KNOWING THE RISK: Scam artists are constantly finding new, ingenious ways to exploit security loopholes and gain access to consumers’ personal information, from installing “skimmers” (pictured above) on unmanned points of transaction to hacking into financial databases. In turn, law enforcement and cyber security experts encourage consumers to protect themselves by being vigilant in knowing how and where scammers strike. Photo courtesy of the Asheville Police Department

Scamming, skimming and financial fraud in WNC

Today’s savvy scammers have a whole host of increasingly sophisticated techniques to quickly steal information and drain bank accounts. To combat these crimes, IT professionals, law enforcement personnel and government officials are encouraging consumers and businesses to remain vigilant at transaction points and take other steps to safeguard themselves from the threat of online hackers.

COMPUTERS OF YORE: Technology has advanced over the decades since the federal government started collecting and storing the world’s climate data. Before moving to the Federal Building, data was stored in the Grove Arcade. Here, National Climatic Data Center staff members Dale Lipe and Ray Ertzberger use the Film Optical Sensing Device for Input to Computers in the ‘60s. Photo courtesy of NOAA

Local climate science industry primed for takeoff

“There’s this treasure trove of information just sitting there that’s never really been very well mined, because in the past it’s been so complex to run computations against it,” explains Stephen Del Greco, chief of the Data Access Division at the National Centers for Environmental Information. A component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, […]

RIDING THE RAILS: A Frieght rider waves from the front of a passing car just north of Marshall, North Carolina. He is one of an untold number of men and women traversing the country in the shadows of rail cars — despite substantial  legal and personal risks — in search of adventure, work or a new horizon. Photo by Max Hunt

Off the beaten track: Freight trains, freedom and the traveling culture

Americans love to celebrate the iconic “hobo” lifestyle, yet we’re often quick to stereotype or judge the modern-day iteration of the traveler. Despite the risk of legal repercussions and personal injury, contemporary traveling culture continues to attract people from all walks of life to the rails and the road in search of the next horizon.

BIG DREAMS: Adriana Chavela, publisher of the Spanish lifestyle magazine Hola Carolina, says, “The American dream is alive and well within the Western North Carolina Latino community."

Latino entreprene­urs gain ground in local business community

Although the overall numbers are still relatively small, there’s a growing desire in the local Hispanic community to own a business. Accordingly, Mountain BizWorks is now offering classes conducted in Spanish and designed to help potential business owners navigate the American entrepreneurial landscape. The local nonprofit also makes loans to promising startups and existing enterprises.

STREET SOLIDARITY: Andrew Fletcher addresses a collection of buskers and busking advocates outside of the U.S. Cellular Center prior to the city's Public Safety Committee meeting and forum. Photo by Max Hunt

Council members defer busking regulation­s at Public Safety Committee meeting

Asheville city staffers, downtown stakeholders and local buskers turned out in force for the city’s monthly Public Safety Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss a city proposal for a pilot program regulating downtown public space. The meeting, which was preceded by a community forum with downtown stakeholders, came amid tensions over pilot program, which would add regulations to several […]

COUNTY BUDGET APPROVED: The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a $413,574,951 budget along party lines during its Tuesday, June 21, meeting. Pictured are Democratic Commissioners Holly Jones, David Gantt, Brownie Newman and Ellen Frost.

Commission­ers approve budget; ax proposed tax cut, gun range

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners wrapped up the budget season during its Tuesday, June 21, meeting by approving a $413,574,951 spending plan for fiscal year 2017. During a more than five hour meeting Commissioner Tim Moffitt proposed an alternate budget, that would lower the property tax rate, but it was shoot down, via party lines, in favor of the approved budget.