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Year in review-November

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 November.

Polk tops 400 cases

POLK COUNTY—Polk County had another 25 cases of Covid-19 this week which pushed the county at over 400 cases. 

As of Friday, the county had 405 cases, an increase of 25 since last week. 

The county has tested 9,040 people and there are 361 presumed recovered. There were 16 tests still pending as of Friday. 

There have been 12 people in the county who have died from the virus. 

 

Hurricane knocks out power

FOOTHILLS—The foothills area saw the remnants of Hurricane Zeta on Thursday and Friday, knocking out power and internet to thousands of people. 

At press time, there were still 4,780 customers in Polk without electricity according to Duke Energy. At one point on Thursday morning, all but four Duke Power customers in Polk were without power. 

There were also REA customers without power on Thursday. Many customers were still without power and Internet on Friday. 

The storm came early Thursday morning with high winds and rain. 

Duke Energy said the storm knocked out power to about 200,000 customers across a few states. 

 

Polk voted 60 percent early

COLUMBUS—Polk County had record numbers this year with early voting and mail-in ballots, totaling 60 percent of its registered voters prior to Election Day Tuesday. 

The county had already seen a little over 60 percent of its registered voters before Tuesday with 9,694 votes cast early. Polk has 16,135 registered voters. 

Polk voters mailed in 2,497 votes and had 7,197 people vote in-person at the board of elections office early. 

 

Republicans sweep Polk

POLK COUNTY—Polk County Republicans swept the county for Tuesday’s election with all 3 republican county commissioner candidates taking the seats. 

Myron Yoder, the current board chairman was high vote getter with 6,784 votes; Andre Overholt was 2nd high vote getter with 6,712 votes and David Moore was 3rd with 6,197 votes, according to unofficial results Tuesday night from the Polk County Board of Elections. Yoder and Overholt won 4-year terms while Moore won a 2-year term. 

Incumbent Democrat Ray Gasperson lost with 5,570 votes, which was 627 votes behind Moore. 

Polk County also heavily favored republicans in federal and state races, including for President Donald Trump over challenger Joe Biden. Trump took Polk County by more than 3,000 votes with 7,643 votes, compared to Biden’s 4,485 votes. 

 

Gibbs retains school board seat

POLK COUNTY—Danielle Edwards Gibbs retained her seat on the Polk County School Board Tuesday night by 1,357 votes. 

Gibbs was appointed following the death of former chairman Geoffrey Tennant and beat Robbie Price during Tuesday’s election. 

Gibbs received 5,130 votes compared to Price’s 3,773 votes, according to unofficial results Tuesday night by the Polk County Board of Elections. 

Current chairman of the board Rick Covil was the high vote getter with 7,941 votes, representing the Tryon Township. Gibbs represents the Columbus Township. 

 

Heavy rains

TRYON—Just after high winds knocked out power for much of the area, flooding occurred this week, closing several roads. 

Polk County Schools were on a 2-hour delay Thursday because of flooding in roads, including main roads, such as Highway 9. 

The area received 4.47 inches of rain from Nov. 9-Nov. 12, which is more than 2 inches what the area normally receives during the month of November, according to the National Weather Service. 

 

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Voter turnout    

POLK COUNTY—Polk County likely had its highest voter turnout for last Tuesday’s election with the Saluda Township turning out almost 80 percent of its registered voters. 

Polk County as a whole turned out 75.39 percent of its voters with 12,326 votes cast out of 16,350 registered voters. During the last presidential election in 2016, Polk County turned out 68 percent of its registered voters, which was down from previous presidential elections. 

This year’s turnout was much higher than in 2016 at 68.09 percent as well as in 2012, when 72 percent of Polk County’s voters turned out. The 2008 presidential election saw a 71 percent voter turnout in the county. 

 

Polk’s DA disciplined

POLK COUNTY—Polk County’s District Attorney Greg Newman was disciplined last week over how he handled a rape case in 2015. 

A grievance committee gave Newman a 3-year stayed suspension on Friday. 

The North Carolina Bar accused Newman of failing to notify an alleged child rape victim’s parent of court updates and of making false statements about the 2015 case. 

The Henderson County case in 2015 involved the indictment of James Sapp, where he was charged with the rape of a child. The case went to superior court, where Sapp was given a plea deal for a misdemeanor, according to court records. 

The complaint against Newman was that the family claimed they wanted to be present during the hearing. 

 

Go Fund Me established

TRYON—There is a Go Fund Me page set up for the trucker who wrecked on I-26 Oct. 21 and was severely burned. 

The driver, Charlie Culbreth, is a lifelong resident of Polk County and currently resides in Tryon. He is currently at the Augusta Burn Center in the ICU and is in critical condition. 

He is a U.S. Navy veteran. 

He has a wife, Sally, and 2 daughters, Hannah, age 4, and Eve, age 18 months. 

Culbreth was driving a tanker truck on Oct. 21 West on I-26 near Saluda when the truck overturned and spilled gas, caught on fire and exploded. He suffered severe 3rd degree burns to more than 40 percent of his body, mainly to his face, head, back, arms and hands, according to Sally. 

 

Polk County High School moves to remote learning

Polk County High School will be moving to remote-only classes for students through the start of the Thanksgiving break.

Students will attend classes virtually on Nov. 19-20 and Nov. 23-24.

School and district officials understand that this schedule change is inconvenient for families, but this decision was made to ensure the safety of students and staff.

 

Manager resigns

SALUDA—Saluda City Manager Jonathan Cannon has resigned his position.

Cannon has been with the city for 5 years and was its first manager. Prior to Cannon, the city had an administrator form of government.

Cannon submitted his resignation on Tuesday after accepting a job in Oregon.

He will continue to work until Dec. 22, with his resignation effective on Dec. 31.

 

In Memoriam

Margaret Mears Ballew

Heinrich “Henry” Hans Christmann

Robert Cummins Dockendorf

Gillian Drummond

Edgar Whitson Sherrill Edwards

Richard David (Pud) Foster

Wendy Forrester Garner

Guy Walter Greaves 

Greville Brent Lee Haslam

JD Haynes

Rachel A. (Jack) Ketchum

Lucy Clem Mauney

Carol Lynn Iglehart Mitchell

Robert (Bob) Morgan

Betty Murray

William Jerry Ormand

Ashton DeAnn Owens

Bobby Jerry Searcy