Business, nonprofit roundup: Bear cub pulled from tree ‘doing well’

IN GOOD HANDS: Representatives of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge say that the female bear cub that was pulled from a tree last month is expected to make a full recovery. Photo courtesy of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge

Asheville made national headlines last month after a video that showed people pulling two bear cubs from a tree to take photos with the animals went viral. 

Following the incident, Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, a Candler-based nonprofit that coordinates wildlife rehabilitation efforts in Western North Carolina, was able to locate one of the cubs and bring it into its care.

According to an April 30 press release, Savannah Trantham, the nonprofit’s executive director and one of four certified wildlife rehabilitators recognized by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council in North Carolina, says that she expects the bear to make a full recovery and be reintroduced into the wild later this year.

“Following a time to adjust to being in our care, she was introduced to another orphaned cub that had arrived previously. Both cubs are thriving and doing well in care. They are eating well and interacting with enrichment, doing all the things we hope to see with young cubs,”  says Trantham. “Our team has no reason to believe that they won’t make full rehabilitation care to be released as wild bears in the fall.”

The people involved in the incident have not been charged with a crime, which has drawn criticism from some community members and spurred an online petition that has garnered more than 3,400 signatures. 

The Appalachian Wildlife Refuge facility is one of two licensed black bear cub rehabilitation facilities licensed by the N.C.  Wildlife Resources Commission and has been rehabilitating black bear cubs since 2020. Since then, the nonprofit has cared for 39 injured or orphaned cubs from all across the state. “We always want to see all wild animals left in the wild and be raised by their mothers, but we work hard every day to provide a place for these wild animals to go for those that truly do need our intervention,” says Trantham. 

The wildlife facility is closed to the public to limit human interaction and maintain the wildness of all the patients in care. More information is at

Party with Project Dignity

Project Dignity of WNC is a nonprofit that provides period products to women and girls who are homeless, low-income or victims of domestic abuse in Henderson and Buncombe counties. The nonprofit will hold a seventh anniversary celebration to honor donors and raise awareness of period poverty, May 16, at Guidon Brewing Co., in downtown Hendersonville. 

Adcock receives excellence award 

Trey Adcock, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies and international studies, and the director of American Indian and Indigenous studies at UNC Asheville, was one of 17 faculty members to receive a 2024 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the UNC Board of Governors. Established in 1993 to highlight the importance of teaching, the award recognizes contributions of faculty members throughout the university system, and recipients are nominated by special committees at each institution.

Public works director to retire 

The City of Asheville announced that Public Works Director Greg Shuler will retire effective Wednesday, July 31. Shuler joined the City of Asheville in 2008 and has served as the public works director since 2014. 

“It’s been an honor to serve the community in various roles for so long. The dedicated staff in the Public Works Department are truly amazing and should be lifted up. They carry out the dirty and often unrecognized work to help the city function every day and night,” Shuler said.

The city will provide more information as it begins its search for the next director. 

Europa celebrates 10 years

Europa, a European-themed gift shop at 125 Cherry St. in downtown Black Mountain, celebrated its 10-year anniversary May 10. Owners Kim and Tom McMurtry opened Europa in 2014. The shop imports gifts from artisans in 17 European countries and has established itself as the largest purveyor of Polish pottery in North Carolina. More information is at

Habitat for Humanity recognizes volunteers

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity recognized the service milestones of seven volunteers during National Volunteer Appreciation Week. Among those celebrated are ReStore volunteer Susan Diehn, who has reached 30 years of service; Cassie Dillon and Kris Ruth with 20 years; and Nancy Herman, John Latham, Lee Raymond, and Rosemarie Robuck with 15 years. Habitat also recognized 37 volunteers for reaching five- and 10-year service milestones. More information is at

FBR Academy expands campus

French Broad River Academy, an independent middle school with dual programs for boys and girls, announced plans to build an academic building on its south campus in Asheville. The project will establish a permanent home for FBRA’s girls program on the 3.3-acre riverside campus just north of downtown Asheville. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project will be held this fall, with construction beginning in early 2025. More information is at

Kevin Campbell receives DAR award

The Edward Buncombe chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a nonprofit that promotes patriotism and American history, presented educator Kevin Campbell with the chapter’s Outstanding Teacher of American History Award last month. Campbell, a teacher at Cane Creek Middle School, has taught U.S. history and global studies since 2017.

NC IDEA Foundation awards local startups 

NC IDEA, a private foundation that supports entrepreneurs and economic development, announced $160,000 in microgrant awards to 16 North Carolina startups. The grant recipients were chosen after a three-month application and selection process that drew 211 applications from across the state. Among the local recipients that received the $10,000 microgrants were the Asheville-based health communications platform Arclet and Swannanoa-based realty and mortgage marketing company Copy and Post. A full list of recipients is available at  

Group unveils remodeled pumping room

The N.C. Partnership for Children, a Raleigh-based nonprofit that supports early childhood education, unveiled its renovated pumping room May 2 after being selected as $10,000 grand prize winner from the Asheville-based Aeroflow Breastpumps’ fifth annual Pumping Room Makeover contest. The contest, which began in 2018, was created in response to feedback from mothers who experienced challenges while nursing, resorting to pumping in closets, bathrooms, conference rooms or vehicles during the workday. More information is at

WNC arts councils receive $45,000 in grants

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, an Asheville-based nonprofit that supports philanthropic initiatives, announced $45,000 in cultural resources grants to nine arts councils across Western North Carolina for general operations. Among the recipients of the $5,000 grants are the Arts Council of Henderson County, the Asheville Area Arts Council and Valley River Arts Guild in Cherokee County. A full list of recipients is available at The next grant cycle, with applications due by Friday, July 12, will support craft organizations working in ceramics, glass, textile, metal or wood.

Andrew Shannon to head YMI

The YMI Cultural Center board of directors announced Andrew Shannon as the new executive director of the nonprofit, which promotes Asheville’s Black history through exhibits, an art gallery and performances. Shannon has served on the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights Virginia Advisory Committee and held leadership positions in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, among other roles. More information at


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