Nine residents spoke at the Oct. 1 meeting of the Board of Commissioners about the county’s new agreement with residential waste collection contractor Waste Pro, the second consecutive meeting at which the issue was on the agenda. All of the commenters were critical of the contract, which requires customers to use Waste Pro-provided carts for their trash and recycling.
At the Sept. 17 regular meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, Mountain Xpress shared concerns about new fees for the fulfillment of public record requests. In a unanimous vote, the commission authorized the county’s communications office to assess special charges for requests deemed particularly extensive.
As currently drawn, the proposed districts would shift representation for large areas of Buncombe County. A 2011 state law also required that districts for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners match those of the county’s House representatives. As currently drawn, the maps would move Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara from District 1 to District 2, shift Al Whitesides from District 1 to District 3 and reassign Amanda Edwards from District 2 to District 1.
Taking place at the Vance Monument from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, the rally brings together 15 area organizations in a call for change. The speaker lineup includes Anita Simha with the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, Lucia Ibarra of Dogwood Alliance, the Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri from the Creation Care Alliance, UNC Asheville Assistant Professor Evan Couzo and Sunrise Movement member Shane McCarthy.
The proposed Wild and Scenic River designation would require the U.S. Forest Service to develop a specific watershed management plan for a half-mile corridor along about 7 miles of the Nolichucky River running through the Nolichucky Gorge from Poplar, N.C., to Chestoa, Tenn. The move would also permanently prohibit federal support for dam building and other actions that could change the river’s flow.
The $100,000 report, commissioned from Massachusetts-based consultants The Cadmus Group, finds that local government action will be insufficient for Asheville and Buncombe County to run operations entirely on renewable energy by their goal date of 2030 without the purchase of renewable energy certificates or significant state-level regulatory changes.
The 10th Congressional District representative’s constituents challenged him on issues including climate policy, Israel-U.S. relations and the behavior of President Donald Trump at his annual Buncombe County town hall on July 31 at the Riceville Community Center.
Republican members of the board argued that their Democratic colleagues were out of place in issuing official letters against pending state HB 370, which would require Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller and other sheriffs throughout North Carolina to comply with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests on penalty of removal from office.
The four Democratic board members — Chair Brownie Newman, Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Commissioners Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides — have all signed letters asking state officials to withhold their support from the proposal. In February, Democratic Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller announced that his office would no longer honor ICE detainers.
What does transit — and the city’s support of its bus network — mean to Asheville? Xpress talked to residents with different perspectives to better understand Asheville Redefines Transit’s role in the community.
In late May, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation proposed banning all smokable hemp flower, in addition to more stringent regulation of hemp processing and a host of other precautions. Those changes are now under consideration in the General Assembly, where they could be enacted as part of the N.C. Farm Act of 2019.
“Building a Climate-Resilient Asheville,” debuted during a June 19 meeting of the city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment at The Collider, focuses on practical steps individuals can take to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather.
Located on Rankin Avenue, Noble Cider’s The Greenhouse will host its grand opening Friday, June 21. Also: SouthEast Crab Feast comes to town; the Mountain Jewish Festival returns; and more.
In the Center for Cultural Preservation’s latest documentary, Guardians of Our Troubled Waters: River Heroes of the South, filmmaker David Weintraub investigates the history of figures such as French Broad crusader Wilma Dykeman and the roles they played in fostering environmental change.
“We used to talk about presidents and members of Congress having permanent campaigns, meaning they never really stop campaigning, and I think the same thing has now trickled down to the state level,” says Chris Cooper, head of Western Carolina University’s Political Science and Public Affairs Department.
The genetically engineered chestnuts contain a gene from wheat that breaks down the main toxin produced by the chestnut blight. If federal regulators sign off on the GE trees, which could happen as early as next year, the foundation could use them freely both in its managed orchards and in actual forest settings.
Most of the 16 public commenters at the June 4 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners hearing on the budget made the case for allocations beyond the roughly $334.52 million in suggested general fund spending. Libraries, schools and nonprofits all approached commissioners for more money.
Asheville VeganFest returns under new leadership. Also: French Broad Chocolate’s Cookies & Creamery celebrates its grand opening; The Block Off Biltmore hosts a hemp food challenge; the 8th annual International Honey Tasting Competition returns; and more.
From 2011-17, the use of e-cigarettes by North Carolina students has increased 894% for high schoolers and 430% among middle schoolers, according to the 2017 North Carolina Youth Tobacco Survey. Nonprofits and student activists are working to educate young users about the potential dangers of the drug trend.
The U.S. Forest Service plans to harvest the majority of trees at 16 sites in Nantahala National Forest beginning next year as part of its Southside Project. Story by Jack Igelman, originally published by Carolina Public Press.
“This is giving us a way to organize at a regional scale around carbon farming and climate resilience,” says Co-operate WNC founder and permaculture educator Friedman. “Us doing little stuff in our backyards is not adding up to climate resilience — I wish it were, but it’s not.”