Year in Review – April 2019

Published 9:12 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 April.


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New health department approved 

Polk County Board of Commissioners approved a budget amendment of $40,573 from the contingency fund to start the hiring and training process for a new health department, strictly for Polk County.


Polk was originally involved with Rutherford and McDowell counties as one health department. The move resulted from well and septic permits being seven weeks behind schedule. The Polk Health Department was expected to cost $236,850 during 2020 and by 2022 the county will save roughly $63,000. 


Upgrades to treatment plant

Polk County Board of Commissioners discussed and approved changes that needed to occur with the local wastewater treatment plant in Mill Springs.


The board heard from the county engineer, David Odom, explain that he sent out and received many bids for the treatment plant issues. The original budget for the project was $250,000. The contract from the winning bidder, Southeastern Asphalt, came in at $219, 203. The initial phase was $9,204 with contingency budgeted at $10,958. The total cost for the project would be $239,365.


The wastewater plant serves multiple areas in Mill Spring, such as the middle school and the county Department of Social Services, both located off of Wolverine Trail. Odom shared that the plant is aging and some issues have arose that really need to be taken care of. Notices from the state have been received regarding the plant, which included the need for an equalization basin.


The plant would also need a new access road, which was estimated to cost $100,000. The road would be constructed from Wolverine Trail, near the tennis courts to the plant. 


Landrum City Council takes cemetery

The Landrum City Council accepted a proposal from the Landrum Cemetery Perpetual Care Association to become the main caretaker and overseer of the Landrum Cemetery.


Mayor Briggs has been a part of the cemetery care team for over ten years. Briggs shared that “for the past 33 years a group of individuals have been taking care of the Landrum Cemetery. We as a group have raised money for the cemetery and maintained it, but we are getting older, the Landrum cemetery is owned by the city of Landrum and we have decided to work out a transfer agreement.”


A special thank you was given to all of those who had worked on the cemetery association. 


Wolverine trail get lit up

Duke Energy was seen prepping the area for new lights to go up in April. The new lighting was scheduled to begin during Spring Break of 2019. The original lightpoles were moved further off of the road and replaced with LED lighting. The move of the lights was the county’s effort to get North Carolina to take over the maintenance of Wolverine trail. 


Alcohol approved for concerts at Top of the Grade

After a year of being denied, attendees to the Top of the Grade concerts in Saluda are now able to bring their own beer and wine.


The Saluda Board of Commissioners met and discussed the approved the bringing of alcohol to the concerts, held at McCreery Park downtown. In 2018 Saluda voted no to bringing alcohol at concerts because of the liability. The Saluda Business Foundation obtained insurance. As a result, the board approved the allowing alcohol. 


Pontoon gets lost

A pontoon boat got loose from intense storms that hit the area on Lake Adger in April.


The boat traveled down the lake and was found hanging halfway over the Turner Shoals Dam. Emergency officials were made aware of the missing boat. When it was found, it was determined the water levels were too high to retrieve the pontoon at that point. The owners believed they had tied the boat securely and were surprised to find their pontoon swept away from its home.


When the water level had dropped to safe levels, emergency crews used another boat to pull the pontoon to safety after sitting over the dam for a couple days. 


Grant denied

The City of Saluda found out they were denied for a $150,000 grant to map the water and sewer systems. 


City manager Jonathan Cannon shared the news at the monthly Board of Commissioners meeting, Cannon said the state did not approve many grants at all during the cycle, but the city would resubmit the application later in the fall. The mapping would allow Saluda to show the locations and deficiencies in the city’s systems. After the mapping, Saluda would create a capital improvement plan for the potential repairs needed for the system. 


Fred’s closes it doors

Fred’s Incorporated CEO Joseph Anto announced to local news that the Memphis based company would be closing 159 store locations in thirteen different states. The Fred’s located at 213 W Rutherford St in Landrum was one of those to be closed.


The reason for the closing was to remove the underperforming stores, as well as stores that were nearing lease expirations. Stores with limited remaining lease obligations were looked at first by the company in order to make a decision on which stores would go first.


All 159 locations were expected to be removed by the end of May 2019. 


Campobello man sentenced in fatal shooting

A Campobello man received a 24-year prison sentence following the death of Laura Ashley Hood. Donald Anthony Partaka pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.


Partaka originally said he was shooting at what he thought was a home intruder but after investigation the Spartanburg County Police Department ruled that untrue. There was no sign of forced entry on Partakas home. Partaka admitted he had been drinking alcohol hours previous and knew Hood from work. 


Completing a dream

Mason Lassiter has always had a vision for the basketball courts at Harmon Field, for them to be a safe and inviting place for people to come and play. He took it upon himself to raise money and renovate the basketball court for his senior project, raising almost $11,000 dollars for the project.


Lassiter sadly passed away in April on 2019. His family and friends chose to continue Mason’s dream and renovate the courts in his honor.


Original plans were to refinish the floor, replace the goals, put in some benches, replace the water fountain and have a mural painted.


Mason’s family is still raising funds to make his dream come true.



Tryon receives third national accreditation

The North Carolina Department of Commerce announced that the National Main Street Center designated 46 North Carolina communities as accredited Main Street American programs for 2019. The Town of Tryon was among those selected to be apart of the Main Street America program. This was the third consecutive year that Tryon had been selected for the program.


The NC Main Street America program works across the state to inspire towns to build through asset-based economic development strategies to achieve measurable results through investment, business growth and jobs.


The Main Street program works to improve economic development while also adhering to strict guidelines of maintaining historic preservation in a community.  


In memoriam of:


George Dean Boone

Richard Haynsworth Briggs

Bill Burnette

Helena Cunningham

Hertha Flack

Ouida Sumerall George

Mary Higgins Goodwin

Kathleen R. Gross

Charles Benjamin Hegler

Mildred Elizabeth Hipp

David Jeffrey Holm

Tracy Angela Holmes

Elizabeth Dexter Know

Mason James Lassiter

Dean McClure Jr.

Tonya Rae McCraw

Grace Arledge Metcalf

Dewitt C. Miner

Marlene Joy Nelon McDowell

Sarah Cochran Orrill

Patrcia Ann “Patty” Poteat

Paul Mullet

Joseph Thomas Sevier, III

Rhonda Jolley Stacey

Mary Stroup Walters

Polly Hill Woodham

B.G. “Woody” Woodham Jr.

Johnny Lee Wright