ROCK STARS: For 70 years, the Mineral Research Laboratory in Asheville’s South Slope neighborhood has worked with mining companies around the world to come up with efficient ways to harvest and process minerals, as well as educate the public on North Carolina’s mineral resources. Utilizing its unique pilot plant (above), the lab has the capability to provide data on the cost and scale of operations for companies to use in commercial enterprises. Photo by Max Hunt

Minerals Research Lab cooks up cutting-edge solutions

For 70 years, the Minerals Research Laboratory on Coxe Avenue has collaborated with mining companies and educational institutions to develop more efficient processes for extracting the state’s mineral resources as well as ways to reuse potentially harmful byproducts.

HEART OF OAK: Forest researcher Tara Keyser (right) explains to a group of forest industry partners why new forestry management techniques are needed to regenerate oak trees — and how the method she is studying might help. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Bent Creek study tests method for reversing oak decline

Economically and ecologically valuable, oak trees dominate the forests of our region. But forest experts say that when the mature oak and hickory forests are cut, they are increasingly being replaced by fast-growing and aggressive yellow poplar. Researchers have been seeking solutions to the problem for decades, with little success. A new study in Bent Creek hopes to change that.

NEW PLANS, NEW CONCERNS: Members of the Swannanoa community met with Community Advisory Group members, federal and state environmental officials Thurday, Dec. 1 to discuss future plans for the Chemtronics Superfund site. Photo by Max Hunt

For the record: EPA reviews 2016 Record of Decision, presence of new contaminan­ts at Chemtronic­s site

Swannanoa residents met with members of the Community Advisory Group, federal and state environmental protection officials Thursday evening to review the 2016 Record of Decision for the Chemtronics Superfund site. The EPA also revealed the presence of a new contamination detection on the property.

SMALL BUT MIGHTY: Dogwood Alliance is a 14-person nonprofit that has made a big impact over its 20-year history. The group has convinced some of America’s largest corporations to adopt forest-friendly sourcing practices. Now it’s fighting the wood pellet industry, which the organization says is logging Southern forests and turning them into fuel for generating electricity in Europe. Photo courtesy of Dogwood Alliance

Dogwood Alliance marks two decades of defending Southern forests

As Dogwood Alliance celebrates its 20th anniversary, the local organization reflects on its accomplishments influencing the wood sourcing practices of some of America’s largest corporations. Now the group is poised to take on an even larger challenge: fighting European environmental regulations that Dogwood Alliance says are paradoxically endangering Southern forests.

OPEN FOR EXPLORATION: Staff and board members of the Asheville Museum of Science, TDA officials and residents gathered Friday morning for the soft opening of AMOS' new location in downtown Asheville. The museum was also presented with a $400,000 Tourism Product Development Fund grant. Photo by Max Hunt

Asheville Museum of Science celebrates new location with soft-opening reception

The Asheville Museum of Science held a soft opening from 10 a.m. until noon at its new location in the Wells Fargo building at 43 Patton Avenue. In addition to the opening reception, an official ceremony was held to celebrate a $400,000 grant awarded to the museum from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority.

SERVING OUR SERVICEMEN & WOMEN: Photos taken while at ABCCM'a Veterans Restoration Quarters in Asheville NC, where they have a comprehensive restoration program that addressees the needs of homeless veterans.

Brothers in arms: Local nonprofits give back to WNC veterans

With Veterans Day fast approaching, the customary forms of American celebration will be prominently on display: parades through city streets, moments of silence briefly interrupting broadcast media, solemn ceremonies at landmarks across the country, special discounts at restaurants and shops. Beyond those symbolic gestures, however, stands a large and growing need to support the many […]

MURDER & MYSTERY IN THE MOUNTAINS: From Pack Square to Riverside Cemetery, Asheville's history is full of untimely deaths, mysterious murders and unexplained phenomena, which local organizations, paranormal investigators and tour companies alike utilize to explore the city's dark past. Photo by Max Hunt

Horror in the highlands: Asheville’s ghostly legends provide a glimpse into city’s past

Like any good Southern city, Asheville’s history is steeped in the gothic and the paranormal. While the facts and claims behind these legends vary from story to story (and storyteller), Asheville’s “ghosts” play an often unheralded role in capturing and preserving the city’s past.

GLIMPSE OF THE PAST: The WNC Military History Museum will open its "Operation Armed Forces" exhibit honoring veterans from World War I to the present day at the Aethelwold Hotel in Brevard on Saturday, Oct. 22. The exhibit will run through Nov. 11. Photo courtesy of WNC Military History Museum

WNC Military History Museum opens “Operation Armed Forces” exhibit in Brevard Oct. 22

Using a vast array of artifacts, period newspapers and personal items from the time, combined with a series of lectures by military veterans and authorities, The WNC Military History Museum in Brevard hopes to educate a new generation on veterans’ contributions in an upcoming exhibit, “Operation Armed Forces,” which will open Saturday, Oct. 22, and run through Friday, Nov. 11, at the historic Aethelwold Hotel in downtown Brevard.

SACRED SPACE: The Rosebud camp is one of three encampments where protesters have gathered since August to oppose construction of the Dakota Access pipeline across tribal lands. Photo by Tommy Cook

WNC locals support protesters at Standing Rock

The Dakotas may be far from Asheville, but many WNC locals have traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation since protests began there in late August over a disputed oil pipeline that crosses tribal lands. Others in Asheville have donated money or supplies to support the tribe’s efforts to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

INTO THE WOODS: Volunteers are developing a new demonstration forest farm at the Madison County Public Library to increase awareness and knowledge of forest farming techniques. Photo courtesy of Rachell Skerlec

Forest farming can bring economic, environmen­tal benefits to WNC

While growing food and other crops beneath the forest canopy isn’t new — it’s been practiced by indigenous and traditional cultures around the world for centuries — a new focus on forest farming is highlighting the possibilities of forest-based production of non-timber crops in Western North Carolina.

Barnaroo 2016

In Photos: Barnaroo Music Festival 2016

Andrew Scotchie is a steady force in the local music scene. Frontman of Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats, Scotchie is one of the most active touring musicians in town and the founder and coordinator of Asheville Barnaroo Music Festival, a three-day event held at Franny’s Farm in Leicester. “First and foremost, it’s a big […]

KNOT IN MY CITY: A growing number of Asheville residents and appointed officials are expressing concerns over the city’s current tree ordinances, which they describe as incomplete or not strong enough to protect mature trees like the sycamores cut down at the Country Club of Asheville (above) recently as part of the golf course’s ongoing renovation project. Photo special to Xpress

If a tree falls in the city: Residents push to update Asheville’s tree ordinances

Citizen activists, members of Asheville’s Tree Commission and city officials are exploring the possibility of increased oversight on how trees are managed within the city limits. But with a lack of definition in key parts of the city’s policy, and obstacles at the state level impeding regulations on private property, updating Asheville’s tree ordinances is proving to be an uphill battle.

EMBRACING CHANGE: Soil scientist Laura Lengnick will be the keynote speaker at the Extension Master Gardeners of Buncombe County's gardening symposium on Oct. 12. Photo by Jane Morell

Extension Master Gardeners host fall gardening events

Through information sessions, a helpline and a day-long symposium on Oct. 12, the Extension Master Gardeners of Buncombe County continue their mission of educating the public on good gardening practices using research-based information provided by the North Carolina State University Extension Service throughout the fall.