Cloudy with occasional rain
HI: 62 LOW: 46
WHAT THIS COMMUNITY DONATED TO FIREMEN FIGHTING WILDFIRES---STRETCHED ALL THE WAY TO PIGEON FORGE AND GATLINBURG
Do you remember the TRACTOR-TRAILER LOAD and more of bottled water, snacks, drinks, and other supplies this generous community donated in the “water drive” a few Sundays ago…as over 200 firefighters fought that Party Rock wildfire in Bat Cave, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure?
As we reported at the time, what was donated on that very special Sunday was taken to the Bat Cave Fire Department, and they got the supplies to the firemen up on the mountain.
But our community was SO generous and so much was donated that a lot was left over. And we want the community to know…that thanks to Bat Cave Fire and Rescue, those donated supplies are not sitting in a warehouse somewhere. Those left-over donations of bottled water, canned goods, everything from eye drops to apples…was loaded onto two trailers and a U-Haul trailer…and taken to he firefighters battling those horrible wildfires that virtually destroyed Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
We wanted you to know that the kind of generosity and community spirit that made that Sunday “water drive” a few weeks ago so successful…has a way of taking on a life of its own, reaching far beyond its original purpose and those it was initially intended to serve.
So, we say “thank you” again to Bat Cave, to the firemen, and to a compassionate and “giving” community that created a very special and memorable meaning for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season this year.
(Above photo is the Party Rock wildfire raging up the Hickory Nut Gorge and within sight of Bat Cave Baptist Church)
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman
ON TOP OF BEARWALLOW MOUNTAIN; OVER 100 FIREMEN FROM 20 DEPARTMENTS RESPONDED
CAUSE OF THE FIRE IS UNDETERMINED
The 12,000 square foot Grand Lodge in the Grand Highlands on Bearwallow Mountain neighborhood became fully engulfed in flames in the early morning hours Sunday.
Chief Jay Alley with Gerton Fire and Rescue said when they arrived, the attic and first floor if the streucture were engulfed in flames.
He said more than 100 firefighters from 20 departments across Buncombe and Henderson counties fought the fire throughout the early morning hours, but the remote location of the fire brought it's own set of challenges.
"It was very difficult to start with because first of all, it's a long ways for all of our mutual aid companies to come, so we had to get everybody here. It took a while to get all of our ladder trucks and trucks here," said Alley.
According to a report on News 13, while the rain helped with containing the hot spots, the large fire brought another challenge for the firefighters.
"We actually ended up draining the water tank that feeds the hydrants there, so we ran out of water and had to go to a water shuttle system, so that hurt," Alley said.
There were initial reports that the fire may have been caused by an explosion, but Alley could not confirm that. He says it's still under investigation.
Alley said the last people left the building about 30 minutes before the fire erupted, but didn't report seeing any fire.
The Grand Lodge is described as a total loss.
A WHKP NEWS SPECIAL REPORT
JUST HOW DRY HAS IT BEEN? HOW “EXTREME” IS HENDERSON COUNTY’S DROUGHT? PRECIPITATION NUMBERS TELL THE STORY
By News Director Larry Freeman 12/03/16
As you read these numbers, keep in mind they are official daily observation totals at WHKP, which is Hendersonville’s National Weather Service “observation station” for Hendersonville. Numbers that sometimes are attributed to Hendersonville in other media are actually numbers/observations/totals at the Asheville Regional Airport, which is Asheville’s NWS “observation station”…and they frequently vary significantly from Hendersonville’s actual precipitation totals.
Even after about two inches of rainfall this past week, the NC Drought Management Advisory Council still has Henderson County classified as being in “extreme” drought. Here’s why.
Hendersonville received above average rainfall in both June and July. June’s total was 6.94, while Hendersonville’s long-tern average for June is 5.55. We also had above average rainfall in July…our average is 5.75 inches of rainfall and this July we received 8.04. Even the first two weeks in August this year saw above average rainfall. In the first half of August, we measured 5.66, while 5.90 is the long-term average for the whole month. And we typically go into the last two weeks of August, late summer, and early fall, anticipating above average precipitation from “tropical” weather, such as tropical storms and hurricanes. But that didn’t happen this year and all the “tropical” weather flooded eastern and coastal North and South Carolina. And a weather factor known as “La Nina” kicked in instead.
Hendersonville normally receives an average of 4.40 inches of rainfall in September. This September, our rainfall total for the month was only .53…that’s 3.87 inches below normal.
In October, Hendersonville’s long-term average total for the month is 4.18. This October, we received only .69 and that’s almost three and a half inches (3.49 inches to be exact) below normal rainfall for the month.
November is typically a “dry” month in Hendersonville, just before winter precipitation kicks in with a long-term average of 3.68 inches of rainfall in the month. This November, we measured 1.64 inches for the month…just over 2 inches (2.04 to be exact) below average in a “dry” month.
So, if you total up the rainfall deficits in September through November alone, Hendersonville is left with an annual deficit of almost 10 full inches (9.40 inches to be exact).
Looking at our precipitation situation for the whole year up to this point, Hendersonville’s long-term average total for the year “to date”, through the end of November, is 52.77 inches of rainfall. Factoring in other scattered precipitation deficits throughout the year 2016, Hendersonville began the last month of the year with less than 40 inches total precipitation for the year, as we said, 10 inches at least below the long-term average for Hendersonville.
That deficit is compelling enough all by itself, and helps explain “tinder dry” conditions, no or little late-season grass, hay, or other silage crops, lack-luster fall leaf color, and the horrific wildfire season we’ve experienced this year.
Weather forecasters are predicting that La Nina will continue to dominate precipitation, of the lack there of, in our area until about the middle of January. And there are hopeful indications that it’s beginning to loosen its grip on our weather, as moisture gets swept up from the Gulf of Mexico and pumps some badly needed precipitation, be it rain ir snow,m kinto the moluntains of western North Carolina.
This special report will be heard on WHKP's LOCAL NEWS Monday December 5...7:55 am, 11:55 am, 5:05 pm
LOCAL KIDS TO “SHOP WITH A HERO”
Hendersonville Police Chief Herbert Blake says 70 kids from Henderson County’s 14 elementary schools will be teamed up with a local “first responder” at the Hendersonville Walmart Store..
Each child will be given $100.00 to shop for their family for Christmas.
Lunch will be provided by the First Restoration SAervices in Fletcher.
“Shop With A Hero” is being funded by a grant from the Walmart and Sam’s Club Community Foundations, by the local Elk’s Lodge, by Carolina ACE Hardware, and by the Hendersonville Police Department’s Needy Person’s Fund.
This will take place Monday morning and the kids will be back on their buses returning to school by 1:L30 Monday afternoon.
Health Department awarded grant for child passenger safety program
Hendersonville, NC (December 2, 2016) – The Department of Public Health has been awarded a
grant of $5,000.00 for the Child Passenger Safety Program by the Community Foundation of
Henderson County. Kaye Brownlee, health educator and certified child passenger safety
technician, who leads the program made the announcement.
According to Brownlee, the grant will be used to purchase car seats for those with financial
needs. “From 2011 – 2015, 301 parents learned how to keep their children safe while traveling,
and 327 car seats/boosters were provided to participants who completed the instruction.”
Evidence indicates that child restraint systems are the most effective way to protect young
children involved in motor vehicle crashes,” Brownlee said. “The grant from the Community
Foundation of Henderson County will give us additional resources for our program, and we are
grateful for their help.”
The Child Passenger Safety Program covers North Carolina child restraint recommendations and
laws that apply to children ages newborn to eight years. After completing instruction on car
seat usage and proper installation, parents and caregivers of children who are facing financial
hardship receive a free car seat.
The Child Passenger Safety Program is one of many programs the Health Department offers as
part of its mission to promote, protect and advance the health and wellness of our community.
Visit hendersoncountync.org/health to learn more.
For more information or to register for a class, contact Brownlee at (828) 694‐6066
Committee Releases Draft East Flat Rock Community Plan for Public Review
The East Flat Rock Community Plan Advisory Committee and Henderson County Planning Department rermind the public that the Draft East Flat Rock Community Plan continues to be available for public inspection and comment,.. The plan addresses topics such as natural and cultural resources, agriculture, housing, community facilities and services, transportation, economic development, land use and development, and community character and design. The plan is designed to guide county policy for the East Flat Rock area over the next 15 years. The plan includes goals and objectives for a number of issues facing the planning area.
The committee drafted the plan at the direction of the Board of Commissioners with the assistance of an initial public input session held in November 2015. Community residents, business and property owners are encouraged to review the Draft Plan prior to the second public input session scheduled for Monday, December 12, 2016 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Henderson County Historic Courthouse-Community Room. This second public input session is informal and residents may drop-in anytime from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
An online survey is also available for residents, business and property owners that are unable to attend the public input meeting. Visit www.hcplanning.org to take the online survey and view the Draft Plan.
Hendersonville City Council has cleared the way for developers to offer their ideas and proposals for a 75,000 square foot, 130 room boutique-style downtown hotel on the site of the old Grey’s Hosiery Mill on Grove Street.
The Development Finance Initiative, affiliated with the UNC School of Government, was hired by the city to develop a solution for the dilapidated old site in the middle of town and a block away from the 1995 courthouse that the city has owned for about 30 years and been unable to figure out what to do with it.
While preserving the core of the old mill, said to be about a hundred years old, a restaurant and an event space would be a part of it.
As proposed to the city, the cost would be about $25 million…almost all of which would be put up by whoever the developer turns out to be. The city would loan the developer a million dollars to buy the property…and the city would also agree to other “street-scape” type improvements in that area that were outlined to the public in a presentation earlier in the fall.
What’s known as “RFP’s”, or requests for proposals, are now being accepted from potential developers based on that DFI-UNC concept…and it is conceivable that in about a year, something could finally begin to happen to that old site.
Part of the deal with DFI is that they’ll also help recruit a developer for the project.
A decade and a half ago, the city had high hopes of turning that old mill site into a performing arts center, millions of dollars were raised and spent on that, the project eventually fell through…and the city-owned property has continued to deteriorate in search of a solution.
Moving forward with those RFP’s was on the egenda for city council at their meeting Thursday night.
By Larry Freeman
Henderson County Public Schools’ Child Nutrition Department will add a “Meals On the Bus” mobile feeding site to its summer feeding program in Summer 2017, thanks to a $10,000 grant awarded by the Community Foundation of Henderson County.
The grant money will be used to renovate the interior of a retired school bus already purchased from the HCPS transportation department, thanks to a donation from Gillilandscaping and Grading. The retrofitted bus will accommodate up to 15 students seated on bar stools at tabletops along either side of the bus, and a wheelchair lift.
The brainchild of HCPS Child Nutrition Supervisor Amanda Stansbury, MHS, RD/LDN, the “Meals On the Bus” mobile feeding site will revolutionize the way the school system – and potentially other service organizations – can reach students in need.
“The whole goal of ‘Meals On the Bus’ is to reach those students who are dependent on the school bus – and school meals,” Stansbury said.
Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), HCPS already operates three public feeding sites at King Creek, Edneyville Community Center, and Patton Park, offering free lunches to children ages two to 18 – in addition to a total of 28 closed feeding sites at each elementary school and youth service organizations.
From June 20, 2016 through Aug. 19, 2016, the HCPS Child Nutrition Department’s summer feeding program served 37,090 lunches and 18,694 breakfasts – which was 15,169 more lunches and 7,036 more breakfasts served than in the summer of 2014-15. And those meals were only served to students who could travel to the feeding sites.
“Our impoverished kids are spread throughout our area,” said Matt Gruebmeyer, HCPS director of Title I and homeless education services. “Rural poverty is a lonely kind of poverty because the children don’t live near each other. So when we try to find a place to feed children, it’s difficult because they’re spread around.”
The mobile food site will allow HCPS to reach students where they are, Stansbury said. Using existing HCPS bus routes, the Child Nutrition Department will work with the Transportation Department each summer to establish routes that will take meals to students in need five days a week during the summer months.
In the future, the “Meals On the Bus” vehicle could also be utilized by partnering organizations to provide students with a mobile library book check-out, health screenings and dental checks.
BULLET PROOF VESTS PROVIDED FOR HENDERSONVILLE POLICE OFFICERS
A recent campaign by STAND T.A.L.L. (Thank A Local Lawman) raised more than $3,600.00 to pay for bullet proof vests to outfit 15 local city police officers.
STAND T.A.L.L. previously helpeds the Henderson County Sheriff’s Departmen with funds to pay for retreats for deputies They also helped the Laurel Park Police Department raise money to pay for ammunition so the officers could maintain their shooting skills.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE CHUCK MCGRADY FROM HENDERSON COUNTY SAYS IT'S HIS UNDERSTANDING THIS WILL ***NOT*** EFFECT HIS STATE HOUSE DISTRICT, THAT OF NEWLY-ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE CODY HENSEN, OR THE DISTRICT OF STATE SENATOR CHUCK EDWARDS.
MCGRADY SAYS THE NEW DISTRICT LINES WILL ONLY APPLY IN THE 30-ODD DISTRICTS IN NORTH CAROLINA WHERE THERE HAD BEEN AN ISSUE....MOST OF THOSE ARE ***NOT*** IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA
WHEN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY GOES BACK TO WORK IN JANURY, THEY'LL HAVE NEW DISTRICT LINES TO DRAW
Federal judges have told the North Carolina legislature to redraw its own districts by mid-March to replace ones the court struck down and to hold a special election under redrawn maps in November 2017.
The ruling Tuesday means those elected to the state House and Senate a few weeks ago would serve just one year, not two as expected.
The same three-judge panel last summer said nearly 30 legislative districts were illegal racial gerrymanders but decided it was too late to hold elections under new maps.
Attorneys representing legislative mapmakers wanted more time to redraw and the next election in 2018. Those lawmakers now say they'll appeal Tuesday's decision. But a lawyer who successfully sued over the districts says a special election is the best way to protect the rights of North Carolina residents.