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.
Author: Virginia Daffron
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With Bounty & Soul support, Tracy Rhodes feels better than ever
Old Fort resident Tracy Rhodes started her self-care journey at Bounty & Soul’s weekly market in Black Mountain.
Lily Whitehawk tunes in to the sound of the soul
“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.
Anna Levesque finds freedom through discipline
“Freedom through discipline: It’s like a river,” muses whitewater kayaking expert Anna Levesque. In addition to coaching women paddlers and leading international adventure trips, Levesque is also a wellness adviser who’s thought a lot about the concept of self-care. She sees discipline as a key element in carving out time and space for making one’s own health a priority.
Unusual virus pattern shapes early flu season in WNC
This year’s flu season seems to be peaking early, with widespread infection but lower rates of hospitalization and death than in some years. It’s too soon to say, however, whether we’ve seen the year’s worst flu effects, according to health officials.
Slates set for March 3 primary
A total of 19 candidates are currently in the running for Rep. Mark Meadows’ 11th Congressional District seat, including 12 Republicans, five Democrats and one candidate each from the Green and Libertarian parties. But even beyond that contentious federal race, the 2020 election season promises plenty of action for Western North Carolina.
Three former area priests named in list of credibly accused clergy
Three Catholic clergy members who practiced in Xpress’ coverage area were included in a list released today by the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse since the diocese was founded in 1972.
Biz briefs: Haywood Street construction, Beauty Bin arrives in Asheville
In honor of Xpress’ Dec. 11 Specialty Shops issue, this week’s biz briefs takes a look at news related to small specialty retailers — including a look ahead to sidewalk construction beginning in January on downtown Asheville’s Haywood Street.
Collaborative community effort tackles rising health inequities
From 2010 to 2018, “Our black infant mortality rate has increased from 11.7 to 15.1 deaths for every 1,000 babies born,” Hannah Legerton told Buncombe County commissioners on Dec. 3. That means that black babies in Buncombe County are four times as likely to die before their first birthday as white babies. And since infant mortality is a leading indicator of population health, health officials say, those numbers bode poorly for the wellbeing of African American county residents. Collaborative efforts are seeking to address the underlying issues driving inequities in health outcomes.
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.
Judge launches school justice initiative
As North Carolina prepares to become the 50th state in the union to stop treating 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system, Chief District Court Judge Calvin Hill launched an effort to reduce the involvement of local juveniles with the court system as a result of school misconduct.
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.
Panel discussion reveals emerging leadership dynamics
Leadership Asheville pulled in some high-octane local speakers for the final installment of its summer Buzz Breakfast series held on Aug. 14. The composition of the panel reveals some key trends shaping the power dynamic that’s emerged over the past year.
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.
Elected officials hobnob with biz community at Asheville Chamber
A healthy crowd turned out to mingle with local and regional elected officials at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 14th annual elected officials reception.
Middle schoolers research city’s African American past, present
Students participating in the Middle School Magic program at Asheville Middle School presented the results of their three-week exploration of the city’s African American history on July 25.
Swedish death cleaning comes to WNC
While Swedish death cleaning hasn’t generated anything like the attention generated by Japanese home organizing phenom Marie Kondo, the approach has gained some adherents in Western North Carolina.
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.