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GOOD JOB! NEEDS WORK ... Diverse ballot, HCA retreat, top SRO

Good job!

When filing for the first two of five municipal elections wrapped up at noon Friday, the ballot exhibited a welcome breadth of diversity, at least by the vanilla standard of Henderson County. In Hendersonville, the lineup of candidates for mayor and two council seats is one of the most diverse ever. Jerry SmithJerry SmithIt features four non-Hispanic white males — D.J. Harrington, Mike Baer, Jerry Smith Jr. and Mike Vesely — a Latino male, Raphael Morales; two white females, Mayor Barbara Volk and Chelsea Rose Walsh; and a black female, Debbie Roundtree. It’s also ideologically diverse, ranging from the progressive Morales to Walsh, who is chair of the Henderson County Republican Party. Given the growth, housing and cultural issues confronting the city, the Hendersonville election is shaping up as one of the most intriguing of recent years. Diversity kudos, too, to Laurel Park, where two women, incumbent Kristin Dunn and newcomer Debra Hinson Bridges, filed to run. Next up for qualifying, starting noon Monday, are Flat Rock, Fletcher and Mills River. Unlike those in Hendersonville and Laurel Park, council members in those three towns run from districts.

Needs work … Although it promised to maintain medical services when it bought Mission Health, HCA has been shuttering primary care practices, which tend to less profitable than surgeries and other specialties. Physicians are fleeing, too, as they cringe at the difference between nonprofit and publicly traded ownership. HCA may see unintended consequences, though. Pardee UNC Health and AdventHealth are moving to fill the gaps in primary care, which could also lead to referrals to those higher profit medical lines. Prognosis? Unintended consequences for Mission. “Obviously, Advent and Pardee are taking this opportunity as a striking one to grow and absorb primary care practices,” Ben Aiken, a primary care physician in Asheville who left HCA, told Carolina Public Press. “They are really kind of trying to position themselves as a more direct competitor, if you will, to Mission or HCA, and from the outside, it seems they are having some success in doing so.”

Good job! Hendersonville Police Officer Joreeca Dinnall received the C.C. McGee School Resource Officer of the Year award recently from the North Carolina Association of School Resource Officers. The association cited the Hendersonville High School SRO’s compassionate service, including a special case where she spotted a problem and engaged a child who had a mental health issue. “Officer Dinnall embodies exactly what kind of person and officer an SRO should be,” said Hendersonville Police Chief Blair Myhand. “She builds relationships with her students inside and outside of the classroom and represents the Hendersonville Police Department with professionalism. Anyone who interacts with Officer Dinnall can see what a big heart she has for serving others in our community.”