The Beat: HATCH-ing a plan

HATCH took over downtown Asheville, April 14-17. The annual networking event aims to be a creative-idea and business incubator, energizing “creative professionals and thought leaders who are serious about transforming their ideas and talents into bold action, while inspiring others to do the same,” according to the event’s website.

This year’s festivities encompassed four days of workshops, panels, concerts, films and social gatherings at a variety of local venues. The programs explored a wide array of creative fields, from music to journalism, fashion and architecture.

In the online post, “HATCH Asheville 2011 – Live Coverage,” Xpress covered the events as they happened with a series of blogs and streaming Twitter reports.

HATCH also garnered support from the Asheville Citizen-Times editorial board, which opined in the April 12 piece, “HATCH Brings Creative People Together for New Ideas,” “Perhaps we’ll be able to look back at this year’s event in Asheville as what launched the next creative fire that helped create quality jobs of the nature that can keep our own creative kids right here in the mountains.”

In a downtown gathering of a very different sort, Equality North Carolina held an April 14 town hall meeting to rally support against a pair of “Defense of Marriage” acts recently introduced in the state legislature. Both acts would amend the state constitution to prohibit recognition of marriage between gay and lesbian couples; the Senate version would also prohibit other forms of relationship recognition, such as civil union or domestic partnership, according to the Xpress online post, “Equality NC Rallies Against ‘Defense of Marriage’ Acts.”

Meanwhile, Xpress reported, “Hope Fading for WNC Media Center.”

A week after appeals to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners for more funding went unmatched, the WNC Media Center continues to drift toward closing its doors April 30, according to the online post. The local nonprofit manages URTV, the public-access channel for Buncombe County and the city of Asheville.

“I really don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Council member Jan Davis, the city’s liaison to URTV.

If the station closes, Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene said that the Media Center’s equipment and other assets would go to the city of Asheville. “That is the way the documents [were] written when we put this all together,” she explains. “The money we gave [URTV] was really for the facility, and the equipment costs were borne by the city.

Much of the state-of-the-art media equipment, said Davis, could end up going to the city government channel or, “if there was a group of really strong folks that had a common goal and wanted to reorganize and continue operations and came up with a business plan, I think we’d probably be open to that. I’d hope we’d be open to that.”

Most commented blog post

“Chad Nesbitt: Paul Van Heden ‘Took Over my Identity on a Twitter Account’” was the most commented blog post on the Xpress website last week, with 62 responses. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Former Buncombe County Republican Chair Chad Nesbitt says his attorneys may soon contact Paul Van Heden; Nesbitt claims the Asheville resident ran a Twitter account, @chadnesbitt, that resulted in the U.S. Secret Service investigating possible threats against Pres. Bill Clinton last year.

The majority of readers’ posts seemed to criticize Nesbitt for the allegations and for his controversial term as party chair. Here’s a sample from user “Orbit DVD”:

I don’t hate Chad, but am irked by his antics. Because of them, I feel that the Republicans lost a few key races last year that were winnable. Some that we needed to see Republicans win. I still say he was the best gift the Democrats ever had.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning writer and reporter who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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