2012 year in review: May – July

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, January 2, 2013


50th Fabulous Fourth

The Town of Columbus celebrated its 50th Fabulous Fourth of July festival on Wednesday, July 4. The festival included new features of a car show, motorcycle show and chess tournament for 2012. There was also the unveiling of a portrait of Bryant H. Womack that now hangs in the Womack building in Columbus, painted by Rich Nelson.

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Tryon begins McCown St. improvements

Downtown Tryon’s McCown Street became a one-way street with added parking and pedestrian areas. Part of downtown’s Tryon’s Streetscape project, McCown Street improvements now include approximately 20 angled parking spaces along the northbound street.

Passerby aids Polk sheriff’s office in larceny arrest

While traveling on Lake Adger Road in the Sunny View community on July 2, a passerby noticed a man climbing out a resident’s window carrying a television, according to sheriff’s office reports. The reports said the passerby made the emergency call and continued to follow the suspects, who dropped the television and fled the scene.
Officers caught up with the vehicle and chased the suspects on several roads until the vehicle wrecked along Big Level Road, hitting a stop sign and a ditch. Jevon Wayne Cornett, 23, of Hendersonville, was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen automobile, resisting a public officer, breaking and/or entering and larceny after break/enter, according to sheriff’s office reports.
Rico Amaro Shipman, Asheville, N.C., was arrested and charged with conspiring to break/enter a building, committing felony larceny, injury to personal property, breaking and/or entering and possession of burglary tools, according to sheriff’s office reports.
Jonathan Jamez Lebeck, 18, of Saluda, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit felony larceny, injury to personal property and possession of burglary tools, according to sheriff’s office reports.

CooperRiis water line approved

County commissioners met July 9 and approved extending a water line to CooperRiis Healing Center along Hwy. 108, including an additional 1,000 feet CooperRiis requested to increase safety.
The county ran the water line from the intersection of Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 108 to the property along Hwy. 108. CooperRiis agreed to pay to tap on and extend the line from Hwy. 108 to its facilities.

Almost 200 pack Tryon econ meeting

Local organizers held a meeting on July 9 at the Tryon Depot to brainstorm ideas on how to renew, remake and rebuild Tryon’s economy.
Organizers said they expected about a dozen people to attend, but attendees eventually packed the meeting room.

DOT to add curb and gutters to Peniel, pave Adam Millis, Dalton

The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved an amendment to the state’s 2012 secondary road plan that pushes Collinsville Road improvements back a year in order to add curb and guttering to a section of Peniel Road and to pave Adam Millis Road in Tryon and Dalton Road in Mill Spring.

Polk beautification awards

The Polk County Appearance Commission announced its 2012 beautification awards.
Polk County Appearance Commission Chair Joe Cooper presented the awards to Daffy Jills Garden Club for landscaping, the Town of Columbus for planting gateway trees, The House of Flags Museum for turning the old fire station into a flag museum, the Saluda Community Land Trust
for removing kudzu, Bob Lane for restoring Sunnydale in Tryon and Walnut Creek Preserve for building the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center.

Meth lab found in Silver Creek

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office discovered another methamphetamine lab and arrested Scott Everette Childres of Mill Spring. The sheriff’s office discovered the lab on July 11 at the Silver Creek Community. Childres was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession/distribute methamphetamine precursor, according to sheriff reports. The meth lab was Polk’s seventh of the year.

Vigil honors murder victims

Family and friends of murder victims Zachary Cunard and Mickey McGraw released balloons at a vigil held July 16 on the anniversary of their 2002 Campobello murders. The case remains unsolved.

Green Creek man sentenced to 44-62 months for attempted rape

A Green Creek man pled guilty during Polk County Superior Court the week of July 2 to attempted second-degree rape and was sentenced to 44-62 months in prison.
Judge Mark E. Powell sentenced Matthew Bryant Martin, 21, of 758 Sandy Springs Road, to the prison term to be served at the N.C. Department of Corrections. Martin was given 84 days of credit for pretrial time served. The judge recommended work release and for Martin to have no contact with the victim.

Landrum receives grant to complete N. Randolph sidewalk

Landrum received word from the South Carolina Department of Transportation that it would be granted an additional $420,000 to complete the installation of sidewalks along N. Randolph Street. The grant was awarded through the department’s enhancement program and is in addition to $300,000 spent for phase one of the project. The total to complete both phases of the project was $720,000.

Break-in at Tryon ABC store

Tryon’s ABC store, located at 354 South Trade Street, was broken into around midnight July 20/ July 21, according to the Tryon Police Department.
Police chief Jeff Arrowood said glass at the store was broken in order to gain entry.
The police department has surveillance at the ABC store, which showed a male suspect wearing a dark colored hoodie and blue jeans taking an undisclosed amount of liquor from the store.

Woman arrested after larceny at Bill’s Jewelers

The Tryon Police Department arrested a Murphy woman following the larceny of a bracelet and ring from Bill’s Jewelers located in downtown Tryon. Karen Sue Barnette, 54, of 123 Beal Circle, Murphy, N.C. was charged with larceny and obtaining property by false pretenses, according to Tryon Police Chief Jeff Arrowood.

Also taken into custody was Lazaro Perez, 28, who gave no address. Perez was served warrants for a probation violation out of Buncombe County.

Bright’s Creek back on market

Bright’s Creek is back in the hands of owners Bill Amick and Jim Roquemore after the two said the most recent owners did not fulfill their commitment. Protex Investment Group, Inc., purchased Bright’s Creek last year under owners Alexander Salgado and Gabrielle Barragan. Amick and Roquemore sent a letter to Bright’s Creek members, saying they are in search of another buyer.

Polk’s tax rate ties for 23rd lowest in state

Polk County ranks in the bottom quarter of NC tax rates for fiscal year 2012-2013. Polk’s tax rate of 52 cents per $100 of valuation is ranked 78 out of 100 counties from high to low tax rates, or the 27th lowest tax rate in the state. Polk ties with Madison (26th), Cherokee (25th), Burke (24th) and Alamance (23rd) Counties, which also have tax rates of 52 cents.

Kessler pleads guilty in Gillette Woods larcenies

A Hendersonville man was convicted for breaking and entering and larceny cases in the Gillette Woods area of Tryon in 2011. John Jacob Kessler, who was 42 at the time of his March 2011 arrest, was sentenced to two terms of eight to 10 months at the N.C. Department of Corrections with 142 days of pretrial time served credit, recommending the DART program if Kessler qualified.

St. Luke’s accepts offer on property

The “For Sale” sign on the front of the former St. Luke’s Thrift Store building finally came down. The St. Luke’s Hospital Board of Directors accepted Bob Lane’s offer to purchase the property.

Morris fundraising over $12k

The Save Morris project committee surpassed its initial goal of $12,000 toward the restoration of Tryon’s town mascot Morris the Horse during a gala and auction held July 28 at the Tryon Fine Arts Center.

Cronan goes 262 mph on motorcycle

Thomas Cronan of Mill Spring is on the fast track through life – literally. On July 15, Cronan rode 262.161 mph in a motorcycle land speed race, earning an eighth-place spot as one of the fastest people in the world to ride a sit-on motorcycle.

Western Highlands fires CEO

The board of the Western Highlands Network (WHN), which manages mental health Medicaid waivers for eight Western NC communities, including Polk, fired CEO Arthur Carder Jr. after the discovery of a $3 million projected shortfall.