2012 Year in Review: March – April

Published 9:26 am Monday, December 31, 2012

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.
Johnson receives Tryon firefighter of the year award
Wesley Johnson, 18, was named the youngest ever recipient of the Tryon Fire Department’s Clarence G. Scoggins Firefighter of the Year award.
Green River Watershed Alliance seeks community partners
Green River Watershed Alliance (GRWA) co-founders Sky Conard and Jamie Davidson met with concerned citizens Feb. 23 about efforts the organization is making to protect the Green River Watershed. To learn more about the GRWA, email Grwa2011@yahoo.com or call Conard at 704-299-1424.
Heart disease, cancer leading causes of death in Polk
Heart diseases and cancer are the leading causes of death in Polk County, with obesity on the rise in both children and adults across the state, according to the 2011 Polk County State of the County Health Report.
Commissioner tells Sunny View residents zoning is “off the table”
Sunny View residents packed the Sunny View Elementary library March 5, where the Polk County Board of Commissioners held public hearings to amend the Mountain and Ridgeline Protection Ordinance (MRPO) in both the zoned and unzoned areas of the county.
Polk votes to pay off senior center loan
Polk County commissioners decided on Monday, March 5 to pay off the senior center loan early to save approximately $316,000. The board was split on whether to pay off the loan early, with commissioners Ted Owens and Tom Pack voting against paying off the loan. Commissioners Ray Gasperson, Renée McDermott and Cindy Walker approved the payoff.
Commissioner recommends 3-cent property tax decrease
Commissioner Ted Owens proposed a 3-cent tax decrease for residents. Owens said the 2005 board of commissioners asked taxpayers to take on a 9.24-cent tax increase to meet the county’s debt of approximately $27 million. That debt originated from costs related to building Polk County Middle School and recreation complex, as well as the transfer station. A vote was not taken on the suggestion.
Green Piece show highlights art made of discarded items
Gallery space at the Tryon Painters and Sculptors location showcased works fashioned from rusted tools, scrap mesh, wine corks and bottle caps.
Economic development subject of public meeting
Polk County’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee (EDTC) board held its first open meeting March 7 to inform the community of its efforts and to seek input.
PCHS farm receives community foundation grant
The farm at Polk County High School received a $21,400 grant from the Polk County Community Foundation. The grant was made possible through the Paul Culberson Quality Local Food Initiative Fund. The grant was to be used for an animal science barn, 500-feet of cross fence, a historical garden and registered Boer goats.
TDDA Gallery Trots open season
On March 24 the Tryon Downtown Development Association opened its 2012 season of Gallery Trots. The event included 10 participating galleries. The events ran almost monthly through November.
Alley suspended as Harmon Field supervisor after filing for N.C. Senate
Harmon Field Parks and Recreation Supervisor George Alley was suspended in March after he filed as a candidate for the N.C. House of Representatives District 113 seat. The Harmon Field Board of Supervisors suspended Alley because the town’s personnel policy restricts employees from running for partisan seats. Alley permanently resigned on March 20.
Sheriff’s office releases info on Eastside drug bust
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office released arrest information on a drug bust that occurred in Tryon’s Eastside neighborhood on Jan. 17. Gary Lee Thomas, 31, of 27 Fred Lyles Circle, Tryon, was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, felony maintaining a vehicle/ dwelling/place for a controlled substance and two counts of felony possession with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver a schedule II controlled substance (cocaine).
Columbus wins $22K grant for water planning study
The Town of Columbus received a $22,000 grant from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center board of directors for a Water System PER and Asset Management Plan. The town committed to match those funds in order to complete the water system planning study.
Tryon receives $150k grant for depot plaza
The Commerce, Community Development Division of the Main Street Solutions Fund (MSSF) awarded the Town of Tryon $150,000 for its depot plaza master plan.
Overmountain wins bidding war for White Oak development
The foreclosure auction for White Oak Development ended with a $4,750,000 bid placed by Overmountain Trace Holdings, LLC. The final bid was placed on Feb. 27, with no further upset bids made by the required date of March 8.
Saluda proposes budget with no tax, rate increases
After a 10-cent tax increase this fiscal year, Saluda commissioners considered a new budget with no tax or rate increases.
Sheriff’s office busts indoor marijuana grow
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office discovered an indoor marijuana grow operation estimated at a $75,000 street value. Kurt Andrew Markel, 35, of 106 Nelson-Greene Lane, Mill Spring was arrested and charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver a schedule VI controlled substance, felony maintaining a place for a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Super Saturday draws hundreds to Tryon
Hundreds of kids and parents filled the streets of Tryon around the Tryon Fine Arts Center for the annual Super Saturday children’s theater festival. The festival includes a day of stage and street performances, as well as face painting, crafts and food.
Case receives $500,00 bond on murder charges
A Saluda man accused of murdering his friend received a $500,000 bond from Judge Athena Brooks March 16, during Henderson County District Court. Brandon Cody-Lee Case, 23, was charged with murder in connection with the death of Joshua William Lindsay on Feb. 25.
Tryon crews save dog from groundhog hole
Fire departments are known at times to save cats from trees, but on March 18, the Tryon Fire Department saved a dog from a groundhog hole in a hill. Dog owner Robin Sandler said she started out of her house with leash in hand to take her 4-yearold Shih Tzu, Mazzy, for a walk when the dog ran up the side of the dirt-covered hill and directly into what appeared to be a groundhog hole. Sandler said she tried for an hour or so to get Mazzy to come out but finally got desperate and called 911.
Fire destroys Columbus home, community holds fundraiser
Fire destroyed a home on Amy Lane in Columbus March 20. The house was fully engulfed in flames shortly after firefighters received the call. Community members later held a fundraiser to help the family replace necessities lost in the fire.
Harmon Field Heritage days teach history in hands on way
Civil War reenactors brought history to life March 22-23 during the Harmon Field Heritage Educational Days. They taught students about the soldiers’ uniforms, how they camped and the type of tactics they used in battle.
Columbus Police Sgt. Stott receives national law enforcement award
Sgt. Nicholas Stott received an award from the National Criminal Enforcement Association and was recognized at a conference in Tulsa, Okla. March 12-16.
Stott received the award for his work during an Aug. 6, 2011 seizure of $159,785 along Hwy. 108.
Columbus fire asks for 1-cent tax increase
The Columbus Fire Department asked for a one-cent tax increase to fund three full-time positions. Columbus Town Council approved supporting the increase at its meeting March 22. The Polk County Board of Commissioners later approved the one-cent increase in June.
Towns approve joint water agreement
Columbus, Saluda and Tryon councils held a joint meeting March 27 and approved an interlocal agreement to operate the joint water line, as well as a pass-through agreement to compensate an entity in the middle of a water transfer. 

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