Graphic by Scott Southwick and Able Allen

Is WNC fairly represente­d on state boards and commission­s?

“We’re certainly not overrepresented,” says Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady, who’s in his fourth term representing Henderson County in Raleigh. In fact, depending on how you break down the numbers, you could say that Western North Carolina falls a little short of genuinely proportional representation on state boards and commissions, according to data obtained from the […]

FRIENDLY FERMENTS: Shanti Elixirs owner Shanti Sunshine Volpe, pictured with sons Narayan, 7, and Taraka, 11, says there is more support than competition among craft ferment entrepreneurs. “I think that there is no need for us to have concerns or anxieties around competition,” she says. “People will connect with the people and flavors that resonate with them.”

Cultivatin­g a subculture­: Asheville’s bubbling craft ferments industry

Creating a subculture around symbiotic cultures? That’s precisely what is happening in Western North Carolina’s fast-growing fermented food and beverage industries. Cultivating beneficial microorganisms to yield tasty drinks and foods that benefit the mind, body and spirit is being embraced as a business opportunity by an ever-increasing number of locals. A trend that started quietly in […]

GROWING THE ARTS: "If the kids want to play basketball, they can go to that court over there, but what if they want to be a theater major or artist or performer?” asks Hood Huggers International co-founder DeWayne Barton, center in green shirt. “We want to create that structure in the neighborhood.” The collaborative Ancestors in the Garden event looks to provide such a solution.

Peace Garden partners with local theater for a community rejuvenati­on project

On Saturday, June 3, Hood Huggers will celebrate a new partnership with Voices United (a youth theater program that teaches young people to write, produce and perform in their own musicals) and Asheville Creative Arts (a local children’s theater company) by producing Ancestors in the Garden, a music and art event at the Peace Garden.

UNDER OBSERVATION: Kathleen Godfrey (left), 8, and her sister Eleanor, 6, check the rain gauges their family monitors as observers for the CoCoRaHS program. Photo courtesy of Christopher Godfrey

Backyard scientists fill gaps in weather tracking

This year’s rainy spring has been keeping citizen science volunteers with the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network busy checking their gauges and recording the rainfall totals. The network helps fill in the gaps in data between official weather stations and allows scientists to form a more accurate and complete picture of the region’s weather patterns.

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER: While community members largely spoke out in favor of Alternative 4B for Section B of the I-26 Connector Project, several aspects of NCDOT’s design, such as the three bridges that would span the French Broad River near Montford (above), have a coalition of Montford neighbors and others questioning the scale and scope of the design. Image via NCDOT; courtesy of DWAC

Despite progress, concerns about the I-26 Connector persist

When the DOT finally decided on a design for Section B of the Connector project in 2015, many stakeholders thought they saw light at the end of a very long tunnel. Other residents, however, see serious flaws in Alternative 4B, questioning whether the project’s long-term benefits will justify the sacrifices their neighborhoods must make to see it completed.

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