As Henderson County commissioners begin work on a budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year that starts on July 1, the commissioneres are apparently considering the possibility of charging the municipalities in the county for some sheriff's department services. The City of Hendersonville and the Towns of Laurel Park and Fletcher have their own police departments. The Town of Mills River has a contract with the county sheriff's department for a deputy and additional patrols, and apparently commissioners are discussing a similar contract...for a fee...with the Village of Flat Rock.
On WHKP's local news this week, Flat Rock Mayor Bob Staton, a retired lawyer, says there is no way he knows of that Flat Rock can be forced into such a contract with the sheriff and the county. Staton says this has been discussed by the Village Council before with the sheriff and the commissionersm, and Council members are "adamantlly" opposed to it.
Such a contract, says Staton, would cost the Village about $100 thousand per year, which would require a substantial tax increase for Flat Rock taxpayers and he says the citizens and taxpayers continue to be opposed to it.
County Commission Vice Chairman Charlie Messer, though, tells WHKP News this week there are several ways the county can go about this. Messer indicates that the commissioners will be looking at "call volume"...the number of calls-for-service" in each municipality. Then, he says, the commissioners and the municpalities will "work something out".
The property owners in the county, including those in all five municipalities, currently pay for all the county services they receive, including sheriff's services, with the property, sales, and othes taxes and fees they pay. What Hendersonville, Fletcher, Laurel Park, and Mills River receive in additional law enforcement services are paid for by their individual muniucipal tax levies.
In its budget request for the 2015-16 fiscal year, the sheriff's department is asking for a significant increase...at least in part for additional personnel.
At their first budget retreat earlier this month, the county commissioneres turned "thumbs down" on the Town of Fletcher's request of a new county library facility, implying that if Fletcher wants a new library, the Town and its taxpayers will have to pay for it. On a WHKP newscast last week, Fletcher Town Manager Mark Bieberdorf countered that libraries are a "county service." That request from Fletcher for a library to replace their current aging facility had been pending for some time, and Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Henderson had asked the commissioners for a decision. Bieberdorf said Fletcher was grateful the commissioners had considered the request, but was disappointed with the decision.
The county commissioners will continue discussing the 2015-16 budget this month.
Preparations for preservation work on the Sandburg Home at Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is underway. Throughout 2015 most of the furnishings inside the Sandburg Home will be inventoried and packed away. During this packing process visitors on tour will have an opportunity to see museum object preservation in person. The home’s interior will start to look more like the Sandburg’s are just moving in with boxes still packed as the year goes on. This will be a fun time to visit the home to see the activity and to feel like the Sandburg’s when they first moved to Connemara. After the furnishings are packed and removed visitors will really have an opportunity to “go behind the scenes” and see the home in a very unique way. During this time exhibits inside the home will help to recreate the feel of how the Sandburg’s lived at Connemara.
The furnishings are being packed to prepare the interior for several preservation treatments. Windows in deteriorated condition will be repaired, the conservatory or greenhouse attached to the east side of the house will be rebuilt, walls will be painted, some of the wood floors will be refinished, and a dehumidification and air ventilation system will be installed. There will not be a cool air conditioned system installed, but a system that will dehumidify the air and push it through the house. This will better protect the furnishings from mold and mildew and provide a cooling effect for summer visitors to the home.
The park’s information center and bookstore in the ground floor of the Sandburg Home will remain open throughout the work. The upstairs will remain open for tours as much as possible during the next three years. The home will only close to tours for short periods when safety issues arise from the painting or installation work. To best plan your visit, please check the park’s website and facebook page for up-to-date information on work that is underway and any changes in tour schedules.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, is a unit of the National Park Service. The park is located three miles south of Hendersonville off U.S. 225 on Little River Road, and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily. For further information, please telephone 828-693-4178, or visit our website at www.nps.gov/carl
The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, Morris Broadband, and Judy Stroud/State Farm Insurance are pleased to announce the 8th annual ATHENA Leadership Award® in Henderson County in memory of Vanessa Y. Mintz. Nominations are ow
being accepted for the ATHENA Leadership Award®, which will be presented during Small Business Week at the Professional Women's Luncheon on May 14 to an exemplary leader who has achieved excellence in their business or profession, served the community in a meaningful way and, most importantly, actively assisted women to achieve their full leadership potential.
The program is facilitated locally by the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, a licensed ATHENA host organization. Nominations are sought throughout the community and recipients are selected by a diverse group of community leaders based on the criteria above. Past Henderson County ATHENA Recipients Include:
Caroline Long, St. Gerard House (2014)
Annie Fritschner, First United Methodist Church (2013)
Myra Grant, Pardee Hospital Foundation (2012)
Joyce Mason, Four Seasons Compassion for Life (2011)
Pat Shepherd, Pat's School of Dance (2010)
Ragan Ward, Carolina Alliance Bank (2009)
Robin Reed, Bares It All (2008)
Deadline for 2015 nominations is April 17. A nomination form can be downloaded below. For more information, call the Chamber at 828.692.1413.
THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION CONTINUES THE CHALLENGE TO IDENTIFY HISTORIC LOCAL PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS IN THE TREASURED BAKER-BARBER COLLECTION
Gifted to the Community Foundation by the late Joseph “Jody” EgertonBarber and maintained at the Henderson County Public Library, the Baker-Barber Photo Collection is a treasure trove of thousands of images documenting people, places and events in and around Henderson County from 1884 to the mid-1990s.The collection’s images illustrate the changing face of our community through the years and include pictures of rural life, urbanization, transportation, recreation, tourism, families, businesses, news, events, and formal portraits of area residents.
A member of the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors, Ron Partin has been leading a renewed effort, with the assistance of volunteers, to digitally scan, catalog and identify images in the Baker-Barber Photographic Collection.
Ron invites the community to attend the weekly slideshows held every Thursday from 1:30-3:00 pm at Henderson County Public Library at 301 N Washington Street in Hendersonville.Please note the time for the slideshows are moving earlier in the day to 1:30 pm
Flat Rock Playhouse announced today the revised 2015 season lineup for both the Mainstage and Playhouse Downtown locations. Previously announced titles The Wizard of Oz Young Performer’s Edition, Always…Patsy Cline, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Driving Miss Daisy, Gypsy, Fly, Pump Boys and Dinettes, and Oliver!, as well as the Music on the Rock Series has been augmented by the addition of three new titles for the Playhouse Downtown: Over The River and Through the Woods, Crimes of the Heart and Catfish Moon.
“The 2015 season is programmed with a variety of titles that will surely appeal to all,” says Flat Rock Playhouse Artistic Director Lisa K. Bryant. “Local youth will charm you as they whisk you over the rainbow in The Wizard of Oz while our country and blue grass roots will keep your toes tappin’ long after you leave the theatre with such shows as Always…Patsy Cline and Pump Boys and Dinettes. Soar to new heights with the Tuskegee Airmen in Fly while Mama Rose encourages us all to ‘Sing out Louise!’ and poor orphaned Oliver heartbreakingly dares to ask for more.”
Bryant continues, “I’m also overjoyed to be adding these three new titles to the Playhouse Downtown lineup. Both Over the River and Through the Woods and Catfish Moon have played to packed houses here at Flat Rock Playhouse and at many regional theatres across the United States. AND this is the first time that we’ve ever produced the Pulitzer Prize winning hit Crimes of the Heart – a title that will surely garner much interest from our local community.”
THE WIZARD OF OZ – YOUNG PERFORMER’S EDITION Follow the yellow brick road for we’re off to see the Wizard this March as we kick off our 2015 season with The Wizard of Oz Young Performer’s Edi6on. Journey over the rainbow into the merry old land of Oz with Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion and Toto too as they jitterbug through the haunted forest, tangle with winged monkeys and confront the Wicked Witch of the West. Together, we’ll share in the timeless message that “there’s no place like home.” Bring your family and friends and visit us in our home at the Playhouse Downtown. Ruby slippers not required for this journey. The Wizard of Oz is a one-hour adaption for Young Performers.
March 12 – 29, 2015 Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown
ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE A country music superstar. A housewife from Houston. An unlikely and unforgettable bond. With such hits as Crazy, Walkin after Midnight, Sweet Dreams and I Fall to Pieces, Patsy Cline was the first country music singer to cross over to pop music, solidifying her position as a legendary icon for all time. But what you may not know is that she struck up a friendship with fan Louise Seger, with whom she corresponded until her untimely death in a plane crash at the age of 30. More than just a concert, Always...Patsy Cline is based on this true story of this relationship and features 27 of her hits. A heartwarming celebratioon of down home country humor, true emotion and timeless classics.
May 7 - 31 Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage
OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS From the Tony Award winning Joe DiPietro, the author of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, All Shook Up and the smash musical Memphis, this uproarious family comedy centers around Nick Cristano and his Italian American grandparents, Frank, Aida, Nunzio and Emma, as they scheme to thwart his upcoming move from Hoboken, New Jersey to Seattle. Faith, family and food are central themes in this long running Off Broadway hit which returns to Flat Rock Playhouse for the first time since it’s box office breaking run in 1999. Think you’ll find a more heart warming and hilarious show? Fuggedabout it.
June 4 – 21 Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING A satire on office politics and corporate culture, H2$ will have you humming memorable songs such as I Believe In You and The Brotherhood of Man for days! Armed with his handy book entitled How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and unbridled charisma, Finch catapults from window washer to Chairman of the Board at the World Wide Wicket Company. However, when his ad campaign goes terribly awry, his job and new romance hang in the balance. Finch must rely on his own wits to save the day. This fun and hilarious musical is a story about the triumph of the common man.
June 18 – July 21 Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage
DRIVING MISS DAISY Both humorous and heartwarming, Driving Miss Daisy will leave you touched and wanting more. Atlanta, 1948. After demolishing yet another car, Daisy Werthan, a 72 year old, wealthy, Jewish woman is forced to rely on the services of a hired chauffer; a thoughtful and good-natured man named Hoke. Despite her rancor at the loss of her independence and initial prejudice toward her new driver, Daisy and Hoke develop a close, mutually dependent relationship spanning 25 years. Driving Miss Daisy is an evocative tribute to friendship and human dignity. Brilliantly absorbing and tender, this engaging and timeless story demonstrates the healing powers of love and friendship.
July 9 - 26 Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown
GYPSY Curtain up! Light the lights! Ready or not...here comes Mama! Often referred to as the greatest American Musical, Gypsy brings to life the memoirs of real life vaudevillian, Gypsy Rose Lee, and her ultimate stage mother, Mama Rose. Rose is wildly determined to turn her two young daughters, Dainty June and Louise, into stars – at all cost. Relive the unforgettable moments made famous by the incomparable Ethel Merman with such showstoppers as Let Me Entertain You, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Let Me Entertain You and the dazzling and dizzying Rose’s Turn. Returning Vagabond Klea Blackhurst stars as Mama Rose.
July 23 – August 16 Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage
CRIMES OF THE HEART Meet Meg, Babe and Lenny, the Magrath sisters. Just your typical southern sisters who reconvene in their hometown of Hazlehurst, Mississippi at the home of their Old Grandaddy. Oh, but this is not your typical family reunion. Babe has just shot her abusive husband. And their mother has hung herself...and the beloved family cat. What unfolds is a beautifully rendered, often heartbreaking, often hilarious story of love, compassion and sisterhood. Offered for the first time ever on the Flat Rock Playhouse stage, Pulitzer Prize winning Crimes of the Heart promises to be a huge hit that you will not want to miss.
August 20 – September 6 Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown
FLY An important and inspiring story about the experiences and challenges of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American flyers in the U.S. military during World War II. Hailing from Chicago, Harlem, rural Iowa, and the Caribbean each arrive at boot camp with a dream to serve their country as combat fighter pilots. But they find that they must first combat racism and prejudice in the very military they have volunteered to serve. This raw tale of courage and triumph is brought to life through a powerful combination of speech, multi-media, and tap-dance. Revel in the accomplishments of these men and soar along with them as they achieve great heights of distinguished service and forged brotherhood.
September 10 – 27 Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage
PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES Somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna, North Carolina, way down on Highway 57, the Pump Boys sell high-octane gasoline, while the Dinettes serve up plenty of pie and sass at the Double Cupp diner next door. Come sit a spell as the Pump Boys and Dinettes share their stories of heartache and hilarity with songs, live-instruments, and even a kitchen utensil or two. Pump Boys and Dinettes is one of the most frequently requested shows by Flat Rock Playhouse audiences. It’s a countrified musical packed with original and highly entertaining, toe-tappin’ tunes, presented as a love song to family and friends, both old and new.
October 1 – 25 Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage Presented by Morris Broadband
CATFISH MOON Skipping school, skinny dipping, kissing your first girl and, of course, fishing off the pier out on the end of Cypress Lake. Rites of passage for childhood best friends Curley, Gordon and Frog. But life happens and time has driven a wedge between these now, middle aged men who have come together for one last overnight fishing trip to patch old wounds brought about by anger, jealousy and betrayal. Penned by Laddy Sartin, who hails from Rock Hill, South Carolina, this bodacious southern fried bro-mance of a comedy is sure to delight.
October 29 – November 15 Playhouse Downtown
OLIVER! The Timeless and classic Dickensian tale of the poorhouse orphan boy who wanted more. Join us as we vividly bring to life the story of Oliver, the Artful Dodger, Fagin, Nancy and the menacing Bill Sykes in our holiday offering at the Flat Rock Playhouse. This performance will feature the talents of local youth working alongside our professional company. Filled with such memorable songs such as Consider Yourself, You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two and the hit As Long as He Needs Me, Oliver! is sure to delight your whole family this holiday season.
November 27 – December 20 Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage Presented by Pardee Hospital
MUSIC ON THE ROCK SERIES
Flat Rock Playhouse ushers in the 6th season of Music on the Rock with the following musical celebrations. All performances at the Playhouse Downtown.
The Music of ABBA February 12 – 15
The Music of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons April 16 – 26
The Music of Carole King & James Taylor April 13 – 15
The Music of Chicago October 8 – 18
The Christmas Concert that Never Was – Barbra and Frank December 10 – 12
TICKETS AND SCHEDULE All subscriptions packages can be purchased by calling the Playhouse box office at 828-693-0731, toll-free at 866-732-8008. Individual ticket sales can be purchased online at www.flatrockplayhouse.org.
Discounts are available for seniors, AAA members, military personnel, students and groups. The Flat Rock Playhouse downtown is located at 125 South Main Street in Hendersonville, NC.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman
12/12/14 Updated 7:30pm