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GOOD JOB!/NEEDS WORK ... John Mitchell's John Mitchell, Raphael's fare thee well

John Mitchell at the new Hendersonville High School. John Mitchell at the new Hendersonville High School.

Good job! The Flat Rock Playhouse got back in the saddle again when it raised the curtain on “Autumn at the Opry” on Friday night. Requiring proof of vaccination or a current negative test for Covid 19, the State Theatre of North Carolina put patrons in the seats for the first time since March of 2020. Full of energy and joy, the fast-paced tour through country music’s highlights clicks on all cylinders under the singing and picking of the gifted cast of eight musicians. (See our review on Page 8.) That wasn’t the only news the Playhouse made over the past week. On Monday, Playhouse supporters and Agudas Israel members dedicated the Leiman Garden of Remembrance, a memorial to the 6 million victims of the Holocaust. Sharon and David Leiman made the donation to create the garden. “Hopefully this poignant moment has touched you in a meaningful way,” David said at the close of the dedication, “that it leaves you with an awareness of how hate breeds distrust, fear and anger toward those different from us that ultimately leads to crimes like that of the Holocaust…. May we first remember….then never forget!”

Needs work … The unconventional campaign of Raphael Morales came to a strange end Saturday when the candidate announced he was dropping out of the City Council race and endorsing incumbent Jerry Smith and challenger Debbie Roundtree. Instead of running from his support, Smith and Roundtree embraced it, despite Morales’s criminal record for destroying artwork at a public display and his flouting of the law by driving with a revoked license. Morales’s advocacy for diversity and inclusion would have been a valuable contribution. It’s not even clear exactly why he quit, except for some references to “toxic” social media attacks from people who oppose him. A decision to run for election implies a serious commitment to serve the community. In dropping out, Morales mocks the system and leaves city voters wondering what this candidacy was all about in the first place. Maybe it was just performance art.

Good job! One of the tougher tasks on new County Manager John Mitchell’s to-do list was hiring the next John Mitchell. Under Steve Wyatt, the county manager who retired on June 30, Mitchell was trouble shooter, ambassador, mediator and coordinator of big construction projects and challenging rezoning cases. Mitchell’s search for a person with the qualifications, temperament and discipline to serve in the role ended a mile down Fifth Avenue. He tapped Laurel Park Town Manager Christopher Todd for the position, officially titled director of business and community development. “It’s a tough job to hire for because you’ve got to have expertise in planning and zoning and code enforcement, know something about building projects and have an understanding of the way government interacts and works together,” Mitchell said. In just over two years at Laurel Park, Todd has shown he has the skill and savvy to step into an important role that helps nudge the most important county projects forward.