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GOOD JOB!/NEEDS WORK: Litter war, river battle, firefighting heroes

Good job! … Rebecca McCall is nothing if not determined and effective when she takes on a project.

Whether it’s foster children, “disconnected youth,” the daycare staffing crisis or litter, the County Commission chair plunges in the deep end and swims hard to the goal. McCall recruited Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk — no slouch herself when it comes to all-round volunteerism and being a good sport — in a new public service announcement promoting the statewide spring Litter Sweep April 15-19 and the countywide trash pickup effort on April 22. (See Page 5 for details.) McCall also directed the county engineer to report on potential solutions to our litter problem. There’s adopt-a-highway, sponsor-a-highway, report a litterbug, etc. But the easiest, simplest solution seems obvious: Don’t throw trash out to start with. It’s not a life-altering challenge like lots of McCall’s other targets but she’s right that it matters. “When you have visitors coming and when you have companies coming to build their businesses here — to see the litter on the side of the road and we’re not taking care of it is somewhat alarming,” she says.

Needs work … As much as the Lightning loves the Friends of Oklawaha Greenway and other trail promoters, we had to cringe at the announced outcome of their contest to determine how to pronounce Mud Creek’s nickname — Ock-lawaha or Oak-lawaha. Oak-lawaha won, the Friends announced on April Fool’s Day (!), by virtue of a donate-to-vote jar at Oklawaha Brewing Co. “The Oklawaha Greenway Singers may have influenced the results with their song, delivered at a greenway event on Saint Patrick’s Day at the brewery!” organizer Katie Breckheimer said. “Their song, borrowed from the Broadway musical ‘Oklahoma,’ uses the long O sound in its chorus. All of the singers prefer the long O pronunciation, and really enjoy singing it that way!” The trail friends must not talk to the natives we know, including Mark Williams, who comes from a farm family and runs AgHC, the farm-promoting agency. “As a 7th generation resident and in honor of our dearly beloved citizen and historian of Henderson County, Mr. Frank FitzSimons Sr., and his book and radio series, ‘From the Banks of the Oklawaha,’ I will forever use a short O pronunciation,” Williams wrote us in an email. “I encourage others to do the same.” We did our own research. Although we could not find an original recording of FitzSimons’s WHKP radio shows, we did listen to Episode No. 247 of Kermit Edney’s long-running WHKP series, “Where Fitz Left Off,” on “The FitzSimons Family.” Edney pronounces it Ock-lawaha. Jennie Giles, who knows more factual Henderson County history than any living person we’re aware of, confirms that it was FitzSimons — and not the Cherokee Indians — who named Mud Creek the Oklawaha because he liked the sound of it. (The word is of Creek Indian origin, Giles told us, meaning “muddy,” and is the name of a tributary that flows into the St. John’s River in North Florida.) Thus, we rest our appeal, your honor, and declare that said river — and greenway — shall remain the Ock-lawaha.

Good job! The state fire marshal recognized the progressive leadership of the city and of Fire Chief D. James Miller and his team by awarding our fire department an ISO Class 1 Fire Protection Rating, the highest possible. “Out of more than 1,200 fire departments across our 100 counties, the Hendersonville Fire Department is now one of only 28 fire departments in North Carolina that have achieved this,” North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Causey said in announcing the certification during a visit last week. “I just can’t say enough good things about the Hendersonville Fire Department.” This doesn’t just mean our firefighters are well-trained, well-equipped and speedy — dispatched by an excellent 911 center and supported by outstanding mutual aid support along all boundaries. It also means homeowners and businesses could see a reduction in their insurance premiums. Saving lives, saving property, saving money — not a bad day’s work!

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EDITOR'S NOTE: In the print version of the editorial we inadvertently wrote that Ock-lawaha won the donate-to-vote contest when we meant to write that Oak-lawaha won.