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Hendersonville voters back building height restriction
Tryon Daily Bulletin  November 13, 2006

Hendersonville voters agreed by a wide margin to keep a building height restriction at 64 feet.
A proposal was made to raise the building height restriction to 80 feet, but 68 percent of the city’s voters rejected the plan.
The 64-foot height is roughly equivalent to a five-story building.
The issue was put to a referendum after city council earlier this year moved to raise the height limit 16 feet.
The election result was a victory for Save Our City, a grassroots group that advocated keeping the height rules unchanged to preserve the appearance of the quaint, historic downtown.
“We definitely want to thank the citizens of Hendersonville, the ones who voted for it and the ones who voted against it,” said Bob Martin of Save Our City. “It was important that the numbers come out. Now I think it’s time for calmer heads to prevail.”
A proposed condominium project called Sunflower Residences sparked the building-height controversy. The proposed building’s average height would reach 79 feet, although it would remain lower than the historic Henderson County Courthouse since the condominium is on a slope. The city previously set the building height to make sure no buildings would exceed the height of the courthouse.
The 64-foot rule exempts churches, government buildings, cultural performing arts centers and hospitals, but allows no other exceptions.
“We’ll just make that work,” said Mayor Greg Newman, who voted to raise the height. “What we’re hoping is that people will still be interested in building downtown, and if that’s the size that restricts them, then they’ll just have to go with that.”
A group of people remained busy Wednesday night counting ballots at the election headquarters in Greenville County.
The county had to count by hand at least 600 absentee ballots that voting machines failed to count.
With the races for lieutenant governor and superintendent of education too close to call, anxious candidates were waiting for the last of Greenville County’s results.
The county also had problems with five of its approximately 1,000 voting machines. Some of the machines had loose connections and another had power source problems. The repairs to the machines required a technician from Election Systems and Softare, the company that makes the voting machines, to drive from Charleston on election night.
Mike Nifong, the Durham County District Attorney who faced a political battle over his handling of the Duke University lacrosse rape case, has won reelection.
Nifong, a Democrat, received 49 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. He defeated opponent Lewis Cheek, a county commissioner who lent his name to an effort to unseat Nifong through gubernatorial appointment. Cheek received 39 percent of the vote.
Nifong’s win sets the stage for a war in the courtroom. The lacrosse defense team is a formidable collection of lawyers, and they are likely to soon clash with Nifong over issues such as a controversial lineup procedure in which the accuser picked out the three indicted lacrosse players. Nifong plans to continue the case.
“The case should be decided by a Durham County jury,” he said Tuesday.
Democrats appeared to strengthen their hold on the North Carolina legislature Tuesday, picking up as many as five seats in the House, which would give them a 68-52 majority. Senate Democrats were looking to pick up two seats, which would give them a 31-19 edge.
However, House speaker Jim Black was clinging to a seven-vote lead in Mecklenburg County.
Black, has been at the center of scandal, appeared to be the only Democratic incumbent in trouble in the House. State and federal probes have looked into Black’s legislative and campaign activities, and his involvement in the creation of the state’s lottery. Black has not been charged with a crime, but investigations into those activities have led to criminal charges against five people.
Democrats have an advantage in North Carolina’s congressional delegation for the first time since 1994.
North Carolina voters helped tip Congress to the Democrats on Tuesday, sending home the state’s most powerful members, Republican Rep. Charles Taylor of Brevard, and soundly rejecting a high-profile GOP challenger to Democratic Rep. Brad Miller of Raleigh.
In the state’s other closely watched race, incumbent GOP Rep. Robin Hayes of Concord led Democratic school teacher Larry Kissell of Biscoe by fewer than 500 votes in the 8th Congressional District. All 100 precincts had reported, but the results were unofficial and a thousand provisional ballots had not been counted.
Gaston County Schools suspended a Forestview High boys’ soccer player and assistant coach Wednesday for one playoff game because of the broadcast of a segment of a Nazi speech at the school’s stadium Saturday.
Gaston County Schools Supt. Reeves McGlohon said the team will also undergo sensitivity training because of the incident, and that no player will be allowed to compete for other school teams without it.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association also placed the soccer team on a year’s probation and will fine the school an undetermined amount.
A segment of a Nazi propaganda speech containing the team’s slogan, “On to victory,” in German was played an hour before Forestview’s playoff game against Charlotte Catholic on Saturday night. School officials said Tuesday they determined the speech was by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, not Adolf Hitler, as was first thought.
They said two soccer players had downloaded the speech off the Internet and that no adult heard the speech before it aired.
Coach David Shearer said he didn’t expect the controversy to fade now that the team’s season is over.
“This has changed lives,” he said. “After tonight, whether we won or not, I don’t think anything will be normal.”
Spartanburg-based Milliken & Co. again topped the Grant Thornton South Carolina 100 list of the largest privately held companies in the state.
Milliken, a textile products and chemical manufacturer, has topped the list for 22 years, said Mark Ballew, assurance partner for Grant Thornton.
The Upstate is home to four of the 10 largest privately held companies in the state, including three in Spartanburg.
Total revenues for the 100 private companies this year is $19.8 billion, up from $15 billion last year, according to the accounting firm. The companies employ about 100,000 workers, including 53 percent of them in manufacturing.
“Many of these companies are the leading employers in their communities and are providing a substantial economic impact in the areas where they’re based and where their employees live and do business,” said Ballew, who directed the survey, conducted in conjunction with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
The Charlotte International Auto Show is coming soon. The automotive event will be held from November 16 to November 19 at the Charlotte Convention Center.
The 14th anniversary of the show includes new 2007 model vehicles.
“Five hundred new cars, trucks, vans, sport utility vehicles, hybrids and concept cars will be on display. says Dick Lewis, Executive Producer of the Auto Show. “The real highlights of the show are the new vehicles themselves magnificently displayed by the manufacturers with exotic turntables, displays and narrators.”
Admission is $8 for adults, children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.  Coupons are also available online at the website www.charlotteautoshow.com.
The Asheville Film Festival will take place this weekend, drawing many visitors from around the region.
Parks and Recreation created the festival four years ago to broaden the number and scope of people attracted to Asheville. Although the festival has lost money in recent years, organizers say it is important for the community.
“The Asheville Film Festival serves the community by holding a vital cultural event where filmmakers can showcase their work,” says Alison Watson, chairperson of the Asheville Film Commission. “The intention of the festival is not to succeed financially but to continue serving the artists and the audience. That is where the true value lies.”
The festival is held at venues throughout the city. For more information visit www.ashevillefilmfestival.com or call 828-257-4500 for ticket information.

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