Year in Review – 2022 – July, August, and September
Published 2:30 am Monday, January 2, 2023
Editor’s Note: Over the next two issues, we will publish our annual look back at some of the top stories, newsmakers and images that shaped the year. Following are several of the top stories published in the Bulletin in July, August and September of 2022.
Police budget issues lead to Campobello council member’s resignation
Town council member Wade Peeler abruptly resigned the day after a Campobello work session on the 2022-2023 budgets. The meeting was described by Peeler as a contentious one between himself and fellow council members and town administration.
Body of deceased male found floating in river on Fourth of July
Saluda Fire and Rescue and Tryon Fire Department were dispatched to a section of the North Pacolet River in Tryon along US 176, within a half-mile of the Twin Bridges area. Officials say a driver spotted a body in the river and called 911. The incident that resulted in the man’s death was deemed to be an accident.
Mill Spring man arrested on breaking and entering, drug charges
On July 9, Polk County deputies were performing a security check at a residence when they discovered a vehicle that did not belong to the residence owner. After contacting the owner, deputies were told that nobody had permission to be at the residence and that it was unknown who the vehicle belonged to. With permission from the resident owner, deputies entered the home and found Charles Gary Ridge II, 51 of Mill Spring, inside the home. Ridge was arrested on the scene and was transported to the Polk County Detention Center where he was held on a $25,000 secured bond.
Heavy traffic a factor in SUV fire on I-26 West
On July 15, Columbus Fire Department was dispatched to a vehicle fire on I-26 West near the 62.5-mile marker. Upon arrival, the firemen discovered a red Ford SUV fully engulfed in flames. According to officials, the SUV caught fire while it was in a stop-and-go traffic pattern due to a wreck that occurred in Henderson County.
Drugs discovered inside Polk County Detention Center
Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office discovered approximately 2.4 grams of methamphetamine and other narcotics inside the Polk County Detention Center. Deputies were able to locate the drugs with assistance from K-9 Rudik while conducting rounds during the evening hours of Friday, July 15.
Polk County ranks fourth best county to retire in N.C.
According to data from Niche.com, a website that ranks thousands of places to live based on key statistics from the U.S. Census and expert insights, Polk County ranked the fourth best county to retire in North Carolina. The statistics consider the cost of living, health care facilities, weather and climate, crime rate, and other factors that retirees might consider prior to moving.
Nonprofits announce plans to turn Saluda Grade into rail trail
A coalition of nonprofits in N.C. and S.C. announced a plan to purchase the inactive Saluda Grade railroad corridor for a new approximately 31-mile rail trail. According to the organizations, the rail trail would spur economic growth while providing new opportunities for outdoor recreation. The potential Saluda Grade rail trail would run from Inman to Zirconia.
Landrum Middle School welcomes a new assistant principal
Landrum Middle School announced David Kirkland as its new assistant principal for the upcoming school year. A fourteen-year educator, Kirkland graduated from Chapman High School and later graduated from college at USC Columbia.
Special segment featuring Tryon airs on PBS
Tryon was featured in a special segment that premiered July 28 on the PBS NC show, North Carolina Weekend. The segment, titled “A Weekend in Tryon,” provided an in-depth profile of Tryon with a focus on things to see and do in and around town. The segment was produced by Tryon resident Clay Johnson who worked with a Raleigh camera crew.
Bean named next principal at Polk County High School
Polk County Schools announced that Assistant Principal Michelle Bean has been named the 11th principal in PCHS history. She replaced Dr. Brandon Schweitzer, who was chosen as Polk County Schools’ Director of Operations.
City of Landrum accepts KFC proposal
Earlier this year, the City of Landrum received a proposal for a new Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant. According to City administrator Rich Caplan, the KFC has been approved by the City. Construction is set to begin in early 2023
In Memoriam – July
Sheila Emory Russel
Dennis A. Lockhart
Dr. Joseph Picone II
James Linwood Carter
Jerry B. Lynch
Lois Abbott Ell
Kitty J. Eriksen
Robert Glenn Burgess
Aliscia Henderson Brown Jones
Tryon man pleads guilty to first-degree kidnapping
A Tryon man pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping in Polk County Superior Court on Monday, August 1. On March 27, 2020, Polk County deputies responded to a scene after a call had been made regarding an individual finding a baby inside a black gym bag in the parking lot of the Trinity Lutheran Church, just outside of Tryon. On April 3, 2020, Hardin was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, felony breaking and entering, and felony larceny after breaking and entering.
One person airlifted after truck flips on US 74 in Mill Spring
On a Tuesday morning around 8:30 a.m., Mill Spring Fire Department was dispatched to a multi-vehicle accident on US 74. At mile marker 166, a semi-truck and a vehicle got into a serious accident. According to officials, the vehicle cut off the semi-truck causing the truck to overturn. The semi-truck then flipped over the guardrail and landed upside down in the woods. The car sustained heavy damage on the front passenger’s side. The driver of the truck suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Spartanburg Regional for emergency treatment. Westbound traffic was shut down completely for about 3 hours.
Columbus Fire Department responds to two-car motor vehicle accident
Columbus Fire Department responded to a two-car motor vehicle accident on Lynn Rd. located in Columbus, which resulted in both drivers being taken to the hospital. Lynn Rd. was completely shut down near Old Hwy. 19 for approximately an hour until officials deemed it safe to resume regular traffic patterns.
Hwy. 9 residents oppose road widening, ask for countywide support
A County Commission meeting on August 15 was dominated by discussion of the state’s plans for the widening of Hwy. 9, with commissioners and Hwy. 9 property owners unanimously voicing concerns, questions, and opposition.
Polk County Commissioners heard from a dozen property owners whose land will be affected by the road’s widening. Chairman Tommy Melton said he had visited with several landowners at their properties prior to Monday’s commission meeting and heard frustration about how the road widening will impact their homes negatively and usher in unwanted change on a rural stretch of road.
Plans announced for ALDI grocery store coming to Landrum
After months of speculation, it was confirmed this month that an ALDI grocery store is coming to the Landrum Retail Center at 1750 Highway 14 East, where Bi-Lo was most recently located in Landrum. The City of Landrum received confirmation from the owner of the old Bi-Lo building, who stated that ALDI has signed a lease to open a grocery store at this location. Renovations are being done inside the 25,000-square-foot space, which are expected to be completed by February 2023.
Upstairs Artspace celebrates reopening
The Upstairs Artspace contemporary art gallery in Tryon hosted its grand reopening Friday, August 26, celebrating its first show in a year. When the pipe burst at the Upstairs Artspace, located at 49 S.Trade St., in August of 2021, the unexpected disaster not only dampened the spirits of the local art community, as well as those of the numerous artists whose art was on display. A year later, the nonprofit gallery is back, with an art exhibit featuring the artists whose work was showing at the time of the flooding.
Greenies spoil Wolverines’ home opener with 39-7 triumph
The Christ School Greenies spoiled Polk County’s home opener, handing the Wolverines a 39-7 setback in G.M. Tennant Stadium. Inclement weather in the area pushed the kickoff to almost 8:30 p.m., but the delay didn’t seem to affect the visiting team.
In Memoriam – August
Carolyn Opal Pittman Sauve
Joseph A. Fulcher
Roger William Jensen
Tommy Joe Smith
Gilbert Whitney Bourgeois
Donna Edwards Williamson
Julie Amanda Wallace
Kathleen Aida Erwin
Motion approved to rezone 65 acres in Landrum to Flexible Review District
The City of Landrum held a public hearing to consider the rezoning of 65.64 acres within the city limits to a Flexible Review District, which would allow for a proposed subdivision consisting of 155 homes to be developed. The Landrum Planning Commission voted in favor to rezone the acreage in question from C-2 (Commercial) to FRD (Flexible Review District). The rezoning was later approved by the Landrum City Council.
Save Hwy 9 group worried state has bigger plans for rural roadway
Over 40 concerned residents and business owners, many wearing bright orange T-shirts displaying the “Save Hwy 9, Stop tax dollar waste” message, met at the Sunny View Clubhouse to share information and discuss the state’s recently revived road widening project. Community members opposed to the state’s plans to widen a 2.7-mile stretch of Hwy. 9 in Polk County say they have more questions than answers about the NCDOT’s reasons for pursuing the $12.2 million project.
Longtime Landrum family business, Williamson’s Paint Center, sells to national chain
Williamson’s Paint Center has been an anchor in the Landrum community since opening its doors in 1985. Although the paint center will remain open, it was announced that the downtown store will now be part of Spectrum Paint, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company with more than 500 employees and 88 stores nationwide.
The roots of Williamson’s Paint Center go back to 1949, said Tommy Williamson who is set to retire with the store’s transition to Spectrum Paint.
Earl Scruggs Music Festival delights bluegrass fans of all ages
Banjos, acoustic guitars, fiddles and mandolins were abundant, and the atmosphere was electric at the inaugural Earl Scruggs Music Festival held over Labor Day Weekend at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Kicking off on Friday, September 2, and wrapping up on Sunday, September 3, the festival celebrating Earl Scruggs, a North Carolina native whose innovative banjo technique transformed the course of American music, featured three days of bluegrass, Americana, and old-time music, as well as interactive workshops and craft vendors.
Angus Weaver sets Polk County career rushing record
No one in Polk County football history has rushed for more yards than Angus Weaver. The Wolverine senior became Polk County High School’s career rushing leader during the first quarter of a 40-26 loss to West Henderson, surpassing the previous mark of 3,221 yards held by Jamal Tanner.
Spartanburg man sentenced to life in prison for murder in Polk County
On September 7, Kwame Fernanders, of Spartanburg, was found guilty for a murder that took place in Columbus in March of 2016. A Polk County jury found Fernanders guilty of first-degree murder and possession of a stolen vehicle. According to court trial records and the sentencing that followed, Fernanders and two accomplices pulled up alongside Destry Horne, a truck driver from Lilesville N.C., on March 31, 2016 and then proceeded to shoot him in cold blood.
Suspect flees police on I-26, causes collision in Landrum
A suspect fleeing from police collided with an occupied vehicle at exit 1 of I-26 eastbound in Landrum. The fleeing vehicle sustained heavy damage as a result of the incident.
According to police reports, Officer West of the Landrum Police Department responded to the scene after being in contact with Polk County dispatch, who informed him that Officer Queen of the Columbus Police Department was in pursuit of a maroon-colored Jeep. While on his way to the scene, Officer West was notified that a two-car collision at exit 1 in Landrum had occurred when the suspect failed to stop at the stop sign.
After the collision, the suspect, Tyrone Javod Rendleman of Iron Station, North Carolina, fled the scene on foot. Officers were able to detain Rendleman moments later.
Polk County Wolverines thump Landrum Cardinals as rivalry resumes
If you’re going to renew a rivalry, might as well have a record-setting night in the process.
It had been five years since Landrum and Polk County last met on the football field. The Wolverines racked up almost 550 yards of total offense in rolling to a 49-7 victory in the 30th meeting in the series between the neighboring programs.
The 42-point margin of victory matched Polk’s highest in the series, equalling the 42-0 gap in the 2008 matchup.
Meadowbrook Golf Course expansion plans are subject of hearing
With plans for 96 recreational vehicle sites, walking trails, a pool, fitness center and more, the 217-acre Meadowbrook Golf Course in Green Creek could soon be taking advantage of an emerging trend of coupling RV travel with golf amenities.
Owned by the Deck family since 1963, the course has faced a challenging environment over the past dozen years and the owners had “to explore new opportunities in order to continue operating our business.”
Climb to Conquer Cancer raises $7,000 for Gibbs Cancer Center
A dedicated group of bicyclists hit the Saluda Grade to raise awareness and funds for the fight to cure cancer. Riders chose to cycle up the Saluda Grade as many as ten times during the Climb to Conquer Cancer fundraiser.
John Cash, the founder of the ride, started the annual event twelve years ago to raise money for the Gibbs Cancer Center at Spartanburg Regional Hospital.
Saluda songwriter scores number one hit on national charts
Well-known singer-songwriter James Metcalf of Saluda, a descendant of some of Polk County’s earliest pioneers, and no stranger to the area’s music scene, scored a number one hit on the Bluegrass Today National Bluegrass Gospel Charts in early September.
His composition, ”The Devil’s Not Afraid of a Dust Covered Bible,” was released in July of this year as the new nationwide single for Cowpens-based bluegrass group, The King James Boys, who themselves are no strangers to the top of the bluegrass charts. The group previously scored two other number-one hits on the chart.
In Memoriam – September
Helen Lynch Hudson
Jesse Fred McKaig
Sara Swanson Costine
Theodora N. Boehm
Ezekiel Thomas Padgett
Dennis Robbie Owensby
Helen Louise Frolich
Mildred Dorn Bodie
Dr. John Davis
Lou Ann McDade Smith
Odessa Young Sumney
Joan Ellen Douglas
Carolyn Beatrice Price
Frederick Placak, Jr.