Life and hard times in the Buncombe County jail

Nearly 70% of those confined at the Buncombe County Detention Facility are there awaiting trial. While Buncombe County aims to cut its pretrial jail population by 15% by next September, compared with 2018 figures, the numbers are actually up slightly in 2019 to date. We wanted to know: What is the jail experience like for the 536 individuals (on average) at the jail on any given day?

Dogwood Health Trust CEO Antony Chiang talks philanthro­py

Perched atop an estimated $1.5 billion endowment — the proceeds of the sale of nonprofit Mission Health to for-profit HCA Healthcare — Antony Chiang talked with Xpress after his first couple of weeks in Western North Carolina. The new leader of Dogwood Health Trust reflects on his approach to philanthropy, what it takes to make a real difference on some of our toughest social and health issues and how he maintains his own physical and mental wellness.

Missing state data clouds ACS disparity analysis

Huge spreadsheets containing academic testing results for each public school district and individual school for the 2018-19 school year became available online in the first week of October. But when Xpress tried to use that information to assess Asheville City Schools’ recent progress in addressing huge disparities in the academic performance of white and black students, things got … complicated.

Futurist charts course for Asheville and Buncombe County

As she wrapped up her work on the AVL Greater and AVL 5×5 2025 plans in late September, we chatted with futurist Rebecca Ryan about her upcoming encore keynote address at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP gala on Thursday, Nov. 18, what makes Asheville and Buncombe County different and how we’ll know if the area is on track to make good on the new strategies.

September Alzheimer’­s events build awareness, provide support

For those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, the slow but — as yet inevitable — decline associated with the brain disorder is an ordeal. Events and fundraising walks in September aim to provide support for ongoing Alzheimer’s research while also helping family members and others affected by the disease feel less alone in the struggle.

Asheville City Schools begin new year with interim leadership

Interim Asheville City Schools Superintendent Bobbie Short is taking over — for the third time in six years — as the district struggles with extreme disparities in the academic performance of its white and black students, which are the largest of any district in the state. The district is once again searching for a permanent leader. In the best-case scenario, a new superintendent will start work in January.

Asheville activists honored with life-changing grants

Community activists Sheneika Smith and Nicole Townsend are the recipients of the pilot Tzedek Brilliance Awards, individual grants of $200,000 paid over two years. The Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund created the awards to reflect a shift toward community-directed, no-strings-attached philanthropy that aims to harness the insights and creativity within oppressed groups.

Wellness briefs: Women’s health report released, Yoga Festival returns

A new statewide report on women’s health was unveiled June 25 in Asheville. Mercy Urgent Care is now an in-network service provider for eligible veterans using Veterans Administration benefits. The Asheville Yoga Festival will be held Thursday-Sunday, July 25-28, and one-day passes and a discount for Buncombe County residents are now available.

Veronika Gunter at an Asheville City Schools meeting

Asheville Board of Ed hires PR consultant­, details superinten­dent process

Local political campaign manager and prior state Senate candidate Veronika Gunter will “create and lead the implementation of a public relations strategy that takes into account the public perception and community dynamics, leverages existing resources and is remarkable for being clearly and consistently communicated,” according to an independent contractor agreement approved by the Asheville City Board of Education on June 27.