Room occupancy taxes, paid by overnight visitors to the county, will go up from 4 to 6 percent. Photo by Margaret Williams

Buncombe Commission­ers approve hotel tax increase

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a 2 percent room occupancy tax increase for visitors to the area at its Tuesday, Sept. 1 meeting.

The increase, from 4 to 6 percent, applies only to those paying for rooms in county hotels and does not affect residents. This rate coincides with rates currently implemented in 31 other North Carolina counties, including Durham and Catawba.

MonarchButterfly_Milkweed

First annual Monarch Butterfly Day offers help to a declining butterfly population

Nearly one billion monarch butterflies have vanished since 1990 due to habitat destruction, which impacts their primary food source, milkweed, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Efforts to protect monarch butterflies center on educating the public about the plight of the monarchs, as well as encouraging the creation of garden spaces that provide nectar plants […]

AshevilleHighSchool from ashevillecityschools.net482227_f520

No violent incidents at Asheville High School last week, officials say

There were no fights or altercations involving injuries at Asheville High School on the week that ended Aug. 28, according to school officials who have disputed allegations of school violence made in an email said to be from a group calling itself Asheville Students Against Violence. “Officials at Asheville High School are unaware of any […]

Hendersonville photographer Walter Arnold juxtaposes the dirt and decomposition of disused spaces with saturated colors that hint at former glory — a strategy that brings hauntingly evocative results to each canvas.

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features the art project of Hendersonville photographer Walter Arnold, a new kiln for the ladies of Mudhoneyz Studio and entrepreneur Derek Plumb’s quest to make dorm rooms into havens for creativity.

Seven Haywood County Master Gardener gardens have recently been certified Monarch Waystations by Monarch Watch, through the University of Kansas. Pictured above with their certification signs, from left to right are:  Marcia Tate, individual garden; Mike Robertson, Hazelwood Elementary School Garden; Mannie Crone, Canton Public Library Giving Garden; Mary Sue Kindred, Junaluska Elementary School Garden; Anne Budde, Individual Garden.  Not pictured, but both with newly certified Waystations in their individual gardens, are Kim Powers and Jean White.

Haywood County Master Gardeners establish Monarch Waystation­s for embattled butterfly

by Marcia Tate Master Gardeners in Haywood County are leading efforts to educate the public that monarchs butterflies are at high risk of being placed on the endangered species list. They are encouraging the public to plant milkweed in their gardens, as monarch caterpillars will only eat milkweed. Four of the Haywood gardeners created a […]

buncombe county logo

Buncombe Commission­ers to vote on tourism tax, parkway protection

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ Sept. 1 meeting seems to cover all of the bases, from taxes to zoning to county services and a possible Vietnam memorial wall. The meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in the Commissioner Chambers on the third floor of the county building at 200 College St.

Supporters of Homestays and short-term rentals wore red stickers at the crowded City Council meeting on Aug. 25. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

City Council grapples with Homestays, raises fines on short-term rental violations

From real estate investors to neighborhood advocates to homeowners trying to make ends meet, just about everyone in Asheville has a dog in the ongoing fight over short-term vacation rentals. At the Tuesday, Aug. 25 Asheville City Council meeting, citizens representing a variety of viewpoints crowded City Hall.

BREAKING BARRIERS: Managed care organization Smoky Mountain LME/MCO and several regional health care providers are working to bring an integrated care model to WNC, beginning with a comprehensive care center at 356 Biltmore Avenue. Photo courtesy of Smoky Mountain LME/CMO.

No wrong doors: Integrated health care program offers one-stop solutions

Unless you’ve just emerged from the wilderness after several decades, chances are you’ve heard some of the roiling discussions going on across the country concerning the current state of the health care system. Whether it’s presidential candidates working on a policy speech or an individual making home budgeting decisions, implementing a comprehensive health care reform […]

Sparrow Pants and Keith Smith of The Resonant Rogues busking at the Flat Iron on Battery Park Ave. and Wall St. Photo by Erin Derham, Buskin' Blues.

Buskers to City: Don’t put art in a box

The streets and squares of Asheville were quieter than usual on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 24. Despite brilliant sunshine and pleasant temperatures, some of the city’s best-known street performers crowded into a meeting room to give City Council members an earful about proposed busking regulations in three high-traffic areas downtown.

Asheville Meter Services worker Tyler White installs a new 1.5-inch meter service on Sweeten Creek Road in Asheville last Wednesday. The future management of the Asheville water system is currently in the hands of the N.C. Court of Appeals. The system consists of approximately 1,674 miles of water lines. Photo by Mike Belleme/Carolina Public Press

Should WNC’s drinking-water systems be publicly or privately owned?

Figuring out ways to preserve, repair and enhance decades-old — or even century-old — water systems provides a flood of challenges for cities, towns and communities across North Carolina’s mountains. And, experts say, ownership structures of those water systems may influence infrastructure upgrades, service quality and the ultimate price water users pay.

the_quest_for_affordable_housing_07_29_15

Affordable housing catch up: special coverage essays, all parts

The quest for affordable housing: an introduction to the essay project and the Bowen study showing the problems Asheville and surrounding communities face on the affordable housing question, by Tracy Rose. The following essays are part of a series in which local experts were asked: “What would it take to solve the Asheville area’s affordable […]