6PM IN THE CONFERENCE HALL AT BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
ON THAT PROPOSED NEW HIGH VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION LINE THROUGH HENDERSON COUNTY
Three Duke Energy planners and managers are expected to take questions Thursday evening from the North Carolina Utility Commission Public Staff regarding a controversial transmission line proposal that has drawn fire from residents in both Carolinas.
The utility commissioners, unlike a meeting held in South Carolina last week, are not expected to be present.
The forum will include three senior Duke Energy representatives who are working on the project: Glen Snider is a planning director and long-term system planner; Steve Wilson is the project manager overseeing the transmission line component and Robert Sipes is general manager of the western region.
Duke Energy is not expected to file formal paperwork with the utility commissions until late this year, at the earliest, and the forum could provide the most detailed comments from the company about the project.
North Carolina residents will also be allowed to comment on the project.
In May, Duke officials announced they would replace the existing coal-fired plant in Asheville with a facility fueled by natural gas and construct a high-voltage transmission line into the area, projects that together carry a $1.1 billion price tag.
The plan began drawing fierce protests in July, after Duke unveiled a web of possible line segments for the 230-kilovolt transmission line, which would run from Campobello, South Carolina to Asheville. They are expected to pick a route next month.
Duke Energy will accept written comments Thursday evening. Monday had been the last day residents could offer their thoughts to the utility though a website.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Blue Ridge Conference Hall of the Blue Ridge Community College, 49 E. Campus Drive in Flat Rock. Overflow parking will be available in the Patton Parking Lot on W. Campus Drive.
Officials had previously announced the forum would be held in a different campus building and have revised the location to the Conference Hall.
From The Asheville Citizen-Times
Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard in Hendersonville, NC has been nominated in USA Today’s latest 10Best Readers' Choice travel award contest. An expert panel selected Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard as a contender for Best Apple Orchard. The contest is being promoted by USA TODAY and gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice at http://www.10best.com/
Voting ends Monday, September 28th, 2015 at 11:59am EDT and the winners will be announced on 10Best on Friday, October 2nd, 2015 at 12:00pm EDT, then later on USA TODAY.
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard, located at 170 Stepp Orchard Drive, was Henderson County’s First Pick-Your-Own Apple Orchard. They offer apple picking, picked apples, apple cider doughnuts, farm tours, a corn maze, an apple cannon, and more. For more information visit steppapples.com
Deputies from the Henderson County Sheriff's Office took a report this week of a possible paving scam going on in the area. It was reported that
2 Hispanic males in a full size, white 4 door truck with no markings came to the home of an elderly female and offered to re-pave her driveway for $3,500.00.
The alleged contractors completed their work and were given a check as payment. When the victim and her son went outside to look at the work, they found their driveway had been re-sealed, not re-paved. Luckily the victims were able to stop payment on the check. Investigators learned the workers had gone straight to First Citizens Bank in an attempt to cash the check but were unable to do so.
The victim stated the two Hispanic males were clean cut, nice, polite, easy to trust. A hand written receipt left with the victim showed the company was using the name Paving Solutions with a South Carolina phone number.
Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald says that fly-by-night paving scammers often target Henderson County seniors with inflated prices and substandard work and he is urging anyone that encounters a person or sees a vehicle matching the above description to immediately contact the Sheriff’s Office at 828-697-4911.
FALLING ANOTHER 6 CENTS PER GALLON OVERNIGHT EARLIER THIS WEEK
$2.19 AT SOME AREA STATIONS
Average retail gasoline prices in Asheville have fallen 6.2 cents per gallon in the past week, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 259 gas outlets in Asheville. This compares with the national average that has fallen 12.8 cents per gallon in the last week below $2.47/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Asheville during the past week, prices yesterday were 111.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 24.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 19.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 96.4 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.
"Nationally, gas prices saw their largest weekly drop of the year," said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. "Prices moved lower in all but one state, Utah, with plunges at the pump throughout the Great Lakes as a result of BP's Whiting, Indiana refinery coming back online. The national average now stands at its lowest point since April, a fitting way to close out the summer driving season with Labor Day approaching. While oil prices rallied late last week, I don't yet expect it to impact pump prices, as they still have some catching up to do with the drop in crude oil prices. Since June 30, oil prices have fallen 23% while retail gasoline prices have fallen about half that amount, so gasoline prices will move lower again this week," DeHaan said.
For a complete listing of current averages and other fuel price data, visit http://media.gasbuddy.com. For fuel news and alerts, follow @GasBuddyNews on Twitter.
2015 Apple Festival
King Apple Parade and Grand Marshal
Each year, the North Carolina Apple Festival Board of Directors selects a person or group from the community to honor as the Parade Grand Marshal. This year the Board selected both an individual and group to serve as Grand Marshals. This year’s Grand Marshals will be John H. Rhinehart Jr. and the Staff from the City of Hendersonville.
Mr. Rhinehart, known to all of us as ‘Big John”, recently retired from the City of Hendersonville’s Public Works Department. For many years, he has assisted the Festival in various ways. The Board also felt that it was important to recognize the entire City Staff for all the work done by all of the departments in the City.
“Without Mr. Rhinehart and the City Staff, we would not be able to operate our community’s largest event.”- David Nicholson, Executive Director of the NC Apple Festival.
“The 2015 Parade Grand Marshals, John Rhinehart and the City of Hendersonville, are the unseen heroes of the Apple Festival each and every year. They are very rarely seen up on the street, yet they manage to keep all of the trash cans emptied and the streets free of clutter. Their long hours and hard work during Apple Festival Weekend is very much appreciated by the 2015 Apple Festival Board.” – Melanie Matteson, President of the 2015 Apple Festival.
The 69th North Carolina Apple Festival will conclude this year with the King Apple Parade. The Parade will be held on Labor Day, which is September 7, 2015, beginning at 2:30 PM.
WHKP News received word late Monday morning that former Laurel Park Police Chief Don Fisher had died Monday morning. It is believed he died of a massive heart attack. He was 55.
Fisher retired as Chief in Laurel Park in February 2012 and has been living in Colorade; he was in Colorado at the time of his death although he had been back in Laurel Park recently making arrangements to sell his home here.
Fisher had a long, active and successful career in local law enforcement before being selected to be Chief in Laurel Park. Fisher also was a candidate for sheriff in Henderson County later in his career. His first full time position in law enforcement was with the Hendersonville Police Department in 1982. His career spanned more than 30 years of service in Hendersonville, Henderson County, and Laurel Park in law enforcement. Law enforcement and his fellow officers were always important to Fisher, and on his retirement, Fisher said of his first job as a policeman "I thought it was the greatest thing ever and wondered why all people didn't want to do this.,"
He was a respected and valued friend and neighbor, as well as a trusted public servant, in Laurel Park for many years.
Arrangements will be announced later.
The WHKP PEAKS APPLE FESTIVAL GUIDE has just been published and is available in more than 50 stores throughout our area. Link to Full Story
STAFF OF UTILITIES COMMISSION TO HOLD PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING THURSDAY NIGHT AT 6 AT BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE;
OFFICIAL OPPOSITION STRONG FROM MILLS RIVER, FLETCHER, LAUREL PARK, SALUDA, POLK COUNTY AND FROM UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA;
CONGRESSMAN MEADOWS SAYS DUKE MAY MODIFY ITS PLANS FOR THE TRANSMISSION LINE;
DUKE TO ANNOUNCE FINAL DECISION ON ROUTE FOR THE LINE EARLY IN OCTOBER;
DUKE'S DEADLINE FOR ACCEPTING PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE PROPOSED LINE AND EXPANSION IS AUGUST 31 ...
Opposition continues to build to Duke Energy’s proposed 40-45 mile new high voltage transmission line through the western Carolinas.
A special---and earlier---hour was set aside Thursday night at Mills River Town Council’s August 27th meeting to give citizens another opportunity to be heard and to express their feelings. The Town’s “Commons Room" in Town Hall was again packed with over 100 people attending. Most were concerned with proposed routes through the Mill Ridge and High Vista neighborhoods. But others from outside the Town, and from such communities as Big Willow and Cummings Cover, also attended and expressed concern with over 40 elements of possible routes for the new transmission line…which Duke is proposing to connect a new sub-station in Campobello, South Carolina with their power plant at Lake Julian in Skyland. The Lake Julian plant is being converted from operating on coal to natural gas and is expected to increase its output and capacity many times over, ostensibly to meet the growing power demands in the western Carolinas
Other groups also were meeting in recent days. Fletcher Town Council heard from a packed crowd…and passed a resolution in opposition to the line through Fletcher and Hooper’ Creek. Mills River was the first to pass such a resolution, followed by Polk County commissioners, Saluda and the Town of Laurel Park. Henderson County commissioners have not yet passed such a resolution, although Commissioner Charlie Messer, a Fletcher business owner and former Fletcher Town Council member, has expressed his opposition to the transmission line. Petitions in opposition to the proposed routes are being circulated, citizen's and neighborhood meetings are being held, and some public protest demonstrations against the line are being organized and scheduled.
As meetings were held in the area last week, word came from Congressman Mark Meadows that due to the strong and wide-spread opposition to the possible routes for the transmission line, Duke Energy is considering modifying their plans. It was not clear what the “modifications” might include though.
The public staff of the North Carolina Utilities Commission will be holding what is expected to be a jam-packed public information session on Duke’s proposed expansion Thursday night at 6pm at Blue Ridge Community College. It is the seven member utilities commission that will ultimately approve or reject Duke’s planned $1.1 billion expansion, including the transmission line. All seven members are appointed by the governor, and confirmed by the General Assembly.
Mills River, Fletcher, Laurel Park, Saluda and other governing bodies and elected officials are collecting all the public comment they’re getting…and there are volumes of it…and passing it along to the utilities commission, to the county commissioners, and to state legislators from the area.
In a meeting earlier this month of Mills River Town Council, Duke Energy made it known they are stepping up their announcement date of which route they will formally propose. That announcement is now expected to come very early in October The whole thing will then be in the hands of the utilities commission, with a final decision expected from that commission late this year or early in 2016.
Duke Energy has set an August 31st deadline for accepting public comment, and opposition, to the transmission line.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman
Last Updated At 3am 8/29/15
Two guided tree walks along residential streets in Hendersonville’s historic Hyman Heights neighborhood will introduce examples of some of the best trees for urban settings. On Saturday, September 12, walks will be conducted at 10 a.m. and at 4 p.m. Space is limited for each 90-minute walk.
Reservations must be made by Thursday, September 10, by phoning Judy Frank at 828-713-6807. Details will be provided. The walks are open to the public at no charge. The neighborhood strolls will be enjoyable for anyone interested in trees and tree care.
Throughout Hyman Heights are mature oaks, holly, dogwoods, and redbuds, as well as unusual trees such as a Chinese yew and a towering dawn redwood. The guides will be Wes Burlingame, a nurseryman and a member of Hendersonville Tree Board, and Suzanne Hale, who is restoring one of the area’s larger historic gardens. The walks are sponsored by Hendersonville Tree Board.
“The wonderful character of neighborhoods like Hyman Heights comes from their trees as well as their historic homes,” Hale explained. “As we walk through the neighborhood we will see how local homeowners have planted and maintained trees over the past century to enhance the beauty of their homes, cut energy costs, and reduce lawn maintenance.” Hendersonville Tree Board is commissioned by the City of Hendersonville to provide advice on the selection and care of trees and shrubs in public places. The Tree Board also educates the public concerning the economic and aesthetic benefits of trees and shrubs for the community. The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Hendersonville as a Tree City USA for 24 years because of its high level of tree care. The city recently became a Bee City USA as well.
To make a reservation for the tree walk, phone Tree Board member Judy Frank at 828-713-6807. To learn more about Hendersonville Tree Board and its projects visit the webpage at http://cityofhendersonville.
As of this year, Rugby Middle School is one of six middle schools nationwide to be re-designated as one of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform’s “Schools to Watch®” for the fourth year in a row.
The national designation, applied for by middle schools on three-year cycles, recognizes high-performing schools that are academically excellent, developmentally responsive to students in early adolescence, and equitable in their provision of teachers and resources to all students.
“The Schools to Watch® designation validates that this school is really centered on the very unique set of needs that middle school kids have – academically and socially,” said Principal Scott Moore.
He said Rugby Middle excels at targeting adolescent learning by using teams of teachers to create interdisciplinary curriculum for 7th- and 8th-graders. Each team is comprised of a math teacher, social studies teacher, English teacher and science teacher, who collaboratively teach their group of the same students throughout the year.
Moore also cites Rugby Middle’s “One Book, One School” initiative as a tool to engage students in the same learning activity in a school community setting.
In its fourth year, One Book, One School has each student and teacher reading the same young adult book that features a character trait or action important for youth development – such as perseverance, as highlighted in last year’s book, “Bluefish” by Pat Schmatz.
“It’s our thematic focus of the year,” Moore said.
In Henderson County, Apple Valley Middle also received its third Schools to Watch® re-designation in 2015. Flat Rock Middle has received the designation three times and Hendersonville Middle received the designation twice; both schools are eligible to apply for re-designation in 2016.
The only other North Carolina middle school to receive its fourth Schools to Watch® re-designation is Ashe County Middle in Warrensville.