Archived Story

2012 year in review: August – September

Published 5:09pm Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Editor’s note: With another memorable year winding down, the Bulletin chose to reflect on those events that kept the community talking. Over the next several issues, we’ll present highlights of those stories.


Saluda chosen for Small Town Main Street

The City of Saluda was selected as one of five new communities participating in the N.C. Small Town Main Street program.
Saluda, Cherryville, Elizabethtown, Richlands and Spencer were selected through a competitive application process. Designation of these five new towns brings the total number of the state’s Small Town Main Street communities to 44.

Helicopter spots $1.26M marijuana growing in Polk

A joint operation involving the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Highway Patrol and N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) discovered approximately 525 marijuana plants worth an estimated street value of $1.26 million. Sheriff’s officers said on Aug. 2 a highway patrol helicopter discovered two areas in which marijuana plants were growing. The largest area was discovered in a wooded area of Saluda with 505 marijuana plants. Another area in Mill Spring had approximately 20 plants.

Tryon expresses interest in Jervey-Palmer

The Town of Tryon sent Polk County a letter of interest in obtaining the Jervey-Palmer building and requested that the county conduct a phase I study on the property. The county later conducted the phase I study and Tryon later decided to pull out of the deal. An interested party has since made the county a $50,000 offer on the building.

FHS dog qualifies for K9s for Warriors

A Foothills Humane Society (FHS) stray qualified to become a service dog for a veteran through K9s for Warriors, located in Florida.
FHS volunteers started the Service Animal Project and Winston, a 1-year-old Labrador was FHS’s first success story being placed with a veteran.

Construction underway on credit union

Construction began in August between CVS and Wendy’s along Hwy. 108 in Columbus on a new state credit union building. Currently, work is still ongoing with the frame and siding completed.

Lowering state school age one of Polk’s goals for legislature

Polk County commissioners asked state legislators to lower the required school age from 7 to 6. The request is one of numerous goals commissioners sent to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners (NCACC).
The NCACC steering committee reviews each county’s list and provides a recommendation to the full board.

Fire destroys Red Fox home

Local firefighters responded to two structure fires on Aug. 9, following a thunderstorm that produced strong lightning and heavy rain.
A home located at 1205 Hooper Creek Road in the Red Fox Country Club subdivision was destroyed. Firefighters also fought a fire on Joy Lane in the Sunny View community the same night.

Polk asks DOT to move up Hwy. 9 resurfacing on schedule

Polk County commissioners approved a resolution urging the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) to put resurfacing Hwy. 9 near Polk Central Elementary School higher on its priority list.
Commissioners Aug. 6 unanimously approved the resolution that said the road’s condition from Hwy. 74 to Mill Spring is “suboptimal and poses a potential hazard to safe driving.” The state later approved moving the resurfacing to this fiscal year.

Planning board chooses 25-percent slope as threshold for engineering studies

The Polk County Planning Board chose a 25-percent slope as the threshold for requiring an engineer to conduct studies prior to building.
The planning board met Aug. 9 and approved the 25-percent threshold in Article 24 of the proposed Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which deals with regulations for steep slopes. Members Lisa Krolak, David Smith, Susan Welsh and Harry Petersen voted in favor of the 25-percent threshold while members Bill Ennis, Wayne Horne and Lee Bradley voted against. The planning board later made changes to the draft and selected a 30-percent slope threshold.

Pedestrian hit by vehicle on Mills St.

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle in downtown Columbus on Aug. 11.
According to police reports, at 12:39 a.m., the Columbus Police Department investigated a collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian at the intersection of Mills Street and Peak Street in front of the Copper Mill restaurant.
The report said a Ford F-150 driven by a man from Mooresville, N.C. was traveling west on Mills Street (N.C. Hwy. 108) and struck the pedestrian in the intersection.
The report said the investigation revealed the pedestrian, Jonathan Daniel Delby of Spartanburg, S.C., who was highly intoxicated, was sitting in the roadway, wearing dark clothing. Delby was transported by Polk County EMS to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, where he was listed in serious but stable condition. Delby was charged with impeding traffic and intoxicated and disruptive behavior. The driver of the truck was not charged.

Two fatal car wrecks in same day

Two separate fatal car accidents occurred in Polk County on Aug. 14. Both involved single drivers and only one vehicle.
Sgt. Troy Mundy of the N.C. Highway Patrol reported that at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 14, a single car wreck claimed the life of Anthony Hal Fisher, 56, of Lake Bowen, S.C.
Another single car wreck later Aug. 14 claimed the life of 29-year-old Derek Toney.

First Landrum Quilt Trail blocks ready

The first two wooden quilt blocks on the Landrum Quilt Trail were completed. A quilt block called “Courthouse Steps,” was installed at Landrum City Hall, while one called “Jacob’s Ladder,” was installed at the Landrum Fire Department. A quilt trail is a series of wooden painted quilt blocks displayed outdoors along a designated route in various locations, such as storefronts, barns and gardens. The Landrum Quilt Trail received a $5,000 grant through the Mary F. Kessler Fund of the Polk County Community Foundation. The Kessler Fund grant provided quilt blocks for O.P. Earle Elementary School, the Landrum Library, the Hospice Thrift Barn and the Thermal Belt Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Planning board okays UDO draft

The Polk County Planning Board approved its draft of the unified development ordinance (UDO), which combines all county ordinances, and the document was sent to county commissioners for final approval.
The planning board met Aug. 15 and approved its draft by a vote of 5 to 2. Commissioners and the planning board have since made changes to the draft. The UDO has not yet been adopted.

Columbus Police Dept. receives $105k

The Columbus Police Department seized $159,785 worth of drug money in Aug. 2011 and received a $105,000 reimbursement from The Federal Government.

Alexander’s Ford nature preserve project complete

Polk County successfully preserved Alexander’s Ford at Bradley Nature Preserve, using no county funding. Alexander’s Ford project manager Ambrose Mills told the Polk County Board of Commissioners Aug. 20 that the county has completed the improvements and received reimbursement money. An open house was held Oct. 5 when the property was officially opened to the public.

Landrum man shoots stepfather in self-defense during argument

An argument between two men in Landrum ended with one man being shot.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said Jesse Van Moss, 22, was arguing with his stepfather, Ricky Van Moss, 44, and Jesse Moss shot Ricky Moss in the leg.
Jesse Moss was not charged because deputies said he acted in self-defense.

Saluda man convicted of assault in neighbor dispute

A neighbor dispute in Saluda ended with one man’s conviction of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Bill Benjamin Williams, 58, of 15 Wolf Mtn. Trail was originally charged with attempted murder after being accused of shooting at his neighbor in September 2011.
Williams’ trial was held Aug. 15 during Polk County Superior Court where he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and communicating threats, according to Polk County Superior Court records.
A jury found him not guilty of attempted first-degree murder.
Williams was sentenced to 25 to 39 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections, which was suspended for him to serve 24 months of supervised probation, according to court records.

Tryon agrees to pay for half of Lake Lanier carp

The Town of Tryon agreed to pay for half of the costs to place carp in Lake Lanier in order to control weeds and algae.
Tryon Town Council met Aug. 21 and by a split vote decided to contribute up to $3,000 to place carp in the lake this year. The town also said it would pay for a ¼ of the costs of carp next year, but nothing in the future.
Commissioners Wim Woody and George Baker voted for the motion and commissioners Doug Arbogast and Roy Miller voted against. Mayor Alan Peoples broke the tie in favor of the town helping to pay for the carp.

Silver Creek Community roads complete

Silver Creek Community students in Mill Spring had the luxury of waiting at sheltered bus stops for the first time. The N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) had road paving complete by the first day of school in the Silver Creek Community with new bus stops installed by Silver Creek Community residents. Following a push from Silver Creek Community residents approximately three years ago, the state agreed to take over the maintenance of some of the deteriorated gravel roads where buses were unable to traverse in the subdivision in order to safely pick up children.

Polk to match $115k for manufacturing grant

Polk County has agreed to provide $115,000 to match a grant over a three-year period in order to help bring manufacturing jobs to the county.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing and approved matching the funding during its Aug. 20 meeting.
The company, Fendrich Industries, will be required to bring 23 new jobs to the county and maintain those positions for a minimum of four years.

Tryon researching food and beverage tax

The Town of Tryon researched the possibility of adding a one-percent tax on sales of prepared food and beverages.
Tryon Town Council met Aug. 21 and agreed for Bill Crowell of the Tryon Tourism Development Authority (TTDA) to research what it would take for the town to implement the tax.
Crowell said the tax could benefit the town by providing revenue for beautification projects such as the City of Landrum has done with a similar tax.
Commissioner Wim Woody said he is against taxes in general.

Columbus Police Chief awarded

For the second year in a row, the Columbus Police Department was awarded the law enforcement executive of the year in the Region C area, which consists of Polk, Rutherford, McDowell and Cleveland Counties.
Columbus Police Chief Chris Beddingfield was awarded the Region C Law Enforcement Executive of the Year for 2011.
Retired Columbus Police Chief Butch Kennedy received the same award for 2010 while he served as chief.
Columbus Town Council met Aug. 16 and congratulated Beddingfield on the recognition.

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