Just say no to guns

If you believe guns do, in fact, kill people, you’re invited to share in a celebration designed to help keep our city’s young people healthy and our community a safe place to live.

Asheville Cares, an initiative begun by Debbie Morrow and the Rev. Sandy Matzko, will hold a rally and a march at Pack Square on Sunday, Sept. 20, starting at 1:30 p.m. Mayor Leni Sitnick will be on hand, along with groups of concerned parents, kids, teachers, representatives from helping agencies and the local police.

Morrow and Matzko launched the initiative to raise awareness about the hazards of mishandled guns. A partial list of Asheville Cares supporters includes the Asheville Tourists, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Project STEAM, The Vietnam Veterans of America and The Health Adventure.

For more information, contact the Asheville Cares Committee, at 255-8600, or call Sandy Matzko at 252-5335.

Southern gothic

This writer’s love of the American South intensified the day I realized that, much like cloud-gazing, you could see animals and people and other shapes in the region’s kudzu-covered trees and fields. Though the pesky plant was imported from the Far East, kudzu has, for better or worse, become a hallmark of the Southern landscape. When asked what to do about the plant, the Kudzu Queen herself — Edith Edwards of Rutherfordton, N.C. — deadpans, “Get it before it gets you.”

With that in mind, Chimney Rock Park is hosting Krazy with Kudzu, the third annual salute to that distinctive but pervasive vine. Edith and her daughter Caroline, the Kudzu Kid, will be back, along with various other experts offering demonstrations, exhibits, walks and talks spotlighting this fast-growing plant. While Edith french-fries kudzu leaves and extols the versatile plant’s virtues, Caroline will talk about how to use kudzu bales to construct buildings. And park Naturalist Clint Calhoun will discuss Chimney Rock’s attempts to keep kudzu from taking over everything in sight.

Held on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19-20, the event will feature the Blue Kudzu Band, Native American kudzu basket-weaving, a kudzu-jelly tasting, and more.

To find out more, call Mary J. Ritter at 628-3393.

Singing for safety

The difficulties faced by battered women and children can be overwhelming. To help out, Yep Roc Records of Chapel Hill has put together a 16-song CD showcasing North Carolina’s best bands, in support of Chatham County’s The Garden Place, a community-based nonprofit serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The CD, called The Garden Place: Songs by Our Friends, features original and previously released material from such luminaries as the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Whiskeytown, Two Dollar Pistols, Darren Jesse of Ben Folds Five, Trailer Bride and others. Proceeds from the sale of the CD will help fund the agency’s programs and support services, including its emergency-housing facility. All songs, mastering, artwork, contracts and even the licensing of the CD were donated.

The Garden Place has served thousands of women and their children, accepting them on an emergency basis and housing them for up to three months. The agency provides counseling and support services to both victims and their batterers, using a multifaceted approach that emphasizes nonviolent family values, individual and group counseling, parenting training and housing assistance. The Garden Place: Songs by Our Friends will be released on Sept. 22.

For details, call (919) 929-7648, ext. 201, or check your local independent record store.

Another one bites the dust

Another local historic treasure will soon be no more. The historic William Gaston Candler House — built around 1856 by the man for whom the Candler community was named — is due to be demolished, according to a recent newsletter from the Asheville-based Preservation Society. The home, located on the Pisgah Highway (state Route 151), was dramatically enlarged at the turn of the century by Dr. J.T. Rich, a locally prominent physician. Now, the Greek Revival, I-style house will be sold and torn down to make way for a new mobile-home park.

When notified of the imminent sale, the Society immediately tried to negotiate to buy the property through its revolving fund, but was unable to agree on a reasonable price. Though the house’s owner was open to selling it to the Society, the property’s market value as a historic home did not approach its value as commercial property. The Society even explored (unsuccessfully) the possibility of acquiring other acreage suitable for the owner’s development plans, which could have been traded for the Candler House.

Ironically, the N.C. Department of Transportation is currently realigning Route 151, diverting major traffic from the old road running through the community to a new bypass; because a county historic-resources survey had identified a number of structures in the area, the DOT was required to consider approaches which would minimize damage to the community’s historic qualities. The decrease in traffic is likely to improve the Candler property’s market value, according to the Preservation Society.

For more information, call 254-2343.


To enable artists to explore the myriad opportunities created by the World Wide Web, the Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) is helping local artists set up and maintain their own Web sites.

Called Open Studio: The Arts Online, and funded through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Benton Foundation, the project is open to painters, sculptors, photographers, writers, dancers, musicians, actors and even nonprofit arts administrators. All are encouraged to apply to receive 20 hours of hands-on training in Internet navigation, Web-site creation, and e-mail. Participants should have a basic knowledge of computers and word processing; Internet or e-mail experience is not required, but participants must agree to maintain their Web site throughout the year-long project.

Open Studio is a joint project of MAIN — a nonprofit community network serving 12 North Carolina counties — and Charlotte’s Web, the community network for greater Charlotte. The application deadline is Friday, Sept. 18; classes begin the first week of October.

To learn more, call the MAIN home office at 255-0182, or visit the MAIN homepage at

Second in size, not beauty

The Swannannoa, Buncombe County’s second-largest river, will get a much-needed fall cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 19 — and you’re invited.

Though lower-profile than the French Broad, the Swannannoa remains a great asset to our community. But because it’s in danger of being drowned in litter, Quality Forward — in conjunction with the N.C. Big Sweep (a statewide effort to make North Carolina’s waterways litter-free) — will host the Swannannoa River Cleanup. They need your help.

For details, call 254-1776, or (800) 27-SWEEP.

— credulously compiled by Paul Schattel

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