Speedsters’ salvation

If you’ve recently lost your license for traveling 15 mph over a 55 mph speed limit, you might be able to get your driving privileges back, according to a recent N.C. Department of Transportation press release.

The state Division of Motor Vehicles recently started a pilot Speed Rehabilitation program that lets certain offenders get their licenses back — provided that they pay $75 and agree to have speed-monitoring devices installed in their cars.

The monitoring devices download information to the DMV every two months. The maximum speed allowed under the program is 65 mph.

“We are always looking for ways to improve the level of safety while traveling North Carolina’s highways,” says DMV Commissioner Janice H. Faulkner. “If this pilot program deters drivers from speeding, then our mission is accomplished.”

To learn more, call DOT employee Mitzi Powell at (919) 733-2403.

Our diverse city

Learn more about your fellow Ashevilleans at a cultural-diversity forum on Sunday, Feb. 15 at Calvary Baptist Church (531 Haywood Rd. in west Asheville), starting at 6:30 p.m.

Representatives of many local ethnic and cultural groups — including Ukrainians, Russians, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and African-Americans — will speak and take questions from the audience.

The forum is “part of the church’s mission to entertain some dialogue,” explains Pastor Buddy Corbin. The church, he says, is seeking to better understand diversity in the community.

There will be a food tasting in the fellowship hall after the discussion.

To learn more, call Buddy Corbin at 253-7301.

Exchange yourself

College students can earn up to nine credits this summer studying at the University of the Americas in Pueblo, Mexico, through a Western Carolina University exchange program.

The program runs from May 30 through July 15 and costs about $2,700 (including tuition, air fare, room, board and field trips).

Students will live on campus and take three classes (including two language courses).

The trip is open to students from any college or university, and credit from the University of the Americas is fully transferable, according to WCU press release.

To learn more, call Nora Haenn of the WCU anthropology department at (704) 227-7268.

Gun-lock giveaway

More than 1,400 people called the Thoms Health Services Foundation in a nine-hour period on Jan. 24, during the foundation’s gun-lock giveaway. Calls came from as far away as Idaho and Washington state. The foundation will mail each caller a free gun lock and gun-safety brochure.

Gun locks work with about 90 percent of all guns; such safety devices could prevent one in three deaths from unintentional firearm discharge, according to the foundation.

Thoms sponsored the giveaway, in part, because so many of its rehab patients through the years have suffered from gunshot injuries.

Worldly affairs

What should the United States’ priorities be in its changing relations with China? Is it time for the U.S. to rethink its strategy with Cuba? What’s the appropriate U.S. role in Africa? How does religion influence world affairs?

Great Decisions 1998 is a series of lectures and discussions on world affairs that meets at 7:30 p.m. every Monday through March 30 in UNCA’s Owen Conference Center. The series is presented by the World Affairs Council of Western North Carolina. Each lecture costs $4, and lecture-series booklets are available for $13.

The series will also meet on Tuesdays in Black Mountain; Wednesdays in Hendersonville and Brevard; and Thursdays at Isothermal Community College.

To learn more, call UNCA’s Center for Creative Retirement at 251-6140.

Free landlord/tenant guide

What does a lease involve? What’s a security deposit for? When do you get (or give) one back? What’s the proper eviction process? Who’s protected by fair-housing laws?

These questions and more like them are often on the minds of renters and landlords, but who’s there to answer them?

The Affordable Housing Coalition, that’s who. Its new rental guide was created specifically to help both renters and landlords understand their respective rights and responsibilities.

This free guide is full of helpful names and numbers, legal info, sample lease and complaint forms and more.

The guide is available in locales around town, including: the Coalition’s offices (34 Wall St.); any Buncombe County library branch; the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (151 Haywood St.); and Pisgah Legal Services (89 Montford Ave.).

For more info, call Elisabeth Bocklet at the AHC at 259-9216. Local agencies may request bulk quantities.

Dump your branches

Did the recent storm leave you with a bunch of branches scattered about your lawn? Bring ’em on down to Buncombe County’s new landfill (but please — no stumps). The landfill is on Panther Branch Road, and landfill staff would appreciate an advance call, to let them know you’re coming.

Call 658-0137 for more info or to make a reservation.

Talking trash

When it snows too much for trucks to safely hit the streets, Buncombe County residents can expect their trash pickup to resume on schedule the following week. If, by chance, snow prevents pickup the following week, too, expect removal on the coming Saturday.

For more info, call the county’s General Services Department at 255-5066.

Talking the walk-able communities

Dan Burden will speak on walkable communities and suggest five ways to improve downtown. Burden is a National Geographic photographer and former Florida D.O.T. bike/pedestrian coordinator. Check him out at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at the Asheville Civic Center Banquet Room (upstairs). It’s free, but get there at 6:15 to register.

Call for film entries

Submissions to this spring’s sixth annual Smoky Mountain/Nantahala Media Festival are due by March 13. Entries are divided into four categories: film and video; script writing; audio; and CD multimedia.

Special awards will be given in all categories for entries about outdoor recreation (biking, paddling, climbing, etc.).

The fee is $19 for the first entry, and $10 each for subsequent ones. An entry form must accompany all submissions.

“We have established the outdoor awards to foster the feeling of the outdoors throughout the festival,” says Carlos Steward, founder and director of the festival, who adds that all submissions are welcome.

The festival will be held at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, 13 miles southwest of Bryson City.

— methodically compiled by Jill Ingram

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