Air quality improved, DENR recommends changes to auto-emissions testing

Emissions tests for vehicles are “no longer necessary to protect air quality” in several North Carolina counties, including Buncombe, say North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “We studied the air quality improvements for this report and concluded that we could eliminate emissions testing for motor vehicles in numerous counties without harming air quality or violating […]

Dada Vedaprajinananda will launch new memoir April 10 at Malaprops

FROM BROOKLYN TO BENARES AND BACK: DADA VEDA Mesmerizing Memoir Launch at Malaprops Asheville, NC: At 7 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 2015 at Malaprops Bookstore, Dada Vedaprajinananda will launch his new memoir, From Brooklyn to Benares and Back. In a clear, accessible style, Dada demystifies Eastern spirituality, painting it with the earthy brush of […]

Update on the Weed Lane fire near Ridgecrest

The U.S. Forest Service says the Weed Lane fire — which burned 752 acres near Black Mountain and Ridgecrest Conference Center — has “calmed down considerably.” Firefighters attribute overcast skies, cooler temperatures and higher humidity with the change. The Forest Service notes, however, that Ridgecrest trails are closed for the holiday weekend, and that fire […]

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Swannanoa Valley Museum opens Easter weekend

From the Swannanoa Valley Museum: Free Admission for everyone! We will be open Friday and Saturday of Easter Weekend, bring your friends and family. This year’s special exhibits include artifacts from the Roaring Twenties English Tudor estate In the Oaks and an examination of the North Fork Valley, a historic community displaced by the City of Asheville […]

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation puts $600,000 to improvements, programs for the scenic route

With part of the $600,000 committed by the nonprofit Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, a youth conservation crew from the Conservation Trust for North Carolina will repair trails and campgrounds in the Highlands District, and a partnership with Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail will help build a bridge over the Boone Fork near Blowing Rock, N.C. The Parkway Foundation announced […]

Wildfire forces trail closings in McDowell County

From the U.S. Forest Service: Temporary Trail Closures Announced Due to Wildfire in McDowell County Nebo, N.C., March 31, 2015 – An estimated 40 acre wildfire burning near the Ridgecrest Conference Center in McDowell County will require temporary closure of the Point Lookout, Kitsuma (#205) and Young’s Ridge (#206) trail systems. The N. C. State […]

White-nose syndrome continues to affect bat populations in WNC

From the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission: Bat-Killing Fungus Continues in North Carolina ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 31, 2015) —  White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States, continues to affect bat populations in western North Carolina, although the declines associated with the deadly disease appear to be leveling off […]

Southside Village Bill LaMée

EPA clarifies Southside Village status

The 74 homes in Southside Village are not part of the CTS of Asheville Superfund site next door, say several residents of the gated community off Mills Gap Road. In two recent letters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency backs up that assessment, saying it “does not believe contamination associated with the CTS of Asheville Superfund Site poses unacceptable risk to residents of SSV.”

No overnight camping in Graveyard Fields after bear sighting

The U.S. Forest Service has closed the Graveyard Fields to overnight camping after “a bear entered a tent and removed a hiker’s backpack,” according to today’s March 20 release (see below). Bear sightings are common in the area, located at milepost 418.8 about an hour from Asheville: “In springtime bears are opportunistically looking for food […]

Bent Creek Property Marketing Package

Bent Creek property once again in the spotlight with sale to Buncombe County

On March 17, before diving into a review of the 2015 budget, Buncombe commissioners went into an emergency closed session to discuss an unnamed economic-development issue. Two days later, John Boyle with the Asheville Citizen-Times reported what it was about: At a cost of nearly $7 million, the county plans to buy a 137-acre plot on the French […]

Waynesville, Morganton, Hendersonville win N.C. Main Street awards

Several Western North Carolina cities earned North Carolina Main Street awards: Tryon for an economic restructuring project at St. Luke’s Plaza; Morganton for Best Public Relations Effort, Best Image-Building Campaign and Best Business Retention, Expansion or Recruitment Effort; Waynesville for Best Business Retention, Expansion or Recruitment Effort; and Hendersonville for Best Outdoor Space Improvement. Details are in […]

OpenDoors of Asheville's annual art auction raises nearly $145,000.

‘Starry Night’ event raises nearly $145,000 for OpenDoors of Asheville

The nonprofit OpenDoors of Asheville announced in its newsletter that its annual fundraiser, Art Affair 2015: A Starry Night, set attendance records and raised nearly $145,000. The nonprofit “connects local children living in multi-generational poverty with an active, individualized network of support, enrichment and education opportunities.” More than 450 attended the event, which featured an […]

With state funding gone, what’s next for Advantage West?

Twenty years ago, Sen. Martin Nesbitt spearheaded an initiative that aimed to make sure Western North Carolina wasn’t ignored when it came to bringing money, industry and jobs to the region. That initiative was the nonprofit agency Advantage West Economic Development Group, which covered a 23-county area, helped bring companies like Linamar and Sierra Nevada to […]

ASAP announces cost share & promotional support for area farmers

ASAP announces cost share & promotional support for area farmers ASHEVILLE, NC (March 16, 2015)— ASAP announces the launch of a farmer cost share program and the renewal of its popular wax produce box initiative, both designed to maximize economic opportunities for local farmers and identify “certified local food” in the marketplace in Western North Carolina. Both […]

Hickory gets $200,000 EPA brownfields grant for Southside area

The city of Hickory will work with the community and other stakeholders to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for the Southside Area, which includes the Ridgeview, Kenworth, and Green Park neighborhoods. In the early 1960s, the City boasted 46 furniture plants, 89 hosiery mills, and 27 other manufacturers. Between 2001 and 2011, the Hickory metropolitan area lost 37,900 jobs due to the closing of mills and factories, resulting in an increase in the poverty rate from 11.3 to 20 percent (within the project area, the poverty rate is 35.7 percent).