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Ask Matt ... about sheriff's sale of unclaimed items

Q. I read in a recent issue of the Lightning where the Sheriff posted a notice for 162 unclaimed items. Where did they get them all?

For those who missed it, the paper ran a legal ad for lawnmowers, rifle cases, laptops, power tools, bolt cutters and even a banjo! Some of these items were abandoned and turned in to the Sheriff’s Office. Others could have been recovered stolen property where the owner could not be identified. If you are the owner and you can produce a serial number, sales receipt, etc., you can get your item back.
There will not be a fire sale on lost or stolen items. The disposition of recovered property is governed by law. After the deadline for claims, our Sheriff’s Office will turn over all unclaimed items to a third party, These guys clean and test the items and destroy anything fake (like knock-off handbags). The merchandise is then added to other items from across the country. Similar to eBay, bidding is done online. gets a cut and Henderson County gets the net sales receipts. Eventually proceeds from the sale of items, again by law, ends up in the coffers of our county schools. has some pretty good deals on name brand jewelry, fashions, cars and more. Maybe we’ll see that banjo.

Q. The county jail is only about 15 years old and now we are spending almost a million dollars to replace the roof. Why so soon?

If you look at the County’s Detention Center’s roof from the air you get an idea just how massive it is. When it was built in 2001 the roof had a typical 10-year warranty during which time there were some repairs made that were covered. But the warranty expired five years ago and according to County officials the roof has simply reached the end of its useful service life. The roof is flat and supports heavy HVAC equipment, which is a hindrance to roof replacement and adds to the cost. The good news is that there will be no similar equipment on the roof of Henderson County’s new Health Sciences Center.

Q. Can the traffic light at Asheville Highway at Haywood Road change more often? During rush hours, traffic backs up on both roads and creates a dangerous condition.

I pitched the question to NCDOT traffic engineers, who said that U.S. 25 (Asheville Highway) has twice the traffic volume as N.C. 191 (Haywood Road) so any adjustments would only be minimal during peak times. This is an awkward intersection and the existing road alignment and lack of adequate right-of-way limits the potential for physical road improvements. Nevertheless, the NCDOT says technicians will review the signal settings.