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Updated: 26 min 11 sec ago

Nov. 15 declared 'America Recycles Day'

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 14:39
In recognition of the importance the recycling industry has on the economy of North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory has issued an official proclamation declaring Nov. 15 “America Recycles Day” in North Carolina. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day promoting and celebrating recycling.
With the momentous growth of recycling programs in North Carolina and the sustained decreases in the amount of waste discarded in state landfills, there is a lot to celebrate this year.
For more information, contact Joseph Fitzpatrick, environmental specialist, Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 1639 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1639, 919-707-8121, or email
Categories: News

NC man drowns after mower goes into pond

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 14:29
CASAR (AP) — Cleveland County authorities say a man has drowned after his riding lawnmower ran into a pond.
The sheriff's office told local media outlets that 58-year-old Bennie Lee Hull of Casar had been on the mower near a pond on his property Thursday afternoon when it overturned into the water.
Sheriff's Lt. J.W. Humphries said family members heard the lawnmower stop and thought Hull had finished with the yard. They found his body in the water a short time later.
Categories: News

17-year-old writes, directs play about Nazi resistance

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 13:50
Sarah Hart, a 17-year-old Hendersonville home school student — along with a band of dedicated young players — will present Hart's play “The White Rose,” the true story of a brave group of young people who defied Adolf Hitler, at Hendersonville Little Theatre's Second Stage Nov. 20-23.
Inspired by the research she did two years ago as a stage manager for Flat Rock Playhouse YouTheatre's production of “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” Hart discovered the story of Hans and Sophie Scholl, a brother and sister who worked tirelessly to write and distribute leaflets in opposition to the Nazi regime.
The original 10-page draft slowly developed as Hart worked on the play between backstage duties as a stage-managing intern at Flat Rock Playhouse, sometimes holding a flashlight to illuminate the pages.
She was encouraged to continue developing the work. Chief among her supporters was Dave Hart, one of the theater instructors at the YouTheatre. (The teacher and student are not related.)
“Mr. Dave empowered me by teaching me to tell good stories,” Sarah Hart said. “He told me, 'You've always wanted to direct. Why don't you do this story?' ”
So Hart decided to produce her play, beginning with bringing a cast together. Of upmost importance were the two leads, Hans and Sophie Scholl.
Louise Cummins, a Hendersonville Middle School student, originally involved as a costumer, was awarded the part of Sophie when another actor had to drop out.
Cummins, involved at the YouTheatre since she was 5, has embraced the part. “I love Sophie's deep thoughts, her perspective,” Cummins says.
Like Hart, she appreciates the historical nature of the project saying, “Learning about Nazi Germany, you can go deeper than you get to go in school.”
For the role of Hans, Hart reached out to her friend Justin White, a junior at West Henderson High School, whom she had met through the YouTheatre and worked with on several plays, including “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.”
“I was working at a summer camp, and Sarah was nonstop e-mailing me, over and over again,” White says. “I knew my schedule would be busy going into my junior year, and I kept telling her, 'No!'”
Finally, however, White agreed to go to one rehearsal and was hooked. “I think I was just like everybody else. Student production, how big could it really be? But it's been a wonderful experience,” he says.
Similarly, Andrew Torres, who plays the part of Hans' friend Alexander, has known Sarah from working on shows like “Mulan Jr.” and “Charlotte's Web” at Flat Rock Playhouse. He too is facing a busy year at his high school, Canongate Catholic High School, in Fletcher, but again, Hart has been persistent.
“I was in a car going to Florida,” Torres says. “Sarah called me. I loved the script and the story. I love theater.” So he too was on board.
This way, Hart slowly built her cast. In addition, the group has patched together an impressive set as well as World War II-era costumes, including military uniforms.
A final major hurdle has been a venue for performances.
“It's been hard to find a space to rehearse and perform in.” says Kaitlin Rose, stage manager and fight choreographer who is a long-time friend of Hart's. “High school students get a reputation for being unreliable. We're taken in one mass instead of in sections. It's a beautiful story, so it was really frustrating having all these doors slammed in our face.”
But this hurdle too has been overcome. “There were some people who said, 'I do believe in what you're doing,'” Rose says.
This includes parents, teachers and local business owners who have responded to the pleas for funding. And then, Linda Brookes, president of the Hendersonville Little Theatre, offered the acting troupe a home for its production of “The White Rose.”
Says Hart, “I contacted theaters all over Western North Carolina, and Hendersonville Little Theatre reached out to us.”
Now, the student production of “The White Rose” is soon to be a reality because of these supporters and all these dedicated young people united behind a common goal.
“If we hadn't been working together, then the show wouldn't have made it this far,” Hart says. “Our cast comes from all different backgrounds, just like the original White Rose, and they are coming together to put on this show. Ultimately the most important thing is getting the story out there, the voice of the show, because it's truly inspiring. I'm excited for people to come and see it.”
Categories: News

Police looking for teens after Council on Aging van, apartment building vandalized

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 05:59
Each morning during the work week, Council on Aging staff and volunteers work together like clockwork to deliver 185 meals across Henderson County to homebound adults unable to prepare meals for themselves. That perfectly timed system hit a roadblock Monday, however, when the council discovered that two tires on its delivery van had been slashed.
Earlier in the year, there were instances when the air had been let out of the tires, and once the van had been sprayed with a fire extinguisher, but Executive Director Trina Stokes said those acts of vandalism were minimal.
Stokes said she believes the vandalism was related to other incidents that occurred in the King Creek area around Halloween night, and Hendersonville Police said they suspect the damage was caused by teens.
On Monday, the top priority for Council on Aging staff and Meals on Wheels volunteers was figuring out how to get meals to clients.
“So what happens there is that everything stops, because unless that van leaves at 7:15 in the morning, it throws everybody behind — Pardee (Hospital, which prepares the food), the staff, the volunteers, the meal delivery — so staff jumped in their cars to go get everything and get it out to the routes,” Stokes said. “So we thought, I don’t think these teenagers realize the impact of their behavior, and the police told us that they had also done some more damage up at the apartment (Highland View Apartments) area.”
Stokes said the vandalism caused the council to spend an extra $400 immediately that they hadn’t planned on spending, while tying her staff up and causing the volunteers to fall behind schedule.
“It would appear that it has been teenagers; they’ve been using a permanent marker and writing on playground equipment as well as doors, and they egged the office of the apartment building as well as rubbed what appears to be animal feces on the doors, and used spray paint also to mark up some of the doors,” said Lt. Todd Letterman of the Hendersonville Police Department.
Letterman added that the graffiti was not extensive.
Maintenance staff at Highland View said the damage seemed to have only occurred on Halloween night, and they were able to remedy the problems within an hour.
“The biggest thing, if someone is damaging property, is to try to catch them and also try to repair the damage as soon as possible, because it is the broken-windows theory,” Letterman said. “If you have a broken window, then that, oftentimes, if it is left to itself, people will think that it’s kind of like an open-air market to create more vandalism.”
Stokes said the council is considering setting up cameras to help nail down who has been causing the damage in the area, but she’s hopeful that the police will find the offenders first.
Letterman said no charges have been filed yet.
“We worked through it as a team and it was eye-opening to see,” Stokes said. “...The other thing is that when those meals lose temperature — if they don’t maintain temperature and get to the homes at a certain time, they’re all wasted.”
Stokes said that aside from making sure the meals were still servable, she was upset by the stress it caused her clients, who are used to routine and can get upset or worried that they were forgotten.
“The volunteers get in a tizzy because they’re volunteering their time and sometimes it is only an hour or two they have to give,” Stokes said.
Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 694-STOP.
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or
Categories: News

East students learn about fashion at BonWorth

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 02:01
They may not be part of BonWorth's target market, but East Henderson High students learned a lot about fashion design, merchandising and marketing Wednesday as they talked to designers at BonWorth headquarters in Hendersonville.
Career and technical education students in Tessa Brown's fashion merchandising class first learned about the history of the locally grown company, and how defining a target market for its clothing line helps determine where new stores should be built.
General Manager Mike Fayles said BonWorth customers are price-conscious women between 60 and 90 who value quality and products that don't require dry cleaning. He said most BonWorth stores are located in strip centers rather than large malls for ease of access, and the company's largest concentration of stores is in Florida.
As for the clothes items themselves, designer Kathy Menck said, "Everything is built around groups."
"We start with our pants," designer Christina MacDonald said, referring to BonWorth's standard $11.99 polyester pants. "The pant is a core part of our business."
"For every one pant, we have three or four tops" that coordinate in color, Menck said. "Everything is built around groups."
She said that allows women to build an outfit at different price points; women can purchase a matching shirt or a slightly more expensive shirt and cardigan set to complement the pants.
To build outfit groups, Menck said she and MacDonald build "color stories" for the next season using what they know about their consumers and using inspiration from other vendors' products, fabrics or prints.
When all the colors and prints are chosen, Menck said they use a giant Pantone book full of colors textile colors and their corresponding formulas, which are used by textile mills to create the exact shades Menck and MacDonald request.
Once the colors and prints are decided, test batches of the shirts, blouses, pants and sweaters are sent to the designers, who put them on mannequins and live models to see how they fit. Before the items can be mass produced and shipped to stores nationwide, Menck and MacDonald have to give final approval.
When determining how much of one item to produce, MacDonald said she and Menck take into account which BonWorth items were popular last year, and if necessary increase production amounts for the best-sellers while decreasing the production on less popular items, all while staying within budget.
And they have a peer group that may nix one item or another for whatever reason — fit, color, or similarity to another existing product. Menck told the students that if they go into design work, they'd have to be ready and willing to go back to the drawing board when an idea fails.
"You have to have thick skin because designers and merchandisers get criticized," she said.
Reach McGowan at or 828-694-7871.
Categories: News

Mills River fire chief presses council on affordable housing

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 02:01
Chief Rick Livingston of the Mills River Fire Department attended Thursday's Town Council meeting to make a plea for council members to expedite a decision on whether to create areas within the community that would accommodate higher-density, affordable housing.
Mayor Larry Freeman said the town’s planning board began discussing the topic of affordable housing more than a year ago and has put in a lot of time, holding public input sessions and looking at different options.
The chief said that over the last 28 months, the department has lost 14 of its volunteers, including both of his sons, largely because they cannot afford to live in Mills River.
“I want to point out that both of them, as well as most of the other guys, have four-year college degrees and they have good jobs,” Livingston said. “These are not a bunch of flunkies that we’re talking about; they're good, solid young people.”
Livingston, a native of Mills River and a member of the committee formed to incorporate the town, said there was a time when the department had volunteers throughout Mills River. Many of those volunteers, he said, would make it to the scene ahead of the paid staff from the department. Now their response call times, which would ideally be five minutes, has risen to an average of 15-20 minutes.
Freeman expressed concern about the longer response times since many of the calls concern medical needs.
Livingston added that three quarters of the calls his team respond to are medical in nature and they they are often called to respond in conjunction with EMS.
To maintain the call volume the department needs to attend to, Livingston said if affordable housing is not created soon, he will have to hire paid staff to cover the substations and to help keep up with calls and lower response times back to where they should be.
Without affordable housing nearby, Livingston said the response time is higher because his volunteers are traveling in from areas like upper Hooper’s Creek, Etowah and Horse Shoe.
“I hope I don’t offend anyone and if I do I’ll apologize to you and we’ll go home friends, but this issue is one that I am very passionate about,” Livingston said.
He added that if the council doesn’t use common sense and take action pretty quickly, the fire tax rate will have to significantly increase to cover staff with starting salaries at around $30,000 annually apiece.
Livingston said he wanted to make it clear that he was not advocating for higher density housing to be throughout Mills River, but to have designated areas for it.
Councilman Wayne Carland asked where Livingston’s current paid staff live, to which Livingston responded that two live outside of Mills River and of the three living in the town, one lived with his parents.
Freeman said he believes that a cultural shift among young volunteers is also contributing to Livingston’s difficulty to keep volunteers, not just a lack of affordable housing.
Livingston responded by saying that years ago, employers would let firefighters leave work to respond to calls.
“You don’t have that anymore; those days are gone and that has also adversely affected our response time,” Livingston said.
Carland said that since many of the calls are medical in nature, they do not require more than a few men who are already working to respond, and he feels they are overreacting to calls.
“Well, I would much rather have too much help show up at your house than to not have enough help show up at house,” Livingston said.
The mayor assured Livingston that council will address the issue and has no intention of putting it off.
In other business, the town’s audit report for fiscal year 2013-14 showed the town’s fund balance moving in a positive direction.
The town agreed to waive the fee for Mills River Elementary to host the fifth-grade picnic in the park. The town also waived the fee for and approved use of the park for an American Cancer Society fundraiser by area schools to be hosted in the park on April 25.
The meetings scheduled for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day were cancelled and there is still an vacant seat on Financial Advisory Committee.
Categories: News

'Whose Water Is It Anyway?' is topic of Brevard conference

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 02:01
Water is essential to many farmers, businesses and industries in the “Land of Waterfalls,” but Transylvania County residents haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on water issues.
Organizers of a conference at Brevard College’s Porter Center on Saturday hope to build a better foundation for future decisions on water resources by opening up dialogue between users of the French Broad River and its tributaries.
The free conference, titled “Whose Water Is It Anyway?”, will feature panelists representing local government, agriculture, private landowners, river outfitters and industry. A keynote speaker from Duke University will start things off with a primer on local water rights and responsibilities.
The event is sponsored by the Transylvania County Natural Resources Council, the Sierra Club, Oskar Blues, Comporium, the N.C. Cooperative Extension Agency, Co-Ed Cinema and The UPS Store, along with Brevard and Transylvania County.
Water-related issues in Transylvania County go back to pre-colonial times, said Eric Caldwell, interim Extension office director. But from proposed flood-control dams in the 1990s to recent plans for new municipal intakes on the French Broad River, water policy can still get residents stirred up.
“There’s been a spate of these issues that have come up over time, and with them have come their own series of misunderstandings,” said Caldwell. One major goal of the conference, he said, is to “get in front of that by having some information up front about policy, so everybody is playing out of the same playbook.”
With both Brevard and Rosman discussing water intakes on the French Broad to meet future demand, it’s important for Transylvanians to understand the realities of water law, said Peter Chaveas, a Natural Resources Council member who helped organize the conference.
“We have a lot of people who are very focused on protecting their personal property rights,” Chaveas said. “If the French Broad is used as a source of drinking water, there are some implications for those folks. But we want people to understand what those implications are and what they aren’t.”
To provide a foundation for further discussions, the conference will open with a talk on basic water law by Ryke Longest, director of environmental law and policy at Duke University. Water rights out West are different from those here, Caldwell said, so Longest will explain what water policies affect local landowners and municipalities.
Around 10:15 a.m., a panel will discuss local water needs. Panelists include Keith Webb, a consulting engineer with McGill Associates who has been studying Transylvania’s water resources for the county; David Whitmire, co-owner of Headwaters Outfitters in Rosman; and David Morris, a lab technician at Oskar Blues Brewery.
“We want people to understand more fully the range of different peoples’ interests in water,” Chaveas said. “The guy thinking about the water coming out of his spigot doesn’t always think about the guy who puts people on the water in canoes. And that guy putting canoes on the water doesn’t necessarily think about the guy using water to make beer.”
As the representative for recreational interests, Whitmire said he’ll offer a historical look at what recreation has done for the French Broad from the late 1800s to the present, with some thoughts about the future. He’s not opposed to the proposed intakes if properly sited, he said, but planners need to consider paddlers and aquatic resources during times of drought.
“If you get below 100 (cubic feet per second), you start losing your experience, and if you get into the 80s and 70s, you’re walking (your boat),” Whitmire said. “If you’ve got a pipe that’s taking a huge amount of water, that’s putting you into that same extreme drought,” which he said can hurt trout populations by raising stream temperatures.
After a snack break, the conference will reconvene at 12:15 p.m. to focus on water sources and watershed management. Panelists will include Bill Dowbiggin, an engineer for CDM Smith who has worked on stream reclassifications; Mitch Peele, senior director of public policy for the N.C. Farm Bureau; and Transylvania County Manager Jaime Laughter.
Laughter is the former town manager of Mills River, which is home to three water supply watersheds and two municipal treatment plants. Caldwell said her perspective will shed light on how “all these entities can live together. Maybe not without some strife, but at the end of the day, things seem to be going well for Mills River.”
Registration for the conference begins at 8 a.m. in the Porter Center at Brevard College and is scheduled to wrap up around 1:45 p.m. Organizations have also been invited to set up booths and informational displays in the Porter Center lobby as part of a “share fair.”
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or

Categories: News

Community Briefs: Nov. 14

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 02:01
IAM in need of kid's coats
Interfaith Assistance Ministry needs children's coats, for infants through size 16. For more information, call 697-7029.
Veterans offered free dinner
Golden Corral will serve free dinner buffets with beverage from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 17 to any person who is or has served in a United States military branch, including the National Guard and Reserves. Identification is not required. State and local Disabled American Veterans representatives will be on-site at all Golden Corral locations coordinating the collection of donations from customers.
While only current and former military qualify for the free meal, everyone is encouraged to come out and show support for veterans. For more information on Military Appreciation Monday, visit
Relay for Life of Henderson County’s Kickoff Breakfast will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at Grace Lutheran Church ELCA, 1245 Sixth Ave. W., Hendersonville. RSVP to Carol Brown at 696-1341.
Categories: News

Be Our Guest: Gilliam reflects on a state title run

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 22:05
I would first like to thank you for the article in the newspaper about Hendersonville High being the "Road Warriors," about how we dominated no matter where we played. It was a great compliment and definitely something we as a team take pride in.
On the outside, everyone sees that we had a very successful season. Winning state was our goal and we accomplished it. Everyone knows this but what everyone doesn't know is how exactly we earned it.
We all came into this season not sure of how we would mesh considering our team makeup. We are a melting pot of every stereotype that could come to mind, which usually doesn't create the best chemistry. Honestly though the whole "opposites attract" term pulled through on this one. Inside jokes webbed together our differences and laughter healed any frustration. With every dig dug, game won and stair lap completed, we became closer.
On Saturday, Nov. 1, all 12 of us were singing on the bus our theme song, "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift. This was just one of our pregame rituals. In addition to shaking it off we listened to Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker. We had a team prayer and we each had our own superstitions to take care of.
But for us seniors this was the last of the pregame rituals. In honor of our last, some of the juniors and one of the parents prepared something extra. Grace is our hipster of the team and she wrote a poem for us. It started with, "I have found a home in all of you ..." and at that point, there wasn't a single dry eye on the bus. Every member of the team reminisced on the memories we had this season and realized that this was it.
After minutes of crying we dried ourselves up and headed to the locker room. Needless to say we didn't have dry eyes for long. Victoria had written a timeline of all the significant dates that we had. We all grabbed hands like we had for the past 28 games before and I prayed. We then went around the circle of linked up hands and each of us explained who we were playing this state game for. And yet again we had to laugh off the tears and put our game faces on.
Then we did it — we won a state championship — but not for the reasons everyone thought we did.
The equation for success is hard work and talent right? Yes, but the ultimate key is being a team, which is really why we earned the state champion title. It was because we were the missing piece to each other's puzzles. Technically the season ended last weekend but notice I am talking in present tense, because once a team always a team. We have continued to talk every day. We still have our group message. We have supported two of our members in a play this past week, and we had coffee together. We are having a sleepover this weekend.
We are each so blessed to be a part of this team, and I could not have asked for a way to end my senior year of volleyball. We won not because we had amazing talent or a great work ethic but because we wanted it more for our sisters sitting next to us than for ourselves.
Categories: News

West hosts Kings Mountain in Friday's first round

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 20:45
West Henderson will have its hands full on Friday in the first round of the state playoffs, coach Paul Whitaker said.
The Falcons are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, which was Whitaker's first year as head coach. West is hosting its first playoff game since 2007.
And Kings Mountain will pose a legitimate threat, Whitaker said.
"They play in a tough conference," he said.
The Mountaineers (8-3) play in the South Mountain Athletic Conference. That's the same conference as Shelby and Crest, who are both legitimate contenders in the 2-A and 3-A state championship hunt.
The Mountaineers' run it 6-out-of-10 players and just when you load the box to stop the run, Whitaker said, Kings Mountain tosses the ball downfield.
To counteract that, the Falcons (7-4) will rely on junior Stephen Perron on defense along with Tanner Bullock and Tristan Thomas. Perron finished the regular season with 119 tackles. Bullock finished the year with 100 tackles and four sacks. Thomas had 80 tackles and led the team with two interceptions.
Offensively, quarterback William Crouch has three different weapons in the backfield at his disposal. Cody Jackson, Brendan Goings and Dustie Fender can get the call at any time. Jackson leads the team with 949 yards rushing.
Taylor Geyer leads the receiving corps with 350 yards receiving.
The Falcons will have to be tough on offense, defense and special teams tonight, Whitaker said, if they want to win the ballgame.
We're going to have to be sound in all three aspects," he said.
The game kicks off at 7:30 tonight.
Radio: WTZQ 1600 AM
Twitter: @BRNDean
No. 10 Lexington (3-8) at No. 7 Polk County (8-3)
What's ahead: No. 15 Providence Grove (4-7) or No. 2 Reidsville (9-2).
Setup: Lexington will have a lot of things to think about on the field tonight in Columbus. Polk County has plenty of weapons at its disposal and it starts with quarterback Jamal Wheeler. The Wolverines can spread the field and hurt you with Wheeler in the veer and a spread-attack, or they can pound you up the middle with a combination of Jordan Smith, Cole Wheeler and Tyler Jackson. Defensively, Smith leads the way with 121 tackles along with Khiree Green, Damien Jackson and DJ Twitty.
Radio: None
Online: None
Twitter: @BRNJoey
No. 11 Hendersonville (7-4) at No. 6 Carver (8-2)
What's ahead: No. 14 Trinity (5-6) or No. 3 Shelby (9-2).
Setup: Hendersonville had a setback last week with a 20-17 loss to rival Polk County, but the Bearcats have the potential to score with anyone. Michael Schmidt has thrown for 2,726 yards. Cole Cleary has hauled in 72 receptions for 1,656 yards and is just 44 yards away from breaking the WNC single-season receiving record. Tykel Landrum and Michael Scott are other wide receiver targets. Terrold Gary leads the way in the backfield. Defensively, Trey McClure and Blaine Sharpe lead the way for the Bearcats.
Radio: None
Online: None
Twitter: @BRNDean
No. 8 Rosman (5-6) at No. 8 Community School of Davidson (5-6)
What's ahead: No. 16 Hayesville (2-8) or No. 1 Robbinsville (11-0).
Setup: Rosman coach Fred Whitman said his team would be better this season. The Tigers got two more wins this season than last. It'll be a little bit of a drive for the Tigers tonight, but Rosman just got back from a little Tennessee trip. The Tigers are anchored by running backs Tanner Green and Gage Orr. Quarterback Joshua Rice is guiding the offense.
Radio: None
Twitter: @brianleechapman, @BRNDean
Categories: News

Pigskin Picks: Watered down tea and pop rocks

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 19:22
I was driving down the road yesterday with the radio off. That's a strange occurrence most days, but especially right now since Christmas music has hit the airways.
My radio generally stays on the stations that play continuous Christmas music from now until Christmas.
Oddly enough my radio was silent for a few minutes today. I'd turned it off to answer a call and forgot to turn it back on. The silence was broken by this weird noise. It sounded like some electrical wiring was going bad or something.
It was an odd noise. I slowed down to a turtle speed. I couldn't for the life of me figure out where the noise was coming from. I was looking around the steering wheel. I was checking out the gearshift. I was looking everywhere.
And that's when I saw it.
There was an open pack of pop rocks in my cup holder and the Styrofoam cup from a lunch gone by had leaked. The watered-down tea had gotten into the open package of pop rocks and it was making the noise that I'm sure you all remember from your childhood.
My kids got packages of these things at Halloween and didn't like them, so I put the open package into the cup holder without thinking about it again.
I felt like an idiot. Not because I thought it was some sort of electrical issue in my car. I felt that way because I'd forgotten what pop rocks sounded like.
My picks season went a lot like that episode this season. I spent all sorts of time looking for the right pick and often never found it. I had a few good weeks, but then the losses began to pour out of my leaky cup the last couple of weeks because I was picking against the grain in hopes of catching up.
That didn't happen. So instead of a cup holder full of watered-down tea with a cool pop rocks noise, I was left with a cup holder filled with watered-down tea.
In the end, Dennis Little ruled the day. He's one of the WTZQ radio announcers on Friday nights in the fall. He finished up at 152-40. That's a strong year. In second place was Mike Morgan. Morgan is an announcer for WWNC on Friday nights. He finished up 150-42. The race for third place came down to me and one of our freelancers, John Domansky.
I lost. Domansky beat me by two last week and finished up at 144-48. I finished the season at 142-50. Lucas Lovelace, who calls games on WHKP, brought up the rear at 133-59.
Despite my low finish, it was a great season, but it isn't over. I'm still going to pick these four playoff games that are going down this week. Here's to a Styrofoam cup half full …
Kings Mountain at West Henderson
West Henderson hasn't had a home playoff game since 2007. The Falcons haven't had a playoff game since coach Paul Whitaker's first season as coach in 2010. Kings Mountain plays in a ridiculous conference. That conference includes Shelby and Crest. It's going to take a strong effort from the Falcons, despite the fact that they will be at home. I think West will be motivated enough …West, 21-17.
Lexington at Polk County
Lexington has won just three games. I'm not sure how a three-win team gets into the playoffs, but in the 2-A brackets, it happened. Lexington is on a three-game win streak, but I think it stops there …Polk 28-14.
Hendersonville at Carver
Man, this is a tough draw for the Bearcats. Carver was recently dropped into the 2-A pull from the 3-A level. The real question is whether or not the Bearcats can fight past the emotional toll of losing to Polk County last week. Follow that up with a road trip in the wake of that loss and it might be tough. Carver hung 60 points on South Stokes last week as a tune-up for the playoffs. With Hendersonville's offense, however, anything is possible …Hendersonville 38-33.
Rosman at Community School of Davidson
Other than the fact that it's a long drive to Davidson, I don't think the Tigers will have a big problem here. Both teams host a 5-6 record, but I think Rosman is more battle-tested. Rosman also got a little taste of life on the road with a trip to Tennessee last week. I think Rosman wins this one big …Rosman, 28-7.
Categories: News

DC woman spends $35K on search for lost dog

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 16:29
WASHINGTON (AP) — A District of Columbia woman has spent more than $35,000 in a year-long search for her beloved missing dog.
Janet Mihalyfi, 39, of Georgetown has hired psychics and private investigators, posted thousands of fliers, installed cameras in the woods and put out dog food at spots where the Rottweiler mix has reportedly been spotted.
Mihalyfi lost 5-year-old Havoc on Nov. 9, 2013, after she took him and her other dog off their leashes during a run in a wooded area. Just then, a deer bolted by and both dogs gave chase.
She hasn't seen Havoc since.
"Anybody that has a pet knows that they are a family member," Mihalyfi told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I love him as I would anybody that I'm close with ... I can't give up on him."
Mihalyfi, an information technology director at a Washington consulting firm, said she has devoted every weekend since Havoc's disappearance to the search, which she called all-consuming, exhausting and depressing.
"It's been a very emotionally taxing year," she said. "It just feels like all these efforts — why am I not getting closer to getting to him?"
But Mihalyfi said her hope of finding Havoc, who has an implanted identifying microchip, is constantly renewed by tips from people who have seen her signs begging for information about his whereabouts.
Mihalyfi estimates that about 30 to 40 percent of the tips have been accurate and said she has plenty of evidence that Havoc is spending his days in two wooded parks in the District that are thousands of square miles large.
Though Mihalyfi has gotten help searching from a group of volunteers sympathetic to her plight, she's also fielded some criticism for the amount of money and time she has spent searching for a dog.
"I know people are in shock by the number but there's also a correlation between how long I go after this," she said. "Lost-dog searches are expensive and this has lasted a year."
She said she can't imagine a better way to spend her money than getting a member of her family back.
Categories: News

Column: Rock and Roll for Literacy raises funds for BRLC

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 14:29
Two hundred more people in Henderson County can read this article because of the efforts of the Blue Ridge Literacy Council. That's how many adult lives were transformed last year, thanks to volunteer tutors who donated 13,000 hours of their time to accomplish the mission of the BRLC. This mission is to transform lives through improved English communication skills for adult learners.
BRLC matches volunteer tutors with adult learners. These twosomes meet twice a week for an hour and a half for as long as
Some students have no English language skills. Some speak English as a second language. Some have learning disabilities. Some
have lost their way in standard learning environments. Regardless of the need or learning requirements, the perfect tutor will be found. And, of course, all tutoring services of the BRLC are offered for free to everyone.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, the literacy council held its Rock and Roll for Literacy 2014 fundraiser at Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown and 170 people came out to show their support. There was a silent auction with 90 items. There were drinks and food, and entertainment by the Vintage Vinyl Band.
“We wanted to have an informal house party with the focus on fun. We wanted to put the fun back in fundraising,” said Steve Kirkland, executive director of BRLC. The goal is to raise $8,000-$10,000.
All proceeds from the evening go to support the efforts of BRLC, which depends on donations and events such as this to keep them going. The organization has four full-time employees and 175 volunteers.
Judy Hansen, president of the Board of Directors, said they have a tutor and student come to each meeting so the board can stay focused on the mission of the organization. Hansen said when she heard some of the stories, she thought, “Wow! That's why we're here. It is so inspirational to make a difference in people's lives.”
Hansen related one story about a lady whose English skills needed some work. She couldn't go to PTA meetings without her husband to translate. After a time at BRLC, this same lady found herself translating for a stranger at Walmart who was having a hard time being understood at the pharmacy. What a surprise when she realized she was now the translator instead of being the one in need.
BRLC is always looking for adults who need to improve their English communication skills and volunteers who would like to be a tutor to help accomplish this goal. For more information, call 828-696-3811 or visit
Categories: News

Brevard man charged with sexual exploitation of a minor

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 13:41
On Wednesday, Oct. 29, the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office received a complaint regarding possible child pornography in the home of a Brevard resident.
Deputies immediately began investigating the complaint and on Oct. 31, the investigation resulted in the arrest of Robert Joseph Lamb, also known as Ezra Noughton, the Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
Lamb was charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, felony solicitation of another to commit a felony, felony sale and delivery of schedule II controlled substances and maintaining a dwelling to keep controlled substances, the release states.
Lamb is being held in the Transylvania County Detention Center under a $140,000 secured bond.
The Sheriff's Office participates in the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which was created to help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children.
The ICAC program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. These agencies are engaged in proactive investigations, forensic investigations, and criminal prosecutions.

The State Bureau of Investigation and the Brevard Police Department assisted in the investigation.
Categories: News

Former area doctor to discuss experiences with Ebola

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:57
As Ebola extends throughout West Africa, Dr. Lance Plyler, medical director of the International Disaster Response Unit and Projects with Samaritan’s Purse, says the humanitarian aid organization has had to shift its strategies toward combating the virus’ spread.
“Honestly, there’s way more patients than there are beds, even if you look at the projected beds that will be established with the building of more Ebola treatment units and what we call community care centers,” Plyler said. “We’re ( Samaritan's Purse) not as directly involved with clinical care in the Ebola treatment units as we were during the summer, although we’re still heavily involved—more so than ever.”
Plyler, who ran a private internal medicine practice in Hendersonville for 13 years beginning in the late '90s, will share the story of his response to the Ebola crisis and how his team helped combat the outbreak in Liberia at 5 p.m. on Monday during Health Care Café with Four Seasons Compassion for Life’s CEO Chris Comeaux on WTZQ 1600AM and online.
Plyler has appeared on several international news outlets as an expert on the Ebola crisis in Liberia, and has been credited for helping to save the lives of two Americans working in Liberia, Dr. Kent Brantly and his colleague, Nancy Writebol.
Still in clinical trials, Plyler administered the experimental Z-Mapp three-vial course of antibodies to each. The two then came back to the U.S. for further treatment at Emory Hospital in Atlanta.
During Plyler’s interview, listeners will hear the doctor’s first-hand experience on the front lines, learn more about what happened with the two Americans who became infected, and hear more about how the virus is spread, as well as his take on current interventions being taken to combat Ebola.
Plyler said he has always been interested in medical missions and went on several while practicing in Hendersonville. While he says he was called by God to take the job he has now, Hendersonville also holds a special place in his heart.
Although Plyler considers the data coming out of Africa to be a little sketchy, he said that overall, they suggest the numbers are improving.
“But that still is of mammoth proportions, and there is not nearly a sufficient number of health care providers there, so really going forward, I think that Ebola is going to be endemic in West Africa and potentially it is going to be a much broader problem than it has been historically,” Plyler said. “I feel certain it will, and really I am just saying that the greater humanitarian community really needs to work in a better coordinated fashion, in more of a corporate fashion, in order to be able to respond to Ebola ... in order to draw it to a close.”
Plyler said that would behoove everyone, even Hendersonville residents, because no one wants it coming to the U.S.
“And the way we’re going to curtail it is to address it with sufficient care in West Africa, so globally, the world needs to be able to respond better to Ebola epidemics - the current one, and perhaps future epidemics, should they occur,” Plyler said.
He said there is no precedence for the virus to be transmitted in an aerosolized fashion, but he believes that the U.S. should not become overly confident, either.
“It is very possible that we will see more cases come to the United States, but there is a distinct difference between the United States and West Africa,” Plyler said. “I mean, we have a very robust healthcare system here and we know how to halt the transmission of the virus, and I am confident that we can contain it in the United States.”
Plyler said Ebola is a very serious infection, but the U.S. has much more capacity on multiple fronts to combat it.
For anyone who wants to help out, Plyler said individuals can provide financial support to help groups such as Samaritan’s Purse that are helping to teach Liberians to combat the spread of the virus.
“I am a Christian and I believe in prayerful support, so I would appeal for prayerful support as well, and there’s other organizations too, so there’s a lot of ways that they can get involved,” Plyler said.
Health Care Café is online at, and on WTZQ, 1600 AM radio Mondays at 5 p.m.
For more information on Samaritan’s Purse visit
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or
Categories: News

Golden Corral salutes America's heroes with dinner

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:01
RALEIGH — On Monday, Nov. 17, Golden Corral will thank thousands of active duty and retired United States military personnel for their service with a free dinner buffet and beverage, while raising donations for Disabled American Veterans.
A tradition started 13 years ago to celebrate our nation's heroes, Golden Corral's Military Appreciation Monday has served more than 4 million complimentary meals to military personnel and generated more than $8.8 million dollars in guest contributions to support community-based service initiatives for veterans.
"Our 45,000 employees in 500 restaurants nationwide are very passionate about supporting our military service men and women on Military Appreciation Monday," said Ted Fowler, president and chief executive officer of Golden Corral. "While the current economy is challenging, we remain committed to recognizing the military through this program. We hope this year we will reach a new grand total of 5 million meals served since we began the program 13 years ago. We also hope to raise our contributions to the DAV to a grand total of more than $10 million dollars."
Golden Corral will serve free dinner buffets with beverage from 5 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 17 to any person who is or has served in a United States military branch, including the National Guard and Reserves; identification is not required. State and local DAV representatives will be on-site at all Golden Corral locations coordinating the collection of donations from customers.
While only current and former military qualify for the free meal, everyone is encouraged to come out and show support for our veterans. For more information on Military Appreciation Monday, visit
Categories: News

US drones patrol desolate areas on Mexico border

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 10:01
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. government now patrols nearly half the Mexican border by drones alone in a largely unheralded shift to control desolate stretches where there are no agents, camera towers, ground sensors or fences, and it plans to expand the strategy to the Canadian border.
It represents a significant departure from a decades-old approach that emphasizes boots on the ground and fences. Since 2000, the number of Border Patrol agents on the 1,954-mile border more than doubled to surpass 18,000 and fencing multiplied nine times to 700 miles.
Under the new approach, Predator Bs sweep remote mountains, canyons and rivers with a high-resolution video camera and return within three days for another video in the same spot, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the effort on condition of anonymity because details have not been made public.
The two videos are then overlaid for analysts who use sophisticated software to identify tiny changes — perhaps the tracks of a farmer or cows, perhaps those of immigrants who entered the country illegally or a drug-laden Hummer, they said.
About 92 percent of drone missions have shown no change in terrain, but the others raised enough questions to dispatch agents to determine if someone got away, sometimes by helicopter because the area is so remote. The agents look for any sign of human activity — footprints, broken twigs, trash.
About 4 percent of missions have been false alarms, like tracks of livestock or farmers, and about 2 percent are inconclusive. The remaining 2 percent offer evidence of illegal crossings from Mexico, which typically results in ground sensors being planted for closer monitoring.
The government has operated about 10,000 drone flights under the strategy, known internally as "change detection," since it began in March 2013. The flights currently cover about 900 miles, much of it in Texas, and are expected to expand to the Canadian border by the end of 2015.
The purpose is to assign agents where illegal activity is highest, said R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol's parent agency, which operates nine unmanned aircraft across the country.
"You have finite resources," he said in an interview. "If you can look at some very rugged terrain (and) you can see there's not traffic, whether it's tire tracks or clothing being abandoned or anything else, you want to deploy your resources to where you have a greater risk, a greater threat."
If the video shows the terrain unchanged, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher calls it "proving the negative" — showing there isn't anything illegal happening there and therefore no need for agents and fences.
The strategy was launched without fanfare and expanded at a time when President Barack Obama prepares to issue an executive order by the end of this year to reduce deportations and enhance border security.
Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, applauded the approach while saying that surveillance gaps still remain. "We can no longer focus only on static defenses such as fences and fixed (camera) towers," he said.
Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who co-authored legislation last year to add 20,000 Border Patrol agents and 350 miles of fencing to the southwest border, said, "If there are better ways of ensuring the border is secure, I am certainly open to considering those options."
Border missions fly out of Sierra Vista, home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, or Corpus Christi, Texas. They patrol at altitudes between 19,000 at 28,000 feet and between 25 and 60 miles of the border.
The first step is for Border Patrol sector chiefs to identify areas that are least likely to attract smugglers, typically far from towns and roads. Analysts scour the drone videos at operations centers in Grand Forks, North Dakota; Riverside, California; and Sierra Vista. After an initial survey, the drones return within a week for another sweep.
Privacy advocates have raised concerns about drones since Customs and Border Protection introduced them in 2006, saying there is potential to monitor innocent people under no suspicion. Lothar Eckardt, the agency's executive director of national air security operations, said law-abiding people shouldn't worry and that cameras are unable to capture details like license plate numbers and faces on the ground.
Eckardt looked on one September morning as a drone taxied down a runway in Sierra Vista, lifted off with a muffled buzz, and disappeared over a rocky mountain range into a blue Arizona sky. About a dozen computer screens line the wall of their trailer, showing the weather, maps and real-time images of the ground below.
Eckardt said there is "no silver bullet" to border security but that using drones in highly remote areas is part of the overall effort. If there's nothing there, he said, "Let's not waste the manpower here. Let's focus our efforts someplace else, where they're needed."
Categories: News

County proclaims Nov. 19 'GIS Day,' plans events

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 09:01
On Nov. 3, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners proclaimed Nov. 19, 2014 as “GIS Day.” GIS is an important part of geography awareness, being not only the study of maps, but also relationships among people, places and environments.
On Nov. 19, Henderson County and the city of Hendersonville will host a public event on GIS Day at the main branch of the Henderson County Public Library in the Kaplan Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The morning session, from 10 a.m. to noon, will be an educational, fun session for children of all ages, ending with a treasure cache.
The afternoon session, from 1-3 p.m., will include video episodes of Penn State Public Broadcasting's “GeoSpatial Revolution,” along with demonstrations of GIS processes in the community.
Categories: News

St. James keeps prize 2,500-pipe organ at top form

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 05:55
Anyone who's served as an acolyte, taken Communion or simply attended a church service at St. James Episcopal Church in Hendersonville is familiar with the shiny pipes that flank the altar and seem to climb to the heavens.
What most people don't realize is how exquisite that particular pipe organ is, and how much care goes into maintaining the instrument, said Brad Gee, director of music and organist at St. James.
On Wednesday, pipe organ technician Stephen Spake of Lincoln Pipe Organs was crawling through the organ chambers, calling out to coworker Jonathan Gantt which notes to play and gently tapping individual pipes to tune them.
Spake explained that by tapping up or down on the metal collar at the top of a flue pipe, he was making the note flatter or sharper — until it was just right.
“You're raising the air column; you're making it longer or shorter,” he said.
With reed pipes, their tuning scrolls — or bent flaps at the top of the pipes curling outward — are similarly adjusted to create the right pitches. Since organs play the sounds of several instruments at once, using different “stops” that correspond with each sound, there are thousands of pipes for Spake to tune.
Gee explained that the reed pipes include the sounds of a trumpet, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, and are activated (air blown through them) when he pulls a stop and hits one of the 61 keys on the organ.
“For every note, there's a physical pipe,” Gee said.
And that's for each individual “sound” represented. A quick calculation by Spake estimated that the pipe organ at St. James consisted of at least 2,500 pipes.
With that many pipes to tune, Gee said, “It takes the better part of a day.”
“Sudden temperature changes can make the organ go out of tune,” he added. “We typically have it tuned twice a year,” just after the heat has been turned on for the winter, and when the air conditioning is turned on for the summer months.
Gee said the pipe organ was being tuned Wednesday in preparation for St. James' annual Advent service on Nov. 30.
“It is the largest service of the year,” he said. “Bigger than Christmas, bigger than Easter.”
Though the annual cost of tuning the pipe organ is about $2,000, Gee said the instrument's rich sound is worth all the time and expense put into maintaining it.
“This is a world-class instrument,” he said. “This is one of the finest instruments I've ever played.”
When purchased in 1999 from Harrison & Harrison in England, Gee said the pipe organ was disassembled, shipped and reassembled in the church, and cost over $1 million.
Unlike a lot of organs, Gee said, “It does not screech or scream,” and has a warm, blended, romantic sound.
“This one is very warm, inviting, pleasing to listen to,” Spake said. “It holds its shape well.”
It helps that the acoustics in St. James have been enhanced, specifically to complement the pipe organ.
Gee said when the church purchased the organ in 1999, air conditioning was installed, carpet was removed and to this day, there is no padding on the pews to absorb any sound.
“This church has at least two seconds of natural reverb,” Gee said. “This room is naturally live. It's like singing in the bathroom — everything echoes.”
“It sets up the perfect environment,” Gantt said, and Spake added, “It's a treasure.”
Gee invited the public to hear the pipe organ firsthand during St. James' Advent Lessons & Carols service at 5 p.m. Nov. 30. St. James Episcopal Church is located at 766 N. Main St. in Hendersonville. Doors open at 4 p.m.
Reach McGowan at or 828-694-7871.
Categories: News

Space agency releases 1st picture from comet

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 05:38
BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency on Thursday published the first image taken from the surface of a comet, and said that its Philae lander is still "stable" despite a failure to latch on properly to the rocky terrain.
The lander scored a historic first Wednesday, when it touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after a decade-long journey through space on its mother ship Rosetta.
Scientists' jubilation was slightly dampened because the harpoons which were meant to anchor the lander to the surface failed to deploy, causing it to bounce twice before it came to rest on the comet's body, or nucleus.
"Philae is stable, sitting on the nucleus and is producing data," Gerhard Schwehm, a scientist on the Rosetta mission, told The Associated Press. "The lander is very healthy."
The photos sent back to Earth show a rocky surface, with one of the lander's three feet in the corner of the frame.
Scientists are still analyzing what effect the two bounces had on the spacecraft and plan to release further details at a news briefing at 2 p.m. (1300 GMT; 8 a.m. EST).
Schwehm said it may still be possible to fire the harpoons, but that this would be done only if it doesn't imperil the lander.
A key question is whether Philae's drill can be used to extract samples from beneath the surface without pushing the lander into space. Gravity on the comet is 1/100,000th that of Earth, meaning the washing machine-sized lander weighs just 1 gram (0.04 ounces) there.
Philae and Rosetta will use 21 instruments to analyze the comet over the coming months. Scientists hope the €1.3 billion project ($1.62 billion) will help them better understand comets and other celestial objects, as well as possibly answer questions about the origins of life on Earth.
Categories: News