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.

Ban the Box, June-primary budget amendment set to go before Buncombe County Commission­ers

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners has a decidedly lighter agenda for its upcoming meeting compared to this month’s previous seven-hour slugfest. There are no public hearings scheduled and the four new business items don’t appear to be inherently contentious in nature when commissioners tackle the agenda on Tuesday, April 19. Among those issues are amending the budget to pay for June’s Congressional primary and consideration of removing the question regarding an candidate’s criminal past on the county’s hiring application.

Buncombe County paid $6.8 million for 137 acres on Ferry Rd. in hopes of landing Deschutes Brewery. The Oregon-based beer maker eventually tapped Roanoke, VA for its East Coast expansion.

David Gantt releases timeline, documents on Buncombe-Deschutes negotiatio­ns

In the aftermath of Buncombe County’s two-year effort to convince Orgegon-based Deschutes Brewery to build its East Coast expansion here, some critics have questioned the strategies employed. Buncombe County Commission Chair David Gantt released today (March 30) a timeline of events and supplemental documents correlated to Deschutes’ decision.

INTERACTIVE EDUCATION: The new Zaniac Asheville STEM education center, which celebrates its grand opening on April 19, engages children grades kindergarten through eight through interactive learning modules, game-based curriculums and hands-on instruction to foster interest in technology and engineering principles at an early age. Photo courtesy of Zaniac Corporation

Zaniac brings innovative STEM education to Asheville

A recent Forbes magazine article asked whether Asheville could be “an emerging Silicon Valley.” And while some locals might wonder where the jobs that one might expect to come with such a claim are to be found, there’s little debate about the importance of getting young students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — […]

CROP ROTATIONS: Once a dominant crop across WNC, tobacco production in the mountains has all but disappeared in the wake of the Tobacco Transition Payment Program, commonly referred to as the "Tobacco Buyout," which did away with the long-standing federal quota system and changed the landscape of farming in the region. Photo via North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina

Smoke and mirrors: the death of tobacco in WNC

Few crops have been as central to North Carolina’s economy and culture — or as controversial — as tobacco. Historically, its high market value and the relative ease of growing it made tobacco a staple for many Western North Carolina farmers. As late as 2002, 1,995 mountain farms grew tobacco. The crop’s prevalence, however, was […]

A PERSONAL TOUCH: Local businesses around Asheville, such as Dancing Bear Toys (above), play an indispensible role in driving the area’s economy and lending the city its unique ambiance. Through a combination of hands on ingenuity, creative approaches and a strong sense of community, Asheville’s specialty shops and boutiques are a testament to the viability of independent, locally-owned businesses in a world of big box chains and internet megastores. Photo by Max Hunt.

Local businesses drive Asheville vibe

Walk any downtown Asheville street and you’re likely to encounter some quirky storefronts offering unusual products. Together, these “specialty shops” or boutiques, most of them locally owned businesses, are a key component of the city’s distinctive flavor, attracting thousands of tourists each year and helping fuel the economy.

SNAPSHOTS IN TIME: Comparisons between Asheville’s estimated homeless population in 2005 and 2015 with other cities in North Carolina show mixed results in driving down the amount of homeless individuals statewide. While the amount of chronically homeless individuals decreased in most municipalities, the repercussions of the 2008 recession and a local shortage of affordable housing has stagnated efforts at decreasing the total number of people experiencing some form of homelessness. Statistics gathered from the N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness & the United States Census Bureau

Gimme shelter: In wake of 10-year plan to end homelessne­ss, local agencies regroup

Although chronic homelessness has been curtailed substantially since 2005, the combination of a severe economic downturn, an acute shortage of affordable housing and the rising cost of living has hindered the overall progress in eradicating homelessness. Despite those setbacks, partners in the project are forging ahead with new initiatives to combat housing insecurity and ensure that those in need of shelter get it.

HOMECOMING: The staff of Mountain Housing Opportunities celebrated the grand opening of The Villas at Fallen Spruce Apartments along with their partners on the project and local and state representatives on Thursday, Dec. 3 with a tour of the facility and housingwarming fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Mountain Housing Opportunities.

Home, sweet home: Mountain Housing Opportunit­ies celebrates The Villas at Fallen Spruce Apartments

In its latest efforts to increase the availability of affordable housing, the nonprofit organization Mountain Housing Opportunities hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and gift registry drive Thursday evening at its brand new apartment complex, The Villas at Fallen Spruce Apartments, just off New Leicester Highway. MHO staff, partner organizations, sponsors, local and state government officials were […]