COUNTY COMMISSIONERS THIS WEEK ASKED FOR AN "UP OR DOWN" VOTE BY THE SCHOOL BOARD AT THEIR MEETING THIS COMING MONDAY NIGHT
A NEW EDNEYVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS A GREATER PRIORITY, SAY TWO MEMBERS OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION…AND THEY URGE THE SCHOOL BOARD TO “TAKE BACK” CONTROL OVER COUNTY SCHOOL BUILDINGS
A FULL SPECIAL REPORT ON THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S POSITION CAN BE HEARD TONIGHT (THURSDAY) AT 6:05 ON WHKP RADIO AND WHKP.COM
The Hendersonville High School Alumni Association continues to vigorously oppose the county’s plan to build a new $53 million high school campus on the Boyd property at Five Points. The county commissioners have asked the elected county school board for an “up or down” vote on the new campus in the school board’s meeting this coming Monday night.
In WHKP’s full local news at 7:55 and 11:55 this (Thursday) morning and at 5:05 this afternoon…and in a special report tonight at 6:05 on WHKP AM and FM and on whkp.com, Alumni Association members Bill Orr and Carey O’Cain will appeal to the school board to reject that new high school campus, put plans for a new high school “on hold” for two years, revise the HHS plan, make building a new Edneyville Elementary School the top priority, and re-assert the elected school board’s authority over school buildings in Henderson County.
In those special news reports, the two Alumni Association members are also encouraging the public to let the school board members know how they feel on this issue…and if possible, attend that meeting…and that school board vote…in the county school’s administration building on Fourth Avenue West at 6:30 Monday night.
O’Cain and the Alumni Association had offered an alternative proposal for a new HHS campus earlier this year that they say would cost less money, provide more parking, keep students safer and off the busy Asheville Highway, and renovate and utilize the historic Stillwell building. That proposal was rejected by the county commissioners.
The county school board has maintained for some time that building a new Edneyville Elementary School is a greater priority…and that the school board, not the commissioners, has legal authority over public school buildings, construction, and priorities.
Commissioners have voted three times this year to move forward with their proposed new HHS campus…and if they do, they will need approval from Hendersonville City Council for zoning changes, variances, and any special use permits that may be required to build that new campus. Nothing involving such changes for the proposed new campus is on either a city council or planning board agenda for what's left of 2016. City council had, however, agreed to close that one block stretch of 9th Avenue West between the current HHS campus and the Boyd property to make room for a new campus if and when one is built. City council took that action several years ago when the Boyd property was sold to the county.
By Larry Freeman
ALREADY HIGHER THIS WEEK; DUE TO OPEC RAISING CRUDE OIL PRICES
Average retail gasoline prices in Hendersonville and Asheville have not moved in the past week, averaging $2.21/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 259 gas outlets in the Hendersonville-Asheville area. This compares with the national average that has increased 4.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.18/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Asheville during the past week, prices yesterday were 12.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 4.2 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 3.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 14.1 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on December 5 in Asheville have ranged widely over the last five years:
$2.09/g in 2015, $2.78/g in 2014, $3.34/g in 2013, $3.37/g in 2012 and $3.26/g in 2011.
Areas nearby Asheville and their current gas price climate:
Asheville- $2.21/g, flat from last week's $2.21/g.
“If I had a nickle for everytime OPEC said it was going to cut oil production, I could probably buy everyone free gas on Christmas,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “While OPEC signaled at its meeting in Vienna that it would cut crude oil production, it also created a committee to monitor the reduced production quotas- addressing the issue of cheating- an issue that has been pervasive for the organization. For now, oil markets have bid up oil prices in a fury believing the agreement, which comes in to force in January, is exactly what's needed to balance supply and demand. I, however, believe this rally represents a balloon that's filled with too much air and risks a correction (popping the balloon) that may be seen in due time."
"But as I wait for the balloon to burst, the rally in oil prices will lead to higher gasoline prices in much of the country over the next couple of weeks as prices catch up to the feverish rise in oil prices. From the east to the west, average prices could rise 5-15 cents a gallon in the week ahead, so motorists should plan accordingly and expect in nearly all communities. OPEC seems to be taking the role of the Grinch this holiday season: the era of low oil prices may be over for now," DeHaan said.
The Holiday Inn Tour & Cookie Caper is a self–driving tour. Enjoy a unique holiday treats while touring five beautifully decorated historic properties: Aunt Adeline’s Bed and Breakfast, The Charleston Inn, Echo Mountain Inn, Pinebrook Manor, and 1898 Waverly Inn. Ticket purchase includes a brochure that contains a map and a brief history of each property. Innkeepers will offer a different holiday treat to guests as they explore the historic properties.
Tickets are available for purchase at the Hendersonville Visitor Information Center, 201 South Main Street, Hendersonville, NC. (828) 693-9708. Tickets will continue to be available on the day of the tour.
This event is sponsored by the Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission in cooperation with the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority.
DONATIONS CAN BE LEFT AT MILLS RIVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Mills River folks are leading an effort this week to help those who are victims of the wildfires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
A group plans a caravan to Sevier County early Thursday to take supplies and volunteer with the Sevier County Rescue Squad to help unload, sort and deliver donations to who lost so much in the recent wildfires.
The primary goal is to have enough people to help in this effort. The group will meet at the Ingles in Mills River at 5:30 Thursday morningm. and leave at 6 a.m.
The group needs:
Volunteers interested in helping with loading and unloading.
Volunteers interested in sorting supplies and organizing warehouses.
Volunteers interested in bringing their personal vehicles to help deliver supplies to families.
The Sevier County Rescue Squad is also still taking donations. SCRS has requested the following items:
Shelving: Warehouses have plenty of space, but they are organizing on pallets. Any kind of shelving--home, industrial or otherwise--is needed.
Socks and undergarments: They tell us there is a need for all ages and genders.
Clear and mesh backpacks: Sevier County Schools require these for elementary students, and there is a severe shortage.
Donations can be dropped off anytime before the end of the day Wednesday at Mills River Elementary School at 94 School House Road.
Find out more on the Helping Out TN Facebook Event Page or by calling 828-551-0901, 828-335-3833, 828-891-6563, or 828-318-6938
FROM THE FLOODS THAT DRENCHED COASTAL AND EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA---TO THE WILDFIRES AND DROUGHT THAT SCORCHED THE WEST
Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, who has been in Raleigh this week working on the legislation, said he expects to see some relief targeted for western counties, but the size and scope of the legislation has yet to be established.
Henderson County's Representatrive in the N.C. General Assembly told the Carolina Public Press that “The bill started out a month and a half ago only focused on issues in the east related to Hurricane Matthew, but now we’ve had the fires in the west,” McGrady said in an interview Monday with Carolina Public Press. “My expectation is that the bill will provide enough money to be a down payment toward addressing the damages that have occurred.”
McGrady said it’s still too early to fully assess the damages and costs of the fires, which have burned an more than 55,000 acres in Western North Carolina. The state forest service has been doing a good job tracking its costs, he said, but the impact of the fires on local governments is less clear right now. [Check current status of WNC wildfires, via the NC Forest Service, here.]
McGrady said initial aid offered in the special session is likely to be targeted at the cost of fighting the fires, with an additional aid package coming next year. Once the scope of federal aid is established and local governments in WNC have had time to assess impacts, the legislature could plan additional state assistance.
“Over the next weeks and months as the numbers get clearer, I would anticipate another bill early in the upcoming session that would take care of everything,” McGrady said.
Rep. John Ager, D-Buncombe, said the legislature should make sure some help for the west to recover from drought and fires comes out of the session.
“It is definitely on my agenda that we roll in fire relief,” Ager said. He said he’s worried that local fire departments are tapping their reserves to cover the costs of keeping firefighters in the field. Help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is coming, Ager said, but time is tight.
“There’s only so many of these paychecks that the local fire departments can cover,” he said.
THE SCHOOL BOARD WILL MEET MONDAY EVENING AT 6:30 IN THE COUNTY SCHOOL'S ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES AT 414 FOURTH AVENUE WEST
After many months of haggling over which board should make decisions on public school construction, the county commissioners Monday night dumped the whole issue of a new Hendersonville High School campus back into the lap of the county school board.
After commissioners voted unanimously in their last meeting to move forward with building the new $53 million campus on the Asheville Highway at the former Boyd property at Five Points, commissioners unanimously voted Monday night to send a letter to the school board…asking for an “up or down” vote at the school board’s meeting this coming Monday night on moving forward with the new HHS campus.
Should the school board take such a vote Monday night and vote “no”, that could delay or conceivably kill the Clark Nexsen-designed new HHS campus that’s been planned for years…and in the design stage since back in the spring and approved by commissioners in three separate votes.
Added to Monday night’s agenda by Commissioner Bill Lapsley, the letter to the school board and the request for an “up on down” vote was approved unanimously by the commissioners. Lapsley pointed out that $300 thousand has already been invested in the new campus, and if the school board votes “no” on it, about $5 million for every year it’s delayed would be added to the cost of the new campus, if and when it’d ever built.
Much of the controversy over the proposed new HHS campus has to do with preserving the 90 year old Erle Stillwell-designed main building on the current campus, what to do with it, and how to pay for renovations on the old building…all issues that remain unresolved.
The elected school board says a greater priority is a new campus for Edneyville Elementary School…and that’s yet another point of contention between the two boards that remains unresolved.
Local Historical Play Presentation
Tom Orr and the Walk of Fame committee announce the presentation of:
“Unwrapping Local History”
A local history play that opens on December 15th and will include the announcement of the Walk of Fame inaugural class
The play will take place on December 15th, 16th, and 17th at with a matinee on .
All performances will be at The Henderson County Historic Courthouse
The two-act play, compiled and written by Tom E. Orr, is a fundraiser to support the Walk of Fame project initiated this past year.
The Walk of Fame project is jointly supported by the City of Hendersonville and Henderson County, and “Unwrapping Local History” is a part of Hendersonville's “Home for the Holidays” celebration. In addition to the play production seventeen Walk of Fame honorees will be named.
Orr had this to say about the play, “History contains many gifts. It's Christmas time and we unwrap with loving care this present we call Home.”
The play is directed by Pat H. Shepherd and Tom Orr. Local history and heritage are surrounded by music and dance. Kaye Youngblood supervises the screen images that appear throughout the production. She is assisted by Tabitha Brockus and Trish Allen.
“Just as a dance can be viewed as a series of steps, joined together; so a lifetime can be understood as a series of 'time steps.” Orr added. “In our journey we will stop to visit people and places, including The Teen-age Canteen, Freeman's Newsstand, and Brock's Ice Cream Bar. We will take trips by train, visit the Baker-Barber studios, glimpse the beauty of our mountains, learn the Charleston and the Black Bottom, and much more.”
Live music will be provided by J. Larry Keith, Rick McMinn, Sandra McMinn, and Penny Gash Pearson. The Courthouse Players are volunteer actors. The cast, in alphabetical order, includes: Richard Brown, Bryan Byrd, Sandee Carpenter, Aiden Freeman, Mia Freeman, Fletch Griffith, Marcia Kelso Mills, Jay Mullinax, Penny Gash Pearson, Ronnie Pepper, Sabrina Sweeney, and young student dancers from Pat's School of Dance.
Sweeney, an HHS teacher of English, portrays Claudia Holt Oates (1872-1965). Mrs. Oates helped start the Hendersonville Woman’s Club in 1915, and supported the development of the Henderson County Curb Market. Her husband Robert Oates developed the town’s first electric power plant. Mrs. Oates held Christmas parties for needy children where she gave out toys and clothing. The annual event took place in the old City Hall and Opera House but later moved to the 1905 Historic Courthouse.
Play co-director Pat H. Shepherd is assisted by Sheraton Shepherd Phillips, April Freeman, and Carol Ann Baber Surrette. Recently-retired teacher Kaye Youngblood is the Stage Manager and directs screen imagery. She is assisted by Trish Allen and Tabitha Brockus. John Arnett, Hendersonville Community Theater, is creating the set and designing the lighting. John Shepherd and Dustin Phillips supervise sound recording and effects. At each performance, audience members will receive a “goodie poke” filled with a candy cane, wrapped candy, and fruit. The “goodie poke” is a mountain tradition.
Tickets are $10 each, and will go on sale 828-693-9708 or in its Visitor Information Center at 201 S. Main St. Hendersonville.. Performance times are December 15th -17th. There will be a matinee on . The venue is the Courtroom of the Henderson County Historic Courthouse. Play tickets can be purchased from the Tourism Development Authority by calling
The five-member Walk of Fame Steering Committee members are Chairman Orr, Vice-chair Virginia Gambill, Michael Edney, Dr. Amy Pace, and Kaye Youngblood. The Committee began work on December 15, 2015. Incidentally, is the date back in 1838 when Henderson County was created.
For more information contact: Tom E. Orr at 828-606-6874
County commissioners Monday night denied a re-zoning request that would have led to the development of a large scale residential complex proposed to be known as “The Sanctuary at Eagles Nest Horse Shoe Farm”.
Miami developer John Turchin was proposing what he called an alternative to Carolina Village and Lake Point Landing on 85 acres on South Rugby Road stretching all the way to the French Broad River.
Over twenty members of the public spoke on the proposal at Monday night’s meeting, most opposed to the project, and many expressED concerns over increased traffic in the area, greater housing density, and an additional burden on the Cane Creek Water and Sewer District.
Developer Turchin had requested the property be re-zoned from “Residential 2” to “Mixed Use”, which would have permitted the development…and after being turned down Monday night he indicated he might be back with revised plans later.
MEADOWS REPLACES CONGRESSMAN JIM JORDAN...WHO DID NOT RUN FOR RE-ELECTION AS "FREEDOM CAUCUS" CHAIR
On Monday, members of the House Freedom Caucus voted to elect Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) as Chairman. Rep. Meadows released the following statement:
“I am honored and humbled to receive the support of my colleagues for Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. It is a position that I take very seriously, and as we look toward the coming year, I am tremendously excited about the opportunities we will have to make a difference for Americans on Main Street. I want to thank my colleagues for entrusting me with their support – especially outgoing Chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, for his outstanding leadership over our first two years.
The voters of this country sent an abundantly clear message on November 8th that they feel as though Washington does not represent them. Now, it’s time for Washington to do what it has failed to do for decades – listen. With a new administration coming in, the Freedom Caucus is ready to go to work on day one to help lead the fight to give Americans a voice in their government.”
At Their meeting early Monday eveninbg, Henderson County commissioners elected Commissioner Mike Edney as their new chairman.
In his fourth term as a commissioner, Edney takes over from Tommy Thompson,
Edney was elected unanimously. Commissioner Grady Hawkins was elected vice chairman.