Growing pains

Asheville and Buncombe County aren’t the only communities in Western North Carolina that are grappling with the challenges of growth. Sustainable Henderson, a volunteer committee whose focus is helping Henderson County grow without compromising its future, will sponsor a community forum on growth and development on Wednesday, Nov. 3, in the auditorium of the Henderson County Public Library.

The forum will present “a variety of viewpoints regarding Henderson County’s growth and development, and hopefully reach some common ground,” said spokesperson Sandy McGlashan in a recent media release. “The panel members were selected to include representatives from the environmental, economic and social sectors of the community.”

A short presentation outlining the results of the group’s recent survey will be followed by a panel discussion, featuring Hendersonville Mayor Fred Niehoff, Henderson County Commissioner Renee Kumor, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Minister Jim McKinley, Flat Rock Planning Board Member and ECO President Rick Merrill, property-rights advocate Candler Willis, and a representative from the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce.

This is the first in a series of forums and panel discussions planned by Sustainable Henderson. Future topics will include Environmental Stewardship, Farmland Preservation and Agribusiness, and an Elected Officials “Report Card.”

For more information, call Sandy McGlashan at 698-8453.

Where there’s a will …

Some problems seems as stubbornly resistant to solution as the quirks of human nature themselves … and, not surprisingly, the two are often linked. One such dilemma is how to keep cigarette butts from polluting every sidewalk, street and green space in the city. Even though the Public Works Department recently installed cigarette-butt receptacles on downtown trash bins, the problem has been getting worse. “People who would never throw trash on the sidewalk don’t think twice about throwing their cigarettes on the sidewalk,” says city Waste Management Coordinator Karen Rankin, adding, “They don’t consider their butts to be litter.”

Got a helpful idea or suggestion, or want more info? Get off your butt and call Karen Rankin at 259-5936.

Leave it to the city

Cigarette butts may have the city stumped, but at least there’s a definite plan for dealing with the sudden proliferation of leaves that, for some strange reason, seems to happen around this time of year. Asheville’s Sanitation Division is giving city residents several leaf-disposal options:

First, the city is encouraging residents to compost their leaves. Composting is simple, and it also helps your garden grow when the results are spread on it, several months later. To speed up the process, they recommend shredding the leaves with a mulching mower.

Second, bagged leaves will be collected twice a month, according to the regular yard-waste collection schedule. (If your trash day is Monday or Tuesday, for instance, leaves will be collected the weeks of Nov. 1, Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 20; if your trash day is Wednesday or Thursday, your leaves will be collected Nov. 8, Nov. 22, Dec. 13 and Dec. 27.) Bagged leaves must be put at the curb on Monday of the scheduled collection week; leaves will be removed by Friday. Leaf bags, they say, must not be tied or sealed, and containers should be left open; leaves must not be mixed with trash or other yard waste.

Loose leaves may be dropped off at the city’s leaf-composting site at the corner of Catawba Street and Broadway. Dump your leaves in the designated area (no brush or trash permitted), and be sure to take away your bags. Crazy about compost? It’s available, free of charge, at the Catawba site (city staff will even load large amounts, for a fee). The city will also deliver loads of fresh leaves to homes and businesses, on request.

For details, call Richard Grant at 259-5858.

A small, good thing

How do you put a price on good health? Or, for that matter, on the value of giving back to your community and helping those in need? The Western North Carolina Aids Project’s Annual Aids Auction fits both those criteria. Not only will there be great deals on the goods and services for sale — all of them donated by community members — the event will be a good time, in and of itself. Mayor Leni Sitnick will again be in attendance as one of the group’s honorary co-chairs; she’ll be joined by WNCAP client and supporter Jim Lahr, and Alan Schubert of the Alan E. Schubert Foundation, two local leaders in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The auction is planned for Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Stephens-Lee Center on Carver Street. A silent auction and social hour with live music will start the evening at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner at 7 p.m. and a live auction at 8 p.m. Admission plus dinner costs $25 per person; admission, dinner and table seating is $75 per person. A limited number of preferred-table seats are also available, for $125 per person.

If you’d rather contribute to the evening by volunteering, WNCAP also needs help with event setup and cleanup, soliciting items and services for auction, selling advertising in the program, and more. And remember, just because you’re volunteering doesn’t mean your work’s not priceless.

To help, to get an invitation, or to donate an item or service for auction, call 252-7489.

Local boy done good, part 1

Despite Asheville’s reputation as a center for artistic activity, it’s not often that local artists get to take their work to Europe. That’s exactly what local painter David Dawson did recently, though, when his show opened in Hamburg, Germany. Titled “They All Look the Same,” the one-man exhibit is on display at the Ruthe Sachse Contemporary Art Gallery. The 28 new paintings continue the artist’s exploration of racial stereotypes that began with his 1998 show at Zone one contemporary, here in Asheville.

“Dawson’s dedication and intelligence make his work a natural for exhibition in Germany,” says Zone one Director Connie Bostic. “His concern with racial issues in this body of work is timely, in light of recent events in Austria.”

And though hatred, it seems, knows no cultural boundaries, the same can happily be said about the healing powers of art.

For more information, call Connie Bostic or Judy Swan at 258-3088.

Local boy done good, part 2

Another Ashevillean has also been in the spotlight lately: Jason Summey received the President’s Service Award on Oct. 15, along with other honorees, in a special ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Summey, it seems, has been pretty busy for the last several years, operating the “Be Cool … Stay in School” program, which he started as student-body president at Erwin Middle School, in 1996. In a speech given that year, he challenged all the members of his class to stay in school and graduate, with 0 percent dropouts. So far, the program is working: Three years later, the class has the highest percentage of students of any class in Erwin Middle’s history to make it to their junior year of high school.

Once mocked by upperclassmen, Summey’s program has expanded to include students from all classes in the school; his idea for a dropout patrol to identify and counsel students at risk has now been joined by more than 400 students and teachers, according to a Points of Light Foundation press release. Summey, now 16, spends 10 to 20 hours a week answering correspondence, speaking at other schools and organizations, and getting support from businesses and parents. In the evenings, he counsels troubled students on the phone, and has even directly saved the life of a student trying to commit suicide. If that weren’t enough, he’s also a starting player on the varsity football team and plays tenor sax in the school band.

To learn more about the Points of Light Foundation, or the President’s Service Award, call Toyja Somerville at (202) 729-3217, or e-mail

— croakingly compiled by Paul Schattel

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