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Updated: 21 min 23 sec ago

2 found shot to death in Buncombe County

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 07:40
SWANNANOA, N.C. (AP) — Buncombe County sheriff's deputies are investigating the shooting deaths of two people found in a home in Swannanoa.
Deputies were called to the home around 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Natalie Bailey told local media outlets that deputies found two people dead from gunshot wounds. Their names have not been released while relatives are notified. Investigators have not said what might have prompted the shootings.
Categories: News

E-cigarette tech takes off as regulation looms

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 07:29
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Just a few years ago, early adopters of e-cigarettes got their fix by clumsily screwing together a small battery and a plastic cartridge containing cotton soaked with nicotine.
Now, the battery-powered contraptions have computer chips to regulate puffs and temperature, track usage, talk to other electronic devices and even blink when "vapers" are near each other.
Federal officials say the technology race could make creating standards the devices, which heat a liquid to create vapor rather than burning tobacco, more difficult in the future. Unlike traditional smokes that are simply chopped tobacco rolled in paper with a filter, e-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes and the technological changes only make regulating them more of a headache.
At the same time, a rapidly growing market for e-cigarettes and the possibility that the devices could be safer than regular cigarettes have some in the industry worried that regulation that's too heavy-handed would stifle the technological innovation — and their businesses.
"I think it's fair to say that there will always be some degree of a gap between (data) and the latest innovations," Mitch Zeller, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "But that's the beauty of regulation because over time, regulation closes that gap. ... We will get to a point where new products have to come through us first."
It's unclear how quickly regulation will proceed, but the FDA seems to be taking a deliberate approach.
In April, the FDA for the first time proposed a set of regulations for e-cigarettes, including banning sales to minors and requiring health warning labels, as well as approving new products. The agency has said its proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products but the rules wouldn't immediately ban the wide array of flavors or styles of e-cigarettes or curb marketing on places like TV.
The agency has scheduled a two-day public meeting beginning Wednesday to discuss the science surrounding e-cigarettes. Late last month, House Speaker John Boehner joined House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton in writing to federal officials raising concerns about FDA's regulation of e-cigarettes, saying the proposed rules would "impede innovation and impose unnecessary regulatory burdens" on the agency and the industry.
Smokers like e-cigarettes because the nicotine-infused vapor looks like smoke but doesn't contain the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. Some, known as "cig-a-likes," look like traditional cigarettes and use sealed cartridges that hold liquid nicotine. Others have empty compartments or tanks that users can fill their own liquid. Users also can buy different batteries and pieces to build their own e-cigarette.
Ultimately the FDA hopes to require e-cigarette makers to apply for approval for their products before they can be sold.
That worries e-cigarette makers.
"There's a balance to be found between being protective enough and on the other hand not being too complicated for players in the market to innovate and offer new products," said Alexandre Prot, CEO of Smokio, which sells an electronic cigarette or vaporizer that connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth to track puffs, tally cost savings and possible health benefits from switching from regular cigarettes, and controls the battery power of the device, which regulates the amount of vapor produced. Smokio retails for about $80 depending on the model, and the company is closing in on selling 10,000 units by the end of the year.
The nation's biggest tobacco companies, which have also started selling e-cigarettes, boast their own technology. Reynolds American Inc.'s Vuse-brand electronic cigarette contains a microprocessor and memory chip that regulate the power to heat the liquid nicotine for what the company calls the "perfect puff." Altria Group Inc.'s MarkTen has four holes on the mouthpiece that that make the puffs more closely resemble a traditional cigarette. Lorillard Inc.'s Blu e-cig brand offers a special carrying case that lights up when near another vaper or alerts the user when near a store that sells replacement cartridges.
Another company is marketing an e-cigarette that has a built-in Bluetooth speaker and microphone to make and receive phone calls as well as listen to music, and others are selling vaporizers that can either use liquid nicotine or ground-up tobacco or herbs. Vaporizers are also commonly used for marijuana.
Other advances foreshadowed in U.S. Patent Office filings suggest a pay-as-you-puff feature where users could buy time credits on the Internet and then sync an e-cigarette via USB to control how much they can smoke, possibly as a way to cut down. Connecting the device to the computer also would allow users to monitor how much they use, perform maintenance and automatically order additional liquid or tobacco.
And with several hundred brands in the market, technology is a way to grab vapers' attention and will continue to evolve, Cowen analyst Vivien Azer said.
"We are far from the end of the innovation life-cycle as it relates to e-cigarettes," Azer said. "Manufacturers continue to innovate, and rightly so."
While evaluating e-cigarettes is "sort of a new frontier for FDA," the agency already has the expertise to regulate more advanced technology such as pacemakers, dialysis machines and MRI machines, said Dr. Daniel Schultz, a regulatory consultant with Greenleaf Health LLC and former director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
"If they can regulate all those things, I daresay that they can regulate an electronic cigarette."
Categories: News

Pisgah Forest man dies from gunshot wound

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 20:03
PISGAH FOREST (AP) — North Carolina authorities are investigating the shooting death of a Pisgah Forest man.
Timothy Wayne Grant of Pisgah Forest was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Buncombe County Sheriff's office, Transylvania county Sheriff's office and the Brevard Police Department are all investigating the case.
Buncombe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Natalie Bailey said more information will be released on Sunday.
Categories: News

Deputies investigating woman's death; person of interest sought

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 19:42
Investigators with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office are investigating the death of a woman found by a relative inside her home in the Stoney Mountain community.
Deputies responded to a 911 call at 441 North Harper Drive in Hendersonville at 11:36 a.m. Sunday. They found Margaret Kelly, 52, deceased in the residence, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office.
The cause of death has not been determined and an autopsy is pending. A person of interest in the investigation has been identified. Brendan James Allen, 28, who was living at the residence has not been located and investigators would like to speak with him, the release states.
Allen may be traveling in the Kelly's silver 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid sedan with NC license plate ALB-2314. It is believed Allen is traveling south out of the state and does not pose an immediate threat to residents of Henderson County, according to the release.
Anyone with information concerning the investigation is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 828-697-4911 or 828-694-2796.
Categories: News

Hope for hemlocks: Beetles could save species from pest

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 19:02
MILLS RIVER – John Humphrey cares deeply about his 180-acre mountain farm on Foster Creek Road. So when the retired engineer heard more than a decade ago about an alien invader that was threatening to wipe out his property's hemlock trees, he jumped into action.
The invader in question was the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect accidentally imported to the U.S. on Japanese nursery stock that has ravaged hemlock groves from Maine to northeastern Georgia since the late 1980s.
It was first discovered on the East Coast in Richmond, Va. in 1954. But lacking natural predators, the bug quickly spread into Mid-Atlantic and New England states, killing up to 80 percent of the hemlocks there. Soon after hearing that adelgids had reached Western North Carolina in 2001, Humphrey had an attack plan.
He found a laboratory in Old Fort that was growing a predatory beetle that keeps the woolly adelgid in check within its Japanese homeland, Sasajiscymnus tsugae, or “Sasi” for short.
“I bought 500 beetles… and scattered them around the principle areas of hemlock here on my place,” Humphrey said. “For a couple of years, I didn't see any results. But then I began to see some growth on the tips of the branches of the younger trees. Ever since then, I've seen new seedlings coming up all over the place and persisting.”
It was too late to save his more mature hemlocks, which eventually succumbed to the bugs. The adelgids latch onto the base of hemlock needles and suck out the sap, killing the tree's nutrient supply. But with help from the Sasi beetles, the 20- to 30-year-old hemlocks on Humphrey's property began to fight back.
Today, Humphrey – a founding father of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy – says he still has adelgids on his hemlocks, “but I don't have very many. If they're holding their own, they're not increasing, and the beetles just might be winning.”
The Sasi beetle is just one in a growing arsenal of chemical and biological treatments that scientists and land managers now use against the deadly bug. Where many believed a decade ago the eastern hemlock was destined to follow in the path of the functionally extinct American chestnut, experts now see real hope for its recovery.
“It may not be in our lifetimes,” said CMLC Stewardship Director Sarah Fraser, who has been working on hemlock restoration since 2007. “But it does seem like maybe we will reach an equilibrium, when there's enough of these beetles to keep the adelgid in check and people have protected enough seed-producing trees that they could repopulate the forest.”
With help from Sapphire-based beetle evangelist Patrick Horan, landowners have released Sasi beetles on CMLC conservation easements covering more than 5,600 acres in areas such as the Hickory Nut Gorge, Green River, Mills River, Cedar Mountain and around DuPont State Recreational Forest.
At Horan's urging, Transylvania County helped purchase Sasi beetles that were released at Silvermont Park in 2007, and other private and public landowners around Brevard quickly followed suit. Horan still marvels at the field test's results.
“It's much dicier to save larger trees with beetles, but that's why the Brevard thing has been so interesting,” Horan said. “Because you can walk anywhere around Silvermont, east and west, and see trees that are recovering.”
Entomologist Richard McDonald is even more optimistic about the hemlock's chances of recovery. The owner of Symbiont Biological Pest Management Co. in Sugar Grove believes another predatory beetle - one native to the U.S. - could tamp down adelgid populations across WNC within a few years if widely sown.
McDonald wasn't always so sanguine.
“This was the mindset in 2004: The adelgid is native to Asia, it has no effective predators here and the eastern hemlock is doomed,” he said.
But in 2006, during a meeting with a Forest Service geneticist, McDonald learned the hemlock woolly adelgid had a close cousin that had long co-existed with healthy hemlocks in the Pacific Northwest. In Seattle, he began collecting a native beetle, Laricobius nigrinus, that keeps the woolly adelgid in check there.
“All of a sudden, an earthquake happened and we realized the solution sat right here in this country,” he said. “We just started collecting beetles like crazy... I've been to Seattle 57 times and what I've done every time is bring beetles back to whoever needed them.”
After introducing them throughout the northern mountains around Boone and Banner Elk, McDonald said the Lari beetle – as it's nicknamed – will eat over 97 percent of the woolly adelgids in any given spot.
The predators - which can move two miles a year - now cover 50 miles in every direction of two release sites on Grandfather Mountain, he said, and the hemlocks are recovering nicely.
“Grandfather hasn't had a drop of pesticide since 2007 and this past season the average leader length of (hemlock boughs) was eight inches long, with laterals,” McDonald said. “They're just fountains of emerald green… Everything that hasn't died up to now, there's no reason why we can't save them mostly with beetles.”
But it will take a concerted effort to collect and spread the Lari beetles, McDonald said. Last week, he held a meeting at the N.C. Arboretum to recruit volunteers in his crusade to spread Lari beetles throughout private lands in the mountains.
Two-thirds of the hemlock forest of the East is privately owned, McDonald said, “so it's up to us. The Forest Service is mandated to save their land (and) they're acting very busy. In the meantime, let's get out and save our hemlocks. Let's take the beetles to the needles.”
Buying time
In Great Smoky National Park, resource managers have hand-treated 250,000 hemlocks with pesticides across 11,000 acres and released more than 545,000 predatory beetles, including Lari and Sasi varieties.
Park managers say they expect the beetles to eventually control adelgids as populations reach a natural balance as they have in places like Washington, British Columbia and Japan. The pesticides, usually injected into the soil around hemlock roots, are a way of buying the beetles time to get established.
Managers at the Carl Sandburg Historic Site in Flat Rock have seen great success using just chemical treatments, mostly soil injections of an insecticide called Imidacloprid. Since 2003, two years after the park became the first reported woolly adelgid site in Henderson County, managers have only seen three mature hemlock trees succumb to the bug out of 400 monitored.
“We have lost less than 1 percent,” said Irene Van Hoff, the park's biological science technician. “And what we're finding is in treating the mature trees, we no longer have to treat the small trees (with insecticidal soaps) regularly because we don't have that much adelgid in the environment. Keeping their populations down is definitely improving survivorship of the young trees.”
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or

Categories: News

Governor, first lady welcome public into their home for Christmas

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 16:14
ASHEVILLE - Gov. Pat McCrory stoked a small fire Sunday on the patio of his western residence on Patton Mountain Road and gestured toward a car chugging up the home’s steep driveway.
“A week ago, we drove up and there was a bear sitting in the middle of the driveway,” McCrory said.
Did the bruin yield the right-of-way?
“Not initially and we didn’t rush him, either,” McCrory quipped, poking the fire.
Bears, coyotes and other wildlife are common sights at the governor’s western residence, a 6,000-square-foot home situated on 18 wooded acres overlooking Asheville. It’s served as a mountain retreat for the state’s governors since 1964.
This weekend, the governor and first lady Ann McCrory held their annual holiday open house. The public was welcomed into the governor’s great room, den and kitchen to sip spiced cider and enjoy holiday decorations donated by regional craftspeople and artists.
Ann Hollingsworth, a Brevard city councilwoman and owner of Main Street Ltd., contributed to the home’s holiday décor, donating a Christmas tree and accents for the governor’s downstairs den that she arranged with designer Debbie West.
Cherokee crafts were featured on another tree in the home’s foyer. Ann McCrory pointed out how each of the wooden masks gracing the tree were hand-carved to represent the seven clans of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee: the Bear, Long Hair, Deer, Wolf, Wild Potato, Paint and Bird clans.
Asked if he planned to spend Christmas in the mountains, McCrory said, “If I plan to be with my wife, I’d better be up here. She absolutely loves it here. First, there’s the sense of serenity and peace here, and the privacy. And the view is second to none.”
The McCrory’s dog, Moe, also enjoys the property, the governor said. The only problem is that the chocolate lab-boxer mix, which was a rescue dog, “thinks he can interact with the bears,” McCrory said.
“He looks like a bear and he thinks he is one,” the governor said. “But if that battle ensures, my wife will want me to get in the middle of it and I know what would happen there. We didn’t bring him today, but he’ll be up probably in the next week or two.”
The governor’s western residence was built in 1939 by Tom Briner, owner of Good Humor Ice Cream. It was eventually obtained by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, which donated it to the state. The residence is available for use by civic groups, nonprofits, places of worship and government agencies.
Standing under the great room’s mantle, Madelyn Meyer – one of two members of the Western Residence Board of Directors from Brevard – admired the view through the room’s glass wall. The nonprofit board provides support for the home’s use and maintenance.
“We keep trying to find new artists, because there’s no state money that goes into this,” she said. “Everything here - furniture, linens, the artwork - is donated.”
McCrory said every governor has left their imprint on the property, erecting flag poles and installing other improvements. His goal is a new fire pit just off the patio, which is slated to be built by mason Cody Macfie of Steep Creek Stoneworks in Pisgah Forest.
“He is a master of doing restoration,” said Beth Picklesimer, vice chair of the western residence’s board. “It should be beautiful.”
Reach Axtell at 828-694-7860 or

Categories: News

Police hunting hit-and-run driver

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 15:05
Hendersonville police have named the 33-year-old driver who they say backed an SUV over a 2-year-old boy at 721 Woodcock Drive on Saturday, injuring a would-be rescuer and damaging the home.
Lamar Antoine Lammons of 719 First Ave. W. is wanted on two counts of felony hit-and-run with serious injury, one count of driving with a revoked license, one count of reckless driving and one count of failure to wear a seatbelt.
Lammons is “still on the run,” Lt. Mike Vesely of the Hendersonville Police Department said Sunday.
He said Lammons is known to frequent the Green Meadows Community and urges anyone who sees him to call police at 828-697-3025.
Police say Lammons, from the passenger side, backed up a Chevy Tahoe at a high rate of speed, running over 2-year-old Nikeem Thompson of Hendersonville in the home’s driveway around 3:46 p.m. Saturday and trapping the boy under the vehicle.
Thompson, who was pulled from underneath the vehicle by bystanders, remains in serious but stable condition at Mission Hospital in Asheville.
A second victim, 49-year-old Marshall Waters of Hendersonville, was also struck as he attempted to push Thompson out of the way of the careening Tahoe. He was treated and released from Pardee Hospital on Saturday.
The home suffered considerable damage when the Tahoe struck it and has been condemned.
Categories: News

Historic inns deck the halls for holiday tour

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 02:01
Participants in Hendersonville's Holiday Tour of Historic Inns and Cookie Caper on Dec. 14 are in for a sensational treat as innkeepers went to work this week to create the sight, smell, taste, sound and feel of Christmas for their new guests.
They decked the halls, trimmed the trees, dusted off their cookie recipes and spruced up the proverbial red carpet with garlands and wreaths.
This year's self-driving tour features the Echo Mountain Inn, built in 1896 with stunning vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains at 2849 Laurel Park Highway; Aunt Adeline's Bed & Breakfast, a former boarding house at 1314 Hyman Ave.; Inn on Church at 201 Third Ave. West, the last surviving example of the many hotels that once thrived downtown; Claddagh Inn, built in 1897 at 755 N. Main St.; the 1898 Waverly Inn at 783 N. Main St.; the Elizabeth Leigh Inn, a Colonial Revival 1893 home at 908 W. Fifth Ave.; and Pinebrook Manor Inn, one of the oldest historic estates in Hendersonville at 2701 Kanuga Road.
Guests next Sunday will be treated to the warmth of a crackling fire, hot chocolate and hot apple cider at Echo Mountain Inn. Newcomers to the 1898 Waverly Inn will be greeted with the crisp smell of fresh evergreens that don its entrance to a twinkling winter wonderland.
Waverly owner and innkeeper Diane Sheiry was folding layers of metallic ribbon in between the pegs of a bow maker tool Wednesday to "Carolina in the fall" music. Piles of decorations and boxes prevented her from getting to the stereo system to change the tunes to Christmas carols, she said, but the feel of Christmas was already in the air.
The Atlanta native has owned and operated the 15-room inn with her husband, John, for 27 years. The Waverly has been a regular feature on the city's tour, but new decorations await guests this year.
The goal is to keep things fresh, Sheiry said as she sorted through a box of evergreen branches that would soon adorn the inn's entrance.
"This is what they're going to smell when they walk in the front door," she said, holding up a branch of a fragrant conifer shipped from Vermont. "Every year you just sort of do something new and it's fun."
One of the new features is a lighted wreath, which glows softly in the Waverly's front hall. Christmas trees lit up the corners of rooms near the entrance leading to a stairway in the heart of the house, wrapped in garland.
"Most of the time we go over the top and this year I wanted it where I could see everything," she said, explaining a layout where a visitor's line of vision would not escape the signs of the yuletide season. To commemorate the occasion, Sheiry encourages guests to take photos, which can be entered into a contest on the Waverly's Facebook page at
The participant's photo with the most likes by midnight Dec. 31 will win the inn's Ultimate Southern Hospitality Package, which includes four days and three nights of luxury living in Western North Carolina.
"It was a great way to generate really cool pictures," she said, adding that goals for both the contest and the holiday tour are to attract new eyes to the places around them.
Sheiry says she loves the tour. "It sort of gets you really in the spirit," she said. "It also gets people in my inn."
Echo Mountain Inn
Innkeeper of the Echo Mountain Inn Greg Fortier agreed the tour opens an avenue for great publicity.
"What I like about the inn tour and about being part of it is that it brings people up here, because Laurel Park is just really beautiful and it's really peaceful," Fortier said.
Jump Off Rock continues to lure the crowds up the mountain, but a Hebron Road cutoff leads many travelers away from Fortier's inn. Poplar Lodge used to draw the crowds, but it closed at the end of 2009 after falling prey to the Great Recession.
"You really need to come up here for a reason now instead of just driving through," Fortier said. "Having 300 or 400 people actually coming back here and looking through the property and being here kind of is reviving it a little bit because we're so far away, but we're still in existence too."
Nearly 300 tickets were sold for the 2012 tour. The Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission anticipates 400 tickets will be sold this year and for the first time ever, tour-goers will be able to purchase their tickets online at
The original house of the 33-room Echo Mountain Inn, with its 11 fireplaces, shuffleboard court and pool, was built as a private summer home for John and Jessie Patterson of Jacksonville, Fla., in 1896. Fortier estimates they'll be showing guests at least eight rooms and three or four of the fireplaces, decked with an attic full of ornaments.
The self-described "misplaced Canadian" from Prince Edward Island ascended a tall ladder Wednesday afternoon to decorate a second-floor window sill of the inn. The nearly 60-degree weather outside had him in short sleeves.
"It's kind of weird to be putting your Christmas lights up in a T-shirt because for us (back home), we've already got a foot of snow," he said with a laugh.
Fortier said they just started really sprucing up for the tour after the Thanksgiving weekend. He was determined to have the decorations up in time for the Laurel Park Christmas party Saturday night.
This year will mark Echo Mountain Inn's second time on the city's biannual holiday tour of historic inns, which started in 2003. The inn first participated in 2005 and Fortier said they were encouraged to rejoin the tour by guests, who stayed at the inn while they went on the last tour in 2012.
"It's a lot of work but there's good feedback to it," he said. "I think the most feedback that we get is from our villages."
Fortier pointed to three different miniature villages alive with winter scenes on mantles and window sills inside the inn. Christmas tunes played as he prepared the inn for the ultimate "grandma's house" experience. Hot chocolate, hot apple cider, a crackling fire and homemade cookies are on the menu for guests next Sunday at Echo Mountain Inn.
"It's a labor of love and we're definitely excited to have everybody come through," he said. "Being part of the inn tour, for us, is it revives that character within the community again. So for the people who have been here before, it gives them an opportunity to come back and see the changes. For those people who haven't been here and don't know we exist, it gives them an opportunity to see something new and different and think, 'Oh, maybe we can do grandma's 90th birthday there next summer.'"
Each inn is encouraged to have 600-700 cookies on hand for guests during the event. Sheiry says she isn't sure what kind they'll have, but Fortier knows that one of the cookies in his guest bags will be white chocolate macadamia nut.
Reach Weaver at or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at or on Facebook at
Categories: News

Jackson Hole woman recalls Pearl Harbor attack

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 02:01
JACKSON — All was tranquil on the hillside above the city of Honolulu on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, as 9-year-old Gainor Lloyd lay in bed reading a book.
When she heard explosions outside, she looked out her bedroom window to see bombs hitting the city on the island of Oahu. She raced down the hall to tell her parents.
"My mother just rolled over and said, 'It's just military practice,'" 82-year-old Jackson Hole resident Gainor Bennett recalled. "I said, 'The bombs are hitting the city. They're not offshore.'"
Her parents turned on the radio and discovered that Japanese planes were bombing ships in Pearl Harbor.
The Lloyd family lined up along their living room window and watched airplanes fly by. Upon realizing that the glass could shatter, they moved outside to gawk at the spectacle.
"I remember seeing a Japanese fighter plane fly by," Bennett said, "a silver plane with the red sun on the side of it."
At that moment, life in a tropical paradise was forever changed for the daughter of a pineapple businessman. The coming days, weeks and years were spent under military control and nightly curfews and without any visible lights at night.
Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, "a date which will live in infamy," as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said the following day when asking Congress to declare war.
The attack, which claimed more than 2,400 American lives, left people feeling violated and afraid, Bennett said.
"When they talk about 9/11 today and say that's the first time we've ever been bombed," Bennett said, "to those of us who lived in Hawaii, it was a very real attack by a foreign party right out of the blue.
"No one imagined that Japan, from 4,000 miles across the Pacific, was going to come and attack," Bennett said. "It was an amazing concept."
The surprise factor does invite comparison to the 2001 attack, though.
"Who would have ever imagined someone could hijack a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center?" Bennett said. "And with such devastating results?"
The bombs the Lloyd family saw hitting Honolulu likely weren't meant for civilians, Bennett said. They were from high-altitude bombers whose crews "hadn't judged the strength of the trade winds adequately."
Bennett's mother, Margaret Lloyd, picked up the telephone and called her minister. She advised him to turn on his radio and not drive to the church because of the danger of airplanes strafing any moving vehicles.
"His car was strafed as he was driving to church," Bennett said.
Radio announcers advised island residents to hurry to fill their bathtubs for drinking water in case the city's supply was interrupted, Bennett recalled.
"They kept repeating: 'Do not go out on the street. Fill your bathtubs with water,'" she said.
Next came darker news.
"They said we're now under martial law," Bennett said. "The military took over completely. They said it'll be a total blackout tonight, no lights. Prepare any food before it gets dark."
Military officials were afraid of nighttime air attacks, Bennett said.
"If you had a light shining onto the street, military people would come and shoot the light out," Bennett said. "They didn't want anyone signaling the Japanese. They wanted no light to escape to guide anybody in."
Those first few days were the hardest before the family could cover some of the home's abundant windows with tar paper. Her mother's sewing room had only two small windows, so that was the easiest to black out, Bennett said.
In the short days of December and January, the family would "get something to eat and then crawl into our little dark places," Bennett said.
It would be almost three years before the curfew was lifted and homes were allowed to be lighted again at night without window coverings.
"You couldn't have dates or parties," Bennett said. "You couldn't go over to somebody's house unless you spent the night. You couldn't be on the street. Totally no traffic on the roads, totally blacked out. It was a different way to grow up."
A pineapple cannery that Bennett's father, Robert Lloyd, oversaw was retrofitted to package military rations.
School classes were held in people's homes for a time because the military seized all the schools to use them for troops, Bennett said.
Eventually some elementary schools reopened, but no buses were available, so everyone walked to school, toting along their government-issued ID cards and gas masks.
Troops busied themselves building a huge barbed-wire fence around the large high school campus just below the Lloyd property. They weren't immune to the kindness of neighbors, Bennett said.
"It was hot and they'd be working on the fence, and mother would come down with lemonade and cookies," Bennett recalled. "She finally said, 'My children have to walk to school, and they have to go right through that area. If they have to go around, it will add more than a mile to their walk.' So they put in a gate for my brother and I to walk to school. My mother bribed them."
The war ended when Gainor was a teenager. She went to college at Stanford and flew off to New York, where she worked a stint for Conde Nast, the publisher of Vogue, before meeting Joe Bennett, a handsome man from Minnesota.
They bought property in John Dodge in 1988 and moved to Jackson Hole full time shortly thereafter.
Her brother, Alan Lloyd, who was 13 when Pearl Harbor was attacked, remained fascinated by the military and the history of the battle.
After college at the Naval Academy and a few years working stateside as an engineer with power companies, he made it back to Hawaii, where he has lived and given lectures and tours of Pearl Harbor as a hobby.
Their parents, newlyweds who had moved to Oahu in 1928, stayed on the island the rest of their lives.
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Dec. 7

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 02:01
NORAD gearing up to track Santa Claus
The North American Aerospace Defense Command is ready to track Santa's yuletide journey. The NORAD Tracks Santa website,, launched and features a mobile version, a holiday countdown, new games and daily activities and more.
Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can countdown the days until Santa's launch on their smart phones and tablets. Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.
Also new this year, the website features Santa's elves in the North Pole Village. NORAD Tracks Santa is introducing the newest elf and asking the public to help choose the perfect name for him. Details can be found via NORAD Tracks Santa social media or in the “Name the Elf” video in Santa's North Pole Movie Theater at
Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD's “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 6 a.m. EST, trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa's whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to
Grant applications being accepted
The St. James Charities Foundation currently is accepting grant applications from agencies and organizations serving Henderson County. Applications are encouraged from organizations which deal with hunger and homelessness in Henderson County and those which are creative and innovative and whose needs are not met by other entities.
Applications requirements have changed. The new application forms are available from St. James Episcopal Church and are downloadable at
Applications must be mailed or delivered to the church no later than Jan. 31. For more information, call David Marshall, executive secretary for the foundation, at 828-694-6927 or by e-mail at
St James Charities Foundation is a social outreach organization founded by St James Episcopal Church in Hendersonville. Since its inception in 1988, the foundation has awarded over $427,000 in grants to over 90 agencies to support those in need in Henderson County.
Parents, students can take schools survey
The quality of a child’s education cannot simply be measured by end-of-year grades, which is why Henderson County Public Schools is asking its older students and all parents to provide feedback through a survey hosted by Advanc-Ed by Dec. 12.
“We want to know what those kids and their parents think about the education we’re delivering,” said Director of Title I and Homeless Education Matthew Gruebmeyer.
The school system surveys its staff, parents and students every two to three years, asking questions about schools’ response to parental involvement, communication from administration and staff, and teachers’ efficacy in the classrooms.
Parents’ and students’ responses to the survey questions are useful in meeting federal and state requirements, and aid schools and the system as a whole in improving its product — the education of children in Henderson County.
“It’s especially important when we sit down and evaluate our schools and plan for changes in our future,” Gruebmeyer said.
A postcard reminding parents and students to take the survey was sent to confirmed addresses earlier this month.
Individuals can take the survey at For paper copies, visit and click the link for surveys in English or Spanish.
The Atkinson Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:30 p.m. Monday in the media center.
The Hendersonville Planning Board will meet at 4 p.m. Monday in the Operations Center.
The Hendersonville Seventh Avenue Advisory Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Historic Train Depot.
AARP Chapter 8 will meet at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Kelsey's Restaurant, 840 Spartanburg Highway, Hendersonville, for the annual meeting and installation of officers for 2015. There will be a holiday gift exchange. Bring a gift for a nursing home resident, preferably warm socks. Info: 828-687-3930.
Blue Ridge Literacy Council will hold a volunteer orientation session from 10–11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the BRLC offices on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. For more information or to register, call 696-3811.
The Carolina Camera Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Tryon Fine Art Center's Mahler Room, 34 Melrose Ave., Tryon. Club member Vince Verrecchio will be presenting “Mindsight: The 6 C's of a Photographer's Reality,” which is designed to stimulate photographer's understanding of why they shoot. Club members will then present two to three of their all-time favorites at the meeting as a basis for a discussion of these ideas.
First Baptist Church of East Flat Rock will hold the next MANNA food distribution from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday in the fellowship hall, 2227 Spartanburg Highway, East Flat Rock. Participants are asked to bring their own bags and small boxes. Handicapped access available. Info: 692-0765.
“Have an Oops-Free Holiday with Your Dog” training sessions will be held at noon and 1 p.m. Wednesday at Henderson County Animal Services, 828 Stoney Mountain Road, Hendersonville. Reservations required by calling 697-4723.
Henderson County Democratic Discussion Group will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Mike's On Main, 303 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Come at 8 a.m. for a pre-speaker breakfast. Info: 692-6424 or
Categories: News

TDA pursuing branding, wayfinding initiatives

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 23:18
The Tourism Development Authority (TDA) is pursuing a comprehensive branding initiative, as well as a wayfinding signage program throughout Hendersonville.
Shannon Clarke, chairman of the Board of Directors for the TDA, took some time to explain exactly what these developments mean for Henderson County.
Q: As chairman of the Board of Directors, what are the board’s goals for the TDA?
A: We’re focused on economic development. I believe that we’re doing the things that are necessary to help every tourism-related business, not just the accommodations but all those other folks that really benefit from people coming to our county.
For me, I have two small children, so for them to grow up in area where they can be involved in outdoor recreation, and have a lot of choices for things to do, is important to me as a parent. I want them to have a safe place to grow up, a really fun place. And then, if we’re doing our part as far as economic development, we’re bringing industry here so that once my children have their education in place, there are jobs here that will allow them to stay close by. So that’s important to me, that the overall quality of life for my family becomes better. And I hope that we make that available for lots of other folks in our area as well.
Q: Why pursue the branding process now? What will that process look like?
A: We wanted to be the leader in hiring an outside organization to help us package who we are and what we look like to the outside world. Ultimately, we selected the Brandon Agency, out of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
What made them really strong was their recent campaigns to help smaller cities that are adjacent to large cities in differentiating themselves. They’ve worked on a project for Beaufort, S.C. Charleston was the big city, and Beaufort became the secondary destination. It’s the same for us with Asheville; we need to do our best to differentiate ourselves from Asheville and our competitors around the area.
The first major goal for the Brandon Agency is the actual branding process. We hope to have that in place by early January so that we can announce what our brand is at the tourism conference at the end of January.
Q: What can we expect from the wayfinding signage initiative?
A: When we look at other municipalities that have a thriving downtown, one of the aspects they have is wayfinding signage to get people to their destinations.
The TDA partnered with the City of Hendersonville — which was also considering new wayfinding for downtown — in choosing the graphic design firm Merje. We want to promote Henderson County, and the main focal point is our downtown and Main Street.
Our goal is to make our city more attractive, and we liked Merje’s finished project the best. It was very versatile and very attractive. It can look different from city to city within the same county, so they can personalize those signs in their own area.
Currently, the City of Hendersonville and the TDA are the only partners in the project, and will be splitting the consultant costs of about $40,000. We still haven’t established the parameters for the other municipalities; however, we’re hoping that they partner with us so that we have one consistent look within the county.
Q: How will the new brand and wayfinding signage benefit Henderson County residents?
A: Essentially, we’ve done well over the last few years. We were positioned 17th out of 100 counties in the state, and in 2013 we moved to 15, as far as economic impact of tourism spending in our area. Our main goal is to sustain our position, and possibly move forward.
We realize that in order to gain any other tourism revenue and have potential growth, we need new tourism product in town, and we’re actively looking for new investors. The branding and wayfinding will make us more attractive to tourism investors.
In fact, the biggest benefit for residents, overall, will be that their city is more attractive. It may answer a lot of their guests’ questions about what things to do when they’re here for a visit. After all, I think it’s the residents that are here that make us attractive. It’s not only the scenery and being in the mountains, but the overall hospitality and the friendly atmosphere that’s in Hendersonville is what makes people keep coming back.
Michelle Fleming is communications coordinator for the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority. She can be reached at or 693-9708.
Categories: News

Child injured when truck backs into home

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 19:22
Hendersonville police responded when a driver backed into a home at 721 Woodcock Drive on Saturday afternoon.
A child was run over by the SUV and was transported immediately by the mother to Pardee Hospital, where they were then taken by EMS to Mission Hospital. Lt. Mike Vesely said the child had tire marks on his chest and back.
The driver fled the scene. Vesely said they have no further details at this time and strongly encourage anyone with information about the incident to call 697-3025.
“We don't know if it's an accident,” Vesely said. “We don't know if it's an argument – we don't know anything yet. The baby and the mom, they're en route to Mission.”
Hendersonville Fire Department, Henderson County EMS, Henderson County Sherriff's Office and city building and zoning officials also responded.
Categories: News

Santa takes a break at Chimney Rock

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 16:17
With Christmas drawing near, Santa Claus left the North Pole this weekend to get in a little strength training at Chimney Rock State Park.
Despite the thick fog that hung over the park Saturday morning, the jolly man said his reindeer were able to make it in safely and were being closely guarded by the park’s rangers while he took time to meet with little girls and boys between climbing the park's chimney.
The “chimney” at Chimney Rock is a 315- foot tall rock formation.
“This is where I get my exercise and get in shape for going down the chimneys—it’s the tallest chimney in the world,” Claus said with a smile.
While coming down to Western North Carolina is a special treat for Claus, he said he feels bad about leaving the elves to handle work on their own at the North Pole.
“It is such a joy to see all of the smiling faces of these cute little kids, and they roughed the weather to get here today and I really appreciate them coming,” Claus said.
He did want to remind children to be nice and polite to their parents, which he says is very important.
“I think they could make things more peaceful in the world too if they pray for the soldiers overseas,” Claus said. “That would be a nice present for Santa Claus.”
While he’s in town, Claus said he’s taking in the awesome views and spending time with the people he’s met here.
“You feel so comfortable being here,” Claus said.
Talia Claus said she enjoyed getting to share the cookies she made with children who came to see her husband.
“I love it – He stays so busy with the elves, so it is my time with Santa,” Talia Claus said. “I love the mountains. I am not a flat-land person – love the weather.”
Santa Claus said Western North Carolina feels like a totally different world.
“The people here are so fantastic,” he said.
Wes Shields of Bat Cave brought his wife Laura Shields and their children, Emma, 6, Cody, 3, and Tucker, 1, up the chimney to see Santa Claus.
It was Emma’s first time seeing Santa Claus in action.
When he climbed the fence of the chimney to repel 315 feet, Cody said he wasn’t scared to watch.
Wes Shields said you don’t get a lot of opportunities to see Santa Claus repel, so he wanted to come check it out with his family.
“It is nice that there’s things like this so close to our house,” Wes Shields said. “We wanted to take advantage of it.”
For more information on Chimney Rock State Park visit: or call 625-9611.
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or
Categories: News

Brevard police investigate robbery at Little Caesars

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 14:09
The Brevard Police Department is investigating a robbery at Little Caesars Friday night.
At about 10:15 p.m., an unknown man entered the restaurant at 400 Asheville Highway, displayed a knife and demanded money from the clerk, the police department said in a news release. He then fled the store on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.
Anyone with any information about this case or the suspect is urged to contact the police department at 828-883-2212 or Crime Stoppers at 828-862-7469.
Categories: News

Special needs students blend with peers at holiday party

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 02:01
For a fifth year, special needs students from across Henderson County's high schools gathered at the Elks Lodge Friday for a Christmas party complete with a catered lunch, dancing and Santa himself.
East High Student Body Vice President Hope Erwin, 17, said she was honored to be given the opportunity to put the party together by the family that started the tradition.
“It started as a girl's senior project, and each year another memeber of SGA picked it up because we love doing it because the kids have so much fun...,” Erwin said. “And it is a time that is just all about them. It is one of those things where once you go once, you're not going to let it not happen.”
Members of the third period dance class from East came to the event to encourage students to get out and dance. While some danced, others sat and took time to share a meal with friends they don't see often or get busy on arts and crafts.
Alex Waters, 19, brought a bag of clay with him and made a little scorpion, a label maker and jack-in-the-box, which he showed off to his friends sitting at the table with him.
Next to him, Gerard Conejo lined up a row of toy cars and talked Erwin into racing them with him.
West Henderson teacher Michelle Edwards said her class looks forward to coming to the party every year.
“It is wonderful. This is a great opportunity for our kids to get together with the other kids in the county, because they do know each other and this is the only opportunity other than Special Olympics,” Edwards said. “So this is a wonderful holiday thing. It is a social thing and it is just wonderful. They love it.”
Edwards said many of the students are economically challenged and they don't have a lot a lot of opportunities to get out and go to events like the Special Needs Gala.
“We practiced dancing and they just love it. They all dress up because this is such a big deal,” she said.
Edwards added that as a teacher, it is nice to see her students in a different way. “We see them really shining because they're out there acting like normal teenagers. This is normal, age-appropriate behavior that they don't always get to have in the confines of the classroom. This gives them a chance to have a great time.”
Eighteen-year-old Hendersonville High senior Chris Ahlgreen said it was his first time at the event.
“I have never been here before, but I like this one, especially where you dance and have some food — a feast, and I am hoping for some Christmas presents from Santa in person,” Ahlgreen said. “It will be fun and great to see him.”
At the end of the dance, Santa called each student up by name and handed them a stocking filled with toys carefully picked out by the members of SGA for a Christmas present.
Edwards said her students get really excited each year when they hear Santa call their name.
“It is really real for them,” Edwards said. “I mean, he kind of gets mobbed up there... it is like a really big deal, but they have so much fun.”
Edwards said the event serves a wide range of students at their ability levels. Some students danced to the music, while others in wheelchairs joined a conga line.
“It just makes it more of an even playing field as opposed to other areas that are so restrictive that they could never get involved in,” Edwards said. “So that's why we're so thankful that this is done.”
Reach Bindewald at 694-7890 or
Categories: News

List of candidates for Endangered Species Act protection released

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 02:01
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released the Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection.
Twenty-two species from Hawaii and one from Independent Samoa and American Samoa were added to the candidate list, one species was removed, and one has changed in priority from the last review conducted in November 2013. There are now 146 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.
The service is now soliciting additional information on these species and others that may warrant ESA protection to assist in preparing listing documents and future revisions or supplements to the notice of review.
Candidate species are plants and animals for which the service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose as threatened or endangered, but for which a proposed listing rule is precluded by other, higher priority listing actions.
The annual review and identification of candidate species helps landowners and natural resource managers understand which species need conservation action, allowing them to address threats and work to preclude ESA listing.
In fiscal year 2015, which began Oct. 1, the service expects to propose or finalize listing decisions on 18 southeastern candidate species. A chart listing those species, their historical ranges and targeted Federal Register publication dates is available at
In the Southeast, the service is aggressively pursuing opportunities to collaborate with individuals, organizations and local, state and federal agencies interested in undertaking proactive conservation efforts for candidate species. This effort, known as “at-risk” species conservation, seeks to get good conservation work done and preclude the need to list species under the ESA.
So far, the effort is responsible for successfully removing more than 40 at-risk species found in the Southeast, including several species from the candidate list. The Yadkin River goldenrod and the Georgia aster are two examples of candidate species that have been precluded from listing, thanks to proactive conservation efforts.
Although candidate species do not receive ESA protection, the service works to conserve them and their habitats using several tools: a grants program funds conservation projects by private landowners, states and territories; and two voluntary programs -— Candidate Conservation Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances — engage participants to implement specific actions that remove or reduce the threats to candidate species, which helps stabilize or restore the species and can preclude ESA listing.
All candidate species are assigned a listing priority number based on the magnitude and imminence of the threats they face. When adding species to the list of threatened or endangered species, the service addresses species with the highest listing priority first. Friday’s notice announces changes in priority for one species — Sprague’s pipit — based on a reduction in the imminence of the threat from conversion of habitat on the bird’s breeding grounds.
The complete notice and list of proposed and candidate species is published in the Federal Register and can be found at
Categories: News

Community Briefs: Dec. 6

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 02:01
Music Trails, Heritage Area Partnership offering workshop
Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina/Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership will host a “Why and How to Connect to the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina” workshop for Henderson, Rutherford, Transylvania and Polk counties from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at Bullington Gardens, 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville.
Learn how to participate in the BRMT website, take home a toolkit for marketing your traditional music-related events/businesses and how you can become part of the bigger traditional music picture in Western North Carolina.
Cost is $10 per person and includes refreshments. Make reservation by calling Amy Hollifield at 298-5330, ext. 303, or email
The Hendersonville Board of Adjustment will meet at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Operations Center.
The Edneyville Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the media room.
The Hillandale Elementary School Improvement Team will meet at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the media center.
The Laurel Park Parks & Greenway Board will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at town hall.
The Laurel Park Planning Board will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday at town hall.
Categories: News

Hendersonville boys hold off Nelson-led North

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 22:29
Hendersonville jumped out to big lead against county rival North Henderson on Friday night but had to fend off a Knight run late to hold onto a hard-fought 88-82 victory.
The Bearcats also won despite a game-high 47 points by Knight sophomore Austin Nelson.
Everything was falling early for the Bearcats (3-1). Hendersonville jumped on North early and often with intense pressure that led to the frenetic pace the Bearcats want to play at.
It worked early on. Hendersonville led 20-14 after the first quarter but opened it up in the second quarter. Hendersonville opened up the second quarter on an 18-4 run. By the half, the Bearcats were up 54-28.
"They came out fired up," Hendersonville coach Marvin Featherstone said.
At the start of the second half, however, the Knights flipped the script. North came out with the same intensity that took the Bearcats out of their game.
An intense Knight pressure led to a dominating third quarter for the Knights. North, led by Nelson, went on a 24-2 run to start the quarter.
"Earlier tonight, we just weren't ready for their pressure," North coach Justin Parris said. "It took us a little bit to adjust. I think we grew up a lot in the third quarter."
Nelson scored 17 in the third quarter to get the Knights within striking distance. He added eight rebounds and six steals. Drew Williams had 14 points and six rebounds for North.
The big Knight third quarter pushed Hendersonville completely out of its gameplan, Featherstone said.
"We couldn't score so we couldn't get into what we wanted to do," he said.
When the game was on the line, however, it was a senior that stepped up big for the Bearcats. Bradley Schmidt helped build that big lead in the first half, but he also helped secure it in the fourth.
Schmidt had 10 points, two steals and a big assist to help the Bearcats maintain the lead.
"There was good pressure on the ball," Schmidt said. "I was just playing my man. I was in the right place at the right time."
That's happened in the last two ballgames. Schmidt scored 31 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four steals. On Thursday night, the senior had 24 against Thomas Jefferson.
"He's stepping up big right now," Featherstone said.
Earlier in the night, the North girls were dominant in a 53-17 rout of Hendersonville. The Lady Knights (1-2) led 32-6 at the half. North was led by Jonnie Petree's 18 points. Hannah Bracket had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Caroline Marsh had 10 points and nine rebounds.
"I think they looked like a basketball team," North coach Sue Moon said.
Her team "controlled" the game for the first time this season, she said.
Hendersonville will host Thomas Jefferson on Tuesday. North will play at West Henderson on Tuesday.
Categories: News

Area wrestlers advance at 22nd Falcon Frenzy

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 21:39
One weekend each year, the West Henderson High gyms are full of wrestlers from all over North Carolina, as well as from Tennessee and Virginia.
The event is the Falcon Frenzy, and now in its 22nd year, the early-season tournament that began on Friday night had a familiar face keeping things under control.
After both running the tournament and coaching his West Henderson squad in the past, Jeff Smith finds himself in the "weird" position of not coaching his grapplers from the sidelines.
"It is easier running the tournament and not having the obligations of coaching," Smith, who took the job as West's athletic director this year, said. "But we could not do this without the support of the parents, returning parents and even the alumni that come back to get their fix," said Smith.
Many eyes in the gym were focused upon seeing three-time state champion, Mitchel Langford from North Henderson.
Flashing his typical, dominating form, Langford took just 35 seconds to pin Evan Harkleroad to advance to today's quarterfinals.
Setting the stage to make a run at a potential 120-pound championship bout with Langford, Colby Sousa from West Henderson jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in his match, before cruising to a strong 7-3 win over Alex Roacha.
Four grapplers from Brevard, Logan Roth (132), Daniel McJunkin (138) and Tanner Ellenberger (195) all advanced to the quarterfinals with a first-period pin, an 11-6 win, another first-period pin and a second-period pin, respectively.
Two local wrestlers at 138, Parker Gillespie (West) and Paul Searcy (North) squared off, with Searcy jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead, before finishing off the match with a convincing 12-4 victory.
Showing well from Polk County was Dustin Calvert (145), as he racked up eight quick points, before pinning Austin Mosley late in the second period.
Advancing to the quarterfinals from East Henderson were Ethan Willis (160) who pinned Chandler Patrick (Polk County) with just 40-seconds left in his match and Garrett Ammerman (152) with a 6-1 win.
Coming back from a 7-1 deficit late in his match, Josh Bandy (220) from West, advanced when he pinned Selvin Gomez.
West's "monster" mat will be rolled out under the single, hanging light at tonight's finals that will start at approximately 5:30 p.m. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be held earlier in the day, as well as all the consolation matches.
Categories: News

Council getting earful on King Street parking proposal

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 20:49
After hearing from several concerned citizens over a proposal to add on-street parking to two blocks along King Street, Hendersonville City Council Thursday cautioned it wouldn't be taking action on the idea at its meeting.
“I know I've heard from people on this and I just wanted to say that no decision is going to be made tonight. This is just to throw the idea out there and get input and I've already gotten quite a bit of it,” Mayor Barbara Volk said with a smile as she introduced the agenda item.
Public Works Director Tom Wooten told the board that they studied the possibility of repurposing King Street's left-side lane (closest to Main Street) for parallel parking. The move would create an additional 20 spaces downtown, but shrink the avenue's three lanes into two.
They hired J.M. Teague Engineering to conduct a traffic impact analysis on the street between Second Avenue and Sixth Avenue to see if the city could change the three-lane, one-way thoroughfare into a two-lane, one-way road with on-street parking.
The study revealed that only two blocks, between Second Avenue and Fourth Avenue, would be adequate for the transformation, but the 200 block was devoid of a sidewalk next to the proposed spaces.
“To add a sidewalk, staff could do one in a week-and-a-half for the cost of about $300,” Wooten said. He wasn't sure, however, if it could be extended by the Sycamore Cycles building, which hugs the road on the corner of Third Avenue and King Street.
One property owner along the 200 block expressed opposition to the idea, Wooten told the council. He said the data could be included in the city's parking study to be discussed further with consultants and city staff at a later date.
“I think this is a very, very, very last resort depending on what the major parking study dictates,” said Councilman Steve Caraker. “I think this is probably dangerous at best and I've not had any positive comments about what's been presented to the public so far myself.”
“I've just been blasted, pretty much,” said Councilman Jeff Miller. “I respect you guys are trying to be creative with what we have. I don't knock anybody for coming up with ideas. I have a business just a block north of where it would all go and I have a hard time going along with it. I see the traffic in the summer and if you have everything bottlenecking there when two or three people are trying to parallel park, you've really reduced it to one lane.”
He said he also worried about emergency vehicles “needing to pass through there.” “I don't knock the effort at all. I just know that, personally, I'm opposed to this,” Miller said.
“I've been on council seven years; I've never gotten this many calls and emails as I have on this,” quipped Councilman Ron Stephens, adding that most were against it. Prior to the parking proposal, he said, he had heard complaints about speeding on King Street, which Wooten added might be calmed with on-street parking.
“The one reason that I don't support this at this point is because of the limited amount of parking that you gain, but I do see some positives to it,” he said.
Without a sidewalk shouldering the westbound lane in the 200 block, the mayor said she was concerned “that people would have to either squeeze through or nearly walk into traffic for a couple of cars. That I think would be, for me, the worst problem.”
“I think we can at least say that this would be something the parking study could consider. It doesn't look like it has a lot of support, but I think … (with the) different ideas they could throw their 2 cents in on this one as well,” she said.
“The majority may hate the idea, but at least they know we're trying,” Caraker added.
In other action, City Council:
-Closed out a Community Development Block Grant for Oak Haven apartments with a public hearing required to close out the grant process. No one spoke during the hearing.
-Heard the annual report of the Mills River Partnership, including the group's accomplishments and plans for the observance, preservation, protection and enhancement of the watershed.
-Heard a presentation on phase 3 of the Oklawaha Greenway's design and construction.
-Approved a variance to zoning regulations regarding setbacks for a new 115-foot-by-127-foot storage building at AAA Storage World, 730 Sugarloaf Road, and approved a request from property owners to rezone the property from Highway Business and Medium Density Residential to Planned Commercial Development. The motions passed unanimously. No public comments were offered during the public hearing.
-Postponed any decision for a reforestation project at Sheppard Park until input could be sought from neighbors to the vacant 1.37-acre parcel of land.
-Agreed to give the city 30 more days to study possible solutions to potential traffic hazards at the intersection of Ash and Ray streets, where cars currently park along the sides of roadways clearly marked with no on-street parking signs, near the Boys and Girls Club.
-Authorized the city engineer to negotiate and approve a change order not to exceed $536,257.63 to reimburse John D. Stephens Inc. for work with a landfill encountered during the Jackson Park Sewer Interceptor installation. The contractors ran across the city's old pre-regulatory dump while excavating the land for the new sewer line. Digging to a depth of 12 feet under the soil, crews unearthed old car parts, wires, barrels and other items once deposited in the former landfill. City Engineer Brent Detwiler told the council that the crews discovered approximately 500-linear-feet of landfill waste and relocated the debris to behind the baseball field in King Park for it to dry out before having it hauled to a landfill in South Carolina for disposal. He expected the final reimbursement amount would be less than the $536,257.63 proposed as a maximum limit in the change order. The city is currently working with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to clean up the former landfill.
-Recognized Julia Sellers for her 18 years of service on the city's planning board and her many years of service on the city's former school board.
Reach Weaver at or 828-694-7867.
Follow Weaver on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Categories: News