Folks on Hendersonville's north side saw a lot of black smoke rising up late Friday morning, and motorists found one lane of Highway 25 north in the vicinity of Opportunity House blocked off. A lot of water was sprayed onto that section of Highway 25 in near-freezing temperatures.
Hendersonville firemen were burning Mountain View Cottages, located just north of Sun Trust Bank, late Friday morning as a training exersize.
Joe Vindigni, the assistant chief of the Hendersonville Fire Department, said generous donations like the cottage make such training possible for firemen, who are required to perform training exersizes every year.
Mountain View Cottages has been owned for many years by former Hendersonville Mayor Fred Niehoff.
Skies will be mostly cloudy this morning with a chance for a few snow flurries. Skies will be partly sunny this afternoon, and it will be cold. The weekend will have a continuation of below-normal temperatures and considerable cloud cover. Some chilly light rain or drizzle arrives by late Sunday. Unsettled but increasingly milder weather will take us into next week.
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|Friday Hi: 35 Lo: 22 Maybe an early flurry; Becoming partly sunny & quite cold; NW wind 5-10 mph becoming light||Saturday Hi: 36 Lo: 26 Partly or mostly cloudy; Cold; Light SE wind||Sunday Hi: 41 Lo: 37 Generally cloudy; Some light rain or drizzle, PM & nighttime; Light SE wind||Monday Hi: 54 Lo: 40 AM light rain, then partial clearing PM; Noticeably milder||Tuesday Hi: 49 Lo: 45 Generally cloudy; More rain possible; Somewhat cooler|
Wednesday - Generally cloudy with rain likely, mostly PM & nighttime; Quite mild; High in the lower 60s; Low in the lower 40s Thursday - AM rain ending; Clearing & colder; High in the lower 40s; Low in the mid 20s
Black ice issues will abound for the next couple of mornings, so keep that in mind if you are hitting the roads first thing. After a few early flurries, sunshine will be back in greater force today, although temperatures will still be quite cold.
A cold air damming signature sets up shop this weekend, which means that high pressure will be nosing-down the eastern slopes of the Appalachians. This promotes more cloudiness, and perpetuates the chill. It’s also possible that we will have just a dab of freezing drizzle or light sleet first thing Sunday morning before cold air wins the battle. We’re omitting that from the forecast at the moment, however.
By late Sunday and Sunday night, more light rain and drizzle will break out across the mountains. Moderating temperatures will kick into gear early next week. One cold front will come through on Monday and stall-out just south of the area, before returning as a warm front by late Tuesday.
Low-pressure ejecting out the Plains will drag another cold front through here first thing on Thursday. So, it's not going to rain all the time, but there will be a few periods of rainfall next week.
Sierra Nevada has released the full brewery lineup for its new Burly Beers and Barleywines festival, March 28 at the brewery in Mills River.
This celebration is about high-octane beers. It benefits the North Carolina Brewers Guild. Dozens of breweries will there with some special malt forward treats. Sierra itself will have limited variants of Rain Check American stout as well as a new 1979 Stout. Tickets are $65 general admission, $30 designated driver at www.SierraNevada.com/BurlyBeers. It's open to ages 21 and older.
Here's the brewery lineup:
Abita, Adroit Theory, Allagash, Anderson Valley, Asheville Brewing, Ballast Point, Bear Republic, Blackhorse, Boulevard, Calfkiller, Cigar City, D9 Brewing, Deep River, Dogfish Head, Epic, Flying Dog, Foothills, Fortnight, Founders, Fullsteam, Great Divide, Green Man, Hair of the Dog, Hardywood Park, Highland, Mystery, Nebraska Brewing, New Belgium, North Coast, Olde Hickory, Oskar Blues, Raleigh Brewing, Red Brick, River Rat, Solemn Oath, Sweetwater, Duck Rabbit, Florida Beer Company, Thomas Creek, Trophy, Upland Brewing, Weyerbacher, Wicked Weed, Wild Heaven and Wrecking Bar.
A special evening awaits the philanthropically minded in our community. Vintage Carolina 2015 Focus on Giving-A Living Legacy is an evening full of local food, drink and musical entertainment. The evening will also highlight the wonderful photographs from the Baker-Barber Photographic Collection that was gifted to the Community Foundation and housed at the Henderson County Public Library. The photos are a true treasure for the community and we are very lucky to have a pictorial account that spans from the late 1800’s through the 1990’s.
On Monday, March 2 starting at 6 pm at the Hendersonville Country Club, 1860 Hebron Road, Vintage Carolina offers a terrific evening of small plate tastings from area restaurants and chefs, samplings of wine, beer and cider, complete with entertainment upstairs and downstairs from Up Jumped Three Plus One and Mr. C’s Mobile Disc Jockey.
Tickets for this special evening are $120 per person with discounted group rates available for five (5) or more attendees. Proceeds help support the work of CFHC. The inclement weather date is Monday, March 9. Reserve your spot at Vintage Carolina by making your payment by credit card online at www.CFHCforever.org/
In addition to the entertainment, those attending will enjoy great food and drink from many local “favorites” including Black Forest Restaurant, Champion Hills, Chef Michael’s Catering, Dandelion, Hendersonville Community Co-op, Hendersonville Country Club, Lake Pointe Landing, The Saluda Grade Cafe, Van's Chocolates, Burntshirt Vineyards, Empire Distributors, Inc., Naked Apple Hard Cider, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Skyland Distributing Co., Southern Appalachian Brewery, and Tryon Distributing.
Vintage Carolina supports the work of Community Foundation of Henderson County and your participation ensures that the Community Foundation is able to continue to nurture the extraordinary spirit of giving that is unique in our community.
The Community Foundation appreciates the support of the following Vintage Carolina 2015 Partners: First Citizens Bank, Lake Pointe Landing, TD Bank, WHKP Radio AM 1450, Altavista Wealth Management, Inc., Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors, Tom and Sue Fazio, WNC Magazine, WTZQ Radio, Boyd Chevrolet Cadillac Buick, Bold Life, Hendersonville Lightning, Hilliard Lyons. Suzanne Holbert, CPA/PFS-Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors LLC, Pardee Hospital Foundation, Morrow Insurance Agency, Inc., Times-News, The Van Winkle Law Firm, Allison Development Group, Carolina Alliance Bank, Henderson Oil Company, Inc. and Peggy McKibbin, The Laurel of Asheville, Macon Bank, Miller’s Fine Drycleaning, Southern Alarm & Security, United Community Bank, Wells Fargo, Beau and Jolie Singletary, Strauss & Associates, P.A. and Blue Bend Photography.
Since its founding in 1982, Community Foundation of Henderson County has been helping people who care make lasting contributions to causes that matter. The Community Foundation accepts gifts from individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create a pool of charitable dollars from which grants are awarded to address community needs. This past fiscal year, the Community Foundation received more than $1.9 million in contributions, had more than $88.9 million in assets and awarded more than $2.7 million in grants to nonprofits and scholarship recipients.
Mills River, NC – Strong economic activity and a late 2014 spike in client visits to Henderson County, included the introduction of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development (HCPED) to a new opportunity called Project Granite. The company was in search for a 60,000 sf building to locate their first US manufacturing facility, but with the improving economic health of the area, no such building was available. The search shifted to a 10-15 acre site, and after a comprehensive review of opportunities, the RAUMEDIC AG management team focused their attention on a 10 acre parcel in Broadpointe Industrial Park.
“We really fell in love with the area, and were convinced that the community partners that we met could deliver on our schedule for new construction and operation,” stated Raumedic CEO Martin Bayer and furthermore said, “Our new US production and headquarters will combine the strength of American & German engineering to offer high-precision extrusion, molding and assembly of medical and pharmaceutical grade polymer materials. For us, Henderson County provides an experienced and skilled workforce and the ideal business environment for our investment.”
Headquartered in Germany, RAUMEDIC manufactures polymer components that are used in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. It has approximately 580 employees and is part of the REHAU group, a polymer specialist, employing 18,000 people worldwide.
“When companies consider coming to the area, we want to make sure that they will hire our people and make a product we are proud to say is ‘Made in Henderson County’. In addition to meeting all of these expectations, RAUMEDIC will have a significant employment impact, hiring 172 new positions over the next several years, and paying an average wage in excess of $55,000/year. This company will result in $9 million in new annual payroll that will ripple through our local economy,” stated Chairman Tommy Thompson of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners.
“The NC General Assembly continues to work to improve North Carolina’s competitive position. Businesses like RAUMEDIC that create great jobs, pay great wages and create new taxable investment have choices about where to do that. We’re happy that after competing for this business, that RAUMEDIC has chosen Henderson County,” said Senator Tom Apodaca.
The RAUMEDIC project will help encourage the completion of Broadpointe Drive in partnership with the NC Department of Transportation where a current gravel section and small bridge separates park tenants. Representative Chuck McGrady who met with the RAUMEDIC management team early on said, “one of the most compelling investments that North Carolina can make to encourage quality job creation is in our transportation infrastructure.” Dave Modaff, Chairman of the HCPED Board, was also part of the recruitment team that met with the company early on. He shared, “RAUMEDIC represents the alignment of two target clusters for the Partnership, both plastics and medical devices, in addition to joining many other successful German-headquartered manufacturing operations in Henderson County.”
Mayor Larry Freeman welcomed RAUMEDIC to Mills River, stating, “It is exciting to see continued quality employment opportunities in our area. All of us on Town Council are excited that RAUMEDIC has chosen Mills River for their first US manufacturing location.” RAUMEDIC will join some of the region’s top employers as a tenant in the Broadpointe Industrial Park. Total project investment will exceed $27.1 million, with at least $10.6 million of that amount slated for construction of a state-of-the-art clean room operation for medical device manufacturing. Henderson County, the Town of Mills River, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Community College System, and Duke Energy all partnered on the project to encourage RAUMEDIC’s location.
The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, Inc. is a 501(c)(6) organization that works to: retain and attract quality jobs; solicit new business compatible with the assets and values of Henderson County; promote Henderson County’s business image; assist expansion of existing companies; and enhance Henderson County’s overall quality of life. For more information on the Partnership visit www.strategiclocation.com, and for more information on Raumedic visit www.raumedic.com.
“Such a great community event to see, meet and chat it up with lovely strangers,” said one of the guests at Saluda’s first Saluda Winterfest. The January Saluda Winterfest was sold out and organizers are anticipating a sell out for the February 28 event. “Attendees enjoyed coming together for music and a fine dinner with friends to help ward off the wintertime cabin fever starting to set in,” says one of the organizers.
Saluda Winterfest will be held upstairs in the Boarding House Venue over Historic Thompson Store/Ward's Grill located at 24 Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773. Opens at 6:30 and dinner is served at 7pm. Letters to Abigail will play until 8:15pm.
The Boarding House Venue will be decorated in Mardi Gras colors since this is the season, so organizers encourage you to get into the Mardi Gras spirit and come masqueraded if you wish.
Tickets are $27/per person for food and entertainment. Cash bar for wine and beer. Each event is limited to 50 tickets and are on sale now at Historic Thompson's/Ward's Grill on Main Street, Saluda. Tickets may be reserved by calling Judy Ward at 828-749-2321.
If there is inclement weather, then please call Judy at 828-674-5958 to check for cancellations and rescheduled dates.
Letters to Abigail is a 3 piece ensemble consisting of female vocalist, Kelli Redmond, James Harrell on Vocals and Guitar, Lauren Bandy on Bass. This Appalachian/Americana band is based in Western North Carolina and some folks describe their music as a simple southern pleasure. Digging down into the roots of the region, they blend a classic approach to a new original sound, drenched in powerful lyrics, acoustic melodies and soulful harmonies. They released their debut CD, "Say Anything" in July 2013. The full length album was recorded at the internationally recognized and award winning Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, NC.
Chef Irmy Chmielewski will serve "Roast Loin of Pork" with a Garden Salad, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Bread, Dessert, tea and coffee. (Beer and wine cash bar.)
Saluda Winterfest is sponsored by the Saluda Downtown Foundation and proceeds will go toward funding projects to benefit downtown. Cresting at the top of the steepest railway grade, ribboned by the deep valley of the Green River Gorge, the historic town of Saluda, NC calms the restless, inspires the creative, and incites the adventurist.
The Henderson County Education Foundation, Inc. (HCEF) is pleased to announce that the 13th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony, presented by TD Bank and sponsored by Park Ridge Health, will be held on Thursday, April 16, 2015 in the Education and Technology Development Center at Blue Ridge Community College.
“This year’s Hall of Fame dinner represents a whole new approach to honoring Henderson County’s education heroes.” said Graham Fields, President of the Henderson County Education Foundation Board of Directors. “In addition to a new venue, this year’s event will also feature an exciting new format, streamlined program and a delicious meal catered by Carrabba’s Italian Grill.”
Entitled Education Celebration 2015, this year’s event will induct new members and feature a reunion of inductees from past Hall of Fame classes. Over the last dozen years, more than one-hundred individuals who have had a substantial impact on education in Henderson County have been honored with induction into the Hall of Fame.
“We have a great class for the Hall of Fame this year and we will be announcing the inductees in early March,” said Dan Poeta, Vice President of the Henderson County Education Foundation. “I would invite the community to attend this special event as we honor the educators who have made lasting contributions to our county.”
For more information about the Henderson County Education Foundation and its programs
please visit www.hcef.info.
The Maple Parking Lot Renovation is underway. The project is an effort by the city to modernize the form and function of one of our more active public parking lots. Located on the corner of 5th Avenue East and King Street, the lot serves City Hall and a variety of businesses on the north end of Main Street. The renovation will focus on improving three primary components of the lot; Vehicular & Pedestrian Safety, Ease of Use, and Maintenance.
The renovation will achieve these improvements through enhancements to the layout of the lot, including the addition of van accessible handicap spaces and pedestrian aisles all while maintaining existing lot capacity. In addition, new landscaping selected for its adaptability to the urban environment along with improved lighting and signage will enhance the visibility and safety of the lot.
Of significant interest to our downtown visitors will be the introduction of the first parking pay station. Designed to provide additional options for payment and facilitate the improved management of our parking resources, the pay station will allow visitors to the lot to use coins, bills, credit cards and potentially a pay by phone option. We are excited to be testing this new technology and look forward to your feedback regarding its use in the lot.
We plan to complete most of the work during the morning hours and open the parking lot for use by the public in the afternoons. We will follow this process as long as possible in hopes of lessening the impact on nearby businesses while completing the work.
The anticipated schedule is as follows (weather permitting):
Feb. 9th - Duke Energy will be replacing a power pole at the corner of 5th Avenue and Edwards Alley. They will also be working with the City to replace the Sweet Gum trees along 5th Ave. and King St.
Feb. 16th – Finish removal of Sweet Gum Trees and stumps, backfill holes
Feb. 23rd – Remove curbs and sidewalks around the lot, remove parking meters
March 2nd – Prep for new trees and shrubs, install conduit for new decorative lights
March 9th – Install bases for new lights, install new curb and driveway on King Street and new driveway on Edwards Alley – close 5th Avenue driveway
March 16th – Install new sidewalks on King Street and 5th Avenue, install new pay station
March 23rd –Resurface the parking lot and restripe the parking spaces, install new signage
March 30th – Reserved for weather delays
AS WHKP NEWS REPORTED OVER A WEEK AGO, THE CITY OF HENDERSONVILLE'S $25,000 DOWNTOWN PARKING STUDY WILL RESULT IN NO ADDITIONAL PARKING SPACES...BUT THE STUDY HAS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MAKING BETTER USE OF THE CITY SPACES THAT NOW EXIST.
THE STUDY WAS OFFICIALLY RELEASED TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS IN THEIR BUDGET RETREAT ON FRIDAY. AND THE TIMES-NEWS WEB SITE PUBLISHED THIS REPORT:
CITY COUNCIL'S BUYDGET RETREAT
In their first unveiling Friday of results from a parking study that began in September, traffic analysts from Dixon Resources Unlimited brought a mixed bag of suggestions to curb parking complaints to the city during a day-long planning retreat Friday.
Topping the list was a push for the city to increase the enforcement of its parking laws, after researchers learned the locals know when the city's only parking attendant isn't working.
“Anita (Lockhart) is your parking enforcement unit, but Anita also does a lot of other things for the agency including managing the crossing guard program” and other responsibilities, said Dixon President Julie Dixon.
“You have parking policies but they're not enforced consistently and everybody knows it. The one thing that really came out of our focus groups is, No. 1, everybody knows Anita, which is awesome because she has a personality and she definitely has a positive impact on the downtown parking area, but they also know when Anita works,” she said. “They know what time she's going to be on Main Street and they know what her other job duties are.”
Knowing her schedule, Dixon said, gives some the advantage to “know how to game the system.”
Whether meters are added to Main Street or parking decks are raised in the future, Dixon recommended the city beef up enforcement patrols first to see how traffic improves.
Julie Dixon and David Cooker of Dixon Resources Unlimited, a company with more than 25 years' experience in parking and transportation management, shared a few surprises in what they found.
Most of the cars taking up spaces all day in front of businesses were driven by business owners, employees and downtown residents, the study found. Main Street and side streets were operating over the industry standard set at 80 percent capacity for parking occupancy from lunchtime into the evening hours. Main Street was operating at 90 to 100 percent capacity during the busy times.
The study found that 90 percent of visitors parked on-street instead of using off-street lots, but a majority of parkers said they would consider walking farther instead of paying for parking if Main Street were metered. Use of venues with parking meters has continued to increase over the past five years, and Dixon representatives predicted it would continue to climb with consistent enforcement and updated technology.
People, on average, were spending more than 20 minutes in 15-minute spaces, according to the study, and Dixon representatives said they thought the city's parking fines were too cheap. A woman in one of their focus groups admitted she saved money by racking up a couple of parking tickets a month instead of paying for a leased space.
Dixon and Cooker said they were able to identify the locals from out-of-town guests during a Rhythm and Brews concert by where they parked. The locals seemed to know where to go, Cooker said, while there were others who kept circling the blocks.
The analysts also noticed in their study that some of the leased spaces in lots appeared to be underutilized. They suggested a plan to overhaul the program by opening up some of the leased spots to the public when not in use.
Dixon recommended the city consider:
-Increasing enforcement of the city's parking laws.
-Publishing the laws for all to see.
-Employing better signage for visitors to navigate parking options with uniformity in the downtown's branding.
-Making the 15-minute spaces loading zones.
-Overhauling the permit parking program, stripping the names from spaces to give the public a chance to use some of the under-utilized leased spots.
-Increasing the fines on parking citations.
-Revisiting the idea for parking along King Street, recently nixed by city council.
-Employing a documented special event parking procedure so people can know in advance which lots and spaces will be off-limits instead of learning about the tow-away zone that morning. The procedure could also establish signs to use in special events to let visitors know when a lot is full.
-Adding parking kiosks to lots and/or smart meters to Main Street that allow a visitor to pay for parking electronically with a credit or debit card.
-Reaching out to other lot owners like the Curb Market for public/private sharing opportunities.
-Creating a Parking Ambassador program by employing others to help enforce the city's parking laws with a customer-service oriented approach to enforcement, supplementing Lockhart's efforts.
-Letting customer service support take over the debt collection for parking tickets.
-Adding lighting, signage and safety improvements to parking lots and walkways to tie in with Main Street and the downtown's appeal.
-Publishing parking rules on signage at lots, the city's website and in road maps.
-Approving a setback policy consistent with NCDOT, which, Dixon said, could free up more room for parking.
In the future, the Dixon study suggested the city could also look to find more potential parking lots, particularly on the east side of Main Street; consider hosting a transit center with public bathrooms for busloads of tourists; and consider making Main Street a pedestrian mall during peak periods or special events.
Skate Park 'bullies'
Before the parking study results were unveiled, City Council and staff addressed concern around the city's skate park at Patton Park.
“We've got this email from a person who uses the skate park who's concerned about drug activity, concerned about bullying,” City Manager John Connet said. More trash and a little vandalism has also been found at the park.
“I've already talked to the police department about beefing up the enforcement for the drugs,” he said, but other conversations have raised the idea of staffing an officer at the park.
“I can say ditto to that first letter and email that ... talked about his child, who didn't like it because of the big kids there,” said Mayor Barbara Volk. “Last summer, our older grandson, that's all he wanted to do, so I would go over with him.”
But right before Christmas, she said, her grandson told her husband “'those big boys are talking bad and they're being mean and I want to go.' He never asked again to go back to the skate park,” Volk said.
Councilman Jerry Smith said he responded to the letter writer, saying that the park in Asheville has a full-time attendant and suggesting that may be the way to go.
Hendersonville Police Department Chief Herbert Blake said he has asked the city to fund a police officer specifically for the parks.
Other suggestions included having a monitor to keep an eye out and call police when things come up, and closing and locking the park at night. Connet said he would work with the police department and Public Works to come up with a plan to present to City Council in the future.
In other action, city staff and council members:
Heard an update on plans shaping up for the Historic Seventh Avenue District, including an idea to buy an unused lot to add off-street parking to the busy west end to alleviate concerns about on-street parking spots recently gobbled up by bulbouts.
Heard an update on the application submitted to the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant program for Berkeley Mills Park. City Planning Director Sue Anderson said they hope to hear the grant selection results in July. The city applied for a $250,000 PARTF grant, which would be supplemented by a city match budgeted for $300,000 to help renovate the park. Anderson said they are also seeking a grant to study the former mill's baseball field, which is still in use, for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places
Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act on Wednesday, which would prohibit federal employees from accessing pornographic or explicit material on government computers and devices.
Last year, an Inspector General report revealed that one Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee was viewing as much as 6 hours of pornography a day in his office on his government computer. The same federal employee was found to have downloaded as many as 7,000 pornographic files onto his government computer. To date, this employee has yet to be fired and we continue to learn of similar bad actors.
“It’s appalling that it requires an act of Congress to ensure that federal agencies block access to these sites,” Congressman Meadows said.
“While there are rules in place at most agencies to ban this kind of unprofessional and potentially hostile workplace behavior, it continues to take place. There is absolutely no excuse for federal employees to be viewing and downloading pornographic materials on the taxpayers’ dime,” Meadows added.
“Further, downloading these files, which are often ridden with viruses and malware, poses a cybersecurity threat at our federal agencies. This commonsense legislation ensures that federal workers have a comfortable, safe work environment and protects taxpayer resources from being misused,” Meadows said.
Mark Meadows serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee where he chairs the Subcommittee on Government Operations.