Planting the seed of fatherhood

“In most cultures, educational resources for mothers are everywhere, but when I began my search for resources on how to be a good father, mostly what I discovered were Web sites and books related to reclaiming custody of children,” says Accem Scott, founder of Growing the Father, a new Asheville-based support group devoted to promoting healthier father/child relationships.

Scott hosts weekly meetings open to both expectant and experienced parents who want to explore new dimensions in family interactions. “I’d like to get older people involved as well, to share what we’ve learned about successful parenting,” remarks Scott, noting that prior to the birth of his now 4-week-old daughter, his own preparations included talking with and observing friends with grown children.

The weekly gatherings will consider how to care for a child’s emotional and spiritual needs as well as the physical ones. Growing the Father will offer insights into the healing arts, herbalism and balanced-energy techniques geared specifically toward children — subjects Scott, an acupuncturist and martial-arts teacher by trade, has studied and practiced for more than a dozen years. Information will be made available on more than 100 books, Web sites and other useful resources for people wanting to optimize their child-rearing skills.

“I know there are many men like myself who want to be the best fathers they can be, who want to know where to look for guidance. That’s what gave me the inspiration to start this group,” Scott explains, adding: “My father taught me how to be a financial provider, but I had to learn for myself how to be an emotional provider. My goal is to encourage others to raise their young ones so that they can flourish.”

Meetings are held Mondays from 7 to 8 p.m. at Namaste (57 Broadway in Asheville). For more information, contact Scott at (828) 215-4282.

Make a difference

“I deliver meals to a residence with an elderly gentleman who always wants to do something for me … as a gesture for delivering the meals. One day, he followed me out to the truck and, as we were walking … he reached for his billfold and took out a one-dollar bill. He handed it toward me and said: ‘Here, you take this. I have two of them.’ All he had were the two one-dollar bills, and he was going to give me one of them.” — Meals on Wheels volunteer Ty Erickson

“I asked one of my recipients to attend the 25th MOW anniversary party held at the Biltmore Estate restaurant. When we arrived, I told her I would get a wheelchair. She replied, ‘You had better not, because they will think some old lady is with you.’ This lady was only 97; what a wonderful and loving lady she was.” — MOW volunteer Evelyn Goodman

“I’ll call him ‘Mr. Designer.’ When I delivered his food the first time, he seemed withdrawn and lonely. Then one day I commented on his lovely tablecloth, and the story began. … He made that [tablecloth], designed clothes and had been famous in New York City. He told me he knew all of the famous perfumes and said he would pick out one based on my personality. I had never heard of any of them! He began meeting me at the door each Wednesday, calling me ‘Inlias Princess.’ … He has since left MOW. I think of him, hoping I made a positive difference in his life by showing an interest in his work. … I have a robe he made for me; I call it ‘Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors.'” — MOW volunteer Dottie Burton

Since 1971, Meals on Wheels has been providing nutritionally balanced, hot lunches every weekday to homebound Buncombe County residents who are unable to cook for themselves. MOW now delivers an average of 500 hot meals a day, 251 days a year, plus frozen meals for eight holidays and up to five snow days.

Besides donating their time and the use of their vehicles, the 300 volunteers also provide regular social contact for people with limited opportunities for getting out.

Over the next two decades, the number of people 65 and older is projected to increase by 63 percent. Home health-care services in Buncombe County have already been expanding rapidly — as much as 300 percent in six years for some agencies. Due to funding constraints, however, Meals on Wheels has been unable to keep up, forcing some county residents into nursing homes prematurely — and at greater cost to taxpayers.

To help meet the growing need, MOW has launched its second annual Pennies with a Purpose campaign. Co-chairs Carrie Hunter and Chuck Finley of 99.9 KISS Country are asking community members to save their pennies (and larger coins) and bring them to the Asheville Mall during November and December. A penny bin located near the mall’s food court is the drop-off point for donations: Every 400 pennies supplies one hot, nutritional meal for someone in need. Last year’s campaign collected more than $8,000 worth of coins.

Another MOW fund-raiser is the Adopt-A-Route program. For a $16,000 donation, a business, organization or individual can become a “Route Sponsor,” supporting a route (in their own neighborhood or elsewhere) for one full year. For $1,000, an “Individual Sponsor” can ensure that one person in need receives meals for a full year. For $500, a “Partner Level Sponsor” can have their donation combined with another’s to supply one person’s meals for a full year. Organizations and businesses can also become “Adopt-A-Route Sponsors” by forming a volunteer pool to deliver meals on a particular route on a specified day or days of the month.

For more information, call Meals on Wheels at 253-5286.

Black Mountain resumes curbside recycling

When the state withheld scheduled reimbursements from Black Mountain this summer, says Assistant Town Manager Ron Nalley, “We had to look at programs that we could cut to make up the difference — and recycling was one of those programs that the board decided to scale back on.”

Beginning in July, town residents had to give up the convenience of curbside recycling and take their recycables to a drop-off center instead. As a result, Nalley explains, the volume of recycled wastes went from “roughly 50 [to] 55 tons a month about this time last year [to] about 30 tons a month with the drop-off.”

Fortunately, however, the state reimbursements finally came through, and the town was able to reinstate its curbside-recycling program two weeks ago. “We think that participation will jump back up,” predicts Nalley.

The new program features biweekly pickups instead of weekly ones. Calendars showing scheduled pickup dates have been sent to all residents. “If people either did not receive their calendar or they’ve misplaced it, they can call Town Hall,” says Nalley.

The town of Black Mountain recycles cardboard, aluminum, glass, steel, tin, No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, magazines, mixed paper and newspapers.

For more information, call 669-8732.

Speaker promotes racial unity

Acclaimed speaker and award-winning writer Claire Alicia Nelson comes to Warren Wilson College on Thursday, Nov. 21 to present a lecture titled “Whither the World: Exploring Paths to Resolving Racism and Xenophobia.” Nelson, a native Jamaican who founded the Institute of Caribbean Studies, has lectured worldwide on anti-feminism, poverty, racism and the path to cultural unity.

A former adviser to numerous groups, including the Salzburg Seminars and the U.N. World Conference, Nelson now works for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., in the areas of management and project development.

“This lecture would be beneficial to all colors, all backgrounds,” says Professor Paul Frelick. “One race can’t create racial unity alone; it has to be a cooperative effort.” People of all cultures and classes are encouraged to attend, not just minorities or those dealing firsthand with discrimination.

The free lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gladfelter Student Center’s Canon Lounge.

For more information, contact Paul Frelick at (828) 771-3057 (e-mail

Playing FAIR

Peter Hart — co-host of CounterSpin, the radio show produced by New York-based watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting — addressed more than 100 people at Jubilee! Community, Thursday, Nov.14. Hart’s talk, “The Myth of the Liberal Media,” was sponsored by the Mountain Area Information Network.

FAIR has analyzed print and multimedia news for 16 years. Hart reported that mainstream outlets are consistently right of center, pro-business, anti-labor and anti-environment. About 75 percent of talking heads are white, conservative/corporate males. Hart noted that assertions of liberal bias, reiterated at tedious length by the right, are demonstrably propaganda without statistical merit.

FAIR’s most recent coup followed the Oct. 26 peace demonstration in Washington,D.C. National Public Radio reported less than 10,000 marchers on the Mall, while The New York Times said “thousands” but asserted there were less than organizers had hoped for. Park officials placed the number of participants above 100,000. FAIR forced NPR to retract their story, and, while declining to admit error; the NYT ran subsequent coverage with corrected numbers.

Festival offers volunteer opportunities

Got a hot date for New Year’s Eve? How about a chance to hear a tasty assortment of live acts (including the John Cowan Band and the Tyler Ramsey Trio), enjoy ice skating to live music, attend artists’ workshops in the Sonopress Art Alley, give your community a boost, and enjoy some special perks — all for free?

An estimated 20,000 people (families, couples and singles alike) will gather in the comfort of the Asheville Civic Center to attend First Night 2003, the city’s premier winter-holiday event. To help make it all happen, the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department needs about 140 volunteers to do everything from staffing entertainment sites to selling souvenirs. Each shift lasts about three hours.

Volunteers will receive complimentary tickets and a limited-edition First Night 2003 T-shirt. They’ll also be invited to join the cast party following First Night’s Sprint PCS Grand Finale.

Organizers are also calling on local businesses and city residents to help make this year’s party a success. “We’re expecting our best year yet, since we are freed from the uncertainty of the winter weather in the warmth of the Asheville Civic Center,” notes Festivals Coordinator Paul Clarke. “Volunteering is a great way to be a part of the action, get involved with the community, and meet many new people.” Families and friends are encouraged to volunteer together.

First Night Asheville happens Tuesday, Dec. 31, starting at 7 p.m. For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact Events Specialist Bob Applegate at (828) 259-5841, or e-mail


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