No sign of the times

Bye-bye, yard-sale announcements tacked onto telephone poles. So long, diet and weight-loss posters. Scram, lost-dog and -cat fliers.

If Mayor Leni Sitnick has her way, Asheville’s public rights-of-way will soon be rid of these illegal public proclamations. Already, such signs “are being removed in record numbers,” according to a press release from the City Development Office.

“It would be my hope that signs going up on utility poles all over the city come down and stay down. It’s illegal and unsightly,” says Sitnick. She believes that the “proliferation of litter and visual clutter” indicates “a lack of civic pride.”

According to the release, repeat offenders will soon be fined $50 for every 72 hours that the signs are left illegally posted. “Other measures” to reduce the violations “are also being discussed,” according to the release.

City staff are considering building neighborhood kiosks to serve as “information hubs.” They’re also considering recruiting volunteers to help tear down illegal signs.

To learn more, call Robin Westbrook at the City Development Office (251-9973).

Explore the city’s woods

Take a hike on June 13 through the recently debated Richmond Hill tract owned by the city, and explore what the Western North Carolina Alliance believes ought to be the city’s next park.

The Alliance is sponsoring the jaunt. Trip-goers will meet at the Botanical Gardens at UNCA at 11 a.m. The trip is free and should take about an hour-and-a-half.

A draft version of Asheville’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan calls for sculpting the 183-acre property into a golf course and ball fields.

But the Alliance is suggesting that the parcel’s trees be left intact, and making it a place for such activities as walking, jogging, mountain biking, bird watching and environmental education.

The property is about three miles from downtown and borders the French Broad River.

To learn more about the hike, call the Alliance at 258-8737.

Glad grad

Recent Enka High School graduate Suzanne Burlone is one of 10 students in the country to receive a $10,000 young-leaders scholarship from McNeil Consumer Products Company. Suzanne is the daughter of Dominick and Joyce Burlone. She will use the scholarship to study biochemistry at N.C. State University.

Suzanne placed first in the nation in the National Math League’s Algebra II category, and first in the National Latin Exam. While in school, she also played soccer and was in the band.

Time to cram

Do you have what it takes to be a part of MENSA, the high-IQ society? Find out June 27 at 9 a.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church (60 Church St., in downtown Asheville; enter by the church’s back door).

At that time, French Broad MENSA, the local chapter of the American MENSA organization, will offer its standard IQ test to potential members.

MENSA has just one membership requirement: Members must score in the top 2 percent of the general population on the test.

French Broad MENSA currently has more than 80 members who meet socially to attend plays, concerts and dinners. They also hold meetings with guest speakers.

The test costs $25, and you must reserve a space. If you can’t make it this time, don’t worry: The organization schedules tests every couple of months.

For reservations or more info, call Testing Coordinator Wayne Stanko at 667-6934 (days) or 253-8781 (evenings).

Clean up the French Broad

Help RiverLink and Earth Fare clean up the French Broad River — and afterward, enjoy a cook-out, courtesy of Earth Fare.

The action takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. on June 14 at the French Broad River Park and Greenway (off Amboy Road in Asheville). Wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts and strong shoes. RiverLink will provide the gloves, trash bags and safety vests.

If you plan on staying for the cook-out, call the RiverLink staff and let them know, so there’ll be enough food to go around.

Prior to the cleanup, at 2:30 p.m., Asheville Mayor Leni Sitnick will lend a hand with a tree-planting.

June is French Broad River Month. The cleanup project is just one of 30 events celebrating the river.

For more info, call 252-8474.

Follow famous feet

Alexander the Great never made a trip through Asheville — but, now, Ashevilleians can follow in his footsteps.

Science and the Ancient World: A Walk in the Footsteps of Alexander the Great will be on display from June 13 to Aug. 15 at the Health Adventure in Pack Place.

The interactive exhibit lets kids, parents and everyone else retrace Big Alex’s travels from the Mediterranean coast to Egypt, Asia, India and Persia.

Walk through the “shifting sands” of a ball pit. Risk your neck on high sea cliffs (a climbing wall). Build a Roman arch you can actually walk across. Deck your enemies with flying “boulders” launched from a real catapult.

Admission is $3.50 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, $2.50 for children ages 2 through 15, and free for kids under 2. The Health Adventure is open regularly, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. However, on opening day, June 13, the exhibit opens at 10:30 a.m.

To learn more call 254-6373. Or e-mail

Needles aren’t recyclable

Under no circumstances should you ever place a hypodermic needle in a recycling container. This message comes by way of the Asheville Public Works Department, which reports that in “recent weeks, a number of hypodermic needles have been found in recycling bins throughout the city.”

These needles “pose a serious health threat to trash and recycling workers,” according to the press release; one worker has already been injured.

The city says it will remove a home’s recycling bin if it’s found to contain a hypodermic needle.

To learn more, call Karen Rankin at 259-5936.

Celebrate dairy goats

Five common dairy goats will make an appearance at the WNC Nature Center on June 14, in celebration of National Dairy Goat Awareness Week.

Visitors can meet LaMancha, Alpine, Nubian, Saanen and Oberhasli goats from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Center. Members of the Piedmont Dairy Goat Association will be on hand to answer questions and discuss characteristics of different goat breeds. Goat products like soap, candy and cheese will be on display.

Goats were one of the first animals to be domesticated by humans, according to a Nature Center press release. All domestic goats are descended from wild goats native to the Greek Islands and the mountains of Asia Minor, it says.

The Nature Center permanently houses two breeds of dairy goats, the Alpine and the Oberhasli. Angora and African Pygmy goats also live there.

To learn more, call the Center at 298-5600.

If you find a baby bird …

Finding a baby bird on the ground is common this time of year. So what do you do? It depends on the situation, says the Mecklenburg County Audubon Chapter.

If the bird hops away from you, leave it alone, and its parents will probably find it. If there is a dog or cat nearby, scoop the bird up and place it in a nearby shrub or tree. Most birds can’t smell, so touching the bird briefly won’t cause its parents to abandon it. If the bird is so young it doesn’t have feathers, try to return it to its nest.

If the nest is gone or destroyed, you can make a nest out of grass and leaves nestled in a plastic container. Punch holes in the container bottom for drainage, and secure it in the fork of a tree branch, close to the old nest if possible.

If the baby bird is cold, take it inside and warm it up, using a warm towel or hot-water bottle, before putting it back in its nest.

Don’t try to feed baby birds. If you can’t find the nest, or the bird appears to be sick, injured or needs feeding, call the Western North Carolina Nature Center.

The Center’s number is 298-5600.

— finally compiled by Jill Ingram

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