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  In their meeting Wednesday morning, Henderson County Commissioners responded to public complaints and to a public health appeal from Dr. Robert Kiskadon, Chief Medical Officer at Pardee Hospital...and banned smoking around the entrances to all county buildings.

The Hendersonville Times-News reports...

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 Wednesday to create designated smoking areas away from high-traffic areas on all county campuses.

Commissioners rejected an all-out ban on smoking at county properties, after hearing dissent from workers at the 1995 courthouse on North Grove Street, Emergency Medical Services facilities and board directors of the Department of Social Services . Smoking is already prohibited in county buildings and vehicles.

The commissioners also considered an option banning smoking within 50 to 100 feet of any county building entrance, since “the complaints we’ve gotten from citizens have to do with the ability to enter and exit buildings without being exposed to smoke,” said County Manager Steve Wyatt.

But those perimeters might be difficult to enforce, Wyatt said, whereas “it is very common and a normal practice to limit smoking to designated areas located away from entrance and general traffic areas; to separate the secondhand smoke from the folks who don’t care for (it), but have to do business with the county.”

Commissioner Grady Hawkins wondered whether there would be some kind of roofed shelter or ashtray available. Wyatt said his staff would work with department heads to identify areas away from entrance traffic “and put together something tasteful that would be attractive to somebody who wanted to go and smoke.”












Mills River Logo

Town of Mills River Press Release

February 18, 2014

Crime doesn’t pay, but taking the step forward to share information with investigators about one that has been committed just might in Mills River.

The Town of Mills River Council is joining two Town businesses to increase the reward being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons who fired multiple rounds into one of the Mills River Fire and Rescue substations. Nancy Lynn’s Diner and Pizzeria and Mills River Quick Lube have both committed to contribute to the reward amount in hopes that the case will soon be solved.

On Sunday, February 9, someone fired a total of 13 rounds into the substation causing approximately $20,000 worth of damage to the building and equipment. Some of the bullets made their way into the Mills River Fire and Rescue living quarters where firemen regularly spend time between calls. Fortunately, the fire station was unmanned at the time of the shooting.

“Mills River Fire and Rescue is at the heart of our Mills River community. They provide a service to the Town and those in that fire district that is necessary to our public safety and quality of life. We take the safety of the volunteers and staff there very seriously and firmly believe that those responsible for firing into the substation should be charged and justice served,” Town of Mills River Mayor Larry Freeman said.

The contributions towards the reward from the Town, Nancy Lynn’s Diner and Pizzeria and Mills River Quick Lube bring the reward offered for information leading to arrest and conviction of a suspect to a total of $1,500.

“Having two locally owned businesses participate in the reward is a great example of how cohesive the Mills River community is and how they rally to protect their own. The Town encourages anyone who may have information regarding this crime to contact Henderson County Sheriff’s Department as the investigation continues,” Mills River Town Manager Jaime Laughter said.

Any business or citizen interested in contributing towards the reward may contact Fire Chief Rick Livingston at (828) 891-7959. For more information, please contact Jaime Laughter at (828) 890-2901 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Hendersonville Lightning reported Monday that a 31 year old woman had stolen an EMS ambulance at Pardee Hospital, then led poliuce on a chase around town before she was stopped and arrested.

Identified at Stephanie Mae Erwin of Howard Gap Loop, the woman had been released from Pardee Hospital's emergency room when she jumped in the county EMS vehicle and drove away about 1:14 this morning, police said. Police and sheriff's deputies used stop sticks to stop the stolen ambulance on U.S. 25 at Rugby Road. Charged with multiple counts including drunken driving was Stephanie Mae Erwin, 31, of Howard Gap Loop, said Hendersonville Police Capt. Bruce Simonds. She was jailed under a $26,000 bond in Henderson County's Detention Center. Erwin "came into the hospital belligerent," he said. When she was released an hour after midnight she climbed into an ambulance parked outside and drove off. "We don't know where she went when she left," he said. Police spotted her coming back toward town on Four Seasons Boulevard and started pursuit. They chased her on Signal Hill Road, Duncan Hill Road, Berkeley Road and U.S. 25 before they laid down the spikes that stopped the ambulance at North Rugby Road. Damage to the ambulance included blown out tires and a window police shattered to reach Erwin, who locked herself in when the ambulance became disabled.

"Speeds ranged from 45 to 70 mph," Simonds said. "She only passed three vehicles. Her driving was actually pretty good." No one was injured in the incident, Simonds said. Arresting officers took Erwin to jail after they extracted her from the vehicle. Erwin was charged with driving while impaired, theft of the motor vehicle, misdemeanor larceny, damage to property and fleeing police to elude arrest, Simonds said.

Erwin had been taken to the ER on an overdose call, Simonds said.

"When she was released or walked out the ambulance was there idling and unlocked," he said. "She put on an EMS jacket and drove off."






Grand Harvest Awards Announces

Truly one of a kind! What sets Grand Harvest Awards apart from the rest? One word...Terroir.   Established in 1990, it is the only wine-judging event in North America that is based on Terroir - a group of vineyards from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and wine making savoir-faire, which contribute to give its specific personality to the wine. 2013 Grand Harvest Awards  

2011 Burntshirt Vineyards Cabernet Franc North Carolina                   Silver
2012 Burntshirt Vineyards Estate White Wine North Carolina             Silver
2012 Burntshirt Vineyards Sunset Sippin' North Carolina                     Silver
2011 Burntshirt Vineyards Merlot North Carolina          Bronze

  Burntshirt Vineyards is situated in Hendersonville, NC near Asheville and features wine tastings and winery tours daily. The vineyard offers magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from patios overlooking its vineyards that are among the highest altitudes on the East Coast. Our sunsets last longer so you can savor our award winning wines that are estate grown, produced and bottled at the state of the art winery. Picnic grounds and lush gardens surround the quaint tasting room. Visit our website for more information and fun things to do at

Above photo is of a new fermentation tank at Burntshirt Vineyards





The Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission is now accepting applications for outstanding examples of preservation within the City’s jurisdiction. The Commission would like to recognize projects that exemplify preservation of historic buildings, resources and individual efforts.


                This is the fourth year the Commission has sponsored Preservation Awards and the winners will be recognized through media and a $100 cash prize. Nominations may be submitted in three different categories: residential preservation, commercial preservation, and Preservation Advocate, an individual or agency active in preservation for artisanship, education, planning, stewardship and/or advocacy.


            According to Lu Ann Welter of the City Planning Department, the purpose of the awards is to recognize meaningful achievements in historic preservation through increased public awareness, appreciation, and support for historic preservation throughout Hendersonville.

            Nomination information and applications may be picked up in the Planning Department in City Hall, 145 Fifth Avenue East, or accessed on-line at For further information, call the Planning Department at



Fern Barber

The 80-member Hendersonville Community Band presents is SPRING FEVER concert at 3pm on March 16 in the Blue Ridge Community College's Conference Hall.

Featured soloist is LARRY BLACK on trumpet. Admission -- adults $10, students are free.

Songs include: Bugler's Holiday, Moorside March by Holst and a medley from The Sound of Music.

For more information see


As filing officially got underway for this year's local elections this week, four are currenly in the running for election as Henderson County top law enforcement officer.

Three of four candidates for Henderson County sheriff filed their candidacy notices Monday and paid $975 apiece in filing fees.

Sheriff Charlie McDonald and current N.C. Trooper Michael Brown filed as Republicans. They’ll join Fletcher Police Chief Erik Summey, who also intends to run in May’s Republican primary for sheriff. Also filing Monday for sheriff was Democrat Marty Katz.

Robert Sieber, a former Henderson County deputy now working as a detective in Polk County, withdrew from the sheriff’s race Friday.

McDonald said when he was appointed by the Republican Party in 2012, he inherited “turmoil and chaos” resulting from a “failure of leadership and accountability in the past.”

He said he’s proud of the progress made in two years, emphasizing his office’s leadership training, improved accountability and efficient use of manpower. The sheriff said property crimes and breaking and enterings have dropped “easily 18 percent” in the last year, exceeding a 12 percent promise.

Brown said he’d reallocate personnel to put more deputies on patrol, make property and drug crimes a higher priority, and return school resource officers to the county’s middle schools. He also pledged to “shelter employees from demotion or termination without due process.”

It sounds good to talk about putting more deputies on the street and in schools, McDonald said, but “to put that number of officers in schools that some folks would like to have would be about a million-and-a-quarter dollars right off the bat.”

Under his Adopt-A-School program, on-duty officers are assigned to schools and expected to “drop in, walk the halls, talk to teachers,” McDonald said. While school safety is a major concern, he added, “there are a lot of people who have other concerns as well” and limited resources must be allocated wisely.

If elected, Brown said he’d “look at filling critical positions before we do promotions into administrative positions.” He said McDonald has several officers in a professional standards unit “that offers no direct benefit to the public, such as a patrol officer (would), when they’re short-handed.”

McDonald said the unit helps track and train officers so they’re “better rounded” and “better suited” to transfer laterally or promote. When he took his post, he said “we were very short on a lot of standards and regulations,” which the unit has remedied.

“The problem is, if you have issues in any department or organization, if you don’t fix the things that are wrong, it doesn’t matter how many resources you throw at the problem,” he said. “If you don’t take care of the engine, the rest of the car doesn’t matter.”

Katz has 34 years of experience in law enforcement ranging from a small town in New Jersey to the county’s largest, fully accredited sheriff’s office in Florida.

He looks forward to discussing with citizens how the sheriff’s office can become more efficient and effective. The self-described “lifelong Democrat” has served as a patrolman, detective, SWAT team member, undercover narcotics officer and division supervisor, as well as in other roles





The future Headwaters State Forest in Transylvania County encompasses 8,000 acres of forest, streams and waterfalls. Some 3,200 acres are now permanently conserved with a recent $3 million grant from the federal Forest Legacy Program


Plans for the newest state forest in the mountains took a step closer to becoming reality with a federal grant to purchase some prime riverfront property.

The future Headwaters State Forest, which will eventually encompass 8,000 acres in Transylvania County, is now more securely preserved with a $3 million grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The grant, announced Tuesday by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Forest Service, secured 711 more acres from former U.S. Congressman Charles Taylor, whose family has owned the land since the 1980s.

This is the first time Forest Legacy funds have ever been used to purchase land in North Carolina for conservation, said Michael Cheek, assistant regional forester with the N.C. Forest Service. Along with $5.4 million in private and state funding for previous acquisitions, the purchase brings the total land preserved in the future state forest to 3,200 acres.

“This land is right on the East Fork River, on East Fork Road. It borders the East Fork, which is a trout stream, for about a mile or two,” Cheek said. “The whole purpose of the project is to protect the headwaters of East Fork French Broad River.”

Headwaters State Forest will become North Carolina’s 10th state forest and its third largest. Situated in prime outdoor recreation real estate in the East Fork watershed of the French Broad River on the South Carolina border, it is adjacent to more than 100,000 acres of existing conservation lands in both states.

Four times the size of Mount Mitchell State Park, Headwaters spans more than nine miles of forested land with waterfalls and five miles trout streams, and provides habitat for federally endangered plant species.

The project was created in 2010 through a $33 million deal with the Taylor family, which has agreed to sell up to 8,000 acres to the state.






Trout Unlimited

The Community Foundation of Henderson County is pleased to announce the availability of The Pisgah Chapter of Trout Unlimited William L. Arbuckle Memorial Scholarship for the 2014-2015 Academic Year. 

A $1,000 award, the scholarship is offered for any student accepted to an accredited degree granting college or university within the Southern Appalachian Region.  Recipients must be pursuing undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in the field of fisheries and wildlife management, aquaculture, freshwater biology, or other related fields.  Preference will be given to those who have expressed a desire to pursue work which relates to fresh water fisheries and/or native trout populations.  This scholarship is open to students pursuing community college, college or university degrees in the fields listed above.

The deadline to apply for the Arbuckle Scholarship is April 1, 2014. Applications can be obtained by contacting the Community Foundation office at (828) 697-6224, visiting the Community Foundation office located at 401 N. Main Street, Ste. 300, in downtown Hendersonville or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">

Individuals, families and organizations have established funds at the Community Foundation of Henderson County to carry out their charitable giving, now and in the future.  To learn more, visit


The administrative offices for the Parks and Recreation Department have relocated to the Henderson County Athletic and Activity Center located at 708 South Grove Street, Hendersonville (the former Hendersonville Christian School property).

These offices were formerly housed in Jackson Park. Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Parks and Recreation main number will remain the same, (828) 697-4884.

All program registrations and general recreation inquiries will now take place at these offices.