FOR THE TAKING: Michael Harney, prevention educator with the Needle Exchange Program of Asheville, stands beside a cabinet containing injection supplies at the Western North Carolina AIDS Project headquarters in Asheville. Providing clean needles to drug users helps reduce bloodborne infections and the transmission of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Photo by David Floyd

Buncombe County considers needle exchange program

Two local agencies, the Needle Exchange Program of Asheville and The Steady Collective, provide clean needles and other supplies to help reduce the negative health effects of habitual drug use in Western North Carolina. Now Buncombe County is considering starting a program of its own to combat an increase in diseases transmitted by reusing and sharing needles.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: YWCA Chief Program Officer Sala Menaya-Merrit speaks during the Board of Commissioners meeting on June 5. Commissioners announced two new early childhood education initiatives during the meeting. Photo by David Floyd

County approves GE incentives­, launches new early childhood ed initiative­s

Though breaking news about new Wanda Greene indictments made it hard for elected officials and members of the public to focus on anything else, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved $685,000 in incentives for a planned local investment by GE Aviation and announced two new early childhood education initiatives during its meeting on June 5.