Take a good long look: The Cullowhee Native Plants Conference, running from July 15 through July 19, encourages enthusiasts to really 'dig in' to their love of native plants. Photo by Ashley Evans, courtesy of WCU.

Video: Plant enthusiasts assemble for the Native Plants Conference

Brace yourselves — the plant enthusiasts are coming. From Tuesday, July 15 through Saturday, July 19, Western North Carolina will once again play host to the Cullowhee Native Plants Conference, an annual event with workshops and field trips exploring many aspects of native plants. Get a feel for the conference with a video tour of the plants of Black Balsam Ridge.

Jim Wallis was among the lineup of speakers at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs. His talk on race in America is attracting national controversy.

Video: Did ‘Obama’s spiritual advisor’ go on ‘race rant’ in Hot Springs?

Calling Dr. Jim Wallis President Barack Obama’s “spiritual advisor,” the popular conservative news and opinion website The Daily Caller reported July 7 that the liberal evangelical leader went on a “race rant” at a recent event Hot Springs. But was it really an accusatory, racist rant, from a man “who has the ear of the leader of the free world,” as the website alleges? Or was it part of a constructive dialogue on a tough topic?

COMPASSIONATE CARE: Dr. Janet Bull, chief medical officer at Four Seasons Compassion for Life, describes palliative care as "the right care, at the right time, for the right patient."

The right care: Four Seasons nonprofit wins federal grant for palliative health care reform

In essence, community palliative care is simply identifying “the right care, at the right time, for the right patient,” says Dr. Janet Bull, chief medical officer at Four Seasons Compassion for Life. The approach hardly seems radical, but it’s the basis of the potentially game-changing health care model that won the local nonprofit hospice and […]

TO A TEA: Barista Nathan Lily makes the chai at Tod's Tasties from scratch. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Chai love: Asheville embraces India’s ancient healing drink

When ordering a chai in the Western world, a customer may receive any number of concoctions. A simple black tea with spices is one possibility, but it is significantly more likely that the beverage will be prepared with a powdered mix of sugar and corn syrup solids, with tea nowhere to be seen on the ingredient list. Fortunately for Asheville residents, local businesses are taking the making of chai back to the basics.

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Driving sales: Mobile businesses roll into WNC

by Alli Marshall, Rich Rennicks and Gina Smith —

Food trucks are a known entity: Those mobile dispensaries of cheap, tasty meals drove into downtown Asheville (and our hearts) in 2011. And with revised city ordinances, a dedicated lot on Coxe Avenue and regular appearances at local festivals and music venues, food trucks have only increased in number. But sandwiches aren’t the only thing that can fit into a truck.

Photo by Brandy Bourne

Smart bets: The Big Crafty

Go local and bolster your DIY cred at the same time at The Big Crafty. There, artists and makers of all kinds will convene in downtown Asheville and sell their one-of-a-kind, handmade wares. “Our guiding principle is that buying handmade is good for the community, and our aim is to make doing so fun,” say the […]

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Smart bets: Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Grab your kilt and your clan and get to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games for “blaring bagpipes, astounding athletes and tons of tartan.” The four-day event begins with sheep-herding demonstrations and only gets more Celtic from there. Brawnier participants may enter heavyweight competitions such as “turning the caber” and “tossing the sheaf.” In the caber toss, […]