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Ask Matt ... about the best and worst of '13

Grey Hosiery Mill was on the docket for the City Council. Grey Hosiery Mill was on the docket for the City Council.

The Hendersonville Lightning's intrepid researcher takes a look at the best and worst of 2013.

Best new Architecture: Ken Gaylord's Biz 611 building (a.k.a. the "solar palace") on Church Street. No contest. Let's face it, we can't even gussy up a strip mall.

Worst new architecture: The Pardee-Mission Urgent Care building in Fletcher. It favors the new look of a McDonald's drive-in. But straddling the county line was a savvy move. Are the water/airport wars with Asheville finally over?

Best business recovery: Etowah Valley Golf Club. It gets new life while Arnie's and Tiger's golf links are both in the weeds. The right capital helps.

Worst name for a restaurant: Bayou Roma. It closed this year and never had a chance. Was it Cajun or was it Italian?

Best King Apple Parade entry: Pat's School of Dance. They rocked! The Korean War vets float gets honorable mention. We salute you.

Worst disappearing act: The orange barrels on Upward Road. And it only cost us $8.7 million a mile. Brace yourself for the I-26 widening project.

Best business relocation: Boyd Auto moved its dealership south to US 176. Who's next on the motor mile?

RBPeople enjoyed the city's Rhythm & Brews concert series.Worst business idea: A biomass plant in Penrose. Trains piled high with trash rolling through our county would be uncool. Memo to Transylvania Commissioners — think countywide zoning.

Best downtown event: Rhythm & Brews concerts. Who said it wouldn't fly? Boomer Nation loosens up, remembers why it can no longer hear.

Worst political joke: Last spring Rep. Mark Meadows quipped, "Cockroaches have an approval rating of nine and congressmen have an approval rating of eight." Who knew?

Best bang for the taxpayer's buck: Mr. Jingles, the 1905 Historic Courthouse cat. On the job 24/7. Works for food. Never utters political platitudes.

Worst news story: Dr. Phil TV show describing East Henderson High teenagers' collective stupidity. Tawdry exploitation.

Best no vote: School Board nixed changing the name of the Balfour Education Center to a career academy. Balfour lives.

BearcubHighest profile refuge for black bears: A persimmon tree at HHS. Go west, young cubs. Seven Falls has open land.

Best Old World design: A traffic circle for Sierra Nevada trucks. Who said our highway engineers were Neanderthals?

Worst idea for the Grey Hosiery Mill: Keeping it. If folks really love old factory buildings, let them pony-up.

Best idea for the mill: Remove it. Then build a four-block "Bohemian Quarter" with art studios, retail, apartments and a central square. Heck, even Brevard has an arts district. Summon the planners.

Worst noise: Firing up air cannons in the apple country to scare off the birds. Future retirees should instead consider Laurel Park where the loudest noise is bluegrass music and Motown covers twice a year at Jump Off Rock.

Best business anniversary: Hannah Flanagan's, the Irish pub on Main Street, marked its 20th year. Cheers.

Best lawyering: Joseph B. Cheshire V, Sam Neill's famed Raleigh attorney. Joe was named one of the state's top 10 lawyers. Some people smelled 20 to life. Neill got eight combined.

Worst new parking lot: Mills River Ingles. The lot is treeless. Come on, Mills River, you planted shade trees in your own doggie park. Your town is famous for growing things. Have Mr. Ingle spend a little green for a little green.

Best antique car show: The antique milk trucks on Main Street. Very cool. Now let's bring the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile back to town.

Best flip-flop: Jeff Miller opted for a City Council seat instead of mayor's office because he thought the mayor's job would take too much time away from his running his cleaning business. Too much "dirty laundry."

Worst gridiron year: The four county high school football teams combined won 9 and lost 36. Did our mountain boys all switch to tennis and soccer?

FlatRockParkLandscape architect Ed Lastein shows proposed improvements to the Park at Flat Rock.Best green thinking: The Village of Flat Rock went after a $475,000 state parks grant — and got it. They now own a golf course. Guess it takes a village.

Worst turnout: A dismal showing by County elite at Billy Graham's 95th birthday party. We can't all be heathens.

Best fundraiser: Zombie Escape Trail Run at camp Ton-A-Wandah. The apocalypse party was also a nice touch but won't that be the last one?

Worst name for an old gym: Henderson County Athletics & Activity Center. Dull, dull, dull. Why the old school thinking? Oh yeah, it was an old school.

Worst business plan: Hey, let's start a new home town bank where we know you by name, offer you warm chocolate chip cookies and your money growing right here in the mountains. That nag wasn't good for another lap.

Best pork barrel: Tom Apodoca got $1.4 million in seed money from the legislature for a future $14 million Edneyville forensics lab. Who said crime doesn't pay?

Worst idea for the downtown fountain: Removing "the molar" from its foundation. And hence be known as the toothless wonder? Forget about it.
File photo

Best holiday gift: A year's subscription to the Lightning. Less expensive than a fruitcake and lasts just as long.

Thanks everybody for making this column possible. Keep up the good work (and not so good work) and we'll do this again next year.