Seeking a vision for West End/Clingman

A charrette is a bit like an election: If you don’t put in your own 2 cents’ worth, you shouldn’t gripe about the outcome. So jump on the cart for the Nov. 10-16 Community Design Workshop and help shape the future of the West End/Clingman Avenue neighborhood (WECAN).”Building a vibrant neighborhood from the inside out is the overarching dream of WECAN,” say members of the local neighborhood association.

The historic neighborhood, linking downtown Asheville with the River District, has the potential to become a model walkable community featuring neighborhood businesses, parks and a diverse range of housing types, according to workshop organizers. The nationally recognized town-planning firm of Correa Valle Valle (CVV) will lead the charrette, which is co-sponsored by WECAN, the city of Asheville and Mountain Housing Opportunities, plus neighborhood businesses and property owners.

The workshop begins Friday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., with an introduction by CVV; it continues Saturday and Sunday with “visioning” input sessions; and a public reception and input session is slated for Monday, Nov. 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. A final presentation is planned for Thursday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. All sessions take place at the Haywood Street United Methodist Church, at the corner of Clingman Avenue, Haywood Street and Patton Avenue.

For information about the workshop, call Tamara Calabria, WECAN community design coordinator, at MHO, 254-4030, ext. 22, or send e-mail to For information about CVV, check out the Web site

Hit the ice!

Wiggle your toes, flex your ankles and lace up those skates: The skating rink at the Asheville Civic Center is open for public use on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the holiday season.

“The ice is in terrific condition,” says Civic Center Director David Pisha. “We look forward to an exciting skating season.”

Last year, the rink drew at least 20,000 skating enthusiasts of all ages. And no wonder: It costs a mere $5 for a 90-minute session (and that includes a pair of skates). The rink also offers birthday skating parties, and the Asheville Smoke Hockey Team will lead group lessons on selected Sundays before the noon open sessions. There will also be a free skating clinic on Thursday, Dec. 21, 8-10:45 a.m.

New this year will be noon skating on Fridays.

Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before each session; they fill up fast, so plan to arrive early. Sessions are held at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. most Sundays; 8 p.m. sessions will also be offered on select days in November and December. Concessions are open during public skating, and observers are welcome, free of charge.

For skating schedules, party info, group sales or more information, check the city of Asheville Web site ( or call 259-5544.

What’s cooking at the Health Adventure

This deal’s better than making mud pies: Kids can actually eat the fruits of their labors at the Health Adventure’s Nov. 10-11 Cooking Capers.

Friday’s 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. programs will give kids ages 3-13 (and their caregivers) some hands-on cooking experience. Activities include pouring, mixing, measuring and spreading — and, of course, eating the treats. On Saturday, Cooking Caper activities will be expanded to include older siblings in the creation of healthy, age-appropriate snacks.

The cost per child is $5 for Health Adventure members, $7 for nonmembers. Caregivers will be admitted free. To register or get more information, call 254-6373, ext. 300.

Speaking of food and The Health Adventure, if you can force yourself to enjoy six courses and four wines — all in the spirit of raising money for the museum — go for it.

Mark and Kim Rosenstein and the staff of the Market Place Restaurant will host the eighth annual Cork and Flame dinner on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. The benefit’s theme is “An Exploration of ‘Healthy’ Italian,” and it features an appetizer of crostini with fava-bean puree, cured olives and sun-dried-tomato panini. Next comes a roasted-pumpkin soup with garlic flan and fried sage leaves (is your mouth watering yet?). Polenta concia will follow, trailed by a baked sea bass with green sauce. Ah, and did we mention squab and duckling in what organizers enticingly call “a variety of guises”? Hang on to your belt buckles for the finish: a dessert of apple bread pudding with cider-caramel sauce. Tickets go for $75 per person.

For more information about these and other programs, call the Health Adventure at 254-6373, ext. 300.

Art, crafts and poinsettias

On Saturday, Nov. 11, get an eyeful of paintings, sculpture, pottery, basketry and poinsettias in full bloom. It’s Van Wingerden International’s annual open house, running 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Along with acres of poinsettias, the Art League of Henderson County and Muses Gallery at the Singleton Center will have art on display, and members of the Blue Ridge Horticulture Association will offer displays in the Van Wingerden greenhouse — one of the nation’s largest operating greenhouses, by the way. Van Wingerden employees will be available to answer questions about the plants and the advanced, environmentally friendly technology used to grow them.

Van Wingerden is on Highway 191 (Haywood Road and Jefress Road) in the Mills River community of Henderson County. For more information, call 891-4116.

Kudos to Southern Highland Craft Guild

Each year, Western Carolina University honors outstanding contributions to the preservation of Southern Appalachian history and culture. This year, the Southern Highland Craft Guild is the lucky winner of the WCU Mountain Heritage Award. Guild Executive Director Ruth T. Summers accepted the award from WCU Vice Chancellor Richard J. Collings on Sept. 30.

For 70 years, the Southern Highland Craft Guild has served both crafters and the general public with its exhibits, demonstrations, educational-outreach programs and semiannual craft fairs. Today, the Guild boasts more than 750 members and represents crafters from the mountain counties of nine states. Past recipients of the WCU Mountain Heritage Award include the Penland School of Crafts and the Cradle of Forestry.

To learn more about the Southern Highland Craft Guild, contact Katherine Caldwell at 298-7928.

Shoe boxes of cheer

A simple way to spread some cheer around the world during the holidays can start with an ordinary shoebox.

In Operation Christmas Child, volunteers fill the shoeboxes with gifts, which are delivered to needy children around the world. The project is spearheaded by Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization based in Boone and headed by Franklin Graham.

Last year, Operation Christmas Child delivered more than 3 million shoebox gifts to kids in more than 65 countries. The project targets children living in impoverished conditions in areas ravaged by war (such as Kosovo, East Timor and the Balkans) and in hurricane-devastated Honduras.

If you’d like to participate, contact the collection center nearest you for tips on preparing a shoebox, getting your church involved or for information about other ways to volunteer.

Collection week is Nov. 13-19. Local collection centers/contacts include: south Asheville, Biltmore Baptist Church (Richard or Ashley Lee, 687-1111); central Asheville, Central United Methodist Church (Christy Harley, 253-3316); north Buncombe, Weaverville United Methodist Church (Dana Humphrey, 626-4251); West Asheville, Leicester Carpet Sales (Mark or Lynne Dorsey, 254-8937); Black Mountain, Blue Ridge Broadcasting (Tom Atema, 669-8477); and Montreat, Montreat Presbyterian Church (669-7577, or Andy Andrews at 669-8028).

— compiled by Margaret Williams and Marsha Barber

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