ORCHARD PROJECT: Volunteers came out on a beautiful day to plant an orchard on a formerly vacant green space in the Hillcrest Apartment complex.

In photos: Hillcrest get an organic boost from GreenWorks

Asheville GreenWorks partnered up April 11 with volunteers to transform an empty green lot at Hillcrest Apartments into an orchard. GreenWorks received a grant to plant its sixth community orchard at Hillcrest, with 24 ball-and-burlap apple trees and 36 blueberries. The goal is to promote better access to food, greenspace, shade, community pride and jobs.

THE HUB: Here’s Pack Square circa 1930, looking east, with Asheville City Hall and both the 1903 and 1928 Buncombe County Courthouses in the distance. Photo by George Masa. Original photo held by the NC Div. of Archives & History, this print courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, North Carolina

Honor system: Vance Monument restoratio­n raises troubling questions

The upcoming restoration of the Vance monument is said to honor the memory of Zebulon Vance, Confederate military officer and wartime governor. But there’s another side to this story. By many accounts, Vance was a white supremacist who supported and profited from slavery. Many are saying that it’s important to consider what ideals and what history the momunment reflects — and also what is absent.

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Buncombe County approves $6.8 million land purchase for economic developmen­t investment

At the April 7 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board split down party lines for the approval of a $6.8 million land purchase, pursuing an economic development project with an unnamed company. The purchase was approved 4 to 3, but a resolution to establish a policy for recording closed session meetings was shot down 3 to 4.

CONTROVERSIAL CONTENTS: Because the sale of unpasteurized milk is illegal in North Carolina, Marshall farmers Kate and Kevin Lane sell raw milk from their Jersey cows under a state-approved label that marks it as pet food. The farm expects to be distributing about 100 gallons of their milk per week to customers in the Asheville area this summer.

Raw deal? Asheville’s taste for unpasteuri­zed milk

Raw milk comes straight from the cow — it hasn’t been pasteurized (heated to high temperatures for specific lengths of time to kill potentially harmful pathogens). Though both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn against unpasteurized dairy products in no uncertain terms, the product remains in high demand.

JET SET: Some Enka-Candler residents would like to restore the historic jet on display at Enka Middle School.

Expect a big turnout at CleanUp Candler April 9 community meeting

Can a community initiative rise from the ground up, with no leaders and no set agenda? The answer is yes, and it’s apparent in newly affixed “Ole Town Candler” bumper stickers and a CleanUp Candler campaign that’s taking off via a Facebook page. And on Thursday, April 9, the initiative takes another step forward with a community meeting at Enka Middle School.

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County Commission­ers to hear property acquisitio­n request, rezoning and legislativ­e updates

Two public hearings will be held at the April 7 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, one on a Ferry Road property acquisition and the other a rezoning request for Monticello Road.

The board will then hear a resolution on recording closed sessions, the state of the Asheville Regional Airport, a new legislative update and a tax penalty waiver request.

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

UPDATED 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.”