Asheville residents gridlocked over I-26 Connector project

Upgrades to the tangled web of interchanges from the I-26 intersection at Interstate 40 through the gnarled conduit of traffic on the Bowen Bridge have been on the N.C. Department of Transportation’s radar since at least 1989. Along the way, business groups, community members, environmental advocates, designers and elected officials have all weighed in with differing visions about how the project should function and look — and whether it should happen at all.

SEARCH Listening Session

Mission Health’s approach to Dogwood Health Trust worries local nonprofits

“There’s real fear among nonprofit organizations that not supporting the current iteration of the board could mean retaliation in the form of being cut from the $1.5 billion that DHT will control once the sale is final,” wrote Asheville-Buncombe NAACP President Carmen Ramos-Kennedy. “In order to truly build trust, citizens and organizations must feel free to speak their hearts and minds without fear.”

News in brief: NCDOT to host public meeting on I-40 interchang­e in Black Mountain

The Asheville Police Department has released additional data sets at the city’s online open data portal. A new survey ranks Asheville #20 on the list of America’s best retirement destinations. And the NCDOT is planning a public meeting to discuss proposed improvements to an Interstate 40 interchange near Black Mountain.

CIBO affordable housing panel

No easy fix for affordable housing at CIBO breakfast

“Unless you are using the city and county tools and financing from either the city’s housing trust fund, the county’s affordable housing fund or some kind of funds from a taxpayer project,” real estate developer Kirk Booth told around 40 people at the Council of Independent Business Owners’ Dec. 6 breakfast meeting, “it’s not going to happen.”

CBD business budding across WNC, nation

Are CBD businesses — which are exploding across WNC and elsewhere — laying down the tracks, preparing for an expansion into legal marijuana? The answer depends on whom you ask. Many local CBD entrepreneurs say they’ll continue their focus on the health benefits of CBD, regardless of whether medical or recreational marijuana are legalized in the state.

Rev. Jim Abbott

Asheville shows proposals for affordable housing on city-owned land

The three parcels currently being considered for affordable housing are on South Charlotte Street, where the city currently has its Public Works Garage and Fleet Management facilities; on Biltmore Avenue at the old Matthews Ford site and on Riverside Drive at the “Ice House.” Up to 550 new affordable rental units could be developed.

News in brief: I-26 connector meeting, Hump Mountain, veterans train service dogs

According to the project website for the planned Interstate 26 Connector project in Asheville, the N.C. Department of Transportation has been meeting with community groups about the roadway since 1989. On Tuesday, Dec. 4, NCDOT will again convene local stakeholders. Also: a major public land acquisition in the Cherokee National Forest, and a new community service option for veterans involved with the criminal justice system.

New facility in Columbus aims to increase number of rural dentists, dental assistants

“Poor dental care leads to poor health and poor dental care is also a social poverty stigma that makes it hard for people to get jobs,” says Dr. Jeff Heck, Mountain Area Health Education Center’s CEO. In line with MAHEC’s mission of increasing access to primary and preventive health care services to people in rural areas, the organization will partner with St. Luke’s Hospital and Isothermal Community College to open a new dental and primary care center in Columbus next spring.

Solar house

Duke solar rebate program leads to call for ethics in renewables

As demand for solar energy increases, members of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association worry that negative word-of-mouth about experiences with renewables could undermine trust in established installers. In August, the trade group developed a “Solar Business Code” establishing fundamental professional standards.