Buncombe County seal

Commission­ers consider medication-assisted treatment endorsemen­t

Board chair Brownie Newman, Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferarra and member Amanda Edwards have placed a resolution endorsing the Sheriff’s Office’s use of MAT on the commission’s agenda for Tuesday, Aug. 20. The treatment is currently offered to the jail’s pregnant female inmates, but Buncombe officials hope to expand its availability to all incarcerated individuals.

Mark Byrd Civil Service Board hearing

Civil Service Board finds Byrd firing unjustifie­d in rare closed session

Civil Service Board Chair Carol Goins voted against her colleagues in a 4-1 decision finding that former Asheville Police Department Capt. Mark Byrd’s firing by former Chief Tammy Hooper was not justified and ordering the city to reach “a just conclusion of the matter.” The board’s reasons for that decision were discussed during its first closed session in at least three years.

Janice Brumit

Dogwood Health Trust shares six-month update

While the trust’s professional leadership remains under consideration, board chair Janice Brumit confirms that its board has filled out its inaugural complement of 14 members from WNC. After the nonprofit hires its inaugural CEO and finishes its strategic plan later this year, she estimates that other organizations will be able to apply for its grants starting in the spring of 2020 and receive money the following fall.

Uherka site plan

Commission­ers deny Swannanoa rezoning in 4-3 split

Republicans Mike Fryar and Robert Pressley, as well as Democrats Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides, stood against the 1.05-acre rezoning, while Democrats Brownie Newman and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, along with Republican Joe Belcher, gave their approval. The county planning board had recommended against the proposal, citing concerns over steep slope development.

Census taker going door to door

Buncombe County plans for 2020 census

In a presentation at the Aug. 6 pre-meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Director of Intergovernmental Projects Tim Love said that the county misses out on roughly $1,600 of federal funding annually for every resident who goes uncounted. Buncombe is aiming to increase its census participation by roughly 10,000 residents over the 2010 effort and reach an 80% participation rate.

North Fork water treatment plant

Asheville seeks new approach to water treatment sludge

Last October, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality placed stricter controls on what outside materials MSD could accept, thus barring the plant from taking Asheville’s treatment residuals. The city’s current plan is to landfill the sludge in Buncombe County and Concord, N.C. — at over 2 1/2 times the cost of its previous disposal arrangement.

Quentin Miller at the Black Mountain Public Library

Buncombe sheriff launches listening sessions in Black Mountain

At the Black Mountain Public Library on July 23, Sheriff Quentin Miller spoke to roughly 35 people in the first of five planned listening sessions meant to build relationships with community members around public safety. Topics included compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, school resource officers and transparency in the Sheriff’s Office.

Quentin Miller discussing ICE

Buncombe board debates ICE detainer bill

Republican members of the board argued that their Democratic colleagues were out of place in issuing official letters against pending state HB 370, which would require Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller and other sheriffs throughout North Carolina to comply with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests on penalty of removal from office.

Bat with white-nose syndrome

News Briefs: Buncombe maintains state’s lowest unemployme­nt, bat fungus spotted in Madison County

Buncombe did see its unemployment tick up from the 2.8% April rate; the May rate was also higher than the 2.8% reported for the same month last year. However, the Department of Commerce noted that all of the state’s other metro areas also saw rate increases, and the Asheville metro area actually added about 1,900 nonfarm jobs in May.

Buncombe County seal

ICE detainer mandate on docket for July 16 Commission meeting

The four Democratic board members — Chair Brownie Newman, Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Commissioners Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides — have all signed letters asking state officials to withhold their support from the proposal. In February, Democratic Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller announced that his office would no longer honor ICE detainers.

Patrick McHenry

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry to hold July 31 town hall at Riceville Fire Department

Rep. Patrick McHenry, whose 10th Congressional District represents most of Asheville and stretches east through Western North Carolina, will hold a town hall at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31, at the Riceville Volunteer Fire Department in Asheville. Buncombe County Republican Party Chair Jerry Green confirmed that the meeting would take place in a July […]

Curbside Management facility

Curbie to stop paper, container recycling at Woodfin drop center July 1

According to Barry Lawson, president of Curbside Management, the Woodfin recycling company — better known as Curbie — will no longer accept containers or mixed paper from the general public at its drop center as of Monday, July 1. Area residents will still be able to deposit cardboard in the large green collection bins located outside […]

Matt Hutchins at The Collider

Green in brief: Asheville releases guide to climate resilience­, RiverLink plans sale of French Broad land for restaurant

“Building a Climate-Resilient Asheville,” debuted during a June 19 meeting of the city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment at The Collider, focuses on practical steps individuals can take to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather.

Sexual assault kit press conference at U.S. Cellular Center

AG Stein, local law enforcemen­t give rape kit update

James Baumstark, deputy chief of the Asheville Police Department, declared that all of the backlogged kits in his department’s possession had been reviewed — nearly 600 in all — with 414 already sent in for testing. Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller also said that his office was evaluating and prioritizing a backlog of 201 untested kits.