Letters from Carver

Letters from famed scientist George Washington Carver to a young college student have been donated to the special collections at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library.

Relatives of Thomas Dickey “Dick” Slagle — a Macon County man who met Carver in 1923 — recently gave the library about 25 letters Carver wrote to Slagle and his parents.

Slagle was a student at Chapel Hill when he was appointed to guide the visiting Carver around campus. The two men shared a love of plants, and a friendship maintained through letters grew out of the meeting.

In one letter, Carver politely declined an invitation to visit the Slagles. “People all seem to be doing such nice things for me. I do not seem to be able to do anything for them commensurate with what they do for me. It is certainly true in this case,” he wrote.

Carver — an acclaimed African-American agricultural chemist, botanist and educator — conducted scientific research at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, developing hundreds of uses for such plants as the peanut, soy bean and sweet potato.

Slagle went on to study medicine at Cornell University Medical College in New York City. He eventually returned home to Sylva, where he worked as a surgeon and helped found the cancer clinic at what is now Harris Regional Hospital.

Call George Frizzell of WCU library’s special collections (277-7474) to learn more.

Spotlight on historic preservation

The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County is accepting nominations for its 1998 Griffin Awards, which honor local historic-preservation projects and their creators.

Nominations are due by March 27. Winners will be announced in May, during the society’s annual Heritage Week celebration.

Call the society’s office at 254-2343 for more info.

Hooray for diversity

There’s unity in diversity, Asheville — so let’s celebrate.

This year’s Unity in Diversity event will include a whole week of unity-inducing programs, capped by a big bash in City/County Plaza, beginning at 11 a.m. on March 21 (the rain location is Pack Place).

At noon, witness a ceremony blessing, honoring and celebrating Asheville; at 1 p.m., Mayor Leni Sitnick will present a Unity in Diversity proclamation. Speakers from countries around the world will be on hand, along with info booths staffed by local organizations, and music by Jazz Alive, WomanSong, the Bahai Youth Workshop, the Peace Chamber Children’s Choir and more.

Since 1995, Asheville has celebrated its unity in diversity on the Saturday closest to the spring equinox.

Other planned events include a program on bridging the gap between alternative medicine and standard western practices (March 16, 6 p.m. at Jubilee!); a conflict-resolution demonstration, (March 18, 7 to 9 p.m., room 225 of Zageir Hall); and a play about community, which will include stories from the audience (March 20, 8 p.m. at Pack Place).

Also that week, the Center for Diversity Education and the Jewish Community Center (both at 236 Charlotte St.) will be open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more info, 274-7223.

A plan for Asheville’s parks

Asheville residents can have a say about the future of the city’s parks-and-recreation services by attending a public meeting on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. in the Asheville Civic Center’s banquet room. A master plan directing the next 16 years of city parks-and-rec services is now in draft form. It’s scheduled to go before City Council in April, so speak out now.

To find out more info, call Debbie Ivester at 259-5800.

Cedar Lee in D.C.

Erwin High School junior Cedar Lee has joined 350 other school kids attending a National Young Leaders conference in Washington D.C., from March 10 to 15.

“I decided to take this trip to Washington so I can experience government firsthand. I am eager to share ideas with other people and learn a thing or two about politics,” says Lee, who reports that she’s currently first in her class. Her favorite subject is English, she has four younger siblings, and she hopes to one day to have a career that includes writing.

All told, about 7,000 students from around the country — who, like Lee, have demonstrated leadership potential and scholastic merit — will attend this year’s Young Leaders conferences. Conference activities include meeting politicians, media reps and diplomats; participating in panel discussions; visiting foreign embassies; and role-playing.

Intern for Taylor

Students with at least two years of college under their belts — and a keen interest in government and public policy –still have time to apply for summer congressional internships in Rep. Charles Taylor‘s Washington office.

There are two six-week sessions, from (June 2 through July 11, and July 14 to Aug. 22). The hours are long and the pay is minimal, but interns are guaranteed exposure to a smorgasbord of political issues, promises a press release.

Two interns will serve Taylor’s office during each session. The application deadline is March 31. Applicants should mail a resume, a writing sample (two pages or less) and two letters of recommendation to: Office of Congressman Charles Taylor, 231 Cannon House Office Building, Washington DC 20515.

For more info, call Brian Hughes at (202) 225-6401.

Control your land

Property owners can safeguard their land for the future and receive tax advantages in the present using conservation easements — “the ultimate in land control,” according to a press release from the League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County.

During a 7:30 a.m. power breakfast on March 12 at Fine Friends Restaurant in Asheville, the league will sponsor a program called “Conservation Easements — How and Why.” The speakers will be Lynn Coxe, director of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and John Humphrey, vice president of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. The league invites everyone to attend.

To learn more, call the league at 258-8223.

How do I love tree?

The tree will be the thing during a seminar and Arbor Day celebration on Friday, March 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the N.C. Arboretum.

The seminar — aimed at urban foresters, landscape architects, planners, developers and all tree enthusiasts — costs $12, including lunch and an urban-forest tour the next day (see below).

Presentations, discussions and workshops on everything from trees as business assets to demystifying the art of pruning are planned.

And the next day (Saturday, March 21, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.) one and all are invited to take a tour of the good, bad and ugly trees in downtown Asheville’s “urban forest.” (Meet at the Quality Forward office, 29 Page Ave.).

For more info, call Quality Forward at 254-1776.

A hundred-dollar house

Buy a $100 raffle ticket, and you just might wind up a homeowner.

In a benefit for N.C. Pride ’98, Clyde Lewis is raffling off a two-bedroom/one-bath, 700-square-foot home he owns in north Buncombe County.

The newly remodeled house is valued at $72,000 and sits on 2/3 of an acre, according to the press release. It’s got its own well, a septic system and a deck.

“The tickets are selling really well,” reported local organizing-committee co-chair Nancy Baker (as of March 2, about 200 tickets had been sold).

The deadline to buy tickets is April 1 (a maximum of 1,000 will be sold). The drawing will be held on Saturday, May 2.

The N.C. Pride ’98 celebration will be held June 5-7 in Asheville.

To learn more, call Nancy Baker (251-1968) or Clyde Lewis (667-4474).

— persistently compiled by Jill Ingram

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