Here’s a look at some of what’s happening around the mountains:
• WLOS has been firmly planted outside the office of Asheville dentist Dr. Kathryn Philpott-Hill since she suddenly closed her dental practice called Bouche two weeks ago. Several former patients have filed criminal complaints and Asheville police are looking into them.
• Foreclosures in Cherokee County continue at an alarming rate, according to the Cherokee Scout. “A total of 79 foreclosures were filed during the first six months of 2008 at the clerk of court’s office,” the newspaper reports, and 73 filed in the last six months of ‘07.
• A group of school children recently learned what life was like during 29 A.D. during a Jerusalem Marketplace set up at Black Mountain Primary School and hosted by a group of local churches. Children from kindergarten through the sixth grade “met Jesus and discovered for themselves who He is and how He lived when he was on earth,” the Black Mountain News reports.
• The WNC Agricultural Center will soon see some $5 million in improvements after state lawmakers approved the first capital improvement spending the center has seen since 1992, the Pisgah Mountain News reports.
Work is set to start Oct. 1 on a new 12,000-square-foot arts-and-crafts building and a $2 million livestock-show area. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the center, which has a $15 million “annual direct economic impact” on the local economy, according to the newspaper.
• The Waynesville Mountaineer reports an incident it says could have come straight out of an episode of the Jerry Springer show: a “riotous fiasco” on Richland Street that involved up to 40 people “in a violent brawl that left seven hospitalized suffering among other injuries knife stab wounds and blunt force trauma inflicted by aluminum baseball bats, brass knuckles and wooden fence pickets.”
• The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible for placing an explosive device outside the Boone Wal-Mart on Sunday, according to the Watauga Democrat.
The bomb, which consisted of two butane tanks, flash powder and a fuse, was discovered by a store employee at the store’s main entrance just before 6 a.m., the newspaper reports. The fuse fizzled and nobody was injured. The store’s camera caught images of a suspect running from the storefront.
The story fails to mention an unsolved bombing of the Wal-Mart store in Sylva on Sept. 26, 2007. The explosion injured five people and was deemed deliberate by the ATF, which was offering a $10,000 reward in that case. Wal-Mart security cameras also caught images of suspects in that case.
• An 85-year-old woman known for her love of walking around Marion was hit by a vehicle and injured recently, according to the McDowell News. Orea Goode was recovering at Mission Hospitals.
• Visitation to the Thomas Wolfe House remains down 10 years after a devastating blaze ruined the building’s roof and artifacts, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. The past three years, an average of 15,000 visitors have come to tour the home memorialized by Asheville’s native son in his novel Look Homeward Angel.
• A bill to clarify the authority of N.C. wildlife officers died in committee this year, despite the efforts of state Sen. John Snow. The bill would have granted state Wildlife Resources Commission officers to have the authority to make DWI stops outside their jurisdictions, the Franklin Press reports. The legislation has its roots in a local lawsuit filed by Carolyn Mathis Parker against wildlife officer Brent Hyatt, according to the newspaper.
• Hiking the Appalachian Trail is no easy feat. Bryson Seth Young is hiking the trail with friend Brandon Burleson, and they’re filing reports with the Mitchell News. This is from Day 8:
“I dropped off my pack, grabbed the ace bandages, and turned around to meet Brandon. When we met again, he was a mile or so out and hobbling along at a snail’s pace. I wrapped his shin up and took his pack for him. I think it eased the pain a little, but definitely not much listening to his grunts. We made it without problems thankfully. I’m greatly uneasy about the remaining 25 miles into Monson. Hopefully this passes soon. May God watch over us and ease Brandon’s pain.”
• The ABC store in Woodfin is on track to pass $2.4 million in sales since opening July 19, 2007, according to the Weaverville Tribune.
• The founder of the controversial former animal shelter All Creatures Great and Small faces charges after animal-control officers seized 44 animals from a Flat Rock home she rents, the Hendersonville Times-News reports. Police plan to charge Kim Kappler with “44 counts of animal mistreatment, among 85 misdemeanor charges.
Kappler also faces the possibility of more than $4 million in civil fines that can be levied under the county’s new animal-control ordinance, according to the newspaper.
All Creatures Great and Small “was shut down in February after years of battles with Hendersonville and the state over poor conditions for animals at a shelter on Seventh Avenue.”
• And finally, high-level talks are continuing to determine the terms of a cash settlement in the decades-old controversy surrounding Swain County’s North Shore Road, according to the Citizen-Times. Federal, state and local officials have been meeting since March to decide how much the county would receive in lieu of building the road through a portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a road the federal government once promised.
Swain County wants $52 million. Meantime, state lawmakers just passed a law that allows the state treasurer to manage settlement proceeds and bars Swain County from spending any proceeds unless two-thirds of Swain voters approve, according to the newspaper.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor