THE ICONIC HHS BUILDING: ”THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH A LITTLE MORE DELIBERATION”
A WHKP Station Editorial
What to do with old public buildings, certainly those that have stood long enough to distinguish themselves as being “historic”, is always a challenge. Sometimes the challenge is met successfully, like with the Historic Courthouse and the old train depots here and in Saluda. Other times what to do with them is not handled at all, like with the old Gray’s Hosiery Mill eye-soar that continues to crumble virtually in the center of town after well over a decade of being the property of the City of Hendersonville.
What to do with the 90 year old Erle Stillwell designed Hendersonville High School main building though…near and dear to the hearts of Hendersonville folks for almost a century…is a situation, we believe, as unique, fundamental down to the roots of this community, and understandable emotional, as the Historic Courthouse. After all, a whole generation began their education in that hallowed old building when the ground floor was EighthAvenueElementary School. And hundreds more, in the four score and ten year life-span of that community “centerpiece”, have started their adult lives climbing its senior steps, accepting a diploma on the stage of its auditorium, then waving good-bye to its impressive façade and majestic columns.
It looks like whatever is done will cost the taxpayers between 50 and 60 million dollars, at least. And we agree with the president of the HHS Alumni Association, that “…when you’re spending that much money, there’s nothing wrong with a little more deliberation.”
Laurel Park Mayor Carey O‘Cain, who holds a degree in architectural construction and who spent 35 years in the business, is also a graduate of Hendersonville High who wants not only to save the old building, but keep it in use. Under his plan, the Stillwell building would be renovated; a second 65,000 square foot classroom building would be added; and the Boyd property at Five Points would be used for parking, a 15,000 square foot gymnasium, and a 13,000 square foot vocational building.
We understand that the commissioners, the school board, county staff and a lot of others have spent a long, difficult, even gut-wrenching time looking at the situation…and that at some point, a decision has to be made and you move forward. Otherwise, you wind up with an un-resolved protracted mess like the old hosiery mill building on Grove Street.
But, like the alumni president said, when you’re spending this much money…the debt service for which will be a big part of the county’s new $130 million budget at a cost of ten per cent more in our tax bills…there’s nothing wrong with a little more deliberation.
And it’s not like the Stillwell building is going to collapse tomorrow. That building has been handling its age WELL, even since we were in it exactly half a century ago.
So we hope the commissioners will back up a little; put their commitment to whole new campus “on hold” for now; take a look at the O’Cain proposal and others; deliberate a little more; possibly cut the cost of whatever is done or at least spend the taxpayer’s money more to the liking of local taxpayers …and save and possibly renovate a building that is, as this whole issue has clearly shown, part of the very soul of this community.
By WHKP News and Program Director Larry Freeman (HHS Class of 1966)
June 24, 2016
Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson)was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, in recognition of his extraordinary service to the state of North Carolina.
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), a long-time close friend of Apodaca, presented the award on behalf of Gov. Pat McCrory. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is the highest honor the governor can bestow on a North Carolina citizen.
Apodaca, who has served 14 years in the state Senate and currently holds the powerful post of Senate Rules Committee Chairman, announced last fall that his current term would be his last. During his tenure, Apodaca has been a tireless advocate for the people of western North Carolina and the author of countless bills to improve the quality of life all across the state, including the nation’s first comprehensive response to leaking coal ash ponds and a proposal to make college more affordable and accessible for students and their families.
A presentation on a new location for the post office has been set for Thursday July 7 at 5:45 in City Council Chambers in Hendersonville City Hall....during the July City Council meeting.
As WHKP News has been reporting for about a month, the Hendersonville First Baptist Church is purchasing the current Hendersonville Post Office property on Fifth Avenue West. The church, which is scheduled to “close” on the purchase of the property July 1st, plans to level the post office building and construct a 141 space parking lot on the one and as half acre site.
As we’ve reported, current postal services will be temporarily re-located by October 1st to the larger postal service sorting facility near Sam’s Club at Highland Square. So far, no decision has been made on where to locate a new post office for Hendersonville…and it’s being reported this week that a public hearing has been set for Thursday July 7th in city council chambers in Hendersonville City Hall to inform the public on postal service plans and accept public comment on a new permanent location for the Hendersonville Post office.
Postal officials are quoted as saying the re-location project will involve a full continuity of post office services, obtaining a suitable location as close to the current location as possible for use as a post office, preparing that new site, then transitioning Hendersonville post office services to that new permanent location. Reports have indicated that new post office will be a smaller, more “store-front” type facility.
Postal officials are saying there will be no impact on letter carrier delivery and that post office box numbers and zip codes will remain the same.
First Baptist Church members approved the $1.4 million investment in the post office property in a meeting earlier this month.
Written public comments on a possible new location can also be sent to Richard Hancock, Real Estate Specialist, U.S. Postal Service, P.O. Box 27497, Greensboro, N.C. 27498-1103
EDITORIAL FOLLOW-UP ON THE ENCRYPTION ISSUE, WITH LOCAL SCANNERS GOING SILENT BY THE END OF THIS SUMMER
June 23, 2016
Following up on a series of station editorials opposing the encryption of all local emergency communications, or “scanner traffic”, WHKP and other news media in the area participated in a meeting with local sheriff’s, EMS, fire department, rescue squad, and other county emergency service officials on Wednesday to express our concern with this loss of public access to public information.
Those officials, who are definitely moving forward with this “encryption”…in which all scanner traffic will go silent by the end of this summer…say the county will providing those of us in the media, at a nominal cost, with a small hand-held device that will enable us to monitor emergency communications for news purposes. That may work, it remains to be seen, AND we’re willing to give it a try.
That may satisfy the news media’s part of this, but the public will still be denied access to public information, transmtted over public air waves, at the public's expense…and their scanner will still go silent.
While agreeing with us that scanner traffic and emergency communications is PUBLIC information and the public is entitled to it, these county officials maintain that the public is not entitled to it in “real time”. In other words, if members of the public request that information, it will be provided…maybe in transcripts or some other “still to be determined” form, but the public will have no access to it as its transmitted, through the air waves, in “real” time.
Emergency Services Director Rocky Hyder, backed up by County Attorney Russ Burrell, told us this encryption is mostly to protect the “victims”…of crimes and other emergency situations; to keep their names, addresses, and other identifiable information off the public air waves and out of the public’s hands. We understand their concern for victims and their right to privacy. But as we pointed out, EMS has been successfully protecting patient’s identity and privacy rights for years, while transmitting vital signs and other personal information, by radio, back and forth with local hospitals…all without encryptions, and without the loss of public access to public information.
Still, it’s clear that total encryption of emergency communications is coming, it’s already here for some local emergency services and will be for all by the end of summer, they tell us. That’s a $1.7 million “train” that’s already left the depot and it looks like there is no “return” trip.
There are a lot of “should have beens” here: the public, and the media, should have been told about this and kept in the loop from the beginning…not at the last minute when it’s too late for even a public conversation on the whole issue. As we’ve said since learning of this encryptions, it’s the PUBLIC’s right to know, access to PUBLIC information, transmitted on PUBLIC air waves, and all at the PUBLIC’s, or taxpayer’s, expense.
And as we pointed out in the meeting this week, the fact that this is only coming to us and to the public now, that it’s already planned, in place, and going into operation, can lead to skepticism, even suspicion, about the real motives behind it.
As we start down this road of encryption, we’ll be watching and listening…and trusting our local emergency officials…that it’s truly all about protecting the victims and not about secrecy.
As always, we invite your comments…on our comments.
By WHKP News and Program Director Larry Freeman
ONE DAY ONLY
Twenty-five years brings about a lot of changes in a show and its vendors, but the downtown Hendersonville Antique & Vintage Show always seems to maintain a certain quality. The show’s coordinators say that is in large part due to the watchful eye and generous support of downtown’s valued retailer Jane Asher of Jane Asher Antiques. As the show’s presenting sponsor, Jane Asher Antiques is the support behind the scenes, distributing posters and flyers and assisting with targeting this changing market.
The show is a reflection of the diversifying field of antiques, vintage and unique home décor goods and continues to see an expansion in number and type of vendors. Whether you’re looking for large furniture, a vintage toy or a classic sign, you’ve got a great chance of finding it at this show. How does the show manage to draw this array of goods? The existing shops in the district really set the tone, building the antiquing experience in downtown Hendersonville on a year round basis.
If you are a fan of picking or are looking for something special to add unique charm to your home, then the downtown Antique and Vintage Show is for you! The 25th Annual Antique and Vintage Show will take place one day only, rain or shine, Saturday June 25th from . Vendors will be on the sidewalks of Main Street from 1st Avenue through 7th Ave. Vintage Vinyl will play your favorite Rock and Blues Classics from the 60s, 70s, 80s in the 600 block in front of DADS Collectables and Antiques. Main Street and the Avenues will remain open throughout the day so stop by, enjoy lunch at a downtown restaurant, grab a dog from the hot dog cart or ice cream from a shop on Main and peruse the many unique items this show will offer. Special thanks to this year’s presenting sponsor “Jane Asher Antiques” and festival sponsor “Village Green Antiques.” We hope to see you there!
ANNOUNCEMENT MADE THIS WEEK BY BOOKFEST LEADER BILL RAMSEY
It is with a mix of happy memories and regret that we must announce the demise of the Blue Ridge Bookfest. A post-event assessment made it clear that the event cannot continue. The reasons are many and varied. Below are just three.
Attendance has not lived up to expectations. The public seems less interested in meeting authors than in the early years. Internet, e-books and audio books have grown strong.
Donor and sponsor funding have declined while the expense of bringing in authors has increased. The financial gap grew each year. The event did not charge admission.
Volunteers have not come forward in sufficient numbers.
Over the eight years we hosted more than three hundred talented authors and workshop leaders. We will never forget their presentations and their books. Their comments regarding the event were always positive and helpful. We send our thanks to each of them.
We have enjoyed some strong partnerships. Blue Ridge Community College and its Education Foundation have always provided space and support staff. The Henderson County Public Library has provided staff support and has made copies of the participating author’s books readily available. The Times-News and other local print publications and radio outlets got the word out. Malaprops served as our dedicated event bookseller. Local B&Bs donated many nights of lodging for visiting authors. Shipman Catering was always ready to serve good food. Blue Ridge Literacy Council, the Carl Sandburg Home and the Henderson County Education Foundation shared our interest in literacy and lent their support along the way. The event required a team effort and we had that team. Without them there would never have been a Bookfest in Henderson County.
Our remaining fund balance of $1,515.29 will be donated to the BRCC Student Creative Writing Program for use in publishing their annual book of prose and poetry.
It was a great run of eight years. We made many friends and had many mountain-top literary experiences along the way. As we move on, we would like to urge all in the community to support literacy.
Henderson County plans on celebrating Independence Day in a big way.
Entertaining crowds across Tennessee and the Carolinas for more than 15 years now, The Lonesome Road Band will perform in the courtyard of the Historic Courthouse from 6 umtil 7:30pm followed by Appalachian Fire. This event is being presented in partnership with Downtown Hendersonville.
Henderson County Parks and Recreation and Pepsi Co. will once again be sponsoring the annual fireworks at dusk.
The fireworks display can be viewed from downtown Hendersonville and the south side of Hendersonville, near the intersection of Highway 25 and Highway 276. A viewing map of the display is available online at hcprd.com.
A large balloon will be launched on the morning of the 4th to show where the fireworks display will be visible. If you can see the balloon, you will be able to see the fireworks.
County officials say, Please join us in commemorating our nation’s independence.
Music On Main Street Special Fireworks Celebration Concert
Visitor Center, 201 South Main Street, Hendersonville, NC
Bring a Chair / Admission is free
Special Fireworks Celebration Concert featuring WestSound
The Music On Main Street concert series presents a Special Fireworks Celebration Concert on , featuring West Sound. Henderson County will launch an Independence Day fireworks display at sundown. The launch site will ensure premier viewing of the display from downtown Hendersonville and the Music On Main Street concert area. Enjoy the concert and fireworks from the comfort of your chair at Music On Main Street from .
As part of the July 4th Celebration all military veterans will be recognized and those currently serving in our armed forces. All men and women having served in the military are requested to attend wearing a cap, t-shirt, or some other source of military identification and those actively serving are asked to wear their uniform to be honored and recognized.
WestSound plays Motown, Blues, Country, R&B, and the best of the '60's. The band is made up of three brothers: Randy, Oscar and Cecil Weston, plus female singer, Regina Duke. They play such favorites as: My Girl, Sir Duke, Super Freak, Billie Jean, September, 1999, Blurred Lines, and I Feel Good.
The Special Fireworks Celebration Concert will be held on at the Visitor Center, 201 South Main Street in Downtown Hendersonville, NC. Bring a chair and sit back, relax and enjoy the music & fireworks from . The seating area opens after , early admission is strictly prohibited. Hendersonville city ordinance prohibits animals in the event area. Alcoholic beverages, pets, backpacks,
TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR PUBLIC ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION
A WHKP Station Editorial
June 21, 2016-06-20
Time is quickly running out to STOP county officials from taking away your access to public information , whether on your own police scanner or through those of us in the news media who rely on and monitor “scanner traffic” to learn about breaking news stories. In fact, the decision to take your rights, and ours, away has already been made by some…and the only way to stop it may be by appealing to your ELECTED local officials who answer directly to the voters.
The plan is, and starting almost immediately, all sheriff’s, fire department, rescue Squad, and EMS communication, or radio traffic, will be “encrypted” and for you in the public and for us in the media, our scanners…our access to what state law and public policy has long said is PUBLIC information…will go silent on scanners. Some department’s communication is “encrypted” already, other’s will be soon.
We expressed our opposition to this heavy-handed attempt to deny the public our right to public information last week, but understanding that county officials plan to try and smooth this over in a meeting with the local media and others this week, a few more point should be made.
Point one: This isn’t the first time local officials have tried to keep scanner traffic from the public. Probably close to thirty years ago, they began “scrambling” police, fire and EMS and Rescue Squad calls. Before the taxpayer’s money had been spent buying and installing all that “scrambling” equipment, DE-SCRABLERS were already available, on the market, and in use throughout the community. As we said last week, anything that can be scrambled eventually can and surely will be UN-SCRAMBLED by technology…and the same goes for encryption.
Point two: What most of us heard on that “scrambled” radio traffic all those years ago, was chatter totally unrelated to law enforcement, some of it unprofessional, much of it unnecessary, and almost all of it unworthy of being “scrambled” at the taxpayer’s expense…and at the expense of the public’s right to public information. As we said last week, not that it’ll happen…but the potential for abuse always increases with secrecy.
Let’s be clear: we fully support and highly value our local law enforcement and their commitment to protecting lives and property. But we do NOT believe it’s appropriate or justified that our first knowledge of a breaking story or law enforcement, fire, or rescue incident should come ONLY from some “public information officer” or department “spokesman”….who, more than likely is going to tell us and you only what they want us to know. The public is entitled to more speed, openness, detail, and objectivity than that.
Those who are pushing encryption will tell us that in this age of terrorism and high-tech criminals, encryption is next to perfect, can’t be UN-encrypted, and is our best protection. We do not believe that ISIS is in our community yet…and if they are, the technology they’ll have is far more advanced than anything our $1.7 million taxpayer’s dollars being spent on this whole thing can buy…which leaves it of little or no value in protecting local lives and property in 2016.
Supporters of encryption will likely offer the media SOME access to emergency communications…but probably not in “real” time, and the public won’t have the same access to it, which is not fair to the public on the face of it.
To our knowledge, and we’ve been in this business a long time…and monitoring scanner traffic almost as long as there have been scanners…no law abiding scanner listener, not in the news media or in the public, has abused access to that scanner traffic.
All the more reason to scrap the whole idea…and spend the $1.7 million on common sense things like better, clearer, open emergency communication, on adequate manpower, and on good neighborhood policing….all while safe-guarding the public’s right to public information.
This has been a WHKP station editorial…as always, we invite your comments…on our comments.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman
HENDERSONVILLE, HENDERSON COUNTY, MILLS RIVER, LAUREL PARK AND FLAT ROCK ALL PARTICIPATE IN "AMERICA IN BLOOM"
America in Bloom Judges to Visit Henderson County, NC
Professional volunteer judges from the America in Bloom (AIB) national awards program will visit Henderson County, NC on. This is Henderson County’s third year as an America in Bloom participant, and is one of the many proud and passionate communities across America working on local revitalization programs with an eye to receiving a prestigious America in Bloom national award.
Henderson County joins Saratoga, CA; St. Charles, IL; and Midland, MI in the 30,000 to 50,000 population category.
In addition to a receiving detailed written evaluation from the judges citing strengths and opportunities for improvement, participants receive a bloom rating and special mention for what the judges deem to be an extraordinary project or program. Additional awards that can be earned are as follows:
- Population category winner
- Outstanding achievement award – the “best of the best” over all participants in each of the six evaluated criteria
- Special awards
- Community Champion
- YouTube Video Award
Population category winners are invited to participate in international competition via the Communities in Bloom program in Canada.
Judges will be evaluating the community’s efforts in the areas of overall impression, environmental efforts, heritage, landscaped areas, urban forestry, floral displays, and community involvement in the municipal, commercial and residential sectors.
The judging team members are Karin Rindal and Pam Turrell.
Karin Rindal. Her wide ranging business career in manufacturing and government includes time involved in international trade program evaluation and training in Total Quality Management ﴾TQM﴿ and Malcolm Baldridge Criteria for Performance Excellence. In 2004 Karin discovered the New Jersey Master Gardener program. She was appointed to the Board of Directors at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, NJ, where she organized annual plant sales and coordinated activities of volunteer committees including donations, raffle, and publicity and print materials.
Karin has won awards at the New Jersey Home and Garden Show for container design and for horticultural entries at the Newport, RI Flower Show. For two years she wrote a regular weekly garden column for the Millburn/Short Hills Patch. Since 2005 she has taught gardening and cooking classes to adults and children. After a trip to Germany to do on‐site research and photography, her most recent lecture involves the herbs and gardens of medieval cleric, Hildegard Von Bingen.
Karin currently volunteers at the US Botanic Garden where she has assisted with a broad variety of educational events, including presenting a class on sustainable container gardening. Through her work at the Botanic Garden on the Sustainable Sites Initiative she completed the requirements for the New Jersey Environmental Stewardship program.
Karin’s career began with a degree in Political Science and German, with a minor in French, followed by a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University‘s School of Advanced International Studies.
Pam Turrell holds a Sustainable Landscape Certificate from Dawes Arboretum in Newark, Ohio, and is studying Landscape Design and Maintenance at Columbus ﴾OH﴿ State Community College. She worked in partnership to launch “Greenhope”, a web based business selling native trees and shrubs as gifts. Pam is a passionate home gardener, interested in backyard wildlife, native plants in the landscape, and attends many horticulture‐related conferences.
To date, nearly 250 communities from 41 states have participated in the program and more than 22 million people have been touched by it. Awards will be announced onat AIB’s National Symposium and Awards, held this year in Arroyo Grande, CA.
America in Bloom is an independent non-profit 501c3 corporation. America in Bloom envisions communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play – benefiting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism.