Power was expected to be restored by early afternoon.
Scholarships Available to Attend Blue Ridge Community College in 2017-18
Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation scholarship applications for 2017-18 are available now on the College’s web site at www.blueridge.edu/scholarships.
Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation awards scholarships to 2017 high school graduates and new and returning students. More than 300 scholarships are available for Blue Ridge Community College students.
Students must apply online. They can apply for the Foundation’s many scholarships using a single online application form. The deadline for submitting completed online applications is April 7, 2017.
DON'T LET RECENT RAIN FOOL YOU...THE DROUGHT IS FAR FROM OVER
AT LEAST NINE TO TWELVE INCHES OF RAIN IN A SINGLE MONTH WOULD BE REQUIRED TO END OUR DROUGHT
Don't let some periods of heavy rain lately fool you. Rebecca Ward, a climatologist with the North Carolina Climate Office at NC State University, pointed out for WHKPO News recently that we are about NINE INCHES of rain in a single month from being over the current drought.
Currently classified as being in "severe" drought, and with the coming season of everything from agriculture to outdoor recreation likely to be effected by it, climatologist Ward provided WHKP News with details on our drought situation: when it started, how severe is it, how much precipitation will it take to end it, and what are our chances of seeing the drought ended this year...all specific to Hendersonville and Henderson County:
What is the total rainfall DEFICIT for the Asheville-Hendersonville area?
Over the past 6 months, the deficit ranges from 8.1 inches in Asheville to 12.2 inches in Hendersonville. For the past 3 months, Asheville has a deficit of 5.32 inches while Hendersonville has a deficit of 7.8.
To put this in terms of percentiles, which can be thought of as a ranking of all the years, from least precipitation to most precipitation:
· For the past 3 months:
o Asheville is in the 11th percentile (14th driest), based on 123 years
o Hendersonville is in the 4th percentile (5th driest) based on 112 years
o Fletcher is in the 5th percentile (4th driest) based on 64 years
· For the past 6 months:
o Asheville is in the 10th percentile (13th driest)
o Fletcher is in the 2nd percentile (2nd driest, coming behind 1955-1956)
o Hendersonville is in the 1st percentiles (2nd driest, coming behind 1955-1956)
NINE TO TWELVE INCHES WOULD BE NEEDED TO END IT:
How much rainfall will be required to get us out of the drought classification?
The answer to this, unfortunately, is always “it depends.” We can try to get an idea of how much precipitation is needed to end a drought using drought indexes, which are objective calculations based on things like precipitation and temperature. One such index is the Palmer Hydrological Drought Index, or PHDI. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has a tool based on the PHDI to help determine how much precipitation is needed to end a drought, with the “end” measured as a return of the PHDI to normal levels. While this is informative, it is very important to understand that it is based on a calculation of an index. It does not take into account things like runoff, temperatures, water usage, etc. So, with all that out of the way, to bring PHDI back to normal levels in the southern mountains in one month, we’d need to see 9-12 inches of precipitation, or about 200% of normal. Now, if we were to see 9 inches of rainfall in the next month, chances are a lot of that would just runoff rather than soaking into the soil and ground. If we were to look at a longer time frame, say the next three months, we’d need about 18-21 inches, or about 150% of normal.
Here’s the website where you can view these values:
THE DROUGHT STARTED IN THE SPRING OF 2016
When did this current drought situation begin?
Drought first appeared late last spring in North Carolina. The May 3, 2016 US Drought Monitor map, which is the official drought map for the state, had the appearance of Moderate Drought, the least severe drought category, in the westernmost 13% of North Carolina, including Henderson and Buncombe Counties. In the weeks preceding this, abnormally dry conditions had actually spread across most of the state. Rainfall brought much of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain out of any dryness concerns later in May, and was even enough to pull a few Mountain counties out of Moderate Drought. However, as May turned into June, western NC, and much of the interior Southeast, were hot and dry, and this led to the slow expansion and degradation of conditions. By July 5, 2016, Severe Drought, the second-lowest-category in the USDM classification, was present in eleven western counties. Things improved a little in August as pockets of abnormally dry conditions started to appear elsewhere in the state, but by mid-September, much of western NC was once again under the thumb of Moderate Drought. Over the next two months, continued heat and little to no rainfall led to a rapid decline in conditions. On November 8, 2016, Exceptional Drought, the worst USDM category, appeared in Cherokee and Clay Counties. December and January have brought some relief but longer-term hydrologic indicators show the drought is still in place.
WHEN WILL THE DROUGHT LIKELY BE OVER
What is the long-term forecast for precipitation through this spring in western North Carolina?
Over the next week, we’re expected to see quite a bit of precipitation fall over western NC. While it’s too early to tell what type of impact this will have on the drought status, it will probably result in some improvement on the ground. Looking farther ahead into spring, we really don’t have much guidance to go on as there are few climatological indicators of what our spring-time temperatures and precipitation will be. The best estimate we have comes from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, which uses a combination of climatological indicators, models, current conditions, and expert analyses, to generate outlooks for the next few weeks to seasons. CPC’s outlooks for the February-March-April time period indicate a higher probability of seeing above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.
HOW WILL AGRICULTURE AND OUTDOOR RECREATION BE EFFECTED BY THE DROUGHT THIS YEAR
What are the likely effects on agriculture and outdoor recreation if this drought continues?
Winter is a time of “recharge” for the state. Plants are dormant and humans are using less water for recreational activities. It’s typically a time when what water does fall from the sky is able to percolate into the soils, replenishing soil moisture and groundwater, or flow into streams and reservoirs. At the end of the last growing season, there were several agricultural impacts noted, primarily to pasturelands. In fact, some pastures in the worst drought-affected areas will have to be completely replaced, whether or not we’re still in a drought come spring. I mention this because I want to share that a drought’s impacts can be far reaching, not just in space but in time too. As for what type of impacts we can expect if the drought continues: if we don’t have sufficient moisture in the ground in the spring, rain-fed agricultural operations might delay their plantings. Those that use irrigation may have to rely more heavily on it. Water-based outdoor recreation could also be impacted if rivers are too low to allow for some types of activities, such as rafting or kayaking. That said, droughts are generally associated with sunnier weather, which can be beneficial for tourism.
Some other resources/information:
The NC State Climate Office wrote two blog posts about this drought that may offer some more insight: the first one when the drought first appeared, and the second when Severe Drought made an appearance.
Crop weather reports from NC Department of Agriculture: http://www.ncagr.gov/stats/weather/weather.htm
Citizen Science reports of on-the-ground conditions, be they wet or dry, that are helpful for monitoring drought: http://www.cisa.sc.edu/map/
THIS HAS BEEN A SPECIAL REPORT FROM WHKP---HENDERSONVILLE'S OFFICIAL WEATHER OBSERVATION STATION FOR THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
MCGRADY SAYS NO LEGISLATIVE ACTION ON HHS DISPUTE HAS BEEN REQUESTED
Representative Chuck McGrady told WHKP News late last week tha. that he had not been asked to offer any legislation pertaining to the current dispute of a new campus for Hendersonville High School, The possibility that the General Assembly might become involved arose when county commissioners recently gave city council an ultimatum: either close Ninth Avenue between Oakland and Church Streets to make room for the Clark Nexsen-designed $53 million new Hendersonville High School campus and approve the necessary zoning changes or the project will be “shelved” indefinitely. The possibility of legislative intervention was then “floated” in the media…but McGrady says “no”…as of now,he has not been asked to offer any legislation.
There has been no public reaction to the commissioner’s ultimatum, but city council will likely take up the issue of closing Ninth Avenue and making the zoning changes in their up-coming February 9th council meeting, although no official agenda for that meeting has been released yet.
Closing Ninth Avenue was on the “consent” agenda for city council’s January meeting for approval without discussion and that consent agenda was apparently approved by a vote of council but the status of the closure of Ninth Avenue between the current HHS campus and the former Boyd property is still up in the air.
Both city and school board officials explained for WHKP News when the Boyd Automotive property was sold to the county ostensibly for the purpose of a new high school campus that the street would not be closed until construction was ready to begin on the new campus.
BBQ, live music, and craft fair lovers are going to have to find someplace other than the foothills and Tryon to go this summer for a “fix”… the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce has canceled the 2017 Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival. Festival organizers attribute the demise of the festival to three things: 1)decreased attendance, 2)lack of funding, and 3)ongoing contract negotiations with the Town of Tryon for the use of Harmon Field.
The recommendation to cancel the long-standing summertime BBQ festival came recently during a festival committee meeting. The festival’s primary purpose has been to raise funds for the Chamber of Commerce through a nationally recognized family oriented two-day event…and a Chamber spokesman says the last three festivals have failed to meet their financial goals and expectation.
So, according to Chamber President Kathy Toomey, “…it became painfully obvious that we needed to take a break and rethink how the festival should continue.”
High insurance costs for the use of Harmon Field were also a factor in the decision to cancel the festival.
THE CURENT POST OFFICE LOCATION ON FIFTH AVENUE WEST WAS SOLD LAST SPRING TO THE HENDERSONVILLE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH FOR JUST OVER A MILLION DOLLARS
CHURCH PLANS ARE TO EVENTUALLY LEVEL THE POST OFFICE BUILDING AND USE THE 1.52 ACRE LOT FOR A 141-SPACES CHURCH PARKING LOT
U.S. Postal Service media spokesman Philip Bogenberger in Charlotte confirmed for WHKP News in an e-mail this week that an announement is scheduled to be made this spring of a new location for the Hendersonville Post Office.
The postal service does not own the current Fifth Avenue West location and after the deal was made to sell the property to the church, the USPS was giving until this fall to find a new location and move out.
Postal service officials said at the time of the sale that a smaller facility was desired, and Boigenberger this week told WHKP News the new location has not been determined yet but will be soon.
Bogenberger said the new post office location "...will offer the same retail services as the current location and will not impact mail deliveries to Hendersonville residents and businesses."
There had been some speculation earlier that the USPS would re-locate the post office to the larger sorting facility near Sam's Club...but Bogenberger said again this week that the USPS is committed to a new loction as close as possible to the current one.
By Larry Freeman 01/19/17
HIGHWAY 64 WEST TO BE WIDENED FROM BLYTHE STREET TO DANIEL DRIVE
NC BDOT is indicating that the Highway 64 widening project through Laurel Park may begin as early as 2019.
Officials from the N.C. Department of Transportation as well as business owners attended a recent Laurel Park Town Council meeting and discussed details of the Highway 64 widening project.
The NC DOT is considering two options to widen the highway between Daniel Drive and Blythe Street and add bike lanes and sidewalks. One option adds a center turn lane. The other option features a landscaped or concrete median with three roundabouts at the Laurel Park Shopping Center, Daniel Drive and Blythe Street.
Brian Burch, division 14 construction engineer, said NCDOT has only received aboiut three dozen public comments so far, most of which are in favor of the three-lane plan with no roundabouts.
He said, "That’s not a tremendous amount of public input, but that’s where we are today.”
Over the next few weeks, NC DOT officials will look over traffic data and comments from the public and town officials before probably making a decisioin by February.
CONSTRUCTION WILL BE DONE 9AM TO 4PM
PROJECT EXPECTED TO BE FINISHEDS BY MAY
Sidewalk Infill Project to Begin the end of January:
The City of Hendersonville has commenced construction of the US-64 (Four Seasons Boulevard) Sidewalk Infill Project. The project consists of construction of a sidewalk and other pedestrian facilities along Four Seasons Blvd from the Verizon Wireless store to Bojangles location. This project is funded completely through a grant from the Federal Transportation Authority in addition to an in-kind match from the City. The City has recently contracted with Patton Construction Group to complete this work, with City water and sewer crews also providing support. The project is anticipated to be completed by May 2017, although the schedule could fluctuate due to weather or other unforeseen issues.
Construction will start near Verizon and move east to the end of the project limits. We have and will continue to stress the importance of minimizing the impact of this project on the businesses along Four Seasons. The contractor will work hard to keep disruptions to a minimum and to maintain driveway and street access for businesses and property owners throughout the project.
Construction hours will be 9 am to 4 pm and will necessitate the temporary lane closures. Lane closures will be limited to the hours of construction and to portions of sidewalk under construction.
10th Annual ATHENA Leadership Award Nominations Now Being Accepted
The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, Pardee Hospital, Morris Broadband, and Judy Stroud/State Farm Insurance are pleased to announce the 10th annual ATHENA Leadership Award® in Henderson County in memory of Vanessa Y. Mintz. Nominations are now being accepted for the ATHENA Leadership Award®, which will be presented at the Business & Professional Women’s Luncheon on May 10th, 2017 to an exemplary leader who has achieved excellence in their business or profession, served the community in a meaningful way and, most importantly, actively assisted women to achieve their full leadership potential.
Founded nearly 30 years ago, ATHENA International is a women’s leadership organization that supports, develops and honors women leaders through the programs it administers. ATHENA’s flagship program, the ATHENA Leadership Award® Program, has honored over 6000 women leaders from hundreds of cities and eight countries since its inception in 1982. Vanessa Y. Mintz brought the ATHENA award to Henderson County in 2008 and she embodied the values underlying ATHENA International’s philosophy of incorporating the talent and expertise of women into the leadership of our businesses, our communities and our government. Reflective of a quote attributed to Plato, “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there”, the ATHENA Leadership Award® honors and illuminates the leaders and leadership styles of individuals others would emulate.
The program is facilitated locally by the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, a licensed ATHENA host organization. Nominations are sought throughout the community and recipients are selected by a diverse group of community leaders based on the criteria above.
ATHENA Leadership Award® Recipients hail from all professional sectors. The award’s rich history, international scope and emphasis on mentorship make this award unique and amongst the most prestigious leadership awards one can receive. Past Henderson County ATHENA Recipients Include:
Judy Stroud, State Farm Insurance (2016)
Judith Long, Free Clinics (2015)
Caroline Long, St. Gerard House (2014)
Annie Fritschner, First United Methodist Church (2013)
Myra Grant, Pardee Hospital Foundation (2012)
Joyce Mason, Four Seasons Compassion for Life (2011)
Pat Shepherd, Pat’s School of Dance (2010)
Ragan Ward, Carolina Alliance Bank (2009)
Robin Reed, Bares It All (2008)
ATHENA Leadership Award® Recipients are presented a hand-cast, bronzed and crystal sculpture that symbolizes the strength, courage and wisdom of ATHENA Recipients.
The Henderson County Recipient will be invited to join ATHENA Leadership Award Recipients and other leaders at the annual ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Summit, held each spring in Chicago.
ATHENA International is nationally underwritten by KPMG. Local sponsorship is provided by Pardee Hospital, Morris Broadband and Judy Stroud/State Farm Insurance.
Nominations will be accepted until April 7th, 2017 and forms may be obtained by contacting the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce at 828.692.1413 or on the website – www.hendersoncountychamber.org.
PERHAPS THE NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS THE NEXT STEP
As WHKP News predicted it would several months ago, the battle over a new Hendersonville High School campus has now shifted from the county courthouse to Hendersonville city hall. Commissioners are sticking to their Clark Nexsen-proposed $53 million dollar new high school at Five Points on the former Boyd property…and commissioners have issued an ultimatum to city council---either close Ninth Avenue between Oakland and Church Streets to make room for the new campus and approve the necessary zoning changes OR the whole HHS project will be shelved indefinitely.
The next step in the process would normally be for the county to formally request that the street be closed and the county or its architect and contractors would apply to the city planning board and then to city council for the necessary zoning changes.
But because three members of city council, Mayor Volk and council members Stevens and Smith, have already let their opposition to the Clark Nexsen proposal be known and are likely “no” votes, their participation in the quasi judicial hearing that would be required on the zoning changes is now questionable.
This leaves what’s appearing to be growing “gridlock” between the city and county on the new HHS issue. And this opens the door for the North Carolina General Assembly to step in and force a solution. State Representative Chuck McGrady has reportedly indicated to county commissioners that he’s willing to do so, and there is historical precedent for that.
The legislature settled a downtown building heights issue a decade ago by authorizing a “vote of the people” on the issue. More to the point, a quarter of a century ago, State Senator Bo Thomas wrote legislation forcing reluctant county commissioners to deal with the issue of a crumbling jail and old courthouse which led to the construction of the newer 1995 courthouse and detention facility.
The need for a new Edneyville Elementary School was resolved this week when commissioners voted unanimously to build a new facility for about $25 million, and as Commission Chairman Michael Edney correctly pointed out the Edneyville school is a separate issue.. And County Commissioner Grady Hawkins re-affirmed the obvious…that the county CAN afford to build both the new Edneyville school and the new HHS campus. That SHOULD resolve both issues, but the city-county gridlock, at least for now. appears to be firmly in place.
The bottom line is…either a compromise is worked out between city and county to move the new campus and preservation of the historic Stillwell building forward…or the whole issue may be moved out of the hands of local elected city and county officials and placed squarely in the lap of a few hundred legislators in Raleigh who know diddly-squat about our situation and needs here in Henderson County---and that’s "Raleigh decision-making" and "legislative mandates" that are consistently decried by local elected officials.
What we’re offering today is NOT a station “editorial”…it’s just an objective over-view from an historical perspective of where this contentious situation stands today and may be going in the very near future. So, like with other similar situations in our recent history, such as building heights and new courthouses, as we say in the radio business, “please stand by and stay tuned”…it looks like, as of today, this issue is about 210 miles down I-40 (the distance from here to Raleigh) from being resolved.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman 01/18/17