Bulletin 2018 year in review — June and July

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 22, 2018

Over the next several issues, we will publish our annual look back at some of the top stories, newsmakers and images that shaped the year.

The following are several of the top stories published in the Bulletin in June and July.


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Celebrating 70 years of community theater

Yet another iconic Tryon institution celebrates a milestone anniversary this year — and the community was invited to commemorate the occassion, ‘40s style.

The gala featured a “fabulous ‘40s” theme, as the Tryon community theater staged its first performance in 1948.

TIEC reveals safety plan for equestrian games

Tryon International Equestrian Center created a draft Emergency Operations Plan for the upcoming World Equestrian Games, to be prepared in case of a crisis during the event. 

The plan included emergency contacts, emergency mapping and Federation Equestre Internationale serious incident management, as well as responses to specific hazards.

End of the road for DOT’s 108 widening project

What started as a rally in a parking lot grew into a movement that generated a 2,300- signature petition.

In June, county commissioners signed a “No Build” letter to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which stopped a project to widen Highway 108 between Columbus and Tryon to three lanes — granting the wish of the large group of citizens who had been vociferous in their opposition to the plan.

57 homes damaged from recent storms, slides

Heavy rains — more than 23 inches since May 15 — damaged 57 homes, five of which were completely destroyed.

Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge gave a mudslide and flooding update to Polk County commissioners.

Of the 57 homes touched by the May disaster, five were completely destroyed, six had major damage, 12 had minor damage and at least 29 others were affected, Arledge said.

Polk County High Class of 2018 turns its tassels

Poised at the edge of celebration, Polk County High’s graduating class received some final words of wisdom June 8 from Board of Education Chairman Geoffrey M. Tennant.

“From this day forward, resolve to seize each day and ring out of it every opportunity that avails you. Don’t fail to experience everything you can,” Tennant said. “And, secondly, may your life’s journey be a search for your better angels.

And with that, the 153 members of Polk County’s Class of 2018 officially became high school graduates.

Landrum police chief stepping down from post

During the June city council meeting, Landrum Mayor Robert Briggs announced that Landrum Police Chief Tim E. Edgens had tendered his resignation.

Edgens said he was going to work with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.

Restoring an important piece of Polk County’s history

The work on Polk County’s Doughboy began in June, with Biltmore Estate Preventive Conservation Specialist Kara Warren cleaning and analyzing the statue.

Polk County agreed in May to spend $1,800 per year for Warren to clean and maintain the doughboy.

The doughboy statue was installed in 1925 to honor Polk County residents who served in World War I.

Columbus leaders sign off on tax hike

After not having a tax increase in 13 years, Columbus residents saw a rise in their property taxes.

The budget included a 2 cent tax rate increase, as well as a 5 percent hike to water and sewer rates.

State grants Polk $1 million for WEG

Polk County received a $1 million gift to pay for expenses for the World Equestrian Games.

North Carolina Legislation approved its budget, which included the direct funding to Polk County.

Polk budget approved

Polk County property owners saw no increases in property taxes this year, though officials approved tax hikes for four fire departments.

The new budget included tax increases for the fire departments of Tryon, Green Creek, Mill Spring and Saluda. Tryon’s tax rate is increasing by 4 cents, Green Creek’s by 2 cents, Mill Spring’s by 1.5 cents and Saluda’s by 1.1 cents.

The new budget included $23.24 million in general fund revenues and expenditures with the property tax rate remaining at 52.94 cents per $100 of property valuation.

In Memoriam

Jean Hamill Masologites

James “Jim” P. Gross

Gordon Leroy Balser

Julia (nee Hamrick) Fasnacht

Ernest Jefferson Rhodus Jr.

Robert Lee Blackwell

Scott Camp

Joseph Preston Wray, Jr.

Michael C. Thomas

Margaret Wheat

Gilmer Bradley

Mary Thelma “Doodle” Chambers

Donna Morgan Pace

John Kurt McGill

Susan Dale Tapp

Willie John Laughter

Charles Boyce Howard

William Martin Hendon

William (Bill) Marvin Wilkerson Jr.

Isaiah Anderson

Sylvia Ann DeCotiis

Sharon Kay McEntire Hinsdale


Golf carts now allowed on Green River Cove Road

Golf carts were officially allowed on Green River Cove Road beginning in July.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance in January to allow golf carts on Green River Cove Road, which stretches from Mill Spring to Saluda.

Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said in early July that all the processes were in place to regulate the golf cart ordinance.

The state allows the use of golf carts on public roads as long as the speed limit is 35 mph or lower, but residents from Green River Cove Road asked the county to regulate its own ordinance because the state requires a vin number and the costs are $2,600. The state allows counties and municipalities to regulate their own ordinances, with county and municipality ordinances required to be at least as restrictive as state regulations.

No go on new Polk TDA

Polk County, Saluda and Tryon will be on their own collecting occupancy tax for at least another year, as state legislators failed to pass a bill to create the new Polk County Tourism Development Authority.

The county and two towns agreed this year to join their respective tourism departments, where the county would have been allowed to collect 6 percent occupancy tax in the unincorporated areas of the county as well as in Saluda and Tryon. Columbus did not want to join the new authority.

Rail car coming to Landrum in August

The rail car for the city’s new railroad museum would offloaded onto the new platform on Friday, Aug. 3, said Landrum City Administrator Rich Caplan during the Landrum Area Business Association meeting.

“Of course, [the car] won’t be open to the public right away,” he said. “The outside is in relatively good condition, but the inside has been closed up for 50 years.”

The city had been working on the rail car museum project since last fall. The car itself, “The Pacolet River,” is an 85-foot-long Pullman sleeper car that is being donated to the city for the museum.

Local rising star athlete gone too soon

Local residents mourned the loss of 17-year-old Markell “Kell” Lipscomb, a rising senior and athlete at Polk County High School.

Lipscomb was killed in a car crash on Pea Ridge Road.

The wreck occurred around 12:15 p.m., when the driver of the vehicle lost control. The vehicle flipped and collided with a tree, with three students trapped in the vehicle.

Jury finds Rutherford County man guilty of assault

A Polk County jury found a Rutherford County man guilty of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon for an incident on Polk County Line Road last August that left him shot three times.

Joshua Cuthbertson, 25, was sentenced to six to 17 months in prison, which was suspended for him to serve 18 months of supervised probation as well as court costs, according to court records. 

Non-native tick discovered in Polk County

A tick native to eastern Asia was found in Polk County.

The longhorned tick was discovered on an opossum somewhere in Polk County late July.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met and heard from Polk, Rutherford and McDowell Health District Director Karen Powell about the arachnid.

“A tick that has hardly ever been found in the United States has been found in Polk County,” Powell said. 

In Memoriam

Avril True Alexander

William Roy Eargle Jr.

Jerry Walter Jackson

Mary Katherine Byars Constance

Charles Thomas

Terry F. Allen

Markell Chawain Lipscomb

Kay Ravan

Billy E. Faggart

Penny Elizabeth Hicks

Doris Flynn Petty

John Max Miles

Donna Matz Barrick

Wallace (Lee) Bryan

Lucille Williams Fowler

Rita Galub Klein

William Joseph Schaller


Joe Furman Waldrop

William M. Steele Jr.

William “Bill” Moore Jackson

Philip “PJ” Waisman III

Floyd Jones

Bruce Jackson

Charmain Katherine Herman

Shirley H. Reeves

James Marshall Shoemaker Jr.

Richard Lee Moore