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Ask Matt ... about snow days, R&B crowds, celebrity house

The Lightning's Matt Matteson answers readers' questions.

Q. The Social Security office on Grove Street was closed for four days the week of Feb. 10 because of snow but most businesses stayed open two or more of those days. Who made the call to close and how do their employees make up those lost days?

I contacted Sheron Craig, who manages the Hendersonville Social Security office and its 12 employees. Your question was passed to Patti Patterson, regional communications director in Atlanta, who said that the local manager makes the call after evaluating the actual weather conditions and considering other local agency closings. "In anticipation of inclement weather, employees took many of their appointments early that week and are planning to work after hours and weekends to make up any work that is needed," Patterson said.

Q. Given the success of the Rhythm & Brews concerts, has any thought been given to moving them to the Visitors Center parking lot where they have a permanent stage?
Yes, said Downtown Economic Development Director Lew Holloway, but there are a couple of reasons that location would not work. The Rhythm & Brews concerts are guided by two separate advisory committees, both of which have been looking at other venues. But the current site, the Azalea parking lot, is a central location that is better for downtown businesses than the Visitors Center. Another important factor is that Henderson County, which owns the Visitors Center lot, does not presently permit the consumption of alcohol on its property. "This," Holloway averred, "would take a little wind out of the sails of Rhythm & Brews." He also added that the committees are continually looking for ways to make R&B even better. For example, this year, as the Lightning reported two weeks ago, the city will flip the stage orientation to make better use of space.

Q. I heard that movie star and entertainer Steve Martin has a house in the area. Is that true?
I am told that Martin's place is in the Silverstein area of Transylvania County. Steve often plays banjo with the Steep Canyon Rangers when they have a concert in the area. Over the years, we have had a number of celebrities to make their home in our mountain community. Perry Como kept a summer home in Saluda. One often repeated story has it that when the old crooner came to stay here in the mountains to get away from the Florida heat, he came to town wearing a floppy hat and asked the folks in Saluda to simply call him "Mr. C" so as not to draw attention. I believe that the residents respected his privacy and gave him space to enjoy his stay. Perry Como died in 2001.