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Ask Matt ... about new Flat Rock cafe

Q. I noticed that Dean's Deli in Flat Rock has a new name. What's the deal with that?


Dean's Deli, a popular Flat Rock eatery for many years, was sold last fall to a Pittsburgh couple, Dustin and Shannon Zlacki, as the Lightning reported. The new owners are taking the restaurant in a slightly new direction. The new name is Village Cafe and Pub. The couple is adding a beer and wine bar and offering a new evening menu in addition to lunch. They also plan to open an ice cream parlor in the space next door.

Q. I understand that the Register of Deeds is the only contest in the primary runoff election in Henderson County. Why can't the county commissioners make this an appointment? Didn't we do that with the tax collector position?
True. In 2005 our General Assembly passed a local bill to eliminate the "elected" position of Tax Collector. Terry Lyda was tax collector for 32 years until he retired in 2008. Lyda was the last Democrat elected countywide in a partisan election. Tax collector duties now fall under County Assessor Stan Duncan. About half of the counties in the state have a similar arrangement of merged functions.
So why not appoint the Register of Deeds? According to Professor Charles Szypszak (pronounced "zip-zack") of UNC's School of Government, the office has always been elective. The first office in the state was opened in 1665, some 124 years before statehood. As settlers arrived, leaders recognized they land registration to record land grants from the British. Local government cannot appoint a Register of Deeds without changing the law. "The office has been specialized and elective throughout the state's history," says Szypszak. "Lawmakers value the political influence that registers have, based on their connection to the public — something not normally seen with appointed officials." Electing the position, Szypszak added, is the norm throughout the United States.
Current Henderson County Register of Deeds Nedra Moles said some of her peers across the state from time to time have questioned why election of the position can't be a non-partisan, as judges are, but the best answer anyone can come up with is that it has always been that way. "There is little room for politics in this office," said Moles. "We go by the book and we follow the state's rules. We are basically a warehouse for records — of course, there is much more to the job than that."