2011 Year in Review: May

Published 10:18 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2011

• Polk County’s oldest business celebrated its 100-year anniversary. McFarland’s Funeral Chapel was established in 1911.
• President Barack Obama announced Sunday, May 1, 2011 that Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. Local veterans expressed their joy and relief that the terrorist leader responsible for Sept. 11, 2001 was finally brought to justice.
• Polk County Commissioners agreed to purchase a house in Columbus owned by the Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry for $110,000. The county made the purchase to move mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services out of the aged Jervey-Palmer building in Tryon.
• Polk commissioners voted unanimously May 2 to combine the county’s travel and tourism department with its economic development commission (EDC). Polk County decided to provide travel and tourism with an estimated $64,000 annually from hospitality tax and no additional county funding.
• Tryon Country Club celebrated its 95th birthday.
• More than 50 people gathered at the Polk County Courthouse to celebrate the National Day of Prayer on May 5.
• According to a report prepared by the Town of Tryon in partnership with the Tryon Downtown Development Association (TDDA), Tryon’s business area has received overall funding totaling $3.2 million since 2008.
• The Historic Saluda Oral History Committee announced a release date for the much anticipated DVD titled “Home, Hearth & History: Stories of Old Saluda.”
• Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill began a program to recruit more officers that reside in Polk County.  At the time, the sheriff’s office had 58 percent of officers who were Polk County residents and 42 percent who resided in nearby counties.
• Anders Krarup, a junior at Polk County High School sent an article about his time on a one-year AFS high school exchange in Timaru, New Zealand.
• Polk County hired John Crill of Parker Poe Adams & Berstein, LLP, in Raleigh, at a rate of $395 per hour to help with questions regarding deeding St. Luke’s the hospital property. The county hired Crill after St. Luke’s asked for the county to deed over the property in order to finance its expansion but later discovered the county could not deed over public property.
• 12 Polk County High School students competed for the title of Miss Polk County High School 2011.  Aliyha Mullins won the crown.
• The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Christopher Eugene Packer, 25, of Columbus on May 11 and charged him with felony assault by strangulation, misdemeanor assault on a female and communicating threats.
• The Landrum High School boys track team won the state championship, while the girls’ track team placed seventh.
• Polk County decided to spend $10,400 to install video cameras in various locations of the courthouse as well as increased the security of the courthouse’s back doors.
• The Columbus branch of Carolina First Bank announced that it would officially close as Carolina First merged with Toronto Dominion Bank. The Tryon location remained open.
• The Polk County High School girls 4×400 meter relay team came in first in the state 2A track meet May 21 in Greensboro, N.C. The team set a new school record with a time of 4:06. Team members included Autumn Miller, Maggie Phipps, Rebecca Elliott and Mary Kate Christiansen. Elliott was also third overall in the 800 meter race with a time of 2:22, and Savannah Mitchell was second in pole vault.
• The Town of Columbus approved a $249,000 engineering contract with W.K. Dickson to design its wastewater treatment plant upgrades and announced that the town was approved for a zero-interest loan from the state for $2.75 million.
• The Polk County Mental Health Advisory Board presented Dr. Robert Ratcliffe with the 2011 Norman Boyer Award for Ratcliffe’s service in mental health.
• The City of Landrum began offering carriage rides through downtown Landrum.
•  Tryon Elementary School second grader Virginia Rostick won the PBS KIDS Go Writers Contest for the state for her book, “Blackberry Pie.” She was selected among 251 contestants.

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