Buzzworm news briefs

Molding new jobs

There’s a rumor going around that the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce would like to put rest. “People say that manufacturing in our area is dead. That’s just not true — it’s still a good one-third of our economy,” notes Director of Business and Industry Services Sharon Willen.

Underscoring her point, the Chamber announced last week that Nypro Asheville Inc. has launched a $5 million renovation of its Arden plant that will bring in the latest in injection-molding technology and high-speed-robotics assembly. In connection with the upgrade, the company is looking to fill 16 or more highly skilled technical positions. The new jobs, said Willen, will pay from $30,000 to $50,000 per year; candidates with backgrounds in automation or molding are encouraged to apply.

“We’re proud of the local business climate that enables Nypro to compete for projects and expand,” noted Willen in a recent interview with Xpress. “It shows continued strength in our medical-equipment manufacturing sector.”

Established in 1988, Nypro Asheville employs 200 people and specializes in making FDA-registered pharmaceutical-delivery systems. Such jobs, said Willen, are on the leading edge of technology, and young people considering career options should realize that the necessary technical training is available locally at A-B Tech, UNCA and Western Carolina University.

“These are high-paying jobs that you can’t get if you drop out of high school or not continue your education,” she said.

Those interested in applying for the new positions at Nypro Asheville should contact the company’s Human Resources Department at 684-3141.

— Brian Sarzynski

Save energy at home

By the time we reach the trailing edge of winter, most of us tend to be a little weary of the cold, the drafts and the cost of heat — whether it’s measured in dollars or backaches from splitting wood.

There ought to be a better way — and there is. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension is offering a free workshop that introduces 10 no-cost or low-cost steps you can take to cut your energy bills and make your home more comfortable. In addition, you can learn what you need to know about major improvements such as replacing heating and cooling systems, appliances and windows.

As a bonus, the class will include an overview of the hottest topic in housing today — preventing mold and moisture problems. The class instructor is Bill Warren, a national trainer and building performance expert with more than 25 years of teaching experience on energy, moisture, mold, comfort and indoor air-quality topics.

The workshop will be held Tuesday, March 29, at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Buncombe County Center, 94 Coxe Ave., Asheville.

Space is limited so pre-registration is necessary. Phone: (828) 255-5522.

— Cecil Bothwell

Heavy lifting

The new North Asheville library is scheduled to open at the end of April and the staff could use a little help moving books. With more than 35,000 items stashed at the current location on Larchmont Drive, the task of transporting everything to the new facility at 1030 Merrimon Ave. is formidable.

There is an easy way and a hard way for libraries to complete such transfers, and the hard way involves lots of boxes, aching backs, moving vans and dollies. Librarians prefer the easy way — checking books out to patrons at the old library and requiring returns to be made at the new one.

To that end, the Asheville-Buncombe Library System is requesting that those of us with cards check out as many books as we can — up to 100 per card holder — and keep them for as long as two months. The staff is particularly eager for patrons to check out art books, which tend to be large and heavy.

Think of this as your chance to impress your friends with high-ticket picture books on the coffee table!

But, if you want to help, do it ASAP. The Larchmont branch will close at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 24. Truth be told, there will still be plenty left over for the library staff, but they say every bit of help will be greatly appreciated.

— Cecil Bothwell

Economic development grants available

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina is soliciting grant proposals from 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and public agencies that work to build the community and spur economic growth in Buncombe County. Grants of $15,000 to $25,000 are available.

Proposed projects must have outcomes related to economic growth and must address one of the following areas: youth success in school, quality jobs and workforce development, innovative economic approaches, or social infrastructure. The application deadline is April 1, and the foundation encourages applicants to submit a letter of intent before that date.

For more information, contact Program Officer Tara Scholtz at (828) 254-4960 or visit cfwnc.org online.

— Cecil Bothwell

Shifting the balance of power

Fourteen years ago, the YWCA of Asheville launched an awards program to celebrate the accomplishments of women who were breaking the glass ceiling in the business world.

Now — with more women in high-level management positions — the Tribute to Women of Influence Awards serve as a chance for the YWCA to carry out its mission by honoring women who have excelled in their fields, says Marketing Director Ami Worthen.

But much work remains to be done, she notes. “In our society, there still exists a great deal of gender inequity in terms of access to power and capital, and these women are helping to shift that balance of power in our society,” says Worthen.

This year, the following women will be honored: Betsy Blose (UNCA), Leisa Capps (RBC Centura), Laura Dotson (United Way), Jackie Dula (CarePartners), Angie Flynn-McIver (North Carolina Stage Company), Jacqui Friedrich (Boys, Arnold & Company), Patti Glazer (Glazer Architecture), Gayle Mair (Dampp-Chaser Corporation), Shirley McLaughlin (A-B Tech), Darrell Robertson (Buncombe County Emergency Medical Services), Selenah Seabrooks (Progress Energy), Geri Solomon (International Link) and Phyllis Stiles (Mars Hill College).

Other honorees include: Delise Talley (Wachovia Bank), Marla Tambellini (Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce), Brenda Taylor (Renaissance Asheville Hotel), Mary Anne Tierney (Mountain Microenterprise Fund), Camille Victour (Camille Victour Architect), Carmella Davis Watkins (National Climatic Data Center), Virginia Wilkinson (Smith Barney), Deborah Wright (Montreat College), Martha Zeigler (Metropolitan Sewerage District) and Winnie Ziegler (Mission Hospitals).

At the awards banquet, slated for March 31, one woman will receive special recognition as “Honoree of the Year.” Ashley Madden and Glenis Redmond will provide entertainment, and Cheri Britton, president of CheriBritton.com, will serve as master of ceremonies. Margie Eblen of Biltmore Oil and Eblen Short Stop Stores is the honorary chairperson.

The event’s underwriters are CarePartners Health Services, HomeTrust Bank, Mission Hospitals, Progress Energy, Smith Barney and Wachovia Bank. Other sponsors include Asheville Savings Bank and the Renaissance Asheville Hotel.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the YWCA’s many programs dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women.

The 14th annual Tribute to Women of Influence Awards Banquet takes place on Thursday, March 31, at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets ($50 per person) can be purchased by calling 254-7206, ext. 205, or by e-mail (amiw@ywcaofasheville.org). For more info, check out the group’s Web site (ywcaofasheville.org).

— Tracy Rose

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