Parents criticize Asheville City Schools response to Parkland tragedy

Parents of students in Asheville City Schools pushed back against what they saw as a tepid response from district leaders after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., saying local administrators were slow to acknowledge families’ fears and provide concrete information. At a March 6 parent forum, some additional details about the district’s safety planning were made available.

Asheville Arts and Science Festival combines two discipline­s at Salvage Station

A new local festival will come to Salvage Station on Saturday, March 31. Organizers of the Asheville Arts and Science Festival hope to raise awareness about what science looks like in the real world. And by incorporating a healthy dose of art, the family-friendly event also aims to hook visitors with the beauty that science can inspire.

WNC’s industrial hemp growers reflect on experiment­al first season

Last year, a handful of area farmers planted the first hemp crops to be grown legally in Western North Carolina in over 70 years. That first crop was plagued by delays introduced by regulators at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who held up shipments of seeds and seedlings, leading to a late start. Growers expect a smoother process for the 2018 growing season.

Waterrock Knob expansion brings together stakeholde­rs, public

The highest peak in the Plott Balsam Mountains, Waterrock Knob encompasses a unique ecosystem. The Blue Ridge Parkway will now conserve 5,329 acres of this irreplaceable landscape thanks to recent land and financial gifts by a network of conservation groups and private donors. The public is invited to weigh in on plans for the area through Feb. 25.

Local agencies wrestle with livestock impacts on water quality

Advocates for clean water in North Carolina often focus on the eastern part of the state, which hosts one of the world’s highest concentration of hogs. But French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson emphasizes that Western North Carolina and its smaller farms are not immune from the water quality issues related to animal agriculture.

Local real estate agents, architects build awareness of climate change implicatio­ns

Area Realtors and architects are paying close attention to the effects of climate change on the built environment — and gaining new skills to help clients consider climate-related issues as they make real estate decisions. The Asheville chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a conference, titled “Where Building Science Meets Climate Science,” at The Collider on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 2-3.