Hemlock trees are disappearing from the Appalachian Mountains due to the non-native invasive species, the hemlock wooly adelgid. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners agreed unanimously at the May 19 meeting to move forward with a project to preserve the hemlocks from further eradication.

Buncombe Commission­ers approve hemlock preservati­on project

At the Tuesday, May 19 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a project to protect the region’s disappearing hemlock population. They also heard budget requests from Buncombe County Schools, Asheville City Schools, A-B Tech and District Attorney Todd Williams, as well as the proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year — all of which will come to a public hearing at the next regular meeting, on June 2.

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Letter writer: $25 million project aims to improve Asheville’s water supply dam

“I can see how your reader interpreted the 2014 Water Quality report to suggest that Schnabel Engineering is doing a $25 million study. We have engaged Schnabel over the past several years to assess our primary water supply dam and identify improvements that are necessary to bring the dam into compliance with N.C. Dam Safety regulations.”

ADDING IT UP: According to the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, Buncombe County is home to 449 nonprofit organizations. To fund their work, each organization must come up with creative solutions that helps them stand out from the crowd.

Nonprofits seek creative funding in Buncombe County

On April 14, representatives from 43 nonprofits requested funding from Buncombe County, as part of the county’s community development grant program. But these organizations make up only 9.6 percent of the total nonprofits in the county. Others rely on privately funded grants and donations, as well as individual donations — both small and large. Each organization must constantly work to grab and hold the public’s attention. And in a city like Asheville, it seems there’s never a shortage of worthy causes.

At the May 5 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board voted 7-0 to heighten development restrictions to protect the views along the Blue Ridge Parkway zoning overlay.

Buncombe Commission­ers approve new art, culture and history projects, parkway preservati­on

At the Tuesday, May 5, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, three projects supporting the arts were approved 7-0 — including the go-ahead to plan a new monument outside the Buncombe County Courthouse. A resolution to protect the viewshed of the Blue Ridge Parkway passed 7-0, and a letter asking the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency to align with EPA standards was approved 4-3.

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Buncombe Commission­ers to discuss parkway preservati­on, historical art project, air quality concerns

The Tuesday, May 5 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting might be one for the books, as the board will discuss a new art, culture and history project that may result in the addition of a new landmark on the horizon. The board will discuss this, as well as a few environmental interests.

COUNTY LANDS: Following the March 17 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners retreat, word spread that the county may consider lifting restrictions on mobile homes in R-1 and R-2 districts. Graphic by Anna Whitley & Kyle Kirkpatrick

Boon or bane: Buncombe residents speak out against manufactur­ed housing

A steady stream of Buncombe County residents queued up April 7 to voice opposition to loosening restrictions on mobile homes. The concern stemmed from local media reports that the county may consider allowing manufactured housing in all residential districts, prompting discussion on whether mobile homes are actually affordable.

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Letter writer: City of Asheville works with partners to house veterans

“Through a partnership with Homeward Bound, the city of Asheville provides support to implement the federal Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant. Homeward Bound was awarded $2.7 million in federal funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs to implement its Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) over the next three years.”

View across lake of Duke Energy's Lake Julian plant

UPDATE: Asheville City Council asks local agency to toughen SO2 standard on Duke Energy plant

At tonight’s meeting, April 28, Asheville City Council members may agree to ask the local air agency to “strengthen” proposed limits on sulphur dioxide emissions at Duke Energy’s local power plant. The move comes ahead of a Wednesday, April 29, public hearing that the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency will hold to consider renewing the air permit for the Duke Energy plant.