GROWING PROFITS: Researchers at the Upper Mountain Research Station study the potential of medicinal herbs as a lucrative crop for area farmers. At the Aug. 15 Buncombe County Friends of Agriculture Breakfast, speaker Margaret Bloomquist will introduce attendees to the prospect of this blooming market. Photo courtesy of the Jeanine Davis Program at N.C. State University

Aug. 15 breakfast to introduce farmers to thriving market

While Western North Carolina is already known for producing high-quality medicinal herbs, there’s still plenty of potential for growers to get in on the ground floor of a market that appears poised to expand. Farmers and others interested in opportunities in medicinal herbs can learn more at the Buncombe County Friends of Agriculture Breakfast on Aug. 15.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL: Leicester Fire Department medical and fire service, protecting people in parts of three counties around the clock. Chief Chris Brown, in white, commands the growing department and works with a board of directors to manage the finances and policies that govern the part paid, part volunteer department. Photo by Cindy Kunst

How local fire department­s keep residents safe in changing times

As population grows in WNC’s once-rural areas, the model of volunteer-based fire and rescue services is giving way to bigger budgets, more training and significant numbers of paid staff. How are the departments keeping up with the changes, and should they be required to conform to the same requirements for transparency and public oversight as other organizations funded by property taxes?

LIKE A ROCK: Skyland Fire & Rescue was one of the first Buncombe County volunteer departments to hire firefighters and medical personnel, but they still are governed by the same rules as small volunteer departments. Photo by Able Allen

Chief Presley retires from Skyland FD amid controvers­y over families in fire service

Chief Dennis Presley will retire from the Skyland Fire and Rescue Department as of Aug. 20. His announcement came on Aug. 2, the morning after Weston Hall of Black Mountain spoke during the public comment period at the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting. Hall said that nepotism was creating a hostile work environment at nonprofit fire service departments. He pointed out that Presley’s wife, son, daughter and son-in-law all hold paid positions with the Skyland department.

BEFORE THE DEMOLITION: Architect Anthony Lord took this picture of Valley and Eagle streets before many of the surrounding homes and businesses were torn down. Stephens-Lee High School and Gymnasium are visible on the left. According to the N.C. Collection at Pack Library, it is believed these photos were taken  as part of the planning for the area's "revitalization."

Tuesday History: Before and after the East Riverside Urban Renewal Project

Conversations about the East Riverside Urban Renewal Project began in the mid-1960s. The project’s goal was to provide more public housing in Asheville. It wouldn’t be until 1977 that the plan would go into effect. The government-funded project sought to build 1,300 new homes on 425 acres. However, in order to accomplish this, many residents […]