CALL TO COMMUNITY: Members of the South Asheville community living around the CTS of Asheville superfund site gathered with EPA staffers, county officials and other community representatives to discuss the impending remedial efforts to address TCE contamination emanating from the former industrial property. Photo by Max Hunt

CTS clean-up moves forward as community wrestles with torrid past

Cleanup efforts are finally beginning at the CTS of Asheville Superfund site on Mills Gap Road, but past controversies and a lack of trust in Environmental Protection Agency officials continued to dominate the discussion during a Nov. 30 public meeting to review the impending remedial projects and address residents’ concerns.

TAKING OUT THE TRASH: In 2011, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy acquired an 88-acre tract adjoining the  2,767-acre Sandy Mush Game Lands. During one workday in 2016, volunteers removed 180 tires and 12 contractor-sized bags of garbage. Photo courtesy of SAHC

Protection just the first step for conservati­on nonprofits

As local land trusts bring thousands of acres under protection, the challenges of maintaining the health of those lands grow. And raising money for ongoing efforts to control invasive plant species, deter pests and protect water quality can be a much tougher sell than the initial push to save a beloved tract from the threat of development.

ROLLING ALONG: The 11th annual Tour de Pumpkin on Oct. 7 will let cyclists enjoy the countryside around Rutherfordton with tour distances of 50 or 100 kilometers. The ride is one of several cycling events that celebrate the crisp weather and brilliant colors of autumn. Photo courtesy of the Tour de Pumpkin

ICYMI: Xpress stories from the issue of Sept. 27, 2017

From the area’s largest single construction project to fall planting, Xpress has the scoop on local fall happenings. Here are some of our best stories from the previous week to keep you reading as you wait for our next issue, coming to a paper box near you on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

WASTE WATCHERS: Largely unheralded, the Buncombe County Metropolitan Sewerage District ensures that the waste generated by its approximately 130,000 customers is properly treated and disposed of before it enters local waterways. The agency is currently in the midst of a $266 million capital improvement project that will upgrade its plant facilities for the future. Photo courtesy of MSD

MSD upgrades its infrastruc­ture with capital improvemen­t projects

To fulfill its critical mission and increase its capacity to deal with a growing service area and customer base, MSD is in the midst of a $266 million capital improvement project, which will help ensure that the community’s waste is properly handled and safely disposed of.

IN THE BEGINNING: Reputed to be the third oldest river in the world, the French Broad has gone from a polluted industrial dumping ground to a key cog in Western North Carolina’s outdoor and tourism industries. This renaissance is a result of government, nonprofit, and individual efforts to improve water quality throughout the watershed. Photo by Mike Belleme; courtesy of Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority

Communitie­s along Upper French Broad work to restore water quality

In this two-part series, Xpress invites you on a guided a trip down the river as we examine the work of various communities to write the next chapter in the French Broad’s history, beginning with Transylvania and Henderson counties.

IT'S EVERYWHERE: A view of Chimney Rock surrounded by kudzu. Photo courtesy of Chimney Rock State Park

Krazy with Kudzu looks at good and bad of invasive vine

While pretty much everyone agrees kudzu is a big problem across the South, there seem to be as many philosophies for dealing with it as there are leaves on the vines. At Chimney Rock State Park’s Krazy with Kudzu event on Aug. 12, park visitors can learn about a variety of approaches to living with — or destroying — the pervasive plant.

LIVING THE DREAM: “It’s a wonderful thing to wake up and stand in your underwear overlooking the mountains,” says van-lifer “Mr. Wolf,” embracing the great outdoors beside his van on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Hokey Pokey

Van life: What happens when the road leads to Asheville?

Rising housing costs, a longing for travel, the opportunity to leverage technology to work remotely: It’s not any one trend alone that’s driving a resurgence of interest in life on the road. Our correspondent looks at the van life phenomenon through the lens of its connections to Asheville and Western North Carolina.