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N.C. COVID-19 cases plummet: Statewide, metrics improving, but Henderson County among localities still surging
Saturday, 16 October 2021 12:22

From Staff Reports

After several weeks of surging, new COVID-19 cases have been declining in North Carolina since mid-September, the Raleigh News & Observer reported on Oct. 10.

The story, headlined, “The delta surge is waning in N.C. Why? And what happens next?” stated:

“In the week prior to Oct. 8, DHHS reported nearly 25,000 new cases of COVID-19 statewide. The week before that, about 31,500,” the N&O noted. “And the week before that, over 38,000.

“In early September, at the height of the delta surge, the state reported over 50,000 new cases in a week.”

However, there is variation among the state’s locaties in the latest coronavirus metrics, with some places actually showing increases, including nearby Henderson County, where “hospitalizations for COVID-19 were up slightly” on Oct. 8, the Hendersonville Times-News reported on Oct. 10.

As of Oct. 8, “Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville had 19 patients hospitalized for COVID-19, with four requiring the most serious level of care in the ICU. Among the patients in the ICU, all were unvaccinated,” the HT-N noted.

“‘The delta variant continues to be unpredictable and affect unvaccinated individuals at a higher rate,’ Pardee Chief Medical Officer David Ellis’” said (Oct. 8). “‘The rolling seven-day average for patients hospitalized for COVID-19 is 23, up slightly from last week’s average of 22, but still lower than our highest average of 30 patients during the week of Sept. 10.”

The HT-N added that, as of Oct. 8, “AdventHealth Hendersonville has 22 COVID-19 patients in the hospital” and quoted its Communications Director Victoria Dunkle as saying, “This is the highest number we have seen this week. Week to week, the average number of COVID-19 cases has risen from 16 to 19.

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City’s safeguarding pieces taken from Vance Monument? Asheville won’t risk security breach by letting plaintiffs see, confirm that parts are all there, city attorney says
Saturday, 16 October 2021 12:19
By JOHN NORTH
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Contrary to assertions by the plaintiff’s attorney in the Vance Monument case, the City of Asheville’s actions have been “above reproach” — from its treatment of H. Edward Phillips III to its actions with deconstructing most of the monument and storing its parts in secret locations while litigation of the case to preserve the monument continues, City Attorney Brad Branham told the Daily Planet in an Oct. 8 interview.

“Our obligation from the court was to safeguard the materials,” Branham said. “No offense to opposing counsel and his clients, but we can’t assure absolute security of the materials unless we maintain the location as fully undisclosed.”

Phillips had argued in an Oct. 1 story in the Daily Planet that he, as the attorney, and one of his plaintiffs, should be allowed by the city to be shown where the monument parts are stored, so that they can confirm that the still even exist.

Conversely, Branham said in the interview, “I would assure everyone the city will comply with every court order,” such as he one to “‘Stop taking it down,’ which has been done. ‘Secure the materials,’ which has been done. We were not instructed to ‘Show those things’ — but to ‘Keep them safe....’”

After a brief pause, the city attorney asserted, “To suggest they (the monument parts) are not secure and safe ... is simply not true.”

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Plaintiff’s attorney files brief in Vance Monument case claiming that City of Asheville reneged on contract
Saturday, 16 October 2021 11:43
By JOHN NORTH
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The attorney for the plaintiffs seeking to save and preserve the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville filed a brief on deadline Sept. 29, as required by the North Carolina Circuit Court of Appeals, that claims the City of Asheville is failing to honor its contract with the Society for the Historical Preservation of the 26th North Carolina Troops.

“The brief hits head-on that this is a contract,” H. Edward Phillips III, the plaintiff’s attorney, told  the Daily Planet in an interview on Oct. 10. “And this contract alleviated the predicament in which the city found itself in 2015 — safety of the public in relation to the monument’s poor condition” and relative to the then-newly enacted state Monument Protect Act.

He added, “The state Monument Protection Act had just passed in 2015, which also is when the (Vance) monument restoration started.

“In 2007 or 2008, the city was told (by experts) that the monument was in poor-to-fair condition and needed immediate attention. It exposed the city to grave liability.”

At that point, in Phillips’ estimation, the city only two options — either spend roughly $200,000 to take it (the monument) down, or spend $200,000-plus to restore it. 

“Then, when they (the city officials) were approached by this historic restoration group (the 26th), it solved their dilemma,” he noted.

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