It’s time to celebrate the creativity of our community’s response to the pandemic, even as we acknowledge the pain, uncertainty and loss that surely still lie ahead. Community members weigh in on the successes that fill them with pride as they look back on 2020.
With Republican N.C. House District 117 primary winner Tim Moffitt now also the presumptive candidate to replace outgoing Rep. Chuck McGrady until the Tuesday, Nov. 3, general election, how might his brief incumbency affect the outcome of the race and the new legislative session set to start in January?
The Buncombe County Planning Board will hear proposals for two massive development projects at its virtual meeting of Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 9 a.m.
At 7:30 p.m., NC-11 congressional candidates Madison Cawthorn (R) and Moe Davis (D) took the stage at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee for the second of two public debates ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The event was presented by Blue Ridge Public Radio, Mountain Xpress and Smoky Mountain News. Live-blog summary, plus link to video, in this post.
Tonight’s the night! For the first time, the major-party candidates for WNC’s open congressional seat will meet to debate the issues. The event is hosted by Western Carolina University’s Biltmore Park instructional site and sponsored by Blue Ridge Public Radio, Smoky Mountain News and Mountain Xpress. Details for the event livestream and live updates here.
“I felt really an obligation to come here today to say hello to the people of North Carolina,” President Donald Trump told a cheering crowd of supporters upon his arrival at the Asheville Regional Airport on Aug. 24.
Mary Wells Letson has been giving away free flower bouquets from a stand on Kimberly Avenue since June 1. The arrangements also include a flyer that highlights the work of social justice organizations the teen supports.
Entrepreneur Aisha Adams urges community to broaden its efforts to promote equity beyond recent outrage and protests focused on police killings of black people. “I didn’t see people up in arms that the tourism fund didn’t include people of color,” she notes.
Staffers at Mission Hospital have recently been feeling the love from all corners of the community, with restaurants delivering meals around the clock, schools and businesses manufacturing personal protective equipment for medical workers and local residents stepping forward to donate masks and other supplies.
In a conference call held April 20 and open to the community, Mission officials gave new details about rapid coronavirus testing capabilities the hospital acquired two weeks ago. The Cepheid and BD Max molecular diagnostic tests, as well as the chemicals required to run them, are among the hottest products on the medical market.
Under the watchful eye of Mission Hospital security, several nurses involved with the push to unionize their colleagues demonstrated during the 6 p.m. shift change on April 9. Their signs and conversations with other staff members questioned the availability of personal protective equipment and training to deal with the COVID-19 threat — and how a union might increase their safety.
Over the past month, local criminal justice officials have collaborated to reduce the number of people held at the Buncombe County Detention Facility by nearly 40%. Those efforts are aimed at helping limit the potential spread of COVID-19 among incarcerated people and community members.
During Asheville City Board of Education’s work session and regular meeting on April 2, board Chair Shaunda Sandford announced that Gene Freeman will begin work with the school system on Monday, April 20. He will formally take over from interim Superintendent Bobbie Short as of Monday, June 1. The board also selected Derek Edwards as Asheville High School principal.
Dogwood Health Trust expects to spend $10 million — 20 times the amount Buncombe County’s government has allocated so far — on efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impacts. Dogwood CEO shares his perspective on steps his organization and others are taking to protect Western North Carolina.
With nine people present in the echoing City Hall chamber, Council members on March 24 unanimously approved a consent agenda that granted Mayor Esther Manheimer broad emergency powers.
Fletcher Tove, Buncombe County’s emergency preparedness coordinator said that a local mandate to shutter businesses and facilities that bring people into close, sustained contact — including gyms, pools, spas, hair salons and barber shops — is being developed and could be announced soon.
N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and state Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson met with WNC health officials and elected leaders on the afternoon of March 10 to discuss the state’s response to the virus that causes COVID-19, new recommendations for high-risk individuals and a state emergency declaration.
The Asheville City Board of Education and Gene Freeman responded to news reports that highlight concerns about transparency, possible conflicts of interest and an extended absence from Freeman’s current school district. Freeman has been selected as Asheville City Schools’ new superintendent and is due to begin work here on July 1 following his June 12 retirement from Fox Chapel Area School District, which is located in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pa.
A lack of transparency, unusually generous contract terms, potential conflicts of interest and an extended recent absence are among the concerns raised about Gene Freeman, Asheville City Schools’ incoming superintendent, by a Pennsylvania journalism nonprofit in 2019 and in February.
Old Fort resident Tracy Rhodes started her self-care journey at Bounty & Soul’s weekly market in Black Mountain.
“In sound therapy, we use sound to elicit a response or a change in someone’s physiology, their mental health or their emotional health. People can use different tools: gongs, singing bowls, tuning forks, percussive instruments such as drums or rattles. I use my voice. These are things that have been used for millennia, as long as there have been humans who have lived in communities. It’s an ancient practice, and it runs through most forms of religion as well,” says sound therapist Lily Whitehawk.