HOME SWEET HOME: George Morosani, the owner of Wellington Community Estates, stands at the entrance of a single-wide manufactured home. Morosani estimates that there are 2,000 people living in his park, which has more than 400 lots. Photo by David Floyd

Buncombe County considers expanding access to manufactur­ed homes

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.

Amid soul searching over severe disparitie­s, City Council weighs its latest school board appointmen­ts

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.

UNCA hosts this year’s Appalachia­n Studies Associatio­n conference

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.

Wellness briefs: Grants boost dignity, telehealth

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.

Medical Emergency Ambulance ambulance

Buncombe County grants franchise to private EMS service

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.

Quentin Miller speaks at swearing-in ceremony

Buncombe County sheriff seeks funding for new positions, vehicles

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.

News briefs: Asheville Habitat celebrates women in constructi­on

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.

Lynne Forrest brings The Reality Formula to Asheville

Author Lynne Forrest will present a three-hour workshop Sunday, March 10, at Jubilee! Community in downtown Asheville. The goal, she explains, will be to help participants “get in touch with the limited story they are believing about themselves in the world, and then I will give them tools to see it in a different light.” The event is a fundraiser for Woman to Woman WNC, which promotes women’s self-empowerment.

Mike Kozen presents to the BCTDA

Tourism Developmen­t Authority approves long-term planning and research strategy

The four-phase, roughly $440,000 project is set to begin this spring and conclude in April 2020. Those funds will come from occupancy tax revenue in the Tourism Product Development Fund budget. Funding for community projects will then resume at a time yet to be determined after the planning is complete.

Finding the region’s next elected leaders

Politicos of all stripes have begun gearing up for a 2020 election that looks to be a broad moment of opportunity. In Asheville, ballots will include offices from president on down to City Council. Experienced campaign runners and elected officials are teaming up to try to recruit new candidates or train and encourage those already considering a run.

County approves A-B Tech funding plan in split vote

Commissioners voted 4-3 to approve a plan that dedicates $3.13 million in Article 46 tax revenues in fiscal year 2020 for capital expenses at the college. The money would keep coming in each of the next seven years, increasing 5.5 percent annually to account for anticipated increases in construction costs. The county would also cap transfers from Article 46 tax revenue to the general fund at $5 million and would limit the use of that money to operations at A-B Tech.