• 61°

The Year in Review – June

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 June.

Almost 46 percent of Polk children live in poverty

POLK COUNTY—According to NC Child data, 45.9 percent of Polk County’s children live in poor or low-income households.

NC Child recently released its 2020 Data Card for all counties.


Polk County has a child population of 3,412, with 27 percent of its children under age 6 and 149 live births.

In 2017, 43.7 percent of children in Polk County lived in poor or low-income homes.

Budget approved

COLUMBUS—Polk County has a new budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 with no tax increases to either property or fire taxes.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, which was done live on Facebook as well as a call-in, but no public was allowed.

Stony Knoll vandalized

MILL SPRING—The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on a break-in at the Stony Knoll Library in Mill Spring.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer J.J. Sauve said the Stony Knoll Community Center on Fox Mountain Road was broken into sometime between the afternoon hours of Tuesday, June 2 and the afternoon hours of Wednesday, June 3.

Several buildings were broken into with several doors and windows being damaged, according to reports.

Now that you know better, do better

POLK COUNTY—Hundreds of Polk County residents gathered on Sunday at 3 different events to show solidarity against racial injustice.

There was an event at Saluda’s McCreery Park that drew about 125 people, one at the Polk County Courthouse that drew more than 200 people and one later Sunday in downtown Tryon.

Columbus’ event was organized by a new organization called Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC) of Polk County, and included local law enforcement officers in attendance, speaker Rev. Eleanor Miller and an ending prayer by Polk County Commissioner and Foothills Community Chapel Pastor Paul Beiler.

Coon Dog Day canceled

SALUDA—The annual Coon Dog Day festival in Saluda has been canceled.

Saluda Commissioners met Monday and decided it was best to cancel the event this year because of the restrictions on the coronavirus.

Council members said the limits of outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people through June 26 made the festival unlikely this year. Coon Dog Day was planned for July 11.

McGourty’s closes

TRYON—McGourty’s Pub in Tryon has officially closed.

The pub was a staple in Tryon for the last several years to eat and drink. The pub included food and spirits, live music, karaoke and a weekly trivia night.

McGourty’s opened in 2013 by owners Pete and Cindy Viehman.

The pub was a lifelong dream of Pete, whose great-grandfather opened a McGourty’s Pub in Ireland in the late 1880s.

McGourty’s announced its permanent closing last week, saying they have not seen customers since St. Patrick’s Day this year. The state shut down bars in March and it could be another several weeks before they are allowed to reopen.

Recognizing Smith

COLUMBUS—Long-time Harmon Field Board of Supervisors member Benny Smith is retiring.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and recognized Smith for his 20 years of service on the board.

Polk County Commissioner vice chair Tommy Melton said Smith has ensured that Harmon Field will be enjoyed by citizens for many generations to come because of his dedication.

Talking kudzu

COLUMBUS—Polk County Commissioners spoke this week with John Vining, retired cooperative extension director, about plans for eradicating kudzu.

Commissioners met Monday and heard from Vining about a kudzu eradication board and different forms of treatment.

Vining reviewed options for eradicating kudzu, including details on chemicals. He also reviewed goats and showed before and after pictures of what goats did a few years ago on a 2-acre lot owned by the Town of Tryon.

Fabulous 4th officially canceled

COLUMBUS—This year’s Fabulous Fourth of July celebration in Columbus has been officially cancelled.

Columbus Town Council held a special meeting last week and decided to cancel the festival this year because of financial concerns.



TRYON—Recent heavy rains have caused 2 sinkholes in Tryon.

Carolina Drive next to the IGA is currently closed from a large sinkhole and Chestnut Street is also closed.

Both the sink holes occurred last week with both sink holes being directly off Trade Street (U.S. 176).


Sheriff will not enforce new order

COLUMBUS—Polk County Sheriff Tim Wright said on Thursday that his position has not changed regarding criminal enforcement of the governor’s executive orders.

“We have received numerous inquiries about Governor (Roy) Cooper’s new order requiring that masks be worn in most public places,” Wright said Thursday morning. “Our position has not changed on the criminal enforcement of these executive orders-our district attorney’s office has indicated that they will not be prosecuting business owners, and our office will not be using criminal charges to enforce these particular executive orders.”

Tax increase for Columbus

COLUMBUS—Town of Columbus residents will see a 5-cent tax increase on property values this year.

Columbus Town Council met last week and approved the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which begins Wednesday, July 1.

The budget includes a 5-cent tax increase, as all local governments are facing reduced revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in sales tax. There will be no tax increases for the fire department, or any fire department in Polk County this year as county commissioners did not approve increases for either property or fire taxes for this fiscal year.

In Memoriam

Barbara Ann Munsell

Jeanette S. Wofford


Karen Melinda Taylor

Tyler Rudy Simpson

Roy B. Greene. Jr.

Gale Forster Phillips

James Manning Cooley Sr.

Raymond Richardson

Eric Thomas Turner

Murial Juanita Hord

Forest Lee “Bud” Pace

Clara Ingram Gandy

Ruby Conner Hodge

Deborah Kay Amburn

Grady Phillip Jackson


Martha Thompson Wilson