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.
Incumbents were vulnerable in all five of the races in which they were challenged, with Democrats ousting Republicans in the city governments of Hendersonville and Saluda (which also lies partially in Polk County). Henderson County turnout was 18.4%, with 4,766 of 25,897 eligible voters casting their ballots.
The longest economic party in U.S. history isn’t quite over yet, economist Bernard Baumohl told a capacity crowd at the Metro Economy Outlook hosted by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 24. But fears of recession and “acts of human folly” clouded his assessment of otherwise strong market fundamentals.
On Oct. 31 — over nine months after N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein announced his conditions of approval for the sale of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare — one of those key conditions was met by the naming of Gibbins Advisors as the independent monitor of HCA’s compliance with the deal.
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.
“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.”
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.
In November, Michael Caterino of Clemson University and Paul Marek of Virginia Tech will start a three-year effort to catalog litter-dwelling arthropods — the biological group that includes such creatures as millipedes, spiders and beetles — on the high peaks of the southern Appalachians, including Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain.
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.
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.
“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.
Antony Chiang, the new leader of the $1.5 billion foundation resulting from the sale of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare, shared details on the nonprofit’s plans to support partner organizations with grant writing and engaged an audience of roughly 290 people at the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center around its strategic priorities.
County planning staff members say special and family subdivisions have been abused by developers to skirt regulations on infrastructure and hillside protection. The Board of Commissioners will consider whether to approve new rules to fix those issues during its regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in room 326 at 200 College St.
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.
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.
Thanks to new grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, says BRNHA Executive Director Angie Chandler, counties in WNC’s High Country are next on the list for craft tourism development and its projected economic benefits.
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.
Beginning next week, contractors will begin installing roadside signs and safety barriers on an approximately 18-mile stretch of Interstate 26, the first step in a $534 million project that will add multiple lanes to the heavily trafficked road. The N.C. Department of Transportation anticipates that construction will wrap up by the summer of 2024.
The report notes that the county approved nearly $19.57 million in capital spending for the last fiscal year, including more than $7.95 million for Buncombe County Public Schools. However, less than $1.12 million has been spent to date on those school needs, with just over $1.87 million spent on other county projects.
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.
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.