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GOOD JOB! NEEDS WORK ... Fire response, shooting down Bird, road repairs

Good job! Blue Ridge Fire & Rescue crews will be able to reach structure fires, downed power lines and medical emergencies quicker when it completes a 3,500-square-foot addition to its station in the Village of Flat Rock. The addition will house bays for two fire trucks and two other emergency vehicles while the current garage space will be renovated for firefighter quarters, allowing Chief Will Sheehan to station a crew there 24-7. The change will “shorten response time and improve our presence in the community,” he said. “We’ll be a little more available to the folks that live in Flat Rock.” Blue Ridge covers most of the Village of Flat Rock, with Valley Hill and Green River fire departments covering smaller parts. “We are the busiest department in the county and that doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon,” Sheehan said. “The chiefs at Valley Hill and Green River have expressed their excitement they will have additional personnel closer to them. We’ll actually shorten our response time to mutual aid calls.”

Good job! State Sen. Chuck Edwards joined around a dozen colleagues, including three high-ranking Republican senators who are primary sponsors, as a cosponsor of Senate Bill 355, which would vastly improve public records law in North Carolina. The bill would require local and state agencies to keep a record of the reasons for hiring, firing, promotions, demotions and terminations and make the information a public record. Too often, the reasons for disciplinary actions for misconduct are never made public because under state law personnel files are kept secret from the public. Legislative support for the bill is not for the faint of heart. Edwards and the other sponsors can expect heavy pressure from state employees, teachers, law officers and other public employee lobbies to oppose it. Here’s to standing strong for good public policy.

Needs work … The City Council did not give Bird a fledgling’s chance before shooting it down. The rideshare company last month asked the city for permission to place around 50 electric scooters around town. The council and its Downtown Advisory Committee said no without any formal public input or scarce open-meeting discussion. It’s a missed opportunity to offer a fun and useful amenity that would appeal to young families, tourists and — yes — adventurous retirees looking for an enjoyable way to zip from shop to shop.

Good job! The NCDOT is finally getting around to replacing a culvert that washed out a section of Kanuga Lake Road almost year ago. A heavy rainstorm in May caused the damage, which has kept the road closed.

Needs work … The DOT is only now beginning to move toward a repair of a sinkhole on the U.S. 25 Connector northbound on-ramp to I-26. That job involves a deep dig to replace pipes, DOT engineer Lonnie Watkins told the Lightning. No word on when crews will replace the collapsed culvert at Appledore Avenue, which has also been closed since last spring.