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Be There When Lightning Strikes

Politics

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Ask Matt ... about ups and downs of 2016

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. OK, 2016 wasn’t all that bad. We had new industry, a new cancer center, new schools, old schools, elections, wildfires, snakes and the construction of two supermarkets within an avocado’s throw of each other. No lack of good material. Here’s my annual pick of the best and worst.

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A foot of snow closes schools for four days in January. DOT snow plows were AWOL.

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Flat Rock Park neighbors whine about playground noise but Village Council stands its ground. Kids rule.

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Paychecks to ex-staffer put Rep. Meadows in hot water with ethics panel. It’s our money Mark, not yours.

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City announces water restrictions during drought and cuts off water to downtown’s “mountain fountain.” Who noticed?

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FernLeaf Academy opens as new Fletcher charter school. Note to teachers: FernLeaf is misspelled.

(sideways) Unaffiliated voters overtake the GOP on county rolls. We know you’re just dodging robocalls.

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Lake Osceola owner drains lake but drags feet on dam repairs. Summon the beavers.

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Million Dollar Quartet rocks the Playhouse with Carl, Johnny, Elvis, and Jerry Lee. Great balls of fire!

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Trump stumps in Fletcher but leaves huge 757 jet behind. No matter, we’ve already seen the Concorde.

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City loses yardage with Mill building preservation deal, tries a hail Mary for a hotel but the fans are leaving the stadium.

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 Laurel Park passes leash law for dogs. Cats get a pass. But no more shooting the birds in town. Tweet that.

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Bengal tiger escapes from Edneyville petting zoo. Can’t be fake news if it’s on Facebook.

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Garden Jubilee goers hit for cash by parking lot entrepreneurs. Come on folks, can’t you just sell donuts?

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Orange barrels gone at the airport interchange but they will be back for I-26 widening. Enjoy.

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Old Quality Inn morphs into cool resort with 3 hot tubs and indoor pool slide. Wheee!

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How much law could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Well, how about two Chucks. Voters elect Chuck Edwards to the state Senate and return Chuck McGrady to the House. Good luck down there at the sausage mill boys, there’s a new boss in town. But when it comes to our delegation, we’ll find out if two Chucks are better than one.

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Publix and Ingles get into a food fight to open new stores. Motor mile mentality comes to cabbage corner.

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Dirty Dancing producers snub Asheville and open studio near 7th Ave. Who were those Hollywood stars anyway?

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Apple Festival attendance tops 285,000. Crowd avoidance option: Saluda’s Coon Dog Day.

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Henson beats Copelof for State House seat. Newbie with old family name trumps former Navy officer. Thanks for your service, Captain.

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GF Linamar to build $217 million plant in Mills River. Etowah gets Domino’s Pizza. Hey, all jobs are good jobs.

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Gov. McCrory observes firefighting in Bat Cave after dealing with down east floods. Yes, he’s seen fire and rain.

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City moves Rhythm & Brews concerts to Main Street. Beer lines are shorter. Homer Simpson salutes you.

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County Schools rated 4th best in the state. Warning to Chapel Hill preppies: don’t look behind you.

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Illinois stalker assaults Kelly McGillis in her Edneyville home. Actress saved by 9-1-1 call. Memo to NRA: phones do work.

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Mills River raises taxes to pay for police contract. Attention city fathers, you’re getting too big to be outsourcing.

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Pardee, Wingate, BRCC settle into new Health Sciences Center. The City and County got the traction. High fives all around.

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First Baptist Church buys eyesore post office for more parking. Guess it couldn’t be...saved.

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County Commissioners nix mega housing project on Horse Shoe Farm. Score one for community planning.

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Serpentarium opens in Mills River. Great for kids but not a charmed life for 200 snakes.

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Local filmmaker David Weintraub rolls out doc on the 1916 flood. What have we done 100 years hence? Uh, well we paved paradise.

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Carriage Park developer files for bankruptcy. Dang, we thought the recession was over.

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National magazine taps H’ville as a top 8 retirement spot. Cool, but little ol’ Knoxville made the list too. Really.

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Weather Channel star Jim Cantore does apple country broadcast to usher in autumn. Thanks buddy but this drought’s on you!

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Seven Falls lot owners in stalemate on next steps to get their phoenix to rise from the ashes. It’s your funeral.

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County forges ahead with new HHS with not a penny for Stillwell building. Not to worry, the old courthouse was fixed in just 13 years.

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Massive 3-day search ends for Pisgah hikers. Couple, dog, guitars found safe busking on Asheville street corner. Throw the bums a dime.

Enjoy the rest of the year. If you still have shopping to do, forget the smoked sausage log. A gift subscription to the Lightning is a great idea and there is never ever any fake news.

 

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Matt Matteson writes the Ask Matt column for the Lightning.