Family cat returns months after house fire

What could make living through a house fire worse? How about lost pets, a struggling business and a pandemic that canceled a family member’s high school graduation ceremony? Melissa Meyer faced all these and more, but there’s a bright spot: After nearly four months’ absence, Oliver the cat was found. The Black Mountain community pulled together to support his recovery, and now the beloved feline is back home and on the road to health.

Controvers­ial plea deal for former APD officer extended 

Christopher Hickman’s period of supervised probation for the 2017 assault of Johnnie Rush might have ended this month if not for delays in the community engagement portion of his restorative justice plea deal. COVID-19, as well as other obligations for the Raleigh-based program director, disrupted the yearlong schedule and will lead to an extension of Hickman’s probation.

What does the future hold for the TDA?

With the area’s formerly booming tourism industry mostly on hold as COVID-19 infection rates in nearby markets remain high, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority faces an uncertain future. Add in a leadership transition, potential changes to the legislation that controls the distribution of local occupancy tax revenues and public hostility to the industry, and more questions than answers emerge.

Racial justice protests in Pack Square Park

Asheville protesters­, medics share their stories

Asheville made national headlines the night of June 2, when Asheville Police Department officers destroyed medical supplies and forcibly handled volunteer medics during international protests for racial justice. Xpress spoke with several people present at the medic station; they say the reasons for their outrage go far beyond the damage to supplies.

Curate staff with masks

Tourism businesses patch together local, federal funds in bid for survival

Restaurants, brewers, hoteliers, tour companies and retailers were all among the 449 named Paycheck Protection Program beneficiaries with headquarters in Asheville. At least 46 of those entities also received help from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to fill needs unmet by the federal loan effort.

Robert Thomas

From AVL Watchdog: Asheville Police calls: Roadmap for defunding?

Of 911 calls and requests for assistance to the Asheville Police Department, less than 1% involve a violent crime, an AVL Watchdog analysis of police dispatch data shows. Much of the time, police are summoned to routine calls such as traffic accidents, domestic disputes and loud parties or non-violent crimes like shoplifting, trespassing and prostitution.