," says Furman, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Maryland.
Like his wife, Furman is very active on Facebook. Even so, he says "our child isn't capable of making decisions about what details of her life she'd like to share or not." So they are waiting until she can.
A big reason parents are wary, even if they use social media sites themselves, is that the companies "have not been very transparent about the way they collect data about users," says Caroline Knorr, parenting editor at the nonprofit Common Sense Media, which studies children's use of technology. "Facebook's terms of service and privacy (policies) — no one reads it, it's too obscure."
Some parents look back to their own childhoods, when they were able to make mistakes without evidence of those blunders living on —forever— online.
"I had the choice of what I wanted to reveal publicly," says Wasim Ahmad, journalism professor at Stonybrook University and father of a newborn son. "I'd like to, as much as I can, retain the possibility of choice for him."
Two days after his son was born, Ahmad bought the website domain with his son's name.
"I'm going to make it a private website with a password so family can log in" to see updates, he says. "When he gets old enough, I'll probably give him the keys."
The parents hasten to make clear that they have no problems with other people who post their own baby photos.
"Many of our close friends put up photos of their kids and we love seeing them," says Furman. "This is just a decision that we made for our child, and people have been respectful."
People have shared baby photos since the dawn of the camera, and stories about kid's shenanigans long before that. Parents who decide to keep photos of their children and other data off social media say they still want to share those things, but they are bothered by the idea of online permanence.
"I think my parents told embarrassing stories about me as a child at cocktail parties, no doubt. But those can't be brought back up now — or if they are, it's to a small audience and not the whole world," says Amy Heinz, who regularly shares anecdotes about her three children on her blog, usingourwords.com.
To protect the privacy of her children, she refers to them in blogs by nicknames — Big, Little and Pink. At first, she didn't use photos of their faces, but she's eased up.
"I am always conscious that what I'm posting is affecting more than myself," she says.
Parents who enforce strict blackout rules are still very much in the minority. In a 2011 survey, 66 percent of Generation X parents (people born in the 1960s and '70s) said they post photos of their children online, while more than half said they have shared news about a child's accomplishment online. The poll was part of the Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.
Aisha Sultan, a fellow at the institute when the poll was conducted, thinks the results might be different if the same questions were posed to respondents today.
"Back (then) there wasn't a lot of conversation about this," says Sultan, who is a nationally syndicated parenting advice columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "When parents first started joining Facebook in large numbers it wasn't the primary concern. We felt like we were in control of information we were sharing with friends and family."
Facebook's privacy blunders over the years, not to mention frequent updates to its confusing privacy policies, changed all that. Now, Sultan says, parents are much more aware of the little control they have over their personal data online.
Lawmakers have begun to pay some attention to the issue, too. A new California law requires online services, websites or apps that collect personally identifiable information to remove content that minors have posted, if requested. The measure goes into effect next year.
"It's a good start, but I don't think it replaces a lot of parental conversation, regulation and oversight," Sultan says.
She should know. Recently, her sister had a baby. Not thinking about it, Sultan posted a photo of her newborn niece on her Instagram account, which is locked and only includes close friends and family.
"I got in big trouble with my brother-in-law," she says. "He said... 'Please ask before you do that.'"
___
Reach Barbara Ortutay on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BarbaraOrtutay
Categories: News

Tillis: NC coal ash bill could rise from the dead

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 18:38
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Top Republicans at the North Carolina Legislature are signaling they are close to a last-minute deal reviving a measure that aims to force Duke Energy to curb pollution from its 33 coal ash dumps scattered across the state.
House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday a new version of the bill could emerge from committee in time for a vote on Wednesday, shortly before he says the chamber intends to adjourn for the year. Negotiations between the House and Senate attempting to reconcile their competing versions of the bill broke down in late July.
GOP leaders have been saying for months that passage of a clean-up plan is among their top legislative priorities, but as recently as last week appeared ready to go home for the year without passing it. Failure to take action would present a significant political liability headed into the November elections.
Lawmakers have been under significant pressure to pass legislation in response to a February spill from a Duke plant in Eden that coated 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge.
Coal ash contains such toxic chemicals as arsenic, mercury and lead. State regulators have previously conceded that all of Duke's leaky unlined ash dumps in the state are contaminating groundwater.
Last month's impasse came down to a single provision in the voluminous bill defining which "low risk" ash dumps Duke would be allowed to cap with plastic sheeting and dirt. Environmentalists want all the ash dug up and moved to lined landfills away from rivers and lakes.
Rep. Chuck McGrady, one of the lead House negotiators on the bill, said Tuesday that the version now under consideration is significantly stronger than past versions of the bill.
"There will be more sites that will not be capped in place," said McGrady, R-Henderson. "More sites will be cleaned up, clearly, under the criteria we've put in the bill."
The last version of the bill publicly released last month would have required Duke to remove the ash at four of its 14 coal-fired plants. It would be up to a newly created commission to determine what Duke would be required to do with the ash at its remaining dumps.
Categories: News

Review: 'Mystery of Irma Vep' is biting humor

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 16:53
It was a not-so-dark and sultry night in the shadowy streets of downtown Hendersonville when a werewolf, vampire, mummy, and a couple of quick-change actors breathed life into "The Mystery of Irma Vep," the current play at Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown.
With that many supernatural creatures running about the English-proper premises of wealthy Egyptologist Lord Edgar Hillcrest and his second wife, Lady Enid Hillcrest, an actress of questionable talent, this could be the making a popular Syfy hit TV series — such as Being Human. But this campy mock-horror story is more like A Penny Dreadful, another popular horror-based TV series, turned upside down and found to be an absurd parody of itself and all such tales in the genre that both Alfred Hitchcock and Edgar Allen Poe more than dabbled in.
Indeed "A Penny Dreadful" is the subtitle of the play, and for those not schooled in historically important European periodicals, A Penny Dreadful was an on-going lurid tale of the grotesque printed on cheap paper and sold for a penny a piece, mostly to the young men of the mid-1800s in London. Cheap entertainment at its best.
As if the multiple over-the-top characters (nine or 10, depending if you count the iffy appearance of the title character) haunting each other in every sense of the word weren't enough, all the characters are played by just two actors: Vagabond veterans Scott Treadway and Preston Dyar.
Each actor has to play both men and women (and monster) parts, sometimes having to change character and costume in full view of the audience. But consistently, each actor would exit the stage by one door as one character and reappear less than 15 seconds later through another door in a complete change of clothing and personality.
Pay no attention to the streams of sweat running down their breathless faces.
It is a zany and entertaining romp through just about every mode of telling scary stories (novel, legend, cinema, television), reanimated by playwright Charles Ludlam.
"Irma" was first produced in 1984 in the very off-Broadway Ridiculous Theatrical Company in New York City's Greenwich Village. Before his death in 1987 from AIDS-related illness, Ludlam had built a sound reputation for writing and producing cutting-edge contemporary plays for his founding playhouse.
As off-center as his work might have been, it was still — like "Irma" — based on solid literary and theatrical underpinnings. Today, "Irma," though laced with double entendres (no four-letter words), is considered an appropriate production for high school, seasoned, amateur and professional thespians alike.
Irma is the first and presumed dead wife of Lord Edgar, who has remarried and is attempting unsuccessfully to get on with his life in rural England during the brief time between the World Wars. His new wife is a ditzy insomniac, and the two of them are catered to by the opinionated maid, Jane Twisden, and the peg-legged groundskeeper Nicodemus Underwood.
All the while, wolves howl, portraits bleed, and things go bump in the night. The situation presents many questions to be pondered, but at the core is the mystery "Is Irma really dead, and, if so, how did she die? If not, where is she?"
To answer these basic inquiries, you might consider re-arranging the letters of her name (hint: Irma Vep = vampire).
Kudos to Flat Rock Playhouse's production staff for creating a most authentic looking English parlor and for aiding and abetting the actors' rapid-fire changing of the clothes.
Costuming by Ashli Arnold was wonderful, especially the carefully placed tossing tassels that adorned the awakened Egyptian mummy princess, played briefly and unforgettably by Treadway. The princess's dialogue was purposely gibberish, adding to the humor of the scene.
Unfortunately, understanding the heavily British accented dialog throughout the play was a challenge for many patrons. Director Kenneth Kay is commended for bringing such a delightful and unorthodox play to the Carolina foothills, but more attention and fine tuning are much needed in the delivery of the jam-packed script.
It was disappointing that both nuances and outright meanings were lost in translation as Treadway portrayed Nicodemus. Adding just a bit more frustration to the listening audience was the fact that the script is complex and requires precise timing. Unfortunately, Southern ears are accustomed to slow drawls and comfortable pauses. When too much is delivered too quickly, bewilderment sets in.
"The Mystery of Irma Vep" runs through Sept. 14. Go with your tongue in cheek. Check reality at the door. And let yourself laugh at the things that normally scare us.
Categories: News

Study: Not expanding Medicaid to cost billions

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 14:06
RALEIGH, N.C. — The decision by Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican lawmakers not to expand Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act will cost North Carolina $51 billion in lost federal money and thousands of jobs over the next decade, according to a new report.
The study issued by the non-partisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute says the state will lose nearly $40 billion in Medicaid funding and more than $11 billion in reimbursements to North Carolina hospitals if the state continues to forgo expansion through 2022.
It's estimated about 319,000 low-income workers would have gained health insurance coverage had the state expanded Medicaid.
McCrory has repeatedly said the state's Medicaid system, which he has overseen since taking office at the beginning of 2013, is too bloated and broken to expand. Republican legislative leaders have said reforming the system was among their top legislative priorities for 2014, but appear poised to adjourn for the year without approving a plan.
McCrory's office didn't respond Monday to a request for comment.
Sen. Ralph Hise, a key budget writer on Medicaid issues, said he's seen at least two other studies contradicting the latest report. GOP legislators are being cautious by choosing not to expand Medicaid, said Hise, R-Mitchell.
An expansion would lead thousands of families now covered by private insurance to switch to subsidized Medicaid coverage, Hise said. There is no guarantee that the federal government will stick to its promise to pay at least 90 percent of the cost of adding beneficiaries, he said.
The rising cost of administering expanded Medicaid coverage could crowd out other spending "at the cost of education, at the cost of transportation, at the cost of the other needs in our state," Hise said.
North Carolina currently spends about $13 billion a year on the federal-state insurance program, which serves 1.6 million residents. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the expansion cost for the first three years and 90 percent after that.
The 10-year cost to expand in North Carolina is $3.1 billion. The report says states participating in the program will receive $13.41 from the federal government for each dollar they spend.
The North Carolina Hospital Association estimates the state's 109 acute care facilities have laid off at least 2,000 employees as a result of the decision to forgo Medicaid expansion, coupled with other state and federal cuts to the entitlement program. Conversely, expanding Medicaid would create an estimated 20,000 new jobs statewide.
"The uninsured continue to show up at hospitals because they have nowhere else to go," said Hugh Tilson, a spokesman for the state hospital group. "The lack of insurance coverage for a lot of folks is really putting them in a difficult position. And from our perspective, we aren't getting paid for the care we are providing."
North Carolina is one of 24 Republican-led states that refused to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law. North Carolina also refused to set up a state exchange where workers qualifying for federal subsidies could buy private insurance.
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Follow Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker at Twitter.com/mbieseck
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Associated Press reporter Emery P. Dalesio contributed.
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