Help animals

The Foster Animal Network needs volunteers to temporarily care for cats, and permanent owners to love them for ever after. Currently, the nonprofit places only cats, explained Suzanne Orsban, the program’s director. (The network used to place dogs, too, and would consider extending the service to them again if enough people were interested. In the meantime, the network makes referrals to agencies that do place dogs, she said.)

While cats are in foster care, the network covers the cost of all supplies and medical care. Cats older than six months are neutered or spayed, and all cats are tested for feline leukemia and the feline immune deficiency virus. A cat might need fostering for two days or two months, according to Orsban.

More than 2,000 cats and 1,000 dogs have found homes through the 10-year-old organization. “We have an excellent placement record,” said Orsban, adding that, “The more foster parents we can get on board, obviously, the more animals we can save.” Spring and summer are especially busy times for the network. “We have many, many mother [cats] that come into our program,” she explained.

Cats are placed in permanent homes on a three-week trial basis. If all goes well, there’s an adoption fee (starting at $25), and then cat and human happily begin the rest of their lives together. Right now, says Orsban, the network is looking for a home for a mature, mellow male tabby. “He needs a quiet family,” she observes. “He’s had a rough life.”

If fostering or adopting aren’t for you, there are other ways to help, including phone work and fund raising. “There’s lots to be done,” she said. “It’s a never-ending battle to keep animals healthy, happy and adopted.”

For more info, call 236-2287 and leave a message (they’re checked daily); or call 254-1493 and ask for Suzanne Orsban.

Tax rally

Buncombe-ites upset about the recent revaluation of their property will have a chance to voice their concerns during a public rally on Saturday, March 28 at City/County Plaza, starting at 2 p.m.

“This is democracy in action,” declares Rachel Queen, chair of Taxpayers for Accountable Government, who’s coordinating the even.

Queen and other citizens have pushed the Buncombe County Commissioners for a public hearing on the revals; so far, commissioners have denied the requests. So, says Queen, “We’re having a public hearing of our own, so to speak.”

The rally will feature speakers, live music and tax info. Citizens will also have the opportunity to speak and be heard, promises Queen. “It’s going to be a very patriotic event,” she says.

If you want to sit, bring lawn chairs.

To learn more, call Rachel Queen at 254-3720.

Hike right

The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is offering a free backcountry planning course for backpackers, hikers and anyone else who likes to spend time in the woods. The course will be given on Saturday, April 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the center.

To get there, head west on Highway 276 from its intersection with Highway 64, in Brevard. After about five miles, the road forks; bear left onto Forest Service Road 475. Drive about another mile-and-a-half, then turn left at the center’s sign. The center is adjacent to the Pisgah Forest fish hatchery.

For directions and more info, call the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education at 877-4423.

SOA protest in DC

Opponents of the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Ga., are invited to Washington, D.C., on Sunday, April 26. A rally calling for shutting down the school will be held at Lafayette Park (at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 16th Street NW), from noon to 5 p.m.

The next two days, April 27 and 28, there will be vigils and lobbying action on the east center steps of the Capitol Building, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Critics charge that the school is a training center for Latin American military personnel who have been consistently linked with “atrocity after atrocity — including massacres of entire communities, assassinations, rapes, torture and ‘disappearances,'” according to a School of Americas Watch press release.

For information, call SOAW at (202) 234-3440, or connect on the Web at

Egg-hunting volunteers

The Asheville Parks and Recreation Department needs volunteers to help with its Easter egg hunt, scheduled for Saturday, April 11 at City/County Plaza, from noon to 4 p.m. Volunteers will give out prizes, run contests and help with the parade and egg hunt.

For more info, call Mickey Ray at 254-1942.

Calling all artists

The Asheville Urban Trail is issuing a summons to artists across the region: Submit your applications now if you would like to design the trail’s “biggest and most ambitious project to date,” according to a press release.

A new trail “station” in front of the Civic Center honoring the local tradition of mountain dance and music is now in the planning stage. The self-guided Urban Trail winds for 1.6 miles through some of the most colorful sections of downtown. Different trail stations include sculpture, mosaics and works in other media.

Artist applications are due by April 24. They should include a resume, 10 to 20 slides of recent work, a letter of interest and any other supporting materials. Finalists will be paid to create project proposals, and the winner will be announced in July.

To find out more, call Mary Fierle at 251-9973 (Tuesdays and Thursdays), or at 253-6014 on other days.

— routinely compiled by Jill Ingram

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