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Ask Matt ... what was Up! Down! in 2019

2019 in Henderson County was a lot about planes, trains and automobiles and the usual reshuffling of restaurants. Many good things happened spoiled by a few misbehavers. My picks:


Thirty local eateries, pubs and tap rooms offer live music over July 4th weekend. Time to get the ol’ band back together. UP

Rep. Mark Meadows steps down as Freedom Caucus chair, backs term limits, eulogizes Elijah Cummings. Is he a renaissance man? UP

January ice storm leaves 16k powerless. News bulletin to retiree wannabees: We get polar vortexes – please rethink Florida. DOWN

Hands On! displays 17-ft long triceratops for Main Street window. Please tell the kids dino is just a silly vegan. UP

BRCC snags NASA rocket man for 50-year celebration keynote. Awesome! And the new college logo is cool too. UP

After untold false starts, inflexibility, and some alternative facts, School Board and Commissioners agree on new HHS campus design. Finally, closure for Bearcat Nation. SIDEWAYS
Fletcher auto caliper-maker Continental to lay off workers and close in 2022. The brakes failed. DOWN

NCDOT crews paint state highway numbers on downtown roads. Will cell phone texters take notice? UP

Fatz, Long John Silver’s, Iannucci’s, downtown Sol y Luna, Sonic, Cask & Wine and Sumo’s – all shuttered. But welcome Shine, Salty Landing, French Broad, 305 Lounge, Guidon, Dry Falls, and Papa Pete’s Chicken Bus. When one door closes another opens. DOWN
Asheville Airport puts in digital parking space counting system. Smart, but drivers still get squeezed on parking rates. UP

Flat Rock Playhouse finally gets new seats. Easier on the derrière but no extra legroom. UP

County Commission keeps same auditor after 4-1 vote. Umm, did we soon forget about the Wanda Greene scandal up there in Buncombeville? DOWN

City’s mayor takes hits for Hendersonville Pride Day proclamation. Council tap dances on LGBT support. Everyone’s a little out of step. SIDEWAYS
Good Friday storm floods “Cabbage Corner” (again) followed by late summer drought. Is this the new normal? DOWN

Timber axe throwing parlor and beer bar opens on Duncan Hill Road. Not your father’s bowling alley. SIDEWAYS
WLOS adopts “Malfunction Junction” as an official point in AM traffic reports. You won’t find it on a road map but we all know where it is. DOWN

Hydration manager – best volunteer job at Rhythm & Brews summer concerts. And just a few blocks to the new city public potties. UP

Chuck McGrady retires as state rep after 10 years of superb service. Whose gonna fight for craft brewers and Muddy Sneakers now? SIDEWAYS
South Carolina personal injury attorneys flood TV with insufferable ads. Too many sharks in the pool. DOWN

County pivots and finds money for city school SROs. Yea, they overthought that one. side
Watco RR to sell 19-mile rail corridor that will connect Dry Falls and Oscar Blues breweries. Bikers could dub it the “Trail of Beers.” UP

Fletcher turns 30, gussies up their main drag and gets a nifty clock tower. But time is running out on building a town center. UP

Road rage on Four Seasons Bouelvard leaves two with knife wounds. Somebody missed their morning yoga class. DOWN

Zac Brown Tribute Band wows Apple Festival crowd. What? A tribute band for a 41-year-old star? Why not? Rock on! UP

First Citizens merges with Entegra bank and BB&T joins SunTrust bank to be named – are you ready –Truist. OK, but can anyone hold a mortgage on Greenland? SIDEWAYS
TDA rents space on Broadway’s glitzy Nasdaq Tower to showcase our fair county. Little Apple takes the Big Apple. UP

Schools Supt. Bo Caldwell works a full shift overnight to give an East High custodian the day off. No rings around those toilet bowls. UP

Sears store closes while relocated Post Office keeps the mall on life support. Will this year be mall Santa’s last ho ho ho? DOWN

Commissioners call for equal water rates but Hendersonville stonewalls. Water is the City’s cash cow that won’t be traded for a handful of magic beans. DOWN

It’s no boutique hotel but after 10 years Grey Mill Apartments are underway. I’ll eat some crow on this project, but I’m chasing it with some very fine wine. SIDEWAYS
Greenville Highway’s mother of all roundabouts slows traffic for six months. Get used to it; the I-26 project will take three to five years! DOWN

After acrimonious campaign, trio of “don’t pave paradise” candidates get seats on Flat Rock council. It may take a village to heal the village. SIDEWAYS
County turns deaf ear to group opposing NC191 widening. Mills River never saw a 5-lane they didn’t like. If you build it.... DOWN

Taproot mega subdivision nixed by County. Fletcher says no to annexation. Just not ready for a thousand urban cowboys. side
For unknown reasons, judge boots lead public defender in three-year-old Stroupe murder case then allows new defense attorney to argue a secret motion in secret. Where’s the justice for Tommy Bryson? DOWN

Billy Graham never preached here but his likeness appeared on a billboard on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Did Billy’s people think this is the highway to heaven? DOWN

Etowah’s Seven Falls golf course land to be new site for a lettuce greenhouse. Maybe not the greens ol’ Arnie had in mind but an economic development trophy nevertheless. UP
A seasoned planner hired to manage fast-growing Mills River. Now can they rustle up a police force of their own? UP

Smartrac, Fletcher’s hot industry, to reap $50k a year in government incentives if they hire more workers. Quid pro quo? Sure, but legal. UP

“Straight Outta Hendo” t-shirts on sale in downtown gift shop. Hendo? Are we too chic now to bring back Hooterville? DOWN

Homeowners in flight path grumble as Asheville Airport adds more flights. Guess we’re no longer flyover country. SIDEWAYS

Columnist Tom Orr tagged as King Apple Parade Grand Marshal. Cool, but wait! I too write about people (mostly living). Put me in for next year. UP

That’s it for 2019. See y’all in the traffic gridlock. No animals were harmed writing this story.