A PERSONAL TOUCH: Local businesses around Asheville, such as Dancing Bear Toys (above), play an indispensible role in driving the area’s economy and lending the city its unique ambiance. Through a combination of hands on ingenuity, creative approaches and a strong sense of community, Asheville’s specialty shops and boutiques are a testament to the viability of independent, locally-owned businesses in a world of big box chains and internet megastores. Photo by Max Hunt.

Local businesses drive Asheville vibe

Walk any downtown Asheville street and you’re likely to encounter some quirky storefronts offering unusual products. Together, these “specialty shops” or boutiques, most of them locally owned businesses, are a key component of the city’s distinctive flavor, attracting thousands of tourists each year and helping fuel the economy.

URBAN FOREST  Unaware of the controversy over their fate, 23 mature oaks stand on a knoll overlooking Coxe Avenue. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Oaks’ last stand: South Slope urban forest won’t get city funds

If the 23 mature oak trees at 11 Collier Ave. on Asheville’s South Slope are to escape the chainsaw, it will have to be without the city’s help. While City Council followed through on its commitment to explore possible strategies for preserving the urban forest, in the end Council decided that committing resources to the effort in advance of significant private fundraising wasn’t a responsible use of taxpayer assets.

GET A MOVE ON: Each spring, Asheville on Bikes executive director Mike Sule and other advocates help organize a Strive Not to Drive campaign to encourage multimodal  and active transit. Photo by Jake Frankel

City and county leverage resources to encourage active transporta­tion

Government agencies and departments from Buncombe County and the City of Asheville are pursuing a slew of initiatives that will reduce the barriers to active modes of transportation like walking, biking and using public transit. In addition to their environmental benefits, these coordinated efforts also promote mobility, health and well-being.

Image courtesy of Green Side Up Foundation

Green Side Up Foundation holds fundraiser­s Jan. 30 – Feb. 4 to support child cancer patients

As we roll into 2016, it’s easy to neglect the resolutions for the new year many of us made a month ago. But for children and their families battling cancer and dealing with the side effects of treatment, giving up or forgetting isn’t an option. To assist these children and their families in their time […]

Image courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs may be closer to home than we think

A deadly pathogen can make it around the globe in 24 hours or less, and in just eight hours, one E. coli bacterium can generate more than 16 million clones that make their host very, very sick — particularly if the mother strain is one of a growing number of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that have health leaders on alert from Asheville to Beijing.

HARVEST HOME: Janell Kapoor, Ashevillage
founding director, and Emily MacGibeny, work- trade intern, harvest winter herbs at Ashevillage. Photo by Pat Barcas

Environmen­tal initiative­s enhance WNC residents’ well-being

Today, slogans like “Save the Whales,” “No Nukes” and “Save the Planet” are commonplace. But while such global environmental rallying cries may help spread awareness and further a broad green agenda, they’re not typically seen as means to improved physical and mental well-being. In fact, however, the links between human health and environmental balance are […]

Adam Myerson (front) at the 2016 Cyclocross Nationals. Photo by Joshua Cole

A national coup: How Asheville Cyclocross Nationals went from dream to reality

Racers and organizers both had their fingers crossed as competitors zipped around the often muddied and frozen course on the Biltmore Estate during the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships, Jan. 5-10. In the end, the event drew high praise from all quarters. Adam Myerson, a 30-year-veteran bike racer and pro from New England, wrote: “Nationals course evaluation: best nats course I’ve ever ridden. Maybe best U.S. course ever, period.”