NICE AND SALTY: When snow and ice make the going treacherous on local roads, the city of Asheville deploys public works crews around the clock to spread sand and salt as well as to plow snow. Photo courtesy of the city of Asheville

Despite environmen­tal concerns, salt still most effective de-icer

To keep cars from slipping and sliding — and crashing and smashing — when weather conditions turn roads icy, the city of Asheville and the N.C. Department of Transportation treat local motorways with salt. While the substance can impact water quality and the health of wildlife, officials say they mostly succeed in balancing environmental and traffic safety concerns.

RESISTANCE CAN BE FATAL: As bacteria continue to develop resistance to commonly used antibiotics, local hospital systems are focusing on implementing best practices to ensure effective stewardship of existing antibiotics.

WNC hospitals undertake antibiotic stewardshi­p to combat resistance

Antibiotic resistance has become a serious problem, causing infections that can’t be treated and thousands deaths every year in the U.S. as a result. Many hospitals, including several local ones, have created antibiotic stewardship programs, which develop strategies for the appropriate use of antibiotics while decreasing the chance of bacteria becoming resistant to them.

The history, culture and observance of Kwanzaa-attachment0

Kwanzaa brings light to the season

This time of year, religion almost seems to corner the market on celebrations of peace and unity, but Kwanzaa offers the opportunity to attune the spirit through a cultural holiday. Many think of Kwanzaa as entirely motivated by a particular religion, but it’s a modern concept honoring seven traditional principles of the Swahili-speaking regions of Africa, and […]

MUDDY WATER: An official meets with a hog farmer to review his animal waste management system. Photo courtesy of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Local agencies wrestle with livestock impacts on water quality

Advocates for clean water in North Carolina often focus on the eastern part of the state, which hosts one of the world’s highest concentration of hogs. But French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson emphasizes that Western North Carolina and its smaller farms are not immune from the water quality issues related to animal agriculture.