“The subcommittee will continue to pursue possible sponsorship by encouraging one of the nine existing EMM immigration agencies to open a resettlement affiliate center in our area, but this is as far as this process has gone.” St. James Senior Warden Eugene Carr
In a station editorial on WHKP and on our web site, whkp.com, we are expressing our opposition to a possible re-location, or re-settlement, of Syrian and/or any other nation’s refugees into Henderson County.
Gene Carr is the senior warden at Saint James Episcopal Church, one of the churches that is reportedly looking into such possible re-settlement…and he says, in a press release in the (Friday’s) Times-News, that such re-settlement of these refugees here is not likely at this time, apparently due to complications in the process and to Hendersonville’s distance from an approved re-settlement center. It is currently required, says Carr, that a sponsor, such as a local church like Saint James, must be within 50 miles of a re-settlement center…and the closest one to Hendersonville is in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Still, a church sub-committee, which has been looking into the re-settlement of refugees since March, will continue, says Carr, to pursue such sponsorship by encouraging immigration agencies to open a re-settlement affiliate center in our area.
WHKP stands by the editorial position we are taking today…against any possible re-location of Syrian and other refugees into our community…and we continue to encourage Hendersonville City Council to take this opposition one step further by passing a resolution against any possible re-settlement of these refugees into our community.
You can read our station editorial on this home page or listen to it as a podcast on our "Featured Sudio" also on this home page.
You can express your opinion on the issue by voting in our web poll also on this home page.
RE-SETTLING SYRIAN (AND OTHER) REFUGEES INTO OUR COMMUNITY IS A BAD IDEA
A WHKP Station Editorial
July 1, 2016
Some western North Carolina churches, including St. James Episcopal in Hendersonville, the Unitarian Universalist Chuch in Asheville, and others are reportedly looking into re-locating Syrian and other refugees into ours and other communities in the area.
Local officials are staking out their positions on the issue already. Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk is in favor of it. City Council member Ron Stephens is opposed to it. And the City of Hendersonville officially wiped its hands clean of the whole thing late Thursday by issuing a statement that reads, in part, the city “...has no legal power to direct, cause, or prohibit the re-settlement of foreign refugees within the City of Hendersonville.”
It’s not surprising that some well meaning but “left” leaning religious denominations are eager to jump on the bandwagon and open the doors, not only of their churches, but of our whole community, to more outsiders. The immigration issue is far from resolved, and on top of some serious and violent criminals that have already immigrated into our community, Syrian and other refugees that we know precious little about could conceivably bring terrorism right to our doorstep. Terrorists aren’t stupid. They know how to infiltrate refugee groups; their intention to wreak havoc on the United States from within is clear; and they know they can depend on well meaning, but shallow thinking, liberals, certainly in some churches, to pave them way for them…all under the pretext of this being the “Christian” thing to do.
We agree with City Council member Ron Stephens. “Churches, like St. James, do a lot of good. But you can get on a bicycle and from the church find more than they could ever get done with people who need help.” We would add that’s LOCAL people, with legitimate LOCAL needs . Stephens adds, “I don’t know why they (the churches) would expose the community to what possibly could happen”. We know why. It’s the “feel good” thing to do.
The claim that these refugees, whether from Syria…or Columbia as the mayor points out...phave been “vetted” or supposedly investigated, is of no comfort at all. Santa Barbara and Orlando, not to mention Paris and the Instanbul Airport confirms for us that the so-called “vetting” process is full of holes…large enough for the worst terrorists to slip through, costing hundreds of innocent people their lives.
St. James Church has supported some wonderful things for the community. Their School for Little Folks and the Medical Loan Closet are just two examples of truly Christian things that church has done so very well. Those things have IMPROVED the lives of local people. Importing and re-settling outsiders, possibly infiltrated by terrorists, could ENDANGER local people.
We fully support Council member Stephen’s stated intent to do what he can as a Council member to keep this “re-settling” of refugees into our community from happening. If in fact, the City has no legal power on this issue, as their press release stated late Thursday, Hendersonville City Council could at least express their opposition to it in the form of a resolution at their July meeting next Thursday. That would send a message to the “left leaners” and the “re-settlers" and show the city that its Council is standing up for the safety and security of our local people.
As always, we invite your comments…on our comments.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman 06/30/16 7pm
It was announced a while back that Hendersonville Police are are no longer a part of the sheriff's department's drug task force. That development came after a disagreement between the two departments over the use of force in an officer-involved shooting earlier this year that led to te death of an East Flat Rock woman. So apparently this drug investigation inside the city was done without the involvement of Hendersonville police.
A press rease from the county sheriff's office on Fiday states:
On Thursday, May 26th, 2016 the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force executed a search warrant on a business, the Grease Monkey Garage, at 147A 1st Avenue E. in Hendersonville. Upon execution of the search warrant, detectives seized approximately 536 grams of marijuana in multiple packages along with drug paraphernalia. Detectives also seized components for a Honey Oil conversion lab.
Honey Oil, also known as Butane Hash Oil (BHO), is a very concentrated form of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol which the main active ingredient of marijuana. It is illegally manufactured using a very dangerous process involving releasing butane, a highly flammable gas. There have been numerous reports of explosions, deaths and severe burns across the country from BHO manufacturing. The Sheriff’s Office cautions anyone trying to manufacture BHO, they are not only running the risk of criminal prosecution, but also taking their life or the lives of others into their own hands. The danger posed by fire and explosions involving butane extends beyond the clandestine lab itself. It can cause damage and destruction to neighboring properties and residents that may live there. This was the first occasion found by law enforcement of BHO manufacture in Henderson County in recent years.
The business owner, Eric Patrick Carter, age 38 of Brightwater Heights Drive in Hendersonville was arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Manufacture, Sell or Deliver Schedule VI Controlled Substances, Manufacturing Marijuana, Maintaining A Vehicle, Dwelling Or Place For Controlled Substances and Possession Of Marijuana Paraphernalia.
He has been released on a $7,000.00 secured bond. Anyone wishing to report suspicious or criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 828-697-4596.
Henderson County’s Education History Initiative rccently unveiled and dedicated a special marker commemorating the historic Mills River High School. The school itself was torn down years ago, but the marker is located near the site of the original facility…which is directly in front of what is now Mills River Elementary School
The marker was made possible by donations from graduates and their family members, by friends in the Mills River community, and by the Initiative.
County school superintendent Bo Caldwell, who has roots in the Mills River community, was the main speaker for the event…which also included singing a special song written just for the old school by graduate Jere Brittain
Over a hundred guests and dignitaries were present for the event held outside in the elementary school parking lot facing that new historical marker
It’s part of an on-going effort by the Education History Initiative to collect, preserve, and celebrate the history of education in Henderson County.
The indoor firing range at the criminal justice traning facility in Edneyville has reportedly exceeded its maximum scheduling capacity…and that’s one of the main reasons the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department and others are pushing for another firing range in Henderson ounty.
And it’s now looking more and more like one will be located somewhere on the main campus of Blue Ridge Community College. The community college board of trustees and others met this week and are moving forward with some preliminary plans, which include discussions with the county, finding a possible location for the firing range on the college campus, and an architect’s rendition of such a firing range facility.
The county commissioners set aside some $1.2 million for such a law enforcement training firing range in the new budget that takes effect this Friday. That allocation for a firing range will cost about one cent of that new five cent property tax increase approved by commissioners.
The sheriff’s department has preferred an outdoor firing range…but ran into opposition by residents in potential locations in Tuxedo and on Pinnacle Mountain.
Blue Ridge Community College already has law enforcement training program and such an indoor firing range for law enforcement presumably would be a part of it.
This Tuesday morning, a new non-stop flight from Asheville to Newark, New Jersey was snnounced.
In conjunction with the new route that will launch just in time for the holiday travel season, the company is celebrating with a "Christmas in July" Facebook sweepstakes to give away seats on the route's inaugural flight.
"Allegiant continues to grow in western North Carolina, and the addition of New York City on their route map is exciting," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director of Asheville Regional Airport. "We encourage area travelers to start planning holiday travel to New York, and we look forward to welcoming more visitors from The Big Apple, as well."
The Flat Rock Park and Recreation Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the official dedication of the Bryan Playground for children inside The Park at Flat Rock. The dedication event will be held Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 11 am at the park. The event is free and open to the public. Popcorn, Sno Cones and refreshments will be served.
The Bryan Playground at The Park at Flat Rock is the first public playground in Flat Rock and will be built in phases. Features include tree houses, bridges, slides and cargo nets and a climbing wall- incorporating natural materials and an innovative design to help foster children’s overall health and creative play. The playground accommodates disabilities as well. “Through my work at Camp Pinnacle I became aware of the Beanstalk curriculum and adventure playground designs. The Village Council saw that the design and educational components developed by this company not only offered a unique play environment but also uses activities that focus on the prevention of childhood obesity,” states John Dockendorf, Village Council member.
The playground is made possible, in part, by a generous donation from Kendall Gibson Bryan and Eleanor deSaussure Bryan honoring their children: Josephine deSaussure Bryan, Kendall Gibson Bryan, Jr., Eleanor Charlton Bryan Matthews and Sarah Hugar Holyer. “When my parents and grandparents both visited Flat Rock and lived here, coming from the Charleston area, they began a tradition that now continues with our grandchildren making happy memories here. We seized the opportunity to give back to the place that has brought our family such joy when we saw the wonderful plans for the Park. What a great place it is!” –Eleanor Bryan
The Flat Rock Park and Recreation Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2013 by the Village of Flat Rock, North Carolina to help raise the funds required to fulfill the vision of a signature municipal park for the community. That vision includes opportunities for recreation, health, and education for all generations while preserving the natural beauty that draws visitors from far and wide to Western North Carolina.
# # #
44 North Carolina Communities Receive Marks for High Performance From the National Main Street Center
From the National Main Street Center
National Trust for Historic Preservation subsidiary issues 2016 accreditations
Raleigh, N.C. – The National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation has cited 44 North Carolina communities for economic vitality and fidelity in following the best-practice standards for historic preservation and community revitalization championed by the center. Eleven new communities joined the ranks of accredited North Carolina communities as compared to last year’s roster. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners issue accreditation to Main Street® programs across the country.
The eleven communities newly appearing in this year’s list are: Cherryville, Hendersonville, Lexington, Lincolnton, Rocky Mount, Rutherfordton, Sanford, Shelby, Sylva, Waxhaw, and Williamston.
Communities receiving accreditation again this year include: Belmont, Boone, Brevard, Burlington, Clayton, Clinton, Concord, Eden, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Elkin, Fuquay-Varina, Goldsboro, Hertford, Hickory, Kings Mountain, Lenoir, Marion, Monroe, Morganton, Mount Airy, New Bern, North Wilkesboro, Roanoke Rapids, Roxboro, Salisbury, Smithfield, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Wake Forest, Washington, Waynesville, and Wilson.
“Vibrant downtowns are important economic engines for the North Carolina economy,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III. “This national recognition confirms the results we’re seeing every day in these forward-thinking communities and is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our Main Street program participants.”
“Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year’s nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America’s cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country.”
The performance standards set the benchmarks for measuring a community’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach to commercial district revitalization. Standards include fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings. More information is available at National Main Street Accreditation.
“Each year, our Center’s staff evaluates each of the state’s designated Main Street organizations to identify those programs that met the National Main Street Center’s ten performance standards for the previous twelve-month calendar year. 69% of all North Carolina Main Street communities achieved national accreditation in 2016 and that represents 14% more communities that have worked over the last year to incorporate basic best practices in their Main Street operations,” said Liz Parham, director of the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center.
Since 1980, The North Carolina Main Street program has generated $2.3 billion in private and public investment. In 2015, North Carolina Main Street downtown districts generated 228 net new businesses, 82 business expansions in existing businesses, 358 net new jobs, 282 façade rehabilitations and 215 building rehabilitations. More than 74,188 volunteer hours were recorded.
NO "GENERAL" RAIN IS FORECAST FOR AT LEAST A WEEK
WILL LIKELY BE ASKED TO TAKE SIMPLE STEPS TO CONSERVE WATER
Well over 60 thousand customers on the City of Hendersonville’s water system will likely be asked to voluntarily conserve water, as an “advisory” will probably be issued by the city water department due to a lack a rainfall and with water levels falling in the Mills River, which is Hendersonville’s principle source for water.
Rainfall deficits have been stacking up since last winter. The AshevilleAirport, which typically receives more rain that the immediate Hendersonville area, now reports a deficit so far this year of about five and a half inches…the deficit here at WHKP, Hendersonville’s official weather observation station, is even greater. May was the only month since early last winter with near normal precipitation totals in Hendersonville.
Forecasters are looking to late Monday and Tuesday as our best chance for some scattered rain, but almost no “general” rainfall is in the forecast for at least a week.
Last week, the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council placed four western North Carolina counties…Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Transylvania…in the “severe” drought category. HendersonCounty joins nine others, from the Piedmont westward, in “moderate” drought.
Local farmers are keeping a close eye on their crops right now, remembering that devastating drought a few years ago, back in 2007, that literally drove some local growers out of business, while others had to sell cattle and other livestock because there was not enough hay or corn to feed them…much of it literally dried up and died in the fields. Local hay growers have been lucky so far this year, with a couple of good cuttings early and so far. One corn grower, with hundreds of acres of feed corn growing in the county, tells us that his is looking ok for right now but he’s wondering how long that can last without rain.
If the city imposes voluntary water restrictions, which more than likely will happen, the public will be asked to voluntarily cut back on washing cars, watering lawns, filling up pools and to take some other common-sense water conservation steps.
Hendersonville’s water system supplies water for Laurel Park, into Etowah and Fletcher, and into the Saluda areas. One encouraging thing the city has now that it did not have in that drought of 2007…is an emergency water in-take in the French Broad River and an agreement with the City of Asheville to use water from the French Bbroad if necessary. And it’s reported that Hendersonville will be relying more and more on the French Broad for water going into the future. Hendersonville also completed a major multi-million dollar upgrade on its water treatment facility on Highway 191 just a few years ago.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman 06/25/16 Updated 4am
THE ICONIC HHS BUILDING: ”THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH A LITTLE MORE DELIBERATION”
A WHKP Station Editorial
What to do with old public buildings, certainly those that have stood long enough to distinguish themselves as being “historic”, is always a challenge. Sometimes the challenge is met successfully, like with the Historic Courthouse and the old train depots here and in Saluda. Other times what to do with them is not handled at all, like with the old Gray’s Hosiery Mill eye-sore that continues to crumble virtually in the center of town after well over a decade of being the property of the City of Hendersonville.
What to do with the 90 year old Erle Stillwell designed Hendersonville High School main building though…near and dear to the hearts of Hendersonville folks for almost a century…is a situation, we believe, that is as unique, fundamental down to the roots of this community, and understandably emotional, as the Historic Courthouse. After all, a whole generation began their education in that hallowed old building when the ground floor was Eighth Avenue Elementary School. And hundreds more, in the four score and ten year life-span of that community “centerpiece”, have started their adult lives climbing its senior steps, accepting a diploma on the stage of its auditorium, then waving good-bye to its impressive façade and majestic columns.
It looks like whatever is done will cost the taxpayers between 50 and 60 million dollars, at least. And we agree with the president of the HHS Alumni Association, that “…when you’re spending that much money, there’s nothing wrong with a little more deliberation.”
Laurel Park Mayor Carey O‘Cain, who holds a degree in architectural construction and who spent 35 years in the business, is also a graduate of Hendersonville High who wants not only to save the old building, but keep it in use. Under his plan, the Stillwell building would be renovated; a second 65,000 square foot classroom building would be added; and the Boyd property at Five Points would be used for parking, a 15,000 square foot gymnasium, and a 13,000 square foot vocational building.
We understand that the commissioners, the school board, county staff and a lot of others have spent a long, difficult, even gut-wrenching time looking at the situation…and that at some point, a decision has to be made and you move forward. Otherwise, you wind up with an un-resolved protracted mess like the old hosiery mill building on Grove Street.
But, like the alumni president said, when you’re spending this much money…the debt service for which will be a big part of the county’s new $130 million budget at a cost of ten per cent more in our tax bills…there’s nothing wrong with a little more deliberation.
And it’s not like the Stillwell building is going to collapse tomorrow. That building has been handling its age WELL, even since we were in it exactly half a century ago.
So we hope the commissioners will back up a little; put their commitment to a whole new campus “on hold” for now; take a look at the O’Cain proposal and others; deliberate a little more; possibly cut the cost of whatever is done or at least spend the taxpayer’s money more to the liking of local taxpayers …and save and possibly renovate a building that is, as this whole issue has clearly shown, part of the very soul of this community.
By WHKP News and Program Director Larry Freeman (HHS Class of 1966)
June 24, 2016