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NC DOT SCHEDULES WORK, INCLUDING TUNNEL REPAIRS, ON I-40 IN PIGEON RIVER GORGE

NC DOT SCHEDULES WORK, INCLUDING TUNNEL REPAIRS, ON I-40 IN PIGEON RIVER GORGE

The state Department of Transportation plans two construction projects in the Pigeon River Gorge in northern Haywood County that will make traveling the remote section of Interstate 40 there at night even more of an adventure than usual.

One project includes replacing lighting and repairing walls in the three tunnels on the highway and the other is to stabilize the slope above the road just west of Exit 7.

DOT engineers do not expect major impacts on traffic flow on the curvy highway. All traffic lanes must be kept open between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily for both projects and at least one lane will be kept open in each direction at all times. The exception is that blasting as part of the slope stabilization project must be done during the day and will cause temporary road closures.

The tunnel work includes replacing existing lights with new systems that will use energy-saving LED lights, said Chris Lee, a DOT engineer working on the project.

The light systems and generators that power them in the event of a power outage are decades old and need replacement, Lee said. The generators contain old diesel engines designed to power tractor-trailers, he said, so “they’re super-hard to find parts for.”

Tunnel walls are in fairly good shape but need repairs in some places, Lee said.

The most noticeable change may be application of a white epoxy coating over the concrete walls. The coating is specially designed to reflect light, meaning it will take less electricity to illuminate the tunnels.

While the changes should improve visibility in the tunnels, “I think we’ll still keep that sign up that says remove your sunglasses” before entering, he said.

Also to be replaced are systems that adjust light levels inside the tunnels according to the time of day. DOT keeps interior lights brighter during the day and dimmer at night near tunnel entrances to reduce the contrast drivers experience between light levels outside the tunnels and inside, thus making entering tunnels safer, Lee said.

Work on the tunnel project could begin as soon as late March and is to be completed by mid-July 2017. Lee said the contract time is so long because workers can only close or narrow lanes at night. A Virginia company was the low bidder for the project at $6.9 million.

DOT plans to award a contract next month for the slope stabilization project. It involves removing soil and rock that could one day slide downhill, building a retaining wall and possibly putting anchors in the remaining rock to hold it in place, said Brian Burch, division construction engineer for DOT.

The slope is above a 0.4-mile section of road just west of the interchange with Cold Springs Creek Road.

A slide occurred in that area during the period when another slide a few miles to the west kept I-40 closed from October 2009 to April 2010, Burch said.

DOT engineers have done a comprehensive study of slopes along I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge and the section to be worked on was identified as the next priority for stabilization, Burch said. Periodic slides have closed the road several times over the years.

The slope stabilization work is scheduled to begin as soon as late March and be completed before May 2016.

FLETCHER'S ANNUAL CHILI COOK-OFF IS JANUARY 24TH

FLETCHER'S ANNUAL CHILI COOK-OFF IS JANUARY 24TH

 

 

The Town of Fletcherwill host its 14th Annual Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, January 24th from 12-2p.m. at Veritas Christian Academy.

The parks and recreation department is currently seeking chiefs interested in fighting for the 2015 title of best chili in Fletcher! Awards will be given in the following categories: Best Overall Chili, Best Individual Chili, Best Business Chili, Best Table Décor and People’s Choice. All types of chili will be accepted including traditional chili, white chili and vegetarian chili. If you think you have the best Chili in the Fletcher area please download an application at www.FletcherParks.org or stop by Fletcher Town Hall. Application should be returned to the parks and recreation department no later than January 16.

This event is free and the public is invited to taste all the different flavors Fletcher has to offer.  Parks and Recreation staff will be onsite accepting donations for the Fletcher Park Development Fund which helps improve Fletcher parks.

For more information on Fletcher’s Chili Cook-Off, please visit www.FletcherParks.org or call (828) 687-0751.

 

 

 

11TH ANNUAL ARDEN HEALTH FAIR JANUARY 18 & 19

11TH ANNUAL ARDEN HEALTH FAIR JANUARY 18 & 19

 
 Park Ridge Health and Arden Adventist Church will present the 11th Annual Arden Community Health Fair on Sunday, January 18, from 1 to 5 p.m. and Monday, January 19, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

 

The fair will take place at the Arden Adventist Church Community Life Center at 35 Airport Road and is open to everyone in the community, especially the underinsured and uninsured. More than 10 free health screenings will be available, including Pap, prostate exam & PSA, blood pressure, lipid & glucose, bone density, Body Mass Index, foot, hearing, vision, oral cancer and skin cancer. No appointments are required for the screenings.

A blood drive will be held in conjunction with the Arden Community Health Fair on January 18 from 12:30 to 5 p.m. and on January 19 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Community members can schedule their blood donation by calling 828-684-4525.

 

WILDLIFE HEARINGS IMPORTANT TO WNC COMING IN THE NEW YEAR

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will conduct nine public hearings in January on proposed changes to the state’s wildlife management, game lands and fishing regulations for the 2015-16 seasons.

Among the wildlife management-related proposed changes are temporary rules regulating the holding of deer in captivity. The proposals meet the General Assembly’s directive and follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Chronic Wasting Disease Program standards when regulating deer, elk and other ruminants in the cervid family. The temporary rules would allow captive cervid licensees to sell antlers, antler velvet and hides from the animals held at their facilities.

There are 36 proposals regarding fishing, including additions to Public Mountain Trout Waters and modification of size and creel limits for reservoir striped bass and Bodie bass (hybrid striped bass).

The comment period for the captive cervid temporary rules ends Jan. 23. The commission will consider comments and consider a vote to adopt these temporary rules at its Jan. 29 meeting. The temporary rules will become effective after approval by the Rules Review Commission in late February.

The comment period for all other proposed regulations ends Feb. 8. After considering public comments, the 19 wildlife commissioners will meet in March to vote on the proposals. Approved proposals will take effect Aug. 1.

Public hearings begin at 7 p.m. The hearing for District 9 will be Jan. 13 at Murphy Tri-County Community College, Enloe Multi-purpose Room, 21 Campus Circle, in Murphy. The hearing for District 8 will be Jan. 14 in the Municipal Auditorium, 401 S. College St., in Morganton.

For more information on all of the proposed regulations, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

LOCAL DOMESTIC ANIMALS REPORTEDLY ATTACKED BY MOUNTAIN LIONS; WILD HOGS ON THE INCREASE

LOCAL DOMESTIC ANIMALS REPORTEDLY ATTACKED BY MOUNTAIN LIONS; WILD HOGS ON THE INCREASE

Eastern Mountain Lion Mystery    

EVIDENCE INDICATES MORE LIKELY A LARGE BOBCAT

Reports have been circulating in the community for weeks about wild animals attacking some domestic animals. The reports usually involve what some believe to be “mountain lions”.   In fact, a photo was circulated earlier in the year of a mountain lion apparently stalking cattle near a local dairy farm.

The latest reports are of a mountain lion reportedly attacking a dog in the Laurel Park area, and of one attacking horses in the Willow Creek area.

Andy Unguris with Henderson County Animal Services tells WHKP News they have received these reports and have investigated, but they can find no evidence of a real mountain lion attack. He said the Laurel Park incident was believed to involve a large ”bobcat” and the paw print of the wild animal involved seems to support that .

WILD HOG POPULATION IS UP

There have also been reports of an increase in the wild boar, or wild hog, population…especially in the Mills River area. Unguris says wild hogs have been on the increase for a number of years in the mountains of Western North Carolina, but he’s quick to point out that in most cases, the hogs involved are tame ones from hog farms that have gotten loose and escaped into the woods. And usually, they shy away from people and are not dangerous.

Unguris also says that the internet and increasing use of social media has led to a lot of speculation and rumors about wild animal sightings and attacks, but again, there is little or no evidence to back them up.

He explains that according to North Carolina wildlife officials, mountain lions in the mountains of Western North Carolina are a thing of the past and simply no longer exist.

BLACK PANTHERS (PAINTERS)?

There have been some recent reports too of panthers, or what mountain folks used to call "painters", sighted in the area.  One in particular was in the Forge Mountain section of northwestern Henderson County a few months ago.  But in the opinion of NC wildlife officials, the black panthers or "painters" that once roamed the mountains threatening livestock and humans alike, and that had a piercing, horrifying scream, no longer exist in this area..

    A BLACK MOUNTAIN PANTHER OR "PAINTER"

By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman

12/12/14  Updated 7:30pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT'LL BE "A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS" AT THE HISTORIC COURTHOUSE

Title frame from A Charlie Brown Christmas.jpg

In anticipation of the upcoming Holiday season, Henderson County Government will host a “Children’s Day” at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Hendersonville on Monday, December 22rd. We would like to invite parents and children of all ages to attend a special showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas in the Board of Commissioners Meeting Room. Popcorn will be shared with all attendees.

The movie will begin at noon.

We ask that individuals who wish to attend gather in the front lobby of the Historic Courthouse approximately five minutes prior to the movie start time.

 

 

HOLIDAY SAFETY REMINDERS FROM THE HENDERSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

 

"The holiday season is right around the corner and shoppers are crowding malls and discount stores to buy the latest gadgets and find the best deals," said Sheriff Charles McDonald of Henderson County.

According to Sheriff McDonald "This time of year attracts more shopping-related criminal activity because of the larger crowds and the extended store hours.  These factors and the usual distraction of shopping, creates a more favorable environment for petty thieves and other offenders.

The Sheriff reminds all Henderson County residents to follow these safety tips:

Shopping Safety

 

 

A single shopper is the best target for theft.  Always shop with a friend or relative.

When going shopping, tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you to return.  Also, make sure they know what you are wearing, as well as the type of vehicle you are driving.

Shop during daylight hours.  If you shop at night, park your vehicle in a well-lit area.

Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.  If carrying cash, keep it in your front pocket rather than in a purse or wallet.  This makes it much more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove.  Also store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket.  If your purse is stolen, you will still be able to drive home.

Pay careful attention to your surroundings and avoid overloading yourself with packages.  It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat.  Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason.  Have your car keys in your hand to avoid spending unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle.

If you feel uneasy returning to your vehicle alone, find a security guard and ask them to walk you to your car.

According to Sheriff McDonald "During this time of year, busy holiday shoppers become vulnerable to other crimes as well.  Credit card fraud and gift card fraud are on the rise.  However, taking a few preventive measures can help."

Credit Card Fraud

Keep a close watch on your credit card every time you use it, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible.

Never write your PIN number on your credit card.

Never leave your credit cards or receipts lying around.

Shield your credit card number so that others around you can’t copy it or capture it on a mobile telephone or other camera.

Only carry credit cards that you absolutely need.

Shred anything with your credit card number written on it.

If you’re planning to purchase online, make sure the web page where you enter your credit card information is secure through SSL (Secure Socket Layer).  You can tell if the web page is secure by looking for the gold lock or key icon at the bottom corner of your browser window.

If you’re not comfortable submitting your information through the internet, call the seller and give them your information over the telephone.  Never send your credit card information via email.

Check the company out.  Only do business with companies that provide a physical address and telephone number. 

Keep good records.  Always print out a copy of any online products or services you purchase.

Gift Card Fraud:

 

Never buy gift cards from online auction sites.  This is a large source of gift card fraud.  Many of the gift cards are stolen, counterfeit or used.

Only buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer’s website.

Don’t buy gift cards off of publicly displayed racks in retail stores.  Only purchase gift cards at the sales terminal from the cashier.

Always carefully examine both the front and back of a gift card before you buy it.  If you see a PIN number, ask for a different card.  If the card looks like it has been tampered with in any way, put it back.

Always ask the store cashier to scan the gift card in front of you.  This will guarantee that your card is valid when you buy it and that it reflects the balance you just charged it with.

Always keep your receipt as a proof of purchase as long as there is money stored on the gift card.

If possible, register your gift card at the store’s website

Never give your Social Security number, date of birth or any other unneeded private information when purchasing a gift card.  No reputable company will ask for this information.

In light of these problems, Sheriff McDonald warns shoppers to be careful so that they don’t become the victim of criminal activity.  "Unfortunately, when shopping, people have a tendency to let their guard down," said Sheriff McDonald.  "However, paying attention and taking precautions can help eliminate their chances of being victimized."

 

 

EXPANDED EVENING HOURS ANNOUNCED FOR LIBRARY BRANCHES

 

 

On Monday, October 6th, the five Henderson County Public Library branches extended their evening hours in response to a community needs survey.  Library administration surveyed patrons at the five branches in July and results overwhelmingly indicated that more evening hours would help patrons take advantage of library services across the county.

Fletcher and Etowah are now open Mondays and Wednesdays until 7:00 p.m.  Edneyville is open on Mondays and Tuesdays until 7:00 p.m. Green River stays open until 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Mills River stays open until 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Fletcher, Etowah, and Edneyville have also adjusted their Saturday hours.  Fletcher is now open from 10:00 a.m. till 4 p.m., two hours longer than the previous schedule.  Etowah and Edneyville are open from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Please contact Interim Library Director Trina Rushing or Branch Coordinator Sara Hyder McGough at (828) 697-4725 with any questions or comments about the new branch hours.

 

 

 

SIERRA NEVADA NOW HIRING 150 MORE FOR RESTAURANT AND TAP ROOM

SIERRA NEVADA NOW HIRING 150 MORE FOR RESTAURANT AND TAP ROOM

 

 Sierra Nevada Brewing is hiring another 150 employees at its Mills River operation as it prepares to open a brewery restaurant and taproom in early 2015.

The hiring blitz, now underway, will “effectively double our staff” at Mills River, Sierra spokesman Bill Manley said Monday. Full- and part-time jobs listed on Sierra’s website include host, server, busser, bartender, line cook, prep cook and dishwasher.

Some of the jobs require previous restaurant experience, others do not. Hiring will continue through Nov. 19, according to the website. Applications should be submitted online at www.sierranevada.com/careers

Sierra looks to open the taproom and restaurant in January “if all goes according to plan,” Manley said. The restaurant and taproom building is “up,” and a 20-barrel German-made pilot brewery is being installed.

The small brewery will make specialty and one-off brews, some just for the taproom, which will have 16-20 taps, Manley said. “As soon as you are through the doors, you will be in the (pilot) brewery,” he said.

The restaurant will have 100 tables and specialize in American classic food with an organic and sustainable twist, he said. The restaurant will be similar to an operation at Sierra’s Chico, California, brewery, but with a North Carolina focus. Some of the produce will be grown at the Mills River brewery, he said.

The taproom will include an upstairs music room, but that will not open until the restaurant is running, he said. An amphitheater is also being built at the site for concerts when warmer weather returns in the spring.

Sierra’s tasting tours of the main brewery have become so popular that they are booked solid several weeks in advance. “We can’t accommodate walk up visitors” right now, Manley said. To reserve a tour, visit www.sierranevada.com/brewery/north-carolina/brewery-tour.

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Sierra Nevada Brewing is hiring another 150 employees at its Mills River operation as it prepares to open a brewery restaurant and taproom in early 2015.

The hiring blitz, now underway, will “effectively double our staff” at Mills River, Sierra spokesman Bill Manley said Monday. Full- and part-time jobs listed on Sierra’s website include host, server, busser, bartender, line cook, prep cook and dishwasher.

Some of the jobs require previous restaurant experience, others do not. Hiring will continue through Nov. 19, according to the website. Applications should be submitted online at www.sierranevada.com/careers

Sierra looks to open the taproom and restaurant in January “if all goes according to plan,” Manley said. The restaurant and taproom building is “up,” and a 20-barrel German-made pilot brewery is being installed.

The small brewery will make specialty and one-off brews, some just for the taproom, which will have 16-20 taps, Manley said. “As soon as you are through the doors, you will be in the (pilot) brewery,” he said.

The restaurant will have 100 tables and specialize in American classic food with an organic and sustainable twist, he said. The restaurant will be similar to an operation at Sierra’s Chico, California, brewery, but with a North Carolina focus. Some of the produce will be grown at the Mills River brewery, he said.

The taproom will include an upstairs music room, but that will not open until the restaurant is running, he said. An amphitheater is also being built at the site for concerts when warmer weather returns in the spring.

Sierra’s tasting tours of the main brewery have become so popular that they are booked solid several weeks in advance. “We can’t accommodate walk up visitors” right now, Manley said. To reserve a tour, visit www.sierranevada.com/brewery/north-carolina/brewery-tour.

From The Asheville Citizen-Times

 

 

CITY FALL LEAF COLLECTION CONTINUES

Picture - Fall leaves with rake. Fotosearch - Search Stock Photos, Images, Print Photographs, and Photo Clip Art

On Monday November 3, 2014, the City of Hendersonville will be finishing up our second round of bulk leaf collection for City Residents.  Collection

will continue until the end of December.  Residents are asked to rake their leaves as close to the street, curb, or sidewalk as possible.  Please do not place the leaves in the road or on the sidewalk. Residents do not need to call for this service because our staff will continue collecting leaves until the end of December.  Leaf piles are picked up from homes about every 10 to 14 days although depending on the volume of leaves placed out for collection, the piles could be picked up sooner or later than that time.

In addition, this collection process is separate from our brush collection crews so residents will need to keep the brush and leaves in separate piles.  Residents are asked to not bag their leaves.

For questions about this program, please call the Public Works Department at (828) 697-3084.