HIGH TENSION WIRES: Residents around Henderson County are speaking out publicly over a 45 mile Duke transmission line project they say may adversely effect their community. Photo courtesy of Kathy Ziprik.

High tension wires: Duke Energy and Henderson County residents at odds over proposed transmissi­on lines

Power giant Duke Energy’s proposal for a 45-mile transmission line through Western North Carolina, part of the company’s multifaceted Western Carolinas Modernization project to upgrade and integrate the mountains with a larger regional power grid, is meeting staunch opposition from residents since the company announced its intentions in mid-July.

SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS: The area’s affordable housing crisis has many residents looking for answers. Just outside Asheville, essayist Andrea Golden, right, sits on the front porch of her home in the Dulce Lomita Mobile Home Cooperative in Emma with family members including son Hyadi Abel Gonzalez, partner Abel Gonzalez and daughter Yaretzi Cruz Golden. They partnered with neighbors in the co-op to buy the land for the park, which also includes a community garden.

Homework: Solving Asheville’­s affordable housing crisis

It’s no secret: The shortage of affordable housing in the Asheville area is one of our community’s biggest problems. Contributing factors include a growing population, the high demand for both apartments and houses, the particular challenges of building in the mountains and the low wages paid by many local employers. Earlier this summer, Xpress decided […]

“If you don’t want to own a small business, don’t try and make a living as a farmer,” says William Lyons. He and Marie Williamson own Bluebird Farm in Morganton. Photo by Amelia Fletcher Photogaphy. Courtesy of Organic Growers School

Survey findings may help stem the loss of farms in WNC

Making a living as a farmer is tough anywhere, but it’s particularly true in the North Carolina mountains. Western North Carolina lost 18 percent of its farms — more than 2,800 — in the 15 years between 1997 and 2012. And the majority of existing WNC farmers today are nearing retirement age — many of them without heirs who plan to keep the farm going.


One of a kind: Venture Local Fair celebrates Asheville’­s unique character

There’s a crossroads between Buxton and Banks avenues, even though they don’t intersect. These blocklong, parallel, South Slope streets are lined with places to buy things, eat, drink and make merry: a chocolate factory, a doughnut shop, three breweries, two bars, a beer-and-wine store and the newest barbecue joint in town, among other businesses. The […]

The Appalachian Trail Game's special edition content has an even tighter focus on stewardship, according to founder and avid hiker Mark Hanf, who was inspired to create the first Thru Hike edition when he found a trashed campsite. He'll donate 5 percent of sales from the board game to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

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 second edition of Appalachian Trail-inspired board game Thru Hike plus nonprofit literary press Orison Books’ fundraising efforts for three new spiritually-inclined books.

EARTH FRIENDLY FOUNDATIONS: Using a variety of new technology and state of the art building practicies, green builders around WNC and bringing sustainable construction concepts to the forefront of design. Photo courtesy Alembic Studios.

Green building thriving in WNC despite legislativ­e threats

Amid a hostile legislative climate in Raleigh, innovative, sustainable design and construction are flourishing in Western North Carolina. The WNC Green Building Council was founded in 2001. Since then — and despite an unstable housing market — local interest has grown steadily, says Maggie Leslie.

Asheville City Council approves new zoning use for Brother Wolf cat café. Creative commons photo by iris

The meows have it: Council approves cat café

Seven meows in favor (and no “arfs” against) carried the motion to approve a new zoning use in Asheville’s Central Business District — the cat café. The proposed cat adoption center and café will expand Brother Wolf Animal Rescue’s efforts into the heart of downtown. In view of the many dog-centric businesses in the city, cat owner and Councilman Cecil Bothwell said this cat-oriented attraction is “long overdue.”

"I gotta go barefoot when I’m in the garden," says Green Opportunities' new executive director, George Jones Jr. Jones joined the nonprofit in mid-July and is bringing some business-minded changes to GO.

Green Opportunities’ new director gets his feet — and his shoes — wet

As the new executive director of Green Opportunities, the green jobs training program that works with low-income Asheville residents, George C. Jones plans to continue the environmental consciousness that was practiced by previous leadership, but his tenure will be guided by his business background.