Year in Review – September

Published 11:07 pm Thursday, January 2, 2020

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Hope Academy opens

Landrum welcomed a new school for children on the autism spectrum.


Hope Academy provides education for children from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Project Hope, based in Greenville, manages the academy. The organization has six other locations and has been in service for 23 years. 


Hope Academy received their accreditation from the South Carolina Independent School Association. Children are taught both on and off the autism spectrum. They have certified behavior analysts on staff, as well as individualized curriculum formed to each student’s needs.


No work on Hwy 108
The project to improve Highway 108 between the Polk County Library and Walker Street in Columbus was suspended.


At the Rural Planning Organization Transportation Advisory committee meeting,  it was shared by the NCDOT that the project would not happen until 2024. 


The committee received a letter from the NCDOT’s COO Robert W. Lewis that said effective immediately; the state will temporarily suspend preliminary engineering on the majority of projects that do not receive funding from GARVEE bonds, BUILD NC bonds or federal grants. Lewis continued by saying, NCDOT is forced to take these steps due to the impact of recovery efforts from Hurricanes Florence and Michael, rockslides, snowstorms and isolated flash floods, as well as settlement expenses related to Map Act cases.” 


Construction was originally planned to begin in 2021.


Animals seek refuge in Polk as Hurricane Dorian pounds the coast
During Hurricane Dorian, local areas were provided for coastal residents’ pets to ride out the storm.


Polk County Animal Control shared photos of cages available for animals that needed a place to stay during the storm. Along with animal control, FENCE and Harmon Field offered their stalls for horses that needed to be evacuated. Tryon International Equestrian Center offered its stalls at a discounted rate as well.


Many first responders from Polk and the Upstate helped in the emergency response areas on the coast as Dorian made landfall. 


Polk is growing
Polk County’s population has grown 6 percent since 2010, according to new data maps recently released by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.


The 6-percent increase in population ranked Polk County’s growth as the 41st highest growth since 2010 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties. The NCACC releases new maps annually that highlight demographic, economic, health and educational information from the state’s 100 counties.


Brunswick County had the most growth from 2010-2019 with 29 percent over the 9-year period. There were 28 counties in the state that decreased in population, with Bertie County being the most at -8 percent.


Locally, Henderson and Buncombe counties both grew by 11 percent. Transylvania grew by 7 percent, while Rutherford County grew by 2 percent.


The next census is being done in 2020. The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved a committee to help get more participation next year. The census will be valid as of April 1, 2020. 


Highest in the state
Polk County was recently ranked as having the highest number of resident’s age 65 and older in the state.


The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners recently released its annual data maps that highlight demographic, economic, health and educational information from North Carolina’s 100 counties. Polk County was ranked the highest county with people age 65 and older at 31 percent. 


Charters of Freedom
Polk County dedicated the Charters of Freedom in a ceremony held at Veterans Park in Columbus.


The Charters of Freedom are replicas of the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.


The dedication ceremony was hosted by Councilman and House of Flags Museum curator Robert Williamson as the guest speaker.


The newly built memorial also included a time capsule, not to be opened until 2087.


There was a presentation of colors by the Polk County Honor Guard and the National Anthem was played by the Polk County Band. There was also a thirteen-dove release.


Foundation Forward, Inc. is the organization that presented the Charters of Freedom to Polk County.  


Ranked lowest in crime
Polk County is currently ranked as having one of the lowest crime rates in the state of North Carolina. 


The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners recently released statistical data for 2019 and ranked Polk County as having the 4th lowest crime rate in the state.


Locally, Henderson County ranked 9th lowest in the state and Transylvania ranked the 12th lowest in the state. Rutherford County was ranked the 44th lowest in the state and Buncombe County was ranked the 66th lowest in the state.


In memoriam of:

James Carol (JC) Blackwell
Joseph Fred Bridgeman 

Isabel Newman Blackburn Cloud

Helen Luiten Crow

Margaret Murray Cummings

Elizabeth Griffiths Daniel
Biddie Doris Clardy Dawson

Jennie Elizabeth Kay Drummond

Nell Oliver Hall

James Erls Hendrick 

Roger Dale Hutchins

Estelle Bennett Jackson

Jessie Mae Jennings

Dorothy (Dottie) Kosiba

Thomas B. Kromer

Margaret Ann Roddy McEntire

Wyndham (Wyndy) McCall Morehead

Flint D. Nelon

Peggy Prince Orduna

Paul Dean Pittman

Mae Pruitt Raines

Carl Pickens Rogers

Carroll Pickens Rogers, Jr. 

Dennis L. Simmons

Tremayne Sutton

Pamela DuLong Sypult

William Dennis (Dee) Thompson

Joan E. “Jody” Vermont

Mrs. Marian Cox Wallace

Larry Willard