A Year in Review – March

Published 9:11 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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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 March.


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Update on Farmers Market

Residents and farmers met with the Polk County Board of Commissioners to share their stories of the Farmers Market and what the market does for them personally.


Out of the six local farmers, the one that caught the heart of everyone was nine-year-old Jayvin Clark. Clark, along with his mother, sell their products at the Farmers Market. He shared that the Farmers Market has taught him very much, like how to work for his money and save it. He explained the importance of the market to his family by telling the board and audience that his mom sells and purchases food from the Farmers Market to support him and his siblings.


The Polk County Farmers Market is open 51 weeks during the year, including the winter months where all participants meet at the Rural Seed Restaurant. During the warmer months, the market meets in front of the Polk County courthouse. During the summer, the market averages 35 vendors weekly and the winter market sees 15 vendors per week.


The Farmers Market is the best way to receive products from farm to table and in the last year was able to bring in over $300,000. 


Steeplechase rained out

The National Steeplechase Association (NSA) and Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) concluded that the 73rd Annual Block House Races would have to be rescheduled.


The move was made after the NSA and TIEC decided the course would not be safe for the horses and jockeys to race on. The original date for the Steeplechase was April 13, but the races were rescheduled for October 5, 2019. However, they were ultimately cancelled for the year.  


Still waiting

The worst-case scenario happened to father son duo, Chad Fisher and David Dimsdale, when they discovered the remains of a missing person while hunting in December of 2006.


In 2004, Thomas Amburn went missing near Little White Oak Road. After not hearing from him for hours, his wife called authorities to report he was missing. When the local law enforcement could not locate Amburn, additional search teams were called in to help in the search. 


Fisher and Dimsdale were out tracking a deer in the woods when they discovered the human remains. Local law enforcement came out and confirmed that the remains were Amburn.


Fisher and Dimsdale asked if the reward that was publicized was still available from Memorial Reward Foundation. As of March 2019, which was twelve years later, they had yet to see the reward. According to the local police department, the reward of $5,000 was only set to a six-month find by the foundation. Once the six months was up after Amburn went missing, the reward was no longer available, which was never shared with the community.


Fisher shared, “It was not about the money, but was about what is right. The sheriff’s office put out for the reward. And that’s wrong.”


The Amburn story made national news.


Museum receives a name

The Landrum City Council met and discussed possible museum names for the rail museum during the March monthly meeting.


The council asked for Landrum residents to suggest any names that they might find interesting for the museum dedicated to the history of Landrum. At the end, there were twenty possible names submitted. The council unanimously voted on the name Landrum Rail and History Museum. 


Landrum couple represented on NBC

A couple from Landrum had the experience of a lifetime when they received an opportunity to appear on Ellen’s “Games of Games” television show that airs on NBC.


Jessica and Austin Cashwell originally applied to be on a different game show that ended up not airing. The Cashwells were thrilled when they learned they had been picked to participate in Ellen’s “Game of Games.” 


The couple shared that taping the show was a blast and that Ellen went above and beyond to make filming enjoyable. The couple has also been a part of a taping of Family Feud and got to meet Steve Harvey.


Jessica said there is nothing better and no feeling describes taping the shows. The Cashwells were not able to share if they won anything. They did share that there were multiple Skype and phone interviews during the process which included going to the doctor to make sure their health was in good enough shape to participate.


The Cashwells agreed that watching a show from the set and not the couch is a whole different mood. 


TIEC gets state citation again

The Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) received another citation from the state in response to their improper disposal of animal waste.


The citation was written on March 6 when a North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Resources Division inspector watched as horse manure was being spread across saturated fields. TIEC Chief Operating Officer, Sharon Decker did admit that spreading manure on saturated fields was a mistake on TIECs part, and it was addressed and stopped immediately. 


School Hero in Polk

Many Polk County teachers and staff were nominated by the North Carolina Education Lottery’s NC School Heroes program. The program allows local teachers the chance to receive $10,000 for themselves and $10,000 to be donated to their school. The Polk County Board of Commissioners acknowledged each of the teachers that were nominated at the monthly meeting.


Celebration on hold?

Columbus had to go back to the drawing board when Town Manager Tim Barth told Columbus Town Council that the town’s insurance company assessed the private land that Columbus typically uses for the Fourth of July would no longer be available for use.


Barth told the Council that there had to a 500-foot circle of clearance from any residence. The current location had two residences too close to the circle. Barth told the Council that the only location in town where they would be holding the annual fireworks show was behind the credit union. Barth was in contact with a local firework contractor explaining the new requirements.


A special meeting was held at a later date to discuss all of the options. 


Trees gone

The NCDOT cleared more than 100,000 trees after storms rolled through the area during an early December snowstorm.


More than 100,000 trees were removed in Polk County alone. The work was not completed until early March. Eight crews worked in Polk County to remove trees for ten weeks. The debris from the trees was sent to Rosman and would be mulched. 


Overmountain Victory Trail participants

Polk agreed to donate $5,000 to collaborate with the National Parks Service to complete a part of the Overmountain Victory Trail.


The section goes right through Polk County. Along with Polk, the towns of Rutherfordton and Spartanburg County has also joined the trail. The section in Polk includes Alexander Ford at the Bradley Nature Reserve.  This section of the trail runs from Rutherfordton to Chesnee, SC. 


In memoriam of:


Sheila M. Bessell

James “Brad” Bradford

Doris Ellen Canniff

Betty Delores Cope

Ronald Corn

Marvin Edward Daws

Charles Easley

Hertha E. Flack

Jackie Ford

Mary Flynn Greene

Laudy Hayden

Clyde Arledge Henson

James D. Hosteller

John Charles Janulis

Janis (John) Kaneps

Patricia Johnson Martin

James “Bill” Monroe McEntire

Louise Kuykendall Morgan

Frederic Irwin Morrow

Guenter Albert Max Panoscha

Suzanna Kent Plumly

Lucy I. Quattlebaum

Eileen Ita Rivers

Ruth Sutherin

Irma “Nita” Taylor

Clarence Waldon

Abbie Lee Wilson