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LOCAL BRIEFS: Clear Creek honor, Kiwanis Lay Leader, AVL screening

The Rev. Mark Ralls, Leone and Paul Alexander, Kiwanis President Elizabeth Moss and Ken Perkins. The Rev. Mark Ralls, Leone and Paul Alexander, Kiwanis President Elizabeth Moss and Ken Perkins.

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Clear Creek wins prestigious recognition

Clear Creek Elementary School is one of just six public schools in North Carolina to be named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
“National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” DeVos said in a message to the award winners. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that achieve very high learning standards or make notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. On Nov. 6-7, the secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with the honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“We are extremely excited to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School,” Clear Creek Principal Marcie Wilson said. “Our students and teachers are devoted to being the very best they can be every single day and could not be successful without the amazing support of our Cub community and families! We continue to strive to achieve success at CCS are honored to receive this prestigious recognition.”

TSA announces stricter screening for tablets

To ensure the security of airline passengers and the nation’s airports, the Transportation Security Administration has begun implementing new, stronger screening procedures for carry-on items at Asheville Regional Airport. The new procedures require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cell phone in bins for X-ray screening in standard lanes. TSA recommends that all travelers arrive at the airport up to two hours in advance of their flight departure time to ensure they have enough time to check in with their airline and go through security.

TSA officers will begin to ask travelers to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags and place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similarly to how laptops have been screened for years. This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image.

In standard screening lanes, TSA officers will be stationed in front of the checkpoint X-ray machines to guide passengers through the screening process and recommend how best to arrange their carry-on items for X-ray screening. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving. There are no changes to what travelers can bring through the checkpoint.

Kiwanis Club honors ‘son of encouragement’

Every church needs “the sons and daughters of Barnabas,” the Rev. Mark Ralls told the Hendersonville Kiwanis Club last week.

An unsung hero of the Bible, Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement,” sold a field of fertile farmland and gave the money to the disciples to help the needy.

Churches run on the “sons and daughters of encouragement,” said Ralls, the senior minister of First United Methodist Church. “Those are the ones who quietly fill the gap, the ones who consistently say yes in a world full of no’s, the ones who always build up in a world that we know always tries to tear down. The person we’re honoring today is a faithful, generous person, much like the son of encouragement, much like Barnabas.”

Many club members had guessed the identity of this “son of Barnabas” when Ralls called on one of his parishioners, Paul Alexander. A member of the church for 25 years, Alexander was honored as Lay Leader of the Year award, the highest honor the Hendersonville Kiwanis Club gives to a club member.

Born in College Station, Texas, Alexander served for 20 years in the Air Force, retiring as a captain. He served as a missionary in Africa and traveled on First United Methodist Church mission trips to Chile and Appalachia. A bass singer in the church choir, he also is a ringer in the bell choir and plays piano weekly for the Kiwanis Club. He is a member of the “Two or More” Sunday school class, a past chair of church craft shows and a leader of the church’s annual garage sale.

He is publisher of the Kiwanis newsletter and active in many club events including the Spelling Bee, Terrific Kids and interclub visits. He and his wife, Leone, have twin sons, Carleton and Clifford.