TO LEARN FROM THE PAST: Darin Waters, UNC Asheville assistant professor of history, opens the 2016 African-Americans in WNC and  Southern Appalachia Conference at the YMI Cultural Center. This year's event starts on Oct. 19. Photo courtesy of UNC Asheville

Conference ties African-American past with future

The African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference returns to Asheville for its fourth year Thursday, Oct. 19, through Saturday, Oct. 21. Originally organized to highlight research on the historical African-American presence in the region, the conference is broadening its scope this year with the theme, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

PAST AND FUTURE: Oliver G. Prince Jr., one of the first students to integrate Asheville School, meets with current students. Photo courtesy of Asheville School

Asheville School alu­m looks back at racial integratio­n

Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Asheville School. On Thursday, Sept. 21, Oliver G. Prince Jr., class of 1971, addressed the Asheville School community on the 50th year of racial integration at the school. Prince and his classmates, Al McDonald and Frank DuPree, were the first three African-American students enrolled in Asheville School in 1967. […]

Image courtesy of Rooted in the Mountains

Rooted in the Mountains conference will integrate Western and Cherokee ideas

“Rooted in the Mountains,” a conference that explores the intersection of Western and native traditions that’s now in its eighth year, will take place at Western Carolina University on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 28-29, and includes a trip to the sacred site of Kituwah, the Cherokee “mother town.”

WASTE WATCHERS: Largely unheralded, the Buncombe County Metropolitan Sewerage District ensures that the waste generated by its approximately 130,000 customers is properly treated and disposed of before it enters local waterways. The agency is currently in the midst of a $266 million capital improvement project that will upgrade its plant facilities for the future. Photo courtesy of MSD

MSD upgrades its infrastruc­ture with capital improvemen­t projects

To fulfill its critical mission and increase its capacity to deal with a growing service area and customer base, MSD is in the midst of a $266 million capital improvement project, which will help ensure that the community’s waste is properly handled and safely disposed of.

IN THE BEGINNING: Reputed to be the third oldest river in the world, the French Broad has gone from a polluted industrial dumping ground to a key cog in Western North Carolina’s outdoor and tourism industries. This renaissance is a result of government, nonprofit, and individual efforts to improve water quality throughout the watershed. Photo by Mike Belleme; courtesy of Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority

Communitie­s along Upper French Broad work to restore water quality

In this two-part series, Xpress invites you on a guided a trip down the river as we examine the work of various communities to write the next chapter in the French Broad’s history, beginning with Transylvania and Henderson counties.

EMPOWERING EDUCATION: Corrie Price, a former teacher and the student empowerment director at i.b.mee, models and coaches teachers the art and science of resiliency and connection in the classroom so students are truly ready to learn, grow and contribute. Photo courtesy of i.b.mee

Conscious Party: Asheville Celebrates Teachers Extravagan­za

WHAT: A self-care celebration for Western North Carolina educators WHEN: Wednesday Aug. 2, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. WHERE: Asheville Music Hall WHY: With the start of the school year quickly approaching, the days before teachers are thrust back into a hectic classroom are limited — a problem that i.b.mee, a nonprofit focused on empowerment […]

PAYING TRIBUTE: "We are are asking for your donation to launch our Women Who Made Music History concert series," Peggy Ratusz, left, and Paula Hanke write online, "where we entertain and educate while we honor and pay emotional tribute to an array of influential divas, dames and darlings."

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features a female duo’s traveling tribute to iconic songstresses before them; a parent’s efforts to end lunch debt shaming in local schools; and a team of Erwin High track athletes’ trip to compete at nationals.