Mountain Xpress at 15: A special anniversary package

In our new issue, Mountain Xpress celebrates our 15th anniversary with a special package of stories tracking the evolution of the publication — and the community it serves:

Media with a Mission: Stirring the Local Pot
A commentary by founder and publisher Jeff Fobes

Fourteen Years Before the Mast: Reflections of a Mountain Xpress Quasi-lifer
A commentary by advertising director James Fisher

Week In, Week Out: 15 years of Mountain Xpress Milestones
by Jon Elliston

A Look Back: Residents’ Memories of Asheville circa 1994
by Brian Postelle

Asheville by the Numbers: What a Difference 15 Years Makes
by David Forbes

What does the Mountain Xpress mean to you?
Interviews and photos by Jason Sandford

Remember When? Looking back at the venues Xpress covered in its first issues (some have gone, some remain)
by Alli Marshall and Rebecca Sulock

Click here to see a Mountain Xpress staff photo from July 2009.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Jon Elliston
Former Mountain Xpress managing editor Jon Elliston is the senior editor at WNC magazine.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

16 thoughts on “Mountain Xpress at 15: A special anniversary package

  1. Ayana Dusenberry

    Great job everyone, and Congratulations! I feel very proud to have been a part of the Mountain Xpress team at one point. Cheers to all!

  2. Frank Ricci

    “I was mostly educated in South Carolina by repressive, openly racist, badly informed conservatives. Many of them beat their wives and kids, and few of them had any respect for women, foreigners or anyone who wasn’t willing to blame everything on a liberal, gay or minority agenda. They were all deathly afraid of paying a dime more than they had to in taxes. Looking back, they were all a bunch of cowards with little more than rhetoric and fear as weapons, hiding behind patriotism and religion to justify their petty, greedy, violent needs and beliefs.

    And they all hated me, even as a kid, because it was pretty easy to see them as the scared, deeply wounded adult babies they really were. They got really defensive when they were called out on it. They said the most idiotic things to back up their arguments. They banded together when I pointed out the obvious flaws in their thinking, the obvious hypocrisies and self-serving denials. It was like trying to debate with agitated baboons.” — Steve Shantafelt

    Boy can I relate with you. Except I grew up in New Jersey. Both my parents were Italian immigrants. And very racist. They hated the Irish, the Jews, and the Blacks. I won’t repeat the nasty names they called these people. My old man would whop me good if I dared correct him for his racist comments. And my mom would send me to bed without dinner. When Jackie Robinson got on with the NY Yankees, my old man went with some friends. In them days they called them Good Fellas. Well when Robinson stepped out to go to bat the crowd booed and called him (the N word). And other foul insulting names I will not repeat here. That was 1947. NY and Jersey were very racist then. I’m glad it’s a little better now there. But here in Asheville I find no racial troubles at all. Black people smile and say good morning to me, and they don’t even know me. After I was here 2 years, I finally started smiling back and saying good morning too. And isn’t it a kick that I grew up thinking people down here were racists like my old man in Jersey.

    I want to thank the Mountain Express for helping make Asheville such a wonderful place to live. Strength in diversity. Yeah. And social justice for all.

  3. Frank Ricci

    Bigotry or racism? Webster’s dictionary:

    Main Entry: rac·ism
    Pronunciation: \?r?-?si-z?m also -?shi-\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1933
    1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
    2 : racial prejudice or discrimination

    — rac·ist \-sist also -shist\ noun or adjective

    My New Jersey father was a racist. And many of the people on my block were, at least unspoken. They would never allow a black family to move into our neighborhood. But you know my parents were also good loving people. They were a vicitim of their time. Same with the neighbors.

    After rereading Steve’s piece above, I’ve got to say I am not like him. It looks like he felt marginalized since an early age. It sounds like he has a strong dislike for his parents, his teachers, and his neighbors. I feel sorry that he has been wounded this way, and pray to God that he finds a way to reconcile with the older adults in his life.

  4. not quite


    1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.


    1. stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.
    2. the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.

  5. Dick Buckminister

    Racism and bigotry serve the same purpose. They’re both ugly ways to think and act towards other folks. And prejudice takes many forms. Besides the white on black racism of New Jersey, as the man reports above, you have regional bigotry. You have your “yankees” who think all Southerners are ignorant rednecks. You have Southerners thinking all “yankees” are rude, obnoxious, loudmouthed, and belong to the Mafia.

    Of course there are folks like that up north, but you can’t paint them all with the same brush. I have met several folks who moved here from up North who are pretty nice people, in spite of their strange accents and colloquialisms from up there. And their ignorance of Southerners is just that…ignorance. Once they get down here they realize most folks here are good people and are not racists, or dumb, in spite of the fact we talk with a slower paced accent.

    We’re all God’s children, y’all! Black, yellow, red, white, brown, yankee, Southerner, Mid-Westerner, Westerner. And we’re all Americans too. So God bless us all, and God bless America!

  6. Piffy!

    now, you go to far in including Westerner’s. Those people are just plain different. And dont get me started on people from Rutherford County. They ain’t right!

    now, what was the article about, and how did steve get quoted?

  7. Frank Ricci

    I’m new here, so excuse the ignorance. But I wonder how this site runs? There are rules that govern how a person is supposed to post, yet it appears they are selectively inforced. I was just looking at the forums section, “Community” “Wrastlin’ Ring”. Check this out, dated August 24th:

    The (PFKaP)
    Forum Savant
    Total Posts: 6318
    Joined 12/2008

    “Oh, goody. Now i’m in the moderated que on the blogs. thanks steve, you blood sucking terrorist giver inner to-er. ####### bullshit.”

    Steve Shanafelt
    Total Posts: 4527
    Joined 01/2007

    “I can probably fix that for you if it persists. If you’re still on moderated status by Monday, let me know and I’ll talk to the web guys to fix it. I don’t think I have control over that on the blog side.”

    Ah-hum. Excuse me? Are there favorites around here? And do administrators have “pets” that they give special priviledges to? I noticed the The(pfkap) posts a lot of off topic stuff here on “the blogs”. Bordering on harrassing. Personally, I’m heartened that if The(pfkap) is used to getting preferential treatment on “forums”, he doesn’t get it here on “the blogs”.

    Can someone in moderation explain this to me? Or Jeff Fobes, can you explain it?

  8. Piffy!

    Hardstock. although i would think his IP would have been banned…

    Dick Buckminister is a great name, you gotta admit. the footloose thing is kinda questionable, tho. kevin bacon lust?

  9. Frank Ricci

    Well The (pfkap), it is clear why the moderators here are reading your responses before pubklishing them. You keep proving their decision to put you in “moderate cue” to have been the correct one. -g)

    I say, a big happy 15th to the Mountain Xpress. You are the best free weekly I’ve seen on the East Coast, at the least. Congratulations!

  10. Brent Hunnicut

    I this PFKAP guy posting on here all the time. Wonder if he even got a job. Or maybe he goofin off on the job. I like Mountain Express for the cartoons. And my wife like to use it to line the birdcage. 15 year. That a long time. They must be doing somethun right.

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