Buzzworm news briefs

Buncombe Dems say no to eight lanes

Buncombe County Democrats are taking a stand. The Buncombe County Democratic Party held its annual convention April 17, and besides selecting delegates to the district and state conventions (to be held later this year), the assembly endorsed a series of resolutions, including: support for a $7/hour minimum wage; support for requiring all voting machines to be equipped with a voter-verifiable paper recording device; and opposition to the eight-laning of Interstate 26. The party secretary was instructed to write to all Democrats serving on the Asheville City Council asking them to publicly oppose the N.C. Department of Transportation’s plan for an eight lane I-26 through Asheville.

— Cecil Bothwell

Living our dreams

When local artist Diane Doyle was going through a divorce and some other not-so-fun stuff a few years ago, she felt like she’d hit rock bottom in her life.

Her solution? Start living her dreams.

“I was open to finding what dreams I had put aside, what really excited me in my life, what I wanted to experience,” she explains.

That fateful decision led Doyle down such diverse paths as trying stand-up comedy, obtaining her pilot’s license and undertaking a seven-month trek on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine (a journey that gave her plenty of time for contemplation, she notes).

“With each accomplishment, each time I did something that was new and unique to myself, there was an element of strength and courage that came,” she reveals.

Doyle’s goal in hiking the Appalachian Trail was to complete something she found physically challenging. “At the end of that … there was a sense of peace that just came over me,” she recalls. “When I came home, a lot of people asked me: ‘How in the world did you do that? How could you just drop everything? Weren’t you afraid to go alone?’

“I realized what they were really asking was, ‘How can I do the same thing?'”

Once Doyle began listening to other people’s dreams — and encouraging them — she noticed that “they’d get this spark in their eye,” she says. “And once they got that spark, I knew what I was here for — and that was to inspire and encourage as many people as I can to take a chance and live their dreams.”

After following a few more of her own dreams, Doyle came up with the idea of a community sculpture project called Journey of Dreams. The resulting artwork, she explains, would “remind and inspire people to live their dreams.”

Ultimately, Doyle would like to take Journey of Dreams on the road — to cities throughout the world. In the meantime, she ‘s working to make Asheville the project’s first host city.

Here’s how it would work: One hundred community members of diverse backgrounds (race, age, culture, religion and economic status) will be invited to take part. Divided into groups of 10, they participate in Thoughtstorm sessions in which they’re asked, “What would inspire people to live their dreams?”

In response, each group comes up with a visual concept; Doyle then incorporates all 10 into the final sculpture. The project would be accompanied by a documentary film and a coffee table book by photographer Ron Roman, along with a community directory.

Doyle hopes to raise community involvement, awareness and funding for Asheville’s Journey of Dreams with a 7 p.m. presentation at Pack Place’s Diana Wortham Theatre on Thursday, April 29. The evening will include a screening of a short documentary film by Roman that follows an intial group of 10 Asheville citizens who have already participated in the Thoughtstorm process. In addition, there’ll be performances by poet Glenis Redmond; actors Charlie Flynn-McIver and Tyler Cloherty; dancer Heather Maloy; musicians Chris Rosser, River Guerguerian and Eliot Wadopian; and the band No Strings Attached. Tickets are $10.

After the presentation, community members wishing to be part of the project will be invited to submit a letter describing themselves and one of their dreams. From these submissions, additional participants will be chosen.

Tickets for Journey of Dreams are available at the Pack Place box office (257-4530). To learn more about the project, call Doyle (350-8208) or visit the project’s Web site (www.journeyofdreams.com).

— Lisa Watters

Low-power empowerment

Sure, it’s a little hard to pick up WPVM’s signal right now, but with a little help from interested listeners, that could change.

Since the low-power radio station’s debut in October, WPVM-FM (103.5) has aired such programs as Ralph Nader’s speech at UNCA, a feisty debate over public-access television, in-depth discussions and reports on both the Wal-Mart and Pack Square controversies, plus a weekly news show produced in conjunction with the Asheville Global Report. In between, the station plays an eclectic mix of music not generally heard on commercial radio.

It’s safe to say that WPVM’s programming is living up to their slogan: “The Progressive Voice of the Mountains.”

It’s also safe to say that tuning into the station can be a bit of a challenge. According to station co-founder Wally Bowen, WPVM is working hard to improve its broadcast area. “We’re doing two things to address it: We’re going to start streaming online on May 1, and we’re working on moving our transmitter closer to downtown.”

But operating a low-power FM radio station sans commercials can be an uphill proposition, so WPVM has scheduled its inaugural on-air fund drive for May 3-7. The money raised will “move us toward improving our signal coverage, increasing our local content and finishing our studio,” fund-raising coordinator Christopher Fielden told Xpress.

The new studio, said Fielden, is located in the heart of downtown at 75 Haywood St. (between Pack Memorial Library and the Asheville Civic Center). To christen its new digs, WPVM is holding an open house on Saturday, May 1 from 1-4 p.m.; the public is invited to drop in for refreshments and information.

During the fund drive, supporters can call the station at 258-0085 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to pledge a contribution; online donations can be made anytime (www.wpvm.org).

— Brian Sarzynski

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