Cleaner is cheaper

Taking a hard look: WNC’s sustainabi­lity report card

As we celebrate Earth Day 2015, we take a look at the status of the sustainability movement in WNC. How far have we come, and how far do we have to go? We asked local nonprofits and regulatory agencies to take us to school by examining our environmental efforts — from our air to our water, from our successes to our failures — and giving us an honest assessment of how we’re doing.

CALL ME HARLEY: After selling his house, most of his possessions and quitting his job, 58-year-old Henry Wasserman, under trail-name Harley, began his Appalachian journey on March 19. All photos courtesy of Wasserman.

Transforma­tive journey: Appalachia­n Trail thru-hiker reconsider­s his life path

On February 18, Xpress published “Tales from the Trail,” detailing the experiences of Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Gary Sizer. In the story, we met Henry Wasserman, who was seeking a transformative experience on the A.T. On March 19 Wasserman began his months-long trek north, trudging mile after mile through red Georgia clay.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Merrimon Avenue is a strong example of the challenges residents and transportation officials face to make major roads safe for pedestrians and motorists alike. Photo by Max Hunt

Merrimon madness: Addressing safety risks along Asheville’s major roadways

If you’ve lived in the Asheville area for any length of time, you know there are certain city roads that you simply avoid at key times of day. And with tourism booming and more people looking to move here every day, traffic concerns on already crowded city streets loom large in the minds of many residents, as well as city and state officials.

COOKING FOR CHANGE: Tera Broughton, left, and Sylvia Loveridge, right, get ready for the meal at a recent Dining for Women event hosted by Sheila Dunn.

Dining for Women potlucks fight gender inequality

For seven years, Kamala was an indentured servant, “rented” out by her parents for $50 a year. Today, she’s the Himalayan nation’s first female motorcycle mechanic, earning $50 a day. Kamala owes her freedom and improved prospects to Dining for Women, a global, nonprofit “giving circle.” The organization will be celebrated at A Sunset Soiree, a dinner fundraiser on Saturday, April 25.

Dying to Live Theatre at the Altamont

Third Messenger group explores the sacred art of being and dying

A growing movement in Asheville is seeking to make conversations about death more commonplace: Through an ever-evolving series of public art installments and performances that began in early 2014 , locally based Third Messenger has been offering Ashevilleans the chance to share their stories surrounding death and to contemplate their own mortality.