Buzzworm news briefs

West Asheville in a nutshell

When I heard about the west Asheville slogan contest sponsored by the Haywood Road Corridor Committee, I walked around the office soliciting ideas. Here are some of the slogans my co-workers came up with: “How the west is one,” “Baptists, bakers and good coffee makers,” “Asheville’s Five Points,” and “It’s like downtown but without all those pricey condos.” One colleague (perhaps thinking of Patton Avenue rather than Haywood Road) came up with these zingers: “Thousands of cruisers can’t be wrong,” “A fast-food bioreserve,” and “Gateway to Enka-Candler.”

If you think you can do better (and, let’s be honest, how hard would it be?), then get your slogan in no later than Friday, Dec. 5. The first-, second- and third-place finishers will receive prizes contributed by Haywood Road businesses. The winning slogan may be displayed on the banners that the Haywood Road Corridor Committee plans to put up next spring and also used in other efforts to promote west Asheville.

Slogans should be concise and should reflect community history, character or particular qualities of west Asheville. Artwork/logos may be submitted but are not required. Submissions (including name, address, phone number and e-mail address) should be sent to: aglines@ashevillenc.gov, or to: City Development Office, 29 Haywood St., Asheville NC 28801.

For more information, or to volunteer with the Haywood Road Corridor Committee, call Alan Glines at 259-5556.

— Lisa Watters

For the record

If you’re out and about in the Swannanoa Valley on Thursdays and you see paperboys and papergirls peddling their wares for a quarter, don’t panic. You haven’t accidentally fallen through a time warp; you’re simply witnessing the birth of a new local newspaper, The Valley Record, whose first issue hit the stands Oct. 31.

“An old-fashioned, traditional community newspaper” is how Publisher/Editor Matt Mittan describes it. The project, says Mittan, was born out of the need he and his wife, Amy (the paper’s photographer and accountant) saw for “something that was themed for the valley — from Oteen to Ridgecrest — that focused on the community and was connected with the community more.”

Although “there’s good coverage from other publications, like Black Mountain NewsMountain Xpress, Citizen-Times — they occasionally do features on things in the valley — there was nothing really focused on the valley as a solid, unified community, which historically the valley has been,” he explains.

The main goal right now, says Mittan, “is to have the paper come out weekly. At the moment, we’re coming out every other week as we ramp up.”

After that, who knows? “Where it goes from there kind of depends on the community,” he notes. “That’s part of the philosophy … for it really to be a community-driven newspaper. We’re setting up our community board right now, which is going to have influence over the direction of the paper and decisions that are made and some funding to put back in the community, too.”

For his part, however, Mittan confesses, “I’ve always been a fan of five-day dailies — but my wife usually slaps me in the back of the head after I say that.”

So far, he reports, “We’ve been humbled and excited about the response we’ve had from people in the community. We knew we had something that was going to be good; we just didn’t know how well it was going to be received.”

The paper can also be found on the countertops of assorted stores, restaurants and other businesses in the valley.

For more information, contact Mittan at 664-1672 or ValleyRecord@charter.net.

— Lisa Watters

Asheville’s strong woman

When local writer and workshop leader Lisa Sarasohn found out she’d won the Strong Woman essay contest — beating out 2,500 other contestants and scoring her a trip to the recent Stonyfield Farm Strong Women Summit in New Paltz, N.Y. — she felt grateful and pleased, she says, but also gratified and not altogether surprised.

“When I found out about the [summit], I said: ‘This is mine. I am there,'” Sarasohn recalls. “And from the get-go, I just started feeling like a winner. Part of the whole ‘honoring your belly’ project [work Sarasohn has been doing for years], part of using and developing the energy of the body’s center, is to feel [and] ignite your life purpose, which translates as making your dreams come true. So I used every trick in the book I knew to align my energy with the absolute truth of winning the contest.”

Contestants were asked to write about a woman in their lives who embodies physical, mental and/or emotional strengths. Sarasohn chose a friend of hers, whom she said exemplifies Gandhi’s oft-quoted words: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” That friend — Assistant Manager Cat Noxon of the Haywood Road Community Food Co-op — also won a free trip to the conference.

The Strong Women Summit featured workshops, seminars, keynote speakers (such as Erin Brockovich) and panelists, including soccer great Kristine Lilly, Katherine Switzer (the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon) and Karen Smyers (the U.S. Olympic Committee’s 1999 Triathlete of the Year).

The summit, says Sarasohn, was “stupendous. I don’t know if I even have the words to say how splendid and magnificent it was. … There was a really wonderful feeling of community among the women, who all felt very fortunate to be there. … It just felt like a historic event.”

Behind the 400 summit attendees was a 19,000-person waiting list, Sarasohn explains. “Everyone who was there wants to come back next year. Already they’re planning to have two conferences next year — one on the West Coast, one on the East.” There’s even talk of expanding the event to include a summit in every region of the country, she notes.

Sarasohn’s newly published book, The Woman’s Belly Book: Finding Your Treasure Within, is available at Malaprop’s.

For more information about the Strong Women Summit or to read Sarasohn’s essay, visit the Stonyfield Farm Web site (www.stonyfield.com). To learn more about Sarasohn’s belly work and/or her book, visit her Web site (www.LoveYourBelly.com).

— Lisa Watters

And I feel fine(d)

A year ago next week, Xpress reported that the Federal Communications Commission was looking into allegations that Spindale-based public-radio station WNCW had violated nonprofit-licensee regulations during an on-air fund-raiser. Listeners had filed complaints stating that the required public file of station sponsors was out of date and that the station had operated a lottery without broadcasting the rules — specifically, the fact that it wasn’t necessary to contribute to the station in order to enter.

As we reported at the time, “According to the FCC, a public-file violation could prompt a fine of up to $10,000, while a lottery violation could yield a $4,000 fine.”

Last week the FCC announced that the station had violated the lottery law and imposed a $4,000 penalty. The legal document reads, in part: “The rules state that, although disclosure by non-broadcast means (such as making rules available at the stations and on the World Wide Web) can be considered in determining whether adequate disclosure has been made, the non-broadcast disclosures must be ‘in addition to the required broadcast announcements.’ Thus, although non-broadcast disclosures may supplement broadcast announcements, they cannot act as a substitute for broadcast announcements.”

The station was also found guilty of failing to maintain an up-to-date public file and was urged to amend its record-keeping practices. It was found innocent of a third charge: that employees had threatened or harassed a listener via e-mail.

In December 2001, the FCC ruled that the station had crossed the line between informational announcements and outright advertisements in promoting WNCW’s Mountain Oasis Music Festival — a clear violation of the applicable rules. The agency also found that the station had failed to properly maintain its public file. In that ruling, however, the agency merely issued a warning, citing WNCW’s “otherwise unblemished” record.

— Cecil Bothwell

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