SIGN OF THE TIMES: Merrimon Avenue is a strong example of the challenges residents and transportation officials face to make major roads safe for pedestrians and motorists alike. Photo by Max Hunt

Merrimon madness: Addressing safety risks along Asheville’s major roadways

If you’ve lived in the Asheville area for any length of time, you know there are certain city roads that you simply avoid at key times of day. And with tourism booming and more people looking to move here every day, traffic concerns on already crowded city streets loom large in the minds of many residents, as well as city and state officials.

COOKING FOR CHANGE: Tera Broughton, left, and Sylvia Loveridge, right, get ready for the meal at a recent Dining for Women event hosted by Sheila Dunn.

Dining for Women potlucks fight gender inequality

For seven years, Kamala was an indentured servant, “rented” out by her parents for $50 a year. Today, she’s the Himalayan nation’s first female motorcycle mechanic, earning $50 a day. Kamala owes her freedom and improved prospects to Dining for Women, a global, nonprofit “giving circle.” The organization will be celebrated at A Sunset Soiree, a dinner fundraiser on Saturday, April 25.

Dying to Live Theatre at the Altamont

Third Messenger group explores the sacred art of being and dying

A growing movement in Asheville is seeking to make conversations about death more commonplace: Through an ever-evolving series of public art installments and performances that began in early 2014 , locally based Third Messenger has been offering Ashevilleans the chance to share their stories surrounding death and to contemplate their own mortality.

FINDING FRACE AND GOD: "Why do I argue with people who don't agree with me? Because when they go home at night, they've got to think about this stuff."

Straddling frontiers: Out to the Nations conference tries to reconcile Christian, LGBTQ community

It’s no secret that the Christian and LGBTQ communities have often found themselves at odds — each a thorn in the other’s side. But the Out to the Nations conference intends to reaches out to LGBTQ people in the Southeast who’ve felt ostracized or hurt by the church, offering them the possibility of finding a new path and personal connection with God.

The Appalachian Studies Association held its 38th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference last weekend at Eastern Tennessee University. Photo by Max Hunt.

Mountain medley: Reflection­s on the 2015 Appalachia­n Studies Conference

In an ongoing effort to connect those dispersed communities, the Appalachian Studies Association held its 38th annual conference last month in Johnson City, Tenn. The one-of-a-kind event unites scholars and musicians, activists and academics, to celebrate the often misunderstood region’s distinctive heritage, culture and physical landscape.

The roof of Asheville City Hall.

City Council to hear preliminar­y steps in evaluating shape of Thomas Wolfe Auditorium

Asheville City Council has a light schedule for its regular April 14 meeting. Council members will hear a resolution to approve preliminary steps in evaluating the condition of the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, as well as tackle some administrative tasks in Buncombe County’s purchase of a 137-acre plot on Ferry Road near Bent Creek from Henderson County.