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?GENERAL DEL IvtKV
II T 1 ? ^ ? . 'f.-ryrry ?? t ,uFi' r
Serving The People Of Our Communities Since 1901
_ __ ___ ___ Thursday, March 19, 1987 25c
Governor Visits Mars Hill ;
Discusses Sheriff, Prison
By BILL STUDENC
North Carolina's Republican gover
nor, Jim Martin, ventured far from
the state Capitol building Saturday
when he paid a visit to the home ter
ritory of his chief political rival,
House Speaker Liston B. Ramsey.
But Martin didn't come to Madison
County for an after-hours debate with
the powerful Democratic legislator.
He was in Mars Hill Town Hall as
part of a weekend swing through
Western North Carolina to hear
what's on the minds of residents of
the mountain counties.
Among the concerns Martin ad
dressed during his hour long stop in
Mars Hill were the Madison County
Sheriff's Department and the
General Assembly's recent decision
to keep a medium-security prison in
Martin told a crowd of about 75 peo
ple that he had spoken earlier Satur
day with Madison County Sheriff
Dedrick Brown, a Republican, about
the possibility of helping Brown ob
tain state funding for his department.
"I will lend my support to help him
find some resources, and I ask for
your help, as well," Martin said. "He
needs your help in talking to the coun
Vou don't need a rivalry- Politics are for the election i
We had asked for ao emergency bill for our prisons. Whenl
the decision came back, we got everything we asked ?
except one thing? where it would be built.
ty commissioners so that they can
help him as much as possible."
Brown had asked the Madison
County Board of Commissioners for
some $27,000 in additional funding
shortly after taking office in
December. The commissioners then
said they could not commit the funds
to Brown until they examined the
The commissioners now say that
Brown's department may exceed its
budget by some (30,000.
Martin told the crowd of mostly
Republicans at Saturday's gathering
to help Brown convince the
Democratic board of commissioners
to put any political differences behind
"You don't need a rivalry," Martin
?aid. "You need to say, 'We're a coun
ty.' You need to say, 'We're a team.'
"Politics are for the election season
only. That's the time for paritisan
politics. But we are between elections
now," he said. "After the election is
over, we're supposed to work
together for the people."
Martin promised Brown that he
would talk to state officials about the
possibility of state funding for drug
education and other law enforcement
programs in Madison County.
Martin also heard from a delega
tion of North Buncombe County
residents concerned with the
legislature's recent emergency
prison package calling for the con
struction of aging Craggy Prison's
replacement in North Buncombe.
Land in Madison County had also
been considered for the 900-inmate
prison until the General Assembly
made it clear earlier this month that
the replacement for Craggy Prison,
located in Woodfin, should remain in
That decision has prompted opposi
tion from some residents of the North
Buncombe area. Martin told the
group that there was little that could
be done about the legislature's action.
"The final decision is the decision
of the General Assembly, and we
have to abide by the law," he said.
"If a law is passed, we have to
abide by that law. I can't pick and
choose what law I will enforce," he
Martin reminded the crowd that he
had asked that Craggy's replacement
be build on state land in Burke Coun
ty, but the General Assembly did not
"We had asked for an emergency
bill for our prisons," he said. "When
the decision came back, we got
everything we asked for except one
thing - where it would be built."
Martin also reminded the Bun
combe County group that in "any
place that gets picked (for a prison),
there will be people like yourself who
are against it."
The N.C. Department of Correc
tions had looked at land near Mar
shall and Weaverville before the
General Assembly's prison package.
-Continued on back page
BILL STUDENC PHOTO
Gov. Jim Martin listens to Earl Ramsey during a stop in Mars
With Murder Of W!__
A 43-year-old Marshall man has
been charged with second-degree
murder after his wife died from a
gunshot wound to the head Sunday
evening, according to the Madison
County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities are also in
vestigating the possibility that the
shooting was suicide.
The sheriff's department had
originally charged John C.
Thorsen with assault with a deadly
weapon with intent to kill inflicting
But when his wife, Claudia Ann
Thorsen, 42, of 100 S. Bear Creek
Road, died four hours after receiv
ing a single gunshot wound to the
head, the charge was upgraded to
murder, Sheriff Dedrick Brown
"She was shot at close range
with a .32 caliber pistol," Brown
said. "The gun was pressed up
right against her head."
Authorities believe the shooting
stemmed from a domestic dispute
between the Thorsens.
"It (the shooting) appears to be
the result of a family problem, but
as to exactly what set it off, we
don't know," said Chief Deputy
The shooting apparently occur
red shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday,
Mission Air Medical Ambulaace
(MAMA), a rescue helicopter
from Memorial Mission Hospital
in Asheville, responded to the call.
-Continued on back page
Marshall Buys Water Filters
By BILL STUDENC
The town of Marshall has taken
what municipal officials believe to be
a major step toward improving the
quality of the town's supply.
The Marshall Board of Aldermen
unanimously agreed last week to
spend nearly $50,000 to purchase an
iron-manganese nitration system for
the town's water treatment plant.
The filters should remove the
unpleasant taste, odor and color that
has characterized Marshall's drink
ing water for the past several years,
said engineer Heath Dobson.
The filters, which will cost 148,235,
will use an air-injection system and
chemicals to oxidize the iron and
manganese in the town's water.
The system will cause the iron and
manganese to turn into rust, which
can easily be removed from the water
by a filter, Oobson said
The town will use Senate Bill 2
money and local matching funds to
pay for the filter system, to be pur
chased from Refinite Water Condi
tioning Co. in Rock Hill, S.C
The filters will be custom buiM for
Marshall's water system, repraen
-Continued on back page
For Grant Money
J. ?' -J . <
By ANNE RITCHELL
The Weaverville Town Council
bawd from |*and-of-Sky Regional
Council Advisor Jane Miller of plans
to proceed with an application for
Miller tokl the council during a
public hearing Monday that the grant
money must serve one of three pur
poses: prevention of slums and com
project the town wants, Miller said
The lUte has between 933 and $37
million available for community
development projects. Of this money,
73.5 percent must be used for com
munity revitaUxatkn, 20 percent for
economic ueveioprneni, o percent ior
discretionary purposes and 1.3 per -
cent tor emergency funding.
The maximum grant allocation is
During the regular meeting of the
town < which Mon
ig w< ?
DA Refuses Investigation
Unless Formally Requested
By BILL STUDENC
Unless the Madison County Board
of Commissioners formally requests
an investigation of the previous coun
ty administration's finances, there
will not be one.
That's the word from J. Thomas
Rusher, district attorney for the 24th
Judicial District, m a letter last week
to the Madison County commis
"I know each of you personally to
be honorable people and if you feel it
appropriate for me to investigate this
matter, then I will do so," Rusher
said in the letter "Otherwise, the
matter from our point of view is now
The commissioners agreed earlier
this month to pass to Rusher a con
troversial audit report outlining a
number of questionable financial
transactions that took place during
the final days of the past board of
The current commissioners,
however, specified that they were not
requesting an investigation, but
merely "making the report available
But Rusher said it has been his
policy to allow governing bodies to
erty and Bill Barutio, ow s ol rruit
e ir store offers a little aomi"
decide if an investigation of elected
officials in warranted. Without a deci
sion from the county commissioners,
there will be no investigation.
"During the time that I have been
district attorney, I have followed a
policy calculated to give maximum
discretion to local governing bodies,"
Rusher said in the letter.
"In areas where local governing
units have felt that an officer has
acted in a way to unjustly enrich
himself at public expense, it has been
at all times our opinion that the
elected officials should first decide
whether they feel the matter ought to
be pursued before we have taken any
action," he said.
A letter to Rusher from Jan
Franklin, clerk to the board of com
missioners, "makes it clear that the
letter should not be interpreted as a
request for any action on my part . . .
" Rusher said.
"If the illegal acts involve
dangerous or violent conduct toward
citizens of in anyway involve the
citizens in its commission or if there
appears to be some cover-up, then
our attitude may be different." he
Robert Capps, chairman of the
board of commissioners, said Tues
day he did not know how the board
would respond to Rusher's letter.
"I couldn't tell you I talked to the
board," Capps said. "I don't know
what their feelings are going to be.
We'll probably bring it up at the next
Commissioner Reese Steen said he
believed the commissioners would
have to make a formal request for an
"I feel like we're going to have to
ask him to look into it," Steen said.
"It's the people's money, and if we
don't investigate it, we'd be setting a
Roger Gregg of the Asheville ac
counting firm Gregg * Lasher, PA,
told the commissioners in January
that he had found numerous
discrepancies in records of county
finances during the last year of office
of the former commissioners.
Gregg's report of county finances
from Dec. I, 1985, to Nov. 30, IMS,
raised several questions about the
financial practices of the past board.
According to his report, there was
"a significant increase" in county
payments to the-then commissioners
- and their employees - following
their defeat in the May 1M6 primary.
Off Beaten Path
Trust General Store Features Menagerie
By ANNE KITCHELL
Where in Madison County can you
eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, shop
for hardware and groceries, get
gasoline and see a llama all in one
For thoM fortunate enough to live
in the Spring Creek area, a
drive to the junction ti N.C. 30
N.C. 63 is all it takes Fori
else, it may be a litde off tlie I
path, but the owners of Trust General
you'll make the trip
convenience ' v,
"Everyone we talked to said the
same thing," she said. "We needed a