From the newsdesk

‘I have no regrets’: Mayor Bellamy says farewell

On Dec. 2, outgoing Mayor Terry Bellamy’s portrait joined that of her predecessors on the walls of City Hall, as she bid farewell after eight years as mayor and five as a Council member ???. In her final speech, Bellamy touted the city's low unemployment rate and improved relations with Buncombe County government, thanking many of her colleagues.

The city’s first African-American mayor, Bellamy said her own life shows the importance of determination.

"You can be anyone you want to be," she told the crowd. "Someone from Klondyke [housing project], whose grandmother used to clean rooms here, has been mayor here. Don't let anything stop you." -David Forbes

For more on this story, see: http://avl.mx/golocas.

Disagreement over Asheville Brewing’s Shiva IPA

Rajan Zed, a Reno, Nev.-based Hindu activist, condemned Asheville Brewing’s Shiva IPA on Dec. 3 as “highly inappropriate” for featuring an image of the Hindu deity. He called for the beer’s removal. Zed also issued a Dec. 5 release from other California and Nevada religious leaders joining the call.

Asheville Brewing co-owner Mike Rangel apologized for offending anyone, but called Zed’s demand “a tempest in a teapot.” Rangel says the company will not drop the beer — its top seller — and that the company has used the image sensitively after consulting with local and state Hindu leaders.

"The last thing we want to do is appear like we're taking advantage of a religion or anything like that," Rangel says. "In the last two days, we've also been contacted by locals who are Hindu. They are very supportive and feel like it's much ado about nothing." -David Forbes

For more on this story, see: http://avl.mx/golocat.

The case of the missing newspaper boxes

Almost 50 newspaper boxes from a variety of publications are missing from downtown Asheville, with some having mysteriously disappeared in recent weeks. Neither city staff nor representatives of the publications contacted to date have any idea who is behind the disappearances.

Factoring in boxes removed by defunct publications or moved to a different part of town, Xpress Distribution Manager Jeff Tallman estimates that about 50 have vanished without explanation. Tallman says many of the disappearances seem to be recent; he became aware of the problem in late November after distribution staff at other local publications contacted him trying to figure out what was going on.

Shoji Spa had 12 boxes for distribution of its advertising booklets, mostly around downtown; all but one have disappeared in the last few weeks.

"We haven't removed any boxes at all," owner Roberta Jordan tells Xpress. "Up until a couple of weeks ago, it seemed like we had all our boxes."

Newspaper boxes downtown have been a controversial issue over the last two years, with some city staff and members of the Downtown Commission asserting that many of the boxes were an eyesore that might require regulation. However, numerous U.S. Supreme Court rulings sharply restrict the ability to remove newspaper boxes from public space, and attempts at regulation faltered. -David Forbes

For more on this story, see: http://avl.mx/03b

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