As filing officially got underway for this year's local elections this week, four are currenly in the running for election as Henderson County top law enforcement officer.
Three of four candidates for Henderson County sheriff filed their candidacy notices Monday and paid $975 apiece in filing fees.
Sheriff Charlie McDonald and current N.C. Trooper Michael Brown filed as Republicans. They’ll join Fletcher Police Chief Erik Summey, who also intends to run in May’s Republican primary for sheriff. Also filing Monday for sheriff was Democrat Marty Katz.
Robert Sieber, a former Henderson County deputy now working as a detective in Polk County, withdrew from the sheriff’s race Friday.
McDonald said when he was appointed by the Republican Party in 2012, he inherited “turmoil and chaos” resulting from a “failure of leadership and accountability in the past.”
He said he’s proud of the progress made in two years, emphasizing his office’s leadership training, improved accountability and efficient use of manpower. The sheriff said property crimes and breaking and enterings have dropped “easily 18 percent” in the last year, exceeding a 12 percent promise.
Brown said he’d reallocate personnel to put more deputies on patrol, make property and drug crimes a higher priority, and return school resource officers to the county’s middle schools. He also pledged to “shelter employees from demotion or termination without due process.”
It sounds good to talk about putting more deputies on the street and in schools, McDonald said, but “to put that number of officers in schools that some folks would like to have would be about a million-and-a-quarter dollars right off the bat.”
Under his Adopt-A-School program, on-duty officers are assigned to schools and expected to “drop in, walk the halls, talk to teachers,” McDonald said. While school safety is a major concern, he added, “there are a lot of people who have other concerns as well” and limited resources must be allocated wisely.
If elected, Brown said he’d “look at filling critical positions before we do promotions into administrative positions.” He said McDonald has several officers in a professional standards unit “that offers no direct benefit to the public, such as a patrol officer (would), when they’re short-handed.”
McDonald said the unit helps track and train officers so they’re “better rounded” and “better suited” to transfer laterally or promote. When he took his post, he said “we were very short on a lot of standards and regulations,” which the unit has remedied.
“The problem is, if you have issues in any department or organization, if you don’t fix the things that are wrong, it doesn’t matter how many resources you throw at the problem,” he said. “If you don’t take care of the engine, the rest of the car doesn’t matter.”
Katz has 34 years of experience in law enforcement ranging from a small town in New Jersey to the county’s largest, fully accredited sheriff’s office in Florida.
He looks forward to discussing with citizens how the sheriff’s office can become more efficient and effective. The self-described “lifelong Democrat” has served as a patrolman, detective, SWAT team member, undercover narcotics officer and division supervisor, as well as in other roles
LAND PLACED IN CONSERVANCY BY FORMER WNC CONGRESSMAN CHARLES TAYLOR AND HIS FAMILY
Plans for the newest state forest in the mountains took a step closer to becoming reality with a federal grant to purchase some prime riverfront property.
The future Headwaters State Forest, which will eventually encompass 8,000 acres in Transylvania County, is now more securely preserved with a $3 million grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The grant, announced Tuesday by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Forest Service, secured 711 more acres from former U.S. Congressman Charles Taylor, whose family has owned the land since the 1980s.
This is the first time Forest Legacy funds have ever been used to purchase land in North Carolina for conservation, said Michael Cheek, assistant regional forester with the N.C. Forest Service. Along with $5.4 million in private and state funding for previous acquisitions, the purchase brings the total land preserved in the future state forest to 3,200 acres.
“This land is right on the East Fork River, on East Fork Road. It borders the East Fork, which is a trout stream, for about a mile or two,” Cheek said. “The whole purpose of the project is to protect the headwaters of East Fork French Broad River.”
Headwaters State Forest will become North Carolina’s 10th state forest and its third largest. Situated in prime outdoor recreation real estate in the East Fork watershed of the French Broad River on the South Carolina border, it is adjacent to more than 100,000 acres of existing conservation lands in both states.
Four times the size of Mount Mitchell State Park, Headwaters spans more than nine miles of forested land with waterfalls and five miles trout streams, and provides habitat for federally endangered plant species.
The project was created in 2010 through a $33 million deal with the Taylor family, which has agreed to sell up to 8,000 acres to the state.
The Community Foundation of Henderson County is pleased to announce the availability of The Pisgah Chapter of Trout Unlimited William L. Arbuckle Memorial Scholarship for the 2014-2015 Academic Year.
A $1,000 award, the scholarship is offered for any student accepted to an accredited degree granting college or university within the Southern Appalachian Region. Recipients must be pursuing undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in the field of fisheries and wildlife management, aquaculture, freshwater biology, or other related fields. Preference will be given to those who have expressed a desire to pursue work which relates to fresh water fisheries and/or native trout populations. This scholarship is open to students pursuing community college, college or university degrees in the fields listed above.
Individuals, families and organizations have established funds at the Community Foundation of Henderson County to carry out their charitable giving, now and in the future. To learn more, visit www.CFHCforever.org.
The administrative offices for the Parks and Recreation Department have relocated to the Henderson County Athletic and Activity Center located at 708 South Grove Street, Hendersonville (the former Hendersonville Christian School property).
These offices were formerly housed in Jackson Park. Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Parks and Recreation main number will remain the same, (828) 697-4884.
All program registrations and general recreation inquiries will now take place at these offices.
FORMER ASHEVILLE TOURIST, RUSSELL WILSON, LEADS SEATTLE SEAHAWKS TO BIG WIN OVER DENVER BRONCOS AND PEYTON MANNING.
Quarterback Wilson also played three years at NC STATE before being told by his Coach Tom O'Brien that he could not play football and baseball at the university. Wilson them offered himself to the baseball draft and was picked up by the Colorado Rockies who then sent him to the Asheville Tourists. After playing 69 games for the Tourists in 2011, he decided to leave the team after being recruited by Wisconsin, where he finished his college career.
He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, and the rest in now history.
Wilson, it was good having you in our part of the world for a part of a season with the Tourists. And, oh yes, CONGRATULATIONS on the BIGGEST WIN OF YOUR SPORTS CAREER !
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners’ are considering the adoption of a county flag.
While thanking county commissioners for fully funding county public schools in the current fiscal year, one local teacher made the case Monday night for more money for schools and teachers.
In the public comment period Monday night, teacher Mary Davis said in the 25 years she’s worked for Henderson County Public Schools, she’s never seen morale as low as it’s been recently.
She blamed “legislative changes” from Raleigh that took away pay incentives for advanced degrees, removed caps on class sizes and reduced funding for teacher assistants.
“And then also there have been changes toward us possibly going toward merit-based pay,” Davis said. “Which has been perplexing for most of us, since we feel like all teachers deserve a raise, not just some teachers.”
But Davis also praised commissioners for fully funding the schools’ budget request last year and for providing Christmas supplements. For some teachers, she said, the supplement is the difference between providing their families with a great Christmas or going deeply in debt.
“We were so happy,” Davis said. “And I puzzled at my school, why are we so happy to receive something we get twice a year? And it occurred to me that it was because morale was so low. It was almost as if we didn’t expect it.”
John Dockendorf, a Flat Rock summer camp owner, praised the board for being “good stewards of our tax dollars. It’s nice to live in a community where you feel your money isn’t being wasted and spent wisely.”
However, Dockendorf said he’d rather have commissioners plow the “results of your good management” back into education instead of providing him with a tax cut large enough “to spend on a couple of nice dinners with my wife.” Commissioners have all expressed support for a 1.36-cent cut in the property tax rate for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
While acknowledging “the state is the problem” and commissioners have been supportive of education, Dockendorf said the county lags behind the national average in the percentage of tax revenues it feeds to local schools.
He suggested commissioners boost local supplements to attract and retain the best teachers and provide enough money so local schools can offer more in the areas of outdoor education and foreign languages.
“Again, why give money back (in the form of tax cuts) when our schools have a lot of work to do?” Dockendorf said. “Get foreign languages back into our curriculum. The fact that my kids in a global economy have to wait until ninth grade to learn a language when in Spartanburg (S.C.) they’re learning Chinese, it doesn’t work.”
While the county’s summer camps generate millions teaching outdoor knowledge, he said, local kids only get “half a day in 5th grade” to learn the same skills. Dockendorf said one of his children will not get a single field trip in three years at Hendersonville Middle .
"So while our teachers and our administrators are doing an incredible job, and they’re creating magic out of essentially nothing, you can have my tax cut,” he said. “But please, I would consider using it for the schools instead of a little bit of trickle down.”
A 2011 economic impact study showed 18 camps here generated $120 million for Henderson County, said Green River resident Holly Robinson. Eight of those 18 camps are in the Green River area, she said, yet the community still doesn’t have its own park after eight years of planning.
“I would just encourage you to dig deep, find funds (and) make it happen,” Robinson said. “When I look at Flat Rock, in less than 18 months, they’ve gone from acquisition to where they’re already doing construction. And I’d just hope you feel some impetus to try and make this happen for us.”
Green River resident Debra Stierwalt thanked commissioners for the support they’ve shown Tuxedo Park, including purchasing and demolishing the old Tuxedo Mill and helping community members write a state grant for park development. She asked the board to consider “keeping us in your budget for next year.”
In other business, commissioners asked staff to poll the public about which design they’d favor for a new county flag. The board agreed pursing an official county flag is worthwhile, since the old one has fallen into obscurity and lacks a distinct symbol.
County Manager Steve Wyatt said Public Information Officer Christina Hallingse will put several designs online for citizens to vote on, with the option to suggest other possibilities, and bring back the results in March for the board to consider.
The Committee to Elect Sheriff Charles McDonald announces the Campaign Kick-Off on Thursday, February 6th from 6-8pm at the Mountain Lodge, 42 McMurray Road, Flat Rock, North Carolina.
The event will feature food and refreshments, live music and an opportunity for the Sheriff’s supporters to meet with him personally.
District Attorney Greg Newman will address this gathering and introduce Sheriff McDonald who will announce his candidacy at 6:30pm. This event is open to the public and all are invited to attend.
McDonald was appointed sheriff two years ago by the Henderson County commissioners, upon a recommendatin of the county's Republican Executive Committee, to serve out the un-expired term of Rick Davis who retired due to a mental disorder.
Even though official filing for local offices does not start until February 10th, five candidates (including McDonalld) have expressed their intention to run for Henderson County sheriff this year.
Pardee is pleased to announce it is now a Spirit of Women hospital - an integrated partnership of hospitals and health care systems across the country that work to encourage healthy lifestyle choices for women and their families. The goal of Spirit of Women is to help women improve their own health and their families' health through innovative community outreach education in critical areas such as cardiac disease, osteoporosis, breast health, cancer, sleep health, menopause, incontinence, diabetes and healthy pregnancy.
Spirit of Women enables Pardee to continue to focus on the specific needs of our community and empower women to play a more active role in their health and well being.
To kick off this new initiative, Pardee Signature Care Center will host the first Spirit of Women event - Day of Dance on Saturday, March 8 from 2 – 6 p.m.
Pardee Signature Care Center will be transformed into the biggest line dance party in Hendersonville. Local dance groups will perform and teach line dances to country hits. Local businesses are teaming up with Pardee to share healthy tips for women and their families and give away prizes. Physicians and clinical professionals will discuss various health topics. Free health screenings and health education/talks will also be available during the event.
Day of Dance is an annual event held in 70 communities and attended by more than 70,000 people across the nation. Day of Dance is a fun, interactive program that brings Pardee, local businesses and the community together to help women and their families learn about healthy choices that they can easily incorporate into their daily lives. By attending Day of Dance on March 8, women and their families can discover their personal risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and other major diseases, as well as important services available at Pardee.
The Spirit of Women Hospital Network is a national coalition that inspires health and wellness on a local level by leveraging national resources. Hospitals and health care facilities in more than 100 U.S. communities create the core through which Spirit of Women reaches women and seeks to inspire access and action for better national health.