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A WHKP NEWS SPECIAL REPORT:  CITY OFFICIALS MAY HAVE THE FINAL SAY OVER THE PROPOSED NEW HENDERSONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS

A WHKP NEWS SPECIAL REPORT: CITY OFFICIALS MAY HAVE THE FINAL SAY OVER THE PROPOSED NEW HENDERSONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS

IT ALL MAY COME DOWN TO CITY ZONING CHANGES THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED TO BUILD THE NEW CLARK NEXSEN-DESIGNED HHS CAMPUS   

As the issue of deciding the fate of HHS may well move from "county" to "city", city officials seem prepared with "no comment".  Councilman Jerry Smith, a teacher at HHS, told News 13 that state law would not permit him to comment on a zoning request prior to a hearing.  In a text message, Councilman Ron Stephens told WHKP News the same thing...adding that he does have an opinion on the issue, but the city attorney advises him that if he expresses that opinion, he will have to recuse himself from voting.  Councilman Jeff Miller told WHKP News he doesn't think it's appropriate to comment on pending rezoning "...before we see everything."   

The battle over a new campus for HendersonvilleHigh School on the former Boyd property on U.S. 25 at Five Points will likely be shifting in the new year from the Historic Courthouse to Hendersonville City Hall, and away from county commissioners---who have solidly committed twice to the new high school campus---and onto Hendersonville city council.

While presenting formal plans for the new school to county commissioners last week, architect Chad Roberson (with the county's "archtect of record" Clark Nexsen) said the next step in the process will be obtaining the necessary re-zoning, variances, and special use permits from the city.

And it’s being reported now that at least some members of the high school’s alumni association, who have opposed county plans for the new campus and who are pushing for the continued use of the historic Erle Stillwell main HHS building, are actively lobbying city officials to oppose to necessary zoning changes…and block construction of the new $53 million high school campus.

In a statement quoted by News 13, alumni association member, former contractor, and Laurel Park Mayor Carey O’Cain called the commissioner's plans for the new campus “ridiculous”…and said they are planning to put the new school within 30 to 50 feet of the Ashville Highway which will cause the new school to vibrate, be unsafe, and it will not be conducive to a student’s education.  O’Cain and the alumni association had offered an alternative proposal for the new campus, which the commissioners turned down.  The county’s architect, Chad Roberson, disagreed with O’Cain’s claim that the school would be 30 to 50 feet off the Asheville Highway…and Roberson said, in his presentation last week, that the main building itself would be 100 feet back from the highway.

Any requests for re-zoning for the new campus would have to come, first, before the city planning board…then for final approval, before city council and there is nothing to do with the new HHS campus on the agendas for either the planning board or city council for what’s left of 2016.

It is worth noting however that city officials agreed several years ago to block off and close that strip of Ninth Avenue West in between the current campus and the Boyd property to facilitate construction of the new campus.  That agreement had been indicated when the county first acquired the property from the Boyd family, and the closing of the street had been put “on hold” pending final plans for the new campus.

The $53 million dollars committed for the new campus by commissioners last week does not include money to renovate the Stillwell building, and no definite plan has come forth from the commissioners or the school board for future use of that 90 year old building.  

The decision last week was about the third time this year that county commissioners committed themselves, by a vote of the board, to the Clark Nexsen-designed new campus for HHS.  The first committment came when commissioners approved the budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year earlier this year.

As the battleground over a new HHS may well be shifting from the courthouse to city hall, City Councilman Jeff Miller summed up the whole issue by saying..."This thing seems to have a life of its own."

By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman  11/24/16  Updated 9:30 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MCCRORY MAKES IT OFFICIAL:  HE WANTS A STATEWIDE RECOUNT

MCCRORY MAKES IT OFFICIAL: HE WANTS A STATEWIDE RECOUNT

TUESDAY'S GENEAL ELECTION VOTE CANVASS IN HENDERSON COUNTY DID NOT CHANGE ANY "WINNERS AND LOSERS"....BUT IT DID ADD TO THE VOTE TOTAL...FOR A 71% VOTER TURNOUT ON NOVEMBER 8TH

Incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has formally requested a recount of votes in his close race with Democrat Roy Cooper.

Two weeks after Election Day and counts of provisional and absentee ballots, McCrory’s vote total continues to lag, but appears to be within the 10,000 vote range that allows for a recount.

In his letter to the State Board of Elections, McCrory wrote, “With serious concerns about potential voter fraud emerging across the state, it is becoming apparent that a thorough recount is one way the people of North Carolina can have confidence in the results, process and system.”

Republicans have challenged ballots cast by absentee votes who died before Election Day and by alleged felons in several dozen counties, but those questioned ballots add up to a few hundred, not the 8,000 or so votes by which McCrory trails.

Chuck Stuber, the Republican candidate for state auditor, is also requesting a recount in his contest with Democratic incumbent Beth Wood.

The State Board of Elections met Tuesday to settle on the advice it will give local county boards of election on handling protests.

Democrats are pressuring McCrory to concede, and Cooper this week announced a transition team.

Cooper campaign manger Trey Nix said a recount won’t change the outcome.

"This is nothing but a last-ditch effort from Governor McCrory to delay and deny the results of this election,” Nix said in a statement

From Newsobserver

PARDEE CARE CENTER MOVING OUT OF BLUE RIDGE MALL AND TO PARDEE-MISSION CAMPUS IN FLETCHER

PARDEE CARE CENTER MOVING OUT OF BLUE RIDGE MALL AND TO PARDEE-MISSION CAMPUS IN FLETCHER

                                                     

            Hendersonville, N.C. – The Pardee Signature Care Center will relocate from the Blue Ridge Mall to the Mission Pardee Health Campus, effective Wednesday, Nov. 30, to support the growing needs of the community as well as business and industry. Moving forward, educational classes and lectures will be held at locations throughout the community rather than in a single setting. Additionally, many Signature Care support groups will meet at Pardee's Rehab & Wellness Center on Thompson Street. For a full listing of support group locations, visit www.pardeehospital.org or call the Signature Care Center at 828-692-4600.

 

            "To serve even more people in our community, the decision was made to move Signature Care to the Mission Pardee Health Campus," said Sarah Hinson, MHPM, CHES, CHC, manager of Pardee Signature Care. "We want the community to be confident that Pardee will continue to offer educational lectures, classes, support groups and screenings, with a focus on bringing these offerings to various locations in our region."'

 

Pardee Hospital is a not-for-profit community hospital founded in 1953 and is managed by UNC Health Care. The hospital is licensed for 222 acute care beds. Pardee Hospital has several locations separate from the main campus, including a comprehensive physician practice network, two urgent care locations and five orthopedic clinics. For more information or to find a physician, visit www.pardeehospital.org.

FEMA TO HELP PAY FOR FIGHTING WNC WILDFIRES

FEMA TO HELP PAY FOR FIGHTING WNC WILDFIRES

FIGHTING PARTY ROCK FIRE ALONE COST OVER TWO MILLION DOLLARS    

FEMA TO PAY 75%    

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized federal funds to reimburse costs to North Carolina to fight the Chestnut Knob Fire burning in Burke County.

This authorization makes FEMA grant funding available to reimburse 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire. Eligible costs can include labor, equipment and supplies used for fighting the fire and costs for emergency work such as evacuations and sheltering, police barricading and traffic control.

“FEMA has approved this grant to ensure that firefighters in North Carolina have the needed resources and personnel to battle this fire,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech.

The state requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG), and it was granted in the late evening of November 19, 2016. The fire started on November 6, and at the time of the request, had burned more than 6,424 acres of state and private land. The fire was threatening 400 homes in and around the communities of Morgantown, Pleasant Grove, Enola and Lake Lure. In addition, the fire was threatening the local infrastructure of 16 commercial buildings, roads and bridges, power supply stations, Burke County 911 complex/tower, flood control, fishing and spawning sites, wildlife, natural resources and the watersheds in the area.

Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to fund firefighting activities when there is a fire threat that could cause a major disaster. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid must first meet a minimum threshold for costs before assistance is provided.

 

"EXTREME" DROUGHT LINGERS ON---HENDERSONVILLE TO ISSUE WEEKLY DROUGHT/WATER UPDATES

"EXTREME" DROUGHT LINGERS ON---HENDERSONVILLE TO ISSUE WEEKLY DROUGHT/WATER UPDATES

 
Drought Update
11/18/2016
U.S. Drought Monitor Status – Extreme Drought - N.C. Drought Monitor 
 
NOAA 10 Day Precipitation Forecast – Significant precipitation is not predicted by The National Weather Service over the next 10 days.  We are currently experiencing La Nina conditions.  These conditions are expected to last until late January.  For more information on the long range forecast and La Nina go to The National Weather Service.
 
River Levels – Mills River 
Normal Flow > 65 cubic feet per second (cfs)
Current Flow – 48 cfs – 40+ Consecutive Days Below 65-cfs in the Mills River
 
 
 
Current System Status (Water Shortage Response Plan) – Stage 1 Water Shortage Advisory - Voluntary Conservation - Water Shortage Response Plan Link.      Next Level – Stage 2A Water Shortage Alert, Level 1 – Mandatory conservation can be triggered if Mills River reaches 30 cfs for seven consecutive days.  
 
 
WTP Production Level (Total Plant Capacity – 12 MGD) 
 
⦁WTP Production has been reduced by 7.25% since implementing Stage 1 on October 17, 2016   TARGET for Stage 1 = 10% reduction
 
French Broad River Emergency Intake Status Report 
⦁State of Emergency declaration by governor is required to make emergency intake fully operational.   
⦁Evaluating temporary intake placement and design for highest efficiency
⦁Currently securing temporary pumps
⦁Preparing pad and pipe connections for pump placement
⦁Preparing emergency raw water supply line 
 
Action Steps for Next Fourteen Days 
⦁Follow up with City of Asheville regarding water supply and capacity to assist Hendersonville Water and Sewer
⦁Contact Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and governor’s office to determine if current State of Emergency covers drought response.
⦁Inquire with DEQ about the possibility of testing emergency intake prior to State of Emergency. 
⦁Continue public education on importance of water conservation.  
⦁Continue to prepare emergency intake 
 
Weekly Update and Conference Call-  Beginning Friday, December 2, 2016 at 9:45AM Hendersonville Water and Sewer will conduct a conference call to discuss current water supply conditions.  The conference call number will be distributed prior to December 2, 2016.  This report will be distributed to the media and local stakeholders following the weekly call.  

COMMISSIONERS AND THE SCHOOL BOARD MEET; SEE A NEW HHS; STILL HAVE DIFFERENT PRIORITIES

COMMISSIONERS AND THE SCHOOL BOARD MEET; SEE A NEW HHS; STILL HAVE DIFFERENT PRIORITIES

 

THE JOINT MEETING OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND THE SCHOOL BOARD    

A WHKP NEWS COMMENTARY   

November 17, 2016-11-16   

As architect Chad Roberson displayed the renderings and explained the layout of Hendersonville High School’s new $50 million-plus campus (as seen in these photos) in that joint meeting between commissioners and the school board Wednesday morning---one thing was clear:  The commissioners were not taking any detours from the course they set early last summer.

Despite differences between the two boards over which board should be making these decisions---the school board maintains they have jurisdiction; over school construction priorities---the school board says a new Edneyville Elementary School should come before the new HHS campus; and over how the 1926 Erle Stillwell building should be used---commissioners seem to favor moving administrative offices into that building and out of the old Rose Edwards building on Fourth Avenue…despite all these major differences, at least the two boards were finally meeting together and talking to each other about what could end up costing the taxpayers of Henderson County more than $100 million on top of the nickle property tax increase they approved back in the summer.

Whether it’s nine million for renovations or $20-plus million for a new school, something must be done at Edneyville Elementary…and commissioners seemed to put that on a faster track Wednesday morning by urging the county’s architects to get busy on that, but only after they finish with the new Hendersonville campus.  Wednesday’s discussion between the two boards highlighted what is shaping up as another major expense for the new HHS campus, in addition to the cost of the new school itself, and that’s the need for adequate parking for students, staff, and especially for special events like ballgames at the mostly land-locked Hendersonville High School campus area.

It was Commissioner Charlie Messer who pointed out that these three things…1)the new HHS campus; 2)buying nearby property---the value of which will almost surely skyrocket---to solve the parking challenge at the new high school; and 3)whatever is done at Edneyville will be costing county taxpayers well in excess of $100 million in the next few years.  And that’s on top of other construction commitments already made, and underway.

Commissioners made it clear that new HHS campus will be a showpiece at the entrance to the city on the Asheville Highway.  School board members made it clear they still believe Edneyville Elementary should be the top priority.

The real lessons learned from Wednesday morning’s over-due joint meeting of the two boards are that 1)some major expenses to the taxpayers lie ahead; 2)that the two boards are as far apart as they ever were over priorities; 3)that both boards still believe they have jurisdiction over schools buildings and facilities; and 4)here’s the “biggie”---these challenges will have to be faced, and hopefully dealt with going into the future without the steady, experienced leadership of Ervin Bazzle guiding the system and the school board as its chairman. 

That “working group” that set up the presentation Wednesday morning got things started.  But the members of both boards, city and county and school system staffs, architects and contractors, and all involved…including those of us in the local media…had better roll up our sleeves in a spirit of real co-operation to do meet the challenges that lie ahead…and the taxpayers had better prepare to dig deep into whatever county resources are available to pay for it all.

By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman   11/16/16

A FIRST LOOK AT THE PLANNED NEW HENDERSONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL

A FIRST LOOK AT THE PLANNED NEW HENDERSONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL

The photo first is an over-view of the new school  

The second photo is the way it will appear from the Asheville Highway at Five Points  

Chad Roberson, of the county's "architect of record", Clark Nexxen, presented renderings of what the new Hendersonville High School will be like Wednesday morning in a joint meeting of both the Henderson County commissioners and the county's elected school board

What was presented Wednesday morning was also the result of a collaboration between Commissioners Hawkins and Lapsley, Hendersonville High School teachers, the architects, county staff and others…and it marked the first time the full two boards had come together on the issue.

The renderings and plans presented included the 1926 historic Stillwell building, though it’s still not clear exactly how the old building will be used.  County Commission Chairman Tommy Thompson made a point of saying he favored using it for county school central offices…and perhaps using the current Rosa Edwards old facility for future public library growth and parking.  But the future uses of the Stillwell building are still to be determined.

Parking around the new HendersonvilleHigh School was a much discussed issue…and it’s likely that additional property near the campus may be purchased in the future to meet staff, student, and public parking needs at the new campus…especially during public events like ballgames.

With the new campus to be built on the Asheville Highway at Fivc Points, safety has been a concern…and the architects have designed the new facility so the building will be back some 100 feet from the traffic and highway at Five Points.

About $52.3 million has been budgeted to build the new campus…and it was generally agreed the architects would spend the rest of this year finishing the design, then move forward with the necessary re-zoning to build the new facility.  

By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman

 

 

HUNDREDS DONATE A TRACTOR-TRAILER LOAD OF WATER & SUPPLIES FOR FIREFIGHTERS AT WHKP'S SUNDAY MORNING "WATER DRIVE"

HUNDREDS DONATE A TRACTOR-TRAILER LOAD OF WATER & SUPPLIES FOR FIREFIGHTERS AT WHKP'S SUNDAY MORNING "WATER DRIVE"

OURS HAS ALWAYS BEEN A  CARING AND GENEROUS COMMUNITY AND WE PROVED IT AGAIN SUNDAY MORNING...AT WHKP'S SUNDAY MORNING "WATER DRIVE"  

A SPECIAL "THANK YOU" TO RICHARD KING AND HIS TRACTOR-TRAILER TRUCK, TO AFFORDABLE EQUIPMENT RENTAL, TO LOWES, TO SUNDAY MORNING RADIO HOST CHARLES HAYES AND HIS FAMILY---AND TO THE SCORES OF VOLUNTEERS WHO DID THE "HEAVY LIFTING"  

AND ESPECIALLY TO THE MANY HUNDREDS OF GENEROUS DONORS WHO FILLED THE TRAILER OF AN 18-WHEELER WITH BOTTLED WATER, SOFT DRINKS, GATORADE, SNACKS, AND OTHER REFRESHMENTS FOR OUR FIRE FIGHTERS BATTLING THAT BAT CAVE/CHIMNEY ROCK/LAKE LURE WILDFIRE

It all started just after daybreak Sunday morning.   A listener heard that WHKP would be a drop-off point for supplies for the firefighters.  That listener went to Harris Teeter Grocery Store Sunday morning and said for every dollar on groceries she spent, she hoped the store would donate a dollars worth of bottled water for WHKP'S “water drive” for the 240-plus firefighters battling that Party Rock-Rumbling Bald Mountain wildfire in Bat Cave, Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.  The store agreed…and the lady bought $150.00 worth of groceries and the store gave $150.00 worth of bottled water for the “water drive”.  That was just the beginning.

The Sunday morning reporter for WSPA-TV came to Broadcast House before 6am Sunday morning…and did channel 7’s Sunday morning tv news program “live” from WHKP as we were gathering information, reporting on the fire and smoke, and conducting the “water drive”.  WLOS-TV’S News 13 helped spread the word, as did both the Times-News and the Hendersonville Lightning.

Because word of the “water drive” spread overnight Saturday, there were ten cases of bottled water and soft drinks for the firemen sitting outside the front door at Broadcast House when we arrived at 4:30 Sunday morning.

That’s the type of generosity that’s typical of the Hendersonville community anytime…but especially when there’s a crisis. 

And the whole community knew the wildfire and drought situation had reached the crisis stage by Sunday morning.  Close to 3,000 acres were burning in the Party Rock fire. Several dozen other fires were burning in western North Carolina including the 7,500 acre Tellico fire, and a wildfire was spreading up Table Rock from Pickens County and threatening the backside of Pinnacle Mountain in southwestern Henderson County.  A thick smoke had settled over the whole region, and an “Air Quality Alert” was, and is, in effect.  Those with respiratory issues such as asthma and COPD were, and are, particularly at risk from the smoke.

A spokesman for the North Carolina Forest Service told WHKP News “live” on the Sunday morning show that the Party Rock fire was still far from “contained” and was backing down Rumbling Bald toward the Boys Camp Road and Chimney Rock village area.

The Bat Cave Baptist Church was set up as a shelter Saturday and residents along Highway 64-74, along NC 9, and in the Shumont and Bald Mountain Roads areas had been evacuated to the church.

A “state of emergency” was, and is, in effect and Highway 64-74 was, and is, closed to traffic at the bridge in Bat Cave and at the intersection of Highway 9 to Mill Spring south of Lake Lure.

By the time Sunday school and church services were ending Sunday morning, the lobby at Broadcast House was full and overflowing with donations, the parking lot was full, and donors were backed up on Seventh Avenue waiting to get into the WHKP parking lot to donate. 

Supplies for the firefighters literally filled the trailer of Richard King’s 18-wheeler, and by mid-afternoon Sunday, it all was to be delivered to the Edneyville and Bat Cave Fire and Rescue Departments as they were shuttling supplies on to the firefighters on the mountain.

The National Weather Service was hoping that a 40 per cent chance of showers might spread into the area around mid-day on Sunday and bring some relief, but any substantial rainfall was not likely…and one firefighter observed later in the week that it would take many inches of rain to extinguish all these fires. Another slight chance for rain may develop around mid week…but forecaster Danny Gantt with the National Weather Service told WHKP News Sunday morning that our best chance for any real relief and rainfall is about a week away, in the next Saturday to Sunday time frame.

WHKP organized the Sunday morning drop-off because the station is “open” and broadcasting early Sunday and the supplies could be collected and delivered to the firemen as they needed them…without delay on Sunday, while other drop-off points would not be able to get the supplies to the firefighters before sometime Monday. 

By WHKP News and Program Director Larry Freeman   Updated 1:30pm  11/13/16

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED IN FRIDAY MORNING SUGARLOAF ROAD WRECK

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED IN FRIDAY MORNING SUGARLOAF ROAD WRECK

According to media reports, one person was killed and another taken away in an ambulance after a wreck Friday morning at about 10:15 a.m.

 
 
 

The wreck happened in Hendersonville, on the 1600 block of Sugarload Roaf at Naomi Drive.

 

An eyewitness at the scene said it appeared the car hit something head-on. The witness said EMTs used the jaws of life to extricate two passengers.

She said help arrived very quickly to the scene.

An eyewitness who lives near the scene said the driver was a male. The witness said she walked up to the scene because she thought she heard someone scream for help.

She says the male driver was conscious. He said he was in pain,  and asked "How is my wife?"

The witness says the female was in the passenger seat. Witness says the front end of the car was completely pushed in and smashed in on the passenger side.

The witness said the couple appeared to be in their 30s

More details will be relesed soon.

 

 

NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS? HENDERSONVILLE INVITES YOU "HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS"

NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS? HENDERSONVILLE INVITES YOU "HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS"

Home for the Holidays

November 1 - December 31, 2016

Hendersonville, NC

 

Come “Home for the Holidays” and experience the holidays with small town charm, sprinkled with excitement for the entire family. Let Hendersonville become your Hometown during the Holiday season.

The unique stores along Main Street are decked out with Christmas decorations for the season. Large wreaths with big red bows hang from streetlights, along with twinkling lights and decorations in the planters that line the serpentine street.

The area abounds with holiday activities such as the Flat Rock Playhouse productions, an ice-skating rink, carriage rides, holiday concerts, Christmas parade, and many other events for all ages. Catch the Christmas spirit in Hendersonville and pass it along. 

The holidays are a time for celebration and dining with friends and family. Many restaurants in the greater Hendersonville area offer festive seasonal menus during the holidays. The Holiday Dining Guide list restaurants open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  Be sure to make reservations!

Check the calendar of events on the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority web site for dates, times and locations of each event. 

For events, Christmas tree farms, holiday dining guide, or to receive a Hendersonville Vacation Planner, visit the Henderson County

Tourism Development Authority web site a visithendersonvillenc.org/holidays.htm or call  (828) 693-9708 / 800-828-4244.

Make “Hometown Holiday” memories in this charming mountain town.