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Mackey Mountain beckons

If you’ve worn out your hiking boots walking the same old paths through the mountains, maybe you’re ready to explore someplace new.

How about Mackey Mountain?

The Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and the N.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club have just published a new hiking map featuring the Mackey Mountain cluster.

The cluster lies just north of Old Fort in in McDowell County, in Pisgah National Forest’s Grandfather Ranger District.

The area boasts old-growth forests and clean streams, according to a Forest Coalition press release.

There are more than 10 trails to choose from. Most are short and appropriate for day hikes, says the Highlands Conservancy’s Nicholas Butts. The trails follow ridges and streams and range from easy to difficult.

For instance, the Hickory Branch Trail number 3 takes about an hour. As it winds up Chestnutwood Mountain, it passes by waterfalls and through diverse old forests. When you reach the ridge, you can continue your walk in one of three different directions, or turn around and call it an afternoon.

The topographic map costs between $3 and $6 (depending on where you buy it). On the back, you’ll find trail descriptions and info on camp sites.

A warning on the map says that many of the trails have not been maintained for a number of years, and that blazes are rare, intermittent and not reliable markers.

Also, several of the trails shown run through private property, and it’s advisable to get permission from the landowner before hiking there.

Maps are available from the conservation organizations themselves; at Southerlands and Black Dome in Asheville; and at the Gateway Museum in Old Fort.

To learn more, call the SAFC at 252-9223.

Arcade open

The 5 Pillars Arcade (2 South Lexington Ave., in downtown Asheville) has reopened. Everyone’s invited to come play some of the newest, most exciting video games around.

The arcade is a nonprofit, student-run business. It’s part of the after-school program Project STEAM (Success Through Education And Motivation).

What’s more, the arcade is now associated with Namco, said to be the largest video-arcade franchise in the United States. That allows the 5 Pillars to offer an extensive selection of the latest in video games, according to a Project STEAM press release.

Among the arcade’s games are Alpine Racer 2 (a virtual downhill-skiing adventure), Cruisin’ World, Cyber Sled, Run and Gun 2, Revolution X, and many more.

To learn more, call 253-5600.

Learn childish lessons

Want to learn how to eat like a child, beg for a dog and laugh hysterically? Those and other valuable lessons are part of the fun in the Buncombe County Summer Youth Theatre’s upcoming production, “How to Eat Like a Child and Other Lessons in Not Being a Grown-Up.”

A corps of youthful actors (they range in age from 8 to 16) will present the play on Saturday, July 18 (8 p.m.) and Sunday, July 19 (2:30 p.m.) at North Buncombe High School.

Tickets ($4) are available in advance at the Buncombe County Recreation Services office (205 College St., in downtown Asheville), and at the door.

To find out more, call 250-4260.

Summer phun

In search of lively company and a chance to think great thoughts? Consider enrolling in a session of Philosophy, Phun and Phellowship, taught by Dr. David Guerin.

P-3 — which is based on another class that emphasizes the skill of thinking — is being offered through Haywood Community College’s Community Service program.

The course will start with a showing of the film Mindwalk, which teaches that, “Everything in the universe is totally interconnected and interdependent,” according to a press release.

Subsequent classes will involve searching for these interconnections — in nature, relationships and international relations — with the help of guest appearances by musicians and artists.

The class will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on July 23 and 30, and Aug. 6 and 13 on the campus in Clyde; students must preregister.

For more information, call 627-4667.

Insurance volunteer

In recognition of the more than 150 individual and weekly insurance-counseling sessions that he’s logged with area seniors over the past two years, Buncombe volunteer Les Mitchell was recently honored with a certificate of merit from the Health Care Financing Administration.

The HCFA is a federal agency that oversees the Medicare program and recognizes volunteers who are outstanding in their efforts to assist senior citizens with Medicare concerns.

Mitchell, a former insurance-company executive, is an active volunteer. His counseling sessions help seniors who are confused about their health-insurance options.

More movers, shakers

Robert E. Shepherd, executive director of the Land-of-Sky Regional Council, is the 1998 recipient of the Walter A. Scheiber Award, a national honor. Shepherd has directed Land of Sky — which serves Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties — for 25 years.

Jay Garner, president and CEO of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, was recently appointed second vice chair and member of the executive committee of the American Economic Development Council.

Local businessman Mike Summey was recently named president of the Carolinas Speakers Association. CSA is a chapter of the National Speakers Association, the trade organization for professional, fee-paid speakers.

Summey’s term will last one year. His goal is to inspire more member involvement at the local level.

And community volunteer Tina McGuire will serve as Arts Alliance interim executive director while the organization searches for a permanent director.

McGuire has been active in the Asheville Symphony, Pack Place Performing Arts and many other local cultural organizations.

To learn more about Land-of-Sky, call 251-6622. Call the Asheville Chamber at 258-6113. CSA can be reached at (919) 735-5234. To contact the Arts Alliance, call 258-0710.

Help plant edible park

Help create Asheville’s first edible park — and learn about the seven layers of a permaculture forest garden — on Saturday, July 18, between 11 am. and 4 p.m. at the park site.

The edible park is adjacent to the Shephens-Lee Community Center, just across the South Charlotte Street walking bridge.

Volunteers will help plant the park’s herbaceous and ground-cover layer; refreshments will be provided.

To learn more, call 236-2299.

Last call for Bele Chere volunteers

There’s still time to volunteer for Bele Chere, coming to downtown Asheville July 24 through 26.

Volunteers must be at least 16 and must attend one of three training sessions at A-B Tech.

Volunteers who work at the festival for three hours or more will receive a fanny pack, T-shirt and an invitation to the Bele Chere volunteer party in early August.

Call 259-5800 for more info.

Help clean up The Block

The Eagle/Market Streets Development Corporation is sponsoring its quarterly “Clean-up the Block” on July 11, beginning at 8 a.m.

Volunteers should meet in front of the YMI Cultural Center. Bring your own gloves. Bags will be supplied.

To learn more, call 281-1227.

ISO and better international marketing

Local small- and medium-sized companies interested in getting their products into more markets (both foreign and domestic) might want to enroll in the next ISO 9000 Technical Assistance Program course, which is being offered in August by N.C. State University ???**in Raleigh??**.

The program helps companies to register with the International Standards Organization, which is made up of representatives from businesses in countries all over the world, according to Kevin Grayson, an employee of the Industrial Extension Service (IES) at N.C. State University.

ISO 9000 registration signifies that a company meets certain international product and procedure requirements. Doing business in some foreign markets requires ISO registration.

IES, which is offering the course, designed it to be cost-effective for medium and small manufacturing companies.

According to the IES press release, a 1996 survey of 7,000 registered companies showed that medium-sized firms registered with ISO estimate their annual savings at between $50,000 and $75,000.

The IES program costs $9,000.

Recently, three western North Carolina companies successfully registered with ISO 9000 after completing the IES course. They are Perfection Gear in Asheville, with 100 employees; Madison Manufacturing in Hot Springs, with 80 employees; and Mayland Enterprises in Forest City, with eight employees.

To learn more, call Deborah Port of NCSU-IES at (828) 452-3794; or Kevin Grayson at (704) 480-9652.

Learn to work wood

There will be a woodworking seminar from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on July 10 and 11 at Cecils College on 1567 Patton Ave. in Asheville.

Demonstrations on how to use routers and other woodworking tools will be the main purpose of the seminar.

The instructor Kirtus Grayson, is a retired woodworker who “wants to do something more than wear out a rocking chair.”

This is Grayson’s first such seminar. Other woodworkers will join him in the demonstrations.

The cost each day is $10. Participants may come on one or both days. Advance registration is requested.

For more info, call Grayson at 258-3747.

— realistically compiled by Jill Ingram

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