A 500 acre fire tore through the slopes above Ridgecrest on Tuesday afternoon. As of Wednesday at noon, the fire has been 50% contained.

The morning after: Photos from the Black Mountain/R­idgecrest Wildfire

Around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, a brush fire caused by unknown sources in the Ridgecrest area of Buncombe County erupted across the ridgeline. Spurred by gusty winds and dry conditions, the blaze soon spread across the mountains bordering Black Mountain, destroying several homes and forcing residents to flee to safety as state and federal Park Service officials, along with firefighters from across Western North Carolina, came in droves to battle the wildfire.

Up Against 100: The higher the index, the higher the cost of living. In green, each city’s actual average wage varies, but when adjusted by the cities’ cost of living, it begins to show just how far those dollars actually go. In Asheville and Charleston, the numbers on residents’ paychecks don’t go as far as they would in Savannah, Knoxville or Durham. Graph by Lance Wille

Asheville’s cost of living undermines workers’ pay

An article published last month in Governing magazine examined 191 cities around the country, comparing average hourly wages with each city’s cost of living. The analysis included big cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles, as well as smaller cities like Asheville. Xpress sifted through the numbers to find out how Asheville compares with the rest of the country.

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.”

In 2010, hundreds of people marched down Tunnel Road advocating for the construction of a sidewalk between the Veterans Restoration Quarters and the VA Medical Center. That sidewalk has since come to fruition, but a report shows that Asheville is falling short of its goals.

Asheville tries to keep pace with rising demands for sidewalks, bike lanes

From the Get It! Guide: Asheville is faced with a rising interest in transportation alternatives, but the path to greater advances seems to be lined with historic neglect and budgetary hurdles. The city still has a long walk ahead to fulfill its 2004 goal of building 108 miles of sidewalks. In the last decade, Asheville has constructed only about 18 miles worth.

Photo from Facebook.com/MyDaddyTaughtMeThat

Boys club: My Daddy Taught Me That youth program provides positive role models

If you think your day is busy, try keeping up with Keynon Lake. Lake parlayed his pro basketball and sports medicine experience into a career with Buncombe County Health and Human Services, where he is a community service navigator and prevention social worker. Driven to address the questions raised by his line of work, Lake penned the book My Daddy Taught Me That.