An Unusual Year
Last updated 12/30/2013 at 9:43am
2013 was a fairly unusual year for Transylvania County. Probably the biggest story of the year was the proposed biomass plant in Penrose. Shortly after plans for the plant were announced, hundreds of residents attended numerous meetings to express their opposition to the plant. As a result of that opposition, as well as changes to the plans originally presented to county officials and a lack of specific information from the developers, the county commissioners voted 3-2 to impose a moratorium on the proposed plant. The project came to a halt a few weeks ago when Ken Allison, who owns the airport property on which the proposed plant would have been built, decided not to renew his agreement with the developers.
Another story that drew great interest from readers was the case involving the estate of Charles Pickelsimer. After several weeks of testimony, the jury unanimously decided to uphold the 2012 will of Pickelsimer’s that had been contested by his children. As a result, significant amounts of money will go to several local charities and Brevard College. The final amounts and disposition of the Cascade Lake property have yet to be announced.
Possibly the most unusual story of the year with local ties was the vandalism of Howard’s Rock at Clemson University. The story of the vandalism of the iconic rock at the university’s football stadium was carried by ESPN and other national news organizations. Three local youth were apparently involved in chipping off a piece of the rock. The story took another turn, however, when school board member Michael Rogers was charged with one felony count of conspiracy and one felony count of obstructing justice. The case has yet to go trial and the piece of the rock is still missing.
While crime in Transylvania County is fairly rare, there were some unusual twists there too. Michael Owen was arrested and charged with the murder of Edna Glaze, who disappeared 15 years ago. Some $25,000 in jewelry was stolen from Love’s Jewelry just prior to closing one afternoon. The owners of the day care Where Dreams Come True, Monika and Edwin Robinson, were charged with providing false information to obtain additional state and federal funds. As a result of the investigation and charges, the day care closed, leaving dozens of parents scrambling to find day care services for their children.
The weather this year has been somewhat extreme. Torrential rains throughout the year inhibited several events, such as the Fourth of July, caused some farmers to lose half of their crops and placed emergency personnel in danger when they tried to rescue drivers and tubers from fast rising and flowing rivers. By Dec. 11, the county had already received a record 104 inches of rain for the year. (The weather is also probably responsible for the rare appearance of a White Snowy Owl.)
Some of the news this year was not unexpected. To the delight of animal lovers, the county opened its new Animal Shelter just outside Rosman. The opening showed not only a modern, inviting facility but also the power of collaboration of government and concerned individuals. On the other hand, the closing of Glen Cannon Country Club was sad news. The club had been facing financial difficulties for several years and was left with no alternative but to file for bankruptcy. With its closing, combined with the purchase and closing of Camp Straus several years ago, the two private recreational venues at which many Transylvanians played and swam are no longer operational.
The four B’s – bluegrass, beer, bikes and Brevard College – continued to move forward. After being nominated with Steve Martin for a Grammy the previous year, the Steep Canyon Rangers won the Grammy for Bluegrass Album of the Year on their own in 2013. Oskar Blues and Brevard Brewing Co. increased production and sales at a hefty pace. The Assault on the Carolinas had 1,000 riders register for the early spring ride and a study conducted by Brevard College students revealed that the ride has a significant economic impact on the community. Many riders said they stayed for the weekend and the majority of them said they plan to ride here again. The Brevard College cycling team won another national championship. And the college recorded its highest enrollment and largest incoming class since it became a four-year institution.
With all the unusual events that occurred this year, it’s encouraging some positive trends continue.