More clouds with a passing afternoon shower possible
HI: 71 LOW: 50
BOARD OF ELECTIONS ON CENTRAL STREET, VILLAGE OF FLAT ROCK TOWN HALL, FLETCHER LIBRARY, ETOWAH LIBRARY
Record numbers of early voters turned out Thursday---and they turned out early---for the start of early “One Stop” voting at the Board of Elections on Central Street.
By mid morning Thursday, lines of voters were waiting outside on all sides of the Election Board building; every parking space was full; nearby parking lots were packed; and lines of cars were parked all up and down Central Street…with a deputy directing traffic and helping motorists onto and off of the Old Spartanburg Highway. A total of 541 had voted ny noon.
Elections Director Beverly Cunningham told WHKP News the crowd beganb to ease up by mid day Thursday. She suggested that motorists, when leaving the Election Board. drive around behind the buikding and exit on Edney Street...that will alleviate congestion.
The early voting continued at the Board of Elections on Friday and resumes on Monday from 8:30am to 6pm and on Saturday October 29 and November 5 from 8:30 until 1pm…
The early “One Stop” voting starts Monday at the three other local sites in addition to the Board of Elections office: Village of Flat Rock Town Hall, the Etowah Library, and the Fletcher Library. Their hours will be from 10am to 6pm and Saturdays from 8:30am to 1pm.
No photo ID is required; same day registration is being permitted, and “curbside” voting is available for the handicapped.
Remember…no “straight ticket” voting is allowed this time---each office must be voted for individually, which is taking up more time for voters and is likely contributing to the back-up.
Election Board officials say be sure and don’t block the drive-ways, and don’t drive the wrong way or double parkon their narrow drive-ways.
All 35 precinct polling places in Henderson County will be open for voting on election day from 6:30am to 7:30pm.
By Larry Freeman
DAVIS ARENA DOORS OPENED AT 9AM, THE RALLY STARTED AT 12 NOON
Tickets were required to get into the Donald Trump appearance and rally at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher on Friday, but they were free and made available on various Tump web sites.
Lines began forming outside the Davis Arena long before the doors to the arena opened at 9am. Large TV network satellite trucks were on the scene, and protestors began showing up just before 9am in an area cordoned off for them outside the arena. Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows and former Congressman Charles Taylor spoke to the crowd while waiting for Trump to appear. Both Meadows and Taylor shared jokes about Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to the applause of the crowd. North Carolina Republican Part Chairman Robin Hayes, a former member of congress and one-time GOP gubernatorial nominee, was the master of ceremonies for Friday's event.
Trump appeared on stage and began speaking about 12:40pm He noted there were pink and white "Women For Trump" signs in the audience and predicted he would do very well with women voters. Much of what Trump had to say to the WNC audience had to do with jobs and trade, complaining of what he called bad trade deals and jobs lost due to the policies of Obama and Clinton. He was aslso critical of the way informatioin has been handled by the current administration leading up to the current assault on ISIS in Mosul. Trump said he had spent over $100 million of his own money on the current campaign, and was critical of big donors...and he vowed to go after big donors, big business, and the major news media that Trump said "...has enriched themselves at your expense."
Trump wrapped up his speech at almost exactly i:30pm, by telling the crowsd "We're going to make America safe again...we're going to make America great again." He did not mention the focus of much major coverage late this week, which is whether or not he will accept the election results if he looses,
Trump's Friday visit to the AG Center was his second trip to the Asheville area this campaign cycle---he previously appeared at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville.
North Carolibna is considered a "batleground" state in the presidential race this year, and most recent polls have Clinton leding Trump in the Tarheel state by two percentage point, well within the margin of error.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman. Updated 2:09pm. 10/22/16
The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Counbcil Thursday pointed out that Henderson County's drought situation has worsened...and the county now joins eight others in the "severe" drought classification.
The NCDMAC strongly advises all water users in the counties that are indicated on the US Drought Monitor Map as suffering from Severe Drought (D2) conditions to enact the following precautions in addition to previous advisories until further notice:
With stream flow levels falling in Hendersonville's primary source for water, the Mills River, the City of Hendersonville this week imposed "stage one" voluntary water conservation measures. Utilities Director Lee Smith says the goal of "stage one" is to reduce water consumption by ten per cent. Should the situation worsem, the city now has the option of tapping into the French Broad River for water or purhasing water from the City of Asheville. Stream flow levels would have to fall before 35 cubic feet per second for seven consequtive days in order for mandatory water restrictions to be imposed.
A growing concern with the lack of rainfall is the fire danger...amnd fire officials are predicting that situation to worsen exponentially as the drought continues AND as the leaves fall and crete a combustible situation on the ground.
National Weather Service forecasters says that after some scattered shoiwers late this week, no rainfall is in the forecast for western North Caroilina for at least a week.
Farmers in the area are expressing concern...saying there is little grass for livestock and some cow and dairy farmers are already relying on winter stockpoilkes of hay and silage to feed their animals.
By Larry Freeman
WAY ABOVE THE LONG TERM AVERAGE
October 19th is Hendersonville’s average date for our first killing frost of the fall season. But instead of “frost on the punkin”, local folks have been experiencing record setting heat for the past two days.
Tuesday’s official Hendersonville high, recorded at WHKP---the National Weather Service official weather observation station for Hendersonville---was 82 degrees which broke the previous record high for the date in Hendersonville of 81 degrees set on October 18th 1909.
Wednesday’s heat was also record setting. Hendersonville’s high on Wednesday of 83 degrees tied the record-setting 83 degree reading in Hendersonville on the 19th in both 1941 and 1985.
The high temperature Wednesday at the Asheville Regional Airport was 84 which broke the previous record high for the date in Asheville of 83 set on October 19th 1938.
Charlotte recorded a high of 88 on Wednesday the 19th which broke their old record of 82 set on the 19th of October 1938.
Hendersonville’s long-term average high temperature on October 19th is 65; the average over-night low for the date is 38.
A cold front will bring a chance for rain Thursday into Friday, then lower temperatures…but they will likely remain slightly warmer than average into and through the weekend.
By Larry Freeman
In their meeting Wednesday, county commissioners approved three economic development incentive packages, including Project Roan, relating to the German-based manufacturing company Norafin---which will be located on Banner Farm Road in Mills River and will bring more than 40 new jobs to the area, and Project Emerald, relating to automotive parts manufacturer Elkamet---which is in East Flat Rock and represents a multi-million dollar investment inb Henderson County, Inc. and which plans to expand from their current site in East Flat Rock.
The commissioners also approved a financing contract for the Innovative High School project which will soon be under construction on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College.
And commissioners voted to opt out of "gender re-assignment" coverage in the health care policies for county employees.
CITY COUNCIL WILL VOTE ON IT NOVEMBER 3RD
IF APPROVED, "REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS" TO DEVELOP IT WILL GO OUT EARLY IN THE NEW YEAR
Hendersonville's City Operation Center on Williams Street was almost filled Tuesday night with local folk getting their first look at a “boutique” hotel project that wil l likely develop at the site of the old Grey’s Hosiery Mill on Grove Street.
That 1915-era dilapidated property has belonged to the City of Hendersonville for about 30 years and many previous attempts to do something with it have failed…the last major effort coming about a decade and a half ago was to make it a performing and cultural arts center.
This time, city officials commissioned the Development Finance Initiative of the UNC School of Government…and they feel a 100 plus room boutique-type hotel is a viable option for the property. The downtown Dogwood Parking Lot is another location being considered for the boutique hotel project.
Under the UNC plan, the core of the old mill building would be saved and become a part of the new project; the annexes to it would be torn down; and a probable five-story hotel would be developed around it.
At he public meeting Tuesday night, there was no real opposition expressed to the hotel possibility…but there were questions. One question concerned parking and City Manager John Connet pointed out that parking, or a possible parking deck, is not part of this plan but the city is always looking at ways to mitigate the downtown parking challenge.
Now that the hotel possibility has been laid out for the public, city council will likely have an “up or down” vote on it at their November 3rd council meeting. And if the concept is accepted by the council, Mayor Barbara Volk says requests for proposals to develop the project will go out early in the new year, probably in January or February.
By Larry Freeman
On the ballot for local voters in this year’s general election, is the chance to vote “for” or “against” the proposed quarter cent sales tax for Henderson County. This would be a new and additional tax and it could raise as much as two and a half million dollars in revenue.
Henderson County County Manager Steve Wyatt told the county’s Local Government Committee on Co-Operative Action Tuesday that he is certain that if that sales tax is approved by the voters, he will be instructed by the county commissioners, early in the new year, to include a reduction in the county’s property tax rate in tHe 2017-18 new county budget. CountyCommission Chairman Tommy Thompson agreed there would likely be a reduction, but he said he could not say how much at this time.
The committee, made up of elected mayors and council members in all the county’s municipalities, expressed concern in the Historic Courthouse at their meeting Tuesday that very little information or publicity on the quarter cent sales tax is being put before the public. Even though the tax is solidly endorsed and supported by the county commissioners, Wyatt pointed out the county is not allowed to advertise or campaign for the tax.
Fletcher Mayor Bill Moore and council member Bob Davy and Fletcher Town Manager Mark Bieberdorf raised questions about animal enforcement in Fletcher…and it was agreed the town would be working with the county and the sheriff’s department on animal control issues.
Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk and City Manager John Connet discussed with the committee the city’s “stage one” water conservation measures, explaining that local car washes will continue to operate during “stage one”. It is the goal of “stage one” voluntary measures to reduce consumption in the city’s water system by 10 per cent.
By Larry Freeman
LESSON LEARNED ON THE WIDENING OF I-26
A WHKP Station Editorial
October 16, 2016
NC DOT plans to spend a whopping $445 million to widen I-26 in Henderson and Buncombe Counties. That’s a lot of money, but I-26 needs a lot of improving---mainly widening and re-surfacing. When DOT unveiled their plans to do this, the Times-News reported that the local environmental group, Mountain True, would be “keeping an eye on the environmental and community impacts as the project moves forward.”
Let’s be clear: we are SO thankful this widening is finally coming and we fully support the so-called “hybrid” option of widening it to six lanes in Henderson County, and to eight lanes in Buncombe County. But it should be noted that it was Mountain True’s predecessor, ECO or the Environmental Conservation Organization, that led the fight to shoot down the first, best, and least expensive opportunity to widen and improve I-26 a decade and a half ago. That organization, their supporters, and a few mis-guided city officials who thankfully are no longer in office, successfully diverted about $85 million that DOT had in their hands for the widening at that time to another highway project in another part of the state..
We recall some of their arguments against the widening at that time. The smoke and fumes from all that traffic, they said, would kill the trees and pollute the air. Those additional lanes, they said, would invite more traffic…especially those dreaded big trucks that boost the economy and deliver the goods into and out of western North Carolina. Their’s was basically an anti-business, anti-growth argument. So, we’ve all been held to four lanes, to regularly increasing congestion, mounting frustration, and creeping delays.
What would have cost about $85 million a decade ago and made all our lives much easier an safer---that $85 million that a handful of condescending environmentalists caused to be sent to another road project down state---has grown by $361 million to become the $445 million project NC DOT is proposing to start in 2020.
Think about this. That $361 million that those busy-bodies, all in the name of a clean environment, cost us by delaying for a decade and a half the widening of I-26, COULD have, in Henderson County dollars, built SIX new Hendersonville High Schools; NINE new Health-Science Centers, SEVEN new Innovative High Schools; or EIGHTEEN new $20 million law enforcement training centers….with money left over to raise teachers salaries and buy computers for every kid in Henderson County public schools
Granted, that $82.5 million back in 2002 would have widened about 13 miles of I-26 only in Henderson County. But pro-rate it down. The tens of millions those protestors cost us by killing the deal for no valid reason in 2002 still could have built a lot of schools and libraries, put scores of better trained deputies on the road, raised teacher’s pay, and paid off much of the county’s debt service.
And that’s not to mention the dollars lost to all of us in gas, time and productivity while sitting in traffic jams for the last fifteen years in those four congested lanes of I-26. Or the many millions spent over the years trying to patch up and hold together that rough and inadequate stretch of road that could have been, should have ben, used to improve other roads in the county.
All that begs the question…do we really NEED the 2016 updated version of ECO, now known as Mountain True or any other so-called environmental watch dogs, “keeping an eye” on the widening project for us THIS time?
We’ve had our differences with NC DOT, but they’ve had decades of experience with I-26 and the growth of this area. They are far better equipped to know what we need for an interstate highway. The environmental folks, God love ‘em, best serve this community when fishing old tires out of the river and re-cycling Christmas trees. By delaying the widening of I-26, all the environmentalists accomplished was costing the taxpayer’s money---a LOT of money, interfering with economic growth, and inconveniencing the motoring public
This has been a WHKP station editorial. As always, we invite your comments…on our comments.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman
LEAF PICK-UP IS STARTING; BOYD PARK RENOVATION IS CONTINUING
Work has started on the Boyd Park Renovation Project in Downtown Hendersonville. The park improvement project will include removing the existing fence, asphalt, lighting, and a few trees in preparation to rebuild the two tennis courts. New fence and new lights will be installed after the courts are repaved and receive the court surface treatment. A new accessible ramp will be installed along the Bearcat Boulevard side of the park. New lights will also be installed around the Laura E. Corn Mini Golf Course. The project is expected to be completed around mid-November to early December.
For questions, please call Public Works at (828) 697-3084.
On not bag their leaves. Residents are asked not to place their leaves in the road as they could be washed down to the storm drain and cause flooding in the road., the City of Hendersonville starts their bulk fall leaf collection for City Residents. Collection will continue until the end of December. Residents are asked to rake their leaves as close to the street, curb or sidewalk as possible without placing the leaves in the road or on the sidewalk. Residents do not need to call for this service because our staff will continue collecting leaves through December. Leaf piles are picked up from homes about every 10 to 14 days but, depending on the volume of leaves placed out for collection, the piles could be picked up sooner or later than that time. Also, this collection process is separate from our brush collection crews so residents will need to keep the brush and leaves in separate piles. Residents are asked to
For questions about this project, please call the Public Works Department at (828) 697-3084.
Work has started on the Oklawaha Greenway Trail between Patton Park and 7th Avenue to remove some dead trees and hazardous limbs over the trail. These trees have been evaluated by a certified arborist and have been deemed unsafe and in need of removal. The City of Hendersonville has accepted bids and awarded the project to Epperson’s Tree Service of Saluda.The project is anticipated to span five working days or more, depending on the weather. In the interest of public safety, the trail will have to be closed between Patton Park and 7thAvenue while work is underway.
The City of Hendersonville will sponsor a secure, Shred Day for City residents on not for businesses. The public can simply drop their documents off or stay and watch their documents destroyed. The event will happen rain or shine. If the shredding truck fills up before , the event will be over., from , in the parking lot of Patton Park, 59 E. Clairmont Drive. American Security Shredding, Inc, will have their shredding truck in the parking lot to allow residents to dispose of sensitive materials. Residents of Hendersonville are invited to bring up to two boxes (or 50 lbs.) of paper items to be shredded. Suggested items to shred are financial statements, cancelled checks, credit card statements, payroll stubs, insurance forms, old tax returns, forms from doctor's offices, etc. This is
During this time, the Hendersonville Police and Henderson County Sheriff’s will host a Drug Take Back stop to allow citizens to dispose of expired/unused medication, such as prescription & over the counter pills, vitamins, ointments, and patches.
(No chemotherapy drugs, needles or EpiPens will be accepted.)
To make this part of a community outreach effort, the City is asking that residents coming to the event to bring items to donate to the Storehouse and IAM. Suggested items are canned fruits & vegetables, canned chili & beef stew, and toiletry items.