The ownership of Rathbun House — a hospitality house for families and patients from outside Buncombe County who need a place to stay while receiving treatment at local hospitals — changed following the acquisition of Mission Health by for-profit HCA Healthcare last year. But the 25-year-old institution’s mission to provide refuge and community during a stressful time remains unchanged, say staff members and guests.
Whether it’s local issues such as gentrification and overdevelopment or, at the national level, things like health care, the Green New Deal and military spending, the conversations have gotten toxic. Local spiritual advisers, mental health professionals and activists share their tips for staying sane while working for a better world.
As the Western North Carolina community prepares for its first looks inside the new $400 million Mission Health North Tower, Xpress learned about some of the features of the facility, from high-tech touches to local art.
“The focus of the conference is woman to woman, kind of kitchen to kitchen,” explains Byron Ballard, who will present a workshop on traditional Appalachian healing methods at this year’s Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference at the Kanuga conference and retreat center near Hendersonville. “It’s about women being together in a women’s space and being free to talk, to do, to teach and to learn from each other.
This fall, two Buncombe County high schools — T.C. Roberson and A.C. Reynolds — will begin using the Vitals app, which provides information about participating students’ physical, mental and behavioral conditions to school resource officers and other first responders.
Nonprofit Blue Ridge Health has opened eight school-based clinics: five in Henderson County, where the child poverty rate is 22.5% and 5% of children have no health insurance; one in neighboring Polk County (21.3% child poverty, 5.8% uninsured children); and, last month, two in Jackson County.
Hendersonville Police Chief Herbert Blake has established a voluntary registry for residents with dementia. In the event a person on the registry wanders from home or otherwise goes missing, the information can instantly be shared with local emergency responders.
Nearly 11,700 children are in foster care in North Carolina. Eliada Homes, which has long placed and supported children in foster families, recently added adoption services to its offerings, hoping to encourage more parents to consider fostering to adopt.
Today, at least 17 faith communities in Buncombe County and Mars Hill are offering shelter and assistance to immigrants living here without legal papers, according to Melody Pajak of the nonprofit Faith Communities Organizing for Sanctuary.
Give Amazon.com a rest — Western North Carolina is full of small, independent retailers, where the only thing cookie-cutter is the display of, well, cookie cutters.
The three parcels currently being considered for affordable housing are on South Charlotte Street, where the city currently has its Public Works Garage and Fleet Management facilities; on Biltmore Avenue at the old Matthews Ford site and on Riverside Drive at the “Ice House.” Up to 550 new affordable rental units could be developed.
A new Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity development in Candler will mark the organization’s first foray into constructing multifamily homes. The move is necessary, the nonprofit says, to meet the area’s need for affordable housing in the face of high land prices.
Partner organizations are moving forward to implement a multi-year plan aimed at preventing violence against women and maltreatment of children. The effort is funded by an unprecedented $450,000 grant from the Women for Women Giving Circle of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.
Although Western North Carolina’s small dairy farms face numerous challenges, the industry continues to be a robust contributor to the area’s economy.
BeLoved Asheville is developing its plan to build a community of tiny homes on about an acre of land in East Asheville.
People who are homeless often have no access to the most basic first aid, let alone full medical services. Several local nonprofits make it their mission to reach out to the homeless to help them gain access to medical care and other resources.
Local gyms are creating safe spaces for women to work out and are encouraging them to break down gender norms by lifting weights.
Asheville professionals are part of a growing movement to promote acceptance of a greater diversity in body size and shape.
The Alzheimer’s Association — Western Carolina Chapter connects caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients with a variety of resources through its Direct Connect Referral Program. In Asheville, Memory Care also offers support services for people who have dementia and their families. Both organizations advise caregivers to seek help rather than go it alone.
Relations between Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church and its new neighbor, Asheville Foundry Inn, have been strained since construction began on the inn two years ago. A judge has now issued a temporary injunction to block the church from commencing construction on a new education building and parking lot improvements, which the hotel says would deprive it of the use of 75 parking spaces it is leasing from the church.
Across the nation and in Western North Carolina, people are being held in jail for days, weeks, even months awaiting trial on misdemeanor charges, because they can’t raise the cash to get out. That, in turn, can lead to job loss and homelessness. Some attorneys now argue that this is tantamount to debtors prison, which is unconstitutional.