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 […]

Q&A with Kareen Boncales, director of entreprene­urship at Mountain BizWorks

Many people who volunteer with the Peace Corps consider it a life-defining experience. Kareen Boncales is one of them. She served in Cameroon from 2009-11 in small enterprise development, teaching basic business skills to everyone from farmers to boutique owners. “I really admired that entrepreneurial spirit of turning challenges into opportunities,” she recalls. “I knew […]

Birthing pains

A recent Tuesday afternoon at the Western North Carolina Birth Center was unusually quiet. The birthing rooms were empty. No laboring mothers paced the halls; no infants wailed. The staff arrived for work, but the mood was forlorn. July 20 marked the close of the WNC Birth Center, the only 24/7 midwifery option in Asheville. […]

Lauren Pierce Flickinger

Wellness roundup: Local domestic, sexual violence nonprofits lose funding; Dogwood invests $25M into Pisgah Fund

State funding for local domestic, sexual violence nonprofits to end Sept. 30 The N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission informed four WNC nonprofits on June 16 of the discontinuance of nearly $2.3 million in grant funding previously available through the Victims of Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act. Existing VOCA and VAWA grants are scheduled […]

Healthy pride

Western North Carolina is a health-conscious place, but one that hasn’t always been welcoming for the LGBTQ community. And without health and wellness opportunities that provide care, while also affirming sexuality and gender identity, some LGBTQ folks may not share essential information with their providers or avoid health care settings entirely. Numerous local organizations and […]

Blake Fagan

WNC health care providers work to cut opioid prescripti­ons

Drug abuse changed during the 13 years that Adam McIssac has been working as a drug and alcohol counselor in Asheville. At the beginning, McIssac mostly saw clients who were addicted to methamphetamine. But over time “pills,” including opioids like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin), became the main drugs that his clients abused. Opioid abuse […]

doulas

Wellness roundup: Vaya to consolidat­e with Cardinal; MAHEC receives doula grant

Asheville-based Vaya Health and Charlotte-based Cardinal Innovations, two of North Carolina’s largest managed care organizations, announced on June 1 that they will consolidate ahead of the state’s transformation to Medicaid managed care. Vaya will assume responsibility for coordinating services for Cardinal Innovations members once the organizations are consolidated. Vaya Health currently manages services for individuals […]