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Two town managers, the county planning director, the longtime Carl Sandburg Home superintendent, the county's tourism promotions head and a key school administration figure were among the local people retiring or moving on in 2012.
Barbara Blaine, the longtime administrative assistant to the county schools superintendent, retired in June.
"I have to honestly say, I've had some really great people support me that were as loyal and kind and everything but Barbara really takes the cake," said former schools superintendent Stephen Page. "She has been the all-purpose person and she will be missed; there are not many people in the world that can do all the things she could do."
Jim Ball announced his retirement as Laurel Park town manager several weeks ago but gave the board plenty of time to react. He plans to leave in December of 2013. A retired Army lieutenant colonel, Ball has been town manager since 1997.
Hendersonville City Manager Bo Ferguson announced in November that he was taking a job as deputy city manager in Durham after five years here. Ferguson was respected for his skill in guiding the council through decisions on complex or controversial issues but says the council deserves the credit.
"The best things I was involved in were decisions City Council made," he said. "I really defer to them when you talk about accomplishments and leadership."
County Planning Director Anthony Starr left last month to become assistant executive director at the Western Piedmont Council in his hometown of Hickory. Under Starr's guidance, planners drafted the county's comprehensive land-use plan and initiated the community planning process to govern land-use in each area of the county.
Melody Heltman, the county's first and only Travel and Tourism director, retired in April. In July the T&T board appointed her top deputy, Beth Carden, to take over.
Carden worked in parks and recreation in Cobb County in her home state of Georgia and had been director of the Transylvania County Chamber of Commerce. "I love Henderson County," she said. "It's a great place to promote."
Connie Backlund worked at parks across the country until she found a longtime home in Flat Rock as the superintendent of the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. She retired in October.
Although the poet and his literary contributions are important Backlund said when she arrived in Flat Rock that "I quickly learned that the goats are our goodwill ambassadors."
Her replacement is Tyrone Brandyburg, who was most recently superintendent of Moores Creek National Battlefield near Wilmington.
The Hendersonville YMCA brought on a new director in July.
Tim Deviese is enthusiastic about the potential for a major renovation of the 54-year-old facility. "This is probably my fourth facility project like this and I feel more confident in the eventual outcome of this one than I have any of the others," he said.