ACA health insurance still available for some locals

While the sign-up deadline for health care under the Affordable Care Act passed March 31, some can still sign up, according to an attorney with one of the local nonprofits that has assisted WNC residents in doing so. People who dealt with technical difficulties or have a major life change can still get healthcare under the ACA. Also, due to North Carolina’s government refusing to expand Medicaid, many locals will not face a penalty for not having insurance.

Commissioners approve $50,000 for Mountain Bizworks microloans on party line vote-attachment0

Commissioners approve $50,000 for Mountain BizWorks microloans on party line vote

Buncombe Commissioners voted along party lines April 1 to give Mountain Bizworks $50,000 toward a new microloan program that will help small local businesses get needed capital. The local business nonprofit will leverage the county funds to receive an additional $300,000 from the federal Small Business Association Microloan Program.

Local schools seek community help bridging technology divide-attachment0

Local schools seek community help bridging technology divide

To thrive in the uncertain job market of the future, students will need to become proficient with technological tools that are advancing at a lightening pace. And to help them keep up, the Asheville City Schools Foundation is seeking community partners to build off recent successes and overcome a range of challenges. (photo by Jake Frankel)

Still going strong: Christmas Jam celebrates 25 years of benefit concerts with two-night blowout-attachment0

Still going strong: Christmas Jam celebrates 25 years of benefit concerts with two-night blowout

Reflecting on his 25 years of annual Christmas Jam benefit concerts, Warren Haynes says there’s been “too many highlights to list.” The event’s grown from a small concert at the now-defunct 45 Cherry nightclub into one of the city’s biggest entertainment events, held this year on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13-14, at the U.S. Cellular Center. With proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity, the shows are meant to celebrate Asheville’s philanthropic and artistic values, says Haynes.

Threading the maze: Local navigators help residents decipher health care law

In this set of short pieces, Xpress looks at the efforts of local organizations and “navigators” to help residents get coverage under the new healthcare law, the reactions they’re seeing so far, information on how to connect with these services and on-the-ground perspectives from a couple of volunteer navigators.

Jingle Bell Trolley Train Run rides rails Saturdays in Asheville-attachment0

Jingle Bell Trolley Train Run rides rails Saturdays in Asheville

The Craggy Mountain Line Railroad —a nonprofit dedicated to preserving a historic 3-mile section of railroad on the Craggy Mountain Line in Buncombe County — will present the second installment of this season’s holiday-themed run on Saturday. Launched on Nov. 30, the holiday event runs every Saturday up until Christmas — Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, and train rides will be offered once per hour from 4-8 p.m.

Feeling the crunch: Mountain BizWorks tackles funding crisis-attachment0

Feeling the crunch: Mountain BizWorks tackles funding crisis

Struggling to address an increased demand for services amid a funding crunch, Mountain BizWorks is conducting “an intensive review of our programs and finances,” board Chair Eileen McMinn reports. Most of the organization’s existing training programs will be phased out by the middle of next year. The downsized local nonprofit will focus its remaining resources on lending.

Homeless, nonprofits, APD vie over downtown policing

At a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18, city of Asheville staff and police officers met with homeless activists and local nonprofit representatives to discuss a new law enforcement approach that focuses on more arrests in the city’s downtown. Responses varied, ranging from concerns about the impacts of a failing system to criticisms of the Asheville Police Department’s new strategy.