HI: 52 LOW: 48
THE ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES AND WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY SAY: IT'S IME FOR OCTOBER'S FALL COLOR
Western North Carolina's annual fall color display should draw more tourists this October than last year when a federal government shutdown stymied some travelers, according to a new study from Western Carolina University.
With the national parks open and fall colors forecast to be especially good this year, hotel occupancy rates should increase in 21 mountain counties, according to the second annual "October Tourism Forecast for Western North Carolina."
The report is developed by students in a senior-level "Tourism Strategies" class taught by Steve Morse, economist and director of the Hospitality and Tourism Program in WCU's College of Business.
"The federal government shutdown during the first 15 days of October in 2013 resulted in little growth in tourism last year because of the closure of campgrounds and visitor centers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway," Morse said.
"Our analysis indicates those who did not travel to the mountains last October may have a stronger desire this year to feed their fall foliage yearning."
The students analyzed data supplied by Smith Travel Research, a leading source of information for the hospitality industry. The students' forecast also is based on declining gasoline prices, new tourism marketing campaigns by the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau and by Smoky Mountain Host promoting WNC as an outdoors destination, improving economic conditions and "pent-up travel demand," Morse said.
Another factor, Morse said, is the improving outlook for leaf-lookers in the mountains, as WCU fall foliage forecaster Kathy Mathews, associate professor of biology, says the chances are increasing for a brilliant fall color season this year. "Brighter colors should attract even more tourists this year," Morse said.
In the tourism study, the WCU students divided 21 WNC counties into five groups; examined the total number of hotel rooms sold and the overall occupancy rates for October 2013; compared weekday and weekend occupancy rates from last October; and determined the average change in the number of hotel nights sold for October during the previous three years. The students' predictions, by region:
Region 1 – Cherokee, Clay, Graham and Macon counties: A 2.7 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.
Region 2 – Haywood, Jackson, Transylvania and Swain counties: A 3.3 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.
Region 3 – Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga and Wilkes counties: A 2 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.
Region 4 – Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties: A 1.7 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.
Region 5 – Buncombe and Henderson counties: A 3.7 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.
Ty Marion, a senior from Hendersonville majoring in hospitality and tourism, said the project provided a new perspective on the annual fall color show. "Since the leaves start changing colors in early October and continue for the rest of the month, tourists travel from all over, which increases everything from the demand of hotel rooms to revenue," said Marion, a 2007 graduate of East Henderson High School.
The "October Tourism Forecast for Western North Carolina" is part of a series of reports about travel trends in the mountain region to be provided by Morse and his students.
For more information about WCU's Hospitality and Tourism Program, visit the website hospitalityandtourism.wcu.edu. For a copy of the tourism forecast report, call 828-227-3386.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals will hold a session of court in Hendersonville on Monday, October 20 at 1:00 p.m. The appeals court will sit in the former main courtroom (now used for meetings of the County Commissioners) of the Historic Courthouse in downtown Hendersonville, and will be open to the public.
The court session was scheduled by the Court of Appeals, which usually holds court in Raleigh, after an invitation by the Henderson County Bar Association, the local group for Henderson County lawyers. “We’re very excited that the Court has accepted our invitation to visit Hendersonville,” said Bar Association President Anderson Ellis. “This is a terrific opportunity for the residents and students of Hendersonville to experience first-hand one of the higher levels of our state judicial branch. We hope that everyone will take advantage of the visit to become familiar with how our appeals court works.”
In North Carolina, civil and criminal cases first go to trial in the District and Superior Courts, which are conducted in each county in the state. If a case is appealed from these courts, unless it is a murder case in which the death penalty is given, it is heard by the Court of Appeals. The Court reviews cases for errors of law and legal procedure, and its fifteen judges are elected and serve eight-year terms.
The three-judge panel of Judges Linda McGee, Robert Hunter, and Sanford Steelman are set to hear two cases in Hendersonville. The first case, Bottom v. Bailey (COA 14-564), is an appeal from Buncombe County and addresses the mishandling of funds involved in a “check kiting” scheme. The second case, Town of Black Mountain v. Lexon Insurance Company (COA 14-740), is also an appeal from Buncombe County, and revolves around bonds issued for the construction of a subdivision that fell through due to the recession of 2008-2009. Each case has two parties, and each party is given 30 minutes to argue; each case will take approximately one hour, and the court session will run from 1:00 p.m. until approximately 4:00 p.m.
Henderson County Public Schools and Historic Johnson Farm announcethat Joy Owens of Hendersonville, NC is theFarm Director.
Owens was hired after a search and interview process, and began work at the beginning of school year 2014-15. (She succeeds Farm Director Ingrid McNair who retired August 31, 2014)
Owens is a resident of Henderson County, anda product of Henderson County Public Schools. She attended Mills River Elementary School, Rugby Middle School and West Henderson High School.
She attended Furman University in Greenville, SC, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BS Degree in Sustainability Science. During her time at Furman, she served as year-long manager of Furman Farm, an organic farm on campus. She supervised a staff of eight students in a work study program, and managed other student volunteers as well as volunteers from the Greenville community.
She also worked as an Education Intern with the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. While there she participated in the Climate Friendly Parks project, gave house tours, cared for animals, and was exposed to all aspects of the park and its education programs.
Owens is currently accepting reservations for school field trips at the farm. Since coming to Historic Johnson Farm, she has been involved in studying what the teams of farmvolunteers have done in the past. She is involved in organizing andputting her personal stamp on all the planned educational activities offered at the farm.
Owens started a Facebook page for the farm, to compliment and add to the farm website at www.historicjohnsonfarm.org.
Everyone associated with Historic Johnson Farm is looking forward to a bright future under her direction.
Historic Johnson Farm is open Tuesday – Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. There is no charge to walk the grounds. Visitors may enjoy one of the guided tours of the brick farmhouse, boarding house and other buildings at 10: am and 1:30 pm at $5 for adults, and $3 for children. Preschoolers are admitted free. It is located at 3346 Haywood Road, Hendersonville, NC across from Rugby Middle School. Call 828-891-6585 for more information.
The Hendersonville Times-News reported Sunday morning...
Rick Wood, Democratic candidate for the N.C. Senate’s 48th District, says his opponent, incumbent Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville), is avoiding engaging with him in a public discussion of the issues.
For his part, Apodaca said the two forums he’s agreed to participate in with Wood should suffice.
“I think it’s pretty clear-cut,” Apodaca said Thursday. “I’m a conservative business guy and he’s a liberal school union guy. There’s not a lot to differentiate. I think people know where we stand. Either way, I don’t think it’s going to be like the Lincoln-Douglas debates.”
Wood said he’s particularly disappointed that Apodaca is “refusing to attend” a Henderson County League of Women Voters forum scheduled for Oct. 1 at the City Operations Center in Hendersonville, since League rules prevent Wood from answering questions without his opponent there.
“I understand that incumbents sometimes want to avoid challengers,” Wood said. “I get that. But I just don’t think that serves the voters well. The League forum has such a history. I can’t remember a candidate refusing to attend one. My understanding is every other Republican candidate is going to be there.”
Apodaca said he told League representatives he had an education oversight meeting and three other important appointments in Raleigh that day and couldn’t be there.
“We’re looking at preliminary enrollment and how many teachers are needed, so I think I need to be in Raleigh,” he said. “I told them it wouldn’t fit.”
Sharon Burlingame, president of the Henderson County LWV, said she also asked Apodaca if he would be available to participate at a second forum the League is sponsoring Oct. 8, “and he said he’d be in committee meetings that day.”Apodaca’s campaign chair, City Councilman Jeff Miller, dismissed suggestions that the six-term senator and Senate rules committee chairman was avoiding debate with his Democratic rival, a former school teacher and basketball coach who serves on the Henderson County School Board.
“He is not afraid of any question that can be asked by Rick or anyone else,” Miller said. He pointed out that Apodaca has consented to two other events with Wood: a live, in-studio candidates’ forum at WHKP on Oct. 14 and a debate sponsored by the Council of Independent Business Owners in Asheville on Oct. 16.
Larry Freeman, WHKP’s news director, said the station’s Tuesday morning program “is not really a debate. It’s a typical candidates’ forum. We spend an hour with both candidates in the studio, just passing questions around and talking about the issues.”
Freeman said the first half-hour will consist of introducing the candidates to the station’s audience, beginning with questions posed by station staff.
“Then the last half-hour, we usually open it up to questions from listeners,” he said.
FORUM MAY BE EXPANDED TO TWO HOURS
Freeman said if there is sufficient interest, phone calls and questions, the Wood and Apodaca forum on October 14th may be expanded to two hours from 9 to 11am. He also said that due to the interest in the campaign, the forum will be recorded and re-aired at a yet-to-be-determined date and time before the election.
Wood said he welcomes “any opportunity to be involved,” but complained that Apodaca has chosen two environments favorable to him — radio and a “friendly business crowd” — rather than entering into an open public debate with him.
On the contrary, Miller said, “radio gives it the best chance for people to hear it. And No. 2, everything is recorded, so if you step in it, it’s like a tar baby — you can’t get it off. Every race I’ve ever been in, there’s been a radio debate. You can certainly get a lot of people listening that way.”
As for the CIBO event, Miller said he participated in the group’s debates while running against former Congressman Heath Shuler in 2010. “I found the questions to be business-oriented, but I didn’t think I got treated any better than Mr. Shuler did,” he said.
CIBO Executive Assistant Patty Beaver said the public is allowed at the group’s debate on a limited basis, but a $10 admission is required to cover the cost of the event and lunch.
WHKP TO BROADCAST SHERIFF'S FORUM TUESDAY OCTOBER 28TH
Similar to the Apodaca-Wood event, WHKP plans to broadcast a forum with Republican Sheriff Charlie McDonald and Democrat challenger Marty Katz from 9:05 to 10am on Tuesday October 28th. The format will be the same as in the Wood-Apodaca forum, and the sheriff's forum may also be expanded in there is sufficient interest and questions. The sheriff's forum will also be re-aired before the election.
Pardee Hospital Foundation announced today that its annual Women Helping Women dinner and luncheon, sponsored exclusively by Sue and Tom Fazio, will be held on October 23 and 24 at Kenmure Country Club. Each year, the Foundation hosts these two events to honor women of hope, celebrate caregivers, and to raise funds that provide financial assistance for treatment and preventive services for women’s cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis, and breast cancer and breast health.
The October 23 dinner event will celebrate caregivers and feature guest speaker Karyn Stitzenberg, MD, MPH, FACS, Division of Surgical Oncology at the UNC Department of Surgery who will speak about advances in cancer research, care and treatment. The evening will also honor the caregivers present in the room that evening including Dr. Bill Medina.
Steve Ford, actor and son of President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford will be the featured speaker for the luncheon on October 24. Ford will share his story and inspirational message about his mother’s courage to talk frankly about her breast cancer, a subject only whispered about in the 1970s. This year’s Woman of Hope will be announced at both the dinner and the luncheon, an honor received last year by Marcia Caserio.
“Think of Women Helping Women as a first responder to women in financial distress,” says Kim Hinkelman, Executive Director of Pardee Hospital Foundation. “What we want women to hear this year, more than ever, is that Women Helping Women can – and does- provide assistance for a multitude of diseases and preventive services that women in our community so desperately need. The support of our community allows Pardee Hospital to continue to provide advanced, coordinated, compassionate care for these women.” Women Helping Women started in 1998 primarily to assist women who needed preventive services like a mammogram, or treatment for breast cancer. The program and its parameters for assistance have expanded over the years to include all women’s cancers, as well as heart disease, osteoporosis, and other diseases. If you know someone in need today, have them call 698-7334.
The cost for the dinner or luncheon is $125. Each ticket sold allows one uninsured or under-insured woman to receive a mammogram or another important screening that can prevent and treat cancers and other serious medical conditions. For more information about Women Helping Women or to register for the luncheon or dinner, visit www.pardeehospital.org/foundation or call 696.4666.
This is your chance to see Bridal Veil Falls without hiking 4.4 miles roundtrip!
A 12 mile tour by shuttle bus to four spectacular sites in DuPont State Recreational Forest: Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Lake Julia.
This is a family friendly event that takes place Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19.
Buses will leave the event parking area approximately every 30 minutes from 9am until 2:30 pm. By getting off the bus at each stop visitor will be able to get great views of the falls, take photos and explore the forest. The tour takes 3 hours or longer, depending on how much time
is spent at each stop.
The event parking area is located near 89 Buck Forest Road, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718(GPS 35.191111, -82.622778) a short distance from the High Falls access and parking area. Look for the Tour De Falls directional signs as you near the event area.
Volunteers will be on each bus and at each stop to provide information about the history of the area and our efforts to protect the historical and natural resources within this 10,400-acre forest.
A donation of $6 for ages 6 to 17 and $12 for ages 18 and up is requested. We accept donations by cash or check, but cannot process credit cards. Buses are not handicap-accessible. Pets are not allowed on the buses. Reservations are not accepted.
Visitors should bring snacks and water, as there are no food concessions. Triple Falls and High Falls have covered shelters with picnic tables.
Light refreshments will be available in the lodge overlooking Lake Julia, which is the last stop on the tour.
DuPont State Recreational Forest is located in Henderson and Transylvania counties in the mountains of western North Carolina.
Tour de Falls is an event sponsored by the Friends of DuPont Forest (FODF). Friends of DuPont Forest is a non-profit organization that works with the North Carolina Forest Service and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to enhance the recreational experience and preserve the natural resources in DuPont State Recreational Forest. Donations to Friends of DuPont Forest are used to finance construction projects such as shelters, access steps at the waterfalls, to maintain 80+ miles of trails, and to support research and educational projects that protect historical and natural resources within DuPont State Recreational Forest. You are invited to become a member of this vital organization. For membership applications, directions, and additional DuPont State Recreational Forest info visit our web site at www.dupontforest.com or call 828-877-6527.
September 23 - The progress of fall colors in the Great Smoky Mountains may be about to shift from neutral and into gear. The last two weeks have been unusually warm and damp, and colors have not progressed much. But with nighttime lows now hitting the lower 40s and upper 30s, that should rapidly change.
Lower down, several species of trees have just started to change. Sycamore, sassafras, witch hazel, buckeye, tuliptree, black gum, sourwood, Virginia creeper, sumacs and black walnut are all showing hints of color. Migrating birds are flocking to the dogwoods’ red berries. Fall wildflowers are also conspicuous, including jewelweed, asters, goldenrod and white snakeroot.
Good places for a drive include Clingmans Dome Road and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a great time to hike Mt. Le Conte! Upper Deep Creek Trail is also gorgeous this time of year.
The peak of fall colors at the higher elevations is likely to be at least 10 days away. At the lower and mid elevations, colors traditionally peak in late October or early November. At this time, we predict colors will be on the later side.
Park officials are happy to see a bumper crop of oak acorns, which should help black bears gain the weight they nel With sunny days and cool nights in the forecast, the march of fall colors should be picking up the pace very shortly. Reports from New England portend that the timing of this year’s colors may be normal to a tad late across the Appalachians.
Sourwood trees on the drier slopes are showing nice reds now. Witch-hobble leaves at the higher elevations are burgundy. A smattering of dogwood trees have begun the change. Blackgum trees will soon be blushing red. Fruits, such as the fuchsia seedpods of magnolia trees and oak acorns are now conspicuous.
By late September look for more color at the higher elevations as American beech and yellow birch trees transition to gold. Early changers at the lower elevations like sourwood, blackgum, dogwood, yellow buckeye, Virginia creeper, sumacs, and tuliptree should then be near peak. Parkwide, the peak of fall colors generally occurs between late October and early November.
The elk rut is now in full swing in both Cataloochee Valley and at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center area; and bears are busy gobbling acorns in Cades Cove.
The Town of Laurel Park has been selected by the Board of Trustees of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) to receive a grant for $63,550 for Phase II of Rhododendron Lake Park. The grant provides the Town with the necessary funds to help protect water quality by eliminating sections of a subsurface culvert pipe into and out of the lake, and create a sedimentation pond to allow sediment to be captured, monitored, and removed before it reaches the lake. Restoration of the lake’s shoreline creates a buffer area and filter for the lake while providing a habitat for native plant and bird species. Removal of lake debris and the renovation to a bottom outflow device will improve oxygen levels and stabilize water temperatures within the aquatic system, and should enhance water quality to a level that would support native trout populations.
In 2009, the Town acquired the property, nowknown as Rhododendron Lake Park, and developed a three-phase plan to create a 10-acre nature park encompassing the old lakebed property and recently purchased adjacent parcels. Built in 1909, the lake was created by the building of an earthen dam on an unnamed headwaters stream for Wash Creek. The dam was removed in the early 1980’s but an approximately 1 acre lake remains. Many Henderson County residents have fond memories of swimming and sunbathing at Laurel Park Lake.
In 2013, contractors and volunteers began the first phase of a three-phase multi-year project to create Rhododendron Lake Park from the old lakebed. The primary goal of Phase I was to realign the channeled stream, which was causing erosion under Lake Drive. Starting at the south end of Lake Drive near the Villas, the stream now flows on a northerly path through the park, cascading over newly created falls at the north end before continuing to Wash Creek at Laurel Green Park. The Army Corps of Engineers recently completed its first year inspection of the project, including an evaluation of the stream banks for any signs of erosion as well as the overall health of the stream in terms of invertebrate development. They also gauged how well the plant growth is progressing along the stream and inside the buffer area. The Corps found no significant issues with the stream project; rather the assessment found that the project is in great shape and moving ahead as required. The Corps will monitor the project for another four years, at which time the Town will assume maintenance and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy will take over the monitoring.
With the generous assistance of the CWMTF, Phase II will allow the Town to remove the silt from the lake, create riparian buffers adjacent to the stream and lake, acquire a key parcel adjacent to the existing park, and establish educational programs. Construction on the two-year project is expected to begin in 2015. In addition to the grant from CWMTF, the past and planned Rhododendron Lake Park improvements have been possible only with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Henderson County’s Legislative Delegation, and the Laurel Park Parks & Greenway Board.
During Phase I of the project, the generous donation of over $12,500 from residents and visitors, enabled the Town to plant approximately 400 established specimens of shrubs and trees in the conservation easement area. Laurel Park is seeking additional public donations that will help fund walking trails and other park amenities to be located around the lake. Interested in learning more, or donating to future plantings, trail construction, or park amenities? Contact Town Hall at 693-4840.
At approximately 11:20 PM on 9/20/2014 officers from the Henderson County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence on Jeter Mountain Road where a burglary in progress was reported.
When officers arrived at the residence they found the door frame and glass door broken leading into the residence. The homeowner had been assaulted by a suspect who had broken into the residence looking to steal money. The resident was able to call 911 and was not severely injured. The suspect left the home prior to the officer's arrival however the officers were able to collect evidence at the scene of the crime.
Approximately 2 hours later officers responded to a disturbance a short distance away from the original burglary call. There officers took Samuel Allen Taylor, age 31 of 215 DuPont Estate Drive in Hendersonville into custody.
Officers were able to link him to the original burglary on Jeter Mountain Road. Taylor is charged with First Degree Burglary, Injury to Real Property and Assault on a Female.
Taylor’s bond is set at $24,500 and he remains in custody at the Henderson County Detention Facility awaiting his first appearance hearing.