One man’s trash…

With all the enthusiastic recyclers in our area, it should come as no surprise that Asheville will soon host the Carolina Recycling Association’s 10th annual Shoot for the Stars Conference and Trade Show. The regional association, said to be the largest state-based recycling organization in the country, bills the conference as the recycling event of the year, featuring a variety of educational and networking opportunities.

One young local business, Nothing Wasted — which specializes in finding alternative uses for wood products headed for the landfill — is particularly excited about the conference. “This is our first time going to this conference,” said company representative Sharon Fahrer. “We’re looking forward to making connections and finding out more ideas of what to do with this wood waste, to make a more sustainable, closed-loop type of product.”

Fahrer believes closed-loop systems — in which recycled material is made into new, recyclable products (producing little waste, and using little or no new material) — are becoming increasingly important, as industries look for more sustainable ways to do business. “People are realizing that we don’t have unlimited resources, and that we’ve got to start thinking of ways not to use them up,” she says, “and also not to create a lot of waste, not to create a lot of things we can’t use continuously.”

The conference, to be held at the Grove Park Inn March 13-15, will offer workshops on subjects ranging from “How to Conduct a Waste Assessment” to “Emerging Technologies,” and will even feature tours to various local recycling hot spots (including the Buncombe County Solid Waste and Recycling Facility, Warren Wilson College and UNCA, the North Carolina Arboretum, and the Earth Haven Eco-Village).

“The conference is great, because somebody else’s waste can be the raw materials for another person’s product, and I think that’s the key to the whole thing,” Fahrer observes. “As people become more aware of the importance of keeping things out of landfills and not using more raw materials and making more closed-loop systems, [we come closer to] the whole recycling ideal.”

For more information about the conference, call (800) 438-0050. Conference fees are $210 for CRA members, $255 for nonmembers. One-day passes cost $125.

Girl trouble

Adolescence is rarely an easy time for anyone, but adolescent girls — assaulted by unrealistic popular role models, distorted social attitudes, and mixed feelings about their own changing bodies — often see their self-esteem plummet around age 12 or 13. To counteract those pressures, Holy Ground — a nonprofit, Asheville-based retreat center — is sponsoring “Staying Connected,” a mother/daughter empowerment retreat for girls ages 10-13.

The retreat is based on the idea that girls’ relationships with older women, particularly their mothers, are key to their ability to meet the challenges they face on their path to womanhood. By fostering meaningful dialogue about what it means to be female in the early 21st century, “Staying Connected” aims to help participants find healthier role models and avenues for self-expression.

The retreat, to be held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, will be facilitated by Carolyn Mathis and Mary Ann Watjen; Mathis, a family mediator and psychotherapist, has two master’s degrees: one in counseling, and one from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Watjen, a certified clinical social worker, has a master’s degree from Boston University. The two-day retreat runs March 31 to April 1, but the registration deadline is Tuesday, March 21; the retreat costs $195, including meals and one night’s lodging.

To learn more about “Staying Connected,” call Holy Ground at 236-0222.

A passion for the work

Acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick once observed that some of the most impressive contemporary work being done in the arts is in the world of advertising. As if to illustrate the late filmmaker’s words, The Alpha Group, an Asheville-based agency, recently took home 14 regional American Advertising Awards (ADDYs), dominating the broadcast categories.

“We’re very gratified by our showing at this year’s ADDYs,” said President/Creative Director Brad Campbell. “The true measure of our success is our ability to create greater sales for our clients. And the way to do that is to create advertising that is compelling and impactful. These awards confirm that.”

The Alpha Group won the Best of Show broadcast award for a series of television commercials for Ingle’s Markets, as well as its work on behalf of The Grove Park Inn Resort and Asheville Radiology Associates. Creative credits for the winning advertising were claimed by Campbell, Associate Creative Directors Martha Dugger and Connie Mayhew, Executive Broadcast Producer Jane Cashin, Copywriters Carrie Frye (a former Xpress employee, and we’re darn proud) and Phyllis Kapsalis, Art Director Wendy Wells, Associate Art Director Anna Callahan, and Director of Agency Operations Terri Williams.

“This just confirms what we’ve known all along,” asserted Campbell: “You don’t have to be a big agency to create great advertising. You just have to have a passion for the work and a willingness to work together as a team.”

The Alpha Group’s award-winning entries will now advance to national ADDY competitions, to be held later this year.

To learn more about the Alpha Group’s awards, call Campbell at 258-9553.

Rushin’ to Asheville

Although the American way of doing business isn’t appreciated by everyone in the world, a group of Russian citizens planning an Asheville visit apparently feel otherwise.

Eleven managers of private Russian companies will touch down in our fair city for a three-week stay, starting March 15, says Karon Korp of the Kiwanis Club of Asheville, which is sponsoring the visitors. A similar program took place in 1998.

While here, the managers will spend their time learning about the U.S. wholesale-foods industry. Since they speak no English, the group will be accompanied by two interpreters. As part of the deal, the Russian managers must share what they learned with others once they return home, Korp notes.

The Russians will live with local host families to get a taste of American culture. Organizers still need more host families, Korp says.

The visit is part of the Productivity Enhancement Program run by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (based in San Francisco, Calif.).

For more information, call Doris Gothard at 255-7840, or David Burnette at 236-1019.

An ounce of prevention

If you question whether the Asheville Police Department really needs a crack bomb unit, consider that two bombs exploded in the area last year — one of them outside a local women’s clinic. And to help ensure that the APD’s two-member bomb squad is able to provide maximum protection, it was recently accredited by the FBI — becoming just the 350th such unit in the country to get those credentials.

Detective Wallace Welch and Officer Tony Johnson took a five-week course at the Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville, Ala., the only civilian facility in the country offering instruction in how to dispose of explosives. Besides the significant physical testing required for entry into the program, the men also had to undergo extensive background checks; even after being accepted, applicants must sometimes wait up to a year for a space to open up.

In addition, the APD must keep basic bomb-defusing equipment on hand, to qualify for accreditation. To stay current, bomb-unit technicians must receive 40 hours of FBI training every year, plus 16 hours per month of interdepartmental training. They must also pass a recertification exam every three years.

To learn more about the APD’s bomb squad, call Detective Welch at 259-5931.

Radio radio

Listener-supported radio station WNCW — based in Spindale, N.C. — is truly a breed apart, offering unique on-air personalities, cutting-edge formats and eccentric but well-organized play lists. It’s not surprising, then, that the station made a strong showing at this year’s Gavin Awards, presented in San Francisco in mid-February.

Gavin is considered radio’s leading trade magazine; the annual awards set the industry standard for station programming. WNCW was named Americana Station of the Year; Programming Director Mark Keefe took top honors as Programmer of the Year, and Assistant Program Director Armando Belmas was hailed as Music Director of the Year. All three awards were in the Americana category, a loose amalgam of all kinds of roots and traditional music, from alternative country to Dixieland jazz to the postmodern barrio sounds of Los Lobos.

This is Keefe’s second stint as Programmer of the Year; Belmas’ win is his first. Gavin Award winners are chosen by industry members, each of whom votes in the category corresponding to their own station’s programming. WNCW’s competition included stations in Colorado, Michigan and Tennessee.

— Consanguineously compiled by Paul Schattel

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