Sunshine giving way to more clouds
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THE NEW HHS---IT’S ABOUT TIME
A WHKP Station editorial
Reports are in the news that a new campus for Hendersonville High School has been in the design stage now for some time, and that construction on it could start as early as next year.
But there are a lot of issues that appear to be unresolved, and questions that are unanswered pertaining to that new facility and whatever turns out to be the NEW Hendersonville High School that will cost the taxpayers well in excess of $50 million.
Will the new campus be the Clark Nexsen design that county commissioners earlier this year signed off on and that, according to senior county officials, is moving forward as we speak? Or will it be the Carey O’Cain-alumni association alternative that keeps the historic Stillwell building in use? Or will it be some compromise combination of those two plans?
We’ve always known that it’s a “given” the Stillwell building will not be torn down…but how will it be used…as classrooms, as a new location for county school’s central office, or for some other community purpose? In a letter to county commissioners reported late last week, even through the Clark Nexsen plan is reportedly well underway with a lot of time and money being invested in planning and design, the county school board wants the Stillwell building to be fully renovated and restored, wants it used for classrooms, and does not want it used for the school system’s central offices.
But the biggest question of all is still hanging out there…WHO will make these decisions, and chart a definitive course toward a new or renovated HendersonvilleHigh School? Will it be the county commissioners, who control the money? Or the school board, who has statutory authority over school facilities? We even saw one report a while back that HHS Principal Bobby Wilkins would be the one to decide how the Stillwell building will figure in to all this.
For the community, for HHS students, parents, staff and alumni---for all of us---it’s almost as confusing, and ironically comical, as the old Abbott and Costello “Who’s on first?” routine.
A few things ARE for sure, though. Whatever is done, will cost county taxpayers well over $50 million…andl by he time renovation or restoration costs for the Stillwell building are figured in, the whole thing may well be in excess of $70 million and the debt services on it will be part of that nickel property tax increase we all many start paying this year.
The bottom line for us is…it’s about time all the questions we’ve just raised, and that the whole Hendersonville community has been asking now for months, get answered…and that whatever is going to be done finally gets started.
We like the commissioner’s commitment to building for the NEXT 100 years. But we also understand the community’s emotional attachment to the hallowed traditions of the school and the Stillwell building of the LAST 100 years. And we accept the possibility that as the old saying goes, “never the twain shall meet.
But surely…there are enough thinking heads involved in this process to come up with answers, a solution, and…for crying out loud…to FINALLY decide on something going toward continued great education at Hendersonville High School, whatever and where ever is in the best interests of the students of the school, now and for generations to come, and by whomever makes the decision. IT’S ABOUT TIME!
As always, we invite your comments…on our comments.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman
A week after a very successful 2016 WNC Mountain State Fair closed at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher, North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler told WHKP News that more improvements are coming to the facility on the busy Highway 280 across from the Asheville Regional Airport.
With improvements already underway, and in some cases already completed, to the arenas and other parts of the Ag Center, Troxler told WHKP News, ion an exclusive interview, that parking is the big issue at the Ag Center.
The venue needs another one thousand parking spaces, said Troxler, and immediate steps are being taken for 500 more.
He said the Ag Center, which provides a large agricultural and economic boost to Western North Carolina, will be working with the airport and other entities in the area to make more parking for the Ag Center available.
The AG Commissioner also told WHKP News that visitors to the Ag Center will soon see the entire facility re-paved for further enhance parking and better access.
Troxler said he is committed to keeping agricultural research stations, such as the one on Old Fanning Bridge Road in Mills River, funded by the General Assembly and open. Research, he said, is vital to the future of agriculture.
Even with shrinking acreage in production as farm land in the state, under his leadership, North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture is taking steps to ensure the future of small family farms in the state…and the Ag Commissioner cites the “Got To Be NC” program as an example.
Troxler and the Ag Department have also been deeply involved in procuring and securing the future of the “donut hole” in Dupont State Forest.
Hear the full conversation with NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler and WHKP News Director Larry Freeman Saturday morning October 1st at 7:30 and Sunday morning October 2nd at 10:05 on WHKP AM 1450 and FM 107.7 and on your computer at whkp.com (Listen Live).
North Carolina’s General Assembly took steps last year to improve the state’s Medicaid program, but Governor McCrory and the legislature still will not expand the program under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.
The Henderson County NAACP held a press conference at mid-day this past Saturday at the Historic Courthouse to encourage legislators to sign on to the ACA and expand the state’s Medicaid program.
The local NAACP President, Melinda Lowrance, told WHKP News that several dozen HendersonCounty residents died in recent years while being unable to get health care coverage.
A movement is currently underway in North Carolina by the NAACP and other groups to persuade the governor and the legislature to re-consider and to expand the Medicaid program under the ACA which the groups say will make health insurance obtainable by more low income people in the state.
Henderson County Commissioners voted against a proposed ordinance Wednesday morning that would have required any solid waste collected in unincorporated areas of the county to be deposited at the county's transfer station.
Local waste haulers resisted the proposal, saying the county's higher tipping fees would increase their costs...and those higher costs would likely be passed along to residents and businesses
The county's $60-per-ton tipping fee is roughly $10 higher than surrounding counties. Buncombe and Polk counties charge $47 per ton.
The flow control ordinance, according to County Engineer Marcus Jones, would keep in the county about 20,000 tons of waste that are taken to other locations every year, generating about $400,000 for the "enterprise fund" that supports the county's solid waste program.
Commissioners discussed other ways to manage the solid waste fund, the potential impact of flow control on county businesses, and cost obligations the county has with solid waste. The closed landfill, which the county must maintain in perpetuity, generates no income.
Commissioners plan to talk more about potentially lowering the county's tipping fee as an alternative to flow control at a later meeting. Commissioner Charlie Messer pointed out that lower tipping fees would bring more garbage to the local transfer station, thus increasing revenue supported the fund.
ZEALOTRY KILLED A GOOD SOLUTION TO HB 2
W WHKP Station Editorial
September 21, 2016
If we were Roy Cooper, we’d be a very angry Democrat candidate for governor of North Carolina. Cooper is in a tight race with Republican Governor Pat McCrory…and the latest Civitas poll, taken on September 16th, shows Cooper leading by two percentage points, 40 to 38 per cent. This race will undoubtedly be determined by those who have not yet made up their minds…and the same poll shows that’s eight per cent of the voters in North Carolina.
So…here was Democrat Cooper this week sitting on a two point lead and capitalizing off the controversial “bathroom bill” or HB 2, which had been passed by the Republican General Assembly and signed into law by Republican Governor McCrory. McCrory thought he had a solution…he said he’d call the legislature into a special session, possibly with enough votes to repeal HB2, IF Charlotte City Council would repeal their ordinance which allows same sex public bathroom that started the whole thing.
With the state losing businesses, industries, major sporting events, and other attractions worth millions of dollars to the state, it looked like Charlotte City Council had enough votes to repeal their ordinance…which would have put the whole HB 2 mess finally on the fast track to the graveyard.
But then…some Democrat politicians got cute. WBTV in Charlotte learned that Democrat State Representative Becky Carney of MecklenburgCounty, and other Charlotte area Democrats, had successfully lobbied city council NOT to repeal their ordinance and secured the necessary votes to keep it off city council’s agenda Monday night, which essentially killed the whole deal.
Repealing that Charlotte ordinance and starting the ball rolling toward repeal of HB 2, we believe, could have made the Democrats, and Cooper, look BIGGER than “politics”, bigger and better than the Republicans who passed it and who ostensibly cost the state millions by doing so.
Everyone pretty much agrees now that HB 2 has not only been divisive and costly to the state…it was also unnecessary to begin with and Charlotte’s ordinance that started it all was even MORE unnecessary. But this is what happens with left-wing, “politically correct” zealots “on a mission”. Their “tunnel vision” blinds them to common sense and the “greater good”. And in her zeal to tip the scales to Hillary Clinton in North Carolina, get Roy Cooper elected, governor, get herself re-elected to the legislature, AND at the same time keep all public bathrooms open to whatever gender a person claims that he or she is at the moment, Representative Carney, and the other lobbyists trying to make political hay off HB 2, may, deservedly, have shot themselves in the leg.
Cooper, who as the state’s Attorney General, has steadfastly refused to enforce HB 2…could have walked away from the whole thing, head and shoulders about the others in statesmanship, still the champion of Democrats and the “politically correct” crowd, and without appearing to be ideologically committed far to the “left” on the issue.
But as zealots always do, Representative Carney lost sight, if she ever saw it to begin with, of the “common good”…and a good solution to a bad situation was lost.
We’re not sure if it’ll cost him any votes…probably not. But Carney’s zealotry, with the shameful complicity of the two Charlotte City Council members who backed away from repealing their silly ordinance, makes Cooper and his party look like what many believe they truly area: political opportunists, looking to turn every situation---good or bad, to their benefit, and costing the state millions in the process.
As always, we invite your comments...on our comments
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman 09/21/16 5am
LAST WEEK'S TRUMP RALLY UPDATE
From: Chad Nesbitt, Andrew Sluder, Wendell Runion, and Carl Mumpower
To: Whom It May Concern
Reference: Press Conference Planned
– We’d like to share stories, photos, and more
When it comes to the events of Asheville Trump rally, the lights have been turned off. What went on there has been ignored, concealed, denied, and camouflaged by just about everyone but those who came to celebrate their candidate. That’s a conspiracy of complacency and cover-up, not a coincidence.
We can’t do anything to hold the authorities accountable for their errors or the media accountable for their lack of ethics or the protestors accountable for their misconduct. We can turn on the lights and continue looking for other ways to make something happen.
, at , we’re going to hold a 15 minute press conference directly in front of the Civic Center. We intend to do the following—
üProvide a 1,2,3 summary of what went wrong and who’s responsible
üShare the stories/ experiences of people who were abused at the event
üProvide material (pictures, video links, etc.) to illuminate the problem
üIdentify what can/should/will be done to bring those accountabilities to life
AFTER LEARNING THAT DONALD TRUMP PLANNED TO HOLD A CAMPAIGN RALLY IN THE US CELLULAR CENTER, WHKP OFFERED A STATION EDITORIAL THAT RAISED THE QUESTION "WILL ASHEVILLE EMBARRASS WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA AT THE TRUMP RALLY?" BY ALL ACCOUNT, LEFT-WINGERS, POLITICALLY CORRECT PROTESTORS, AND OTHER VARIOUS AND ASSORTED TROUBLE MAKERS AND LAW BREAKERS DID JUST THAT...AND EMBARRASSED THE CIVILIZED, WELL MANNERED, AND HOSPITABLE PEOPLE OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA.
BUT IT WAS WORSE THAN THAT.
THE ACTUAL PHYSICAL SAFETY OF SOME TRUMP SUPPORTERS WAS ENDANGERED BY THE UNRULY BEHAVIOR OF ANTI-TRUMP PROTESTORS. FORMER ASHEVILLE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER AND PAST WHKP COMMENTATO DR. CARL MUMPOWER AND A SMALL GROUP OF OTHER CONSERVATIVE ACTIVISTS IN ASHEVILLE KEPT US INFORMED...AND RELEASDED THIS SUMMAY LAST THIS WEEK OF THE FEW HOURS SPENT IN "COOL, GREEN ASHEVILLE" BY THE MAN WHO MAY WELL BE THE NEXT LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD:
Trump rally was set-up by authorities for drama and danger
TRUMP rally was a success by every objective measure but one – public safety. The authorities charged with the security of attendees allowed things to happen that unnecessarily put attendees in harm’s way. Per the usual, mainstream media outlets have focused on a decoy issue (what appear to be false claims by an anti-Trump activist that she was innocently assaulted) and ignored the larger issue – that protestors were allowed to constrain the access/egress point and thus endanger and otherwise abuse, insult, assault, and intimidate the attendees. Claims that the Secret Service restrained local public safety officials and administrators represent a poor attempt to scapegoat a faceless bureaucracy for the misguided actions of our own. There are no Secret Service protocols that would result in setting up 6,000 people as targets in the name of protecting their charge or anyone else.
In the past, Asheville authorities have gone so far as to put buses in-between opposition groups. That was not necessary in this case (there is for example a city parking lot directly in front of the Civic Center), but to allow aggressive, profane, and finger gesturing protestors to form a gauntlet at a public venue merits consequence.
Assault does not require hitting someone. Touching with aggressive intent or creating a threat factor for individuals is also a legal form of assault. By each of these standards, many people were aggrieved at this public venue.
The short of it is the authorities are dodging accountability – the media is dodging ethical journalism – and Asheville’s venomous anti-Trump liberals are dodging public scrutiny.
Thank you for the opportunity to raise the question…
Pastor Andrew Sluder
Dr. Pastor Wendell Runnion
Notes by Larry Freeman 09/16/16
If you’ll be watching a pro football game this weekend, chances are good you’ll be exposed---again---to the inappropriate and disrespectful behavior of some of the players protesting the very system that gave them the best, and in some cases ONLY, good opportunity of their lives and made them millionaires…as they kneel, sit, or clinch their fists during our National Anthem.
On his Fox News shows the other night, Bill O’Reilly, as he usually does, “hit the nail on the head” with his commentary about one protesting NFL player in particular, Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos. But O’Reilly’s comments apply to any of those publicity-seeking, protesting unappreciative NFL millionaires…and going into an NFL weekend where it’s likely to happen again, we’ll share O’Reilly’s comments with you today in this station editorial:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): Now, Mr. Marshall is an interesting study as far as being an American is concerned. Not a football player. An American. He was raised in Las Vegas. Had a violent father who went to prison. But he worked hard and succeeded in developing his football skills. Marshall received a scholarship, full scholarship from the University of Nevada. He went to college free. By the way, he was on the same team as Colin Kaepernick who started the national anthem disrespect. Anyway, Brandon Marshall has played well in the National Football League and recently signed a 32-million-dollar contract. So let's put this in perspective. Poor kid, bad father, develops his god-given skills, is presented with an opportunity to attend college free of charge. Then becomes a professional football player, earning millions in our capitalistic system. Nowhere on Earth could Brandon Marshall have done that but America. Nowhere. To be fair, bad things do happen in this country, in every country, and they must be confronted. But to disrespect our entire system when you have reaped so much benefit from it is fallacious in the extreme. Brandon Marshall and others like him have an obligation to think about what they're putting out there because some impressionable folks listen to them. Want to improve things? Good. Disrespecting the anthem, not good.
Well said, Bill O’Reilly.
Brandon Marshall of the Broncos says what he is protesting with his disrespectful behavior during the National Anthem is what he calls “social injustice”
We say, is there is anything other than bone, mush and muscle underneath those thousand dollar helmets these protesting NFL players wear, they’ve got to know that it’s the very system that they claim is so “unjust” that gave them the opportunity of a lifetime, allowed them to pursue and achieve excellence, and then rewarded them for it.
You would think the recent 15th anniversary of 9/11 would remind them, and all of us, what a true treasure our great country, and the freedom we live everyday, really is. If Mr. Marshall and the other big league protestors want to fight “social injustice”, we suggest they spend some of their own millions doing it…and behave with more respect and gratitude for the American capitalist democracy that’s made them wealthy.
This has been a WHKP station editorial.
As always, we invite your comments....on our comments
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman
The Atlantic Coast Conference has followed the NCAA's lead and is removing all its athletic championships from North Carolina over a state law that some say can lead to discrimination against LGBT people.
The ACC Council of Presidents voted Wednesday to relocate the league's championships until North Carolina repeals the law. The decision includes 10 neutral site championships this academic school year, which means relocating the ACC football title game that was scheduled to be played in Charlotte in December.
"The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while HB2 remains the law was not an easy one," said Clemson President James P. Clements, chairman of the league's council. "But it is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and non-discrimination at all our institutions."
On Monday, the NCAA said it was relocating seven of its championships scheduled to be played in the state, including the men's basketball first- and second-round matchups scheduled for next March in Greensboro, North Carolina.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said after the NCAA's decision that his league would review its next steps.
The law requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections. HB2 was signed into law earlier this year by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who has defended it as a commonsense safety and security measure.
The ACC was scheduled to hold 14 of its 21 championship events in North Carolina this academic year, with 10 of those at neutral sites and the other four on the campuses of Wake Forest (field hockey), Duke (fencing), North Carolina (softball) and N.C. State (wrestling).
The first of those neutral-site events, which are pre-determined championship locations regardless of the teams competing, was men's and women's cross country that was set for Oct. 28 in Cary.
This action by the ACC is the latest in a steady stream of public and business backlash against the law.
The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans instead of hosting it in Charlotte as originally scheduled because of the law. Duke's men's basketball schedule had to be reconfigured when Albany backed out due to that state's travel ban, and the Vermont women's basketball team has canceled a December trip to play North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ringo Starr have canceled plans to play in North Carolina. And PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte.
Supporters of Hendersonville High School and of the historic Erle Stillwell main campus building urged the elected county school board Monday night to exercise their authority and determine the role the old building will play in the new high school campus.
The high school alumni association was at Monday night's school board meeting to continue pushing for a plan introduced by Bill O’Cain to keep the old building is use for classrooms. And one HendersonvilleHigh School graduate, former state supreme court justice and former candidate for governor Bob Orr, reminded the school board that it’s their responsibility---and not the county commissioner's---to set priorities for county school construction and to determine the use of facilities like the Stillwell building.
School board members made it clear Monday night that their first priority is Edneyville Elementary School, which board members describe as unsafe.
And they stuck to their two earlier priorities sent to county commissioners…which were the re-placement of the Edneyville School and the county’s new so-called career academy.
The county appears to be moving forward with design plans for the new Hendersonville High School campus, most of which will be on the former Boyd property at Five Points…and the public will likely see the plans that are shaping up later this fall.
By Larry Freeman
THE DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN RALLY
A WHKP Station Editorial
Will Asheville embarrass western North Carolina when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally at the US Cellular Center late on Monday?
That’s a fair question to ask, considering it was within hours of the Trump campaign’s announcement Thursday that he planned to hold a rally in “cool, green Asheville” that social media began clicking away with Asheville left-winger’s plans to disrupt the Trump rally.
Former Asheville city council member and conservative activist Dr. Carl Mumpower shared with us over the weekend some of the comments and plans being bounced around on Facebook and other social media to cause mayhem at Monday evening’s Trump rally, which will be free and open to the public.
One particular social media post caught our attention. According to the writer, “(I) reserved my two free tickets to the Asheville Trump rally! They can only let a certain amount of people in, so how about we “reserve” our spots and have him spill his garbage on an empty venue?” If that “plan” catches on and spreads among other Asheville left-wingers, I guess we’ll see just how rude Asheville can be to the man who could very well be the next leader of the free world.
You may be wondering why a candidate who claims to be conservative and Republican and who is as controversial as Trump is would be spending valuable campaign time coming to the home of witch covens, the topless rally, and downtown parks that wreak with pot smoke? Political experts are saying it’s not Asheville that Trump is aiming for so much as it is the conservative, fundamentalist, Judeo/Christian voters in the mountainous counties, including our own, who still make up a majority of those who go to the polls and vote on election day.
When Hillary Clinton came to Hendersonville back in the spring of 2008, she was locked in a tough, and eventually losing, campaign for the Democrat nomination for president with Barack Obama. When she came into this acknowledged Republican stronghold that is Henderson County, the Republican-controlled county government opened up the Historic Courthouse Plaza and welcomed her to Main Street with all the dignity and respect a leading presidential candidate is due. There were no threats of impolite and disrespectful disruption.
With some of the plans circulating on social media to disrupt the Trump visit to Asheville on Monday, we have to wonder: has true Southern, mountain hospitality and a neighborly tolerance for those with whom we may disagree, been LOST? Has it finally succumbed to rude, inappropriate, maybe even unlawful disruption that some on the left may think is cute or clever or "politically correct"? We expect we’ll find out…when Donald Trump visits downtown Asheville in the US Cellular Center Monday night.
As Trump comes to the home of Thomas Wolfe Monday night, we expect we’ll see if old-fashioned, welcoming, well-mannered Southern hospitality, certainly for potential leaders of the whole free world, is a thing of the past in Asheville…and if in this case, Wolfe was right…for center-focused, good, decent, well behaved, and patriotic mountain folks, “you can’t go home again”.
As always, we invite your comments…on our comments.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman 09/10/16