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Good job! Needs work ... Iron 9, trail construction, apple ambassador

Good job! The Iron Nine that make up the executive committee plus the many dozens of volunteers behind the scenes pulled off another successful North Carolina Apple Festival over the four-day Labor Day weekend — the second running without a fulltime executive director. It’s amazing what a team can achieve, as the saying goes, when the players don’t care who gets the credit. In interviews for the Lightning’s story about the all-volunteer leadership team, executive committee members invariably named someone other than themselves who was “doing all the work.” We were on the street plenty during the festival. We saw all of them — Mark Shepherd, Josh English, Geraldine Lamb, Vicki Gunning, Renee Elrod, Mike Elrod, John Shepherd, John Connet and Colby Creasman Buchanan — doing the work — with a smile. “It’s a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of commitment,” Buchanan said, “but if I don’t step up and do it and all these other volunteers don’t step up, who is?” Roger that.

Needs work … Sorry to the folks above … but the town’s friendly neighborhood proof-reader can’t help pointing out a large-type misspelling. It’s Parade Grand Marshal, not marshall. Please correct on next year’s stage banner.

Good job! After its first invitation attracted just two bids — one less than state law requires — Henderson County’s Ecusta Trail team got good results from a second at bat. The low bid among five opened last week was $9,877,208.57 by Young and McQueen Grading of Burnsville followed by one of $10,126,120 by NHM Constructors of Asheville. County Manager John Mitchell said the arithmetic points to success. The apparent low bid is under the amount of grant money and donations on hand to complete the first six-mile segment. “My threshold for this project has been, does it meet the amount of money that has been raised and are we going to be able to move forward?” he said. “The answer is yes.”

Needs work … Common Cause said its town hall meeting at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Tuesday night was designed to let state legislators hear directly from local residents. Hmm. If Common Cause is in the business of educating voters about issues in the General Assembly, presumably it has access to a legislative calendar. Common Cause did report that state Reps. Jennifer Balkcom and Jake Johnson sent regrets and had not heard a response from Sen. Tim Moffitt. All three had a very valid excuse: The House convened at 9:30 a.m. and the Senate at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Next time it invites legislators to a townhall at home, Common Cause ought to choose a date when legislators can attend.

Good job! This year’s Apple Ambassador, Jackie Hernandez, is a first-generation American — her parents immigrated from El Salvador before she was born — and a high achiever at Hendersonville High School. She’s president of the student body, the Keywanettes and the Spanish Club and vice president of the National Honor Society chapter. She welcomed the crowd during the opening ceremony in both English and Spanish. Jackie’s the apple of our eye, for sure.