The Transylvania Times -

Top Stories Of 2018 In Transylvania Revisited - Brevard NC


December 31, 2018

This portion of Wilson Road, between U.S. 276 and Elm Bend Road, fell away on the morning of May 16 because of torrential rains. (Times photo by Matt McGregor)

Editor's Note: The following are some of the top news stories in Transylvania County in 2018.


•The City of Brevard announced it was working toward building a replica train depot reminiscent of Brevard's original, which was torn down in the early 1980s.

As part of the newest edition to the city's bike path – which is slated to run from McLean Road to Whitmire Street parallel to Railroad Avenue – the depot would be constructed near the old train tracks and would be directly accessible from the path.

The city announced it needed the public's financial help to build the depot.

•Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney announced Jan. 2 that he would seek re-election this year. Mahoney, a 26-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, was first elected sheriff in 2006 and re-elected in 2010 and 2014.

•Roughly a year after a similar incident, residents and staff members at Cedar Mountain Home had to be evacuated because of flooding caused by a burst pipe.

Connestee Fire Rescue was called out about 11:45 a.m., Jan. 6, to the assisted-living facility off U.S. 276, according to Deputy Chief Keith Owen. When responders arrived, the evacuation was already in progress, Owen said. One of the sprinkler pipes had burst, causing a few inches of water to flood the bottom floor. With temperatures still in the 20s, the 39 residents and staff were transported initially to Pisgah Forest Baptist Church, Owen said.

•Kenn Webb was chosen as Transylvania County's new solid Waste director.

Webb, who is from Summerfield in Rockingham County, worked in the environmental services field for more than 30 years.

•On Jan. 9, the state officially accepted a property donation that would see DuPont State Recreational Forest grow by 753 acres in 2018.

The late Charles Pickelsimer gifted the parcel to the state in his will, but it did not include the area surrounding the lake, encompassing the Cascade Lake Campground.

The Pickelsimer family retained ownership of that land, and the campground remains closed for the foreseeable future.

Bill Holman, with the Raleigh-based Conservation Fund, said that Pickelsimer began discussions with the state almost 20 years ago.

"It's a long story," said Holman. "But when the Conservation Fund was working with the DuPont Corporation to begin negotiations for what is now DuPont State Recreational Forest, Pickelsimer expressed interest in putting Cascade Lake into conservation. He was more interested in a state park at that time, but he wanted it conserved in any way."

•For the Transylvania Economic Alliance, there are three main areas of focus since its creation: marketing the county to companies interested in locating here, working with existing businesses and companies, and identifying site and building availability in the county.

"It's been a challenge for Transylvania County," said Josh Hallingse, the Alliance's executive director, to meet these focus areas.

•The Transylvania Economic Alliance held a groundbreaking celebration on Jan. 19. The Ecusta Road Industrial Project would see construction and leasing of a state-of-the-art, 60,000-square-foot, multi-tenant manufacturing facility. Roughly 30,000 square feet of the facility would be leased to SylvanSport, an outdoor gear company headquartered in Brevard. A vacant 30,000-square foot shell would be available for other existing or new companies.

•On Jan. 26, the Transylvania County Board of Education voted unanimously to pass a resolution requesting that county commissioners seek a $68 million bond for school construction.

The bond referendum would be held in November during the general election.

The $68 million would be used to make extensive renovations and additions to Brevard High School and Rosman High/Middle School, which the school board determined as having the highest priority.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff McDaris said that in conversations with County Manager Jaime Laughter it was estimated that if the $68 million bond were to pass, property tax rates would increase 8.5 to 9 cents.

•Jay Coan was named Business Person of the Year during the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce. Melanie Spreen accepted the Business of the Year award on behalf of Domokur Architects.

•To pay for a proposed $31 million new courthouse, on Jan. 22 Transylvania County commissioners approved beginning the process to secure a 40-year loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The interest rate on the 40-year loan was projected at 3.5 percent, with annual payments of about $1.45 million. The potential yearly impact on the tax rate would be an increase of $0.0254 cents based on the annual payment.

The county's current tax rate was $0.5110 per $100 of value. The payment over the whole term of the loan was projected at roughly $58 million.

•Developers announced a Cook Out restaurant would be built at an undisclosed time beside the Bojangles on the Asheville Highway in Brevard, while an ALDI grocery store would be built on the former Mr. Pete's Market site beside Zaxby's.

•Local musician Travis Book and his band The Infamous Stringdusters shared the Best Bluegrass Album award at the Grammy's for their latest album, "Laws of Gravity."

Book plays upright bass in the five-piece band.


•On Feb. 2, Pisgah Pete, Brevard's own white squirrel meteorologist, predicted six more weeks of winter.

The news was a disappointment to the crowd, which included two area TV news crews, who gathered at the Blue Ridge Bakery in Brevard.

Prior to his winter prediction, Pete correctly picked the winner of the Super Bowl - the Philadelphia Eagles.

•The town of Rosman now had four Wi-Fi access points thanks to a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. The $5,780 grant, which was matched by local funds from Comporium as a community economic investment, was part of a $272,000 pilot project done in partnership with the N.C. Department of Commerce for rural Wi-Fi expansion.

•Betty Scruggs McGaha announced she would not seek another term on the Transylvania County Board of Education.

"It has been an honor to serve the needs of students, staff and community these past four years," she said. •Local Kevin Howell was inducted into the Legends of the Fly Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at The Fly Fishing Show in Atlanta, Ga.

The Legends of the Fly Hall of Fame was established in 2017 by Southern Trout Magazine as a way to recognize those individuals in the southern United States that have made significant contributions to the sport of Fly Fishing.

•While tragedies such as the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., could happen anywhere in the United States, Transylvania County Schools took numerous steps over the last several years to lessen the chances of such an event occurring here.

"That situation (in Florida) is every administrator's nightmare," Superintendent Dr. Jeff McDaris said. "It can happen anywhere."

"Safety is the number one priority," he said. "That is the top priority. We want our students to be safe and we want our staff with them to be safe."

•Developers announced a Papa John's Pizza would be arriving in Brevard in the summer at 127 N. Caldwell St.

•Jason Robert Chappell announced he would seek the Republican Party nomination in the May 8 primary for the office of Clerk of Superior Court in Transylvania County.

Chappell, who was currently serving as a county commissioner, filed along with incumbent Republican Kristi Brown for the seat.

If Chappell were to win the nomination, and be elected in November, he would have to step down as a commissioner.

His current term ends in 2020.


•The state awarded Transylvania County a $100,000 grant to support the reopening of The Greystone Inn in Lake Toxaway in the spring.

The Greystone Inn, which had been closed since 2014, was bought in October of 2017 by Ellis Mountain Management, LLC.

•Brevard College announced it would sell the five parcels of land it acquired from the late Charles Pickelsimer's estate.

"The college's Board of Trustees decided to sell all the properties acquired through the estate as we have no immediate need for any of these properties," said Brevard College President David Joyce. "We will use the proceeds to strengthen the financial position of the college, expand programs and enhance facilities."

The properties included nearly 2.85 acres at the corner of North Broad and Appletree Street in Brevard.

•David Knight, the state's newly appointed director of Outdoor Recreation, met March 6 with local industry leaders and elected officials at SylvanSport.

Knight's position was funded by the state legislature for two years.

•Property owners in the Lake Toxaway Fire Rescue district paid the lowest tax rate in the county - 4.79 cents - for those services, while those in the Cedar Mountain Fire Rescue paid the highest - 13.78 cents.

The method that determined those and six other fire tax rates in the county was partly based on the total property values in each district. Those values ranged from $55.5 million to $1.6 billion and so impacted the variance in fire tax rates that residents paid.

It meant that each fire department received differing fund amounts, resulting in varying service levels in regards to equipment, manpower and resources.

•Officials announced that when Sliding Rock in Pisgah National Forest opened with lifeguards on Memorial Day, there would be an increase in the entry fee from $2 to $3 per person.

The fee last increased from $1 to $2 in 2014.

•The North Carolina Chapter of the Wildlife Society awarded Transylvania County resident David Whitmire with the 2018 Wildlife Conservation Award for his lifetime of dedication to the betterment and preservation of wildlife in the state.

Whitmire, a co-owner of Headwaters Outfitters, had been instrumental in keeping the French Broad River clean and free of logjams, and his work had promoted stream health that benefitted the fisheries and wildlife, while making the river safer for outdoor recreation.

•The Transylvania County Fire Chiefs Association came out against the county imposing a flat tax rate to pay for fire/rescue services.

Six of the eight fire chiefs in the association backed the decision March 12 during its regular meeting.

County staff presented basically five options for county commissioners, the fire/rescue squads and the public to consider. Commissioners would ultimately make any final decision on whether they change the current method, which calculates fire tax rates based partly on property tax values in each of the eight fire districts.

•Roughly 100 students, faculty, staff and community members huddled in the cold March 14 at Brevard College morning in observance of National School Walkout, a nationwide movement that saw hundreds of thousands of students and others gather in protest of gun violence across the country.

The Brevard College event was organized by students, according to Student Government Association President Lauren Fowler.

Fowler said they were there to show their support for the 17 people who were killed in Parkland, Fla., in February.

•On March 14, a month to the date after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., the Brevard Academy: A Challenge Foundation Academy Board of Directors voted unanimously to employ a school resource officer for the remainder of the school year and coming years.

•Mission Health's Board of Directors announced March 21 that it had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to enter into discussions to join HCA Healthcare, a Nashville-based company.

Transylvania Regional Hospital is a member of the Mission Health system.

•A ribbon cutting ceremony was held March 22 for the new Transylvania County Family Resource Center, which is located opposite the library on South Gaston Street in the former elections building in Brevard. On hand were local officials and others who help victims of domestic and sexual violence. The center will act as a meeting place for victims to get the services they need.

•The Board of Commissioners approved county staff to seek interest from for-profit or nonprofit groups and others to design, construct and manage a multifamily, rental workforce housing development on county property.

The county-owned property is located behind the Animal Shelter in the Rosman area, comprising 25.1 acres, with three buildable sections of 4.3 acres, 3.7 acres and 1. 5 acres.

At least 40 rental units could be built on the property, along with parking, a playground, green space and a community garden.


•Steve Pagano's career began about 30 years ago with trail building, and at the end of April it concluded with trail building.

The past 19 years were spent as the first superintendent of Gorges State Park, which Pagano called the pinnacle of his career. Many locals and visitors consider Gorges to be the crown jewel of the North Carolina state park system.

It comprises about 8,000 acres of the Blue Ridge escarpment, receives more rainfall than anywhere else on the East Coast, and is home to a number of rare and endangered species.

•The N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) has six projects, including improvements to Wilson Road, scheduled over the next 10 years in Transylvania County.

The six projects were part of the State Transportation Improvement Program.

"We are upgrading (Wilson Road) to a 20-foot paved roadway, with 6-foot grass shoulders," said Wanda Austin, a DOT development project engineer. "It's currently 18 feet with 4-foot grass shoulders."

She said the upgrade would go along Wilson Road from the Old Hendersonville Highway to U.S. 276. Wilson Road will also be realigned with Ecusta Road, and a new bridge would be built over the French Broad River.

•Transylvania County's population grew about 2.6 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. That reflects a nationwide trend of rural counties growing and attracting younger generations of people.

The appeal to small towns, green spaces and the ability to work remotely contributed to this shift.

•Brevard College honored the late Lynwood McElroy (Class of 1939) for an estate gift of nearly $670,000 bestowed upon the college after he passed away late last year at the age of 98.

The McElroy bequest to the general scholarship fund meant the gift would go immediately toward student scholarships in the names of Lynwood P. and Mary McElroy.

•The Transylvania Board of Commissioners approved grant funding totaling roughly $50,000 that would go to the county's community centers to make improvements, including providing Wi-Fi.

•The Transylvania County Planning and Community Development Department received the 2018 Merit Award for the 2025 Transylvania County Comprehensive Plan by the American Planning Association and National Association of County Planners.

•If humankind is to survive, the solution is in the seas, not the stars.

That was one of several messages renowned oceanographic discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard delivered April 12 to a packed house at Brevard College's Porter Center for Performing Arts.

•The Board of Commissioners approved the funding for 11 school resource officers (SROs) in the county for the new fiscal year, which began July 1.

Commissioners approved $685,672 in county funds to pay for nine SROs for Transylvania County Schools and one each for Blue Ridge Community College and Brevard Academy. The money would cover salary and fringe benefits annually.

•Transylvania County government announced the evaluation of the Norway Spruce tree at the courthouse was complete and the tree would remain a fixture on the courthouse site.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the outcome of the work of our project team developing the courthouse cupula project, including evaluation of the tree," Commission Chairman Larry Chapman said. "Concerns were raised during construction planning about the health of the tree and what would be necessary regarding the landscaping in order to facilitate this important project for the historic structure. Now that we have recommendations in hand, we can make sure that both the historic courthouse building and the tree continue to be a central part of downtown Brevard."

•A majority of Brevard City Council voted to rezone property located at Rosman Highway and Nicholson Creek Road, moving the possibility of a new housing development one step closer.

Council voted to rezone the property from General Residential 6 (GR6) to Neighborhood Mixed Use (NMX), with an extension "beyond the current intent of the applicant" to allow for the expansion of NMX along the highway corridor to allow for commercial use."

As previously reported, Jim Yamin, president of Workstead Housing, Inc., initially applied for the rezoning at 746 Rosman Highway, with the intention of constructing a housing development.

•Brevard High School students walked out of school on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, to participate in the National School Walkout, a nationwide school walkout event organized to protest gun violence.

A local organization of the walkout called the United Nations of Brevard High, led by student Zeena Abdulkarim, gathered around the flagpole of Brevard High at 9:30 a.m., April 20, and Abdulkarim, wielding a megaphone, directed the students to the Transylvania County Courthouse gazebo, where up to 90 students gathered, along with others, to listen to students, such as Sara Megown and Megan Ashworth, and BHS teacher Meredith Licht speak.

"There has been an average of one shooting a month since the year 2000," said Megown at the gazebo. "It doesn't matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, I think we can all agree that no one deserves to lose his or her life, but there are students like us getting injured and killed by gun violence in schools, and we want change."

•Mike West qualified as an unaffiliated candidate by petition for the Board of County Commissioners race in November.

West thanked those who took part in his petition drive.

"Friends and family helped gather around 1,200 signatures, an unbelievable outpouring of support for an unaffiliated candidate," he said.

•Transylvania County commissioners approved another 12-month lease for the WNC Military History Museum to be housed in the old county administration building, but the suggestion was made they would not support extending the lease in the future.

On July 1, 2017, the county entered a lease agreement with the museum for a year.

•New Gorges State Park Superintendent Robert McGraw took the torch of leadership from Steve Pagano, who was the first superintendent of the 8,000-acre park, retiring recently after 19 years.

McGraw received his bachelor's degree in parks and recreation management at Western Carolina University and has worked as a park ranger at Lake Norman, an advanced ranger at Gorges for three years and then as a superintendent for a year at Mount Mitchell.


•Annette Raines, the county's former tax administrator, was sentenced in court to between five and 15 months in prison on May 3 after pleading guilty to embezzling up to $93,000 from the Transylvania County Rescue Squad between 2009 to 2016.

Judge Mark Powell sentenced Raines, who would be eligible for parole after five months.

During the time the money was embezzled, Raines was the rescue squad's treasurer.

•On May 5, 106 students walked across the stage to receive their certificates of degree in Brevard College's 165th commencement ceremony.

And while graduations can be fun and memorable, they can also be bittersweet. For many students, it was a time to say goodbye to good friends and inspired teachers. For others, it signified a giant step into adulthood.

•By a 4-0 vote, the Transylvania County Board of Education May 7 approved its local budget for fiscal year 2019, which began July 1. The budget then went to the Transylvania County Board of Commissioners.

The school system requested a current expense budget of $12,433,074, an increase of $730,631 from last year's request. The board also requested $5,537,867 for capital needs. Last year the school system received approximately $1.8 million for capital needs.

•The May primary saw Republicans David Guice and Will Cathey join unaffiliated candidates Davis Whitfield-Cargile and Mike West for two open commissioner seats in November.

Incumbent Republican Clerk of Court Kristi Brown beat the challenge from fellow Republican and county commissioner, Jason Chappell.

•On May 7, the Transylvania County Board of Education by a 4-0 vote approved Carrie Norris as the new principal for Brevard Elementary School and Scott Strickler as the new principal for Rosman Middle School, effective July 1.

•Carter Heyward was honored May 8 with the American Association of Women (AAUW) Brevard branch's "Women Who Make A Difference Award" at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

AAUW member Amye McCallie presented the award to Heyward.

"It is for an unfailing willingness to be actively engaged in creating opportunities for dialogue among all groups to bring us together to build a more just, civil and compassionate community that we recognize Carter with this award," McCallie said.

•The local school system has seen federal grant funding decrease by more than 25 percent over the past five years.

Dr. Jeremy Gibbs, chief academic officer for Transylvania County Schools, informed the Transylvania County Board of Education that federal grants have decreased from $2,921,737 to $2,145,498.

"That is just a reduction in the allotment of federal dollars," said Gibbs, who added that the relatively small change in student enrollment cannot explain the significant change in funding.

•Transylvania County survived an onslaught of rain May 16, a few accidents and some flooding.

Wilson Road was also badly damaged.

David Uchiyama, N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) communications officer, said the portion of Wilson Road was closed "indefinitely."

"Now we play the waiting game, so DOT engineers can get a good look at the extent of the damage once the water recedes," Uchiyama said. "Then the plan will be developed quickly to rebuild that stretch of road."

•Access management improvements along the Asheville Highway from Fortune Cove Road to North Caldwell Street in Brevard could include three new roundabouts.

On May 17, the public got the chance to provide input on the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposal.

The two-lane roundabouts were proposed at the intersection of Pisgah Heights, Osborne Road and Chestnut Street.

In addition to the roundabouts, 5-feet-wide bike lanes, 13-feet multi-use paths, and a 17-feet by 6-inch-wide median were proposed as amenities to the four-lane highway.

•It was announced Joe Castro, retired executive director of Smart Start of Transylvania County, would appear on the November ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for the Transylvania County Board of Education.

Castro, an experienced educator and administrator, international business executive and ardent advocate for the well-being of children and their families, submitted more than the required 1,008 signatures of registered voters and the county's board of elections has placed him on the ballot, according to a press release.

Castro was the Smart Start executive director from 2006 until his retirement in 2016.

•Transylvania County was one of 10 North Carolina local governments chosen to work to address the opioid crisis in their communities through an intensive two-year program.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the UNC School of Government made the announcement May 17.

•County Manager Jaime Laughter presented a $51.2 million general fund budget May 21, which proposed no property tax increase and operations funding that exceeded what school officials wanted.

Although Laughter's budget called for no property tax increase, Commission Chairman Larry Chapman asked that the funding of the proposed new $31 million courthouse be discussed during the upcoming budget workshops, with a tax increase likely if commissioners approved the funding.

•Keyshawn Trekell Smith, 21, was arrested on May 21 and charged with felony child abuse and first-degree murder in connection with the death of 4-year-old Keegan Gage Bland.

Bland, who was reported to have fallen May 4 from a bedroom window of a manufactured home in the Kantor Village mobile park in Rosman, died the next day at Mission Hospital as a result of the injuries.

•Brevard City Manager Jim Fatland's proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year called for a 1.5 cents property tax increase to help, among other things, pay for a new Mary C. Jenkins Community Center.

Fatland presented his $22.2 million budget May 21 during city council's regular meeting.

If approved, the city's tax rate would go from $.495 cents per $100 valuation to $.51 cents. One cent of the tax increase would be dedicated to the new center.

Fatland said the center would cost about $800,000 and would be financed over 15 years. The annual debt payment for the center was calculated at $59,721.

•At its annual donor appreciation breakfast May 23, Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood, president of Blue Ridge Community College, along with Trustee member John McCormick, announced a new annual campaign to raise $2 million by June 30, 2019, with an immediate gift presented at the event of $750,000.

A quarter of the $2 million raised would go toward 500 new scholarships for Henderson and Transylvania high school graduates from the class of 2019.

Another quarter of the funds would go toward addressing critical needs, and one-half of the funds raised, or $1 million, would fully fund the Pay It Forward Endowed Chair position started by Ellen Perstein in 2006.

•A box derby car swerved into a group of people watching a race May 27 during the White Squirrel Festival, causing several injuries.

The accident occurred at about 5 p.m. as two racers were going down North Broad Street in Brevard.

"One of the racers said he heard a 'pop' in his derby car, and said he immediately went right, striking six spectators," said Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris. "Of those six, one was treated at the scene, four went to Transylvania Regional Hospital and the fifth was flown to Mission Hospital."

•Though Transylvania County got drenched in rain, in comparison to adjacent counties it wasn't hit the hardest.

"Overall, since (May 28), Brevard has received 3.9 inches of rain, Lake Toxaway getting the most at 6.1 inches, and in Pisgah Forest, about 3 inches," said Doug Outlaw, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

•Missy West of Rosman Middle School was named Teacher of the Year at an awards ceremony held in the Rogow Room of the Transylvania County Library May 31.

Rhonda Whitmire, who presented West as a candidate, said the teachers had nominated West before, but West declined because she was too busy with other things to complete the portfolio and other requirements for the award.

West, who has taught for 26 years, also obtained her master's degree, national board certification and doctoral degree, as well as helping other teachers obtain their national board certifications.

"She's been a busy lady," said Whitmire. "She has been a true advocate of learning."

•A 2.5-cents property tax increase to help pay for the proposed new courthouse was scheduled to be approved as part of the county's 2019 fiscal year budget.

During a May 31 budget workshop, the Board of Commissioners reached unanimous consensus on the tax increase for the courthouse.

Commissioners were scheduled to approve the final budget at their June 25 meeting before the new fiscal year began on July 1.

•Superior Court Judge Robert Bell denied Phillip Michael Stroupe II's motion to move his first-degree murder trial out of Henderson County.

Bell did grant the defense motion to continue the trial from the current date of July 23.

Defense lawyers argued for additional time of anywhere from 18-24 months, saying they needed more time to prepare and that the District Attorney's Office was moving too fast for this type of case.


•A lawsuit was filed June 4 claiming the Transylvania County Board of Education, the Heart of Brevard and others were negligent in the May 27 accident during the Squirrel Box Derby races.

Tanne Trawick, one of six people who were injured during the accident, when one of the cars drove into them, was the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Another of the six, 66-year-old Gary Kendrick, died June 2 at Mission Hospital after sustaining head injuries in the accident.

Lars Grothe and Tim Robinson, who are named as the car's designers and builders in the lawsuit, were also listed as defendants in the case.

Trawick requested damages "in excess of" $25,000 to be recovered from the defendants as a result of her injuries.

•After more than 28 years in business, Earthshine Mountain Lodge closed. Thirty years ago, Marion Boatwright and Kim Provost conjured the dream that became Earthshine Mountain Lodge on Golden Road in upper Transylvania County.

•For the Rosman High School graduating class of 2018 the morning of June 9 was not just a time of celebration with friends and family at Brevard Music Center, but of reflection.

"We began our journey in the colorful world of elementary school with bright eyes and bushy tails," said Salutatorian Amber Zogg in her speech to the crowd. "It was a time filled with Pokemon trading cards, silly bands and feuds between the Carolina and Duke fans."

There were 73 graduates in the class.

•Rain threatened but never materialized at the Brevard Music Center June 8 as 184 graduates from Brevard High heard words of praise, thanks and encouragement before receiving their diplomas and recessing to hugs and congratulations from friends and family.

"Education means empowerment," Brevard High School principal Dr. Bryan Abernethy told the graduates.

•A new open-air firing range for the Brevard Police Department was being built behind the city's water treatment plant off Cathey's Creek Road, and it had two neighbors concerned.

Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris said the range would cost $50,000, which would come from the city's budget.

"The majority of the money will be used to grade the range and cut a road into the site," Harris said. "A firearms range for law enforcement is an allowable use for such a site, and our authority to have such a site as law enforcement is protected."

Harris said the site would not be a public range.

"Our intention is to have this range for our practice needs and, perhaps occasionally, for other law enforcement agencies," Harris said.

•While not exactly kidnapping, a report of a stolen goat in February on Limousine Lane in Pisgah Forest led to the arrest of an animal rights activist, 36-year-old Wayne Hsiung, on June 7 at the Asheville Regional Airport.

Hsiung was arrested for one felony count of breaking and entering, one felony count of larceny after breaking and entering, and one misdemeanor count of first-degree trespassing, with a bond of $25,000.

According to a Sheriff's Office report, the goat's owner, Curtis Burnside, went out to check the animals on his farm at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 11 and noticed the gate on the goat pen was not closed, and that a goat was missing.

When checking on the goats, Burnside reported finding a California driver's license belonging to Hsiung.

•New wayfinding signs appeared all over Transylvania County thanks to grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the county's Tourism Development Authority.

In total, 11 signs were installed at key intersections across the county. The signs point visitors to significant attractions, communities and landmarks. The new signs were modeled after the wayfinding signs installed by the City of Brevard starting in 2010.

On May 31, Rosman Middle School's Missy West (second from left) was named as Transylvania County Schools' Teacher of the Year. Emily Webb was named Teacher Assistant of the Year. (Not pictured) T.C. Henderson's Audrey Reneau was named as Principal of the Year. (Times photo by John Lanier)

•A new Holiday Inn Express was planned for the Old Hendersonville Highway in Brevard behind the Wells Fargo Bank.

Brevard City Council June 18 approved an amendment to the preliminary master plan for the site, which is called Brevard Place and currently includes the Bojangles restaurant.

Modifications to the master plan were required to allow for the proposed 51,655-square-foot, 42-foot high, four-story, 86-room hotel (with 86 parking spaces to match) to be built.

A 6,000-square-foot retail store was initially planned for the site.

Paragon Hotel Company, out of Anderson, S.C., purchased the land to build the new hotel.

•Members of the Transylvania County Board of Education expressed great concern June 18 about the absence of $276,000 in the proposed local budget that would have been designated to pay for ad


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