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LOCAL BRIEFS: AVL soars, scam warning, Saluda music

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AVL tops 100,000 passengers in July

Asheville Regional Airport continue to show strong gains in business this year, breaking the 100,000-mark in passengers for the first time in its 56-year history.
In all, five airlines — American, Allegiant, Delta, Elite and United — served 100,998 passengers, an 11.6 percent increase over July 2016. Year-to-date, passenger numbers are up 15 percent over 2016, setting the pace for another record year.

“We have experienced three consecutive years of record passenger use,” said Lew Bleiweis, AVL’s executive director. “And the trend is continuing. It is exciting to see the airlines add service and seats in our market, and equally positive that travelers are using those services. The success is good for the airlines, good for the airport, and most importantly - very positive for our travelers. AVL continues to be one of the best connected regional airports in the U.S.”

Growth at the airport can be attributed to several factors. First, the airlines continue to add seats in the market, and these seats are being used. The planes are full and the demand for air service is outpacing the supply. Asheville and western North Carolina continue to grow as a popular destination, and the passenger numbers reflect this fact.


Pardee adds chronic disease specialist, physician assistant

Pardee UNC Health Care announced the addition of a board-certified family medicine physician and a physician assistant and two of its practices.
Dr. S. Grey Tilden has joined Pardee Adult and Family Medicine in Laurel Park, at 1824 Pisgah Drive. Tilden specializes in chronic disease management and patient wellness. He earned his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed his residency at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville. He is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. To schedule an appointment, call 828-694-8427. Visit for more information.
Michelle Flanagan, a certified physician assistant, has joined Rheumatology at Pardee, at 1027 Fleming St. Flanagan has 29 years of experience, including 12 years focused on rheumatology. She diagnoses and treats arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. She earned her degree from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Pardee Hospital Foundation has welcomed David Amsler, a retired public school administrator and development director at Wheaton College; James “Flip” Fisher, a pharmacist and owner of Whitley Drugs; and Ali Thomas, a broker associate at Beverly-Hanks & Associates, to its Board of Directors.
Amsler, Fisher and Thomas will fill seats left vacant by outgoing board members Dr. John Hill, a medical oncologist at Pardee Hematology & Oncology; Bill Meyers, a retired U.S. Navy commander; and Mark Morse, president of SELEE Corp.
The 2018 Board of Directors includes Amy Treece, chairperson; Vaughan Matthews, vice chair of development; Jimmy Chandler, vice chair of governance; Beau Waddell, treasurer; Catherine Quinn, secretary; Carol Adams, David Amsler, Deanna Ellis, Patsy Farmer Jones, Flip Fisher, Monica Gillett, Bob Heilman, Jay Kirby, Bud Leonard, Steve Orr, Jan Richards and Ali Thomas. Pardee Hospital board members Tammy Albrecht, Bill Moyer and Jack Summey serve as liaison members.


McDonald to open re-election campaign

Sheriff Charlie McDonald will kick off his 2018 re-election campaign next month with an event that features food, music and a shotgun raffle.
The Committee to Re-Elect Sheriff Charles McDonald sent out an email blast Sunday inviting supporters to the kickoff from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, at Boyd Automotive at 1875 Spartanburg Highway.
“The event will feature food and refreshments, live music and an opportunity for the Sheriff’s supporters to meet with him personally,” the invitation said. “A Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun will be raffled off with the drawing occurring at 8 p.m. This event is open to the public and all are invited to attend.”
The committee also invited supporters to join McDonald as he walks the King Apple Parade on Labor Day. Supporters were urged to gather on the parade staging area at 12:30 p.m. An email later on will give more details, the committee said.
Sheriff since he was appointed to the vacant post in March 2012, McDonald won the Republican nomination for the seat in a May 2014 primary election over Erik Summey and Michael Brown and defeated Democrat Marty Katz in the general election.

Break-in victim helps chase down burglar

A homeowner and construction workers chased down a suspected house burglar after a break-in at a residence on South Mills Gap Road and sheriff’s deputies charged the Fletcher man with multiple burglaries.
Henderson County Sheriff’s deputies took the suspect into custody without incident. Phillip Michael Estes, 24, of Duncan Creek Road in Fletcher, was charged with attempting to break and enter, possession of burglary tools and damage to personal property. Estes was placed under a $55,000 secured bond. Deputies found Estes in possession of tools that were used in his attempt to gain access to the South Mills Gap Road residence, the sheriff’s office said in a news releease.

After further investigation, detectives determined that Estes was a suspect in multiple crimes within Henderson County over the past few months. Estes was linked to the breaking and entering of a Duncan Creek Road residence on June 19 and charged with breaking and entering and larceny of a firearm. The stolen firearm was recovered by the Fletcher Police Department. Estes was also charged with another break-in on Duncan Creek Road on Aug. 2 and a third burglary on Neely Drive on Aug. 20. He was jailed under a $161,000 bond.

Grant boosts student-manufacturer link

The Economic Investment Fund of Henderson County, a part of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, has been awarded a grant of $10,000 by the Community Foundation of Henderson County.

The grant will be used to enhance the Made in Henderson County program, a coordinated effort to connect manufacturing employers and Henderson County public school students. Since its inception in 2012, Made in Henderson County has showcased manufacturing careers to over 5,000 students.

“The grant from the Community Foundation will provide needed resources to improve industrial tours, develop career readiness workshops for students, and ultimately to connect our local students with great employment and earning opportunities, “EIF Chair Chip Gould said.

EIF was founded in August 2016, with a primary focus on workforce development. The Made in Henderson County workforce program is focused on raising the visibility of manufacturing as a viable career path to ensure that students have diverse employment opportunities in the community and that manufacturers have access to skilled local talent.

Saluda Outfitters hosts free music on Saturdays

Entertainment at Saluda Outfitters’ free outdoor music venue continues through September from 4-7 p.m. each Saturday. Here’s the schedule:
• Sept. 2: The Basement Bunch from Tryon is new to the Saluda Outfitters stage. The Basement Bunch is an eight-piece band that plays what they call “substantial rock ‘n’ roll” that includes classic rock from the 50s, 60s and 70s, plus a few surprises thrown in. Bring your dancing shoes.
• Sept. 9: The duo of Bill Loftus and Ellen Trnka will perform some foot tapping blues, Americana and rock. Trnka is a talented vocalist who spent most of her career in New York City before moving to Western North Carolina in 2002. Loftus, on guitar and harmonica, hails from Chicago and lives in Flat Rock after moving back to the area from Atlanta about a year ago.
• Sept. 16: The Basement Bunch from Tryon returns with its exceptional group of musicians to bring some energetic dance music to the show.
• Sept. 23: Second Souls will return to the stage with its revolving group of area musicians. Headed by Steve Prickelmyer of Greenville, S.C., the group includes Saluda percussionist Mark Lauer, guitarist Bill Loftus and other regional musicians.
• Sept. 30: Padenrich Station brings some great Indie Folk and Americana music to the stage featuring recording artists Marie Diffee Wright and Jamie Hill of Anderson, S.C. The duo switches between guitar, mandolin, and trumpet, to bring a “mellow vibe and intimacy to their live shows that relax the souls of their audience.”
Craft beers that now include the popular Sierra Nevada, red wine and white wine, organic snacks and sandwiches are available at each music event where patrons can enjoy relaxing at a picnic table or bring their own chair. There is no cover charge at the child- and dog-friendly, smoke-free outdoor event. Locally and family owned and operated, Saluda Outfitters carries a line of top quality apparel, outdoor gear and supplies. 435 Main Street

Sheriff’s office warns of scam bill collectors

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in activity from scammers posing as representatives from local hospitals and law enforcement agencies. The scammers utilize a system to “spoof” the local phone numbers of actual organizations to legitimize their requests for personal information and financial payment.

One type of scam involves a scammer posing as a member of Park Ridge Health claiming the potential victim owes money for their services. Another recent scam involves callers posing as officers from the Hendersonville Police Department or the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office demanding payment to avoid incarceration. Even though caller ID indicates the call is originating from a known organization, it cannot always be trusted.

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Hendersonville Police Department do not contact residents by phone to demand payment or threaten arrest concerning criminal charges. If you have a question about your medical billing information or payments owed, call the medical organization’s billing number directly.

Sheriff Charles McDonald urged the public to stay alert to the red flags that can help identify a phone call as a scam. High pressure sales tactics, request for personal information, threat of arrest or demands for payment, especially those requesting a green dot card or wiring money, are signs of a scam. Please help your family members to recognize these signs and to never give out personal information in these circumstances.