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The Year in Review-October

Over the next several issues, we will publish our annual look back at some of the top stories,

newsmakers and images that shaped the year. The following are several of the top stories

published in the Bulletin in October.

Joining forces to attack Kudzu

The Polk County Board of Commissioners has recently started a pilot project to help slow the spread of kudzu in the county.

The county’s elected officials have created a modest matching grant program to assist organizations, towns and other recognized groups with the kudzu eradication projects. The first project to be cost shared is an effort initiated by the Harmon Field Commission.

This summer’s perfect growing conditions have unfortunately helped kudzu spread along the greenway at Harmon Field. Left unchecked, these new patches of kudzu could easily get out of control.

Because of the proximity of the kudzu to the river, Harmon Field will contract with a company that will use special aquatic herbicides specifically formulated for use along waterways. Timing is critical and efforts are underway to complete the work by October 11th before the onset of frost. 

 

Phase 3 reopening

NORTH CAROLINA—North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday that he is moving the state to phase 3 restrictions on the Covid-19 virus. 

The restrictions are being relaxed for outdoor venues, movie theaters, bars and amusement parks, beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday. Executive Order 169 will continue for 3 weeks through Oct. 23. 

Phase 3 of the reopening will include that large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7 percent occupancy; smaller outdoor entertainment venues, including arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30 percent capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less; movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces at 30 percent capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less; bars may operate outdoors at 30 percent capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less and amusement parks may open at 30 percent occupancy, with outdoor attractions only. 

 

Absentee ballots in Polk

COLUMBUS—Polk County has seen more than 5 times its normal requests for absentee ballots this year. 

The county normally sends out a total of 500 absentee ballots for a presidential election and so far has had 2,873 requests this year. 

Of the requests so far, 1,153 have been from Unaffiliated voters; 1,137 have been from Democrat voters, 572 have been from Republican voters, 7 from Libertarian voters, 1 from Constitution voters and 3 from Green Party voters, according to the Polk County Board of Elections. 

Polk County Election Director Cliff Marr said on Thursday that 1,280 of those ballots have been returned so far. 

Of the returned ballots, 549 have been democrat, 522 unaffiliated, 205 republican, 6 libertarian, 1 constitution and 2 green party, according to Marr. 

 

Meet the Polk County commissioner candidates

POLK COUNTY-Next month, Polk County voters will decide who their next set of local leaders will be.

In addition to national and state level races on the ballot, county voters will be asked to select three people to sit on the Polk County Board of Commissioners during next month’s election, which will take place Tuesday, Nov. 3.

To help familiarize readers with those appearing on the ballot for those two races, we sent questions to the four candidates running for commissioner. Their answers appear in the following pages as well as in the Wednesday, Oct. 14 edition of the Bulletin.

 

Advisory issued

SALUDA—Polk County and state officials have issued a precautionary advisory for Cove Creek from Little Bradley Falls to the connection to Green River after a tanker accident spilled gasoline and diesel. 

The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources issued the advisory following the accident along I-26 on Wednesday afternoon. 

“There has been a release of gasoline due to a tanker truck accident on Oct. 21, 2020,” Polk County officials said. “At this time, you may witness a petroleum smell in the air and might notice an oil sheen on the water.” 

The truck was carrying 6,500 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 gallons of diesel. The truck wrecked on the westbound lane near mile marker 62 and caught fire. The driver was airlifted with injuries. 

 

Drug arrest

MILL SPRING—The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested 2 individuals in Mill Spring on charges of selling methamphetamine. 

Marlon Shane Ruff, 34, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell/deliver methamphetamine; conspiracy to sell/deliver methamphetamine; maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances; possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to sheriff reports. 

Jasmine Leanne Brewer, 35, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell/deliver methamphetamine; conspiracy to sell/deliver methamphetamine; maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances; possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to sheriff reports. 

 

Gridlock in Polk (Pictures in folder)

SALUDA—A tractor-trailer accident on I-26 Wednesday caused a gridlock of traffic throughout the county into the night. 

The tractor-trailer was carrying diesel and gasoline and overturned at mile marker 62 in the westbound lane. 

The truck caught fire, including the woods nearby. The call came in at 1:36 p.m. Wednesday. 

 

Life saver awards

COLUMBUS—Polk County recognized three employees this week for their lifesaving efforts recently. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday gave awards to 911 Communication Specialists James McGuinn, Janae Nelon and Miranda Martin. 

Polk County Sheriff Tim Wright and 911 Communications Director Jeremy Gregg presented the awards. 

Gregg said the three specialists saved lives recently on two separate incidents by providing live saving CPR instructions over the telephone. 

 

Polk’s early turnout is almost 50 percent

COLUMBUS—With a week left until the election, Polk County has already turned out almost half of its registered voters.

As of Tuesday morning, Polk County had cast 7,849 votes. The county has a total of 16,135 registered voters, which is 48.6 percent turnout so far.

Early voting continues until this Saturday at the Polk County Board of Elections Office, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus.

Of the total votes cast so far, 2,866 have come from unaffiliated voters, 2,734 have come from republican voters and 2,210 have come from democrat voters.

There have been 26 libertarian votes, 7 constitution party votes and 6 green party votes so far.

 

Surprise culprit

COLUMBUS—The goat thief from the 4-H Center in Columbus ended up being a bear.

The Cooperative Extension Office had four goats missing last week then another 2 went missing later from the goat pen at the 4-H Center, located off Skyuka Drive in Columbus. The cooperative extension originally thought someone had stolen the goats out of the pen to sell, but after investigation, the office now thinks a bear got the goats. The other 2 goats disappeared Thursday night from a locked shed on the property.

 

Polk up to 380 cases

POLK COUNTY—Polk County is up to 380 cases of Covid-19 and most of those cases have been in people age 25-49, according to the county’s latest statistics.

The county had an increase of 7 cases last week, up to 380 total since late March. The county has 12 deaths and cumulative hospitalizations are at 36 from the virus.

Polk County had completed 8,465 tests as of last Friday, with 337 people presumed recovered. There were 48 tests pending as of Friday. The percent positive last week was an increase of 5.8 percent over the previous week.

Of the county’s total positive cases, more than 100 have been in people age 25-49; almost 80 have been in people age 50-64; more than 60 have been in people age 75 and above and about 50 have been in people age 65-74.

 

Rescue at Little Bradley

SALUDA—Local departments rescued a person Friday from Little Bradley Falls.

The Saluda Fire Department, along with other local departments performed a high angle rescue at Little Bradley Falls, located in Saluda, who had a leg injury.

Saluda officials thanked help from mutual aid departments for rescuing the hiker.

 

In Memoriam

Phyllis Ann Bird

George Dalton Brown Sr.

Dr. David Ezra Edgerton

Olen Wesley Pace of Gepp

Theron M. Goodwin

Scott M. Hague

Carol Lynn Iglehart Mitchell

Ashton DeAnn Owens

Thomas Lee Ruegg

Teresa Gwen Steadman

Ellen Inez Sims Warren

Joe Williams

Carl Clinton Yoder