The Year in Review – August
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 August.
Lake Adger being lowered
LAKE ADGER—Lake Adger is slowly being lowered by 4 feet over the next week.
Polk County Government officials alerted the public Monday that Duke Energy is doing work down river and needs the lake lowered by 4 feet, from 911 feet to 907 feet.
Northbrook will gradually take the level of the lake down over the next week until Sunday, Aug. 9.
Saluda water rescue deployed to coast
SALUDA—Some members of the Saluda Fire and Rescue Department headed to the eastern part of North Carolina this week to assist with Tropical Storm Isaias, which turned into a Category 1 hurricane by Monday evening.
Saluda’s Type 1 Swiftwater Team was deployed as part of the Henderson County Technical Rescue Team.
The Henderson County Technical Rescue Team consists of Henderson County Fire departments, the Henderson County Rescue Squad, Henderson County Emergency Management, Henderson County EMS. This week’s deployment included personnel from the Henderson County Rescue Squad and Emergency Management, as well as personnel from the Mountain Home Fire Department, Blue Ridge Fire Department, Saluda Fire Department, Hendersonville Fire Department and the Henderson County EMS.
There were 16 personnel from the area who left to standby in Edenton in anticipation of the effects Isaias may have on the state.
Fire at Ashley Meadows
COLUMBUS—An early morning fire has displaced 8 families at Ashley Meadows in Columbus Wednesday.
The Columbus Fire Department and all Polk County fire departments as well as the Landrum Fire Department initially responded around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The Polk County Rescue Squad, the Polk County EMS, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Emergency Management and American Red Cross also responded.
The fire was in the 200 building and when Columbus firefighters initially responded, an upstairs apartment was fully engulfed and the fire was already blowing through the roof, according to Columbus fire reports.
Water quality violation at TIEC
MILL SPRING—The North Carolina Division of Water Quality notified Tryon International Equestrian Center this week of violations.
MountainTrue followed up on a public complaint of sediment flowing into White Oak Creek from TIEC. Video was taken included muddy water flowing into the creek, which is a tributary of the Green River.
MountainTrue’s Green Riverkeeper Gray Jernigan reported the issue to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources and inspector visited the site.
DWR inspected the area on July 29, where according to MountainTrue, they witnessed contractors flushing sediment into the center’s stormwater drainage system and failures in TIEC’s stormwater management system.
The violations from DWR included 4 water quality violations. Failure to resolve the violations quickly and remediate damage could result in penalties up to $25,000 per day for each violation, according to the state’s notice.
Earthquake felt in foothills
FOOTHILLS—Polk County and Landrum residents should have felt a good shake Sunday morning as the most powerful earthquake to hit North Carolina in more than 100 years was felt in the area.
A 5.1 magnitude earthquake occurred near Sparta, which is near the Virginia border, about 130 miles away from Polk County.
The United States Geological Survey said the earthquake occurred at 8:07 a.m. Sunday.
Robbery at BP
COLUMBUS—The Columbus Police Department is searching for a man suspected of a robbery at the Roadrunner Market (BP) this week.
Eric Daniel Rodriguez, 24, of East Flat Rock, is wanted for felony common law robbery, felony breaking and entering of a building and misdemeanor second-degree trespassing, according to police reports. The Columbus Police Department has taken out arrest warrants on Rodriguez, with Columbus Police Chief Scott Hamby saying additional charges are possible.
SALUDA—Some Saluda residents are asking city officials to control noise downtown.
The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday and heard from a couple of people who say loud music is a problem downtown, some saying it’s “unbearable.”
Saluda Outfitter owner Ryan Griffin said he is limited and has tried to be accommodating with music. He said his concert venues continue to grow and he has been mindful to control the noise. The music normally stops by 9 p.m. and he has studied decibels to control the noise.
Getting back to business
Polk County High School and Polk County Middle School are preparing to welcome students back to campus for the first time since March, with the new school year set to begin August 24.
While the year may look differently than others, PCHS Principal Dr. Brandon Schweitzer and PCMS Principal Todd Murphy are both excited to see their students and plan to do their best to serve their community.
Polk’s latest COVID-19 death in Tryon zip code
POLK COUNTY—Polk County added its 6th death recently from COVID-19 with that death being in the Tryon zip code, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The latest death makes 2 of the county’s deaths in the Tryon zip code and 4 of the deaths in the Saluda zip code.
Polk County has had 197 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Polk County health officials. The latest update was made on Friday, which included 20 new cases since the last Friday.
Columbus arrests 2
COLUMBUS—The Columbus Police Department arrested 2 men over the weekend for trying to pass counterfeit money at McDonalds.
Justin Travis Rose, of Mill Spring, was arrested and charged with felony attempt to obtain property by false pretenses, possession of counterfeit money, uttering a forged instrument, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, carrying a concealed gun and no insurance, according to Columbus Police reports.
Joe Yeahquo, of Green Creek, was arrested and charged with felony attempt to obtain property under a false pretense, possession of counterfeit money and uttering a forged instrument, according to police reports.
Harry Dallara grand opening
TRYON—The grand opening of the Dallara Baseball Field at Harmon Field in Tryon will be on Saturday, Sept. 5.
The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. at the baseball field and continue until 2 p.m.
The Harry Dallara statue and the bas-relief plaque honoring the Tryon All Stars will be unveiled with remarks by sculptor David Deming.
Scherping name Asst. Superintendent of Polk County Schools
David Scherping likes solving problems. And helping others.
Interest in the first led him in the fall of 1999 to leave his job as a middle school science and social studies teacher at Saluda School to become a computer technician for all Polk County Schools. With the new century approaching and concerns about the year 2000 wreaking havoc on computer systems, Scherping wanted to help the district battle the Y2K bug, then assist with the growing use of technology in classroom instruction.
COLUMBUS—Polk County is now receiving almost $1 million for COVID-19 expenses with the first round being $587,186 and the second round being $402,210 for a total of $989,396.
Of the total, 25 percent is going to the county’s 3 towns of Columbus, Saluda and Tryon based on population.
County commissioners met last week and discussed the additional funding, officially accepted the funds and approved inter local agreements with each of the towns.
The towns will now be receiving $247,349 of the county’s total funding, which has to be strictly used for COVID-19 expenses. Saluda officials said last week the city will spend its portion for expenses incurred by the police department.
Losing a leader
POLK COUNTY—Polk County residents and government are mourning the loss of former county commissioner Ted Owens.
Owens, 83, died on Tuesday morning after being taken to Mission Memorial Hospital over a week ago with COVID-19 symptoms, according to county officials.
Owens served as the Columbus Mayor and later for several terms as Polk County Commissioner, including serving as chairman.
TRYON—One residential community is excited to find out after minimal internet service, Charter Spectrum will be bringing service to more than 20 homes.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and heard from commissioner Ray Gasperson, who worked with one resident and Charter.
Tucker Cox, from Stoney Ridge, spoke to commissioners about the effort.