Year in Review: The Bulletin looks back on 2016 (March-April)

Published 10:00 pm Monday, December 26, 2016

Editor’s note: All this week, we will take a look back at some of the top stories, newsmakers and images that shaped the year.

MARCH 2016

Land being sought for new horse manure site; Pea Ridge Community Center meeting held

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Pea Ridge residents expressed concern that a horse manure disposal facility would be moving to their area and a meeting discussing these concerns was held at the Pea Ridge Community Center. The same issue occurred when a manure facility was located off of Hwy. 9 near the crossroads of Mill Spring. The Tryon International Equestrian Center’s Mark Bellissimo and Sharon Decker weighed in on the controversy and said no more manure could be hauled to the location owned by Corbett Stone off of Hwy. 9.

25.3 miles of gas pipeline to traverse Polk, Henderson Counties

LATEX Construction Co., a contractor for PSNC Energy, began working on a trench under Garrett Road in Mill Spring to place a new 20-inch gas pipeline that links the substation on Silver Creek Road with Duke Energy’s converted coal ash plant in south Asheville. The pipeline goes through the Green River nearly a mile upstream from the Green River Bridge on Silver Creek Road.

Ken Shull, St. Luke’s CEO, announces retirement

After seven years with St. Luke’s Hospital, CEO Ken Shull announced his retirement starting in July. Shull had been in the healthcare industry for 43 years, and the retirement allows Shull to spend more time with his wife, Heidi, visit grandchildren and become more active in the community. Jim Bross became the new CEO of St. Luke’s Hospital in June.

Polk County’s 2017 revaluation begins

Polk County commissioners met with Wampler Eanes Appraisal Group LTD to complete a property revaluation on a contract of $332,330 to be paid over a few fiscal years. The new property values are to be assessed as of Jan. 1, 2017. According to Robert Haskins of Wampler Eanes, the revaluation process began in August 2015 and would include the 395 neighborhoods of Polk County, including the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Pack, Denton, Hill out in Polk commissioner primary

Polk County voters turned out in high numbers on March 15 and voted Jake Johnson, Tommy Melton and Myron Yoder in, according to at-the-time unofficial results. John Dennis Hill and Josh Denton lost the bid. Democrats Penny Padgett, Rhonda Lewis and Russell Mierop won nominations in the primary. Polk County chose Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump in the presidential election.

City of Saluda finds major water leak off Greenville Street

The City of Saluda found a water leak off Greenville Street behind its fire station. City manager Jonathan Cannon said the leak had been running for approximately a year. Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden said the city had been chasing the leak since April 2015, adding 36 hotels were connected to the line at one time. The leak, according to city officials, likely caused a loss of 50,000-60,000 gallons of water a day.

Polk County Board of Commissioner Chair Tom Pack dies

After suffering injuries from a fall in February, Polk County Board of Commissioner Chairman Tom Pack died in March at age 51. Pack was first elected in 2004 and served as chairman before losing the 2008 election and being re-elected again in 2010 for a two-year term and again in 2012 for a four-year term. Former commissioner Ted Owens was nominated to fill Pack’s term and Michael Gage became chairman of the board following Pack’s death.

Polk County seeks two firms for Lake Adger appraisal

Polk County began the appraisal process for Lake Adger by seeking two firms to conduct the procedure. Polk County Manager Marche Pittman was directed to seek the appraisal, and Pittman said there are different ways to conduct the procedure. The county purchased Lake Adger from Northbrook Carolina Hydro, LLC in May 2008 for $1.6 million as a future water source for the county.

“In God We Trust” logo on county building delayed until the end of May

Due to permitting issues, the installation of the “In God We Trust” logo on the Womack building in Columbus was delayed until May. Installing “In God We Trust” lettering also occurred on the Polk County Sheriff’s Office patrol cars and on Saluda Fire and Rescue trucks. Polk County was asked by the U.S. Motto Action Committee to install the wording on both the Womack building and the county courthouse in July 2015.

APRIL 2016

Deadly shooting near PCHS on Hwy. 74 on-ramp

A man was found dead in a truck from a shooting near Polk County High School on March 31 on Hwy. 74. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations investigated the scene. PCHS was put on lock down during the incident. The truck driver was identified as Destry Horne, 51, of Lilesville, N.C. Three suspects were identified and later arrested in Florida.

Board names Greene as next superintendent of schools

The Polk County Board of Education named former curriculum director and principal of Polk County High School Aaron Greene as the next superintendent following the announcement made by Bill Miller to retire this year. Greene began as superintendent with the 2016-2017 school year.

Columbus applies for loan for water/sewer projects

The Town of Columbus signed a letter of conditions in April to apply for a United States Department of Agriculture loan for more than $2 million worth of water and sewer projects. The town had been discussing the need for a new 500,000-gallon water storage tank, a new water supply line from the tank to the town’s water lines and rerouting the sewer line downtown that flows underneath some buildings. The annual payment made by the town on the loan is $44,480 over 40 years.

Wreck claims life of motorcyclist in Landrum

A motorcyclist was killed after colliding with a 2013 Chevy pick-up truck on Hwy. 14 and Lexington Road, 1.48 miles west of the City of Landrum. Chloe Allison Duncan, 19, succumbed to her injuries when she was ejected from the motorcycle after being struck by Harley Simms Beck of Fountain Inn, S.C. Duncan was riding with James Wellington Blackwell from Travelers Rest, S.C. Beck was charged with felony DUI with death and felony DUI with great bodily injury at the scene.

Veterans bring awareness to Mission 22

Anita Wilson, local 30-year Army veteran, led 22 veterans on April 22 on a walk starting at the Ingles in Landrum to Mutt’s BBQ in Greer to raise awareness of the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide following their return home from combat. The group departed from Landrum at 7:30 a.m. and arrived in Greer at approximately 8:40 p.m. Friday evening.

Tryon Country Club celebrates 100 years

The Tryon Country Club celebrated 100 years with a party, tournament and ice cream social. Emma Payne Erskine created the country club in 1916, and Erskine had hopes to build a golf course and residential development. Golf course architect Donald Ross designed the 9-hole course in 1914 to include two different sets of tee placements to allow the golfer to play the same fairway and green twice for an 18-hole round.

HB2 billboard pops up in Lynn

A billboard went up in Polk County in April at the Hwy. 108/Skyuka Road intersection in Lynn in response to the state of North Carolina’s passage of HB2, also known as the bathroom bill. The billboard was paid for by, “a global nonprofit organization founded for the purpose of spreading peace in a hurting world” and is based in Topeka, Kansas. The sign read “Welcome to North Carolina/Due to our stance on LGBT rights, please set your clock back 100 years.”

New congressional district maps force June 7 primary

Due to new congressional districts being drawn right before the March 15 primary, voters headed back to the polls on June 7. The June 7 primary only included the Congressional District 10 Republican race. Every 10 years following the U.S. census, states redraw congressional and legislative districts. Patrick McHenry won the June 7 and faced Andy Millard in the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election.

Martha Walker releases book about history of Landrum schools

Martha Walker released “Landrum Schools: Through the Decades 1880s – 1990s” in April and detailed the history of the schools in Landrum. Walker worked at Landrum High School for 22 ½ years as a math teacher before retiring in 2001. LHS principal Brian Sherman asked Walker to write the book in 2010. Walker was later named 2016 Citizen of the Year by the Landrum Lions Club.