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THE TOP 10: Training center, Meadows, Publix

This week the Lightning is running our Top 10 newsstories of the year. We start with 10, 9 and 8.

 

No. 10. Law enforcement training center


Henderson County commissioners said no in May when Sheriff Charlie McDonald looked into a shooting range at a 300-acre site on Pinnacle Mountain, the second time the board had sided with landowners who opposed McDonald’s outdoor range idea. But by October, after commissioners had concluded there was no place in Henderson County that would be suitable for an outdoor range, McDonald had won approval of a $20 million indoor range on the BRCC campus. The 49,000-square-foot facility, now under design, will be used for tactical training that McDonald says his department needs.

No. 9. The fall and rise of Mark Meadows

If Democrats in Western North Carolina thought an ethics complaint would damage U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, they were sorely disappointed. The Office of Congressional Ethics investigated and sent to the House Committee on Ethics a complaint that Meadows had improperly paid severance to Chief of Staff Kenny West after banning West from the workplace over sexual harassment claims. Although Democratic nominee Rick Bryson accused Meadows of stonewalling the investigation voters didn’t care. Meadows won re-election with 64 percent of the vote. Four weeks later the third-term rep was elected to chair the Freedom Caucus, a Tea Party-oriented faction of conservatives with an outsized influence on the Republican leadership Congress. In his new role, Meadows has gained a measure of national prominence and landed frequent guest spots on cable networks.

8. Stuck in the mud


Hendersonville’s first Publix supermarket was supposed to be under construction by now. The struggle to win a permit to build in a floodplain has stalled the construction timetable. Publix won zoning approval from the City Council in January and completed the purchase of seven acres of land for $5.8 million in June. “Hendersonville is still on track for a late 2017 opening,” a Publix spokeswoman said in July. Publix is building the 49,000-square-foot supermarket at ground zero of the grocery war — competing with a new 72,000-square foot Ingles, a remodeled Fresh Market and Harris Teeter and five drugstores within a few hundred yards. Tom Vincent, president of the construction company building the store for Publix, said that his company had gone through the floodplain permitting process before. “The only real impact is from a time perspective,” he told the Lightning late November. “It’s in and it’s tracking. Hopefully we’ll have that shortly and we’ll be off and running.”