Keep your kids reading (and having fun) this summer

Studies show that children who read over the summer return to school with improved academic abilities. To encourage kids to keep reading after school is out, the Asheville-Buncombe Library System is offering its 2002 Summer Reading Program for kids ages 2 to 12. This year’s theme is “Exercise Your Mind — READ!”; the program runs June 1 to July 24.

Program participants who visit any branch library four times and check out a book will earn a free paperback. Kids can also tackle the “Library Quest” — a summer-long scavenger hunt designed to help young readers learn their way around the library.

Go to any of Buncombe County’s 12 branch libraries and you can pick up a schedule listing dozens of free activities for kids — puppet shows, storytelling, folk music, dancing, origami, magic tricks, science experiments, wildlife presentations and more.

Renowned puppeteer/children’s entertainer Jim Alberti will present “Magic for Muggles,” a magic workshop based on the Harry Potter books (Tuesday, June 11, 2:30 p.m. at the Swannanoa Library). Mark Hufford of the Carolina Kid Conservancy will use live animals when he presents “An Exercise in Wildlife Management” (Tuesday, July 2, 2:30 p.m. at the Enka-Candler Library). And native mountain storyteller Jerry Harmon will share Appalachian tales and live music in “Tales by Jerry Harmon, The Smoky Mountain Gypsy” (Saturday, July 13, 11 a.m. at the South Asheville Library).

For more information, call your local library or visit

Chamber music Sundays

For nearly six years now, the Asheville Chamber Players have been presenting “First Sundays at St. Matthias Concerts” to raise money for restoring the beautiful, historic St. Matthias Church. The Players — amateur and professional musicians from the community who donate their time and talents — present a variety of chamber music.

All concerts happen on the first Sunday of each month, starting at 3 p.m. The schedule for the rest of this season is as follows: June 2 (“Organ and Strings”); July 7 (“Woodwind Quintet”); Aug. 4 (“Biltmore Brass Quintet”); Sept. 1 (“St. Matthias String Quartet”); October 6 (“Cello Quintets”); Nov. 3 (“Chamber Orchestra”); and Dec. 8 (“Reynolds-Miller Chorale Christmas Concert.”)

There is no charge for the concerts, but attendees are encouraged to make a donation. All contributions go to the restoration and maintenance of the church. The series has generated enough funding to date to repair the organ, provide new lighting in the chancel, re-plaster and paint the interior of the nave, and help restore the Memorial Chapel. Remaining work includes re-pointing the exterior brick, replacing the furnace, and adding insulation (and, perhaps, air conditioning).

St. Matthias Episcopal Church is believed to be Asheville’s oldest historically Black congregation, with roots reaching back to before the end of the Civil War. Construction of the present edifice began in 1894 but wasn’t finished until 1898 because it was done on a pay-as-you-go basis, with no debt incurred. The church was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on Aug. 19, 1979.

St. Matthias Episcopal Church is at 1 Dundee St., overlooking South Charlotte Street midway between College and Biltmore. Turn east onto Max Street at the light on South Charlotte, then right onto Dundee. For more information, call 285-0033.

The young and talented

Are you tired of performing for an audience of your favorite stuffed animals? If so, you may wish to compete in the “A Star is Born” Youth Talent Show in front of a real-live audience. If you’re between the ages of 6 and 17 and can play a musical instrument, dance or sing, you’re invited to register by June 3. The fee is $6 per child.

The competition will take place at Mama T’s Pavilion in Recreation Park (near the WNC Nature Center) on Wednesday, June 26 at 6:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded in three categories (dance, voice and music) and four age groups (6-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17). There are no auditions; anyone confident enough to sign up may compete.

For more information, call Buncombe County Recreation Services at 298-6118.

Help for the elderly

A new directory listing services available to Buncombe County seniors is designed to ease the sometimes-difficult task of finding specific help for older folks in need. Published jointly by the Buncombe County Aging Coordinating Consortium and the United Way’s 2-1-1 Call Center, the Senior Adult H.E.L.P. Directory includes 70 different categories of services (H.E.L.P. stands for Helping Everyone Live Productively).

Whether you’re looking for housing, tax or medical assistance, Social Security information, transportation, caregiver support or help with alcohol and substance abuse, the directory is a good starting place, offering information on about 400 programs and help lines, Internet sites, tips for caregivers and more.

The presidents of the two sponsoring organizations — Barbara St. Hilaire of the Aging Consortium and David Bailey of the United Way — said in a joint letter of introduction that the directory will help those “seeking services for yourself, a loved one, or another senior.”

“Often,” they added, “a person may not even know exactly what resources they need because of the complexity of issues.” The directory is a tool to direct them to the right resources.

The 50-page volume was compiled by the Consortium, headed by Clemie Gregory. Volunteer Sally Lowery led the team that did the work.

Copies are available for $2 each at the Council on Aging (in the United Way Building — 50 S. French Broad Ave.) and on-line ( Proceeds from sales of the directory will pay for printing more copies.

Discovering Asheville’s B&Bs

If you’ve ever wondered what those quaint — and sometimes grand — B&Bs tucked into local neighborhoods or off country roads look like inside, here’s a chance to find out. The Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association will host its second annual Home and Garden Tour on Sunday, June 2, from noon to 5 p.m.

Fourteen local B&Bs featuring an array of architectural styles — Victorian, English, cottage, Tudor, Colonial and Greek Revival — will open their doors to visitors. Each property uniquely reflects both the period in which it was built and the innkeepers’ personalities. This diversity of style carries through to the inns’ gardens.

This year’s event includes a limited number of “Tea and Tour” packages allowing guests to conclude the day with afternoon tea in the gardens at Richmond Hill Inn (5-6 p.m.) and a “Home Tour Trivia Game” in which participants can win gift certificates good for an overnight stay at one of the member inns.

Tour tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the event, plus $10 for the “Tour and Tea” package.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association at 250-0020 or toll-free at (877) 262-6867. The Web site is

Know any “Friends of the River”?

If you know of an individual, private organization, civic group or public agency that has made a significant contribution toward enhancing or restoring the French Broad River (or one of its tributaries) as a recreational, economic or cultural resource, how about nominating them for the 26th annual Friends of the River Award?

Recipients will be honored during French Broad River Month at the Land-of-Sky Regional Council’s Friends of the River Dinner. Each winner will receive a framed certificate, an autographed copy of Wilma Dykeman’s The French Broad and a free dinner. Information on the winners will be sent to local newspapers to generate recognition both in their hometown and throughout the region.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 24. To find out more or to nominate an individual or organization, contact Maggie MacCormack by phone (251-6622) or e-mail (

A-B Tech student to X-ray Peruvian mummies

A first-year A-B Tech student has been selected to join an elite team of mummy excavators who will travel to Peru for a two-week expedition this June to work with anthropologists studying an ancient civilization. Debra Anglin, a radiography student at A-B Tech, is one of about 27 team members chosen nationwide by Arkansas State University’s Center for Medical Imaging on Bioanthropology, based on their research proposals.

In fact, Anglin’s proposal was chosen to be the focus of the whole team’s project — using radiographic methods to examine the height of the ancient people buried at the site. Center Director Richard Carlton (who wrote the textbook Principles of Radiographic Imaging, used by A-B Tech’s radiographic-technology class) said Anglin was chosen because of the quality of her research; Carlton called the chance to perform fieldwork alongside eminent bioanthropologist/mummy expert Dr. Sonia Guillen a “rare professional experience.”

In Peru, Anglin’s team will excavate mummies and artifacts, sifting through the sand around the mummified remains of the Chiribaya for clues about these ancient people. The Chiribaya lived more than 1,000 years ago and their bodies should have decayed long before now. Instead, “these accidental mummies” have survived to tell their stories. Anglin and her team will take part in what she calls a “rescue mission,” saving the remains of the Chiribaya from looters looking for rare buried treasure, and helping record the lives of this little-known pre-Columbian civilization.

The remains and other artifacts will be transported to Centro Mallqui: The Bioanthropology Institute of Peru, where more than 500 mummies have been stored. There, the radiographic team will X-ray and then store the remains.

“It’s a fascinating thing to be a part of,” explains Anglin, who has a strong interest in the role radiography in bio- and forensic anthropology. “My hope is that our team will demonstrate the importance of radiography through our research and that we will publish our findings.”

Radiology is one of two programs offered by A-B Tech’s department of medical imaging.

To donate or be a corporate sponsor for Anglin’s Peru trip, contact the A-B Tech Foundation at 254-1921, ext. 179. Donations can also be mailed to 340 Victoria Road, Asheville, NC 29901, ATTN: Foundation Office, Peru Trip.

Memorial Day remembrance

A local Memorial Day service next week will pay tribute to fallen public-service officers and military personnel.

“All of us are keenly aware of those public-safety officers who lost their lives on Sept. 11,” observes Memorial Day Commission Chairman Jerome Jones.

As a result, the commission decided to honor firefighters, police officers, sheriff’s deputies and emergency-medical-services personnel for their sacrifices as well as the veterans traditionally honored on Memorial Day, says Jones.

The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 27 at City/County Plaza. Local veterans have partnered with the city of Asheville and Buncombe County in planning the communitywide event.

The keynote address will be delivered by retired Gen. Carl E. Mundy Jr., former commandant of the Marine Corps. Mundy, a four-star general, served in the Corps from 1953 until 1995.

The Asheville Christian Academy Lower School Chorus and Symphonic Band will play patriotic music, and the 169 Fighter Wing of the S.C. Air National Guard will perform a four-ship F-16 flyover.

Organizers are encouraging people who attend the service to bring a flower to add to a memorial wreath. Folks who might have difficulty standing throughout the hourlong service should bring chairs or blankets.

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