Exploring the Swannanoa Gap

The route through the Swannanoa Gap — where present-day Old U.S. 70 and Mill Creek Road intersect — was first carved out by Archaic Indians as they came up out of the Appalachian foothills and followed Swannanoa Creek on the way to hunting and gathering opportunities in the mountains. Later, Buncombe County’s first white settlers climbed through the gap as they moved into the area. Historian Dan Pierce shares the gap’s history and culture, as well as suggestions for exploration.

Health workers with arms crossed

Wellness in brief: Mission nurses move closer to union vote

As confirmed by Mission spokesperson Nancy Lindell on June 11, the health system’s legal representatives have chosen not to file an objection regarding how a pre-election hearing was conducted. The National Labor Relations Board will now consider testimony to determine what nurses would be represented by the union, when the vote will take place and how employees will be allowed to cast ballots.

From North Carolina Health News: As COVID-19 threatened western N.C., a new approach to fighting it in long-term care

Well before COVID-19 hit Western North Carolina, Henderson County formed a strike team to respond to outbreak in long-term care facilities. As the months wore on, the team proved invaluable to staff and residents at Cherry Springs Village, an assisted living facility in Hendersonville.

Josh Kelly by logging road

Green in brief: Small firms claim exclusion from local public solar process, Forest Service OKs Buck Project

Mike Diethelm, president and founder of Asheville-based SolFarm Solar Co., says a $10 million construction bond requirement for would-be bidders on the solar projects “knocks out so many local medium and small solar businesses, which we have a lot of in this town, and only opens it up to the big guys.”

Expanded programs support behavioral health issues during pandemic

“You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to know that when you take away people’s routines and jobs, it’s difficult for them, especially if they have a mental illness,” says Brian Ingraham, CEO of Vaya Health. New federal funding will help two Western North Carolina agencies expand mental health services, some directly related to the pandemic and the rest addressing overall behavioral health issues.

Recent advances are transformi­ng breast cancer treatment

“Most breast cancers require a combination of different treatments, and the order and combination of those things is a whole lot more complicated today than ever before,” says Dr. Blair Harkness, a gynecological oncologist at Hope Women’s Cancer Centers, an arm of Mission Health. Xpress explores the state of modern breast cancer treatment in the region — including how it’s been affected by COVID-19.