Market managers and vendors at the markets participating in the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Double SNAP initiative, which matches Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits dollar-for-dollar on edible items, saw SNAP transactions nearly triple from 2019 to 2020, and 80% of responding vendors said they’d experienced sales growth due to the program.
Retired Rear Adm. Richard Houck of Transylvania County, attorney Fred Jones of Macon County and Bishop José McLoughlin of Henderson County will join the board of Western North Carolina’s largest nonprofit as Buncombe County’s Dr. John Ball departs. The change fulfills requirements stipulated in N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein’s approval of Mission Health’s sale to HCA Healthcare.
COVID-19 vaccination initiatives announced by the county include a drive-thru site for second doses at A. C. Reynolds High School and a waitlist for first-dose vaccination appointments. The waitlist will replace a system that requires residents to schedule appointments directly as vaccines became available.
The Mortimer Trails project expands access for mountain bikers and hikers to meet increased demand despite limited federal funding for recreation in National Forests.
When Emma Strickland learned she was pregnant with her second child, she started looking for an alternative to a hospital birth. She found it at the WNC Birth Center. The center is open during the COVID pandemic but has had to scale back on some of its related services. Ironically, that’s led to a shortage of income at a time when women like Strickland find themselves increasingly drawn to a birth center.
The Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s work included both valuable wildlife habitats, such as the Wiles Creek and Little Rock Creek preserves, and prime farmland at risk of development. Sandy Hollar Farms in Buncombe County and Bowditch Bottoms in Yancey County were among the agricultural projects completed in 2020.
“We recognize that it’s not a perfect system and the demand is quite high,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County’s public health director, at a Jan. 12 special meeting called to address local vaccination efforts. “We just want to reiterate that we will not have sufficient supply of vaccine for a very long time, so it is likely that we will still hear frustration and concerns about being able to get an appointment.”
In his new book, local author Ryan Bush builds on the philosophies of Buddhism and Stoicism to describe a system for rewiring the brain’s response to external events, a method he dubs psychitecture.
Of the 1,675 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Buncombe County had been allotted by North Carolina state officials through Dec. 28, the county had given just over 1,000 doses through Jan. 4. Only health care workers, first responders and long-term care facility residents will be able to receive the shot until Monday, Jan. 11.
As 2021 dawns, the glow of the holiday season fades and social distancing continues in cluttered homes, many will make resolutions to clean up their space. Here’s a look at the area’s more environmentally friendly ways to handle unwanted items.
County health officials will move into phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination process the week of Monday, Jan. 11. But as the vaccine rollout gets underway, residents should prepare for limited availability.
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.
Writer Molly Horak reflects on her 2020 reporting.
Asheville residents may have hunkered down for the holidays under a blanket of snow and ice, but across the region, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Here’s what you may have missed over the Christmas holiday.
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.
Xpress Assistant Editor Daniel Walton and local community figures discuss how the year’s events have accelerated many of the issues that were already facing Western North Carolina.
As congregations across the region grapple with shifting demographics and a year of racial upheaval, multiracial congregations find themselves tackling tough conversations in the way they know best: Worship and fellowship.
While there’s light at the end of the proverbial COVID-19 tunnel, Western North Carolina residents cannot let down their guard. Over the last week, the percent of positive COVID-19 tests has risen to 7.8% in Buncombe County; the county’s daily COVID-19 case counts now average 100 or higher.
Burnsville resident Katherine Savage feels a unique kinship with a small patch of ground on the campus of Warren Wilson College. The 5-foot by 60-foot plot was home this year to a crop of flax, a traditional Southern Appalachian fiber plant, which she is helping process into linen that she will someday wear as her burial shroud.
Marshall’s wind phone offers a unique conduit for connecting with those who have died or are absent.
The COVID-19 pandemic forces local organizations that serve individuals experiencing homelessness to develop new strategies for the coldest winter nights. The Campaign for Southern Equality reports on health care access for Black transgender residents in the South. A new sensory mindfulness garden at the Buncombe County Courthouse is a peaceful oasis for those accessing the Veterans Treatment Court and other courthouse users.