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The Hendersonville Police Department made arrests in an early morning break in that occurred at the U.S. Cellular store located at 1900 A Four Seasons Boulevard.

According to the police department, at around 4:23 a.m. on March 26, 2014, Sergeant Brandon Staton of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department noticed activity around the U.S. Cellular store and stopped to investigate. He contacted the police department, advised them of the activity, and approached the business locating subjects inside. He took one of the individuals into custody as officers from the police department took custody of another. A third subject ran and was later caught in the area.

Police arrested and charged the following:

David Lahorace Nelson, 24, of Lawrence St. Greensboro, NC, with one count of felony breaking and entering, and one count of felony larceny. Nelson was held in the Henderson County Detention Facility under a $16,000 bond.

Shawn Kelly Neal II, 22, of Hahns Lane, Greensboro, NC, with one count of felony breaking and entering, and one count of felony larceny. Neal was held in the Henderson County Detention Facility under a $16,000 bond.

Antwon Bernard Richardson, 25, of Carlton Avenue, Greensboro, NC, with one count of felony breaking and entering and one count of felony larceny. Richardson was held in the Henderson County Detention Facility under a $16,000 bond.

Upon investigating the incident further, detectives located in the individuals’ vehicle evidence that came from a breaking and entering in Buncombe County. Detectives with Asheville Police Department and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department are investigating those incidents and have been in contact with the Hendersonville Police Department regarding these individuals.



The walls were lined with plans inside the Mills River Town Hall Commons Room Tuesday afternoon as planners with the Alta Planning group laid out the possibilities for bike lanes down the five lane Highway 280 all the way from the Buncombe County line at ther south end of the Asheville Regional Airport runway to the Transylvania County line just east of Pisgah Forest.

The public input session Tuesday was the first of three.  The next one is from 10am to 2pm at the Mills River Community Center on Schoolhouse Road.  The last one this week will be from 9am to 12noon Thursday back in Mills River Town Hall.  And the public is invited to hear more on the proposed possibilities at Thursday's regular meeting of Mills River Town Council in the Town Hall at 7pm.

The study currently being done by Alta Planning is the frst step in the process...which, if all works out, could lead to construction of the 10-12 foot bike and pedestrian lanes on the existing right-of-ways.  A spokesman for Alta Planning says once all the public comment is collected, planners expect to have a proposal completed by early June...and that proposal will go to the French Broad Metropolitcan Planning Organization, all the local governments involved, and to NC DOT.

There is no estimate yet on how much the bike/pedestrian lanes will cost, but they will likely be paid for from a combination of both public and private sources.  The bike lanes are several years away at the earliest...but bikers who attended the first public input session this week were supportive of the proposed plans and optimistic that bike lanes may become a reality for the growing number of walkers, runners, and bikers in this region.




Here are some unofficial snowfall totals in Western North Carolina, as reported by spotters for the National Weather Service, in the snow event Monday night through Tuesday night 

********************STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL********************

                     SNOWFALL           OF
                     /INCHES/   MEASUREMENT


   TAYLORSVILLE           0.1   955 AM  3/25  COUNTY OFFICIAL

   E FLAT SPRINGS         4.5   217 PM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER
   NEWLAND                4.0   405 PM  3/25  911 CALL CENTER
   LINVILLE               1.0   637 AM  3/25  MODERATE SNOW FALLING

   2 W ASHEVILLE          2.0   816 PM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER
   FAIRVIEW               1.5   712 PM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER
   LEICESTER              1.0   930 AM  3/25  PUBLIC
   2 NW ASHEVILLE         0.5   730 AM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER
   AVL AIRPORT            0.3   842 PM  3/25  OTHER FEDERAL

   1 S MORGANTON          0.5  1109 AM  3/25  PUBLIC
   HILDEBRAN              0.2   903 AM  3/25  BROADCAST MEDIA

   2 NNE UPTON            2.0   800 AM  3/25  PUBLIC
   N PATTERSON            0.2  1032 AM  3/25  ACCUMS JUST ON GRASS

   4 N BELWOOD            0.1  1053 AM  3/25  AMATEUR RADIO
   CASAR                    T   850 AM  3/25  PUBLIC

   CANTON                 4.5   747 AM  3/25  PUBLIC
   WAYNESVILLE            4.0   800 AM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER
   LAKE JUNALUSKA         4.0   900 AM  3/25  PUBLIC
   COVE CREEK             3.8   845 AM  3/25  PUBLIC
   MAGGIE VALLEY          3.0   608 AM  3/25  STILL SNOWING HEAVILY.

   UNION GROVE              T   800 AM  3/25  FIRE DEPT/RESCUE

   SYLVA                  0.5   830 AM  3/25  PUBLIC

   MARS HILL              4.0   101 PM  3/25  PUBLIC
   MARSHALL               2.0   415 PM  3/25  911 CALL CENTER
   2 SW SPRING CREEK        T   430 PM  3/25  FIRE DEPT/RESCUE

   4 S OLD FORT           1.0   846 PM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER

   5 N BAKERSVILLE        8.0   500 PM  3/25  4.5 INCHES PAST 9 HRS.
   2 S SPRUCE PINE        3.0   800 AM  3/25  PUBLIC
   SPRUCE PINE            2.0   757 AM  3/25  PUBLIC
   3 SE SPRUCE PINE       0.5   656 PM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER

   SALUDA                 1.9   852 AM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER
   5 E COLUMBUS             T  1208 PM  3/25  NWS EMPLOYEE

   3 SW CHEROKEE          1.5   848 PM  3/25  TRAINED SPOTTER

   BURNSVILLE             5.0  1000 AM  3/25  PUBLIC






The spring fire season has arrived, and federal officials are asking visitors to the national forests and neighbors to help prevent the next wildfire. The USDA Forest Service (USFS) National Forests in North Carolina urges residents throughout the state to keep safety in mind and exercise caution during the spring fire season that typically lasts until late April to mid-May.

     Nine out of 10 wildfires in North Carolina are started by humans. Residents and visitors to the state are urged to be extremely careful during this time period that is often characterized by dry and/or windy conditions.

In the spring, people do a lot of yard work that often includes burning leaves and yard debris. In North Carolina, more than 40 percent of all wildfires are caused by careless debris burning - the number one cause of wildfires in the state. Private landowners who cause wildfires may be liable for fire suppression costs on state and national forest land if a fire originates on their property.

For people who choose to burn debris, the N.C. Forest Service offers the following tips to protect property and prevent wildfires:

  • Always consider alternatives to burning.
  • Obtain a burning permit at an NCFS office or online at
  • Check the weather - don't burn on dry, windy days.
  • Know your local burning laws.
  • Be prepared with water, a shovel and phone.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out.

Studies have shown that taking these and other measures can greatly reduce wildfires and the loss of property associated with them. Also, take time now to prepare your home against wildfires. Tips on protecting your property can be found at

Additionally, campfires can be a source of wildfires. Follow these guidelines to help prevent wildfires:

  • Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible
  • Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL embers, not just the red ones
  • Pour until hissing sound stops
  • Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
  • Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers
  • Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch
  • If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers.

Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool. Remember: do NOT bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.

Learn more about fire safety at Remember....only YOU can prevent wildfires.



A half inch of wet snow is possible for the Hendersonville area Monday night into Tuesday morning…and the over-night low temperatures early this week will be watched very closely by local apple growers.
Henderson County apple grower Kenny Barnwell tells WHKP News that he expects the local multi-million dollar apple crop to be in full bloom sometime around the middle of April, which is only three weeks away. So the young buds may well be susceptible to prolonged period of below freezing overn-night temperatures.

And meteorologist Doug Outlaw with the National Weather Service says a fast moving system will lower temperatures in the Hendersonville area to below 32 degrees starting just before 10pm Tuesday night. The weatherman says local temperatures are expected to continue below freezing and fall to the 22 degree range by 6 or 7am Wednesday morning and then stay below freezing until 10 or 11am.

Local apple buds are close to a critical stage right now and such prolonged periods of below freezing temperatures are a big concern.

Weatherman Outlaw is with the National Weather Service at the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport in Greer South Carolina which is in the heart of upstate peach orchards…and he says some peaches are already in bloom down there, and Tuesday night’s expected below freezing temperatures, thougn not for as long in the upstate, are a concern for peach growers as well.

Local growers tell WHKP News they’ll be keeping a close eye on what happens around the middle of April, with a full moon expect by April 15, and with the cold snap that typically occurs with that full moon just before Easter.

Growers agree… we are at that critical point right now for local apples…and late season frosts and freezes can be devastating.

By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman

March 24, 2014

Updated 9:30am





Henderson County Republican Convention

North Carolina House Speaker and U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis was one of the featured speakers Saturday morning as  Henderson County Republicans gathered at Opportunity House for the annual Republican county convention. The yard was full of campaign signs and the Opportunity House main meeting room was filled with local Republican candidates, precinct officials, and party supporters.

Glen Engleram took over as the new county chairman of Republicans. Greg Newman served as convention chairman again. And the convention heard an array of speakers including county commission Chairman Charlie Messer, State Representative Chris Whitmire who represents Transylvania, Polk and parts of Henderson counties; Congressman Mark Meadows and State Senator Tom Apodaca.

All the Republican candidates involved in the local elections this year were there...many had tables set up with their campaign material. Most of them are facing no Demcoart challengers, so for them the election will be over after the May 6th primary.

There was a lot of enthusiasm and party loyalty at the convention, and especially for the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Kay Hagan.  Three candidate for that Senate seat attended the convention...and the annual Lincoln-Reagan lunch that followed.

One of the leading contenders for that U.S. Senate seat is the current Speaker of the North Carolina State House of Representatives, Thom Tillis. Speaker Tillis sat down with WHKP News after the convention on Saturday...and we asked him...1)about his top priority if elected to the U.S. Senate...which he said is fixing our ailing economy; 2)about Obamacare...which he said he will vote to repeal; and 3)about controversial education legislation passed, partially under his leadership, in last year's session of the North Carolina General Assembly...which he said has paved the way for substantial teacher pay raises and increases in state education spending in this year's "short" session of the legislature.  Be listening for the Speaker's comments on these issues and more in WHKP's local news on Monday and throughout the coming week.

By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman

Updated 1am 3/23/14

Photo at the top of the page by the Hendersonville Times-News








  • District Attorney Alex Bass confirmed for WHKP News late Friday morng that the plea bargain, that had been expected for over a week in the Vanessa Mintz homicide trial of Travis McGraw has fallen through.  Bass said McGraws's guilty plea offer was withdrawm Friday morning.  The Hendersonville Times-news reports...  

McGraw is charged with first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of his wife, Vanessa Mintz. A first-degree murder conviction carries a possible sentence of life without parole.

McGraw, who had been scheduled to plead guilty to second-degree murder, informed his attorney Friday morning that he had changed his mind.

The lead prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Alex Bass from state judicial District 29-A, said there would be no more plea deals offered in the case, which is set to go to trial May 19.

Mintz, 53, was found dead of a gunshot wound at her family-owned Saluda Mountain Lodge on the morning of Feb. 19, 2011. McGraw, 47, was arrested four days later, accused of killing Mintz under the pressure of an ultimatum from his mistress to tell Mintz about the relationship. He was released on bond May 13.

After three years of delays in the case, Mintz's family held a prayer vigil last month to advocate for the families of homicide victims forced to wait for justice in a clogged judicial system. They asked for prayer that McGraw's trial, originally set for Jan. 20 and postponed until May 19, would take place as planned.

The last postponement in the case was granted after McGraw's attorney, Tony Dalton, was forced to seek medical treatment for high blood pressure and was advised by doctors to take it easy.



The Asheville Citizen-Times reports on Friday that Western North Carolina rocker Caleb Johnson is safe to sing another week on “American Idol.”


The rocker, who sang Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” on Wednesday’s live performance show, was not the singer with the lowest viewer vote total, who was eliminated on Thursday’s results show.

That singer was MK Nobilette, who sang Pink’s “Perfect.”

Johnson, 22, has consistently been among the best singers on the competition, although as the field narrows he is no longer guaranteed to be the one most lauded by the judges.

On Wednesday, although judge Harry Connick Jr. graded his rocking rendition of “Glory” and A or A-plus, he added, “I’ve seen you do better.”

Judge Keith Urban was even less complementary. Although he said that Johnson is sure to “deliver every week,” Urban compared the singer’s driving rock singing style to a locomotive and said that Wednesday’s performance was “lumbering instead of motoring.” He also commented on its “imbalance.”

Jennifer Lopez said she didn’t think Johnson was connecting with the lyrics of the song. “It was lacking the feeling for me,” she said.

Fellow contestants Alex Preston, Malaya Watson, Majesty Rose (also from North Carolina) and Sam Woolf got judges’ comments that were at least as positive or more laudatory than those Johnson received.

The Top 9 contestants will next sing at 8 p.m. March 26 on a two-hour live show. The voting tallies will be reviewed on a results show shortened to 30 minutes, from an hour, and airing at 9 p.m. March 27.




Education Hall of Fame inductees honored 

Henderson County School Board Chairman Ervin Bazzle was one of the new members were inducted Thursday into the Henderson County Education Foundation's Hall of Fame at the annual awards dinner. They will join others honored since 2003 for their contributions to the county's public schools.

The Hendersonville Times-News reports that Foundation Secretary Tracy Young introduced each inductee, stating before the speeches began, “There is no telling the impact these people have had on generations of students.”

Of the nine honored, all are still living except Julia Trimble Redden, who is considered one of the earliest female principals in North Carolina, serving at the helm of Valley Hill School in the 1920s. Born in 1878, she began teaching in 1902, and taught grades fifth through seventh and later high school before becoming Valley Hill's principal officially in 1927. She died in 1951, six years after her retirement.

Other inductees are: 

• Ruth Sass, the county's first child nutrition supervisor, serving from 1973 until 1995. Under her direction, menus were standardized, leading to improved nutrition and a cost savings and earning the county the distinction of having all its schools receive state awards of excellence for meal operations for several years.

• Dr. Dan Lunsford, the superintendent who oversaw the merger of city and county schools in 1993. He has been lauded for, among other things, alternative school, Junior ROTC at East and West Henderson high schools, the requirement that athletic directors be assistant principals and not head coaches, and a food service warehouse. He has served as president of Mars Hill University since 2002, with recent years seeing the school listed among top regional colleges in the South.

• Rick Wood, a history teacher who coached boys' varsity basketball for 40 years, spending the last 17 years at West Henderson. He retired in 2006 and continues to serve the education system as a school board member.

• Drew Brannon, a teacher and coach who estimates he has attended more Falcon events in the last 50 years than anyone. He taught at Mills River and Dana elementary schools. He has been the county Soil and Water Conservation District chairman for 40 years.

• Bobbie L. Caldwell, a teacher for 30 years of language arts, history, science, math and home economics. She taught home economics for 14 years at Rugby Junior High/Middle School. She started Rugby's award-winning parliamentary procedure teams, which foster leadership.

• Madeleine C. Duncan, a teacher for 36 years at Balfour Elementary, East Flat Rock Elementary and Flat Rock Middle. One of her objectives was developing an appreciation for literature by young readers, and she put together books of her students' poetry.

• Linda B. Flynn, who taught for 31 years, mostly fourth grade at Mills River Elementary. She arranged to have a B-17 crew of World War II veterans, including her father, talk to her students to make history more personal.

• Sara Lee Nickell, among teachers said by author Robert Morgan to have influenced and inspired him. She taught at Flat Rock High and retired as head of the English department at East Henderson High, after teaching there for 31 years. There she led students to a win in a statewide United Nations speaking contest in the 1960s.

The TD Bank/HCEF Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is the foundation's main fundraiser, helping to pay for scholarships and grants. Last year more than $140,000 in scholarships was given out to area students.

(Times-News photo and story)



Saluda Arts and Music Festival

The festival will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 17 in downtown Saluda. Media represented will include paintings, pottery, woodworking, sculpting, pottery, fiber, jewelry, metal and more.

Those still interested in participating can download an application at or get one by contacting Susie Welsh at 749-3900 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Stoney Lamar, the festival’s music coordinator, has lined up performing artists for the McCreery Park Pavilion throughout the afternoon. Headliners will be The Deluge, described as “a whirling dervish of a band with a kinetic energy that leaves audiences swooning long afterwards.”

The band blends roots rock and soul on its debut record, “Cryin’ on the Vine.” Its song “Strange World” won best R&B song of 2010 from the international John Lennon Songwriting Contest. For those who can’t wait until May can hear The Deluge Saturday March 15 at the Purple Onion restaurant, 16 Main St. in Saluda. Learn more at or call 749-1179.

The festival also welcomes back The Danberrys, whose folk-bluegrass-Americana was featured at the 2012 event. The band plays original tunes featuring strong harmonies and dynamic musicianship. Their self-titled CD is available through

Also playing will be Sweet Claudette, which combines four- and six-part harmonies, Motown-inspired backup vocals, and an unusual combo of acoustic instruments: cello, banjo, melodica and guitar.

The festival will offer plenty of public parking and public restrooms plus a Children’s Art Tent.

Volunteers are needed and sponsorships available. Contact Patty Martin at 817-9518 to volunteer or Beth Carson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn about sponsorship.