With construction of that new massive multi-million dollar Health Science Center on Sixth Avenue West next to Pardee Hospital nearing completion, local officials will be dealing with a number of traffic, pedestrian and parking issues in that area, particularly in the adjoining residential neighborhood, around the near-by three schools, and on the multi-lane Highway 64.
Hendersonville city council recently got an update from Kimley-Horn consultants out of Charlotte, and they’ve made some suggestions concerning the Highway 64 intersection with North Oak Street. In fact, the consultants have presented the city with six possible designs for that intersection…including a round-about.
Pardee Hospital will be designating several hundred parking spaces close by for the new facility. But parking will likely continue to be a challenge in that small area with the hospital, doctor’s offices, schools, the YMCA and the new Health Science Center. And along with parking, pedestrian traffic will be a challenge as well.
As Wingate University moves into the new center, with Blue Ridge Community College soon to follow, the city, the new center, and the hospital will be dealing with these issues and making decisions.
And still to come is the new cancer center which will be in the ground floor of the new Health Science Center.
Hendersonville city council Thursday night approved spending about $126 thousand to equip city police and fire departments with new digitally encrypted radio equipment…which will enable the city to join other law enforcement, fire and emergency services in the county IN making their radio transmissions unavailable to the public on scanners. The news media will be allowed to pay for a small hand-held receiver for some transmissions…but the public will no longer have access to what has long been established as “public information” in real time. It’s also being reported that city and county departments will be unable to scan each other’s transmissions with the new encryption.
It won’t be until October of next year that the Hendersonville Post Office will be moving out of its current Fifth Avenue West location. U.S. Postal Service official Richard Hancock brought city council and the public up to date Thursday night on plans to find a smaller pre-existing six thousand square foot facility, maybe in a strip mall, with about 40 parking spaces as close as possible to the current post office. The current post office facility was purchased late this spring by the First Baptist Church for about a million dollars and will become a parking lot for the church. That puts to rest rumors the post office property might ultimately be the location for a new downtown hotel and/or parking deck.
And on the subject of a possible downtown hotel…a spokesman for the UNC School of Government gave city council an update Thursday night on a nine to twelve month study currently underway into the feasibility of a downtown hotel somewhere in town. A final report will be given to city council at some future date.
And city council Thursday night agreed to buy the Etowah Sewer System for a million dollars and spend another half million repairing and upgrading the system that serves the Etowah areas. City Manager John Connet says the purchase will help the city expand its “regional footprint” on the west side of the county…but it was pointed out the city has no plans or desire to annex the Etowah area. Etowah residential water customers now pay a base rate of $26.33 per month. If the city’s purchase of the system is approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, they’ll pay a $9.45 base rate plus $6.93 for every one thousand gallons of water used, or about $10.00 per month less than they're paying now.
County residents are invited to help shape the future of the Henderson County Public Library System by completing our brief survey, now available online at www.henderson.lib.nc.us. This survey is designed to provide both library users and non-users alike the opportunity to share ideas and opinions on topics such as programming, locations, and services. Survey results will assist the library system in shaping our current services and making better plans for the future.
Residents who are unable to complete the survey online may obtain a printed copy at any of the branch library locations throughout the county. The survey will be available until July 31st. For more information, visit the library website at www.henderson.lib.nc.us or contact Sara McGough at 828-697-4725.
“The subcommittee will continue to pursue possible sponsorship by encouraging one of the nine existing EMM immigration agencies to open a resettlement affiliate center in our area, but this is as far as this process has gone.” St. James Senior Warden Eugene Carr
In a station editorial on WHKP and on our web site, whkp.com, we are expressing our opposition to a possible re-location, or re-settlement, of Syrian and/or any other nation’s refugees into Henderson County.
Gene Carr is the senior warden at Saint James Episcopal Church, one of the churches that is reportedly looking into such possible re-settlement…and he says, in a press release in the (Friday’s) Times-News, that such re-settlement of these refugees here is not likely at this time, apparently due to complications in the process and to Hendersonville’s distance from an approved re-settlement center. It is currently required, says Carr, that a sponsor, such as a local church like Saint James, must be within 50 miles of a re-settlement center…and the closest one to Hendersonville is in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Still, a church sub-committee, which has been looking into the re-settlement of refugees since March, will continue, says Carr, to pursue such sponsorship by encouraging immigration agencies to open a re-settlement affiliate center in our area.
WHKP stands by the editorial position we are taking today…against any possible re-location of Syrian and other refugees into our community…and we continue to encourage Hendersonville City Council to take this opposition one step further by passing a resolution against any possible re-settlement of these refugees into our community.
You can read our station editorial on this home page or listen to it as a podcast on our "Featured Sudio" also on this home page.
You can express your opinion on the issue by voting in our web poll also on this home page.
RE-SETTLING SYRIAN (AND OTHER) REFUGEES INTO OUR COMMUNITY IS A BAD IDEA
A WHKP Station Editorial
July 1, 2016
Some western North Carolina churches, including St. James Episcopal in Hendersonville, the Unitarian Universalist Chuch in Asheville, and others are reportedly looking into re-locating Syrian and other refugees into ours and other communities in the area.
Local officials are staking out their positions on the issue already. Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk is in favor of it. City Council member Ron Stephens is opposed to it. And the City of Hendersonville officially wiped its hands clean of the whole thing late Thursday by issuing a statement that reads, in part, the city “...has no legal power to direct, cause, or prohibit the re-settlement of foreign refugees within the City of Hendersonville.”
It’s not surprising that some well meaning but “left” leaning religious denominations are eager to jump on the bandwagon and open the doors, not only of their churches, but of our whole community, to more outsiders. The immigration issue is far from resolved, and on top of some serious and violent criminals that have already immigrated into our community, Syrian and other refugees that we know precious little about could conceivably bring terrorism right to our doorstep. Terrorists aren’t stupid. They know how to infiltrate refugee groups; their intention to wreak havoc on the United States from within is clear; and they know they can depend on well meaning, but shallow thinking, liberals, certainly in some churches, to pave them way for them…all under the pretext of this being the “Christian” thing to do.
We agree with City Council member Ron Stephens. “Churches, like St. James, do a lot of good. But you can get on a bicycle and from the church find more than they could ever get done with people who need help.” We would add that’s LOCAL people, with legitimate LOCAL needs . Stephens adds, “I don’t know why they (the churches) would expose the community to what possibly could happen”. We know why. It’s the “feel good” thing to do.
The claim that these refugees, whether from Syria…or Columbia as the mayor points out...phave been “vetted” or supposedly investigated, is of no comfort at all. Santa Barbara and Orlando, not to mention Paris and the Instanbul Airport confirms for us that the so-called “vetting” process is full of holes…large enough for the worst terrorists to slip through, costing hundreds of innocent people their lives.
St. James Church has supported some wonderful things for the community. Their School for Little Folks and the Medical Loan Closet are just two examples of truly Christian things that church has done so very well. Those things have IMPROVED the lives of local people. Importing and re-settling outsiders, possibly infiltrated by terrorists, could ENDANGER local people.
We fully support Council member Stephen’s stated intent to do what he can as a Council member to keep this “re-settling” of refugees into our community from happening. If in fact, the City has no legal power on this issue, as their press release stated late Thursday, Hendersonville City Council could at least express their opposition to it in the form of a resolution at their July meeting next Thursday. That would send a message to the “left leaners” and the “re-settlers" and show the city that its Council is standing up for the safety and security of our local people.
As always, we invite your comments…on our comments.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman 06/30/16 7pm
It was announced a while back that Hendersonville Police are are no longer a part of the sheriff's department's drug task force. That development came after a disagreement between the two departments over the use of force in an officer-involved shooting earlier this year that led to te death of an East Flat Rock woman. So apparently this drug investigation inside the city was done without the involvement of Hendersonville police.
A press rease from the county sheriff's office on Fiday states:
On Thursday, May 26th, 2016 the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force executed a search warrant on a business, the Grease Monkey Garage, at 147A 1st Avenue E. in Hendersonville. Upon execution of the search warrant, detectives seized approximately 536 grams of marijuana in multiple packages along with drug paraphernalia. Detectives also seized components for a Honey Oil conversion lab.
Honey Oil, also known as Butane Hash Oil (BHO), is a very concentrated form of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol which the main active ingredient of marijuana. It is illegally manufactured using a very dangerous process involving releasing butane, a highly flammable gas. There have been numerous reports of explosions, deaths and severe burns across the country from BHO manufacturing. The Sheriff’s Office cautions anyone trying to manufacture BHO, they are not only running the risk of criminal prosecution, but also taking their life or the lives of others into their own hands. The danger posed by fire and explosions involving butane extends beyond the clandestine lab itself. It can cause damage and destruction to neighboring properties and residents that may live there. This was the first occasion found by law enforcement of BHO manufacture in Henderson County in recent years.
The business owner, Eric Patrick Carter, age 38 of Brightwater Heights Drive in Hendersonville was arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Manufacture, Sell or Deliver Schedule VI Controlled Substances, Manufacturing Marijuana, Maintaining A Vehicle, Dwelling Or Place For Controlled Substances and Possession Of Marijuana Paraphernalia.
He has been released on a $7,000.00 secured bond. Anyone wishing to report suspicious or criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 828-697-4596.
Henderson County’s Education History Initiative rccently unveiled and dedicated a special marker commemorating the historic Mills River High School. The school itself was torn down years ago, but the marker is located near the site of the original facility…which is directly in front of what is now Mills River Elementary School
The marker was made possible by donations from graduates and their family members, by friends in the Mills River community, and by the Initiative.
County school superintendent Bo Caldwell, who has roots in the Mills River community, was the main speaker for the event…which also included singing a special song written just for the old school by graduate Jere Brittain
Over a hundred guests and dignitaries were present for the event held outside in the elementary school parking lot facing that new historical marker
It’s part of an on-going effort by the Education History Initiative to collect, preserve, and celebrate the history of education in Henderson County.
The indoor firing range at the criminal justice traning facility in Edneyville has reportedly exceeded its maximum scheduling capacity…and that’s one of the main reasons the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department and others are pushing for another firing range in Henderson ounty.
And it’s now looking more and more like one will be located somewhere on the main campus of Blue Ridge Community College. The community college board of trustees and others met this week and are moving forward with some preliminary plans, which include discussions with the county, finding a possible location for the firing range on the college campus, and an architect’s rendition of such a firing range facility.
The county commissioners set aside some $1.2 million for such a law enforcement training firing range in the new budget that takes effect this Friday. That allocation for a firing range will cost about one cent of that new five cent property tax increase approved by commissioners.
The sheriff’s department has preferred an outdoor firing range…but ran into opposition by residents in potential locations in Tuxedo and on Pinnacle Mountain.
Blue Ridge Community College already has law enforcement training program and such an indoor firing range for law enforcement presumably would be a part of it.
This Tuesday morning, a new non-stop flight from Asheville to Newark, New Jersey was snnounced.
In conjunction with the new route that will launch just in time for the holiday travel season, the company is celebrating with a "Christmas in July" Facebook sweepstakes to give away seats on the route's inaugural flight.
"Allegiant continues to grow in western North Carolina, and the addition of New York City on their route map is exciting," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director of Asheville Regional Airport. "We encourage area travelers to start planning holiday travel to New York, and we look forward to welcoming more visitors from The Big Apple, as well."
The Flat Rock Park and Recreation Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the official dedication of the Bryan Playground for children inside The Park at Flat Rock. The dedication event will be held Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 11 am at the park. The event is free and open to the public. Popcorn, Sno Cones and refreshments will be served.
The Bryan Playground at The Park at Flat Rock is the first public playground in Flat Rock and will be built in phases. Features include tree houses, bridges, slides and cargo nets and a climbing wall- incorporating natural materials and an innovative design to help foster children’s overall health and creative play. The playground accommodates disabilities as well. “Through my work at Camp Pinnacle I became aware of the Beanstalk curriculum and adventure playground designs. The Village Council saw that the design and educational components developed by this company not only offered a unique play environment but also uses activities that focus on the prevention of childhood obesity,” states John Dockendorf, Village Council member.
The playground is made possible, in part, by a generous donation from Kendall Gibson Bryan and Eleanor deSaussure Bryan honoring their children: Josephine deSaussure Bryan, Kendall Gibson Bryan, Jr., Eleanor Charlton Bryan Matthews and Sarah Hugar Holyer. “When my parents and grandparents both visited Flat Rock and lived here, coming from the Charleston area, they began a tradition that now continues with our grandchildren making happy memories here. We seized the opportunity to give back to the place that has brought our family such joy when we saw the wonderful plans for the Park. What a great place it is!” –Eleanor Bryan
The Flat Rock Park and Recreation Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2013 by the Village of Flat Rock, North Carolina to help raise the funds required to fulfill the vision of a signature municipal park for the community. That vision includes opportunities for recreation, health, and education for all generations while preserving the natural beauty that draws visitors from far and wide to Western North Carolina.
# # #