Year in Review – August

Published 9:18 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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Jake Johnson joins the House

Polk County native Jake Johnson becomes a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. 


Johnson is the first state representative from Polk County in 54 years. He was sworn in after the resignation of Cody Henson and would finish the remainder of Henson’s term. Johnson plans to run again in 2020 to remain in the House.


Many Polk political members were ecstatic to see him go to the state house and represent Polk in a great way.


Polk County Schools rated second in the state

Independent reviewer, Niche, rated the Polk County School System as the second best school system in North Carolina. 


In the running were more than a hundred other schools, both public and private, in the state.


“We are always pleased to receive notification that Polk County Schools has earned high ratings from an independent reviewer like Niche,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene. “The success we achieve results from the tremendous effort of our staff, hard work by our students and support and involvement from our families and community. Polk County is a special place.”


Polk was ranked the number one school district in the state in 2018 and has received high placement for many years. Niche also ranked Polk County Schools as the safest school district in North Carolina. 


Greene was proud of the accomplishment and thanked the district as a whole because without them Polk would not have been able to achieve such great ratings. 


Building a dream
Raymundo and Elia Chavez of Columbus became the newest homeowners of a Habitat home.


The Chavez family worked alongside Habitat volunteers for over 400 hours to build their new home before closing and receiving the keys.


After receiving the keys, Raymundo said, “We are grateful to the community for helping us start a new and better life.”


Previously, the Chavez family was renting a two-bedroom trailer that was far too small for their family of six.


Habitat has been making a difference in Polk County and Landrum since 1983. Since the merger of Thermal Belt Habitat with Henderson County Habitat in 2017, four Polk County and Landrum families have partnered with Habitat to build their Habitat home.


Hogback Mountain Road gets paved
After 25 years, the Town of Tryon has agreed to repave Hogback Mountain Road.


Tryon Town Council met and heard from Tryon Street Supervisor Jody Morse, who said the town received three bids from paving contractors to pave from Embury Street to where the state takes over the road maintenance. 


Under investigation
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation was investigating the Mill Spring Volunteer Fire Department for possible misappropriation of funds.


“The SBI was requested by the District Attorney to investigate the Mill Spring Volunteer Fire Department,” said SBI Public Information Director Anjanette Grube. “The investigation is looking into the possible misappropriation of funds.”


The SBI could not give further details of the investigation while the investigation is still ongoing. The department is currently under non-compliant status from the State Fire Marshal’s Office as well. In April, the department was placed on non-compliant state from not meeting the state’s minimum requirements for a certified department. Deficiencies include that the chief officer did not complete a course; that the department was low on personnel; that the station had no equipment inventory and that the station had no maintenance records, according to the OSMF. 


Blessings Box comes to Landrum
The members of Jackson Grove United Methodist church introduced the Blessings Box, located in the parking lot of the Landrum Veterinary Hospital.


The intention of Blessings Box is to be a helpful source to those that need it in the community. The box held a variety of items that would be helpful in a home setting like food and household items. Community members are encouraged to take what they need and leave what they have to spare. Church members check on the box to see what the box is lacking and what needs to be replenished.


The box is open 24/7 and is available whenever anyone may need it. 


Arena name to remain
Allegations of sexual misconduct surface about George Morris. 


After allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor came out on former equestrian George Morris, many people wondered what would happen to the George Morris Arena at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).


TIEC announced they would not remove the Olympians name from the arena that many refer to as the Tryon Stadium. TIEC commented they named the arena and rings out of respect to the families and individuals who provided foundation leadership for the equestrian sport in Tryon.


TIEC commented they did not agree with the matters at hand, but Morris is known worldwide as one of the best equestrian riders there has been and he had a large role in bringing horse sports to the Carolinas. 


Dredging Lake Adger
Dredging of Lake Adger has finally begun.


Polk County has been working with the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC) for a couple years, with the most recent schedule for the dredging to be done by Memorial Day.


The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and heard from commissioner Myron Yoder, who has been working closely with the project.


“We finally put a scoop in Lake Adger,” Yoder said during commissioner comments.


Yoder said temporary dredging has started at the lake marina. “If you buy a $100,000 Cadillac, you take care of it,” Yoder said. “That’s how I feel about the lake. I think it’s one of those things down the road that will be beneficial.” 


Polk adds new Commissioner
David Moore was approved and sworn into office as the new Polk County Commissioner in the absence of Jake Johnson, who had made his way to Raleigh in the State House.


Moore will serve the remainder of Johnson’s term and will finish out in 2020. Moore will then have the opportunity to file for election for the same seat in the 2020 race. 


New policies on purchases
Polk County employees and their spouses can no longer bid on surplus real property auctioned by the county.


The Polk County Board of Commissioners met and approved new policies and procedures for the sale of surplus real property and foreclosed properties. Commissioners were originally considering not allowing county employees, their spouses, children, parents or grandchildren to purchase county-owned surplus property, but commissioners decided that would be too hard to enforce.


The final decision was that county officials, employees and their spouses be prohibited from purchasing surplus property. 


Lemons go along way
A group of local young students had a vision to provide birthday boxes for underprivileged children in the county.


The result was an astounding success. The children set up a lemonade stand outside of a Taste of Olives and Grapes one Friday evening during Tryon’s 4th Friday event in downtown Tryon. The children raised over $500 along with collected a large bin of food and birthday decorations to donate to Thermal Belt Outreach.


Most of the children have raised money previously through lemonade stands. The kids got together and agreed all children deserve birthday parties.


The boxes included cake mix, frosting, birthday candles, plates, a birthday banner and other birthday surprises. 


In memoriam of

Rosemary Bartholomew

Carla Praytor Bradley

Diane Tinsley Bristol 

Neil O’donnell Bultman

Grover “Allen” Gargus III

Nicholas Koluch

Nancy Sue Craven Leister

Eleanor Louise Reirson Lever

Peggy Ann Tipton Lyons

Donald Gene “Don” Millenbruch

Delore Jean (Abrogast) Myhre

Marion Clyde “Gene” aka “Cowboy” Niblack

James Britton Oliver

Alfred Moore Page

Clause William Painter

Hazel Spears

Josephine (Jo Jo) Spina

Lisa Ann Strange

Julia Kenneth “Kenn” Webb

Sgt. Roderick L. Wilkins

Timothy Wayne Wilson

Jeanette Dillon Zinselmeier

Peter Bland

Stephen R. Shaffer

Mildred Louise Odel

Virginia Roberts Morris

Mary Sue Lynch

Peggy Lyons

Loretta Pack 

Stephen Rogers Shaffer

Kenneth Carlyle Day 

Sidney “Marty” Kearse

Billy Ray Hammett

Casey Pitts Bishop

Tristan Bee Burnett

Charles Robert Loescher

Hoyle Belton Jackson

Tracie Elaine Conner

Robert F. Gowan

Julianne Kennett Heggoy

Carly Harmony Carter

Margie Sims Frady

Wilton Dwight Young