COLD COMFORT: Since 2006, electric heat pumps have replaced over 12,000 oil- or propane-fired furnaces in WNC. While the heat pumps can be highly efficient at moderate temperatures, engineers and energy industry experts say they are less so when the mercury drops below freezing. Data from the Energy Innovation Task Force and Duke Energy; graphic by Scott Southwick

Heat pumps drive rapid growth in WNC’s peak electricit­y demand

Using data provided by Duke Energy, a local task force has shown that much of the growth in WNC’s peak electrical demand is driven by the conversion of existing oil- and propane-fired heating systems to electric heat pumps. Slowing the growth in peak demand is the mission of the task force, which hopes to delay or eliminate the need for one of three new power plants proposed for Duke Energy’s Lake Julian station.

The scene at Pack Square today. Photo by Sheila Mraz

Women’s March on Asheville fills downtown streets

Thousands participated in the Women’s March on Asheville today, in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. According to the event’s Facebook page, its goal was for “community members [to] march peacefully to show our new administration that we stand with our families and friends for the protection of our rights, safety and health.” A number […]

DEFENSIVE MANEUVERS: Asheville Police Department personnel at Basic Law Enforcement Training class, working on self-defense and subject control techniques. While this sort of training is vital to police work, a new paradigm is emerging — reflected in evolving departmental policy — that emphasizes de-escalation and avoiding physical confrontation when responding to volatile situations. Photo courtesy of APD

Proposed APD policy favors de-escalation over force

A proposed Asheville Police Department policy hashed out with substantial citizen input could mark a change in the way officers handle volatile situations, proponents say. If the policy is adopted as expected, officers will have to explain how they approached the situation and what they did to try to calm things down before resorting to […]

Recently elected Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara addresses a room full of Affordable Care Act supporters as congress threatens to repeal the law. Photo courtesy of Pisgah Legal Services

Pisgah Legal Services leads local movement to protect Obamacare

In an effort to emphasize the importance of access to affordable health insurance coverage for North Carolinians, Pisgah Legal Services held a press conference Tuesday in partnership with the North Carolina Justice Center. Speakers included political and legal advocates for the ACA, as well as residents who offered stories about their experiences with affordable care and health insurance.