AIDS Memorial Quilt comes to Knoxville
For anyone who has ever lost a friend or relative to AIDS, the Memorial Quilt may be one of the most painful yet meaningful works of community art in the modern era. This poignant work will be on display at the Knoxville Convention Center Sept. 4-6.
The quilt began in 1987 as a simple, spray-painted-cloth memorial, each three-by-six-foot panel created by loved ones to commemorate the life of someone who had died of AIDS. Fully assembled, the piece would now weigh 52 tons; laid end-to-end, the panels would stretch many miles. The Knoxville exhibit will feature an 1,800-panel portion primarily representing AIDS victims in the Southeast. During the display, volunteers will read the names of those represented by the panels. Though the full quilt now honors more than 71,000 people, that still represents only 21 percent of U.S. AIDS deaths.
Many well-known individuals will be represented in the Knoxville exhibit, including Arthur Ashe, Michel Foucault, Liberace, Freddie Mercury, Anthony Perkins and Ryan White.
For details, call Teresa Nolen Pratt at (423) 541-3959.
Big Choga old growth saved
A formal settlement involving the Western North Carolina Alliance, the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project and the U.S. Forest Service has resolved a dispute over the proposed Big Choga timber sale in the Nantahala National Forest. The Forest Service agreed to exclude about 65 acres of old-growth forest from the planned 200-acre sale, while the two conservation groups dropped an appeal designed to halt the logging altogether.
The two groups appealed the Big Choga sale after they discovered that the area hosts an extensive tract of previously undocumented old-growth forest. According to Rob Messick of the WNC Alliance, the area boasts several important characteristics: The upper parts of the steep watershed appear to be completely uncut, while several individual trees — a white ash, a red oak and a black cherry — are larger than any others known in the Nantahala Forest, dwarfing even the famous old-growth specimens along the Joyce Kilmer Trail.
Alliance and Biodiversity Project spokespersons believe the settlement marks the first time the Forest Service has agreed to alter a timber sale on the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests in response to public concerns about the loss of existing old-growth forest.
For some forest activists, however, the victory remains bittersweet. WNC Alliance Coordinator Brownie Newman said, “This was a difficult decision, because some forests will be lost that we would rather not see logged. However, the most important old-growth areas are being protected.”
To learn more, contact Brownie Newman at the WNC Alliance (258-8737) or Andrew George at the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project (258-2667).
New boss at Craggy Prison
William D. “Corky” Anderson was recently named superintendent of Craggy Correctional Center, a 400-inmate, medium-security prison in Asheville. The Cherokee County native graduated from Andrews High School in 1965 and attended Western Carolina University before starting his career as a correctional officer at Craggy, back in 1969. He became assistant superintendent at Haywood Correctional Center in 1975, and superintendent of Henderson Correctional Center in 1987.
When asked if he felt any trepidation about moving from a minimum-security to a medium-security prison, Anderson said, “Honestly, I don’t: We’re all in the same business. We’ve got an excellent staff, so I don’t have any plans to change things around. We’re going to continue the same course.”
Sounding positively cheerful, Anderson said he’s proud that Craggy has been relatively free from the kind of controversy that often surrounds medium- and maximum-security facilities. “I like it that way,” he said, adding, “This seems like a wonderful place to end a career.”
For more information, call Patty McQuillan, director of public affairs at the N.C. Department of Correction, at (919) 733-4926.
New alternative school opens
The Sudbury Mountain Community School, a new alternative school modeled on Massachusetts’ famed Sudbury Valley School, will open Wednesday, Sept. 9, serving full and part-time students ages 7-15.
The Sudbury School will be a democratic institution where students have a voice in day-to-day operations, including school rules and the hiring of teachers and staff. Because they are encouraged to take an active responsibility for their own education, Sudbury students will be free to choose their classes, or even create their own. Students are not graded, tested or separated by grade levels; the school is meant to be a place where kids can express their natural curiosity within a diverse learning community.
Public meetings are scheduled for two Thursdays — Aug. 6 and Aug. 20 — at the Asheville Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood Drive.
For more information, contact Debbie or Tom Athos at 254-8053.
October deadline for veterans benefits
Rep. Charles Taylor‘s office reminds all eligible veterans that they must register with the Veterans Affairs medical facility of their choice before Oct. 1, 1998, to continue receiving health-care benefits. Among other things, the number of veterans enrolled will affect the level of funding and service allocated to certain V.A. hospitals.
John Peterson of Rep. Taylor’s office will be available to explain the policy on the following dates: Sept. 8 and 9 at the Yancey County Courthouse in Burnsville; Sept. 14 and 15 at the VFW Post 5202 in Waynesville; Sept. 21 and 22 at the N.C. Employment Security Commission in Marion; and Sept. 23 and 24 at the County Administration Building in Rutherfordton.
Not all veterans are required to register, however. Exempted are: those rated by the VA as having a service-connected disability of 50 percent or more; those not yet rated by the VA who were discharged from the military less than one year ago for a disability that the military determined was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; and those seeking VA care for a service-connected disability only.
But Taylor’s office recommends enrolling anyway, in order to better plan for your health-care needs.
To find out more, contact John Peterson at 241-1988.
— cacographically compiled by Paul Schattel