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Wish that more people were like this guy

These days it seems that people are struggling emotionally and physically with all the turmoil around us. It is almost natural for us to take care of Number One and not concern ourselves with the well-being of others. Because of this trend, it is especially rewarding to recognize a local man for his honesty and kindness.

My husband is a contractor and works hard every day. The other night he stopped at the Country Store on the corner of Montreal Road and North Fork Road to buy some chocolate milk. He had just been to the bank and had the cash for the payroll for his men in his pocket. It was a considerable sum. He was exhausted, and after counting the exact change, he grabbed his chocolate milk and headed home, not realizing that he had left a pile of cash on the counter.

It wasn’t until much later that he realized that his cash was gone. He was frantic and searched everywhere for the money. His hope was that he had left it at the store and that the clerk might have seen the money and been honest enough to save it for him.

Next morning he ran to the store, but the clerk was not the same person, and she said it would be a little while until she could call the clerk who works the later shift. Shortly after that, Ron got a call from Brandon Haney, the evening clerk at the Country Store. He said, “I think I’m about to make your day a great deal better!”

Haney had taken the money with him to keep it safe and was delighted to return it to Ron. He would not even accept a financial reward, saying “I just did the right thing.”

The world would be a better place if more people were like Brandon and just did “the right thing”!

Stephanie Wilder

Black Mountain

A tribute to John Pellom, a town institution

I will miss my friend, Mr. John Pellom, who kept my antique watch alive for so many years. His shop on Cherry Street will have the "closed" sign on its door because John Pellom died. In his later years (and he was surely up there), most at his age were very long retired. But he kept his door open most days and greeted his friends, of which there were many, who came in to just wish him a good day and talk a while, or bring him a time piece to repair.

Mr Pellom was truly a beloved fixture in Black Mountain, a person whose presence will surely and profoundly be missed. 

The shop itself was  a  remarkable  place,  and  those  who entered for the first time  had  trouble  believing  what  their  eyes saw.  It  was almost a work  of cluttered  art; it was  hard to believe  so many  bits and pieces of clocks and parts of clocks could  balance so high in piles. And  how he  managed  to know  where  things  were was a  mystery.

He worked in a small alcove in the back of the shop and slowly emerged, sweetly smiling, to greet the customer who made the bell chime  when  the  door  opened.  

There  were  times  in  these  later years when  you came  by several times to pick  up your  repaired watch  to be able to find him  there, but I never minded. I  knew that eventually  I would find him home and  my old,  gold watch would be ticking again.

Now there is a sadness that I find quite overwhelming, knowing that  he won't  be in  the  beloved shop that was his for so many decades.  I am sad  for his family, about  whom he often talked, especially his most adored daughter. But I am also  sad  for the  people of Black Mountain  who have lost their town's own  treasure. 

Beverly Ohler

Black Mountain

Register of Deeds endorses local candidate

As Buncombe County's municipal residents head to the polls on Nov. 7, there is one candidate who stands out to me as being above the fray, and Black Mountain is lucky enough to claim him. But let me back up - over the past six years I have served in Buncombe County government, I have learned that government officials are mostly good people who want the best for their community. I have also learned that government works best when it has elected leaders who listen to their constituents concerns frequently, and place those concerns above their own desires. When our leaders listen to their constituents and provide the requisite fiscal oversight to achieve the challenging goals the town desires, in that balance is where good government exists.

Again and again I have seen Black Mountain alderman Don Collins strive to do what is best for the town of Black Mountain. The fiscally conservative approach I have seen Don take with big projects like the town square was refreshingly creative, with results that made the town look good. At his core, he respects the hard work that taxpayers do and he is sincere in his efforts to keeps costs down out of respect for his community. Don understands this challenging balance, and that is why I think he is the best choice for mayor of Black Mountain.

In this polarized nation that we live in today, we could use a lot more people like Don Collins to provide the balance our community deserves.  

Drew Reisinger
Buncombe County Register of Deeds

Disappointed at decision to site crematory downtown

Many people in this community are disappointed.  It was hoped Rick Harwood would “do the right thing” by our community and not place a crematory at 208 W. State Street.  Citizens spoke out, met with various experts, did research and signed a petition opposing a crematory at 208 W. State Street.  Regardless of anyone’s position on the crematory topic, the people who spoke against it care about our community and deserve to be heard.  The time and energy they expended resulted in concerns and issues that are not frivolous. 

It appears to me Mr. Harwood’s action of obtaining a permit for a crematory at 208 W. State Street shows a lack of respect and caring for this community and its citizens that spoke out.  He was not willing to utilize his  “Plan B” to place the crematory at the cemetery, even though the town and citizens were willing to support his “Plan B.” 

When actions do not match words, credibility and community standing are damaged.  It is a sad and disappointing time for our town citizens.  I wish there were a way to get Mr. Harwood to reconsider and place the crematory at a location further away from our downtown.

Susan Leive

Black Mountain

There are no plans to four-lane Blue Ridge Road

The town of Black Mountain recently requested that the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Agency (FBRMPO) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation consider a project for the modernization of Blue Ridge Road on the Transportation Improvement Plan for 2020-2030.  

FBRMPO director Lyuba Zuyeva told me in a recent email that “modernization … generally means adding turning lanes, improving the geometry and some intersection improvements, with the possible complete streets accommodation.   This project is not being considered for a four-lane widening cross-section.” Ms. Zuyeva further states that the “2025-2029 time frame (is) more likely” for construction if the project was actually funded in the 2020-2030 TIP.    

I think it is important for the community to understand that the proposed “modernization” project does not include four-lane expansion of Blue Ridge Road to Highway 9.   Furthermore, I am certain that the Board of Aldermen does not support any plans for four-lane widening of Blue Ridge Road to Highway No 9.    I will seek a motion to that effect at forthcoming Board of Aldermen meeting, which can then be communicated to the FBRMPO staff and board.  

Larry B Harris

Black Mountain alderman

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