Archived Story

2012 year in review: August – September

Published 5:09pm Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Polk to spend $18,800 on Lake Adger dam analysis

Polk County commissioners agreed on Aug. 20 to spend $18,800 on engineering reports on the Turner Shoals Dam at Lake Adger. Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson said the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) requires the county to perform a dam failure analysis and develop an emergency action plan. The state also requires a spillway design flood (SDF) on the dam, which was built in1925.

The county hired AECOM Technical Services for the engineering services.

Stott earns certificate

The North Carolina Justice Academy announced that Sergeant Nicholas Correll Stott of the Columbus Police Department completed the Criminal Investigations Certificate Program at the academy. The Criminal Investigations Certificate program is designed to recognize the achievement of law enforcement professionals who have dedicated themselves to investigating crimes in their respective communities. Upon completion of the program, officers will have mastered several important aspects of criminal investigations and related topics, thus achieving a high level of professionalism for themselves as well as their department.

Tryon hires new manager

The Town of Tryon hired new manager Caitlin Martin after being without a permanent manager since January. Martin is the first female manager to be hired in Tryon or Polk County. Tryon hired Martin on Sept. 3. From Easley, S.C., Martin graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a minor in political science. She graduated from the College of Charleston in May 2011 with a master’s of public administration degree and a certification in urban and regional planning. The Tryon position will be Martin’s first job as town manager, although she served as an intern to the deputy town manager at the Town of Mount Pleasant, S.C. and also served as an intern at Sen. Jim DeMint’s office. She most recently worked for  ScanSource Inc. in Greenville, S.C. and served as a secretary for the graduate student association at the College of Charleston.

Tryon applies for $537,738 E. Howard sewer grant

Tryon Town Council held a public hearing Sept. 3 and approved applying for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for infrastructure from the N.C. Department of Commerce to replace the sewer line along E. Howard Street. The town has been discussing the grant since January with the town initially being denied due to lack of funding. State officials, however, received a waiver due to the critical need and environmental concern of Tryon’s problems and later approved the town receiving the funds.

Rabid skunk discovered in Polk

The Polk County Animal Control captured a skunk in Mill Spring that tested positive for rabies. The rabies case was the first this year and was located along Hwy. 108 in Mill Spring. Animal Control Officer Michael Herman said the skunk attacked farm animals and his office captured the skunk on Sept. 4.

Benefit for Emorie

The community pulled together to help 14-year old Emorie Whitman, who is fighting childhood bone cancer. The benefit was held Sept. 8 beginning with a motorcycle poker run at the Landrum Fire Department. Motorcycles traveled from Landrum to the Mill Spring Fire Department, then to the Columbus Fire Department and finished at the Tryon Fire Department. Bands played at Roger’s Park, including Loaded Toad, Speedwell, Reddog Towery and Friends, Project X, Special Edition and Ruff and Ready, among others. All proceeds went  to Emorie for medical bills.

West Nile virus case confirmed in Polk County

The NC State Laboratory confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in Polk County. The patient had been admitted to St Luke’s Hospital but was later reported to be home and doing well. The patient had traveled out of the state before becoming ill. There is no treatment for West Nile Virus, (WNV) except for treatment for the symptoms. Milder symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, body aches and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. These symptoms can last a few days or several weeks.  Serious symptoms occur in a few people which include some of the above listed symptoms plus high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. People usually develop symptoms between three and 14 days past a mosquito bite.

Senior-discounts come to Landrum

Beginning Oct. 3, people age 55 and older began receiving major discounts at stores in Landrum. The Landrum Area Business Association (LABA) recruited businesses to offer discounts on Wednesdays and requested that city council proclaim Wednesdays as senior days beginning on Oct. 3.  The discounts range from 10 to 20 percent off goods and services.

Sheriff seeks help identifying suspect

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office asked for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect accused of breaking and entering residences off Hwy. 9 near the Rutherford County line on Sept. 5. The two residences were located within a half mile of each other and both had firearms stolen, according to sheriff reports. At one location, 14 firearms were reported stolen, and at the other location, one firearm and some jewelry were reported stolen. The incidents occurred during the afternoon. One residence had a game camera on the property, which was able to capture photographs of the suspect and the vehicle.

Town, state shut down Tryon ABC store

Tryon’s ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) store was shut down on Sept. 7 by the town and the state. A sign on the door reads, “Closed until further notice.” Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples said the town asked for an inventory and audit of the store. He also said the store was closed and the locks have been changed. The inventory discovered there was approximately $3,000 worth of inventory missing. The store remains closed.

Tryon police arrest two residents on charges of making counterfeit money

The Tryon Police Department arrested two Tryon residents on charges related to making counterfeit money. Aimee S. Johnson, 41, was arrested and charged with forgery of an instrument and possession of more than five counterfeit instruments, according to Tryon police reports. Travis Faulkner, 28, was arrested and charged with forgery of an instrument, possession of less than five counterfeit instruments and obtaining property by false pretenses, according to police reports. Tryon Police Chief Jeff Arrowood said on Aug. 31 Jon & Jay’s Discount Grocery reported receiving possible counterfeit money to the Tryon Police Department. Tryon officers developed leads from the store clerk and conducted a search warrant at the home of Johnson and Faulker. Arrowood said officers seized an undetermined amount of counterfeit money and other contraband associated with manufacturing counterfeit money.

Grigg pleads guilty in embezzlement case

After being accused of embezzling $89,000 from the Horse Creek Masonic Lodge in Columbus, Tony Lyn Grigg pled guilty last week to charges of obtaining property under false pretenses, embezzlement and corporate malfeasance, all felonies. Grigg, who was 54 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced by Judge Athena Brooks on Sept. 5 during Polk County District Court to serve five to six months at the Polk County Jail, with 78 days of credit for time served. Grigg also received five other sentences of five to six months in jail, which were all suspended on the condition he serve 24 months supervised probation for each sentence. Grigg, of #10 Fox Meadows Lane, Columbus, was originally charged with seven counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, seven counts of embezzlement and seven counts of corporate malfeasance. He was arrested on June 20 following a lengthy investigation by the Columbus Police Department and a certified public accountant (CPA).

Another rabid skunk found

A second rabid skunk was found in the Pea Ridge area within days of the capture of another rabid skunk in Mill Spring. Polk County Animal Control Officer Michael Herman said the second skunk was captured on Sept. 7 off Hwy. 108 in Pea Ridge. The first rabid animal of the year, also a skunk, was captured on Sept. 4. The second skunk attacked a cat and killed some kittens in the Pea Ridge Community, Herman said.

Doves released in 9/11 ceremony

About 120 people attended a 9/11 commemoration ceremony in Landrum on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The crowd included personnel from several area fire, police and emergency services departments.

Polk to sponsor Green River Games

The majority of Polk County commissioners agreed to spend $10,000 of occupancy tax money to sponsor a new event called the Green River Games. Event organizer John Grace of AMONGSTiT gave a presentation about the event to commissioners Sept. 10 at the Polk County Middle School. Then commissioner chair Ray Gasperson, vice-chair Renée McDermott and commissioner Cindy Walker approved sponsoring the games and commissioner Tom Pack voted against the sponsorship. Commissioner Ted Owens was absent. The county’s economic and tourism development commission (ETDC) supports the county’s sponsorship and agreed to add an additional $3,500 from its budget for a total of $13,500 from the county.

Polk beats LHS in overtime 28-21

“Nail-biter,” “down to the wire,” “come-from-behind victory,” “disappointing last-second loss” – these are just some of the clichés that could be used to refer to the Landrum versus Polk County game Sept. 7.  In what has to be one of the most exciting games in recent history, it took overtime to settle this contest. The game was tied 21-21 at the end of regulation and the final results were determined by a mere yard. In overtime, Polk scored on its possession and Landrum came up one yard short on its final down. The game ended Wolverines 28, Cardinals 21. Polk had never led the game until its overtime score.

Landrum approves 2012-2013 budget

The City of Landrum has a new budget that includes no tax increases and a raise for full-time employees. Landrum City Council met Sept. 11 and held a public hearing prior to approving the budget for fiscal year 2012-13, which began Oct. 1. The budget includes an increase in tax revenues from the current budget of $502,910 to an estimated $550,000 next year. As of May, Landrum had received $533,337 in tax revenue for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The increase for employees will be the first increase since 2011. The increase will cost the city approximately $23,000.

Saluda School recognized as National Blue Ribbon School

Saluda Elementary School was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized 269 schools as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels. The department honored approximately 219 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.  In its 30-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,000 of America’s schools.

About 300 residents attend UDO hearing

When Polk County residents were asked for their opinions regarding a proposed unified development ordinance (UDO), phrases such as “loss of liberty” and “loss of property rights” rang through the auditorium. Approximately 300 residents attended a public hearing and special meeting held Sept. 17 by the Polk County Board of Commissioners in the Polk County High School auditorium. Of the 64 residents who made comments, 52, or more than 81 percent of the speakers, said they oppose the UDO. Commissioners and the planning board have since deleted controversial sections of the proposed UDO which has not yet been adopted.

Denton retires after 30 years

The Town of Columbus honored Lt. Bobby Denton for his 30 years of service in law enforcement. Columbus Town Council met Sept. 20 and presented Denton with a plaque and resolution and honored him by giving him his badge and firearm.

Fire demolishes home in Pea Ridge

A Pea Ridge family’s home burnt to the ground on Sept. 24 despite the efforts of about 40 firefighters. No one was injured, but the family lost their dog in the fire. Mill Spring Fire Chief Trent Carswell said his department was dispatched around 3 p.m. to 1151 Manus Chapel Road, where firefighters found the house fully engulfed. The family, consisting of Tom Hix and his daughter’s family, Michael and Dollie-Brooke Reid and their two children, had just finished moving into the home the day before.

Carswell retires after 32 years in transportation department

A retirement party for Polk County Transportation Director Jewell Carswell and secretary and driver Tena Reid was held Sept. 28. Carswell retired after 32 years serving the department. Reid had been with the department almost 17 years.

Fork Creek Road to get guardrail

The N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) made installing a guardrail along Fork Creek Road in Saluda one of its top priorities for secondary road funding in Polk County for 2013. The DOT held a public hearing Sept. 24 with Polk County commissioners to hear public comments regarding the state’s plan for secondary road improvements in 2013. A group of residents requested that the state install a guardrail along a section of Fork Creek Road because they said they feared vehicles could drop off a large embankment.

County commissioners also approved a resolution in support of the state installing a guardrail there. Costs for the Fork Creek guardrail installation are estimated at $165,000, with about half of the funding already obtained.

New Polk economic development website

Anyone wanting statistical, economic, business, housing or pretty much any other data about Polk County now has a resource online.

The Polk County Economic and Tourism Development Commission (ETDC) launched a new website for economic development. The website can be found at

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