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Seven Falls Developer Wants To Be Released On Bond


In federal custody now as a flight risk, convicted Seven Falls swindler Keith Vinson is attempting to be released on bond.

The Hendersonville Times-News is reporting the state’s case against Seven Falls developer Keith Vinson has been delayed while attorneys discuss possible plea deals.

Vinson remains in federal custody after he was determined to be a flight risk and found guilty of 13 federal fraud and conspiracy charges in U.S. District Court on Oct. 17. He is fighting for his release.

Vinson has not yet been sentenced for his federal charges. On Jan. 14, he asked the court for more time to file a motion that would cite additional evidence to rebut the court’s flight-risk presumption.

A motion, filed through his lawyer, Matthew Orso, states that information used by the government at the bond hearing was “simply evidence of an investment scam” to which Vinson fell victim, “not evidence of overseas funds indicating a flight risk.”

The motion asks the court to give them until Jan. 20 to show Vinson’s “lack of assets or income... before rendering a decision on Mr. Vinson’s status.”

In the state case, Vinson faces 72 counts of defrauding in an attempt to obtain money and three counts of terminating group health insurance without notice. He was scheduled to appear in Henderson County Superior Court on Monday, but the case was postponed, according to District Attorney Greg Newman.

Vinson, 55, of Arden is accused of withholding money from his employees’ paychecks for health insurance premiums that went unpaid. The health plans, which covered employees of Vinson’s company Tradition LLC, were canceled.

New Deputy DA Sworn In

Chelsea Forbes takes the oath of office as assistant district attorney as District Attorney Greg Newman looks on. Chief District Court Judge Athena Brooks administered the oath of office.

When Chief District Judge Athena Brooks administered the oath of office to Chelsea Forbes at 9:25 Wednesday morning, the young lawyer became more than the newest prosecutor in town. She became the first African-American prosecutor in the 29th Judicial District (now 29B).
"What I wanted was somebody to come in that was new, that had an interest in criminal law and can help our office reflect more of the racial aspect of our community," said Newman, who was named top prosecutor for  Henderson, Transylvania and Polk counties after Gov. Pat McCrory appointed veteran District Attorney Jeff Hunt to a special judgeship. "I just feel like we need to be a little more sensitive to that."
The daughter of Dianne and Terry Forbes, Forbes, 26, graduated from Hoke County High School and earned a criminal justice degree at UNC-Wilmington before receiving her law degree from N.C. Central University in Durham. Her father, a 1st sergeant in the Army, was stationed in Fort Bragg in Fayetteville; her mother was in the Army, too.
"I think it's definitely important" to achieve greater diversity in the prosecutor's office, she said. "I thank Greg for that and for recognizing the fact that there is a disparity out there now in our profession."
Forbes replaces Assistant District Attorney Chris Griffin, who took another job in his hometown of Charlotte. She is engaged to be married on Oct.

Story and photo from Hendersonville Lightning


Commissioners May Cut Property Taxes In FY2014-15 County Budget

    250px-Henderson County NC 1905 Courthouse

Henderson Counbty's commissioners may well lower county property taxes in the new fiscal year starting July 1.  Commissioner Tommy Thompson advanced the idea of reducing the tax rate to 50 cents per $100 valuatiuon in this week's commissioner's meeting.l  Thompson had opposed the idea a year ago.,..but now says he believes the time may be right and he feels such a reduction will work. 

County manager Steve Wyatt has announced he plans to recommend no tax increase in the 2014-15 fiscal tyear budget...and that apparently opened the door for Thompson to propose the cut.  There may well be a majority of the commissioners who support such a tax cut, but no official action will be taken until much later this spring as commissioners get into the budget process.

Three of the five commissioners are up for re-election this year.  Commissioner Larry Young says he plans to file for election to another term; Commissioners Thompson and Mike Edney will announce their intentions later this month.

Filing for local offices in this year's election starts in February.



Local Man Charged In Child Abuse Case

Prisoner -



A Hendersonville man has been charged in connection with an alleged child abuse situation...

Chief Deputy Frank Stout with the Henderson County Sheriff's Department is reporting that on January 14, 2014, Anthony Cole Stepp, age 21 of Sheperd Street,  Hendersonville  turned himself in at the Henderson County Magistrate's Office after being charged with one count of misdemeanor child abuse.

The charge was brought after an investigation by the Henderson County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Social Services concerning Stepp’s 3 month old child. Stepp was arrested and released under a $10,000 bond with a  scheduled court appearance on February 21, 2014.



Fletcher Woman Seriously Hurt In Dog Attack

The Asheville Citizen-Times is reporting...

A Fletcher woman is fighting for her life after being attacked by a family member’s Great Dane.

Gail Rebecca Lanning, 55, of 67 Poteat Street Extension, was severely injured in the attack at 9:20 a.m. Monday, police and family members said. She was taken to Mission Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition today, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Kristi Brown, a long-time Great Dane breeder who is Lanning’s niece, said the attack involved two of her dogs and happened at her kennel at 70 Poteat Street Extension, across the road from Lanning’s home.

“It’s just a tragedy that happened,” Brown said in an interview from Mission Hospital today. “My aunt is a wonderful person.”

The chain of events began when Lanning called Brown to say that two of her dogs, a male and female, were barking, Brown said. Lanning said she would let the dogs out of a small kennel, where they were being kept for breeding while the female was in heat, into a larger fenced yard to get some exercise.

“She called me and said they were barking,” said Brown, who operates the kennel on family property on Poteat Street Extension but lives in Mills River. “But she said they were being friendly.”

Brown remained on the phone with Lanning while she let the dogs out into the larger fenced area. Lanning was trying to get the dogs to return to the smaller kennel when the attack happened, Brown said.

She said she could hear a commotion on the phone, and when Lanning didn’t answer she called 911.

Brown said her 82-year-old grandmother, who lives near the kennel, saw Lanning on the ground shortly after the attack and ran to her aid. The dogs were not aggressive toward the grandmother, Brown said.

Though Lanning lives near the kennel, she rarely interacted with the dogs, Brown said. Despite that, she said she was mystified at the attack.

“I’ve had Great Danes for 18 years, and my dogs have never bitten anyone,” she said.

Family members have been unable to speak with Lanning because of her condition, so no one knows if both dogs were involved in the attack, Brown said. Evidence pointed to the female, she said, an animal that may have been more temperamental because it was in heat.

“No one knows what happened until my aunt wakes up,” she said.

Brown took both dogs to the Henderson County Animal Shelter for a 10-day quarantine. They both will be euthanized after that period unless Lanning is able to say one of the dogs did not take part in the attack, Brown said.

She asked for prayers for her aunt, who lives alone. Brown said the family has gotten support from members of Fletcher First Baptist Church, where Lanning attends, and others in the community.

While the incident is still under investigation by the Fletcher Police Department, chief Erik Summey said charges are unlikely because there were no violations related to the dogs and they were never outside a fence.

“It’s an unfortunate incident, but it doesn’t look like there was any criminal activity,” Summey said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”



Local Industry Announces Expansion & More Jobs

Local Industry Announces Expansion & More Jobs

ASG (AGI Shorewood), a global packaging company that specializes in the development of innovative solutions for the consumer products segment, announces plans to expand the company’s Henderson County, NC facility.  The expansion is expected to add 50 new jobs, with average wages exceeding $40,000 per year, surpassing the county’s annual average of $34,528. New jobs will include positions in press room, die-cutting, gluing, digital pre-press, customer service, production planning, and shipping and receiving.

The company plans to invest $8.55 million in new, real and business personal property over a period of two years.  Real property investment is expected to expand the physical footprint of the existing 136,000 square foot manufacturing, distribution and office operation which was originally built in 1959. Ultimately the transformation will help the NC facility achieve heightened production efficiencies, increase manufacturing volume and bolster existing packaging offerings to help serve customers in the entertainment, personal care, health care and pharmaceutical segments.

“This expansion signifies an optimistic future for our company and is a reflection of the extremely talented workforce here. This facility continues to demonstrate an unrivaled customer focus and drive for continuous improvement. Our work gives us tremendous pride. We have the opportunity to be involved in packaging solutions for the world’s most recognizable consumer products which often include household headache medication, toothpaste containers, even specialty-embossed Blue-ray ™ disc covers,” said Bob Lennon, Vice President, Supply Chain and General Manager.

“We are proud ASG (AGI Shorewood) has chosen to grow the East Flat Rock facility. Existing businesses are the backbone of our local economy and are the reason we remain focused on protecting and improving our local business environment,” said Chairman Charlie Messer of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners. “Henderson County is home to 135 manufacturing operations that support a workforce of over 5,250 employees and a combined payroll of more than $259 million annually. Congratulations to ASG (AGI Shorewood) and their local team for growing the products that are Made in Henderson County,” said Nathan Kennedy, Chairman of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development.

According to Laura Lampkin, Human Resources Manager, “the East Flat Rock facility is seeking motivated associates with a steady work history who have a desire to grow long-term with an innovative global organization.” Interested candidates may forward complete resumes with salary history to

The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, Inc. is a 501(c)6 organization that works to: retain and attract quality jobs; solicit new business compatible with the assets and values of Henderson County; promote Henderson County’s business image; assist expansion of existing companies; and enhance Henderson County’s overall quality of life.  For more information on the Partnership visit  For more information about AGI-Shorewood please visit


County Schools Set Make Up Days

Recent weather events have caused Henderson County Public Schools officials to revise school calendars. New calendars have been posted at

For traditional calendar students, Jan. 21, (previously an optional teacher workday), is now a student attendance day. March 28, which was previously an optional teacher workday, has been designated as an early dismissal day ending at noon.

For year-round students, March 10 and 11, previously split between optional teacher workdays and the beginning of the spring intersessions break, are now student attendance days. Feb. 20, previously designated as an early dismissal day, is now a full student day.

For students at Early College High, Feb. 14 is now a student day, along with April 11, which was previously designated as an optional teacher workday.


New Restrictions For Garbage Haulers

Beginning in 2014 Henderson County garbage haulers must meet state requirements that prohibit contents from falling, leaking, spilling, or blowing out of trucks during transport to the Transfer Station.  These trucks must be purpose-built equipment, specifically designed for garbage collection. Any person who accepts payment from others to transport garbage to the Transfer Station must use permitted and inspected equipment. Property owners can be liable for violation of the Henderson County Solid Waste Ordinance if they hire someone to transport their garbage that is not permitted by Henderson County.  Anyone transporting their own garbage in an open truck or trailer must secure the load with ropes/straps or it must be covered by a tarp to prevent littering en route. 

Users must also abstain from disposing of banned items. Henderson County accepts these items separately in the Convenience Center or as construction and demolition waste:

·      Used oil

·      Yard waste

·      White goods

·      Antifreeze (ethylene glycol)

·      Aluminum cans

·      Whole scrap tires

·      Lead-acid batteries, as provided in G.S. 130A-309.70

·      Beverage containers that are required to be recycled under G.S. 18B-1006.1

·      Motor vehicle oil filters

·      Recyclable rigid plastic containers

·      Wooden pallets

·      Oyster shells

·      Discarded computer equipment (includes laptops, desktops, monitors, video displays, printers, scanners,  printer-scanner-fax combos, mice and keyboards)

·      Discarded televisions


National Forests Fees Waived For MLK Day

The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina will waive fees at four day-use recreation sites on Jan. 20, 2014, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The agency will waive fees at the following recreation sites in western North Carolina:

  • Whitewater Falls, Nantahala National Forest
  • Whiteside Mountain, Nantahala National Forest
  • Roan Mountain, Pisgah National Forest
  • Cradle of Forestry, Pisgah National Forest

The other scheduled fee-free days observed by the Forest Service are President's Day weekend Feb. 15-17; National Get Outdoors Day on June 14; National Public Lands Day on Sept. 27; and Veterans Day weekend from Nov. 8 to 11.

Silver Alert For Missing Hendersonville Woman

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office is looking for leads in the case of a missing Hendersonville woman.

The department issued a Silver Alert for Carol Lynn Peterson, 22, who was last seen about a week and a half ago, Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Frank Stout said.

Investigators believe she may be with her boyfriend, Brian Keith Medley, 49. Peterson may be suffering from a cognitive impairment.

Investigators have found evidence of activity on Peterson’s debit card account in the past week but haven’t been able to find the couple.

“Our biggest thing is we want to find her and make sure she’s safe,” Stout said.

Peterson was last seen at 3 Westbridge Drive in Hendersonville. She’s 5-feet-2, weighs 210 pounds and has brown eyes and medium-length brown hair.

Anyone with information about her should call the Sheriff’s Office at 697-4911.