Buzzworm news briefs

Shopping for a solution

Most animal shelters are easily identified by the disheartening din of caged dogs and cats. Not so Animal Haven, a 10-acre farm in east Asheville where abandoned, abused and homeless critters wait for new homes in a setting that’s more sanctuary than lockdown.

And it’s not just felines and canines that inhabit Animal Haven, which was founded in 1999. Along with founders Barbara Bellows and Trina Hudson, the country environment is also home to chickens, ducks, goats and pigs. “We had 71 potbellied pigs a couple years ago,” says Hudson. “We worked with [animal] sanctuaries all over the country and placed 69.”

Two dogs — siblings named Black and Blue — live in spacious fences beside the pig barn. While waiting to find permanent homes, Black and Blue completed obedience training as part of the “New Leash on Life” program with the Black Mountain Correctional Center for Women. “The dogs go to the facility for eight weeks and learn basic obedience,” Hudson explains. “Then the women involved with the program come out here three days a week and work on the farm.”

Black, Blue and the three other dogs up for adoption do not face the gloomy fate awaiting many animals at the pound. Here’s a sobering statistic: According to Asheville’s Humane Alliance Spay/Neuter Clinic, a homeless animal is put down every 6.5 seconds in a conventional shelter in the United States, because there’s not enough room for them all. And while pet overpopulation is a serious problem, places like Animal Haven offer a happier alternative for the animals they foster. The no-kill farm takes in a relatively small number of critters at a time, but each one is eventually adopted by an approved family, and all of them — even the pigs and goats — are available as pets only. No one is made into bacon.

So how does such a place support itself? In part through the efforts of volunteers, service projects by local colleges and civic groups, and donations. Animal Haven also runs a full-fledged thrift shop whose proceeds go directly to the farm.

The shop recently moved from its Long Shoals Road location to the Animal Haven property (65 Lower Grassy Branch; call the number below for directions). “We thought it would be great for people who are donating to be able to see the animals,” says Hudson. “They get a visual on exactly who they’re helping and what we need.” The four-room shop carries clothing, kitchen utensils, furnishings, toys, books, jewelry and some pet supplies. Friday is senior citizens’ discount day, Tuesday shoppers can fill a bag with clothes for $5 day.

“Everything in the thrift shop is donated by the public. It’s run by volunteers, so we have no overhead,” notes Hudson. So every penny of that $3 pair of jeans goes toward food and veterinary care for a kitten, duck or potbellied pig — all available for visiting during your shopping trip.

For more information, call Animal Haven at 299-1635 or visit the Web site (www.animalhaven.org).

— Alli Marshall

Upgrading the old school

Perhaps the last place one would expect to find renowned square dance and contra caller Fred Park would be in the middle of a multimedia arts experiment. And yet, Park and a host of old-time musicians will soon join up with local multimedia and electronica artists to create a fusion of Appalachian sounds both new and old. They call it the Hi-Tech Hoedown.

Presented by the Media Arts Project and the Asheville Affiliates, the Hoedown is more than just a musical and cultural curiosity. Money raised at the event will establish a new fund to support film, video and media-arts projects in Western North Carolina. With local business supporters AdvantageWest providing up to $10,000 in matching funds, the MAP stands to create quite a nest egg.

But the Hoedown is about more than money. It’s also about creating something unique.

“The exciting thing is that Fred Parks found us,” says MAP board member Greg Lucas. “He believes that for Appalachian culture and music to continue to thrive, we’ll need to figure out ways to update it with technology and contemporary music styles. We at the MAP think that it is important to encourage innovative programming like this.”

The Hi-Tech Hoedown takes place at the Orange Peel on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $25, and the ticket price includes food and drink.

For more information, visit www.themap.org or call 280-1339.

— Steve Shanafelt

Waging Peace

The U.S. government has a Department of Defense, a Department of State and a Department of Homeland Security — so why not a Department of Peace?

Perhaps surprisingly, the idea has found some backers in Congress. Recently, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and 60 congressional co-sponsors reintroduced legislation calling for the creation of a cabinet-level Department of Peace and Nonviolence, and Sen. Mark Dayton introduced corresponding legislation in the Senate. Their proposals call for a Department of Peace’s budget to be 2 percent of the annual military budget.

The movement to support establishing such an unconventional department is also ramping up at the grassroots level. Locally, Ellie Richard is serving as the Department of Peace coordinator for North Carolina.

“People all over the country and world are waking up, recognizing that we need to find more effective ways to communicate, resolve conflicts and work towards alleviating the causes of violence,” says Richard. She adds that one of the goals of the department would be to provide assistance to cities, counties and state governments by coordinating existing programs that are currently working to reduce domestic violence, spousal and child abuse, and violence in schools.

To spread the word and increase the momentum behind the effort, Richard will hold a Department of Peace planning workshop from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Asheville Jewish Community Center. The registration fee is $20, and the workshop is open to anyone interested in advancing the cause of peace and nonviolence.

For more information, visit www.thepeacealliance.org or contact Richard at 776-5514.

— Brian Sarzynski

The Legend of Sleepy Pritchard

Local businesses are gearing up for a jack-o’-lantern carve-off to benefit Pritchard Park. More than 50 downtown-business owners will submit grinning entries for Pumpkins in the Park, a fund-raiser sponsored by Glazer Architecture, Loretta’s, Mayfel’s and Quality Forward. The pumpkins will be on display in Pritchard Park on Friday, Oct. 28, from 5-8 p.m., and the public will be encouraged to vote for their favorite with dollars as well as ballots.

According to organizer Loretta Woolley, “Quality Forward will match the funds raised and use the money to maintain and improve the park. We hope it will eventually go beyond Pritchard to be a downtown, citywide fund-raiser for all the parks.” All downtown businesses are encouraged to enter.

For more information, call 252-8840.

— Cecil Bothwell

Campaign Calendar

Oct. 26 candidate concert: Asheville City Council candidate Robin Cape and friends will celebrate her campaign with a “Cowgirl for Council Concert” at the Westville Pub in West Asheville. Robin and The Buckerettes will be joined by other musicians from 9:30 p.m. until everyone goes home. The concert will be preceded by a “Volunteer Roundup” from 7 to 9 p.m. at the West End Bakery on Haywood Road.

Oct. 27 Black Mountain forum: Candidates for alderman and mayor in the town of Black Mountain will appear in a forum co-sponsored by the Black Mountain News and the League of Women Voters at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, 7 to 9 p.m.

Nov. 2 political pub party: The Bryan Freeborn campaign will host an evening of local music and political discourse at the Westville Pub in West Asheville, starting at 9 p.m. The public is welcome.

General election deadlines: The last day to register in order to vote in the Nov. 8 general election has passed. Voters with current registration have the following options for voting:

Vote by mail. Nov. 1 is the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail, and absentee ballots must be returned by Monday, Nov. 7.

One-stop absentee voting (“early” voting). Begins Thursday, Oct. 20, and will take place only at the Board of Elections office (189 College St.). Open weekedays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., plus the last Saturday before the election, Nov. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

General election. Tuesday, Nov. 8, polls will be open in all county precincts from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For additional information, contact the Buncombe County Board of Elections at 250-4200 or visit www.buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Election.

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