Asheville City Council poised to consider HB2 response on April 12

A proposed Asheville resolution affirming the constitutional rights and equitable treatment of all in public accommodations — such as bathrooms — appears likely to spark extensive discussion on how Asheville will respond to House Bill 2 at Council’s meeting on April 12. Other agenda items include subdivision ordinances, the Beaucatcher Greenway and the city’s legislative agenda for the upcoming short session in Raleigh.

2014 WNCOS Orchid Show attendees enjoy hundreds of orchid exhibits. Photo by Julie McMillan courtesy of WNCOS

Farm & Garden: Asheville Orchid Festival will draw thousands

The 18th Annual Asheville Orchid Festival is expected to be the biggest ever, thanks to a joint effort among the North Carolina Arboretum, the Western North Carolina Orchid Society (WNCOS) and the American Orchid Society. The festival — which is being held in conjunction with AOS’ 2016 national spring meeting — is expected to attract […]

Both science and religion urge us to address climate change, says Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist and evangelical Christian. Photo by Dayna Reggero

Fight climate change, urges scientist and evangelist Katharine Hayhoe

Faith and science are not mutually exclusive, and this understanding can help address the climate challenges we face today, Katharine Hayhoe told hundreds who gathered at the First Baptist Church on Oak Street in downtown Asheville Tuesday, April 5, to hear the acclaimed climate scientist present a talk titled “Science, Faith and Our Changing Climate.” […]

UNC Asheville senior Emily Lanier speaks with Marilyn Foote-Hudson, executive director of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. Photo by Sarah Carballo

$1.5 million grant promotes undergradu­ate research at UNC Asheville

Continuing its history of support for undergraduate research, UNC Asheville announced this week it has received a $1.5 million grant awarded by the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation — to fund scholarships, fellowships and undergraduate research in chemistry and biology. The five-year grant was announced at the April 7 opening session of the National Conference on […]

RETURN OF THE RAIL: For more than 20 years, a collective of WNC communities between Asheville and Salisbury have strived for the return of regular passenger rail service into the region. At a March 2 meeting, the WNC Rail Corridor Committee outlined a new three-pronged strategy to reinvigorate freight service, expand excursion train opportunities and explore a pilot thruway bus service into the region through Amtrak. Photo by Max Hunt

WNC Rail Corridor Committee hatches new strategy

For more than 20 years, the WNC Rail Corridor Committee has worked tirelessly to prove the economic viability of restoring the historic rail link between Salisbury and Asheville. With changes in the rail industry looming and younger travelers showing increased interest in train travel, the committee is partnering with towns and municipalities and freight rail companies to pursue a new, three-pronged strategy.

Buncombe County Commissioners approved a resolution, known as Ban the Box, that will remove a question about past criminal convictions.

Buncombe County commission­ers spar over perceived transparen­cy issue

Another issue that put the commissioners’ divide on display was a resolution concerning the creation of a Utility Energy Innovation Task Force. The venture is a partnership with Duke Energy and the City of Asheville aimed at, “working to delay or avoid the construction of an additional fossil fuel powered combustion turbine electricity generating facility at the Asheville Plant site in 2023.”

Ban the Box and a budget amendment for the June Congressional primary are among issues on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioner's agenda on Tuesday, April 19.

Buncombe County Commission­ers argue about, hear public input on HB2

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners slogged its way through a more than seven hour meeting while trading barbs en route to approving a resolution that reaffirms the county’s commitment to a workplace supportive of diversity, moving ahead with real estate revaluations, approving a Utility Energy Innovation Task Force and approving minutes from a contentious closed session in March, 2015. The Tuesday, April 5th, marathon meeting highlighted the ideological tension between commissioners and the public as the resolution about the county’s Personnel Ordinance became a proxy for the emotionally charged North Carolina House Bill 2 and showcased emotional pleas from both sides of the issue. Meantime, discussion about the joint task force became symbolic of the commissioners’ divisive thoughts on what constitutes transparent government.