Two years ago, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office was able to obtain a postage mail drop box that had been taken out of service. After a new coat of paint, the mailbox was set up in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office located at 100 North Grove Street in Hendersonville to be utilized as a pill drop box.
The first year the pill drop box was maintained at the Sheriff’s Office (combined with other collection points in Henderson County) residents turned in 1,088 lbs of miscellaneous pills and medications for destruction. During the second year (ending March 31, 2015), 828.48 lbs of miscellaneous pills and medications were collected.
Sheriff Charles McDonald commends residents for their extra efforts in helping keep almost a ton of unwanted, unused or expired medications out of our landfills, water supply and medicine cabinets. The Sheriff’s Office continues to partner with various local groups including Hope Rx and Henderson County TRIAD to provide additional opportunities for Henderson County residents to stop by pill drop collection points where they can easily and safely dispose of pills and medications.
Dates and locations for additional pill drop collection events will be announced in the near future. The Sheriff’s Office lobby is open daily from 8a-5p, Monday thru Friday (excluding holidays) and can accept any medications with the exception of chemotherapy drugs and needles.
Clouds return on Thursday with a chance for a couple light showers along with cooler temperatures. Friday looks like the warmest day of the week, followed by mostly evening and nighttime showers and maybe a thundershower. Next weekend looks cooler, but mostly clear.
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|Tuesday Hi: 72 Lo: 43 Mostly sunny; Pleasant; NW wind 5-10 mph||Wednesday Hi: 67 Lo: 45 Mostly sunny; More clouds arriving Wednesday night; Light NW wind becoming SE||Thursday Hi: 62 Lo: 53 Mostly cloudy; A shower or two possible; Not as warm; South wind 5-10 mph||Friday Hi: 72 Lo: 44 Partly to mostly cloudy & warm; Late-day & nighttime showers & maybe a t-shower||Saturday Hi: 57 Lo: 32 Becoming mostly sunny & cooler|
Sunday - A frosty start, then sunny & nice for Easter; High in the lower 60s; Low in the upper 30s Monday - Mostly cloudy; Showers possible, especially PM; High in the lower 60s; Low in the upper 40s
High pressure is shifting offshore today and will direct milder air into the mountains. A cold front will pass through silently tonight with more clouds but no rainfall expected. Wednesday will be mostly clear behind the front, with temperatures just a notch cooler.
A warm front returns northward through the area on Thursday, generating mostly cloudy skies and perhaps a couple of light showers. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler as a result.
A strong cold front will approach on Friday. Ahead of the front, it will be unseasonably warm. While most of Friday will be dry with just a passing shower possible, the best concentration of rainfall will be Friday night, taking the form of showers and perhaps an embedded thundershower.
Behind the front, it will be cooler and mostly clear for next weekend. We’ll have to contend with more frosty conditions for Easter morning, making for some chilly sunrise services.
LOCAL FOLKS WILL REMEMBER THAT IT WAS IN OCTOBER A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO WHEN A MAMA BEAR AND HER CUBS WANDERED INTO TOWN IN HENDERSONVILLE, AND CLIMBED A PERSIMMON TREE ON THE CAMPUS OF HENDERSONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL.
WELL...MIKE CARRAWAY WITH THE NC WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION THIS WEEK TOLD WHKP NEWS THIS WEEK IT'S TIME FOR THE BEARS IN THE ASHEVILLE-HENDERSONVILLE AREA TO COME OUT OF HIBERNATION..SOME, HE SAID, ARE OUT OF HYBERNATION, HUNGRY, AND LOOKING FR FOOD ALREADY.
MOSTLY HARMLESS, CARRAWAY SAID THE BEARS WILL BE HEADED TO ALL AVAILABLE FOOD SOURCES...OUTDOOR PET FOOD, BIRD FEEDERS, TRRASH CANS, ETC. AND THE ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES THIS WEEK WARNED...
Area residents and outdoor enthusiasts likely will have ample opportunity for bear watching this spring.
Low harvest rates from last hunting season, abundant natural foods and good reproductive rates over the winter all point to strong bear numbers across Western North Carolina as the animals begin emerging from hiberation, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologist Mike Carraway said.
Bears likely will become especially noticeable over the next few weeks as female bears with cubs begin emerging from dens, he said.
"We can expect a lot of bear activity," Carraway said. "We do expect a bumper crop of cubs this year. We've seen a lot of dens with three and four cubs. We've documented four litters of four cubs."
The average litter size is two cubs, but females often have more young when food is plentiful, he said.
A major crop of acorns and other nuts last fall created prime conditions for bears to increase their numbers. The number of bears killed last hunting season — 638 in mountain counties — was nearly 50 percent less than the previous year's harvest of 1,207, thanks mostly to the abundance of natural foods.
When mast is plentiful, bears don't have to roam as far searching for food, Carraway said.
"The bear harvest was down because we had such a good mast crop," he said. "When they stay put, it makes them harder to hunt. We had probably the best mast crop we've seen in Western North Carolina in 30 years."
A research project that started last year in which biologists are placing radio tracking collars on bears has helped researchers better study the animals.
"We have found a few dens on our own over the years, but for a bear with a collar we can track them right to the den," Carraway said. "We're going to learn a lot about exactly when the bears come out (of dens)."
Because of the abundance of food, some bears did not hibernate over the winter, remaining active through the cold months, he said.
With more bears in the area, encounters with humans are likely especially this spring as bears get more active and people head to the woods, officials say. A frightening bear encounter involving campers earlier this month forced U.S. Forest Service officials to temporarily close the Graveyard Fields area to overnight camping. The popular wilderness area is off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County, about 40 miles southwest of Asheville.
At about 11:45 p.m. on March 16, a bear entered a tent that was occupied by two people and took a backpack, Pisgah district ranger Derek Ibarguen said. No one was injured, but the brazen behavior of the bear caused the Forest Service to enact the camping restriction, which could last several more weeks.
"We're going to monitor it over the next few weeks," Ibarguen said. "We definitely know that bears are in the area and they're looking for food."
In addition to the Graveyard Fields restriction, the Forest Service is requiring overnight campers to use bear canisters in the adjacent areas of Shining Rock Wilderness, Black Balsam, Sam's Knob and Flat Laurel Creek areas, he said. The hard-shell, barrel-shaped canisters, generally made of polycarbonate, offer a bear-proof way to store food.
A canister proved its worth over the weekend in Shining Rock when a bear entered a camp and attempted to open the canister, Ibarguen said. When the bear's effort was unsuccessful, the animal left the camp without further incident.
"We encourage people to comply with the requirement of using a bear canister for their own safety and the safety of the bears," Ibarguen said.
For people who may see a bear near their home or in their neighborhood, Carraway recommended getting rid of food sources.
"If you've got bears in your neighborhood, secure your trash, take down your bird feeders and remove any other food sources that would attract bears," he said.
Bear numbers have been growing for years in North Carolina, according to the Wildlife Resources Commission. The latest estimates put the mountain population at about 7,000 animals, with another 10,000-12,000 bears in far eastern N.C.
2014-15 bear harvest
Number of bears killed last hunting season, which started in October and ended Jan. 1. Numbers are preliminary.
Total N.C. harvest, 2,509
Coastal harvest, 1,871
Mountain harvest, 638
WNC county harvests
PHOTO BY WSPA
Henderson County peach growers tell WHKP News the sub-freezing temperatures over the weekend severely damaged their budding peach crop.
WHKP News spoke Monday with local growers Joel McGraw and Kenny Barnwell, and both estimate the freezing temperatures early Saturday and Sunday mornings probably killed about half their local peach crop.
McGraw and Barnwell are, however, optimistic about their apples. Both say the apples simply were not far enough along to be badly hurt, they hope...but both agree...it'll be several days at least, maybe longer, before they can accurately assess the damage.
Hardest hit by last weekend's freeze were the peaches in South Carolina, which were in full bloom. Barnwell said he's heard reports of badly damaged peach crops as far south as Columbia, South Carolina.
And WHKP News got this report Monday from a South Carolina (York County) newspaper:
Freezing weekend temperatures have damaged some South Carolina peaches with one York County grower worrying he may have lost half his crop.
Arthur Black grows peaches west of York and says the cold damaged peach blossoms and he fears half his crop is gone. Ben Smith said he lost some peaches too, but has not yet thinned his crop so he hopes the loss won't be too bad.
Ron Edwards at Springs Farm in Fort Mill tells the newspaper he was up Saturday night warming the peaches and running water over his strawberry plants to prevent them from freezing.
First United Methodist Church will lead a one-mile community walk with the cross through downtown Hendersonville on Good Friday, April 3, starting at 10am at the church.
“Carrying the cross of Jesus through the bustling streets around downtown reminds us of the pilgrimage, our ‘taking up of our cross and following,’ and gives us some idea of the burden Jesus bore for us. This walk with the cross is unlike anything else you’ve experienced,” says Rev. Dan Martin, Senior Minister.
The event is open to all, including families with children. Rain or shine, the procession will begin at the Buncombe Street church parking lot, then moves in silence down Main Street, returning to the church via Washington Street. Arriving at the Sanctuary, walkers will position the cross on the altar and conclude the Crosswalk with prayer.
Participants can then enjoy freshly baked Hot Cross Buns, a traditional Easter sweet roll decorated with a sugar glaze in the shape of a cross. All are invited to continue their observance with the Good Friday Service at noon in the church’s Christian Life Center, and by walking the Prayer Labyrinth open 9am to 3pm.
First United Methodist Church is located at 204 Sixth Avenue West, Hendersonville. Parking is available in the Buncombe Street lot. For more information, call the church at 828.693.4275 or visit www.fumchvlnc.org.
FOR WHKP RADIO AND CHIMNEY ROCK PARK, THIS WILL BE OUR 60TH CONSEQUTIVE YEAR OF PRESENTING ONE OF THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL EVENTS OF THE YEAR: THE EASTER SUNDAY SUNRISE SERVICE OVER-LOOKING THE HICKORY NUT GORGE, THE ROCKY BROAD RIVER, AND BEAUTIFUL LAKE LURE FROM ATOP CHIMNEY ROCK
6:30AM EASTER SUNDAY
RE-AIRED AT 12:05pm
ON AM 1450 AND whkp.com (Listen Live streaming)
It’s tough to inspire people to get out of bed in the dark of night, but those who have witnessed the sun rising over Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure know that Chimney Rock’s Easter Sunrise Service is the place to be on Easter Sunday. For 60 years, the Park has opened its gates to the community for a inter-denominational worship filled with scripture, song and fellowship.
The service takes place beneath 535-million year old Chimney Rock, the monolith for which the Park is named. Gates will be open from 5-6 AM for the 6:30 AM service. There is no admission charge and guests are welcome to stay and enjoy the Park for the day. Easter Sunrise Service began as a small community gathering of residents and local pastors celebrating together the glory of Easter. In recent years, the ceremony has grown to more than 1,000 people from around the Southeast.
Organized by ministers from area churches, this special service includes scripture readings, prayer and beautiful music by the Park’s featured entertainer, hammered dulcimer player John Mason, amongst others. “The Easter Sunrise Service is truly a community event. The churches in Hickory Nut Gorge, in partnership with the Park, have collaborated for decades to host for this special holiday service,” says General Manager Mary Jaeger-Gale. “It is one of the few times each year that residents and guests can see the sun rise over Lake Lure from high atop Chimney Rock Mountain. It has become a tradition for many families in the area,” she adds.
The service will air live on 1450 WHKP-AM Radio and rebroadcast at 12:05pm for those unable to attend. In case of rain, the service will be held on the Park Meadows. Attendees should arrive early, dress warmly and bring a flashlight. Early arrivals will be able to park on the top parking lot. After that lot is full, shuttle buses will run continuously from the Meadows area at the top of the mountain. Additionally, the Park’s Old Rock Café in the village of Chimney Rock will feature a traditional Southern breakfast following the ceremony.
Chimney Rock is located 25 miles southeast of Asheville in Hickory Nut Gorge on Highway 64/74-A. The Park is the focal point of the developing Chimney Rock State Park.
Registration is $15 per person OR $10 per person for groups or families of four or more (requires registration and payment at the same time)
Day of Run registration: $20 per person
Registrations received after March 20 or day of race – no T-shirt guarantee
Free bunny ears for the first 100 pre-registered participants
100% of funds raised from this fun run will stay in Henderson County benefiting the following Kiwanis-supported local youth programs:
Terrific Kids * Balfour Babies * Shoes & Socks program
This is not a sanctioned race – this is a Fun Run for all ages!
Places will not be tallied
Prizes given for best individual costume, largest family, oldest and youngest hoppers!
Three easy ways to get your registration forms:
1 - Click on the link above.
2 – Pick up a registration form from one of the following locations:
Altantic Bay Mortgage – 117 W Barnwell St. Suite 4, Hendersonville, NC 28792
Coldwell Banker King – 130C South Main Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792
Mia’s Marketplace – 241 North Main Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792
3 – Get one from a local Key Club member at one of the local high schools or Henderson County Early College High School
For additional information visit www.
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.
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.