2012 year in review: October – December

Published 7:22 pm Thursday, January 3, 2013


Mill Spring couple pleads guilty to tax fraud

A Mill Spring couple charged with tax refund conspiracy of more than $3.5 million in fraudulent tax returns pleaded guilty Oct. 29 in the U.S. District Court in Asheville, according to Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Owens starring in Discovery’s “Moonshiners”

Josh Owens, 35, was selected to be one of the stars of the reality show “Moonshiners,” which began on the Discovery channel Nov. 7.

Green River Adventures announces plan for expansion

Sara and Tim Bell of Green River Adventures plan to open a new outpost, The Gorge, offering zipline canopy tours in the Green River Gorge in May 2013. Sara Bell said initial plans for the tour include 1,100 vertical feet from top to bottom with eight ziplines. To make the expansion possible, the Bells applied for a Community Development Block Grant through the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Assistance Grant Program (SBEA).

Republicans sweep county commissioner race

The Polk County Board of Commissioners has a new majority. Republicans swept the three open seats during the Nov. 5 election with Michael Gage taking the top spot. Gage, incumbent Tom Pack and Keith Holbert won over democratic challengers Emily Bartlett, incumbent Renée McDermott and Russell Mierop.

Rabid fox attacks Polk County man

The Polk County Animal Control office received confirmation Nov. 6 that a fox that attacked a Green Creek man was rabid. The attack occurred on Nov. 2 in the John Smith Road area. The man walked around his barn and was attacked three times on the leg, according to animal control officer Michael Herman.

Hyder wins clerk of court seat

Polk County Acting Clerk of Superior Court Pam Hyder (D) won the race to keep her position while other local democrats running for state offices lost. Hyder received 5,453 votes compared to republican challenger Marche Pittman’s 4,626 votes.

“The 1940s Radio Hour” opens

The Tryon Little Theater’s “1940s Radio Hour” opened at the Workshop Nov. 8-11 and 15-18.

Historic Tryon Depot wins 2012 Main Street Award

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Assistance and Office of Urban Development announced Nov. 2 that Tryon’s Historic 1906 Depot renovation project had been awarded the prestigious 2012 North Carolina Small Town Main Street Award in the category of Economic Restructuring.

Progress continues on Phase I of Tryon Fine Arts expansion

Work continued on the hillside campus at Tryon Fine Arts Center as Hudson Stone Works constructed more than 5,700 square feet of stone walls outlining the new access path and driveway. The 8-foot-wide pathway was designed to improve handicap access from parking lots to the front door of the 44-year-old arts center.

Inaugural Tryon Beer Festival welcomes crowd Nov. 10

Tap workers poured libations enthusiastically Saturday, Nov. 10 as more than 400 people, including at least 100 out-of-town visitors, enjoyed the first annual Tryon Beer Fest at the Tryon Depot Plaza.

Peniel/Walker roadwork to end Nov. 30

Work was underway in early November along Peniel Road and Walker Street in Columbus as part of the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) secondary road improvement project. The project, which repaved the area was completed Nov. 30, according to the NCDOT.

O.P. Earle unveils Quilt Trail block

O.P. Earle Elementary School held a dedication ceremony Nov. 13 to unveil the fourth public block on the Foothills Quilt Trail. The Mary F. Kessler Fund of the Polk County Community Foundation funded this block.

Hwy. 108 bridgework resumes

Work on the rehabilitation of the bridge over I-26 in Columbus resumed mid-November. The project is scheduled for a completion date of April 30, 2013. The work is part of the N.C. Department of Transportation‘s (NCDOT) $2.4 million contract to rehab several bridges in Polk and Henderson Counties.

Deer hunting season opened in Polk County 

Deer hunting opened in Polk County Nov. 19 without the extended season some hunters had hoped for last year. Despite a unanimous vote by Polk County commissioners in October 2011 to extend the deer-hunting season in Polk County by two weeks, the state regulatory commission had not approved the change before the open of this season.

Saluda School celebrates Blue Ribbon honor

Smiles swept the faces of students at Saluda Elementary School as they stood on stage Nov. 16 to proudly display the National Blue Ribbon School banner received by Principal Ronette Dill in Washington, D.C. earlier in the month. In September, Saluda Elementary was named one of only 219 public schools to receive the National Blue Ribbon recognition this year.

Polk manager mobilized with Reserves

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson announced to county commissioners on Nov. 19 that he was selected to be the Command Sergeant Major of the 1st Training Brigade of the United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (A) and would be mobilized for one to three years. Marche Pittman was later tapped to replace Whitson until his mobilization ends and he is able to return to his post.

Polk extends St. Luke’s lease for 99 years

The Polk County Board of Commissioners extended St. Luke’s Hospital’s property lease for 99 years in conjunction with the groundbreaking on construction of the hospital’s new wing. The groundbreaking on the hospital addition was held Nov. 29.

Columbus does not want to merge ABC stores

After discovering the Columbus ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) store doesn’t have any interest in merging with Tryon’s store, Tryon Town Council said it wants to make its own store profitable. New ABC board members were selected and the board is working with town manager Caitlin Martin to devise a plan.

PCCF awards $6,250 grant to Outreach for healthcare

The Polk County Community Foundation recently awarded Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry (Outreach) a Dr. William R. Bosien Fund Grant in the amount of $6,250.

The grant was to be used to provide prescription drugs and dental care to Outreach clients.

Toy run exceeds last year’s fund raising

Hundreds of bikers rumbled through Polk County Nov. 24 raising $8,005 and 55 bags of toys. This was compared to $7,650 and 42 bags of toys in 2011. The money and gifts were distributed to the Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry, the Polk County Department of Social Services, Steps to HOPE and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for distribution.

White Oak development water line paid off

After purchasing White Oak Development earlier this year, Overmountain Trace Holdings LLC paid Polk County the remaining $115,752.50 for a water line to the property.

TES recognized as Title I Distinguished School

Tryon Elementary School was recognized by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Federal Programs Division as a Title I Distinguished School Nominee Award for being one of the top six Title I schools in the state in student academic performance over three years.

TubaChristmas commemorates 15 years

Polk County High School’s auditorium filled with euphonic sound Dec. 1 as TubaChristmas XV commemorated 15 years and the stepping down of founders Stan and Jean Howell.

Polk men taken into federal custody for drugs/cash

A joint operation in April with the Polk and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Offices resulted in the federal arrests of two Polk County mend an the indictment of another for possessing methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and drug money. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Israel Avelioneda-Alviar of Mill Spring and Morgan Nunez of Tryon on various federal drug charges, according to Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill. James Ira Storey, of 41 Bradley Turn, Mill Spring was still wanted.

Avelioneda-Alviar and Nunez were taken into federal custody after being indicted on charges in Asheville.