Now in its fifth week, the PODS program aims to address the opportunity gap between Black and white students in the Asheville City Schools. Students meet in small groups to receive support with online learning; PODS staff act as a liaison between ACS teachers and students to engage and offer additional enrichment for kids who are struggling academically.
An online cooking series from AARP North Carolina and Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement brings together three generations of women to promote safe voting options and share family recipes.
How did the unselfish impulses of a Florida meditation teacher and a Hollywood actress lead Asheville residents to help one another out during the COVID-19 crisis? Through the internet, of course, and via the local generosity tapped by the nonprofit Pandemic of Love.
Kimberlee Archie, the city’s first equity and inclusion manager, and Libby Kyles, CEO of the YWCA of Asheville, have left high-profile jobs with a mission of improving racial equity in the city within a month of each other.
The Rev. Brent La Prince Edwards says that with gatherings now happening virtually, the COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity for his church to embark on a $571,000 renovation project without displacing worship services and other events.
At its meeting of Tuesday, Sept. 22, Asheville City Council will vote on a budget amendment that would fund the APD at roughly $29.3 million, a reduction of $770,000 from a previous proposal. Many activist groups, including Black AVL Demands, have called for a 50% reduction to the APD and reinvestment in community services.
Buncombe County must submit a detailed application for up to $900,000 in federal grant funding that will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Rachel Nygaard, the county’s director of strategic partnerships, said residents should weigh in on the county’s plan as soon as possible.
Townsend cited the impact of COVID-19 on her family’s health and finances as one reason for dropping out of the race. She also listed “the current state of Asheville and the role [she] would play in the continual perpetuation of systemic harm” were she elected to Council.
At a time when COVID-19 makes meeting up for in-person sports less safe, says Asheville Parks and Recreation staffer Maxime Pierre, virtual activities provide an outlet for competition and help to keep the department relevant. But he says video games also allow the city to engage with a larger group of residents than had been served through traditional sports.
Per the joint city and county resolution that established the group, a “recommendation regarding the removal and/or repurposing of the Vance Monument” must be delivered to Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners within three months of Aug. 4, when the final members were appointed.
Launching a small business is never easy, but it’s even harder when the proprietors face systemic obstacles to business ownership. Through shared resources and community support, five Emma cooperatives are creating a model for equity and growth.
Nearly 1,050 households have received over $453,000 in emergency assistance from the fund for necessities such as housing, utilities and transportation. And roughly $853,000 has been loaned to 92 area businesses to help them weather the coronavirus’s economic impacts, contributing to the retention of 674 jobs.
Together, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County approved over $11 million in funding to install roughly 7 megawatts of solar power at public facilities and area schools. The projects are anticipated to save the governments and local schools roughly $650,000 in electricity costs in the first year and more than $27 million over the installations’ 30-year operational life.
Asheville made national headlines the night of June 2, when Asheville Police Department officers destroyed medical supplies and forcibly handled volunteer medics during international protests for racial justice. Xpress spoke with several people present at the medic station; they say the reasons for their outrage go far beyond the damage to supplies.
Al Whitesides, the sole Black member of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, and his three Democratic colleagues approved the resolution over the opposition of the board’s three Republicans. The county government is now aligned with Asheville City Council, which unanimously passed a similar measure on July 14.
After the city of Asheville enjoyed widespread national and international press for adopting a resolution in support of reparations for the Black community on July 14, Buncombe County may be next in line.
Tiffany Iheanacho has big plans. As Buncombe County’s first justice services director, she intends to turn innovative ideas into action aimed at eliminating barriers within both the local criminal justice system and the broader community.
“We are especially looking to help fund microbusinesses with sole proprietors who have really fallen through gaps in other funding,” says fund co-founder Catherine Campbell.
After a contentious public hearing earlier in the week, Asheville City Council voted 5-2 to pass a 2020-21 fiscal year budget with three months of funding allocated for essential department spending at its July 30 meeting.
A statewide mandate has prompted COVID-19 testing for all incarcerated individuals in state prisons, but local jails — Buncombe’s included — aren’t obligated to test everyone in custody. Instead, facilities have been directed to mitigate spread of the coronavirus through screening, isolation and social distancing.
Instead of bringing students back to the classroom under the Plan B model outlined by Gov. Roy Cooper, as had been announced on July 14, the Asheville City Board of Education voted unanimously to follow the remote-only Plan C for at least nine weeks at a July 23 special called meeting.