Living in Asheville, it’s easy to get caught up in all things Asheville. But there’s more to Western North Carolina than drum circles and downtown development, and the Mountain Xpress aims to help broaden your view with a weekly roundup of news from our region.
The goal here is to mine newspaper Web sites, and the occasional newspaper blog, for what’s interesting. We’ll be looking for big breaking stories and small-town goings-on. We’ll search for trends, scoops and the quirky items too. Have you spotted something interesting in your local? Let us know in the comment field below.
Without further ado, here’s what we’ve spotted the first week out:
• The roadside shooting death of N.C. State Highway Patrol trooper David Shawn Blanton Jr. dominates the Asheville Citizen-Times’ front page. A memorial service will be held Saturday at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.
• A Marion restaurant owner and chef says he was beaten up by an assailant who made reference to an upcoming liquor-by-the drink vote. Bruce Brown opposes expanded alcohol sales.
• In other drinking news, the Boone Town Council will consider putting a mixed-drink referendum on the ballot in September. Right now, all those Boone college kids only get two choices: beer or wine.
• The Clay County Progress says a Secret Service agent paid a visit to Hayesville Middle School after a student allegedly phoned in a bomb threat to the White House during a recent field trip. The 13-year-old has been suspended.
* The Smoky Mountain News reports that a Swain County commissioner’s habit of tape recording closed sessions has made fellow board members nervous.
• Controversial Fletcher Police Chief Langdon B. Raymond has announced he’ll retire July 9, according to the Pisgah Mountain News. “Earlier this year,” the paper notes, “a former Fletcher officer filed a federal lawsuit against town officials, claiming he was forced to work hours for which he was not paid and was the victim of retaliation after he complained.”
• La Voz, the Asheville-based Hispanic newspaper, reports that the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department has nine deputies trained as federal immigration agents. The goal is to deport repeat offenders.
• A rabid raccoon attacked a dog in the Richland Creek area of Hayood County, reports the Waynesville Mountaineer. (Got your shots?)
• The state of gay marriage: Porscha Young, of Asheville’s gay and lesbian newspaper Out in Asheville, editorializes on gay marriage in the wake of California’s Supreme Court decision to legalize same sex marriage: “California’s recent decision must have sparked a fire under Representative Forrester’s (R-Gaston) proverbial ass, because the first day of legislative summer session, he introduced (for the fifth time) an anti-marriage state constitutional amendment.”
• The Village Witch, Byron Ballard, blogs for the Citizen-Times and writes eloquently that the summer solstice is upon us: “Though everything seems so bright and fair, we have begun the inevitable spiral in, leading us to another day, on the opposite curve of the Wheel, when we stand in the longest night and long for day.”
– The Weaverville Tribune’s blog, Dropped from the Headlines, notes that the developers of the Reynolds Mountain Community are preparing to build Reynolds Village, a development that will forever change Woodfin. One design element — a traffic circle. “Woodfin as we know it won’t be the same place in another five years. Is everybody on board?” it asks.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor