Commission Members

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    Carolyn Ashburn is a retired Speech and Language Specialist that worked in the NC School system. She currently serves on the boards of the Saluda Historic Depot, the Saluda Community Land Trust, the Polk County Appearance Commission and the Historic St. Matthews Church. She served as a Saluda City Commissioner from 2013-201. She heads up the litter control team for the Saluda Business Association which is part of the county Adopt-a-Highway program. 

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    Karen Bird is a recent transplant to Polk County although she’s been visiting here for over a decade to visit family. She is a retired Landscape Architect having practiced with large architectural firms in Indianapolis which were responsible for landscape projects throughout the Midwest. Karen’s passion is native plants and she is currently researching and advising the Appearance Commission on possible methods to control the damage done to local environments by non-native plants. She served as President of the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society.

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    Cathy Brettman is a native of Louisville, KY and graduated from Murray State University with a degree in Fine Art. She later graduated from Berkeley College with a degree in Interior Design and worked professionally as an Interior Designer in the Greater New York City area. Subsequently she formed her own design firm in the Greater San Diego area and her design projects were published in San Diego area journals. After moving to Polk County in 2011 she graduated from the Master Gardener program. Cathy has designed and created beautiful flower gardens and continues to make ceramic art. She has held leadership roles in American Association of University Women, Green Blades Garden Club and the Upstairs [Artspace].

  • Joe Cooper has always been interested in architecture and art. Joe graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Industrial Engineering and did graduate work in Anthropology at Tulane University. He worked in the welding industry and developed a love of welding metal into art and craft items. Moving to Polk County in 2003, he appreciates the natural beauty of this area and the rich cultural opportunities. Joe is the original organizer of the Polk County Appearance Commission over a dozen years ago and has helped   gain respect and support from our county Commissioners for continued beautification projects in Polk County. 

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    Jamie Davidson is a retired federal disaster responder, deploying for 15 years as an Administration/Finance Officer with the Incident Response Coordination Team for ASPR/DHHS. She served as Unit Coordinator for the Mountain Regional Medical Reserve Corps for several years and volunteered with the Mill Spring Volunteer Fire Dept.  She is a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) in Polk County. Since 2009 she has volunteered with the Clean Water Team for MountainTrue (formerly ECO). Every spring and fall she coordinates a team of volunteers performing stream biomonitoring and coordinates the water sampling in several Polk County streams. Since 2009 she has coordinated a Lake Adger shoreline cleanup, calling the volunteers the Flip Flop Team, named for the over 500 flip flops removed from the lake.   Jamie served as a past chair for the Lake Adger Lake Advisory Committee. She is currently a member of the Green Blades Garden Club. 

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    Ernie Kan moved to the area in 2004 and wanted to be an active member of the community. She had a desire to help with local recycling, so she volunteered for town and county recycling projects. She soon became a member of the town Planning and Zoning Boards, helping to write and create several ordinances to keep the rural feel of the town. While serving on the Columbus Town Council, Ernie helped with many local projects, including helping the town become a member of "Handmade in America." She now serves on several committees in the town and county. Discover Columbus is one of her major commitments. She is a local artist, and enjoys being at the Farmer's Market each weekend. 

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