Two interlocal agreements up for consideration by the Board of Commissioners Oct. 5, to be signed with the town of Black Mountain and UNC Asheville, would allow those entities to combine their solar energy proposals with new county solar projects in a bid for installers.
Starting Friday, Sept. 24, local organizations can submit projects in the following categories for grants from the federal funds: affordable housing, care for aging residents, climate change, city infrastructure, domestic violence prevention and assistance, food systems, homelessness services, public engagement, revenue losses, small business recovery and workforce development.
On Aug. 12, a subsidiary of nonprofit Conserving Carolina completed the $7.8 million purchase of the currently unused Ecusta rail line, stretching 19 miles between Hendersonville and Brevard, from the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad.
The largest single grant of $4 million will support broadband infrastructure expansion in unserved areas of the county. Brownie Newman, chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, said that investment would leverage an additional $6 million from the state of North Carolina and private broadband providers.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council passed an ordinance on Aug. 5 allowing production and use of the crop, which the body had previously voted to decriminalize on May 6.
A $25,670 grant from The Community Foundation of WNC is helping MountainTrue continue testing begun last year; eventually, the group wants to be able to give rivergoers up-to-the-minute information about E. coli levels.
According to Redfin, a nationwide real estate brokerage, the average real estate budget for an outsider moving to Asheville was $615,500 as of April, 31% higher than the average local budget of $469,000. That disparity between outside and local buyers was greater than in either Charlotte or Raleigh.
According to the N.C. Climate Science Report prepared by N.C. State University’s Asheville-based N.C. Institute for Climate Studies and other experts, the area will likely experience more landslides in the coming years due to climate change.
Asheville City Council and the community will participate in city business face to face for the first time since April 2020. The meeting will take place in the Banquet Hall at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville at 5 p.m.
“What is emerging is the idea that we’re now able to quantify what’s happening,” says Jennifer Harrison, agriculture and land resource director for Buncombe County, about the ability of farmers to combat climate change through practices like cover cropping and rotational grazing.
“I hope that one day in the future — 200, 500, 1,000 years from now — those generations can stand next to a 6- or 8-foot diameter chestnut tree in our mountains and be able to trace the story of that tree back to today,” said Joey Owle, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians secretary of agriculture and natural resources, in a press release announcing the agreement.
Asheville could prosper, believes Mack Pearsall, by monetizing a unique yet little-known asset: Its federal archive of climate and weather data — the largest such collection among all the nations on Earth — curated by a local talent bank that includes several Nobel laureates and scores of climate scientists.
Eastern Tennessee-based author Frances Figart is helping children understand the realities of wildlife-vehicle collisions through her new book, A Search for Safe Passage.
The charging station program, funded by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality from part of the state’s allocation in the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal, partially defrays the cost of installing Level 2 infrastructure, which can recharge electric vehicles up to seven times as quickly as a standard 120-volt outlet.
Last year was the second-wettest on record for North Carolina, and communities across the state are looking for better ways to deal with intense rainfall and costly flooding.
The first such effort of its kind in North Carolina, the atlas will break the state into 937 sections of 10 square miles — covering roughly a fifth of its total land area — and ask birders to record all the varieties they see using the online platform eBird.
Increasing heat and stronger storms threaten trout populations dependent on clean, cold, oxygen-rich water. A decline in trout production could hurt farmers and recreational fishermen.
“Many items that are now standard construction practices have been removed from our checklist, while we have added opportunities to gain points for new technologies,” explained Maggie Leslie, the nonprofit’s program director.
“If it was truly perceived as an emergency, then I think we would be doing more and talking about it more,” says Asheville City Council member Kim Roney, who was elected in November on a platform that included a local Green New Deal and rapid renewable energy deployment.
In a year marked by a constant churn of updating numbers — COVID-19 dashboards, economic forecasts, political polls — Assistant Editor Daniel Walton took comfort in stories that were able to report more deeply on some of the issues facing Western North Carolina.
For many environmental organizations across Western North Carolina, COVID-19 fell like a lightning-struck tree across the path to progress. But like an intrepid hiker, WNC’s activists and organizers have bushwhacked new trails for action in the world of the pandemic.