You take Manhattan (just give me that countryside)

In 1976, Martha and Porter Claxton settled into their home on 500 acres in Weaverville, along with a couple of dogs, a few old cows and some chickens to loiter about the old tobacco barn.

Twenty years later, the menagerie has grown to include ducks, geese, peacocks, miniature donkeys, goats, llamas and a camel — and two more barns have been built to house them all.

There were no specific plans to grow a large, working farm, says Martha; “It just evolved.”

The Claxtons have been offering tours to kindergarteners for a number of years. But now, others — such as school, youth and civic groups — are also invited to visit the farm. Children enjoy celebrating their birthdays there, too, Claxton notes.

There’s also a space suitable for much larger gatherings — up to 500 people — which is sometimes used for company picnics.

To make reservations for a “Day on the Farm,” or to learn more, call farm manager Joe Lasher at 253-6649.

Volunteers of year

The Volunteer Center of Henderson County presented awards to local volunteers on April 20, during National Volunteer Week (April 19-25).

Andy Gyuro is the county’s 1998 Volunteer of the Year. Gyuro has volunteered more than 200 hours for the Blue Ridge Literacy Council over the past two years. He coordinates schedules for tutors and students, serves on the council’s board and chairs its Program Committee, as well as volunteering for other organizations.

The Goldent “K” Kiwanis Club, a service club for seniors, was named the 1998 Volunteer Group of the Year. This group of men provides service to the Council on Aging, the American Red Cross, Crime Stoppers, Habitat for Humanity and more.

Rodney King is the Volunteer Youth of the Year. The 12-year-old volunteers in Brigitte Bonitz‘s special-needs classroom every day at Hendersonville Elementary School. King, aseventh grader, is a peer mediator and serves on the New Student Orientation Committee.

In the 6- to 10-year-old category, this year’s Volunteer Youth of the Year is Ashley Eisenhaur. The nine-year-old, who attends Hendersonville Elementary School, has chaired the school’s Recycling Committee, assisted with new-student orientation, served on a Teacher Appreciation Committee and raised funds for assorted causes.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car was named the 1998 Volunteer Business of the Year. The company’s staff delivers meals to the homes of Council on Aging clients. Enterprise provides a vehicle for the route and pays its employees for the time it takes to drive it. The group of volunteers delivers meals to 10 clients once a week — more than 500 meals per year.

To learn more about National Volunteer Week or the Volunteer Center of Henderson County, call Andrea Fey at (828) 692-8700.

Where men are men

Men are invited to attend Thresholds of Change, a gathering of men hosted by Michael Meade the weekend of May 15-17 in Falling Creek Camp, N.C.

The gathering will help men become more familiar with their guiding spirits, as an aid to determining a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. The cost of the gathering is $265.

Meade is a storyteller, drummer, mythology scholar and student of ritual in traditional cultures, according to his press release. He has written a number of books.

For info about the gathering, call John Waterhouse at (828) 628-1600, or e-mail him at

Tree giveaway

Western Staff Services is celebrating its 50th anniversary by distributing 75 Australian pine-tree seedlings to parks, schools and other community organizations that want them. Western Staff Services was founded in 1948 in San Francisco.

Anyone interested in receiving seedlings should call 254-3898.

Women who love their tummies

Women are invited to honor their bellies at an “Honoring Your Belly” weekend retreat, May 29-31 at the Bend of Ivy Lodge in Marshall. The cost is $325 per person ($275, if you register with a friend).

Lisa Sarasohn — Asheville’s own “Belly Queen,” according to her press release — will host the retreat. Sarasohn maintains that the natural shape of the female belly is rounded. What’s more, “The belly is the site of our soul power. It’s literally the place where we get the guts to live with creativity, confidence and a sense of purpose,” she says.

The retreat will focus on journal writing, dialogue and other awareness excercises. Sarasohn is a yoga teacher and therapist with 20 years’ experience.

For more info, call Sarasohn at 277-0115.

Afro-centric schools?

Are Afro-centric schools a step forward or backward? How do you feel about having Afro-centric schools in your community? The Gamma Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. will host an educational forum to discuss the pros and cons of Afro-centric schools on Tuesday, May 12 at the Asheville High School Theatre, starting at 6 p.m.

To find out more, call Denise Fall at 253-2190, or Verita Woods at 258-0474.

WNCAP’s night to remember

The Western North Carolina AIDS Project will hold its annual fund-raiser, “A Night to Remember,” on Saturday, May 16. The event works like this: Individuals host private parties in their homes for two to 20 people, and invite the guests to make donations to WNCAP after dinner. Then, all of the individual parties come together for music and a feast of desserts (donated by area restaurants) at 9:30 p.m. at the Haywood Park Hotel.

Dinners don’t have to be fancy. Last year, students from Warren Wilson College collected donated food and held parties in their dorm rooms, raising several hundred dollars. For those unwilling or unable to cook, several restaurants will donate a portion of their profits from parties hosted by WNCAP supporters.

To learn more, call Debbie Pustorino at 252-7489.

— barely compiled by Jill Ingram

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