Over the past several years, due in part to community changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, many local nonprofits have been thrust into hiring leadership positions. Most have not had the liberty of hiring qualified candidates from within and have had to conduct broader searches.
Last school year, Buncombe County Schools saw an average daily membership drop of over 1,500 students, its biggest in the past six years and about 6.4% from its 2019-20 figure of 23,712, with nearly 450 students moving to home schools. At the same time, area private, parochial and charter schools have also seen gains in enrollment.
A $25,670 grant from The Community Foundation of WNC is helping MountainTrue continue testing begun last year; eventually, the group wants to be able to give rivergoers up-to-the-minute information about E. coli levels.
The Asheville-based Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture project has found that the number of Western North Carolina tobacco farms declined by 97% between 1997 and 2012, largely due to the federal tobacco buyout. But Matthew Vann, extension specialist and assistant professor at N.C. State University, believes a different variety could make the crop more economically viable for local growers.
Sybriea Lundy counts herself lucky to have been able to participate in programs offered by Light a Path, an Asheville-based nonprofit that brings yoga and movement to underserved populations, while serving the final 2 ½ years of her sentence for drug trafficking at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women. The organization also helped Lundy reenter and connect with the Asheville community upon her release.