2012 year in review: October – December

Published 7:22 pm Thursday, January 3, 2013

Editor’s note: With another memorable year winding down, the Bulletin chose to reflect on those stories that kept the community talking.


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Tractor trailer wreck

An accident involving three tractor-trailers caused the closure of both eastbound lanes along U.S. 74 near mile marker 167 and Columbus on Oct. 2. The accident occurred around 2 a.m. During heavy rains, one tractor-trailer overturned, with the second hitting it and a third truck then striking the second, according to reports.

Jackson named LHS homecoming queen

JaMesha Jackson was named Landrum High School homecoming queen on Friday night, Sept. 28. Meagan Painter was second runner-up and Becca Burress was first runner-up. Landrum defeated Powdersville in the homecoming game, 29-19.

Alexander’s Ford opens to public 

The Marjorie M. and Lawrence R. Bradley Nature Preserve at Alexander’s Ford officially opened to the public Oct. 5 during a ceremony at the entrance of the preserve near Gray’s Chapel.

CYP announces plan to add 23 new jobs in Tryon

Carolina Yarn Processors (CYP), a division of Fendrich Industries Inc., announced it would expand its operations in Polk County. Fendrich, a family-owned manufacturer of textiles and printed cloth fabrics, plans to create 23 jobs and invest $740,000 over the next three years in Tryon.

White crowned PCHS homecoming queen

Makenzie White was crowned Polk County High School Homecoming Queen on Oct. 5. Karen Bame was named Maid of Honor, and Kara Overholt was crowned Miss Wolverine. Bame was escorted by her father, Pastor David Bame; White’s escort was her father, Chris White, and Overholt was escorted by Jacob Collins.

Farm to Fork supper success

Community members gathered to celebrate local, farm-fresh food and artisanal beverages grown and made in and around Polk County at the annual Farm to Fork dinner Oct. 13. Local farmers, area chefs, bakers, caterers, winemakers and “foodies” prepared a gourmet, buffet-style community feast using local, seasonal ingredients.

Columbus police recover stolen motorcycle

The Columbus Police Department arrested an Inman, S.C. man for possession of a stolen motorcycle after the man fled from a vehicle stop and wrecked. Aleksandr Butsenko, 19, of Inman, S.C. was arrested and charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle, felony fleeing to elude arrest, felony identity theft and injury to real property, according to police reports.

Polk commissioner candidates address elevation vs. slope, economic development

During a forum held Oct. 11, Polk County commissioner candidates answered six questions, ranging from economic development to each candidate’s position on elevation or slope for mountain and ridgeline protection and a county-wide water system.

Historic flags drew crowds to Columbus

In just three days, the House of Flags Museum in Columbus greeted almost 800 visitors anxious to view rare emblems of America’s story – the 48-star, 49-star and 50-star flags. The three flags were all flown during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration and have never before been displayed to the public.

Polk to allow solar farms within county

Polk County Commissioners approved a text amendment to its zoning ordinance Oct. 15 to allow for solar energy farms. The vote to allow the farms was split 3-2 with commissioner vice-chair Renée McDermott and commissioners Ted Owens and Tom Pack approving the text amendment and commissioner chair Ray Gasperson and commissioner Cindy Walker voting against it. Gasperson and Walker said they voted against the change because they wanted solar farms 20 acres and or less to require a conditional use permit.

Tryon $99k behind on delinquent water bills

Tryon water customers have put the town approximately $99,000 in the hole with delinquent payments. Tryon Town Council met Oct. 16 and reviewed its current rules and decided to come up with a new policy in order to keep people up to date.

Tryon ABC store temporarily closes

Tryon Town Council met Oct. 16 and heard a report from town manager Caitlin Martin who said the N.C. ABC Commission found the store to be approximately $3,000 short after conducting inventory. The store was then closed temporarily as the town’s ABC board restructured and considered options for moving forward.

Praytor pleads guilty for $500k larceny

A Mill Spring man plead guilty last week to several charges related to the breaking and entering of Silver Creek Road properties, including the larceny of more than $500,000 in cash. Judge Mark E. Powell sentenced Billy Ray Praytor of 525 Hwy. 9 North, Mill Spring to 58 to 82 months for felony larceny and habitual felon and 66 to 91 months in prison, with 238 days credit, for possession of a firearm by a felon. Judge Athena Brooks, during a district court session held on Oct. 10, sentenced Praytor to 120 days for misdemeanor breaking and or entering. He will serve this sentence consecutive to other sentences, according to court records.

Block party to celebrate new Polk Central playground

Community members celebrated the opening of a new playground for kindergarteners through second graders at Polk Central Elementary School. The playground was built by volunteers, and with funds raised by the school’s PTO and grants from the Polk County Community Foundation and the Tryon Kiwanis club.

Pro-life rally held in Tryon

A chain of pro-life supporters lined N. Trade Street in the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 21 for about an hour. Church members from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church gathered to “witness for life” and speak against abortion, said Father John Eckert.

Residents express concern over proposed group home

Several residents from the Holly Hills subdivision in Columbus attended the Oct. 18 council meeting to express concern over a second family care or group home proposed in the subdivision. Residents said they were concerned multiple group homes locating in the area would lower property values. The city eventually agreed to placing a restriction on homes locating within a half-mile of other group homes within city limits.

Polk Planning Board recommends replacing MRPO

The Polk County Planning Board voted Oct. 22 to recommend that commissioners replace the current mountainside and ridgeline protection ordinance (MRPO) with a new Article 24 (steep slopes) in the proposed unified development ordinance (UDO).

Polk discovers eighth meth lab of the year

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office busted its eighth methamphetamine lab of this year and discovered four children ranging from ages two months to 7 years old living in the home. William Damen Pack, 22, of 108 Wolf Branch Road, Sunny View, and Erica Iashea Pack, 26, of 108 Wolf Branch Road, Sunny View, were both arrested and charged with felony manufacturing methamphetamine, felony possession with intent to sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance, felony maintaining a place/dwelling for a schedule II controlled substance and four counts each of misdemeanor child abuse, according to sheriff reports.

More than 3k early votes cast in Polk

Polk County voters turned out almost 22 percent of its registered voters in the first week of early voting. By Oct. 24, Polk had 2,933 turned out for one-stop voting.

Polk approves contract for recreation master plan 

Polk County commissioners voted Oct. 15 to contract with Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) to create a recreation master plan. Commissioners chose the IPDC bid, which was the lowest at $6,000. The board decided to revise the plan, in part, because most grant funding requires an updated master plan.

Lady Wolverines volleyball headed to state semi-finals

After a tough battle for the opportunity just to play in the fourth round of playoffs, Polk County’s Lady Wolverines won a shutout game against the South Iredell Vikings Saturday, Oct. 27 to put them in the state tournament.

Polk man arrested for sex abuse

Noelle Talley, public information officer with the N.C. Department of Justice, said the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) initiated an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by Danny Durham, 51, of 3714 Peniel Rd., Tryon, at the request of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 25.

Durham was arrested and charged on Oct. 5 with three counts of first-degree statutory sex abuse, according to the N.C. Department of Justice.

Polk Teacher of the Year announced

Kim Mirasola, who teaches biology, honors biology and now biofuels at Polk County High School, was named Polk School’s Teacher of the Year.  Polk County Schools Superintendent Bill Miller said Mirasola’s passion for pushing student curiosity is what makes her such a great educator.

Asbestos, lead paint found in Jervey Palmer

The Town of Tryon plans to ask Polk County commissioners to do a phase II study of the Jervey Palmer building after a phase I study flagged lead paint and asbestos as issues. Tryon later backed out of discussions to take over the building from the county. Later Daystar Industries placed a bid to purchase the property directly from the county.