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Current weather in Hendersonville, NC 47° Dec 17's Weather
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HI: 49 LOW: 27
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Painting of Thompson's, Saluda, NC

This time of the year the quaint mountain village of Saluda, NC has fewer visitors and becomes a “sleepy” community until visitors and day trippers return in the spring.  As part of Historic Thompson's Store's "Let the Good Times Roll"music series, organizers will be hosting a Mardi Gras Masquerade party in the Boarding House Venue upstairs of Historic Thompson’s Store and Ward’s Grill on Main Street in Historic Downtown Saluda. 

“While traditionally found along the Gulf Coast, these festive occasions are beginning to spread to other sections of the country. It's a different way of boosting community business as well as psyche' during the dreary winter months.

Living in the Deep South for the past 50 years has allowed me to appreciate and enjoy two different cultures found in the area, the Creoles and Cajuns. Both groups excel in good fun and good food. Our own Mardi Gras party will reflect the casual nature of Cajun celebrations versus the more formal New Orleans style of elaborate costumes. Guests are welcome to come with or without a costume. Party favors will be provided, “says owner of Thompson’s Store and organizer of event, Clark Thompson.

“Our beautiful restored Boarding House Venue, which is located upstairs over the Historic Thompson's Store, provides an ideal event facility for hosting intimate parties such as our first annual Mardi Gras Celebration.  The Boarding House has all the modern amenities (including an elevator and handicap-accessible restrooms) but retains a historic charm, hearkening back to the early 1900’s when the building’s second floor served as a boardinghouse for railroad workers.

In addition to previously hosting such events as opera, birthday parties, weddings, reunions, and anniversary celebrations, it is our goal to bring to Saluda on a regular basis more cultural type experiences not currently found in our immediate community,” says Clark Thompson.

The event will begin at 5:30pm on March 1 with an hour and a half cash bar, followed by dinner at 7:00.  Menu will include file' gumbo w/sausage & chicken, red beans and rice, jambalaya, hush puppies, and king cake.  Recorded music throughout the evening will consist of Cajun, Zydeco music and New Orleans jazz with dancing.   Saxophone player, Darryl Oliver will be playing soulful ballads and funky blues jazz.  Reservations are required by February 24.  Tickets are $40/person. Please call Judy Ward for details at 828-749-2321.

Historic Thompson's Store and Ward's Grill is located at 24 Main Street, Saluda, NC. 


 : Playful little girl hiding behind colorful umbrella outdoors

The pattern change is here, and it’s going to be a wet week, especially when compared to our dry and cold January. A cold front will get past us by this afternoon, ending the rain, and bringing at least partial clearing.

The front will return northward as a warm front on Tuesday, with chilly rain redeveloping during the daytime, focused on the PM-hours. The rain will continue until Wednesday morning, followed by some afternoon clearing.

Right now, Thursday looks like our only totally dry day, with partly cloudy skies and below-normal temperatures.

New low pressure will be taking shape along the Gulf Coast on Friday, heading in our general direction on Saturday. More rain is on the way during this period. One thing to watch will be the amount of cold air present at the onset of precipitation. If sufficient cold air is in place, the rain could begin as flurries or a bit of light snow on Friday.

Next weekend isn’t looking pretty at this point.


Nibbles is seen at the WNC Nature Center with Nature Center education curator Keith Mastin.


Forecasters had been caling for cloudy skies for days...but on Groundhog Day, the sun came out...

Though Sunday's weather was refreshingly balmy, it’s not going to last.

That’s according to Nibbles, the WNC Nature Center’s furry forecaster.

In a Groundhog Day ceremony this afternoon at the Nature Center, the 8-year-old female groundhog disappointed many in attendance – though not all – by predicting six more weeks of winter weather.

Among the disappointed was Clara Rodriguez, 9, of Asheville, who said she was tired of cold weather. She attended with her 7-year-old brother, Gabriel, and their mother, Carrie Rodriguez.

“It’s cold and nippy,” Clara Rodriguez said. “I’m more of a hot person than a cold person.”

But she said she had no doubt Nibble’s prediction would hold true.

“It’s just what I’ve been believing my whole life,” Clara said.

Though cloudy skies prevented Nibbles from seeing her shadow, which was supposed to foretell an early spring, WLOS-News 13 chief meteorologist Jason Boyer, this year’s groundhog “whisperer,” or interpreter, said Nibbles nevertheless was predicting a prolonged winter. He said the use of a shadow was an old-fashioned prediction tool and that Nibbles used more modern, scientific methods including considering global climate patterns.

Nibbles’ forecast was in line with her famous Pennsylvania cousin, Punxsutawney Phil, who earlier today also predicted six more weeks of winter.





Board of Elections building

  Candidates can't officially file for at least 10 more days, but some have already announced their intentions to run for county commissioner in the 2014 local elections.

Local contractor and GOP Executive Committee Chairman Andrew Riddle will be opposing incumbent Commissioner Mike Edney for Edney's district commission seat.  Edney has made it official...he will seek another four year term as county commissioner.  Even though sitting Commissioner Larry Young has announced his plans to seek another term, no challenger for Young's commission seat has announced yet.  And Tim Griffin has announced plans to run for the county commission seat currently held by Commissioner Tommy Thompson.  Thompson has not yet announced any re-election plans.

In moving his campaign forward, Griffin announced the make-up of his campaign committee late this week:

Griffin said, "The team has 25+ members and is growing daily. My steering committee consists of Treasurer- Debi Ward, retired human resource specialist with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office, steering chair Don Ward, past County Commissioner and owner of Ward's Tractor and members Charles Thomas, lifelong educator and school adminstrator in 3 states, Marci Molton, educator for many years in Henderson County, Steve "Boulder " Dalton, local farmer and manufacturing supervisor, Chad Simpson, physical therapist and youth athletics coach for many years, and Jonathon "Tank" Tankersley, Henderson County Deputy and long time SRO and DARE officer."

Filing for local offices this year starts on February 10th and will continue through February 28th.  Filing for local offices is done at the Board of Elections office on Central Street.

The primary election will be held in May; the general election will be in November.

(Photo is the Henderson County Board of Election office on East Central Street)












The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a complaint involving a possible paving scam.

Officers received a report that a victim  had signed a contract for partial paving of a driveway.  Upon completion of the job, the contractor had paved her entire driveway and was demanding more money than the actual agreed upon price. The name investigators were given, Frank Small, has an extensive record of similar conduct in both Virginia and Tennessee. Thankfully family members were able to stop payment on the check Mr. Small was given. 

Sheriff Charles MacDonald is urging Henderson County residents to use extreme caution when anyone comes to your home with leftover asphalt and says you will be given a real bargain on a new driveway.

It should be noted that reputable paving companies do not go door-to-door selling asphalt and if you experience this situation, please call the Henderson County Sheriff's Office immediately.  It appears these type paving companies and contractors prey upon the elderly through intimidation, harassment and manipulation. With Spring coming and the toll that has been taken on driveways this Winter please be careful and cautious should you be approached about purchasing pavement from someone who just appears at your residence with some “extra asphalt”.







Historic Downtown Hendersonville has announced plans for the 2014 Rhythm and Brews concert series this summer.

The N.C. Main Street program’s annual awards competition recognizes the outstanding achievements of particpating communities in categories reflecting the four areas of focus for  Main Street: organization, design, economic restructuring and promotion. A panel that included staff from the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments, Appalachian Regional Commission, Office of Community Planning, Office of Urban Development and Davie County Community Development Corporation reviewed the nominations and selected the winners.

“We are thrilled that the success we had with this series in its inaugural season is being recognized at the state level,” noted Lew Holloway, Downtown Economic Development Director with the City of Hendersonville. He went on to say, “The award is a reflection of the intense effort and dedication of the R&B steering committee members, Babs Newton, Mike Hall, Michael Ridenhour, Charlie Tucker and Ralph Freeman. Their efforts in partnership with the Downtown Advisory Committee, our series sponsors, the R&B volunteers and city staff helped bring about what we and the NC Main Street Center all recognize as a great new event in downtown Hendersonville.” Babs Newton recognized the significance of the award remarking that, “We set out to appeal to a wider demographic audience, to broaden the type of music shared in downtown and to build partnerships with city and county residents and businesses. This award is a reflection of our success in achieving those goals!”

Ralph Freeman and Mike Hall are thrilled about the award, but even more excited to share plans for the second season of R&B. “With such a positive response to the series last year we said to ourselves, you can’t have too much of a good thing and have added a fifth show to the series,” Ralph revealed. The fifth concert will take place on the 3rd Thursday of September, giving the concert series a five month run from May through September in 2014. “We’ve brought back some favorites from the first year and added some new acts too, which will continue to be a goal of the event, to share good, creative and diverse music with the community,” noted Mike Hall of Tempo Music.

The series line-up kicks off with two of last year’s favorites as The Broadcast returns on May 15th and regional bluegrass boys gone big Balsam Range headline the June 19th concert. The series will finish with three new acts; Asheville based funk masters The Fritz on July 17th, Charleston based rock grove ensemble Sol Driven Train August 21st and to close out the series, another act out of Charleston, the Americana group Blue Dogs on September 18th.

“Once again, from a music perspective we’ve got a little something for everyone and from an event perspective we are working hard to make the second year an even more enjoyable experience for our fans,” observed Lew Holloway. He highlighted that, “We will be in the Azalea Lot again this year along King Street, but the layout will be different, with changes designed to maximize our use of the space.”

Historic Downtown Hendersonville is currently recruiting sponsors for the 2014 season and has limited opportunities available; don’t wait to contact them about how you can get involved! Additional information about sponsoring the 2014 Rhythm & Brews Concert Series can be found by contacting Lew Holloway at or 828.233.3216.





Henderson County Board of Commissioners

1 Historic Courthouse Square, Hendersonville, NC

Monday, February 3, 2014

5:30 p.m.












  1. Rezoning Application #R-2013-06

Public Hearing on a request to rezone a 5 acre tract from a Residential Two Rural (R2R) to an Industrial (I) zoning district







A.    Minutes: January 6, 2014– Regularly Scheduled Meeting

   January 15, 2014– Regularly Scheduled Meeting

Approval of minutes from previous meeting(s)

B.    Tax Collector’s Report

     Routine monthly report on current tax collections

C.    County Financial Report/Cash Balance Report – December 2013

     Routine monthly financial report for the County

D.    Public Schools Financial Reports – December 2013

     Routine monthly financial report for the Henderson County Public Schools

E.     2014 HOME Grant Applications

     Requests the Board approve HOME applications for the Housing Assistance Corporation,

     Homeward Bound and Henderson County Habitat for Humanity

F.     Designation of Plat Review Officers

     Requests the Board adopt a resolution appointing a new list of plat review officers for Henderson County

G.    Addition of Fees for HCSO storage of vehicles

     Requests the Board of Commissioners amend the FY 2013-14 Fee Schedule to incorporate new fees for storage of vehicles

H.    Budget Amendment – Vehicle Transfer

     Requests the Board approve the transfer of a truck, the purchase of another, and the associated budget amendment

I.       Budget Amendment – JCPC

           Requests the Board approve a budget amendment appropriating fund balance for a grant match

J.      Request to Surplus Vehicles

     Requests the board approve a resolution declaring vehicles as surplus and authorizing their sale by electronic public auction

K.    Energy Management Update

      Routine quarterly report on fuel and energy usage

L.    Quarterly Construction Project Update

     Routine quarterly report on construction projects

M.  Petition for addition to State Road system

     Requests the Board approve road petitions for Sioux Drive and for a portion of both B Street  and Jody Street, and direct staff to forward them to NCDOT

N.   Green River District amendments

     Requests the Board approve amended Green River Fire Insurance Districts

O.   Offer to purchase tax-foreclosed property

     Requests the Board provisionally accept the offer of Donald K. Henderson to purchase the parcel described in this agenda item, subject to the procedures required by this Board for tax foreclosure sales and subject to the condition stated in this agenda item

P.    Final Approval of TDA agreement

Requests the Board approve the contract between the County and the Tourism Development Authority

Q.   Renewal of lease (Carland Farms, Inc.)

     Requests the Board approve lease renewals as presented




     Notification to the Board of new vacancies on County Boards and Committees

1.     Agriculture Advisory Board – 1 vac.

2.     Animal Services Committee – 3 vac.

3.     Juvenile Crime Prevention Council – 1 vac.

4.     Recreation Advisory Board – 3 vac.



     Nominations and appointment of citizens to County Board and Committees

1.     Henderson County Transportation Advisory Committee – 3 vac.

2.     Juvenile Crime Prevention Council – 5 vac.

3.     Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development Program – 1 vac.

4.     Senior Volunteer Services Advisory Council – 2 vac.     

5.     Smartstart – 1 vac.

6.     WCCA Board of Directors (Western Carolina Community Action) – 1 vac.


A.    Tax Collector’s Report as per NCGS 105-369(a)

     Routine annual report on current tax collections

B.    Advertisement of Tax Liens on Real Property for failure to pay taxes per NCGS 105-369

     Requests the Board order the advertisement of Delinquent Tax Liens for Tax Year 2013

C.    Henderson County Transit Contract Extension

     Requests the Board authorize the County Manager to execute the proposed transit contract extension for public transit services

D.    PARTF Grant Contract - Henderson County Athletic and Activity Center

     Requests the Board of Commissioners approve the $500,000 PARTF Grant contract for the Henderson

     County Athletic and Activity Center, and the associated Budget Amendment

E.     Henderson County Flag

     Discussion of possibilities for Henderson County Flag


           Routine Update from the County Manager



A.    Adjustment of March 3, 2014 Regularly Scheduled Meeting

     The Board is requested to discuss adjusting or cancelling the March 3rdmeeting

B.    Set Public Hearing for Land Development Code (LDC) and Minimum Housing Code Text Amendments (TX-2013-02)

     Requests the Board schedule the public hearing for Monday, March 3, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.



The Board is requested to go into closed session pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §143-318.11(a), for the following reasons:


  1. Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §143-318.11(a)(4), to discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in Henderson County, including agreement on a tentative list of economic development incentives that may be offered by the Board in negotiations.

Agenda items can be viewed on the County’s website at



The Henderson County Tourism Development Authority hosted its second annual Tourism Conference at Blue Ridge Community College on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.


The featured speaker was Berkeley Young, Young Strategies, Inc. He shared information about concerning the tourism industry’s

national trends expected in 2014.


Berkeley also presented an overview of his findings from an eight month study on tourism in Henderson County that was commissioned by HCTDA in early 2013.


More than 150 industry partners attended this daylong conference. Educational sessions, networking and meeting representatives from over fifteen media companies, including Our State Magazine and WLOS, were some of the benefits of this event.


The purpose of the conference is to promote tourism in general...tourism being a major driver of the local economy.




Mark Meadows, Official Portrait, 113th Congress.jpg

Representative Mark Meadows (NC-11) released the following statement after the House passed the final conference agreement to H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013.

“This Farm Bill is the first significant reform to mandatory spending in more than three years, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to save our nation more than $16 billion over 10 years,” Meadows said.  “Though I encouraged House leadership and the House Agriculture Committee to include more conservative reforms, I do believe this bill is a step in the right direction.  The people of the 11th District agree, as constituents polled prior to the vote supported passage of this legislation three to one.

“While closing loopholes in the food stamp program to save $8 billion, the bill also eliminates or consolidates more than 100 U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and replaces outdated direct subsidies for farmers with a strengthened crop insurance program.  Of particular importance to Western North Carolina, it also reauthorizes PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) through 2014.  Knowing that PILT impacts every county in my district, I went directly to Speaker Boehner and asked him to reauthorize this program when it recently expired.  He followed through on my request by including PILT in this legislation, and these annual payments will go out as scheduled in June.

“Our nation must prioritize both national security and food security.  Undermining the American farmer and becoming dependent on foreign sources of food can be as dangerous as depending on foreign countries for oil.  I will continue to work toward incorporating conservative reforms to our nation’s agriculture and nutrition policy while ensuring that our farmers receive the long-term certainty they deserve.” 

H.R. 2642 passed the House in a vote of 251–166.


Owen’s  soccer coach who led an Erin Brockovich-style campaign to clean up industrial pollution in his neighborhood is now running for Congress.

A high school social studies teacher, Tate MacQueen said he is seeking the 10th District seat out of a sense of obligation to neighbors, students and fellow teachers.

“What is driving me is the work I’ve done in the community as an advocate and what I have done as an educator,” MacQueen said.

“I think people would say I’m passionate and that I care deeply for other people. I simply want to help where I can help, and accept help where I need it. If there is ever a time when we are in it together, this is it.”

A registered Democrat, MacQueen is the only member of that party so far to declare a candidacy. The 10th District, which includes Asheville, Black Mountain and other parts of Buncombe County, is held by five-term Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-Lake James.

MacQueen began at Owen in 2007, gaining acclaim as one of the state’s best soccer coaches who emphasized fair play and community service, having his players raise money and put on clinics for Special Olympics athletes.

Last year, student athletes voted to give him the Brad Johnson Award for the teacher making the biggest difference in students’ lives.

But his greatest activism was sparked over an issue even closer to home when he and fellow Mills Gap Road residents learned their Skyland-area neighborhood was contaminated by nearly three decades of industrial activity.

MacQueen led a campaign to hold liable CTS Corp. and environmental regulators who he said looked the other way.

That campaign took him to the offices of top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials, members of Congress, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court. He and other plaintiffs are now asking justices to force the company to clean up industrial solvent that soaked into their soil and groundwater.

MacQueen said a sense of neglect by federal officials helped push him to run.

From The Asheville Citizen-Times