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LOCAL BRIEFS: Laurel Green, Day of Prayer, Open Arms

Laurel Green makeover under way

Laurel Green Park is closed for a few months while a contractor completes stream restoration and drainage improvement work along Laurel Green Creek and Wash Creek, a total of about a quarter mile.

The $505,000 project includes tree and brush removal, site grading and channel stabilization, improvement to drainage of the playground, stormwater improvement, trail and boardwalk construction and landscaping. Laurel Park received a $187,963 grant from the North Carolina Land and Water Fund and $317,000 from the North Carolina Legislature to fund the project, which was designed by Robinson Design Engineers and Watermark Landscape Architecture, Land Planning, and Consulting.

National Day of Prayer set for May 4

Henderson County residents will hear from speakers on topics ranging from family to first responders to education, business and drug addiction during the 72nd Annual National Day of Prayer observance from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at the Henderson County Historic Courthouse.

Sponsored by the Carolina Baptist Association, the observance will be emceed by the Rev. Ray Brickhouse, pastor at Oak Forest Baptist Church. Dr. Currie Tilley of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Baptist Association’s mission strategist, will give the welcome and opening prayer. Guests should bring a lawn chair. Here is the schedule of ceremonies and speakers:

  • Presentation of Colors: West Henderson High School JROTC under the direction of Lt. Col. Randy Lytle, senior Army instructor, and CW2 Mike Bailey, Army instructor
  • National Anthem: Debbie Lewis, singer and songwriter, First Baptist Church
  • Pledges to the American flag, Christian flag and Bible: Thai Raths, ministry intern at Horse Shoe Baptist Church
  • Flag Folding Ceremony: West Henderson High School JROTC.
  • Family: the Rev. Brandon McMinn, pastor at East Flat Rock First Baptist Church.
  • Pastors and Churches: the Rev. Clint McKnight, pastor at Horse Shoe Baptist Church
  • Education: Sheila Dale, Henderson County School Board member, Upward Christian Fellowship
  • Epidemic of Addiction: Doug Moon (in memory of Colby Dalton Moon), First Baptist Church
  • Military: the Rev. Dewayne Jeter, pastor at Contemporary First Baptist Church
  • First Responders/Public Servants: Sheriff Lowell Griffin
  • Government: the Rev. Tony Halford, pastor at Mountain View Missionary Baptist Church
  • Business: the Rev. Joe Hayes, pastor at Baker Heights Baptist Church
  • Media: the Rev. Collin Terenzini, pastor at Shaw’s Creek Baptist Church
  • Great Commission: the Rev. Brandon Harrell, assistant director, Global Baptist Mission, Revival Literature and Russian Bible Society
  • Praise & Worship Team: Holden Pace, Biltmore Church Hendersonville, campus worship pastor
  • Benediction: Dr. Currie Tilley


Pryor hones communications skills

Linda Pryor was among 15 farm and ranch women leaders who graduated from the spring session of Women’s Communications Boot Camp hosted by the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C., last week. Pryor grows corn and apples and raises beef cattle on her family farm in Edneyville.

LindaPryorLinda PryorThe intensive four-day course completed by the agricultural leaders featured hands-on sessions related to public speaking, working with the media and messaging. Graduates will use their training participate in local media opportunities, strategically support Farm Bureau’s policy work, share information with elected officials and join social media campaigns that spotlight modern agriculture.

“Farm and ranch women are tremendous advocates for agriculture, always striving to find new and creative ways to share their stories in a broad range of settings,” said Isabella Chism, an Indiana row crop farmer and chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. “I’m excited to see how the women leaders who completed this training will use their skills to benefit their communities and Farm Bureau on the local, state and national level."

This marked the organization’s 18th Boot Camp. The program has 269 graduates and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau.

Three join Open Arms board

Stacy Bishop, Dr. Gary Prechter,and Brad Snelson have adjoined the board of Open Arms Pregnancy Center, a Hendersonville nonprofit Open Arms that serves teens and women facing unplanned pregnancies with practical and emotional support, ultrasounds and referrals.

Bishop ministers through Women of Warfare, which hosts conferences, tent revivals, missions and various outreach services to those in need. She and her husband, Steve, have two children. In 2013 the couple took over his family business, Hendersonville Tents, which has been in operation since 1984. They attend Tremont Church of God.

Prechter, a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force veteran, has served the community as a physician for 27 years in pulmonary and critical care medicine with prior affiliations at Pardee, Park Ridge and Transylvania hospitals. He and his wife, Margo, founded Veritas Christian Academy in 1998. The Prechters have four children and three grandchildren.

Snelson has deep roots in the community and a long record of supporting Christian organizations and causes. He owns and operates Leicester Flooring in Hendersonville and Asheville. He lives in Leicester with his wife, Melanie, and four children. Snelson also serves as board member of Asheville-based Crossfire Ministries. As a longtime supporter of the sanctity of life both before and after birth he is enthusiastic about Open Arms Pregnancy Center’s work to offer pregnant women facing difficult circumstances encouragement and support to deliver healthy babies.

Other board members are the Rev. William Hardin, Vice Chair Annamarie Jakubielski, Chairman Bill Michael, treasurer Dianne Wagner and secretary Dotty Parker.


Walk Hendo hosts drop-in on pedestrian plan

The city’s Walk Hendo Steering Committee will host a drop-in public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, at the City Operations Center, 305 Williams St., during which anyone who lives in, works in or visits Hendersonville is invited to share their thoughts about a proposed set of pedestrian projects. An online survey will also go live that day.

The Walk Hendo Steering Committee developed the set of pedestrian infrastructure projects out of last summer’s community input sessions in collaboration with the transportation consulting firm Traffic Planning & Design.
Walk Hendo is Hendersonville’s pedestrian planning process to draft recommendations for creating safe places to walk. The project began in the spring of 2022 and is expected to be completed in the late summer or early fall of this year. The public input will be used to further develop the Walk Hendo Pedestrian Plan. Once the plan is adopted, the city and North Carolina Department of Transportation can use it to make policy choices, design programs and events and apply for grants.

United Way calls for volunteers for Days of Caring

The United Way of Henderson County is seeking volunteers for the 2023 Days of Caring, the two-day event in which the community comes together to help nonprofits.

Nearly 400 volunteers are needed to work on 38 projects at 25 nonprofit agencies on Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13. For the gardener, projects include mulching, planting and landscaping. For the handy-person, there is painting, small repairs, and construction. Food pantries and thrift stores need help organizing and stocking products.
Individuals, families, civic clubs, corporate teams and others are all encouraged to participate. Volunteers can choose half or full day projects on either Friday or Saturday or both days.

An added component to this year’s Days of Caring is a fundraiser supporting 13 local food pantries. Hunger persists in our community, with 14,000 individuals in Henderson County, including 3,480 children, experiencing food insecurity. That number represents 12.7% of the county’s population. Food costs have risen 16% since 2020 and are up 10% in 2022 alone. With the rising costs of food and other expenses, many residents are struggling to make ends meet. The fundraising effort will support 13 food pantries. Those wishing to donate can text UWCARES to the number 71777 or visit to make a gift online. Every dollar donated will be doubled through a matching gift provided by a generous donor.

To find registration instructions and the donations portal visit Volunteers who are registered online by April 10 are guaranteed a free t-shirt. Any questions may be directed to, or by phone at 828-692-1636 x1103.

Deadline near for Pardee Junior Volunteer program

UNC Health Pardee is accepting applications for the 2023 Junior Volunteer Summer Program through April 21.
The 2023 summer session begins with orientation on Wednesday, June 14, or Friday, June 23, and continues through Aug. 4. Young adults who are at least 14 years old by April 1 are eligible to apply and can complete the applications and forms found online.
As junior volunteers, students will learn the value of community service and will get exposure to the health care field. They also have the opportunity to volunteer in specialized areas such as information technology or biomedical engineering. Responsibilities include but are not limited to escorting patients and visitors to their destinations, transporting patients and visitors in wheelchairs, volunteering in the Orchards Café and assisting various other departments. Junior volunteers are expected to work at least four hours a week between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will not volunteer on weekends.
To be considered for a junior volunteer position at Pardee, applicants must be at least 14 years old by April 1, complete and return all application documents to Karla Reese by April 21, and attend the mandatory orientation meeting from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, or Friday, June 23. Volunteers must attend one of the orientations in its entirety, no exceptions.
Applicants must mail the completed application packet to Karla Reese c/o Pardee UNC Health Care, Volunteer Services – Box 2, 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville, NC, 28791.
While Pardee does not require vaccination of its employees or volunteers, it does request documentation if you are vaccinated or have an exemption. Additionally, masks are required at all Pardee facilities for staff, contractors and volunteers working within six feet of a patient in clinical treatment or procedure rooms. This applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are optional elsewhere. There is a limited number of volunteer opportunities. For additional information, contact Reese at 828-696-4240.