The future is now

In this age of partisan politics, human rights is perhaps the last issue that cannot be vivisected into assorted special interests. To address this unremittingly important issue, the Western North Carolina Chapter of the United Nations Association of the U.S.A. is presenting its U.N. Day (53rd anniversary) Dinner and Annual Meeting on Friday, Oct. 23 at the Central United Methodist Church in Asheville.

Kerry E. McGrath, assistant director of Amnesty International’s Atlanta office, will speak on “Human Rights for the Next Millennium,” focusing on the rights of women and the role of the United Nations. McGrath holds a law degree from New York University, has worked for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and has been active in defending the rights of refugees and migrants.

The annual meeting will begin at 5 p.m.; social hour starts at 6, with dinner at 6:30. Co-sponsors include Highland Farms, the Baha’i Communities of Asheville and Buncombe, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

The WNC-UNA will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on Thursday, Dec. 10 in UNCA’s Humanities Lecture Hall. That program will include excerpts from winning essays by UNCA students on “The Future of Human Rights and Responsibilities,” with commentaries by a panel of UNCA faculty members. Tickets for the UN Day dinner and meeting cost $16 for adults, $10 for students. Group members are encouraged to sponsor students.

For more information about either program, call 687-7286; 253-5383 or 687-0262.

An edible park?

Don’t ever let anyone tell you Asheville is no fun: On Saturday, Oct. 24, The Bountiful City Project, the city’s — and the country’s — first edible public park, is set to open. From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., City Seeds will present the Bountiful City Project Open House and Fall Festival, where you can tour the park, learn about forest gardening and urban permaculture, and enjoy organic food, storytelling, pumpkin decorating, raffles and more.

The project is modeled after a permaculture forest garden, which mimics the design of a natural forest ecosystem, incorporating the seven layers of a forest ecosystem: canopy, dwarf tree, shrub, vine, herbaceous, ground cover and root layers. Everything in the park is edible; by facilitating the first phases of natural forest succession, City Seeds is able to create a system that is self-sustaining and highly productive. The project is seeking to address a number of important issues, including urban food security, city air quality, and long-term preservation and maintenance of urban public space.

The program begins at 2 p.m., with City Seeds Director Jonathan Brown giving guided tours. At 2:30, Charlie Headington of Greensboro Beautiful will lead a workshop on urban permaculture. At 4 p.m., Chuck Marsh of Earthhaven will present a workshop on “Capturing Water in the City.” Children’s events will be ongoing. The park is adjacent to the historic Stephens-Lee Community Center, just behind City Hall and across the South Charlotte Street pedestrian bridge.

For more information, call Samantha Lefko at 236-2299.

“Circumnavigation” in Atlanta

(and we’re not talking I-285)

The art of Virginia Derryberry, an assistant professor of art at UNCA, will be on display in Atlanta, from Oct. 21 through Jan. 14. Titled “Circumnavigation,” Derryberry’s exhibit uses geometry, intense hyper-realistic color and images, suggesting “the edges of a dream to evoke a visually universal language,” according to a UNCA news release. Buildings, boats, landscapes, human figures and water create a foreboding world of shadows, depicting themes of human survival in uncontrollable environments.

Derryberry has had many solo exhibitions in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia; among her many awards was a commission by Atlanta’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs for 16 site-specific paintings at Concourse E, Hartsfield International Airport. The exhibit, at Nationsbank West Lobby (600 Peachtree St.), is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.

For more information, call Virginia Derryberry (251-6875), or UNCA Public Information Director Merianne Epstein (251-6676).

The changing face of health care

The health-care industry often seems an overly complicated, Byzantine affair, plagued with misinformation, changing laws and companies disingenuously competing for your dollars. But a recent flier from the American Cancer Society, titled “Are You Puzzled by Your Health Care Rights,” can help you keep up with recent changes in health-care laws.

Among them is a requirement that most health-insurance providers must now pay for mammograms and pap tests. And, as of Jan. 1, 1998, Medicare will help pay for yearly mammograms for women 40 and older who are covered by Medicare Part B (subject to copayments and, in some cases, a deductible).

Another change mandates that patients and their doctors, rather than insurers, can now decide how long women may stay in the hospital after a mastectomy. And if a health-insurance pays for mastectomies, it must also pay for reconstructive breast surgery (for surgery performed after Jan. 1, 1998). Finally, health-insurance companies and employers can no longer deny coverage to individuals based on their genetic information.

For more information, call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345.

If wishes were horses …

Anna Dalton remembers the first time she saw a cerebral-palsy-stricken child leave a wheelchair and ride on a strong horse: “To watch a physically challenged child see the world from the back of a horse is worth its weight in gold,” she said in a recent interview.

That was before she moved to the Tryon area and joined the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center. Seeing that FENCE didn’t have a similar program, she began thinking about launching one. “[I’ve] enjoyed FENCE’s riding trails ever since moving here,” she explained, “and it occurred to me that the facilities already in place at FENCE would make a great resource for this sort of program.”

Therapeutic riding can be of great benefit to children and adults afflicted with physical disorders such as cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. Up to four volunteer walkers surround the horse as it is gently led around the ring. Riding boosts participants’ self-esteem and gently stimulates the muscles and nerves, as well as providing a sense of caring and responsibility for the animal.

“I think this is one way we horse people can use our skills to serve the community,” says Dalton. “Once you see these kids’ faces light up, you never forget it.”

For more information (or if you have knowledge or skills to help set up the program), contact Anna Dalton at 894-8585.

— caddishly compiled by Paul Schattel

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