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Updated: 1 min 47 sec ago

County awarded three out of five blooms in contest

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 13:43
Henderson County received three out of five blooms in its first try at this year’s national America in Bloom competition, an achievement leaders hailed as a great start Friday morning at a special meeting with one of its judges.
America in Bloom is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that works to cultivate community pride by helping groups work together on common goals of preservation and beautification. Judges — with horticultural insight — tour locations, provide recommendations for improvements and recognize the efforts of participating communities through AIB's national award program.
Carol Elliott, who spearheaded the efforts to bring the national contest to the county with Mia Freeman, accepted the three-bloom award last month at a ceremony in Philadelphia. While there, Elliott placed a bid on a coaching session with one of the judges and won the opportunity to gain valuable insight.
America in Bloom judge Jack Clasen of Raleigh returned to Hendersonville Friday morning to offer a look into the impressions that shaped his decisions, scoring and recommendations.
The county competed against like-sized populations in Winter Park, Fla., Santa Paula, Calif., and Holland, Mich., for accolades in the nationwide program. In total, 33 locations, ranging in size from a small town of 700 to a metropolis of nearly 300,000 vied for AIB honors this year.
Clasen said he and his fellow judge, Linda Cromer of Greendale, Ind., who both toured the county in June, also nominated the community for an Outstanding Achievement Award in heritage preservation.
“This is one of our highest awards and it’s one of the hardest ones to get,” he said. “I felt we had a good chance, but I knew the competition was incredibly stiff and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.”
Henderson County didn’t win the honor, but Clasen said they were impressed with the county’s preservation of its heritage.
Of the 33 participating communities, Henderson County was one of seven finalists nominated for a special “Best Commercial Streetscape” award. Clasen said he was “really upset” to learn Henderson County didn’t get the honor.
“I’ve been doing this for 13 years. I’m head of the contest and I’m head of the judges and I’m usually very level-headed and I’m calm. I understand how difficult this is for the judges,” he said. “But I was actually very upset that you did not win the ‘Best Commercial Streetscape’ award for Main Street in Hendersonville and I let people know that, and that’s the first time I’ve ever really voiced my opinion... Linda and I both felt very strong for you that the Main Street renovation is really first class.”
The county was hailed in a book of “Best Ideas” from this year’s contest for Hendersonville’s Main Street redesign and Flat Rock’s plans to create a new park out of a former golf course.
Clasen’s tips to the local America in Bloom committee included: revamping Hendersonville’s 220 hanging flower baskets, creating more concise summaries with bullet-point facts in its community profile, using “hot colors” like yellows and reds in floral arrangements along Main Street to catch the eye, and changing tour itineraries to hit the highlights that best fit the contest’s criteria.
Participants were judged in areas of overall impression, heritage preservation, environmental efforts, urban forestry, landscapes, floral displays and community involvement. The county received a total score of 675 points out of a possible 1,000, scoring highest in floral displays and overall impression.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

City Council issues moratorium on homeless shelters, day centers

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 12:54
Hendersonville City Council Thursday night agreed to stop future shelters and day centers serving the homeless from opening in the city for 60 days, starting Monday.
The 60-day moratorium, which sunsets Jan. 8, was issued to give planners time to hammer out an amendment to zoning laws that would keep such centers from opening in close proximity to existing shelters. The exact wording of the new ordinance and its distance requirement has yet to be finalized.
The moratorium came after a fifth organization serving the homeless announced that it was moving to the Historic Seventh Avenue District – within a three-block radius of other care centers – this year.
“The moratorium would extend to all zoning districts in the city and cover shelter facilities as defined in the zoning ordinance and day centers as defined in the proposed moratorium,” City Attorney Sam Fritschner told the council.
“I guess we should discuss what brought us to the question of whether or not (we do this),” said Councilman Jeff Miller.
“As you know, we're looking at revitalizing Seventh Avenue and … we have five facilities in the Seventh Avenue area,” said City Manager John Connet. “The facilities are clearly serving a need in our community, but part of the conversation has been that… we feel like that area is saturated with enough facilities to serve the needy in that community.”
However, with such clientele already in the area, Connet said the vacant storefronts and lower rents of the district might call to more facilities, which are needed in other parts of the city.
“We felt like, from a planning standpoint, it was best for us to look at our zoning ordinance to establish zoning regulations that would limit the number of these type facilities in one area to protect the property values, to protect the long-term health of specific areas of the city,” Connet said. “The things that we've discussed, at a staff level, is that we would limit one homeless shelter and one day center to specific areas of the city.”
If additional day centers or homeless shelters want to open, he said, they would be directed to a different part of the city to avoid overburdening one particular area.
“That's what's brought us to the moratorium,” Connet said. “We know of no projects that are on the books to happen. We had issued permits to the Joseph center (Joseph's House of Hope Outreach Ministries). They will be able to move forward with their facility.” The Joseph Center will be the fifth facility in the Historic Seventh Avenue District.
City staff has talked with a group wanting to open a facility for young adults or single mothers, but Connet said the moratorium “will not impact them. They are … at least a year away from any project.”
Councilman Ron Stephens said he also knows of another group currently considering opening a shelter for homeless teens. He added that they aren't necessarily looking at starting a mission in the Seventh Avenue area, and said they aren't concerned by the moratorium.
Councilman Steve Caraker said he didn't necessarily agree with a moratorium, but added it could give the city time to help guide the district's future redevelopment.
“We've talked about some fairly grandiose plans for that area, or I have at least, and I don't want to do anything that will hurt existing operations there,” he said. “But I don't want it to become reasonably known as the place to go if you're down on your luck. I think there's other parts of the city that are probably just as useful and maybe more attractive than Seventh Avenue to do that kind of work.”
The moratorium and future legislation will have no effect on current homeless service centers and their operation in the district.
Councilman Jerry Smith asked what the city's staff will do during the moratorium.
Connet said the staff will meet to discuss how they can develop a proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance. The amendment will eventually be heard in a public hearing with the city's planning board before going to the council for a final vote after a second public hearing.
Smith motioned to adopt the ordinance establishing the moratorium. The motion passed unanimously.
Homeless youth
Before the vote, the council gave its unofficial blessing to students from all four county high schools looking to collect supplies for the growing number of homeless children now enrolled in county schools.
“We are addressing a growing problem of homeless school children (in Henderson County),” Smith said, opening the floor to Hendersonville High student body president John Moore. “These youths have decided that they would like to do something about that.”
Homeless students in the county's public schools range in age from 6 to 18. Moore said there are more than 200 registered homeless students enrolled in the school system today.
He said he and leaders from the other schools have found the issue to be a “high priority” that they feel compelled to address.
The Student Government Associations at each of the county's four traditional public high schools are sponsoring a communitywide supply drive that will aid homeless youth, specifically within the county's school system. SGA leaders have named the project "Henderson Helps," and Moore said they will be working with the school system's Help program, which tracks and assists homeless students.
The drive is set to run from Nov. 10 to Dec. 10, culminating in a final collection effort during the city's Christmas Parade. During the project, donation centers at each of the four high schools will be accepting canned and boxed foods, toiletries and other household items.
“For the community as a whole, we'd like to collect 15,000 items or more. For our schools, in particular, we'd like to collect 2,000 items,” Moore said.
“I find it astounding how many people in our county are homeless and don't have a home or are under-privileged and don't have stable living conditions,” he added. “This is a very, very, very important issue for me. It's an important issue for every student in our school … I find it as a duty of mine and a duty of every person in leadership to make sure that every student in our schools is taken care of.”
The SGA representatives will be asking county leaders for approval to use the Historic Courthouse during the city's Christmas Parade for the final drive.
Miller suggested that the city could offer space near the fountain at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Main Street as a second potential collection site for the Christmas Parade drive. Until then, Caraker suggested, the city could offer space in the lobby of city hall as another potential collection site.
In other action, the council:
-Approved a special use permit for a new developer to complete five units at Blythe Commons.
-Approved a request from Art Cooley to rezone five properties near the Signal Hill Road and Linda Vista Drive intersection from Residential Commercial Transition to C-3 Highway Business.
-Agreed for the city to submit an application for a $250,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant to develop part of Berkeley Mills Park. The grant would fund several priorities in the park's master plan, including a destination playground, memorial tree garden, picnic shelters, walking trails and a connection to the Oklawaha Greenway. The grant requires a local match. The city plans to match the grant with $300,000 from its budget for capital improvement projects and use up to $62,196 from its water and sewer fund to cover other costs associated with the project.
-Approved a resolution authorizing the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and the city to submit a grant application to the N.C. Department of Transportation to develop a bicycle plan for the city. The city could match up to 30 percent of the estimated $50,000 project, if awarded the grant, but the club offered to raise close to $6,000 to go toward the match.
-Denied a plan to add stoplights to the intersection of Main Street and Allen Street projected to cost an estimated $93,000, after learning that only four wrecks have been reported at the intersection since 2011.
-Recognized the city's Tree Board and volunteers for their hard work in a tree planting project on Bearcat Loop.
-Recognized the city for being honored with its first Governmental Finance Officers Association's Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The city's award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting. Its attainment represents a significant achievement by our organization, Connet wrote in a memo to the council. Connet recognized Brian Pahle for his hard work on the budget document in his presentation of the award to the city.
-Honored Hendersonville Police Department's Communications Supervisor Monica Howard for being the first recipient of the Ethlyn Byrd Award for outstanding volunteer work, after participating in 12 weekend camp sessions at Camp Bob.
-Recognized Reserve Police Officer Zeffrey Childress, who joined the force on June 7, 2014.
-Recognized Matt Capps, who started with the Hendersonville Police Department in May 2010 as a full-time telecommunicator. Capps decided he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement and the department sponsored him through Basic Law Enforcement Training. Capps was sworn into the department as a police officer on Oct. 10.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver

Categories: News

Community Briefs: Nov. 7

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 10:01
Meetings
The Mills River Agricultural Advisory Committee will meet at 9 a.m. today at Town Hall.
The Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees will meet from noon to 5 p.m. Monday for a board retreat at the Brevard Music Center, Alumni House. A regular meeting of the board will follow the retreat at 5 p.m. at the Alumni House.
Events
ASU to hold information session on new programs
Appalachian State University will host an information session about the proposal of two higher education degree programs from 6-7 p.m. Monday in room 128 Haynes Conference Center on the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College's Enka Campus, 1459 Sand Hill Road, Candler.
Given sufficient interest, the university's Reich College of Education will offer an Educational Specialist in Higher Education degree with a concentration in adult and developmental education at the Enka Campus beginning in fall 2015.
The college will also offer a Master of Arts in higher education with a community college and university leadership concentration beginning in the spring 2016 semester. The degree prepares individuals to be informed, thoughtful, creative and effective leaders in community colleges, universities and college transition programs. The degree program will be offered through a mix of online and face-to-face courses.
The Ed.S. degree prepares individuals for leadership positions in programs serving nontraditional students at two-year and four-year colleges and in adult education programs in businesses and community agencies. A master's degree is required to apply. All 30 credit hours transfer into Appalachian's doctoral program in educational leadership. All classes will be offered online.
For more information, contact program manager Bronwen Sheffield at 800-355-4084 or visit distance.appstate.edu.
Categories: News

Report: October hiring strong

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 09:23
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three days after voters registered their sourness about the U.S. economy, the government said Friday that employers added a solid 214,000 jobs in October, extending the healthiest pace of hiring in eight years.
The Labor Department also said a combined 31,000 more jobs were added in August and September than it had previously estimated. Employers have now added at least 200,000 jobs for nine straight months — the longest such stretch since 1995.
The burst of hiring lowered the unemployment rate to 5.8 percent from 5.9 percent. It is the lowest rate since July 2008. Yet workers' average hourly pay rose only slightly, a glaring weak spot in an otherwise solid report.
Voters identified the economy as their top concern in Tuesday's elections. That suggested that economic improvement hasn't yet been felt by many Americans. The sluggish pace of pay growth is a likely factor.
Average hourly pay rose 3 cents in October to $24.57. That's just 2 percent higher than the average wage was 12 months earlier and is barely ahead of the 1.7 percent inflation rate.
"While the labor market is improving and in many respects has already healed, employee bargaining power remains virtually nonexistent," Dan Greenhaus, an analyst at the brokerage firm BTIG LLC, said in a research note.
Still, the brightening jobs picture led more people to start looking for work last month. The percentage of Americans who either have a job or are looking for one rose in October to 62.8 percent. And 267,000 people who had been out of work said they were now employed. Their hiring reduced the number of unemployed to just under 9 million.
The job gains were broad-based, though many lower-paying industries posted especially large increases. Retailers added 27,100 jobs. Restaurants, hotels and entertainment firms gained 52,000.
Some higher-paying industries also showed progress. Manufacturers added 15,000 jobs, up from 9,000 the previous month. Transportation and shipping companies gained 13,300. And professional and business services, which includes accountants, engineers and other higher-skilled fields, added 37,000.
Analysts say the economic expansion remains strong enough to support the current pace of hiring. Over the past six months, the economy has grown at a 4.1 percent annual rate.
U.S. manufacturers are expanding at the fastest pace in three years, according to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group. A measure of new orders showed that factory output will likely continue to grow in coming months. A separate survey by the ISM found that retailers, restaurants and other service companies grew at a healthy pace last month.
Home sales rose in September at their fastest rate this year, a sign that housing could pick up after a sluggish performance for most of this year.
Still, faltering global growth could create trouble for the U.S. economy in the months ahead. Exports fell in September, the government said this week, widening the trade deficit. That led many economists to shave their predictions of economic growth in the July-September quarter to an annual rate of 3 percent or less, down from the government's initial estimate of 3.5 percent.
Categories: News

Rescue Mission defends role in 7th Ave. revitalization

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 05:58
For many years in its heyday and in the decades of doldrums that followed, the Seventh Avenue district was the place to go to get what you needed, according to longtime merchants.
The district still offers those life essentials – fresh meats from a butcher, bread from a bakery, haircuts from a 92-year-old barber shop and new tires for drivers who have a flat.
But those aren't the only needs being met on Seventh Avenue. For the past 33 years, the district has also been a place where the hungry are fed, the homeless find shelter and a warm bed, the less fortunate are clothed, the addicted are sobered and the adrift find their way to a new life thanks to the Hendersonville Rescue Mission.
Some city residents and business owners find that the loiterers and the needy cloud their visions of a future robust Historic Seventh Avenue District.
After a letter was sent to City Councilman Steve Caraker, calling for the Rescue Mission's removal from the redeveloping district, Caraker went to see for himself exactly what the organization does. He was surprised by what he found at the mission's new day center.
“One of the things that had given me a lot of concern in the past was what his (the mission's) clientele does between morning and evening and boy was I wrong… They've got a GED program, a health clinic; they've got a gym,” he said.
The council on Thursday night approved a 60-day moratorium on new homeless shelters and day centers looking to open in the city. Existing organizations such as the Mission are not impacted by the move.
“Believe it or not, we talked about this moratorium earlier, they have reached out to all of these other entities and wanted to combine forces,” Caraker told the council minutes before their meeting ended Thursday. “I found out that the Hendersonville Rescue Mission has been used for a model for agencies in at least three other states in the last five years. I was very impressed, so I think that we need to give them a voice.”
“I agree with you; I had lunch with them today,” added Councilman Jeff Miller.
“I think that it's very, very possible for that kind of activity to co-exist in a redeveloped area because if you walk in that facility and see – me being a former building inspector – how much money (they put into it) and how well done it is, they didn't spare any expense and it's not a shoddy operation at all,” Caraker said.
When the council formed the Seventh Avenue Advisory Committee, Caraker said, they tried to make sure a wide range of stakeholders were on the board to have an equal say in the district's future growth.
“But I think we missed somebody. I'd like to correct that,” he told the council. Caraker said he'd like to see another seat added to the advisory committee – a seat specifically established for a representative of the Rescue Mission. The motion passed unanimously.
Thirty-three years
The mission's Chief Executive Officer, the Rev. Anthony McMinn, currently serves on the design committee for the district. He is excited about Seventh Avenue's future, but he's also heard the talk of others who point to the Rescue Mission as if it's an obstacle to overcome instead of a needed partner in the area's resurrection.
“Those people who are hungry come and get a good meal, free of charge. They get to stay in a good clean shelter, free of charge. They're not sleeping in the doorways of these businesses. They're not running out and taking people's handbags. They're not mugging people because we're here and they can't see that. It saddens me,” McMinn said.
“It's not our desire to be a part of the problem by way of what we do... We're the Christian Outreach Center. We're the Hendersonville Rescue Mission. We're the Gospel Warehouse. We're all those things to make people's lives better and it's not always easy.”
McMinn said the Rescue Mission has been “dealing with the less fortunate 33 years, and they were here before we got here… We're going to continue to help them.”
The mission operates with no federal, state or local government funding. It has served more than a million meals in the past two decades. It served 60,000 meals to the hungry last year, up from nearly 32,000 meals in 1993.
From July 2013 to June 2014, it offered 1,200 to 1,400 men, women and children a safe, warm bed to sleep in – double the amount it served 20 years ago.
The mission distributed twice the amount of clothes last year than when the ministry opened its closet in 2000. Its learning center has helped 19 people obtain GEDs in the last decade.
But raw statistics don't reflect the true numbers – or the stories of people transformed by the Mission, like David Russell, who came to break free of an addiction to prescription painkillers.
Russell had tried to enroll in four rehabilitation centers before he showed up at the Mission in the summer of 2013. Each program had turned him down, citing long waits for admittance or telling him the only beds available were reserved for the hardest of cases.
Russell graduated from the mission's 12-step Turning Point recovery program in March – at the end of an eight-month journey to sobriety. Russell now volunteers at the Mission and is studying to become a pastor.
Statistics also fail to reflect the impact the Rescue Mission has had on other advocates around them. A group starting a new homeless shelter in Haywood County came to tour the Hendersonville Rescue Mission and emulate their program last week.
A dozen board members of the new Haywood County Pathways Center – set to open in a week – were onsite Oct. 30 touring the mission to immerse themselves in the mission's techniques. The center will be adopting some of the Rescue Mission's nationally-accredited program, policies and procedures.
“We're grateful that there are people who will share what God has given them,” said Nick Honerkamp, a full-time pastor and president of the Haywood Christian Emergency Shelter, which will soon transform from a seasonal refuge to a full-time haven. “It's 10 times easier when you can talk to somebody who's three steps ahead of you that can tell you what to watch out for, but not every organization is open to doing that… We do appreciate it very much.”

Daytime dilly-dalliers
The mission's new Seventh Avenue Outreach Center and Gospel Warehouse opened in March, offering people a place to go during the day for free showers, coffee, doughnuts and help finding jobs.
The day center is now open four days a week and has a growing list of clientele, but despite its attempts to give loiterers a place to go, the generations-old habit of day laborers is hard to break.
For years, men have flocked to congregate at the corner of Maple Street and Seventh Avenue each morning, waiting for their chance at the occasional construction job or landscaping gig.
Many have blamed the Mission for the daytime dilly-dalliers, but McMinn says that claim is misdirected.
“The people who are standing in the mornings down through here are people who come from outside the community looking for day labor,” he said.
“Most of them drive here,” said the Rev. Tim Jones, the Mission's chief operating officer. “I get to work very early… and they're driving here as I'm driving here, parking and standing and getting day labor, and that's been going on for a long time. But they're not staying here.”
McMinn said they have invited the men into the day center, offering them coffee and doughnuts while they wait for labor.
“They'll go get coffee and doughnuts and come back up here and still wait because their ride picks them up right there,” McMinn said, pointing to the corner now stocked with picnic tables, placed by another local business owner.
The Mission's inhabitants, many of them economically challenged or struggling with addictions or mental illness, are encouraged to get clean, find work and a sustainable path to housing. They are only allowed to stay at the Mission during working hours on days of inclement weather. They're given passes to use Apple Country Transit. They're not encouraged to loiter.

Times are changing
“We forget Hendersonville is not just your one-horse town anymore. It's a growing and thriving city and that's why we want to renovate and do the things on Seventh Avenue to enhance it and I agree with that,” said McMinn, who serves on Seventh Avenue's design committee.
“I'm excited about the future of Seventh Avenue, but I want those people who come here (to the Mission) to have the opportunity to get their lives together and be a part of that new Seventh Avenue in a productive way,” he said.
At the age of 4, McMinn would sit on the curb of the brick-laid Maple Street as his mother laundered their clothes at a former laundromat – a stone's throw from the future site of the Rescue Mission that he would one day lead. McMinn would cross the cobbled lane and catch the train to his aunt's house in Saluda.
The train made the area what it once was – a center of commerce, buzzing with life, where townsmen got their news, farmers picked their tools, ladies bought their dresses and children enjoyed their first taste of an ice cream float. That train doesn't come anymore.
“Time has gone by so quick. I've seen a lot of changes down here,” McMinn said.
He's seen the demographics of the homeless population morph from power drinkers to heavy drug addicts and from old men to young children.
“Now you've got the crack addicts, the meth addicts,” McMinn said. “You've got heroin showing back up on the street. You've got the mentally ill at a level that 20 years ago you never saw. There was much … more resources to help the mentally ill. We don't have those resources today and other needs continue to increase. You talk about crack. You talk about meth. We didn't deal with that 20 years ago. Prescription drug abuse is just off the chart now.
“All of these needs and we're still here. We're still thriving,” McMinn said.
Twenty years ago, McMinn had a staff of two full-time and three part-time workers. The Mission now has a staff of 18 employees and 140 volunteers. Its 14,000-square-foot shelter is now complemented by an 11,000-square-foot day center and warehouse.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver

Categories: News

GE Lighting celebrates LED circuit board line

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 00:01
Along Spartanburg Highway in an unassuming building that's long been occupied by GE Lighting, a 50,000-square-foot, brand-new production line cranks out hundreds of LED circuit boards a day — bringing a previously outsourced operation onto American soil.
Unveiled Thursday, the LED circuit board production line is one of 12 LED product and component lines that have been added to GE Lighting's Hendersonville plant during a three-year, $40 million process.
Unveiled Thursday, the expansion has added 120 new contract and full-time positions, making GE Lighting an employer of 500 in Henderson County, said Dave Martin, Hendersonville plant manager.
In a video, GE's LED lights — used along local and national streets, and in the N.Y. Giants and Dallas Cowboys stadiums — were described by consumers as “robust,” “easy to install,” giving off “clean, white (light),” and “cost-saving.”
As more and more cities, public works departments, sports stadiums and other large consumers began making the switch to LED lights, “We could either choose to follow change or lead change,” GE Global Supply Chain Leader Ron Wilson said. “This plant decided to lead change.”
Three years ago, prior to the highly-automated LED production lines, “We probably had 20 people assembling LED products,” Wilson said. Now, 200 individuals at the Hendersonville plant are involved in the creation of LED components and products. And the turnaround time from the beginning of an order to fulfillment has dropped from a 12-week lead time to one week.
That's due in large part to the new rapid, automated production line creating the LED circuit boards that serve as the heart of all GE Lighting's LED products.
Advanced Manufacturing Engineer Eric Kelley walked visitors through the processes, noting that each circuit board has its own barcode so that in the event of a failure, the customer can scan the code and GE can pinpoint the problem, saving them from doing a mass recall on similar products.
As the circuit boards passed through multiple stages, dots of soldered copper were placed and measured by 3D imaging, before the LED components were placed on top by what Kelley referred to as the “pick and place” machine.
“You can never get that kind of precision doing it by hand,” he said, referring to the “pick and place” removing LED components from a rotating strip and placing them directly onto the copper dots.
From there, the circuit board passes through an oven to melt the solder further, cools down and is once again checked for accuracy.
“On our best day, we've made 1,892 of these on one shift,” Kelley said. “(Before), we struggled to get 100 a day.”
The addition of the high-tech LED product and component lines doesn't mean the Hendersonville plant is phasing out the older tech to make high intensity discharge lights.
“We still have a large customer base that buys the HID,” largely for replacements, said Manufacturing Engineer Ben DeRidder. “We're going to keep doing these as long as customers want to buy them.”
That said, several large companies are choosing to retrofit their stores with the energy- and maintenance-saving lights, and they can be seen locally in lampposts along downtown Hendersonville and at Boyd Automotive.
GE Lighting's Hendersonville site is already producing LED canopy lighting, roadway lighting, parking lot area lights, parking lot wall lighters and decorative outdoor products, and the company anticipates demand for additional LED lighting products.
As the product base and company grows, Martin said, “We hope the next generation of GE employees comes from right here in Hendersonville.”
Reach McGowan at molly.mcgowan@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7871.
Categories: News

Pedestrian struck by vehicle

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 00:01
A 52-year-old Hendersonville woman was taken to Pardee Hospital Thursday afternoon after being hit by a truck at the intersection of Four Seasons Boulevard and Dana Road in Hendersonville.
Henderson County EMS, Hendersonville Police and Fire departments responded at about 12:40 p.m. Thursday to the intersection, where the victim was lying in the roadway and the driver of a blue pickup truck had pulled over.
Officer Jon Wing with the Hendersonville Police Department declined to identify the driver or the pedestrian, but recounted the statement of the driver, a 75-year-old Hendersonville resident. The driver told Wing he was traveling east on Four Seasons Boulevard and stopped at the stoplight at Dana Road.
The man was attempting to make a turn on red. “He said he didn't see her in the road, then looked up toward Duncan Hill to make sure there wasn't any oncoming traffic,” Wing said.
When the driver looked back at the intersection, the woman was there, Wing said.
As of 3:40 p.m. Thursday, the woman was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Pardee, Wing said. She was functioning normally and will undergo a CT scan to check for possible brain injuries.
“The speed at which he hit her was roughly five miles an hour,” Wing said. “The way it's looking right now, we don't know if we'll have any charges.”
The incident is still under investigation by the Hendersonville Police Department.
Visit BlueRidgeNow.com for updates on this story.
Categories: News

Polk, HHS write another rivalry chapter tonight

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 20:28
Assumptions could be drawn from the past two weeks of football as Hendersonville will play host to Polk County tonight in the annual rivalry matchup.
Two weeks ago, Owen barely beat Hendersonville as the Bearcats scored 54 points on the Owen defense in a 57-54 loss. Last week, Owen dominated the Wolverines on Halloween night in a 35-0 rout.
The truth is, however, that in a rivalry game those things get tossed out the window. All week long, Bearcat coach Eric Gash has tried to plant the opposite into his players' heads.
"I told them to prepare for war," Gash said. "It's going to be a knock-down, drag-out."
That tends to be the case when two rivals clash. Hendersonville has had the benefit of two weeks to prepare for Polk. The Bearcats were off last week and that allowed some injuries to heal, but his team is still banged up, Gash said.
The same can be said for Polk. Last week in the loss to Owen, the Wolverines finished the game without starting quarterback Jamal Wheeler and linebacker Khiree Green. Green should be good to go, Thompson said, but Wheeler is a game-time decision.
Thompson's mission all week has been to motivate his team after the tough loss.
"Our mentality has been to forget about it and drive on," Thompson said. "We kind of got knocked down Friday night. We have to get back up."
And both coaches know that the emotion will run high tonight and despite the game being at home, Gash knows what's waiting.
"It's going to be a tough game for us," he said.
Radio: WTZQ 1600 AM
Online: WTZQ.com
Twitter: @BRNJoey
AREA GAMES
Pisgah (7-3, 5-1) at Brevard (0-10, 0-6)
Last week: Pisgah beat Smoky Mountain 21-0 and Brevard lost to North Henderson 42-34.
Last season: Pisgah beat Brevard 59-0.
Setup: A tough season for Brevard got worse last week. The winless Blue Devils lost late to a winless North Henderson team. Brevard has the offense to score lots of points. Tanner Ellenberger has proven this season that he can be a weapon. He spreads the ball around to plenty of people including Nick Cabe and Mario Casanova. The defense for Brevard, however, hasn't answered the call. It's been a tough year for the young defensive squad.
Radio: WSQL 1240 AM
Online: WSQLradio.com
Twitter: @BrevardF, @BRNDean
West Henderson (6-4, 4-2) at East Henderson (3-7, 3-3)
Last week: West lost to Franklin 42-13 and East lost to Tuscola 38-34.
Last season: West beat East 28-21.
Setup: It was at this time last season that both West and East were staring at the possibility of finishing the season winless. Both teams, however, have put those lackluster years behind them. West has rebounded this season and can finish above .500. The Falcons are led by Stephen Perron, Tristan Thomas and Tanner Bullock on defense. Those three will be needed this week as the Eagles offense has picked up steam as the season has gone on. The wing system has grown on the Eagles and it has shown. Last week, the East offense, which is led by Nick Lyons and Cole Revis, scored 38 on the road at Tuscola.
Radio: WHKP 1450 AM
Online: WHKP.com
Twitter: @BRNDean
Smoky Mountain (2-8, 1-5) at North Henderson (1-9, 1-5)
Last week: North Henderson beat Brevard 42-34 and Smoky Mountain lost to Pisgah 21-0.
Last season: North Henderson won by forfeit.
Setup: North Henderson got into the win column last week with a win over Brevard. Quarterback Trevor Craft led the charge throwing for two touchdowns and running for two. One of those passing touchdowns went to senior Dalton Whitaker. Whitaker had 63 yards receiving and the touchdown. The Knights will try and keep it going this week against a Smoky team coming off a tough loss to Pisgah.
Radio: None
Online: None
Twitter: @NHHS_Knights, @BRNDean
Rosman (4-6) at Tri-City Christian (5-5)
Last week: Rosman lost to Swain 56-36 and Tri-City Christian beat North Greene, Tenn. (27-22)
Last season: The two teams didn't play.
Setup: Rosman will be on the road to Blountville, Tenn., tonight. While there, coach Fred Whitman's team hopes that Gage Orr and Tanner Green can pave the road to victory. Orr has rushed for 1,099 yards and Green has rushed for 787. The Tigers have definitely advanced this season and will be playing for its fifth win of the year with playoffs just around the corner.
Radio: None
Online: WSQLradio.com
Twitter: @brianleechapman, @BRNDean
Categories: News

Legendary Brevard coach Robinson dies

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 20:28
As this year's high school football season draws to a close, the Brevard community has heavy hearts as one of its own passed away Saturday.
Legendary Brevard High football coach Frank Robinson, who guided his Blue Devils to the state title in 1982, died Saturday in Brevard after a long illness. He was 81.
During that state title run 32 years ago, Robinson's Blue Devils finished a perfect 14-0, capping it off with a 15-7 win over Bertie County at Brevard. In his 13 years as coach of the football team, he guided the Devils to a record of 105-42-1 and six conference titles.
A memorial service to celebrate Robinson's life will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 15 in the auditorium at Brevard High School. Moody-Connolly Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Former students and players have left condolences on the Moody-Connolly Funeral Home website.
"The best coach I ever played for has been called home. God must have needed his skills in Heaven," wrote former player Matt Cole, who graduated in 1982. "RIP Coach Robinson, until we meet again and thank you for the part of your life that you shared with me."
In 1988 Robinson was selected as the head coach of the North Carolina squad for the annual N.C.-S.C. Shrine Bowl Game. That was the year North Carolina won, breaking a seven-year winning streak by South Carolina.
He was a history teacher at Brevard from 1968 until his retirement in 1993, and when he was hired in his first year, he was named the wrestling coach. He led the Blue Devils to the wrestling state title in 1973 and is one of just a few coaches in the state to have won state titles in two sports. His wrestling team won 80 percent of its matches from 1968-70 and at one point had a 41-match winning streak.
Prior to coming to Brevard, Robinson was a native of the coal-mining town of Helen, West Virginia, and during his high school days, he starred on his high school's football and baseball teams. After graduation he entered the U.S. Army and became part of the 82nd Airborne Division. Upon completing his service in the Army, he used the GI bill along with a football scholarship to attend Appalachian State Teachers College (currently Appalachian State University), where he played football and earned his teaching degree.
After graduating, he went into the banking field, which eventually brought him and his wife, Judith, to Brevard in 1964. When the bank wanted him to transfer in 1967, he got into teaching and was hired at Brevard in 1968.
Robinson is survived by Judith C. Robinson, his wife of nearly 62 years; his sons, Franklin B. Robinson II and wife, Nancy, of Brevard, Mark E. Robinson and wife, Susan, of Brevard, and Eric L. Robinson and wife, Suzanne, of Waco, Texas; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and his brother, Bob Robinson, of Beckley, W.Va.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Jay Robinson, and his sister, Kethel Holley.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, those wishing to pay their respects make a donation to their favorite charity. Online condolences may be left at moodyconnollyfuneralhome.com.
Categories: News

Pigskin Picks: Can't believe football is almost over

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 20:27
I'm sad. Is anyone else sad?
I just can't believe this is the final game in the football regular season. I just can't believe it. Where has the time gone?
It seems like yesterday I was sitting down to plan out the football preview in July. This week, there are some interesting matchups. For most teams, it's rivalry week.
The two biggest rivalry games going down tonight are West Henderson at East Henderson and Polk County at Hendersonville. These two games are going to be totally interesting.
I'm sure West and East fans are feeling much better as this game approaches versus last year. It's hard to believe both of them were winless heading into the final week last year.
This year, both teams are much improved. West looks strong in a run game led by Cody Jackson and looks strong on defense led by Stephen Perron. East's offense has really been picking up steam as the season went on.
The offense came to the Eagles through offensive coordinator Sam Perry and the kids have really picked it up. It can be explosive as Nick Lyons hits the edge or Cole Revis pounds it inside.
On the other side, the Hendersonville and Polk County matchup is even more interesting than usual. The conference rests solely in the hands of Owen, but the last two weeks, both of these two teams have had interesting matchups against the Warhorses.
Two weeks ago, Michael Schmidt picked the Owen defense apart, but the Bearcats came up short in a 57-54 loss. Then last week, Polk couldn't muster much after a fumble on its first drive of the game en route to a 35-0 loss at the hands of the Warhorses. Everything went wrong.
With those two pieces of information in one's brain, the assumption is that Hendersonville should beat Polk. This, however, is a rivalry game so it's going to be interesting to watch it unfold.
With that said, on to my picks. Last week, I took a few chances to try and gain some ground in the standings of our pick ‘em league. What I didn't was double the amount of games back I was. Either way, I don't mind that. It's just fun to pick games every week.
And without further ado, here are my picks for this week:
u u u
Last week: 8-6 (ugh)
Season: 132-46
Games back: 8
AREA GAMES
Pisgah at Brevard
I hate to see the season end this way for coach Jason Lippard and his Brevard football team. It's definitely been a season to forget. I just don't see a way that the Blue Devils win this one, which banishes them to a winless season. I must say, the few times I've seen that offense, however, it's been pretty. This game, however, will be a tough one…Pisgah, 35-21
West Henderson at East Henderson
As I said earlier, this game looks a lot different than it did last year. Both teams look entirely different. The key to this game will be what the two defenses can do. Can West slow down that Eagles ground attack. Can the Eagles slow down the West ground attack? Now that I've said that, both teams will probably throw the ball 50 times each. In this game, I'd give the edge to the West defense…West, 35-31
Polk County at Hendersonville
I touched on this game in my column as well. I can honestly say that I'm torn in this one. Hendersonville's offense has looked nearly unstoppable for most of the season. Owen couldn't stop it. Then the Warhorses shut down the Wolverine offense. With that said, Polk County is probably going to come into this game with a chip on its shoulder. That could affect how well they play...HHS, 35-30
Smoky Mountain at North Henderson
For the first time this season, North is in a position to get a winning streak going. The Knights, led by Trevor Craft, beat Brevard in front of the home crowd last week. If the offense can move the ball like that again, I like their chances. I'm thinking that they may have figured out something last week…North, 31-30
Rosman at Tri-City Christian
In its final game of the season, Rosman is driving to Tennessee. I can honestly say that I know nothing about Tri-City Christian. After a Google search, I still didn't know anything about them, so...Rosman, 24-14
OTHER GAMES
ASHEVILLE at Erwin
Enka at T.C. ROBERSON
A.C. REYNOLDS at North Buncombe
Tuscola at FRANKLIN
Mitchell at AVERY COUNTY
Madison at MOUNTAIN HERITAGE
HAYESVILLE at Andrews
Cherokee at ROBBINSVILLE
SWAIN COUNTY at Murphy
Categories: News

Sports & Bacon: Dominance ends in 12th title

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 15:17
I'm sure Hendersonville volleyball coach Erica Cantrell got sick of me asking her about the road to the championship this season.
For some reason, the fact that the Lady Bearcats only played at home one time in the state playoffs really wrapped its arms around my brain and didn't let go.
It's hard for any sports team to win on the road. Home games give teams an advantage that often times is hard to overcome. There's a reason that the term "12th man" has become a staple in football.
Crowds can often sway a game or match, no matter what it is, and the student sections at volleyball matches can be loud. I saw it at West Henderson over and over in the postseason. The Falcon fans came out in full force, and it was brutal to the opposing teams. It makes focus difficult.
That's why I can't let go of the fact that Hendersonville went on the road through pretty much all of the playoffs and the results ended up the same. The Lady Bearcats were once again champions.
They didn't have the benefit of the comforts of home. Instead, they had to endure long bus rides, hostile crowds, and they never lost their composure.
It's a true testament to just how strong the Hendersonville volleyball program is. It doesn't take away from the teams that did win with all home matches throughout the playoffs. Last year, the Lady Bearcats were at home deep into the playoffs before hitting the road.
My point is simply that this title run was an example of Hendersonville's dominance. It was evidence to just how strong the Lady Bearcat program is.
It was that "battle tested" mentality that allowed Hendersonville to come back from seven points down in the second set in the state finals last Saturday to win it 28-26. That broke the will of South Granville. That led to a 25-12 rout in the third and final set.
The Lady Bearcats dominated on the road. They dominated after losing a key contributor in Victoria Schandevel with three playoff matches left to play.
Everything about how Hendersonville won its third consecutive state championship and 12th in the program's history was simply that – dominating.
BACON BITS
BASEBALL AMERICA TAKES NOTE OF GAHAGAN: Despite having six baseball players drafted in the first two rounds of the draft this year, Baseball America still ranks the UNC class as No. 6 in the nation. A key member of that class is North Henderson's Zack Gahagan. Gahagan is expected to make an impact as a freshman and Baseball America described him as an "athletic, powerful infielder." It goes on to say that Gahagan and three other members of that class look like "stars in the making."
HADLEYS' GRANDDAUGHTER WINS MARATHON IN INDIANAPOLIS IN RECORD TIME: Although she isn't an area high school standout, Charlotte's Alana Hadley has ties to Hendersonville as her grandparents, Tom and Jan Hadley, live here. Alana Hadley, a senior at Audrey Kell in Charlotte won the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on Nov. 1 in a record time of 2:38.34. It's the second fastest marathon time ever recorded by an American girl under the age of 20.
Categories: News

Second driver charged with DWI in Election Day wreck

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 14:47
A second driver has been charged in a two-car collision that temporarily stalled traffic on St. Paul’s Road Tuesday afternoon.
Forty-year-old Kathy Dale Hyder of Hendersonville had just cast her ballot at the North Carolina Justice Academy around 2:30 p.m. when troopers say she exited from an entrance-only driveway into oncoming traffic.
Hyder said she inched out into the roadway and didn’t see anything coming before she pulled out. Less than a second later, the front driver’s side of Hyder’s black 2003 Buick was hit by a Jeep SUV driven by Rodney Worley of Hendersonville. Both drivers were taken to Pardee Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Worley was charged with DWI, after Trooper A.S. Hill said he found Worley to be impaired by alcohol.
Hyder was cited for failing to yield from a private drive and for having a suspended tag.
Categories: News

Review: HLT's 'Master Class' gives intimate view of opera world

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 10:41
Hendersonville Little Theatre puts its second stage to good use with the production of “Master Class” by Terrence McNally.
Director Jim Walker turns the intimate space into a Juilliard classroom, inviting the audience to witness opera classes given by the famous diva Maria Callas.
The two-act play is set in the 1970s during Callas' stint as an opera teacher after her voice and career have dwindled. The music draws her into reverie of her glory day under the lights of the La Scala in Italy and her torrid affair with Aristotle Onassis.
The language and subject matter are not appropriate for children, but they give the play an authentic tone.
Kathy O'Connor stares down the audience in her role as the commanding prima donna. Even without her voice, Callas has presence, drawing the audience into her world. She pushes her students not to sing the opera but to feel the opera, to embody the roles.
O'Connor does an incredible job of being carried away by the emotion of music and memory, reaching dramatic climaxes in an almost exclusively monologue-driven play.
Isaac Fulk portrays the dutiful accompanist Manny, providing the stage with beautiful live music on a grand piano.
Cast members Tabitha Judy, Will Jones, and Katie Cilluffo fleshed the play out with outstanding operatic vocals.
Judy plays a sweet woman easily intimidated by Callas' fame and fury. She gives a wrenching performance of Bellini from “La Sonnambula.”
Jones portrays an earnest tenor pushed to find the depth in the lyrics.
Cilluffo shows us a young diva enacting “Macbeth” and challenging Callas.
If you are looking for a taste of the opera without the three-hour performance or price tag, treat yourself to an intimate evening at Hendersonville Little Theatre. This production of “Master Class draws” back the curtain and takes a look behind the scenes with arguably the most famous opera singer, Maria Meneghini Callas.
Categories: News

WCU band to be first in line at Macy's Thanksgiving parade

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 06:13
CULLOWHEE (AP) — It won't be hard to find Western Carolina University's marching band in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The school has announced that the 505-member Pride of the Mountains Marching Band has been selected to be the lead band for the parade scheduled for Nov. 27. Parade creative director Wesley Whatley broke the news to band members during a recent band tournament on campus.
The band is one of only 10 marching bands selected from across the nation to perform in the 2014 Macy's parade. The invitation to perform came in a surprise on-campus announcement by parade officials in April 2013.
It's the latest holiday appearance for the WCU band. The unit was invited to march in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
Categories: News

Samaritan's Purse sends supplies to West Africa; more needed

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 05:58
CHARLOTTE (AP) — For Dr. Kent Brantly, forklifts carrying pallets of critical supplies to a cargo plane was a good sign that help was on the way to West Africa where an Ebola outbreak has killed thousands of people.
But even with Samaritan's Purse's latest relief airlift to Liberia, Brantly said Wednesday that more supplies — and health care workers — were still needed to fight the deadly virus.
And he said he was worried some medical workers might not volunteer to help because of the threat of being quarantined when they return to the United States.
"There's been good news lately coming out of Africa that ... there might be a slowdown in cases," said Brantly, a doctor who survived Ebola. "But that is no cause, no reason, for us to slow down our efforts...I think it's important for people to know that this fight is far from over — and we must continue to have compassion on our neighbors who are suffering greatly."
Brantly made his comments on a tarmac as Samaritan's Purse volunteers loaded a Liberian-bound plane at Charlotte Douglas International Airport with 90 tons of supplies, including gloves, protective suits, masks and boots for medical workers. The international Christian charity recently airlifted more than 100 tons of supplies to Liberia.
Standing next to the Rev. Franklin Graham, who runs the charity, Brantly said the supplies will "save lives and stop the transmission of Ebola." Samaritan's Purse is building up to 15 Community Care Centers in rural Liberia, where Ebola care has been scarce. Liberians are being trained to work in the centers.
But Brantly said he's concerned that some states with mandatory quarantines for medical workers returning from three West African countries will stop some medical workers from volunteering.
He said the word "quarantine has a negative connotation" and will discourage medical workers from volunteering to help Ebola patients in West Africa.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people who are at highest risk for coming down with Ebola avoid commercial travel or attending large public gatherings, even if they have no symptoms.
The World Health Organization says the disease has killed some 5,000 people in West Africa and infected more than twice as many. The virus is spread by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, not through casual contact.
"I think it's really important that people returning from West Africa consider the real fear that the public in America has and behave themselves in a way as to decrease that fear," Brantly said.
"But I think that when we start talking about treating people like prisoners when they return from this sacrificial work" it "decreases our sense of compassion for the people who are suffering in West Africa right now," he said, adding "I think our sense of compassion needs to overcome our fear."
___
Follow Weiss at Twitter.com/mitchsweiss.
Categories: News

City Council to consider moratorium on day centers, shelters

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 05:58
Hendersonville City Council on Thursday will consider imposing a 60-day moratorium on day centers and shelters serving the homeless population looking to open in the Seventh Avenue area.
The moratorium would give the city time to consider a zoning amendment that would limit the number of facilities opening in one general area, "partly in light of plans for the Seventh Avenue corridor," according to a city memo to the council.
The Historic Seventh Avenue District is home to five establishments that serve the homeless population, according to the city. The Hendersonville Rescue Mission has operated in the neighborhood for 33 years. The mission's new Christian Outreach Center, a day center, opened in March.
The Storehouse of Henderson County, which has helped feed, clothe and care for the less fortunate since 2000, has operated on Seventh Avenue for nearly 12 years.
Nestled between the three centers is a little-known operation called People Being Jesus, whose Facebook page says it offers help to those in need and is the face of Jesus to those around them.
Joseph's House of Hope Outreach Ministries recently announced that it, too, would open a center serving homeless men and women a block down from the Storehouse, and more homeless service organizations have been eyeing the district.
"I guess the concern is we're putting so many of these service providers in one small area that (the question is raised)... is that healthy for that one area, or should they be spread out more through town?" City Manager John Connet asked last week. "There are homeless and individuals who need this assistance, but they're also in other parts of the city, too."
At least two of the five providers offer meals and food pantry services, according to the proposed moratorium.
"Often the clients of these services inspire concern on the part of local businesses and property owners because the clients are by their nature often transient and therefore not tied to the community," according to the moratorium. "There is the additional concern of panhandling and loitering on private property that often accompanies a transient population, in addition to concerns related to mental health issues that are more evident in transient populations. Minor crime issues such as public intoxication, drug use and fighting occur on an occasional basis in this area," the moratorium says.
To address the concerns, the city says its staff and Historic Seventh Avenue Inc. have been working with the Rescue Mission and service providers to quell complaints, but their work continues.
"The city of Hendersonville fully supports the concept of providing services to our homeless population and that such services should be distributed geographically throughout the entire community," according to the moratorium.
The city has "developed a plan to amend" its zoning ordinance "to allow day centers and homeless shelters in specific zoning districts with a special use permit," the moratorium states. "It is proposed that one of the conditions of the special use permit would prohibit a large number of these similar uses from locating in close proximity to one another."
If approved, the moratorium would be in effect from Nov. 10 to Jan. 8. The moratorium will not remove the centers already established in the district.
"The mission and the existing service providers on Seventh Avenue provide a valuable service. We just would like to direct any future service providers to other areas of the city. That's all we're trying to do," Connet said.
City Council will also consider a request to endorse a special food and school supply drive for homeless students in Henderson County. The student government associations of each of the county's four public high schools are sponsoring the drive.
The SGA representatives want to use the Historic Courthouse during the city's Christmas Parade to collect the items.
Other decisions to come before the council include: a request for a special use permit for a new developer to complete five units at Blythe Commons; a request to rezone five properties near the Signal Hill Road and Linda Vista Drive intersection from Residential Commercial Transition to C-3 Highway Business; an application for a $250,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant to develop part of Berkeley Mills Park; a resolution authorizing the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and the city to submit a grant application to the N.C. Department of Transportation to develop a bicycle plan for the city; and a suggestion to add stoplights to the intersection of Main and Allen streets, projected to cost an estimated $93,000.
The City Council meets at 5:45 p.m. in the council chambers of Hendersonville City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.
Reach Weaver at Emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmilyWORDWeaver
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Nov. 6

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 05:57
Meetings
The Mills River Town Council will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. today at Town Hall to hold a closed session on items related to personnel.
Events
The sixth annual Environmental Film Festival will take place from 6-9 p.m. Friday at Hendersonville Little Theater, 229 W. Washington St., Hendersonville. Cost is $15 general admission or $10 for students with ID and $7 for youths under 12. Tickets are available at www.eco-wnc.org, at the ECO office, and the box office on the night of the event.
Richard Fry, a local landscape expert and co-owner of Fry Nursery and Landscaping, will demonstrate proper techniques in pruning ornamental trees and shrubs from 1-2:30 p.m. Friday at Bullington Gardens, 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville. Cost is $12.
Categories: News

Cheers, say Transylvania retailers after alcohol sales OK'd

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 02:01
While some politicians were nursing a post-election hangover Wednesday, a coalition of outlying business owners in Transylvania County was toasting its victory on alcohol sales.
By an overwhelming margin Tuesday, county voters approved the sale of beer and unfortified wines throughout once-dry Transylvania County. More than 64 percent voted to allow sales of malt beverages at restaurants or convenience stores, while 63.5 percent gave the nod to on- and off-premise wine sales.
“We popped a couple of bottles of Prosecco last night to celebrate,” said Bryan Grosvenor, general manager of the Key Falls Inn and a leading voice in a group of businesses who campaigned for alcohol sales outside of corporate limits.
With the exception of the city of Brevard, its annexed areas of Pisgah Forest and the town of Rosman, Transylvania County has been dry since 1908. That's when North Carolina became the first state in the South to ban alcohol.
But now county retailers in unincorporated areas such as Little River, Balsam Grove and Sapphire can apply for a permit to sell beer and wine as early as Nov. 17, according to the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
That's the first business day after the referendum results are canvassed. Once those results have been certified by the Board of Elections, said ABC Commission Spokeswoman Agnes Stevens, retail permits can be issued to people such as Grosvenor.
“If you bring in the completed application and you have your appropriate fees in hand, it's possible to walk out with a temporary permit that day,” said Stevens. “Or it could be the next day, but it's a pretty quick turnaround.”
Grosvenor said he can't wait to get his permit, so he can sell wine to guests with dinner, offer champagne on New Year's Eve and host a planned barbecue contest with beer for sale in a 5-acre field between the inn and the French Broad River.
“In the restaurant business, beverages make the rest of it possible,” he said. “If I were doing a dinner for two guests, which costs $30 a piece, and they bought a $30 bottle of wine that probably cost me $9 or $10, it's like having another person sitting at the table and not having to cook for them.”
Tom Nudd also has high hopes following Tuesday's vote on alcohol. Not only has the co-owner of Cedar Mountain Quick Stop begun filling out the ABC application, he and his wife, Karen Wolf, built a beer and wine room into their store five months ago.
“I knew it was going to pass, once we got it on the ballot,” Nudd said Wednesday. “I've had like 30 or 40 customers come in this morning. Some of them didn't even buy anything. They were just like, 'Tom, you won!' But it wasn't a matter of beer and wine. It really was a matter of fairness.”
Members of TC Businesses for Fairness and Equity — a coalition of inns, B&Bs and convenience stores in dry areas of the county — sought the referendum to put all county businesses on a level playing field with regard to beer and wine sales.
Thanks to a legal loophole that allows any private club with tennis courts to sell alcohol, Jim Lorenz's convenience store in Sapphire has nine other stores and restaurants around it that sell beer and wine. But for more than 23 years, Sapphire Country Store could not.
“The way the laws were done, they were originally written to draw people into a city limit and make everybody else go to town (to buy alcohol),” Lorenz said. While special exceptions were made for country clubs and gated communities, he said, others like himself were left high and dry.
One of Lorenz's first visitors Wednesday after the vote was a Budweiser salesman from Asheville. That was followed by a call from another beer and wine distributor.
“The word's out,” he said.
Lorenz said he'd “be thrilled” if alcohol sales bumped up his inside store sales by 15 or 20 percent, but he points out that alcohol sales aren't the get-rich-quick scenario that some believe. The average mark-up on alcohol is roughly 20 percent, he said.
“For every $10 you spend, you're lucky to make $2,” Lorenz said. “If you have $10,000 in inventory, it takes a long time to get that back. Plus, you've got to spend $15,000 to $20,000 to build something just to accommodate it. People don't think about that.”
While Lorenz is a “happy camper” after Tuesday's alcohol vote, he wants residents to know that he's going to take his presumed ABC retail permit seriously. For one, he refuses to sell “singles” that he believes contribute to drinking and driving.
“I'll sell the bigger bottles of beer, but I'm not going to have a 12-ounce Bud on ice next to my cash register,” he said. “I've said all along, if I can't be a responsible retailer, I'm not going to do it. And I'm going to lay down the law with my employees that if they've seen someone who's had too much, they aren't going to buy from me.”
For Yusaf Hasan, owner Harmony Korner on Rosman Highway, Tuesday's vote offers the chance to increase his store sales by as much as 25 percent.
“Because my evening sales are dead,” he said. “They die after 2, 2:30... And then I can keep my deli open later, too. Now I just close it at 3, so I could keep it open until 8 o'clock at night now.”
Hasan, who's owned the convenience store since 2002, said his regular customers are already asking when he'll offer beer for sale. He hasn't started the ABC permitting process yet, which requires the county to sign off on a long list of requirements.
Hasan counsels them, “It takes time.”
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or than.axtell@blueridgenow.com.
Categories: News

Family plans to mark Billy Graham's 96th birthday

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 02:01
CHARLOTTE (AP) — Forget about another big birthday blowout for the Rev. Billy Graham.
Graham plans to celebrate his 96th birthday Friday with family and friends. Last year, 900 people attended a two-hour party for the North Carolina-born evangelist at an Asheville hotel.
His son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, said Wednesday that his father is in good spirits, he's eating well, and his mind is still sharp.
Two weeks after last year's party, Graham was hospitalized for two days for observation and lung tests. Graham uses a wheelchair and has been hospitalized for several health-related issues over the past few years.
Franklin Graham commented on his father's birthday following a news conference announcing this his international charity, Samaritan's Purse, was sending 90 tons of supplies to battle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Categories: News

East falls 3-0 to Statesville in third round

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 21:03
STATESVILLE — The Statesville boys soccer team is on the verge of history.
Wednesday night's 3-0 win for the No. 1 seed Statesville Greyhounds over the No. 8 seed East Henderson Eagles in the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A state playoffs marked the 23rd win of the season.
The 23 wins ties the all-time wins mark in school history for the Greyhounds that was set in 1999. That team went 23-1-1 and lost in the state semifinals.
Statesville coach Eric Hanson, who graduated from Statesville High School in 1996, played with some of the members on that 1999 squad and is proud to be coaching a team that is on the brink of breaking the record.
“I guess what makes it more special for me is that I'm an ex-player, myself,” Hanson said. “It makes it even better when it's your school and that's why I love it so much. The real credit goes to the kids, though. They've got talent, every single one of them.”
Statesville will play Saturday against the winner of No. 5 Newton Foard versus No. 13 Waxhaw Marvin Ridge. The score from that game was not available at press time.
The Greyhounds (23-1) scored two goals in the second half, one from Gavin Pometry in the 56th minute and another by Luke Gettys in the 72nd to make it 3-0.
The match was close throughout the first half and into the second as the two teams exchanged words with one another and had some scuffles along the way. Hanson knew coming in that his team would face a test from the Eagles after seeing how well they played in their first couple of playoff matches.
“I told my team these guys aren't going to quit the entire game,” Hanson said. “They're going to have to fight hard.”
Hunter Faust got the scoring started for Statesville just three minutes into the match when he converted on a penalty kick that snuck past East Henderson goalkeeper Oscar Garcia (seven saves).
Faust was one of a handful of players that got nicked up in the game as he left with what looked to be a shoulder injury in the 69th minute. Tyler Dacaret missed the match for the Greyhounds with a hip pointer, according to Hanson, and he hopes to have both players back for Saturday.
Statesville outshot East Henderson 18-5 with 12 of its shots coming on frame. The Eagles (14-9-1) only managed to send three of their shots at goalkeeper Ian Rushton, all of which he saved.
Although the Eagles failed to put up a goal and very little shots, East coach Aaron Chappell felt like his team played well and it was more of a factor of how talented the Greyhounds are.
“Statesville's good. There is a reason they're No. 1,” Chappell said. “They're a good, solid team. They pass the ball well and play very organized and they're just good. They've got size, they've got speed, they've got everything that you need to make it in this tournament. I give them all the credit for playing well.”
This was the second time in school history that East made it to the third round.
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