In 2023, several local outlets surged their news operations, bringing new resources, programs and reporters into the mix.
Community members offer thoughts on crime, panhandling and more in 2023.
Xpress reached out to dozens of local residents to discuss what keeps them hopeful heading into 2024.
Pay for educators, equity for underrepresented populations and housing affordability, as well as nationwide inflation, underpinned efforts to improve the quality of life for Asheville-area residents in 2023, as expressed by Xpress’ Year in Review survey of engaged citizens and leaders.
For two years, Stuart Smolkin, curator of the Asheville Radio Museum, has been restoring a 1946 Rock-ola 1422 jukebox. Now the machine is on display inside A-B Tech’s Elm building.
“I think people enjoy seeing the windows decorated,” says Margaret Lancaster, owner of Dog & Pony Show in downtown Asheville. “I think it’s part of what downtown stores should do just to make it special, to make it different.”
“What I told them is I’m seriously considering it,” Asheville Police Chief David Zack told Asheville Watchdog. “I’m not going to make a decision until after the first of the year.”
Inside several specialty shops along the mile-and-a-half stretch from UNC Asheville to Beaver Lake, hawkers of shoes, homebrew equipment, crystals and haircuts continue to sell their wares and services, building community amid the slower traffic, and their opinions — like their specialties — vary widely.
Project founder Jared Wheatley and Asheville entrepreneurs discuss the “You Are On Cherokee Land” sign initiative.
Two projects requiring special-use permits are on the agenda at the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment, including a proposed Level 2 Planned Unit Development on 104.19 acres for a spa resort.
“The way [my bonsai] are constructed, it’s not based on what I was taught or what the books tell you to do,” says Arthur Joura, bonsai curator at The N.C. Arboretum. “It’s based on what I’ve seen in my own experience and run through the filter of my knowledge of art.
The co-responder unit from the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Medical Services will focus on mental health calls, welfare checks and involuntary commitments.
About a dozen investigators have been interviewing hospital physicians, nurses and staff, reviewing hospital communications, patient records and other documents, and analyzing systemic safety procedures to ensure minimum standards of care, according to multiple sources.
High-speed fiber internet is on its way to several rural communities in Buncombe County, thanks to a $3.3 million state grant. Nearly 1,000 households will receive fiber internet service over the next two years, according to Buncombe County Director of Economic Development Tim Love.
The community conflict reflects a larger trend statewide of community members trying to remove or restrict access to certain books in public schools and libraries.
Amid an ongoing severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Western North Carolina is experiencing a surge in wildfires and elevated wildfire risk that endanger both communities and public lands.
“Families can meet others and not feel so alone on their autism journey,” says Caroline Long Tindall, CEO of St. Gerard House. “Young adults are becoming part of their community and giving back — the community is getting to know how valuable individuals with autism are.”
Finding affordable housing has become a formidable challenge for many Asheville residents. However, housing vouchers can bring rent down to a manageable amount. In the latest edition of Xpress’ WTF feature – short for “Want the Facts?” – we explore the application process and eligibility requirements for housing vouchers and other forms of housing assistance.
“I did not realize that we were so far ahead of everybody else in North Carolina,” said state Sen. Julie Mayfield, D-Buncombe. “All of these other cities do a great job of marketing themselves, and they don’t spend as much money as we do.”
“Mission has not breached the APA [asset purchase agreement],” the letter said, referring to the contract governing HCA’s 2019 purchase of then nonprofit Mission Health for $1.5 billion. “Mission is now, and always has been, in full compliance with that contract and often exceeds its obligations under the APA.”
At first glance, the dispute between Grace Episcopal and the Facebook group members seems a clear-cut case of how social media can effect change: A concerned resident encouraged like-minded people to contact the church, they did, and the church declined to serve as a host site. Viewed through a different lens, however, the incident highlights the potential for harm that can result from jumping to conclusions — and then broadcasting them via social media.