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ARTHUR SMITH, 1921-2014


It makes us sad to realize…there’s a whole generation of young people out there today who’ll never know the home-spun routine, comfort, and sheer joy of waking up to Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks on WHKP at 7:05 weekday mornings…singing “the top of the morning to you”. And hearing a few words of cheer and wisdom, a song…maybe a hymn, a reminder of the week’s Sunday School lesson, and of course the commercial for Bost or Bunny Bread (based in nearby Shelby) that made you enjoy your toast for breakfast and look forward to your sandwich at lunch.

A private service will be held Monday April 7th, and a public memorial service will be held Saturday April 12th at 12noon at Calvary Church in Charlotte, for Arthur Smith. He died on Thursday April 3rd…two days after his 93rd birthday. A native of Clinton, South Carolina, he became one of the greatest guitar pickers of all time. Arthur Smith started a career on the radio where many of us did…working for the late Walter Brown on WSPA in Spartanburg in 1941. And in 1943 he moved to WBT in Charlotte where he lived out his radio and TV career.

Arthur Smith did a lot of great things…with some of the most famous people in the South and in music. He wrote “Feudin’ Banjos”…which became the theme for the movie “Deliverance”. Warner Brothers changed the name to “Dueling Banjos”, tried to steal it, and Arthur had to sue them to get credit for it. He never said how much how got in the lawsuit settlement…but would point to a photo on the wall in his office of a beautiful 40-foot yacht and smile. Perhaps the original version of “Feudin’ Banjos” by Arthur Smith and Don Reno will be remembered best.

Brothers Ralph and Sonny have been dead for years…and the “Arthur Smith Radio Show”, which woke us up every morning on WHKP at 7:05am right before Kermit and Charlie and the “Old, Old Good Morning Man Show” for over 30 years, is only a cherished memory.

George Hamilton IV, a native of Winston Salem, is a great country music star in his own right. He’s been in Hendersonville twice to help us celebrate the Apple Festival.  And he said of Arthur Smith…”He was a childhood hero who lived up to his legend. He was the real deal. He connected with people. He was a man who walked his talk.”

This week, in those memorial services for Arthur Smith, there will without a doubt be a lot of tear-filled eyes. But we’re willing to bet there’ll be some foot stompin', too…at the greatest musical accomplishment of Arthur Smith’s career…maybe they’ll play “Guitar Boogie”, which Arthur Smith loved to introduce each time himself.

Even though we grew up on it, and as much a part of our life as it was, we never got to say good-bye to the old “Arthur Smith Radio Show”, we were off somewhere, doing something. But today, with these few words on a radio station he was on for 30 years, we’ll say good-bye to Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. He was the epitome of a true “southern gentleman”…and a musician and entertainer in the true vein of Doc Watson and Andy Griffith. But George Hamilton IV described him best when he said of Arthur Smith…simply…”He was a “good, decent man”.

Arthur Smith…brothers Ralph and Sonny and all the Crackerjacks…we’ll miss you for sure, knowing there will never be any others quite like you.  

By Larry Freeman


NOTE:  You can hear this tribute at 7:05am, 11:05am, and 3:05pm Monday April 7th on AM 1450 WHKP, on (Listen Live), and on WHKP's podcasts also at












It's being called a "game changer" by County Manager Steve Wyatt...and it will help re-shape health care and the education of health care providers in our community for many years to come. Henderson County, the City of Hendersonville, Wingate University, Blue Ridge Community College and Pardee Hospital have all partnered to create an all new "allied health facility"...that will be constructed where a house is now located at 747 Sixth Avenue West.

It all started several years ago...when Wingate University decided to locate a campus in Hendersonville to train pharmacy students...and that has grown to include MBA and physician assistant students. Wingate has outgrown their original Hendersonville facility in the former Coldwell Banker building on Fifth Avenue East at King Street...and a search has been underway for sometime for a new and larger location for Wingate.

That search led to a co-operative agreement on this new "allied health facility".

Dr. Jerry McGee is President of Wingate University...and when the announcement of the new facility was made Friday morning in the Historic Courthouse, he explained how it all came about.

The new allied health facility will built around close co-operation in the training of health care professionals with Blue Ridge Community College...and college president Dr. Molly Parkhill said Friday morning she is looking forward to the new facility and the new arrangement.

Another key player in this new allied health facility will be Pardee Hospital. In fact, the new Sixth Avenue West facility will be build next to Pardee's Medical Office Building, and will become part of the Pardee-UNC Health Care campus. Pardee president and CEO Jay Kirby gave much of the credit for the new facility to city manager John Connet and county manager Steve Wyatt.

The announcement of the new facility was made at a special called joint meeting of Hendersonville city council and the Henderson County Commissioners Friday morning in the Historic Courthouse. And as he introduced the speakers and outlined the plan and the new facility, county manager Steve Wyatt told the's all because Henderson County is such a great and unique place to live, learn and work.

The house on Sixth   Avenue West is currently occupied...but will be leveled to make room for this all new allied health facility.

By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman

11am 4/4/14





In their regular monthly meeting Thursday night, Hendersonville city council extended the deadline for a major Upward Road project until May 3rd of next year. The Upward Road Development Group LLC has a special use permit from the city to construct a three-story hotel, a 6,000 square foot restaurant, a retail shop, a bank building, and more. A developer is reportedly set to start work on one third of the property; another company is interested in part of the property; but a spokesman for the group said he doubts all five buildings, as originally planned, will be developed.

City council approved a plan Thursday night that will allow city employees with at least 27 years of service to retire early by cashing in their unused sick days. The new arrangement is strictly voluntary.

City council officially designated Fourth Avenue from Laurel Park to Jackson Park as the city’s first bicycle boulevard. There will be lane-sharing markings posted on that boulevard.

Council members can attend meetings by electronic means..but must notify the mayor and city manager no later than 48 hours in advance of a meeting if he or she plans to do so. Council members votes by electronic means are legal.

And the month of April was declared Autism and Parkinson’s Awareness Month…and like with the Historic Courthouse, Hendersonville City Hall will be illuminated with blue lights for the month.



Oakdale Cemetery staff are preparing for our annual spring cleanup event at Oakdale Cemetery. If family

members have artificial flowers that are in poor condition, potted flowers, or baskets in place at a

grave that they want to keep, please remove them by April 18.

Any items not removed by April 18

will be removed up and disposed of by city staff. Permanent items such as vases that are part of the

grave marker will not be removed by staff. As a reminder, shrubs, bushes, trees, and perennial

flowers are prohibited from being planted in the cemetery and will be removed at the City’s


For questions about this project, please call the Public Works Department at (828) 697-3084












To celebrate National Library Week, April 13-19, the Henderson County library branches will treat patrons to a variety of musical performances.

·       Monday, April 14th, 4 PM, Edneyville- Harpist Carroll Ownbey will perform elegant music on the harp and teach the audience about her instrument. Carroll is one of the founding members of the Blue Ridge Harp Ensemble, a group composed of four concert grand harps.

·       Tuesday, April 15th, 2 PM, Fletcher- Karen Hensley, pianist and vocalist, and her son Curtis McCarley, instrumentalist, will present a variety of songs from country to gospel.

·       Wednesday, April 16th, 3:30 PM, Green River- Singer/songwriter Tom Fisch will present a blend of traditional folk and country inspired by James Taylor, Doc Watson, and Dan Fogelberg.  He is the recipient of the 2006 WNC Regional Artists Project Grant and his most recent album is titled “October Bay”.

·       Wednesday, April 16th, 3:30 PM, Etowah- Musical Pictures on Guitar and Recorders is presented by multi-talented M. King Goslin. As gentle music flows from M. King Goslin's acoustic guitar and mixes with your imagination, just sit back, relax, and imagine. The music is soft, smooth, well-chosen for finger-style picking, and includes many familiar classical and celtic favorites.  

·       Saturday, April 19th, 11 AM, Mills River- Harpist Carroll Ownbey





As plans go forward to put the Historic Seventh Avenue East District and its "special district" tax money under the control of the City of Hendersonville, much like the "downtown special tax district", some clear difference in property values were reflected in a recent study of the Seventh Avenue East Disitrict by the UNC School of Government. 

The Hendersonville Times-News reported on Thursday...a standing-room-only crowd filled the meeting room inside the Historic Train Depot on Maple Street Wednesday night to hear updates on an ongoing study that may shape the future of Seventh Avenue.

The UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative began studying the Hendersonville district in February, looking at tax records and building permits to gauge the market.

Will Lambe, director of the DFI Community and Economic Development Program, presented their initial findings Wednesday night. The figures showed “a pretty big gap in property valuation” between their study area and the city’s downtown municipal service district along Main Street.

Properties were valued in the Seventh Avenue study district at about $32 per square foot, on average, compared to the downtown MSD’s $74 per square foot. Other figures put the Seventh Avenue district on the low end for rental prices and the high end for vacancies, and showed a nearly 21 percent gap between sales prices per square foot among the two downtown districts.

But the figures also reflected a future growth in demand for residential and commercial properties in the city… a demand that could be met, in part, with improvements to the Historic Seventh Avenue District.

“We’re at the point in this project where we’re trying to understand the market dynamics, the market realities of this district in the city of Hendersonville, in the city of Hendersonville at-large and in the region,” Lambe said. “The result, we hope, from this work is expected to come in the next 30 to 60 days.”

Hendersonville City Manager John Connet told WHKP News this week that when the city takes control of the Seventh Avenue East District, the city's additional resources will be made available to the district; a Seventh Avenue East "advisory" board will be appointed; and there are no plans to raise the "special district" tax paid by Seventh Avenue District property owners.  





The Henderson County Board of Health has named Steve Smith as the new Public Health Director beginning May 5, 2014.

Mr. Smith has over 27 years experience working with county health departments, working through the ranks from Pool Inspections Technician to County Health Director. He has previously served as the Health Director in Stokes County, and has held the position in Transylvania County since 2004.

Steve Smith states, "I am honored to have been selected to serve as the Health Director for Henderson County. The Board of Public Health and the Department of Public Health have a strong legacy of health achievement in the community and North Carolina.  It will be my privilege to support and advance the services, programs, and objectives that meet the community health needs of Henderson County."

Terry Hicks, Chairman of the Henderson County Board of Public Health, states, “I believe Steve is the strong leader the Health Department needs to direct us through the new challenges we will encounter over the next few years. We are excited for him to begin his new position in Henderson County.”

Mr. Smith received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a Master of Public Administration from North Carolina State University. He takes an active role in his community, currently serving in Transylvania County as a member of The Free Clinic Board of Directors, chairman of the Child Fatality Prevention Team, chairman of the Land of Waterfalls Partnership for Health, facilitator with the Transylvania County Dental Society, and a member of the School Health Advisory Council.




The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit has charged Robert Lee Daniel Hughes, age 41 of Asheville, NC with Secretly Using or Installing a Photographic Imaging Device to Arouse or Gratify Sexual Desire and Possessing a Photographic Image Obtained in Violation of the Peeping Statue.


Hughes was charged after a complaint was investigated and a forensic analysis of his computer was conducted concerning allegations of inappropriate videos of minor’s on the computer. 

Hughes turned himself in to the Henderson County Detention Facility on April 1st, 2014 and was released after posting a $4,500.00 secured bond. Hughes first appearance is scheduled in District Court of Henderson County, today April 2nd, 2014.







Flat Rock, NC (3/29/2014) - Flat Rock Playhouse presents the classic Neil Simon comedy, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, from April 3-19 at The Clyde and Nina Allen Mainstage. 
 Inspired by Simon’s early career experience as a junior writer for Your Show of Shows, the play focuses on Sid Caesar-like Max Prince, the star of a weekly comedy-variety show circa 1953, and his staff who maintain a running commentary on the writing, fighting, and wacky antics which take place in the writers’ room. The harried writing staff frantically scrambles to top each other with gags while competing for the attention of star madman “Max Prince.” Along with The Odd Couple this is considered one of Simon’s most enduring comic masterpieces.

The show is directed by Michael Kostroff. Kostroff is a television and stage actor, best known for his five seasons on HBO’s smash hit, The Wire, and for his guest appearances on dozens of TV shows including The Good Wife, Louie, Banshee, Blue Bloods, Damages and the upcoming Gotham and The Black Box. He’s toured in The Producers and Les Miserables, appeared at Goodspeed and Paper Mill, and understudied for Broadway’s The Nance, starring Nathan Lane.

Cast members are Scott Treadway, Bob Ader, James Beaman, Adrienne Griffiths, Gary Littman, Michael MacCauley, Nick Santa-Maria, Amy Toporek and Ben Rosenbach.

Scenic design is by Dennis C. Maulden. Lighting design is by Stephen Terry. Sound design is by Bryan Delaney. Costume design is by Ashli Arnold.


Allergy Partners of Western North Carolina presents Laughter on the 23rd Floor at The Clyde and Nina Allen Mainstage at Flat Rock Playhouse, April 3-19.  Performances will be Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00 pm; matinees Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm.  All tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling the Playhouse box office at 828-693-0731, toll-free at 866-732-8008 or online at  Discounts available for seniors, AAA members, military personnel, students and groups. The Clyde and Nina Allen Mainstage is located at 2661 Greenville Hwy in Flat Rock, NC.











East Flat Rock, NC – Germany-based Elkamet, announced plans for an expansion which would allow for the addition of a new plastics-related product to support existing and new business in the automotive sector.  The $2,350,000 plus investment in machinery and equipment will begin this fall, with production slated to begin in early 2015.  The new product expansion will result in the creation of 15 to 20 new positions, in addition to the existing 54 employees.  Elkamet plans to start hiring in 3rd quarter-2014 for positions including  machine operators, and  supporting staff.

Charlie Messer, Chairman of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners, said, “Henderson County’s employment growth is driven by incremental decisions by small and medium-sized businesses that choose to invest in our community and employ our friends and neighbors.  The Board of Commissioners supported the effort to encourage Elkamet’s initial location here, and we are proud to be a partner in their continued success and growth.”

Headquartered in Biedenkopf, Germany the company chose to locate their first and only US manufacturing operation in Henderson County, NC in 2006.  Since that time, the company has doubled their workforce, doubled the footprint of their building, and diversified the markets and customers they serve.  Elkamet Plant Manager Artur Bitner said, “Since the beginning of our engagement here in Henderson County, we found the support and the right resources for a successful development.  This most recent investment is introducing one of our key manufacturing lines to the East Flat Rock location and another important step towards the full integration of the whole value added process.”  Elkamet specializes in manufacturing custom rotational molded plastics, such as hydraulic oil tanks, as well as finishing extruded products, like windshield profiles.  Products made in the company’s East Flat Rock facility can be found in finished goods made by Ford, Volkswagen, Caterpillar, and many more. 

Nathan Kennedy, Board Chair of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development commented, “Elkamet’s continued growth demonstrates Henderson County’s commitment to bringing new companies to the area, but also our focus on nurturing and encouraging their growth and expansion.”  Beyond investment and employment impacts, Elkamet continues to showcase their leadership and engagement in the community through the Made in Henderson County initiative, focused on enhancing the connectivity between industry and the school system.  Elkamet has hosted 8th grade students at their facilities to provide a better understanding about the diverse employment opportunities in today’s manufacturing environment.

Job seekers interested in exploring employment with Elkamet should look for postings through and Blue Ridge Community College during the summer of 2014.  For more information about Elkamet, visit