FOOD SECURITY FOR ALL: As  the demand for food assistance in WNC continues to grow, local food-security organizations are embracing September, designated national Hunger Action Month, as a chance to raise awareness about the issue.  Here, volunteers and staff at MANNA FoodBank raise orange spoons — the symbol of the Hunger Action Month initiative.

Gather around the table: WNC rallies for Hunger Action Month

With one in six people in Western North Carolina lacking consistent access to food, MANNA FoodBank and its partner agencies are uniting to host hunger-awareness events and initiatives in September for national Hunger Action Month. MANNA also hopes to wrap up its Space to Erase Hunger capital campaign this month, allowing for crucial expansions to the organization’s capacity that will impact hungry families in 16 counties.

NO FEAR: With her book, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day, Leanne Brown aims to empower people on tight budgets to feel confident in creating flavorful meals from simple ingredients.

Small budget, big flavor: An interview with cookbook author and food activist Leanne Brown

Good food doesn’t have to be expensive. That’s the message of Leanne Brown’s new cookbook, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day, which is aimed at empowering people on very tight budgets to cook food they love. Brown visits the Asheville area on Friday as part of MANNA FoodBank’s calendar of Hunger Action Month events.

Room occupancy taxes, paid by overnight visitors to the county, will go up from 4 to 6 percent. Photo by Margaret Williams

Buncombe Commission­ers approve hotel tax increase

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved an increase in room occupancy tax increase for visitors to the area at its Tuesday, Sept. 1 meeting.

The increase, from 4 to 6 percent, applies only to those paying for rooms in county hotels and does not affect residents. This rate coincides with rates currently implemented in 31 other North Carolina counties, including Durham and Catawba.

Hendersonville photographer Walter Arnold juxtaposes the dirt and decomposition of disused spaces with saturated colors that hint at former glory — a strategy that brings hauntingly evocative results to each canvas.

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features the art project of Hendersonville photographer Walter Arnold, a new kiln for the ladies of Mudhoneyz Studio and entrepreneur Derek Plumb’s quest to make dorm rooms into havens for creativity.

buncombe county logo

Buncombe Commission­ers to vote on tourism tax, parkway protection

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ Sept. 1 meeting seems to cover all of the bases, from taxes to zoning to county services and a possible Vietnam memorial wall. The meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in the Commissioner Chambers on the third floor of the county building at 200 College St.

Supporters of Homestays and short-term rentals wore red stickers at the crowded City Council meeting on Aug. 25. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

City Council grapples with Homestays, raises fines on short-term rental violations

From real estate investors to neighborhood advocates to homeowners trying to make ends meet, just about everyone in Asheville has a dog in the ongoing fight over short-term vacation rentals. At the Tuesday, Aug. 25 Asheville City Council meeting, citizens representing a variety of viewpoints crowded City Hall.

BREAKING BARRIERS: Managed care organization Smoky Mountain LME/MCO and several regional health care providers are working to bring an integrated care model to WNC, beginning with a comprehensive care center at 356 Biltmore Avenue. Photo courtesy of Smoky Mountain LME/CMO.

No wrong doors: Integrated health care program offers one-stop solutions

Unless you’ve just emerged from the wilderness after several decades, chances are you’ve heard some of the roiling discussions going on across the country concerning the current state of the health care system. Whether it’s presidential candidates working on a policy speech or an individual making home budgeting decisions, implementing a comprehensive health care reform […]

Sparrow Pants and Keith Smith of The Resonant Rogues busking at the Flat Iron on Battery Park Ave. and Wall St. Photo by Erin Derham, Buskin' Blues.

Buskers to City: Don’t put art in a box

The streets and squares of Asheville were quieter than usual on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 24. Despite brilliant sunshine and pleasant temperatures, some of the city’s best-known street performers crowded into a meeting room to give City Council members an earful about proposed busking regulations in three high-traffic areas downtown.

the_quest_for_affordable_housing_07_29_15

Affordable housing catch up: special coverage essays, all parts

The quest for affordable housing: an introduction to the essay project and the Bowen study showing the problems Asheville and surrounding communities face on the affordable housing question, by Tracy Rose. The following essays are part of a series in which local experts were asked: “What would it take to solve the Asheville area’s affordable […]

BREWPUBS TO BIG BUSINESS: Over the past decade, craft breweries have taken the state of North Carolina by storm, pulling in nearly 800 million dollars in 2014 alone. However, with bigger profit margins comes more scrutiny from state alcohol regulators and a stricter adherence to N.C. statutes. Photo by Gina Smith.

Growing pains: Craft brewing comes of age

North Carolina has always had a complicated relationship with alcohol. However, alcohol has consistently been an economic driver in North Carolina, as it still is, with 130 craft breweries as of 2014 – the most of any Southern state. As the craft brewing industry in the region grows into a multimillion-dollar business, the desire to review the statutes and improve communication with state officials has come to the forefront.