According to a report by Johnson Price Sprinkle PA, private industry average hourly earnings in the Asheville metro are came in at $22.87 in the first quarter of 2018, a slight gain of 0.5 percent from a year earlier. Earnings growth has remained relatively flat in Asheville over the last four quarters, with an average gain of 0.2 percent. Graphic courtesy of Johnson Price Sprinkle PA

Local business news in brief from our issue of Aug. 15, 2018

Perhaps your business needs startup capital to make your idea fly. Or maybe rubbing elbows with lawmakers will give you an edge. Opportunities for building business skills, attracting investment and developing business relationships abound in WNC throughout the late summer and into the fall, and our business news in brief will keep you in the know.

PITCHING IN: Chattanooga-area creative professionals volunteered their time to benefit local organizations through a 12-hour design marathon in 2017. This year, the Make a Mark organization expanded to Asheville and will host its first “make-athon” on Saturday, June 23. Photo courtesy of Make a Mark Foundation

Make-athon leverages top-notch talent to benefit local nonprofits

On Saturday, June 23, 30 local creative professionals will gather at Hatch AVL, volunteering their time, energy and expertise. And at the end of that very full day, each of the nine chosen groups will walk away with a completed creative product or plan that’s specifically designed to support their work in ways they wouldn’t have been able to achieve on their own.

PRICELESS PROPERTY: DuPont State Recreational Forest encompasses waterfalls, trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, and open space for public enjoyment. The forest has received funding through the state's Natural Heritage, Parks and Recreation and Clean Water Management trust funds. N.C. legislators are considering allotments to those funds as well as other spending related to the environment as they meet in Raleigh to finalize the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Photo by Rob Travis courtesy of the Friends of DuPont Forest

WNC environmen­tal programs and agencies could see more cuts in new state budget

Local legislators and environmental advocates share their thoughts on which state budgetary and policy decisions could have a big impact on WNC’s environment in the coming fiscal year and beyond. They cited issues including the state’s response to novel contaminants like GenX chemicals, the budget for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and funding for the Clean Water Management, Parks and Recreation and Farmland Preservation trust funds.

PLACE TO CALL HOME: Jimmy Yamin of Workforce Homestead described plans for a 70-unit affordable apartment complex in Candler off Smokey Park Highway on April 10. Asheville City Council approved Yamin's zoning request unanimously and also approved a $600,000 loan from the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund in support of the project. Photo by Virginia Daffron

City sustainabi­lity efforts fall short of annual goal in 2017

After years of progress toward waste and carbon emission reduction goals, the city hit a wall in 2017, according to a report presented to Asheville City Council on April 10. Asked for bright ideas about how sustainability efforts can get back on track to achieve long-term goals, city staffers said that, without significant additional investment, progress is likely to be limited to incremental gains.

LITTLE STINKERS: The brown marmorated stink bug is one of an increasing number of non-native insects that have invaded Western North Carolina. Lacking natural predators, the slow-moving, malodorous bugs present problems for homeowners and farmers. In Living Web Farms’ March 31 workshop, organic farmers will learn how to deploy purchased beneficial insects and biological agents to address infestations that aren’t readily controlled by other strategies.

Beneficial insects fight recalcitra­nt garden pests

The fight to protect food crops against destructive insect pests has become more challenging in recent years, Mills River farming expert Patryk Battle reports. Battle and Boone-based insect scientist Richard McDonald will present a March 31 workshop on when and how organic growers should take drastic measures to deal with damaging insect and disease infestations.

THE WOODS ARE LOVELY, DARK AND DEEP: Landscape architect Sieglinde Anderson has created an extensive woodland garden at her Fairview property. She and photographer Ruthie Rosauer will invite attendees at a March 20 talk in Hendersonville to consider the possibilities and beauty of trees and the shaded areas they create. Photo courtesy of Sieglinde Anderson

Talk to celebrate options for gardening beneath the tree canopy

On March 20, landscape architect Sieglinde Anderson and photographer Ruthie Rosauer will share advice for gardening beneath and appreciating this region’s diverse and abundant tree canopy. Sponsored by the Hendersonville Tree Board, the talk will take place at 6 p.m. at the Henderson County Library Auditorium in downtown Hendersonville.