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MemoryCare hosts benefit film screening for families with Alzheimer’s

On Tuesday, May 26, Asheville nonprofit MemoryCare hosted a special screening of the award-winning film The Genius of Marian at the Asheville Community Theatre. Following the screening,  Dr. Margaret Noel, director emerita, and Dr. Virginia Templeton, executive director, led an interactive discussion on the joys and challenges of caring for loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments. “It’s a quiet movie,” […]

RECLAIMING LIFE: After losing her husband at age 55, Donna Marie Todd created A Widow's Tale retreat to help other widows heal from the loss of a spouse. Photo courtesy of Donna Marie Todd

Widow’s Tale retreat leads to rediscover­y and recovery

When Donna Marie Todd’s husband died, she was 55. Bereavement counseling helped her begin to heal and understand her grief, but she found a lack of resources when she set out to rebuild her life. A professional storyteller, singer, writer, teaching artist and retreat leader from Black Mountain, she decided to create a one-day retreat for women — A Widow’s Tale.

Finding something lost: A sense of serenity and a connection to others are two of the things often lost in addiction, notes Craig White of First Step Farm. But those are also the very two things this farm-based recovery program seeks to grow.

Harvesting serenity: First Step Farms uses agricultur­e to overcome addiction

First Step Farms WNC is two farmsteads, both located on historic farmland in Candler. One site grows vegetable starts for small farms; the other grows flowers for weddings and school graduations. But the farms’ primary purpose goes beyond agriculture — the two sites are home to a substance abuse recovery program that uses farming to restore self-confidence in recovering addicts.

BIG RIVER: Flooding concerns have played a pivotal part in the recent debate over redevelopment plans for the River Arts District. Photo by Xpress.

If the creek don’t rise: Flooding, money and politics in the River Arts District

City plans to improve infrastructure, expand public space, increase access and encourage private development in the River Arts District have triggered considerable controversy. Xpress reached out to the city, RAD business and property owners, and organizations involved in the now flourishing area’s revitalization to try to answer some key questions.

“[Hall Fletcher] is a great school, but an unrecognized one,” says the elementary school's principal Gordon Grant, citing the establishment's 72 percent rate for children on free or reduced lunch as the highest in Asheville. “[But] a school for poor children should look as beautiful and attractive as any school for any child anywhere,” Grant says. His team hopes to engage students of all backgrounds by “bringing the classroom outside” with an Outdoor Learning Center. Project renderings courtesy of Hall Fletcher Elementary

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 Hall Fletcher Elementary school’s outdoor learning space, Roots + Wings School of Art and Design’s expansion onto a new campus and local band The Circus Mutts’ quest to raise funds for a new tour vehicle.

LIMITED TIME ONLY: Asparagus are harvested at Fairview's Cane Creek Asparagus & Co. during a narrow window of time between late April and early June.

Spring spears: Fairview’s Cane Creek Asparagus & Co.

It started with a dare in the blizzard of ’93. Robert Ploeger’s father was having a hard time growing asparagus, and Robert said, “I’ll bet you I can grow it.” That winter, he and wife, Glenda Ploeger, co-owners of Cane Creek Asparagus & Co., started what would become their first three rows of asparagus in the greenhouse attached to their Fairview home.

The answer to suburbia: Robert Eidus says the raised bed containing ginseng and goldenseal that sits off his back deck is a sustainable solution for resupplying your herbal medicine chest in the face of a diminishing supply of these highly sought plants.

Overharves­ting of forest plants calls for mindful consumers

With interest in wild edibles and native medicinals growing, the demand on these plants is quickly exceeding the supply — leading to over-harvesting, poaching and a risk of extinction. When browsing the stands at the farmers market or the shelves in an herbal shop, how can you know if the plants and products you’re purchasing are supporting sustainable, local growers or contributing to a growing problem?

FRESH START: Claire Orenzow says she feels like a new woman after having valve-in-valve replacement surgery on her heart at Mission Hospital.

Mission offers new heart surgery option

When Claire Orenzow’s replacement heart valve failed eight years after it was surgically implanted, the symptoms were excruciating. But doctors at Mission Hospital were able to repair Orenzow’s heart with a new procedure called valve-in-valve replacement that offers significant benefits over traditional open-heart surgery, and Orenzow says she left the hospital a few days after the operation feeling like a new woman.