Q&A with Kareen Boncales, director of entreprene­urship at Mountain BizWorks

Many people who volunteer with the Peace Corps consider it a life-defining experience. Kareen Boncales is one of them. She served in Cameroon from 2009-11 in small enterprise development, teaching basic business skills to everyone from farmers to boutique owners. “I really admired that entrepreneurial spirit of turning challenges into opportunities,” she recalls. “I knew […]

Birthing pains

A recent Tuesday afternoon at the Western North Carolina Birth Center was unusually quiet. The birthing rooms were empty. No laboring mothers paced the halls; no infants wailed. The staff arrived for work, but the mood was forlorn. July 20 marked the close of the WNC Birth Center, the only 24/7 midwifery option in Asheville. […]

New Black-owned businesses populate The Block

Over the past year, the addition of such Black-owned businesses as the Noir Collective collaborative shop, Jawbreaking fashion store, Asheville Iridescence Yoga and Sole82 sneaker boutique has suggested a renaissance for the former Black Wall Street. Yet in a rapidly changing city where obstacles for minority entrepreneurs remain rampant, sustaining that growth could prove challenging.

Filling the gaps

It’s a rainy Thursday in West Asheville when the word “overdose” crackles over the radio dispatch. Jamie Judd, emergency medical services division manager for Buncombe County Emergency Services, immediately turns on his siren and increases speed. The late afternoon traffic on Patton Avenue is clogged; vehicles aren’t pulling to the side to let this emergency […]

Lauren Pierce Flickinger

Wellness roundup: Local domestic, sexual violence nonprofits lose funding; Dogwood invests $25M into Pisgah Fund

State funding for local domestic, sexual violence nonprofits to end Sept. 30 The N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission informed four WNC nonprofits on June 16 of the discontinuance of nearly $2.3 million in grant funding previously available through the Victims of Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act. Existing VOCA and VAWA grants are scheduled […]

Healthy pride

Western North Carolina is a health-conscious place, but one that hasn’t always been welcoming for the LGBTQ community. And without health and wellness opportunities that provide care, while also affirming sexuality and gender identity, some LGBTQ folks may not share essential information with their providers or avoid health care settings entirely. Numerous local organizations and […]

Kim Roney with cardboard box

Asheville Council approves tax increase, gets crime update

During its June 22 meeting, Asheville City Council voted 6-1 to approve the $201.67 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which includes an effective property tax increase of 2 cents per $100 in valuation and $8.7 million in new spending. Kim Roney was the sole vote against the budget, arguing that the tax increase would harm poorer residents.

ANCHOR members

Low-barrier shelter may fill temporary housing gaps

Newly formed Asheville nonprofit Accessing Needed Crisis and Critical Help Outreach and Resources is proposing a low-barrier, high-access shelter that would forego many of the usual rules for tenants. Start-up costs could reach $6.5 million, with annual operating costs of $3 million, and would initially be funded through Asheville’s approximately $26.1 million in federal coronavirus relief.

Blake Fagan

WNC health care providers work to cut opioid prescripti­ons

Drug abuse changed during the 13 years that Adam McIssac has been working as a drug and alcohol counselor in Asheville. At the beginning, McIssac mostly saw clients who were addicted to methamphetamine. But over time “pills,” including opioids like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin), became the main drugs that his clients abused. Opioid abuse […]

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