Press release from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the state’s highest one-day increase of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases to date with 2,684 new cases reported. The department is also reporting the second highest number of hospitalizations in the past 30 days, with […]
At about $32.47 million, actual sales taxes through the end of the 2020 fiscal year were still down 3.2% from the budgeted target of more than $33.53 million. But during an April 7 budget work session, Budget Director Jennifer Barnette had projected sales tax revenue at just $30 million due to the impacts of the coronavirus, a decrease of more than 8.9%.
Black Folks Camp Too founder Earl B. Hunter Jr. said new marketing collaborations would help him develop more interest in camping among the Black community. And later this month, Asheville-based artist Matthew Willey will begin work on a giant mural of honey bees at Hendersonville’s Hands On! Children’s Museum.
A $300,000 recurring allocation for the HRI, a program of Asheville-based nonprofit WNC Communities, stalled in the N.C. General Assembly due to partisan gridlock over the state budget. A joint proclamation between the HRI and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services now aims to make the hemlock’s future more secure.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Oct. 6 to award $15,000 toward the construction of an agricultural education facility at Enka High School. But as Chair Brownie Newman noted, recommendations to support such projects are normally made by Buncombe’s School Capital Fund Commission or Board of Education and funded through the regular budget cycle.
Public comment on a grant application for federal coronavirus relief identified help with rent, mortgage and utility bills as the county’s greatest need. The Board of Commissioners is set to vote on a plan that would direct the aid, which will likely not be available until January, toward that purpose at its regular meeting of Tuesday, Oct. 6.
This year’s contest to fill three seats on the town’s nonpartisan Board of Aldermen initially drew nine candidates, a field that has since dwindled to six. Four of those candidates participated in a Sept. 21 candidate forum hosted through Zoom by Indivisible Black Mountain.
Many Republican candidates have continued to build voter support through traditional in-person campaign events such as rallies and fundraising concerts. In contrast, Democrats have largely relied on virtual efforts such as phone banking or Zoom calls, eschewing big events out of concern they might encourage spread of the coronavirus.
Buncombe County must submit a detailed application for up to $900,000 in federal grant funding that will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Rachel Nygaard, the county’s director of strategic partnerships, said residents should weigh in on the county’s plan as soon as possible.
“In Pisgah [National Forest] or the Smokies, it’s very difficult to know exactly who owned the land before it became public. With DuPont, it’s not,” explains author Danny Bernstein. “You can trace all of the land to somebody who sold it or gave it away to the state.”
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote on a resolution to adopt LEED Gold standards for new public facilities over 10,000 square feet and major renovations. The county’s policy would also require all new buildings to be constructed with solar-ready design and achieve net-zero energy use “where feasible.”
Maj. Frank Stout of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office declined to provide additional information about the threats or their credibility, citing an ongoing investigation. However, he said that he’d observed “a lot of hostility in the campaign this year” on social media — more so than in prior election cycles.
Board member Rick Livingston, who made the motion to deny the recommendation, said the proposed SE Asphalt plant’s location in a “very residential area” off the Spartanburg Highway was incompatible with both the county’s comprehensive plan and East Flat Rock’s community plan.
From Mars Hill in the north to Rosman in the south, from Black Mountain in the east to Maggie Valley in the west, the Hellbender Regional Trail system would link major municipalities in the five-county French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization region through paths devoted to bicyclists and pedestrians.
After a unanimous Board of Commissioners vote on Sept. 1 to adopt a new Schedule of Values — the regulations used by Buncombe tax assessors to determine how much all property in the county is worth — owners have until Friday, Oct. 2, to file an appeal over the rules.
According to a staff report available before the meeting by Jennifer Barnette, Buncombe County’s budget director, the money comes from two federal programs funneled through the N.C. State Board of Elections. The federal coronavirus rescue package accounts for about $183,000 of the funding, while the Help America Vote Act provides the remaining $172,000.
“Folks are really starting to get weary of the pattern of hurricanes and extreme weather and are looking for more stable environments such as Western North Carolina,” says local real estate agent John Haynes, about clients seeking to move to the region from coastal states like Florida, New Jersey and Texas.
Townsend cited the impact of COVID-19 on her family’s health and finances as one reason for dropping out of the race. She also listed “the current state of Asheville and the role [she] would play in the continual perpetuation of systemic harm” were she elected to Council.
At a time when COVID-19 makes meeting up for in-person sports less safe, says Asheville Parks and Recreation staffer Maxime Pierre, virtual activities provide an outlet for competition and help to keep the department relevant. But he says video games also allow the city to engage with a larger group of residents than had been served through traditional sports.
None of the systems that serve the Xpress coverage area exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory limit for the so-called “forever chemicals.” Nor did any system have more than 10 ppt of any individual PFAS, the level at which the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has required Chemours Co. to provide water filtration.
Per the joint city and county resolution that established the group, a “recommendation regarding the removal and/or repurposing of the Vance Monument” must be delivered to Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners within three months of Aug. 4, when the final members were appointed.