Mental health falters during pandemic

Briefly, it seemed like the coronavirus pandemic had turned a corner. “People were starting to feel a little bit optimistic this summer,” says Ariel Shumaker, an Asheville therapist in private practice, about COVID-19. “And now, it’s not feeling optimistic.” Fatigue, sadness, anxiety, rage, fear, exhaustion — these are the emotions area behavioral health professionals report […]

Q&A with Erica Abrams Locklear, professor of English at UNCA

Update, Sept. 6, 2021: This piece was updated to reflect that Natasha Tretheway’s book Native Guard is a collection of poetry. Growing up in Leicester, Erica Abrams Locklear imagined becoming a pediatrician one day. She loved to read, though, and remembers enjoying Southern authors Jill McCorkle and Clyde Edgerton. But Abrams Locklear didn’t become aware […]

Scott Rogers of ABCCM

Business in brief: A-B Tech announces credential­ing program with ABCCM

“ABCCM knows that people who are houseless or experiencing homelessness are smart, motivated and often courageous persons who want the skills that lead to careers,” the Rev. Scott Rogers, the nonprofit’s executive director, wrote in a statement to Xpress. “They want to earn enough income to rent or buy a home close to their work and school for their children.”

Harriet Tubman statue comes to Sylva

Western North Carolina is grappling with a controversial  part of its history: monuments erected in commemoration of Confederate figures. In May, after months of debate and consideration by a specially appointed task force, Asheville began removing the Vance Monument, an obelisk honoring the late Confederate military officer and former Gov. Zebulon Baird Vance. And in […]

Q&A with Liz Harper, city of Asheville public records officer

Asheville city government’s decision-making should happen in the sunlight. At least, that’s the principle Liz Harper brings to her work as the city’s public records officer. Anyone who has asked for public information about permit violations, purchase orders or police reports since October 2020 has been assisted by Harper. Until recently, Harper kept track of […]

Wellness in brief: Lawsuit alleges Mission Health monopoly

Lawsuit alleges Mission Health monopoly Six residents of Western North Carolina filed a class-action lawsuit against HCA Healthcare and Mission Health System on Aug. 10, alleging restraint of trade and unlawful monopolization. The plaintiffs say they have paid higher health insurance premiums, copays and deductibles than have residents of surrounding areas due to Mission’s ability […]

How the polyamorou­s live in Asheville

Western North Carolina prides itself on its “live and let live” ethos. From the moonshiners of yore to back-to-the-land homesteaders to the sprawling artistic community, many  people feel they can make their living differently here. That independent streak often runs through people’s personal lives, too. For that reason, some consider Asheville to be an accepting […]

Blue Cross NC expands transgende­r health care coverage

Facial feminization surgery and voice lessons for transgender people are now covered by the largest health insurance provider in the state. On July 1, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina updated its policy to recognize these gender-affirming health care procedures as medically necessary. The national nonprofit Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund led […]

News in brief: Buncombe Homeowner Grant Program accepting applicatio­ns

Buncombe County Homeowner Grant Program accepting applications Eligible homeowners in Buncombe County can now apply for the Buncombe County Homeowner Grant Program. The new initiative, funded by the county, city of Asheville and town of Woodfin, offers up to $500 in relief tied to the increase on a homeowner’s property tax bill. Grants are available […]

Q&A with Demp Bradford, president of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission

Certain activities are closely associated with Asheville: sampling local craft brews, tubing down the French Broad River, eating one’s own weight in barbecue. If Demp Bradford, president of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, has his way, professional sports will become quintessentially Asheville, too. Bradford, a native of the North Carolina Piedmont, became interested in […]

Wellness in brief: COVID-19 updates for WNC

MAHEC sees uptick in antibody infusion treatments The Asheville-based Mountain Area Health Education Center has experienced an increase in patients receiving antibody infusion treatments — the antibody cocktail called REGEN-COV — in recent weeks. During the week of July 19, the center’s infusion team served 21 people, says Keelan Dorn, a family medicine nurse practitioner […]

Where credit is due

Western North Carolina residents who want to change the health insurance they receive through the Affordable Care Act, or who want to sign up for a plan through the health insurance marketplace, can do so during a special enrollment period ending Sunday, Aug. 15. And local nonprofits urge people to explore their options for potentially […]

The work goes on

The murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, spurred nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. In Asheville, Floyd’s murder had the immediate effect of religious institutions looking inward and engaging with their congregations around racial justice. More than a year on from those events, many […]

Shop local-ish

It’s impossible to walk in downtown Asheville without receiving the message loud and clear: This city supports its local businesses. Locally based brands like Spicewalla, Roots Hummus and Buchi Kombucha appear regularly on store shelves. Stickers promoting Go Local Asheville (formerly the Asheville Grown Business Alliance), a locally focused economic alliance, adorn window fronts. A […]

Biz Briefs: Blue Ridge Pride debuts LGBTQ+ business alliance

Blue Ridge Pride, a nonprofit supporting the LGBTQ community in Western North Carolina, launched an online business directory for LGBTQ-owned and inclusive businesses called the Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance on June 25. The directory, available at BlueRidgePride.org/Business, includes retail, food and drink, leisure and services and other categories. Businesses listed in the BRPBA directory […]