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.

BUILDING ON SOMETHING: Before a house can be raised or a unit can be repurposed, land use has to be sorted out. A group of affordable housing activists are in the driver’s seat to spend $1 million of Asheville’s general obligation bond money on a community land trust. The fledgling group will grow into a membership organization that will own pieces of land on behalf of the community, to be used to help address the city’s affordable housing problem. Photo courtesy of Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

Community land trust project has bumpy launch

If trust is a function of time, an innovative approach to affordable housing may already be in trouble. On July 13, about 30 community stakeholders gathered in an echoey auditorium at the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center and took the first meandering steps toward establishing a community land trust. But the two-hour meeting produced […]

ATTENTIVE AUDIENCE: Over 250 businesswomen listen to a keynote speaker during the Western Women’s Business Conference. The sellout conference brings together businesspeople ranging from restaurateurs to attorney recruiters gathered for a day of workshops, networking and female empowerment. Photo by Molly Horak

Western Women’s Business Conference celebrates diversity and empowermen­t

With balloons, fancy hats, Zumba and gospel singing all featuring as part of the activities in the full-day Western Women’s Business Conference on June 21, it wasn’t your average business gathering. Designed to support and empower women in business, especially women of color and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the conference was chock-full of inspiration and success stories.

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