Students speaking for solar at the Buncombe County Commission

Solar plans win Buncombe commission approval

Many public commenters urged the commissioners to act even more decisively on transitioning away from fossil fuels in the context of climate change. Chloe Moore with the Sunrise Movement referenced a scientific paper, published earlier that day, in which over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries declared a “climate emergency” and warned of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” if stronger measures were not taken.

Buncombe County seal

Public solar proposal up for Nov. 5 county vote

Buncombe County has identified over $2.9 million in solar energy projects that could be installed at government-owned facilities. The projects are estimated to generate more than $4.7 million in energy savings over their estimated 30-year operational lifespan and help the county reach its goal of powering all government operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Andrew Murray

Miller, feds spar over ICE detainer compliance

“As law enforcement, our mission is to protect the public and to seek to provide justice to victims of crime. Sheriff Miller’s current policy serves neither [purpose],” said Andrew Murray, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, after Miller refused to honor an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request. “It also breeds mistrust among law enforcement agencies and puts in danger the very communities it purports to protect.”

Flat Rock Village Hall

Buncombe quiet, Henderson contested in 2019 elections

Xpress reached out to candidates across the two counties to understand their motivations for participating in the municipal elections. Many of the topics the hopeful elected officials raised — diversity, transportation planning and preservation of small-town character — may give WNC politicos a sneak peak at what will be important to area voters in 2020.

Cindy and Ted Hady

Duke deploys herbicide helicopter­s in WNC

Since Duke first began using the practice in WNC in 2016, said company spokesperson Jeff Brooks, helicopters under the utility’s direction have deployed herbicides across more than 500 acres. That number may increase in the future as Duke pursues what it calls “an effective alternative” to ground-based management of vegetation along power lines.

Rachael Nygaard

Buncombe considers changes to nonprofit grant process

Commissioner Amanda Edwards and Rachael Nygaard, the county’s director of strategic partnerships, proposed substantial revisions for Buncombe’s approach to Strategic Partnership Grants. The changes, which will likely be put to a vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5, included the establishment of a volunteer grant review committee, strict adherence to deadlines and standardized criteria for judging applications.

MAHEC students

Statewide symposium spotlights narrative health care

“Medicine Beyond Medication,” North Carolina’s first statewide symposium on narrative health care, will take place at the Mountain Area Health Education Center’s Hendersonville Road campus on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-19. Presenters, including Dr. Rita Charon, will focus on how an understanding of story can lead to better outcomes for patients and practitioners alike.

Curbie accepted recyclables list

Green in brief: Recycle Right NC campaign kicks off, climate change predicted for WNC fall

Using the slogan “When in doubt, throw it out,” the statewide Recycle Right NC initiative aims to reduce contamination and improve the economic value of recyclables. Additionally, according to the National Weather Service’s Greenville-Spartanburg office, Western North Carolina is likely in for warmer-than-usual conditions over the foreseeable future.

Chuck Edwards at Oct. 4 Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast

Edwards won’t rule out reversing Asheville charter change

Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents Henderson, Transylvania and eastern Buncombe counties in N.C. Senate District 48, said he remained firm in his desire to see the city of Asheville take a different approach to electing its council members. “I get constant feedback from constituents in Asheville that they can’t get City Council folks to pick up the phone, let alone to listen to a specific concern that they might have in their neighborhood,” he said.

Public commenters at Buncombe County Board of Commissioners

Waste Pro woes continue for Buncombe County

Nine residents spoke at the Oct. 1 meeting of the Board of Commissioners about the county’s new agreement with residential waste collection contractor Waste Pro, the second consecutive meeting at which the issue was on the agenda. All of the commenters were critical of the contract, which requires customers to use Waste Pro-provided carts for their trash and recycling.

Ribbon cutting for new American Airlines flights at Asheville Regional Airport

Asheville Regional Airport plans for future growth

Last year, AVL hosted over 1.13 million passengers, an 18.6% jump from 2017’s total and over 67% more travelers than used the airport five years prior. Tina Kinsey, the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority’s director of marketing, public relations and air service development, says the airport is now striving to manage its expansion and ensure its long-term path maintains a steady cruising altitude.

Asheville Youth Climate Strike

Environmen­tal groups unite for Climate Justice Rally

Taking place at the Vance Monument from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, the rally brings together 15 area organizations in a call for change. The speaker lineup includes Anita Simha with the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, Lucia Ibarra of Dogwood Alliance, the Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri from the Creation Care Alliance, UNC Asheville Assistant Professor Evan Couzo and Sunrise Movement member Shane McCarthy.