Ask Matt … What’s up with ragged out roundabout?
Q. Why didn’t they landscape the traffic circle on Greenville Highway at Erkwood Drive and Shepherd Street? No plants, flowers, art or anything — just weeds. It’s an eyesore.
Sadly, what you see is what you get — the state’s median standard. NCDOT officials report that there are no plans for additional vegetation. Neither of the other two roundabouts in the County — Ferncliff Boulevard (which leads to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.) and Brookside Camp Road — have enhanced landscaping. Municipalities or garden clubs however may enter into a “continued maintenance agreement” with NCDOT but for safety purposes specific landscaping standards such as type, height and location of plants must be met. It appears that the Hendersonville city limits fall just short of the Greenville Highway roundabout.
NCDOT has plans to build four roundabouts on US 64 West, three of which will lie inside the town of Laurel Park. Town Manager Alex Carmichael said the town would likely work with NCDOT to enhance landscaping in those medians.
Q. Did US Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas ever visit Henderson County?
Yes, at least once. Jeff Miller became close to Dole when Miller co-founded and led the HonorAir program, flying World War II veterans to Washington, DC, to visit the National World War II Memorial. Miller invited Dole to Hendersonville in 2008 for the NC Apple Festival. (Dole was also campaigning for his wife’s unsuccessful re-election bid against Democrat Kay Hagan.) He attended the festival-opening King Apple breakfast sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. What’s also notable is that Sen. Elizabeth “Liddy” Dole, whom Bob married in 1975, kept an office on Main Street in Hendersonville during her one term in the US Senate (2003–2009). (Fun fact: Graham Fields, known by many as the public face of AdventHealth and a member of many local nonprofit boards, served as Sen. Dole’s Western North Carolina aide.) A native of Salisbury and a Duke University graduate, Elizabeth Dole is now 85. Bob Dole, the Republican nominee, and independent Ross Perot ran for president in 1996, losing to President Bill Clinton. Bob Dole passed away last December at the age of 98. Bonded over his devotion to World War II veterans, Miller remained close to Dole through his HonorAir work and attended the Kansas native’s graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery.
Q. Why is the city of Hendersonville tearing out the shuffleboard courts at the Whitmire Activity Center on Lilly Pond Drive?
Not all the courts are being removed, just those that have fallen into disrepair and have not been used in years. The local shuffleboard club maintains the operational courts.
Q. What’s the story behind the Rosdon Mall mosaic?
If you have not heard of the Rosdon Mall you can find it downtown in the 300 block of Main Street. The mall was designed by architect Ken Gaylord and named by (and for) the owners – Rose Marie and Don Gladieux. The colorful mosaic positioned over the entrance is titled “Nature in North Carolina” and was the work of a Russian artist named Basil Polevoy and his sister Lyudmila. Both were refugees from the Chernobyl area after the nuclear reactor accident in Ukraine in 1986. According to Rose Marie Gladieux, “We wanted to give them work and to enliven the front of the building.” Rose Marie remembered that the mall, once home to Belk’s, was anchored by the Touchstone Gallery and the Black Bear Coffee Shop. The Hands On! Children’s Gallery, which now occupies the rear part of the mall, is expanding into the Main Street frontage as well.
Michael Arrowood, of the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority, also recalls the mosaic project, which was completed in 1993. He related that the colorful tile came from Mexico and that there was a rush to finish the project before cold weather set in. Michael, who speaks Russian, served as the translator for the Polevoys and got to know them well. “Basil Polevoy was once a brilliant and celebrated artist in Ukraine,” he said. “Sadly, his religious beliefs got him in trouble with the government and he was forced to work in a brick factory.” Naples Baptist Church had a hand in bringing the Polevoys to Henderson County and Basil’s first mosaic still can be seen at the church.
(We’re republishing this answer, which ran originally in December 2013, because of the Ukraine connection.)