Cast members of “A Little Night Music.” Tryon Little Theater opened the show at the Tryon Fine Arts Center in February. (photo submitted)

2012 Year in Review: January – February

Published 9:11am Friday, December 28, 2012


Polk sheriff’s office makes five recent drug arrests
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in February arrested five people for illegal drug activity in two separate searches. The sheriff’s office executed a search warrant with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team on Jan. 17 in Mill Spring.
White Oak golf, equestrian community auctioned for more than $3.6 million
White Oak Golf and Equestrian Community was auctioned off on the Polk County Courthouse steps Wednesday, Feb. 1 for more than $3.6 million. Tryon Equestrian Properties LLC made the only bid at $3,675,130.34. Roger Smith, representing Tryon Equestrian Properties, made the opening bid.
Tryon Fine Arts Center unveils new master site plan
After years of study, the Tryon Fine Arts Center board of directors Feb. 2 unveiled a master site and building plan that board members said will preserve and accentuate the natural beauty of the Melrose Ave. site and would be community-focused and cost-effective.
Columbus wastewater treatment rehab costs could increase $282k
Columbus Town Council met Jan. 19 with engineer Brian Tripp with W.K. Dickson regarding the possibility of an additional $282,250 of costs for a new operator building and a second chlorine chamber for its wastewater treatment plant. Original estimates for the overhaul of the plant were hovering around $2,750,000.
Mill Spring theft victim Arledge ups reward to $10k
William Arledge, a victim of break-ins along Silver Creek Road in Mill Spring, upped his reward for information about the individual or individuals that stole $500,000 from him to $10,000, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Columbus Police Dept. adds motorcycle to fleet
The Columbus Police Department became the only area department with a motorcycle in its fleet when it purchased a 2012 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS, a model designed specifically for law enforcement. The motorcycle was purchased through the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program grant program.
Campobello man arrested, charged with lewd act on minor
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Campobello man on charges of committing or attempting a lewd act upon a child under 16 years old.
On Jan. 11, a complainant filed a report with the sheriff’s office in regard to what she believed was illegal physical contact of a sexual nature on her minor aged daughter (12-13 years old).
Dr. Hooker wins depot lot bid
Dr. John Hooker was the highest bidder with a $20,000 offer on a lot near the Tryon depot during a sealed bid opening. Hooker bid $20,000 to win over Bill Crowell’s $19,100 bid. Dr. Hooker opened his new dental office in the space later in the year.
Landrum approved $66,000 design for depot meeting space
Landrum City Council members met in a special called meeting Thursday, Feb. 2 to discuss design options for the depot. During that meeting, members unanimously voted to move forward with a $66,250 design option for the interior meeting space of the depot. Renovations on the building are expected to begin in 2013.
St. Luke’s Hospital foundation launched new website
St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation created a new website,, to provide current information on the foundation and its fund-raising activities.
Cardinals win second consecutive region championship
Landrum Cardinals’ men’s basketball team cut down the net after a 60-43 win over St. Joseph’s for the Region II-1A Championship. Then junior Truston Whiteside led the Cardinals with 13 points.
Polk approves $592k bid to connect water to Columbus
The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Feb. 6 and approved a bid of $592,465 from Steppe Construction in Mill Spring to construct a water line from the middle school campus in Mill Spring to Polk County High School, which is where the Columbus water main ends.
O.P. Earle Elementary receives $5k for art, reading
O.P. Earle Elementary has received a $5,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant to enhance and extend the school’s art and reading programs.
Chamber holds 24th annual awards banquet
The Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet Feb. 7. The chamber named Stephen Brady as its 2012 Business Person of the Year and Dennis Nagle as Volunteer of the Year. The chamber’s annual Pig Awards, given to volunteers who have committed significant years of service to the Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival, went to Jack Holmes and Jerry Tyner.
Overmountain Trace Holdings makes upset bid of $3.858M for White Oak Development
On the last day of the upset bid process, Overmountain Trace Holdings LLC submitted a bid of $3,858,886.86 for White Oak Development, which was sold at auction on Feb. 1.
Candidate filing began for Polk elections
Candidates began filing for Polk County elections Feb. 13. Those who filed included Rick Covil for re-election to the school board, incumbent commissioner Tom Pack (R), Keith Holbert (R) for commissioner, Marche Pittman (R) for clerk of court, Michael Gage (R) for commissioner, Pam Hyder (D) for clerk of court, Russell Mierop (D) for commissioner, incumbent register of deeds Sheila Whitmire (R) and incumbent commissioner Renee McDermott (D).
Lady Cardinals grab region win over St. Joseph’s
The Landrum Lady Cardinals basketball team beat St. Joseph’s for a Region II-1A win with the score 49-46.
Chromebooks in schools
Board members of Polk County Schools Feb. 13 agreed for Superintendent Bill Miller and Technology Coordinator Dave Scherping to move forward with a plan to place 350 additional Chromebooks in the high school by spring.
Columbus Police Dept. arrests fugitive after high-speed chase
On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Columbus Police Department arrested James Andrew Hensley, 23, of Fletcher, N.C. The arrest followed a high-speed chase on I-26.
SCLT announces opening of Bradley Nature Preserve
The Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) opened a new nature park known as Bradley Nature Preserve. The SCLT worked with the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF) to create the new 8.2-acre nature park.
TLT’s ‘A Little Night Music’ opens at TFAC
The cast of the Tryon Little Theater (TLT) production of Steven Sondheim’s musical “A Little Night Music” opened the show Feb. 17 at the Tryon Fine Arts Center.
Six equines impounded in Lynn because of starvation
Animal cruelty investigators impounded six equines from a property in Lynn, having to euthanize one of the horses because of starvation. Investigator Margo Savage said the living conditions of the four horses, one pony and a donkey were “horrific.”
Mill Spring ag center auditorium renovations under way
The Mill Spring Agricultural Center began renovating its auditorium, which long served as a meeting place for students at the Mill Spring School. Renovations to the auditorium were to be funded by the adoption of seats by families with connections to the old school.
Landrum approves funding for quilt trail
Landrum City Council members pledged the city’s support for the creation of a Landrum Quilt Trail during their meeting Feb. 14. Council agreed to provide $5,200 in hospitality tax funding for the project.
Columbus agrees to connect town, county water systems
Columbus and Polk County both approved agreements to connect their water systems between Polk County High School and Polk County Middle School.
Columbus Town Council met Feb. 16 and approved the interconnect agreement, which specified that Polk County would pay for the water line and construction.
Sheriff’s office arrests five in connection with stolen $500k
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested several suspects Feb. 17 in connection with the breaking and entering and larceny of more than $500,000 in cash from William Arledge’s property.
New Republican headquarters opens
The new Polk County Republican Headquarters building opened Feb. 25. The building replaces the former headquarters, which was demolished after the roof caved in under the weight of a snowstorm in December 2010.
O. P. Earle principal Nita High announces retirement
O.P. Earle Principal Nita High, who had served in that position since 2000, announced she would retire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Brian Murray, the school’s assistant principal, was named as her replacement.
Cardinals earn ticket to state championship
The Landrum Cardinals men’s basketball team earned a spot in the state championship game versus Great Falls after an 86-78 victory over McCormick in the final round of the 1A state playoffs.
Tryon resident paid town sewer fees without service for more than 20 years
Tryon resident Lorina Cunningham discovered she had been paying monthly sewer fees to Tryon for approximately 21 years. Tryon Town Council met Feb. 21 and settled with Cunningham for $1,986.89 in reimbursements, an amount equal to the last five years of payments. After experiencing backed-up sewage in her home, Cunningham discovered she had a septic tank and was not hooked into the town’s sewer system.
Saluda man arrested on murder charges
Brandon Cody-Lee Case, 23, of Saluda was arrested on Feb. 25 in Polk County and charged with murder by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office. Case was charged with murder in relation to the death of Joshua William Lindsay of Saluda.
Cardinals season ends one game short of championship
For the second time in four years, Landrum played for the upper state finals and were eliminated by Great Falls. The Red Devils beat the Cardinals 49-44.
PCHS runners qualify for nationals in New York
Four Polk County High School (PCHS) girls made local history on Feb. 26. They ran a time of 4:07.66 for the 4 x 400 relay and qualified for the New Balance Indoor Nationals Emerging Elite. The girls were Rebecca Elliott, Autumn Miller, Casey McDowell and Mary Kate Christiansen.
Polk’s Got Talent
Audience members and judges proclaimed 9-year-old Ki’Yon Staley the winner of the junior division of Polk’s Got Talent and PCHS alum Noah Stockdale the champion of the open division.
Bids in White Oak foreclosure sale reach $4.725M
The upset bid deadline on the foreclosure sale of White Oak Golf and Equestrian Community moved to March 8 after Overmountain Trace Holdings submitted a bid for $4,725,000 on Feb. 27 for the 941-acre subdivision.

In Memoriam – February 2012

Joseph John Hamlin III

Eric Gass

Ella Lee Arledge

Sherry Blevins Carney

Eva Stuckey Fowler

Tempie Ann Bell Holding

Ann B. Tate

Sherry Levins Carney

Mary F. Flynn

Eleanor Winkle Maldaner Maxwell

Harold M. Carton

Harold ‘Flash’ Edwards

Mary F. Flynn

Glennie Allan Casey

Donna Parker

Elsie Lilian Wiegel

Jewell Wilson Williams

Louise Moore Hilton

Donna Parker

Norris Marston

Frank K. McFarland Jr.

Georgia H. Wilson

Harold ‘Flash’ Edwards

Max A. Koontz

Elizabeth Laura Bevans

Anne Clark Hawley

Suzanne ‘Suzy’ L. Miller

Betty Marie Stuart

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