Leave your car at home

May 29 is Strive-Not-to-Drive Day in Buncombe County. You are urged to plan in advance ways to travel that day without driving yourself around alone in your car: Bike to work, walk to the store, or carpool into town. Consider asking your boss if you can telecommute that day.

“We want drivers of single-occupant vehicles to be more adventurous and try alternate ways to get to work,” says Katie Breckheimer, pedestrian coordinator of Quality Forward.

May is national Bike to Work Month, and May 19 is National Bike to Work Day. But Strive-Not-to-Drive Day is unique to Buncombe County, according to Breckheimer. “We wanted to honor all forms of alternative transportation.”

The Asheville Transit Authority is doing its part by offering reduced 25-cent fees on May 29. Normally, the fare is 75 cents. No transfer passes will be available that day, however.

“Regular bus riders are the unsung heroes of the environmental movement,” says Breckheimer. Bus riders cause less air pollution per person than individual car drivers, and they help minimize traffic congestion. (However, bus riders in Asheville must have day jobs with fairly regular hours: The last buses leave downtown at 6, 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., depending on where they’re going. And there’s no Sunday service.)

Buncombe County’s BOOST system (soon to be called “Mountain Mobility”) will honor the day with $1 round-trip van rides for residents of Asheville and the county. Normally, fares are $3 each way. (You must schedule your BOOST ride 24 hours in advance).

Strive-Not-To-Drive Day continues at 5:30 p.m. at Pack Square, where the Golden Sneaker Awards will be used to honor people who have promoted “walkability.” Then, beginning at 5:40 p.m., a non-motorized parade is scheduled at City-County Plaza.

Once you’re in the area, you may want to stick around for “Moonlight Over Downtown” (formerly “Alive After 5”), a celebration with music, beer and food beginning at 6 p.m., sponsored by the Asheville Downtown Association.

To learn more about Strive-Not-to-Drive Day, call Breckheimer at 254-1776. For info about bus routes and schedules, call the Transit Authority at 253-5691. To schedule a ride on BOOST, call Buncombe County Planner Cynthia Barcklow at 255-5777.

Prepare for workplace violence

Is your business prepared to handle workplace violence? Do you know the profile of the person most likely to commit such violence? Could you defuse a potentially violent situation? What are an employer’s responsibilities when an employee becomes violent?

If these questions concern and perplex you, consider attending “Workplace Violence: Is Your Business Prepared?” a seminar sponsored by the Charter Asheville Behavioral Health System. It will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 29 in the ballroom of Charter Asheville Hospital, 60 Caledonia Rd.

Topics will include an overview of workplace violence, a profile of the typical perpetrator, employer liability, how to defuse a hostile employee, how to guide employees through the trauma, and how to make the workplace secure.

The seminar costs $25, and all participants must pre-register by May 27.

For more info, call 253-3681, ext. 334 or 363.

Women cyclists meet

The next meeting of the Women’s Cycling Network will be held at 7 p.m. on May 27 in the Skyland Fire Department training room. Take your wheels, pumps and tire levers, and spend the evening sharing tips.

The network is an opportunity for women to meet other women to ride with, according to Janet Hall, a network member. Although the network is new, attendance at the last meeting topped 40 people.

Call Claudia Nix of Liberty Bicycles at 684-1085 to learn more.

Squaw decision called a step backward

The Asheville branch of the NAACP is calling Erwin High School students’ recent decision to keep the name “Squaws” for its girls’ athletic teams “appalling” and “a step backwards in human relations in this county.”

The organization is “even more appalled that the Buncombe County School Board lacked the courage to render a decision by passing it off to these children,” according to a press release.

Last fall, the school board decided to let Erwin students vote on whether they wanted the female athletics teams to continue to be called the Squaws. Recently, the students voted to stay with the controversial name.

Many people in the community argued against the name, saying that, in the Native American culture, the term is insulting to women.

Call Asheville branch NAACP President H.K. Edgerton at 253-1439 to learn more.

Tell guests to hit the trail

When you live in an area as inviting as western North Carolina, summer can bring a houseful of guests.

Have you already visited the really big and famous attractions? Already driven endless stretches of long, famous roads?

Invest in the second edition of the Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina. You can either hand the book to visitors and wave them on their way, or hop into the car with them and see some new spots yourself.

The book will guide you on scenic trips to more than 500 galleries and studios in WNC’s 22 counties. It’s a terrific way to see the land and learn about the artists working and living here. The guide includes photos, maps and drawings.

HandMade in America, a local nonprofit that promotes the craft industry in WNC, published the book. The second edition was funded by sales from the 1996 edition and grants from the Federal Highway Administration and Advantage West.

Craft Heritage Trails is available at area tourism offices, chambers of commerce and local bookstores. You can also order it by sending $13.95 (plus 6 percent North Carolina sales tax) to: HandMade in America, P.O. Box 2089, Asheville, NC 28802. Bulk discounts are available.

To learn more, call HandMade in America at (828) 252-0121.

Tidy up The Block

Don your gloves and pitch in for the Eagle/Market Streets Development Corporation’s “Clean-up on the Block,” beginning at 8 a.m. on May 23. Bags will be provided. Volunteers should meet in front of the YMI Cultural Center, at the corner of Market and Eagle streets in downtown Asheville.

To learn more, call the Development Corporation at 281-1227.

Traditional Chinese medicine discussed

Find out just what “traditional Chinese medicine” means during one of two 7 p.m. discussions of the topic, either April 22 at Pack Memorial Library Lord Auditorium, or April 29 at Earth Fare.

Topics will include the basic theory behind the 2,500-year-old practice, the way diagnoses are made and explanations of acupuncture, colonic hydrotherapy and more. Speakers will include certified massage therapist Patricia Large and licensed acupuncturists Simon Becker and Dudley Noll.

The events are free, and sponsored by the Smokey Mountain Natural Health Clinic.

To learn more, call the clinic at 681-0002.

Creepy crawly camp

If the kiddies in your life are fascinated by creeping, crawling, slithering creatures, enroll them in the Western North Carolina Nature Center’s “Reptile and Amphibian” summer camp.

Nature Center volunteer Jeff Menzer will lead the day camp, which will include direct observations of snakes, lizards, turtles, toads, frogs and salamanders. Campers will study life cycles, colors, patterns, and shapes of reptiles and amphibians.

The camp is designed for kids in grades 1-3. It will be held Monday through Friday, July 27-31, at the Nature Center. One session runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and costs $125 ($110 for members); the other session runs until 5:15 p.m. and costs $150 ($135 for members).

To learn more, or to register, call the center at 298-5600.

— fervently compiled by Jill Ingram

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