After eight years in self-exile, writer Thomas Wolfe returned to his hometown of Asheville.
“If you take one thing away from this rally, let it be this: You are not as small as you think you are,” said Asheville High School freshman Clay Swan-Davis. The event, part of a global strike involving over 1.4 million young activists, called for “radical legislative action to combat climate change.”
After approving the franchise in a split vote during their meeting on March 5, county commissioners will vote on contract terms to allow private ambulance provider Medic to respond to emergency calls when one of the company’s units is closest to an incident. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, March 19.
A new play for children, It’s Just a Pill, premiered at A-B Tech’s Ferguson Auditorium on March 8. The 55-minute musical confronts the opioid epidemic from the perspective of a 10-year-old girl. The production will now travel around North Carolina to reach over 4,000 young people.
In Buncombe County, manufactured housing is limited to certain zoning designations, but the county planning board recently voted in favor of an amendment that would expand the list of areas where manufactured homes would be allowed. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing about the change in the coming weeks.
Mayor Esther Manheimer pointed to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s recent commitment to long-term planning around hotel occupancy taxes as a key factor in her support for the project. “That is the kind of change that I needed to see personally before I would move forward with considering another hotel,” she said, joining Council members Vijay Kapoor, Julie Mayfield and Sheneika Smith in the approval vote.
“This may hurt some feelings, but you can no longer operate the city of Asheville like it’s the Oprah Winfrey talk show, where you get a car and you get a car,” said Council member Keith Young, referencing the daytime TV host’s famous giveaways. “As much as we love all these programs and trying to help the public good… this is the time to close the bank.”
In 1939, Buncombe County residents participated in a special election concerning the legalization of liquor sales. Debate leading up to the vote was fiery and contentious.
The sale of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare means several changes to organizations and services once affiliated with Mission, including a shift of adult day care services from CarePartners to a new nonprofit, MountainCare.
With James Lee opting out mid-term to take a job in another state, Asheville City Council will soon select at least one new member to serve on a board that will be compelled to turn the ship around. Two other members, Martha Geitner and board Chair Shaunda Sandford, are completing their first terms on the board and seeking reappointment. Meanwhile, in a process that will play out in the coming weeks, 11 other community members have applied to be appointed.
The 2019 Appalachian Studies Association conference returns to Asheville after 27 years. The annual gathering brings together an eclectic mix of scholars, educators, activists, students, groups and institutions to discuss and present on a wide range of topics related to life in the region.
By adding a dedicated urban forester, crafting an urban forest master plan and strengthening the current municipal tree ordinance, say members of Asheville’s Tree Commission, the city can manage its growth in a greener and more climate-resilient way. “The more hard surface we have, the more green we need to balance it out,” says commission chair Stephen Hendricks.
While Mayor Esther Manheimer recommended in October that local hoteliers Pratik Bhakta and Monark Patel resubmit their proposal to Asheville City Council in at least “a year’s time,” the two aren’t waiting. Their hotel is back on the agenda for Council’s meeting of Tuesday, March 12, less than five months after its first consideration.
Grants to help agencies providing health care services and studying better ways to deliver those services continued to flow in Western North Carolina. Some recent examples include a grant to Project Dignity for feminine supplies, funding to expand how telehealth services might be expanded in rural areas and support for a study of resources available to kidney patients.
Although some commissioners remain concerned the agreement could cut into revenue generated by local volunteer fire departments, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners decided in a 4-3 vote on March 5 to grant an expanded franchise to private EMS service Medical Emergency Ambulance, also called Medic. Commissioners Brownie Newman, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Amanda Edwards voted in the minority.
On March 1, city spokesperson Ashley Traynum-Carson said in a press release the needle exchange would now be considered a medical clinic after it formalized a commitment to have a medical professional on-site during operation. The process by which Asheville arrived at its new position, however, remains unclear.
On Nov. 2, 1920, Lillian Exum Clement was voted into office as the first female member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. The Buncombe County native served one term.
In an effort to address what he sees as needs in the department, which includes increasing the number of patrol officers, Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller asked the board for additional funding to pay for 21 new positions and an increase in the number of vehicles that the county refreshes on an annual basis. The sheriff’s office anticipates that the requests would produce a total recurring cost of approximately $3.2 million per year.
Women make up over half of the local nonprofit’s construction staff and work in roles that provide new construction, home repair, volunteer coordination and construction administration. Each year, the Women Build Advocacy Team — aka WomBATs — recruits female volunteers and raises funds. This year’s Women Build House will come together on May 7.
A host of factors, including poverty, job loss, lack of transportation, unaffordable housing and chronic health issues, contribute to creating barriers to food access. But the vague mental images painted by these scenarios do not necessarily put an accurate face on WNC’s sprawling and complicated food insecurity problem.
On Tuesday, March 5, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will consider a proposal to award an updated franchise to Medic, allowing the company to use the county’s 700 mhz radio system and respond to calls when its ambulance crews are closest to an incident.