Cannabis plants

Racial equity and NC’s budding hemp industry

Not everyone is reaping the benefits of the booming industrial hemp sector. Although hard numbers are in short supply, a 2017 survey by the Marijuana Business Daily, a Colorado-based website, found that 81% of cannabis-related business owners nationwide were white. A Thursday, Jan. 9, panel will explore the lack of representation of people of color in the growing industry and some possible solutions.

Student in Montreat College cybersecurity lab

Montreat expands cybersecur­ity plans despite Cooper funding veto

The North Carolina General Assembly voted to award Montreat College $20 million towards the establishment of an independent cybersecurity training center in October, but Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the money. The private, Christian liberal arts college’s boosters, however, say they won’t be discouraged in filling what they see as an urgent need for ethically responsible cyber operatives.

Cherryfield Creek

Study explores economic impact of French Broad

Commissioned by the French Broad River Partnership with $56,000 in grant funding from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Ecology Wildlife Foundation and Duke Energy, the research effectively seeks to fill out the river’s books. A team led by economist Steve Ha of Western Carolina University will analyze the monetary value of a healthy river to its eight-county watershed.

Himanshu Karvir at Nov. 20 BCTDA meeting

On the defensive: TDA board members react to criticism

“In my opinion, there are no problems with the TDA. The problems lie elsewhere,” said Vice Chair Himanshu Karvir during the tourism authority’s Nov. 20 meeting. “The problem lies with individuals that have nothing to do with our industry and have no idea how hotels operate, how the TDA operates and what the occupancy tax does for our community.”

Asheville city seal

Council to hear 2020 census update on Nov. 12

Buncombe County had a 76% response rate during the 2010 census, in line with the state average, but Asheville officials will try to raise participation to 80% next year. The city will join Buncombe’s Complete Count Committee to work alongside county government, area schools and universities, nonprofit and faith communities, business leaders and the media to spread information about the count.

Western North Carolina forest overlook

Smallholde­r Access Program certifies WNC forests

Less than 0.1% of all small woodlands are currently certified as responsibly managed, despite making up over 75% of all privately owned Southeast forests. The SAP pilot, a collaboration of forest product companies, the Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance, is exploring how to bring those previously overlooked parcels into certified status.

Cantrell Creek Trail ribbon cutting

Transylvan­ia County Tourism funds environmen­tal conservati­on

In 2017, the county’s tourism board launched the Transylvania Always initiative, which has since invested thousands of occupancy tax dollars into everything from hiking trail restoration to French Broad River cleanup. “I really don’t know of anywhere else, particularly anywhere else of our small size, that is doing anything similar,” says Clark Lovelace, the TCT’s executive director.

Chow Chow data

TDA approves $100,000 for Chow Chow festival

Last year, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority contributed $75,000 to Chow Chow through its event development incubator fund. Planning is underway for the festival’s second year, which has a projected budget of $700,000. The event is tentatively scheduled for Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 10-13, with final dates to be confirmed in November.

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