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Lightning Top Ten: 'Mad Mad Maddie Show' canceled after one season

The support of former President Donald Trump failed to save Madison Cawthorn on May 17, when Republican and independent voters fired him after one tumultuous term in Congress.


‘Mad Mad Maddie Show’ canceled after one season

On May 17, more than seven out of 10 Republican and independent voters rejected freshman Congressman Madison Cawthorn, handing the primary victory to state Sen. Chuck Edwards. Edwards went on to defeat Democratic nominee Jasmine Beach-Ferrara by 9 points on Nov. 8 to restore the WNC congressional seat into adult hands. Edwards wasted no time signaling that his theme would be competence, not controversy. He installed respected Capitol Hill veteran Bronwyn Lance, a Leicester native, as his D.C. chief of staff and tapped successful and connected marketing company owner Chris Burns as his 11th District director. Notably, Burns is also a founding leader of the Friends of Ecusta Trail, on whose board Edwards once served. Meanwhile, as the year ended, voters were reminded of how the last two occupants of the seat seemed to always make news that had nothing to do with serving constituents in the N.C. mountains. Cawthorn’s predecessor, Mark Meadows, who resigned to become President Trump’s chief of staff, was facing potential criminal charges for registering to vote using the address of a house trailer in Macon County that he had never lived in and, according to numerous news investigations, never visited. The SBI announced last week that it had sent its investigation to state Attorney General Josh Stein, who will make the call on whether to charge Meadows with a crime. Cawthorn also heard from the Indiana law firm that represented Cawthorn when voters challenged his right to run for re-election after his involvement in the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021. The attorneys sued him for stiffing them on a $193,000 legal bill.


Cost of Covid

When Jay Kirby appeared before Henderson County commissioners in June, the Pardee UNC Health Care CEO  delivered a sobering account of the struggles brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. “Covid pulled and even tore the fabric of our nation, and even our own community at times because the fact is none of us had been through a pandemic before,” he told commissioners during a 45-minute update on the hospital’s operations and appeal for their endorsement of a $14 million loan to replenish its bank account. “We didn’t endure one Covid spike, but two Covid spikes this past year,” Kirby said. “As a result, the two waves of Covid washed over the country and really pushed nursing and wages and salaries to an all-time high that have impacted us tremendously.” As the supply of nurses dwindled, the cost soared. The hospital was forced to pay $120, then $140 and ultimately $160 an hour for contract nurses. “That’s over $320,000 a year for 2,000 hours,” Kirby said. “They were making more than our physicians.” There was little relief as the year ended. Patients suffering from Covid, flu and RSV packed Pardee doctors’ offices and urgent care centers clinics as the “tripledemic” set in.




Industrial-strength economy

6BlueRidgeCommercePartnership for Economic Development and city and county elected officials joined Oppidan Vice President Tim Brent (center) to celebrate groundbreaking of the Blue Ridge Commerce Center, an $80 million industrial/warehouse project made up of four buildings totaling 680,000 square feet on 65 acres on McMurray Road.Under a bright blue sky in October elected officials and business leaders posed with shovels in front of earth-moving equipment in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the $80 million Blue Ridge Commerce Center, an industrial/warehouse development designed to attract a manufacturing and distribution jobs to a 65-acre tract of land on McMurray Road. The outlook appeared no less sunny for other expansions of the county’s manufacturing base. As the year closed, elected leaders awaited news on two major prospects for which they had approved property tax incentives. In April the Henderson County Board of Commissioners and the Hendersonville City Council voted to authorize $11.5 million in tax incentives in an effort to lure a manufacturing company that would invest $185 million and bring 117 jobs paying at least $52,400 a year at a new plant at Berkeley Park. Then, in August, commissioners authorized $9.9 million in economic development incentives for an agriculture company that is considering locating a $260 million production facility here. Code named Project Delta, the company was looking to build a facility that would employ 227 people at an average wage of $88,000 a year plus benefits, according to county documents.