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MCGRADY'S BILL INTRODUCED ON MONDAY WOULD PLACE "DIFFERENTIAL" WATER RATES UNDER THE CONTROL OF A STATE AGENCY

MCGRADY'S BILL INTRODUCED ON MONDAY WOULD PLACE "DIFFERENTIAL" WATER RATES UNDER THE CONTROL OF A STATE AGENCY

WATER RATES CHARGED TO CUSTOMERS WHO LIVE OUTSIDE THE CITY   

With the deadline getting close for introducing bills in this year’s session of the North Carolina General Assembly, State Representative Chuck McGrady on Monday introduced legislation, if passed by both the state house and senate and signed into law by the governor, would require the City of Hendersonvilleto get the approval of the North Carolina Local Government Commission before charging higher rates for water customers outsides the city.

This is not the legislation requested a while back by county commissioners at the urging of commissioner Bill Lapsley that would have taken control of the city-owned water system away and placed it under the North Carolina Utilities Commission. That would have been what McGrady calls “hard over-sight”. This legislation applies to municipal water systems statewide and McGrady refers to it as “soft over-sight”.

McGrady said what he introduced Monday is not a “take it or leave it” bill, that he is still open to input and is willing to make changes that he says make sense, but he emphasizes he is sticking by his position of restricting what’s called “differential” rates for customers outside the town limits of the municipality that owns the water system. McGrady said Monday, “I do intend to move the bill.”

In a three to one vote earlier this year, county commissioners, after a lengthy presentation by commissioner Lapsley, a former water department employee, passed a resolution asking that control of the city’s water system be taken away from the city. Rather than putting control under the Utilities Commission’s seven members all appointed by the governor, McGrady’s bill would require approval from the LGC or state Local Government Commission before charging those “differential” rates. That state commission is made up of nine members including the state treasurer, state auditor, secretary of state, and secretary of revenue plus five members appointed by the governor and the General Assembly.

Hendersonville city officials have expressed strong opposition to having control of the city-owned water system taken away and placed under a state agency, and have also opposed having the city’s system placed under a joint city-county or regional water authority.

CITY PLANNING BOARD TURNS THUMBS DOWN ON COUNTY'S RE-ZONING REQUEST FOR NEW HHS CAMPUS

CITY PLANNING BOARD TURNS THUMBS DOWN ON COUNTY'S RE-ZONING REQUEST FOR NEW HHS CAMPUS

IN A SPLIT 5 TO 3 VOTE MONDAY AFTERNOON   

The City of Hendersonville’s Planning Board Monday afternoon denied, in a split five to three vote, the county’s request for rezoning and a special use permit to construct the proposed new $53 million campus for Hendersonville High School.

The planning board said there are traffic and safety concerns with that proposed location which is at the busy Five Points intersection, and that the proposed new campus is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

The county’s architect indicated Monday the county plans now take the issue directly to Hendersonville City Council at their May 4th meeting.

Council members have earlier indicated they’ll be making a decision at that meeting on May 4th on closing a portion of Ninth Avenue between Church and Oakland Streets to make room for that new campus.

Two city council members, Ron Stephens and Jerry Smith, and Mayor Barbara Volk, have already indicated they are opposed to the proposed new campus…and have reportedly lobbied against it. The controversial new campus finally got the support of the county school board after the county commissioners threatened to scrap the whole thing…and students, faculty, and alumni at Hendersonville High continue to be strongly opposed to the plans for that new campus.

There had been rumors that legislation might be introduced in the General Assembly to build the new campus in spite of local opposition…but the deadline for introducing such legislation in this year’s session is believed to be later this week.

MILLS RIVER FOOD LION CLOSING; NEXT MONDAY WILL BE ITS LAST DAY

MILLS RIVER FOOD LION CLOSING; NEXT MONDAY WILL BE ITS LAST DAY

THE TIMES-NEWS IS REPORTING THAT THIS IS THE LAST WEEK FOR FOOD LION IN MILLS RIVER  

THE MILLS RIVER FOOD LIOIN STORE HAS BEEN OPEN SINCE 1997, BUT THIS COMING MONDAY WILL BE THE LAST DAY.  THE CLOSING WAS CONFIRMED IN AN E-MAIL TO THE HENDERSONVILLE TIMES-NEWS WHICH READ 

“Food Lion has made the difficult decision to close its store located at 132 Cross Road Drive in Mills River as a result of the lease ending at this location,” a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to the Times-News. “The store will close on or about April 18 and we are making every effort to provide the opportunity for associates to transfer to nearby stores at the time of the store closing.”

“We appreciate the support of our dedicated associates and loyal customers at this location for many years,” the statement continues.

Approximately 35 to 40 associates worked at the location, according to Christy Phillips-Brown, director of external communications and community relations with Food Lion.

The closest Food Lion locations for those in Mills River are Brevard and Fairview, she added.

Information was not provided on the future plans for the space. Specific information about closing sales also aren’t being released at this time.

“We generally don’t release the details of our closeout sales,” Phillips-Brown wrote in an email. “However, generally speaking, they would start about a week before the store closes.”

LOCAL STREAMS AND RIVERS ARE FULL AGAIN; RECENT HEAVY RAINS IMPROVE THE LOCAL DROUGHT SITUATION

LOCAL STREAMS AND RIVERS ARE FULL AGAIN; RECENT HEAVY RAINS IMPROVE THE LOCAL DROUGHT SITUATION

THIS PHOTO OF BEARWALLOW BRANCH IN FRONT OF THE BEARWALLOW BAPTIST CHURCH IN GERTON IS FINALLY FULL AGAIN OF WATER FLOWING DOWN FROM THE ROCKS AND STREAMS ON NEARBY MOUNTAINS.  IT FLOWS FOR 5 MILES DOWN THE HICKORY NUT GORGE AND MERGES IN BAT CAVE WITH BOTH THE ROCKY BROAD RIVER FLOWING ALONG HIGHWAY 9 AND THE REEDY PATCH CREEK WHICH FLOWS ALONG HIGHWAY 64...FORMING A BROAD AND FULL EXTENSION OF THE ROCKY BROAD RIVER FROM BAT CAVE INTO CHIMNEY ROCK AND LAKE LURE AND THEN INTO LAKE LURE.  

Pretty much as expected, recent rains…some of them heavy…have led the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council week to modify Henderson County’s drought classification from ”severe” to “moderate”.

After several inches of rainfall this week, in addition to at least that much in recent weeks, local growers who have expressed worry over a possible drought situation this summer are now more optimistic.

Local water supplies are holding up well, too…with the “stream flow” levels in Mills River, Hendersonville’s primary source for water for over 60 thousand water customers, up to normal or above levels.

City officials continue to encourage conservation and prudent use of water.

PUBLIC FORUMS START THIS WEEK TO MEET THE CANDIDATES FOR BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRESIDENT

PUBLIC FORUMS START THIS WEEK TO MEET THE CANDIDATES FOR BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRESIDENT

WILL BE THE FOURTH PRESIDENT IN THE COLLEGE'S HISTORY   

Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees Announces Finalists in Search for Fourth President

Public Invited to Community Forum to Meet Candidates

After launching a national search earlier this year for its fourth college president, Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees announced today it has selected six finalists.

The six finalists (in alphabetical order) are Wendy Frye, director of high schools at Henderson County Public Schools; Laura B. Leatherwood, vice president of student services at Haywood Community College in North Carolina; Jeff McCord, vice president of economic and workforce development at Northeast State Community College in Tennessee; R. Chad Merrill, vice president for general administration at Blue Ridge Community College; Matthew R. Meyer, associate vice president of educational innovations at North Carolina Community College System; and Rebekah S. Woods, provost at Jackson College in Michigan. Biographic information about each candidate is listed below.

The finalists will visit the College campuses in April and interview with the trustees. Each will also participate in a community forum on the day they visit and will be given an opportunity to discuss their preparation for the position, their education and leadership philosophy, and respond to questions from community members. Attendees will be given the opportunity to provide feedback that will be given to the Board of Trustees. The community forums will be open to the public.

The community forums will be held at the Health Sciences Center located at 805 Sixth Avenue West in Hendersonville in Room 3003 from 1 to 2:15 p.m.on the following schedule:

Monday, April 10: Dr. Matthew R. Meyer
Tuesday, April 11: Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood
Tuesday, April 25: Mr. Jeff McCord
Wednesday, April 26: Dr. R. Chad Merrill
Thursday, April 27: Dr. Rebekah S. Woods
Friday, April 28: Dr. Wendy Frye

Board of Trustees Chair John C. McCormick, Jr., is leading the presidential search process. "Our goal is to find the best possible leader for Blue Ridge Community College," Mr. McCormick said. "These finalists are experienced and knowledgeable. We're looking forward to their participation in the next level of review."

The Board of Trustees plans to name the successful candidate in late May. Current President Dr. Molly A. Parkhill will be retiring on June 30, 2017, after more than 30 years of service to Blue Ridge Community College, ten as College president.

More about Blue Ridge Community College Presidential Finalists

Wendy Frye is currently director of high schools for Henderson County Public Schools. She has also served as director of career and technical education, career development coordinator, and classroom teacher with Henderson County Public Schools. Additionally, she was regional coordinator for career and technical education for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Dr. Frye holds a bachelor's degree in business education from David Lipscomb University, a master of arts in business education from Western Carolina University, and a doctorate in educational leadership, also from Western Carolina University.

Laura B. Leatherwood is currently vice president of student services at Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC. She has also served as vice president of student and workforce development, executive director of Haywood Community College Foundation, and director of institutional advancement at Haywood Community College. Dr. Leatherwood holds a bachelor’s degree in business law, master’s degree in human resource development, and a doctorate in university and community college leadership, all from Western Carolina University.

Jeff McCord is currently vice president for economic and workforce development at Northeast State Community College in Kingsport, Tennessee. Before joining Northeast State, he held various management positions such as manager of learning and performance improvement, manager of project management, and supervisor of enterprise-wide systems training with Eastman Chemical Company. Mr. McCord holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Georgia Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in business administration from Kennesaw State University, and is a doctoral candidate in learning and leadership at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

R. Chad Merrill is currently vice president of general administration at Blue Ridge Community College. He has also served as vice president of technology and development, chief of staff, chief institutional advancement officer, dean for transylvania programs, and cooperative education director at Blue Ridge Community College. Dr. Merrill holds a bachelor’s degree in literature/language from University of North Carolina at Asheville, a master’s degree in two-year college administration from Western Carolina University, and a doctorate in educational leadership, also from Western Carolina University.

Matthew R. Meyer is currently associate vice president for educational initiatives for North Carolina Community College System and vice president and co-founder of Workforce Credentials Coalition. He also served as associate vice president of STEM education initiatives and strategic planning, director of BioNetwork at North Carolina Community College System. Additionally, he was dean for workforce and economic development for Community College Workforce Alliance and dean for corporate and economic development at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Dr. Meyer holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from University of Dayton, a master’s degree in bioengineering from Clemson University, and a doctorate in community college leadership from Old Dominion University.

Rebekah S. Woods is currently provost at Jackson College in Jackson, Michigan. She also served as executive dean of instruction, dean of instruction for arts and sciences, special assistant to the president, and adjunct faculty at Jackson College. Additionally, she served as dean for student and academic support and director of student success at Lansing Community College and assistant dean for school of law/dean of student and director of career and alumni services at Regent University School of Law. Dr. Woods holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Albion College, a doctor of jurisprudence from Regent University, and a doctorate in organizational leadership, also from Regent University.

NC DOT DISCUSSES PLANS FOR WIDENING HIGHWAY 191 FROM MOUNTAIN ROAD TO 280 INTERSECTION

NC DOT DISCUSSES PLANS FOR WIDENING HIGHWAY 191 FROM MOUNTAIN ROAD TO 280 INTERSECTION

IN A FULL "COMMONS ROOM" AT MILLS RIVER TOWN HALL WEDNESDAY MORNING   

About 40 residents and property owners along Highway 191 in Mills River joined Mills River Town County Wednesday morning in getting a first glimpse at how NC DOT will likely widen Highway 191 from Mountain Road to the intersection with Highway 280 in the next several years.

NC DOT engineer Brian Burch said funding for widening that stretch of Highway 191 has been approved, the project is just now entering the early design stage, public hearings will start in about a year, right of way acquisition will start in 2019, and construction should start in 2021.

Another DOT engineer, Mike Reese, showed and explained what’s called a “superstreet”…which is a four-lane highway with a grassy media, bike and pedestrian lanes, and improved access for businesses and residents…as one design possibility.

Mills River Town Council has expressed the desire for a four-lane highway with a center turn-lane to provide good access for businesses and residents.

The engineers said traffic studies and numbers clearly showed the need for the widening, and also pointed out that four-laneways with center turn lanes are not as safe as those with median down the middle…and the engineers said the recently widening Upward Road is a good example of how adequate access can be provided without a center turn-lane.

District Engineer Steve Cannon pointed out that adding a third lane is already underway between West High and Rugby Middle Schools…and engineer Brian Burch pointed out that ultimately the hole 191 widening will tie into a much larger project which is the proposed “Balfour Parkway” that will route just north and east and west of Hendersonville.

Residents and property owners Wednesday morning expressed concerns about the widening.  Some did not see the need for it.  Others, like Sandra Goode, said the widening would likely take her horse pasture.

Again, public hearing on the Highway 191 widening will be in about a year.

By Larry Freeman

MILLS RIVER'S RAUMEDIC FACILITY TO HAVE NEW CEO FOR U.S. HEADQUARTERS

MILLS RIVER'S RAUMEDIC FACILITY TO HAVE NEW CEO FOR U.S. HEADQUARTERS

RAUMEDIC IS CREATING OVER 130 HIGH-TECH MANUFACTURING JOBS FOR HENDERSON COUNTY  

U.S. HEADQUARTERS LOCATED IN BROADPOINT INDUSTRIAL PARK IN MILLS RIVER   

William F. Gearhart appointed CEO at Raumedic Inc. in the United States

Mills River, NC / Helmbrechts – Raumedic AG, Germany, is pleased to announce the appointment of William F. Gearhart as Chief Executive Officer for the group’s US headquarters. The management executive will be responsible for developing the Raumedic brand into an industry leading standard for high quality, value added medical and pharmaceutical products in North America.
Raumedic Group CEO Martin Bayer said: “After a thorough search, we concluded that Bill's leadership and experience in the medical engineering industry, along with his considerable track record of success in the start-up, growth and leadership of high-performance medical device companies made him the ideal candidate for the role. We entirely trust his competence and will give him all the assistance he needs to write the next chapter of Raumedic’s success story.”

Located at Mills River, North Carolina, Raumedic Inc. is equipped with a full-service development and production center for polymer components and systems. After the set-up of a clean room, several polymer extrusion lines, molding as well as assembly facilities in 2016, the preconditions for production startup have been established.

Reflecting on this remarkable investment as well as on future expenditures, the newly appointed CEO indicated: “We are committed to meet customer demands in the most professional way possible and thus strongly rely on the human factor.

While we started with a very competent workforce of over 50 people who were already on-site, we want to double the number of our employees in the years to come. Our specialists’ profound know-how in processing all popular medical-grade thermoplastics and high temperature polymers and their ability to fulfill even very exceptional requirements enable us to pursue our expansion strategy.”

Raumedic has invested more than 11 million US dollars in the construction of the modern building in Mills River. A total of about 27 million will be reached by 2022. “Those significant investments underline our strong will to provide high-quality components and systems not only for the North American market but for the medical and pharmaceutical industries worldwide”, confirms Martin Bayer. “Having put into action our brand-new US production facility under Bill’s strong leadership, our partners benefit from a more flexible availability of their desired products. This way we enhance our customers’ competitiveness, no matter where they are in the world.”

With immediate effect, William F. Gearhart is responsible for the fortunes of Raumedic Inc. in the United States.

The US headquarters of Raumedic Inc. are situated in Mills River, North Carolina.

DOLLAR TREE TO OPEN ANOTHER HENDERSONVILLE STORE

DOLLAR TREE TO OPEN ANOTHER HENDERSONVILLE STORE

ON THE GREENVILLE HIGHWAY IN THE FORMER FOOD LION BUILDING   

Before this month is over, look or a new Dollar Tree store to open in the former Food Lion building on the Greenville Highway.

The latest addition to Hendersonville’s “in store” retail sales is now advertising for employees…they’re looking for three assistant managers and 30 sales people…and you can apply at the Highland Square Dollar Tree store.

Carolina Specialties is remodeling the former grocery store building, and it’s been marketed by local realtor Jimmy Edney…who said a while back there had been numerous inquiries about the building. He added, “Business is booming.,”:

DEADLINE IS TUESDAY APRIL 11TH FOR LEGISLATION TO TAKE AWAY LOCAL CONTROL OF THE CITY'S WATER SYSTEM

DEADLINE IS TUESDAY APRIL 11TH FOR LEGISLATION TO TAKE AWAY LOCAL CONTROL OF THE CITY'S WATER SYSTEM

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS SAY CITY WATER CUSTOMERSD OUTSIDE THE CITY ARE UNDER-REPRESENTED  

CITY OFFICIALS STRONGLY OPPOSE LOSING COTROL OF THE CITY WATER SYSTEM

The deadline will be next Tuesday April 11th for introducing legislation in the North Carolina General Assembly that would comply with a request by county commissioner Bill Lapsley and a three-member majority of county commissioners to take control of Hendersonville’s water system away from the city and place it under the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

The commissioners recently made the argument, primarily led by Commissioner Lapsley, a former city water department employee, that over 70 per cent of Hendersonville’s water customers live outside the city and they would be better represented if the system is controlled by a state agency

State Representative Chuck McGrady says he’s still considering all his options…one of which would be to place control of the city water system under the North Carolina Local Government Commission. The utilities commissions is made up of seven members, all appointed by the governor; The LGC or Local Government Commission is comprised of nine members, including the elected state treasurer, state auditor, secretary of state, secretary of revenue, three members appointed by the governor and two appointed by the General Assembly. McGrady says no deciusion has been made on what option he’ll pursue.

He says he’s been working mostly on Asheville’s water situation…and now has assurances from the City of Asheville there will be no “differential” or higher rates charged to Asheville’s water customers in Henderson County. He says there are still sewage related issues to be resolved.

The county commissioner’s resolution asking for legislation to take control of the city’s water system away has been met with strong opposition from city officials and whatever form any bill McGrady introduces will have to be approved by both the state house and senate and signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper.

And if legislation taking away control of the city’s water system clears all those hurdles, it could still face a court challenge., An attempt was made a few years ago to take Asheville’s water system away and create a new regional water and sewer authority; Asheville sued; and the state supreme court ruled in Asheville’s favor just before Christmas last year and left control of their water system with the City of Asheville.

By Larry Freeman

CITIZENS SPOKE OUT MONDAY NIGHT AGAINST PROPOSED LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING CENTER

CITIZENS SPOKE OUT MONDAY NIGHT AGAINST PROPOSED LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING CENTER

THE COST OF IT; THE NEED FOR IT; THE LOCATION OF IT---CONCERNS EXPRESSED BY CITIZENS   

At Monday night’s county commissioner’s meeting in the Historic Courthouse, a number of citizens rose to speak against the $20 million law enforcement training center Sheriff Charlie McDonald and the county commissioners are proposing to build on the campus at Blue Ridge Community College.

Even though it was not on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting, the speakers questioned the need for, the cost of, and the proposed location for the proposed firing ranges, back-up 911 center, gyms, and classrooms to be included in the facility.

County commissioners have instructed architects and county staff to trim back the cost of it, to be paid for with a penny of last years nickel tax increase over a 20 year period.

Sheriff McDonald continues to stress the need for the facility.

By Larry Freeman