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News briefs: Strive Beyond promotes alternativ­e transporta­tion, Asheville hosts home ownership fair

Activists with the Health Equity Coalition are organizing a Friday, May 24, community forum to explore how the $1.5 billion Dogwood Health Trust, created from the sale of Mission Health, offers the prospect of “life-changing” investments in the wellbeing of residents in 18 Western North Carolina counties. Also, it’s time to strive to drive less in the runup to the Strive Beyond Summit at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Mills River on Friday, May 31, from 3-5 p.m.

In brief: Noise studied, teachers trained and wildflower­s honored

Local divisions of the N.C. Department of Transportation won recognition in the state’s annual Wildflower Awards, while the city of Asheville studies noise and the Buncombe Partnership for Children deploys a $400,000 grant to train up to 60 new early childhood educators in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties.

Council reappoints incumbents­, selects Carter, to oversee Asheville City Schools

Incumbent Asheville City Board of Education members Shaunda Sandford and Martha Geitner faced tough questions from Asheville City Council at an interview session on March 26. But at Council’s regular meeting that same evening, the two were unanimously reappointed to four-year terms on the board. James Carter was selected to fill a two-year vacancy created by the resignation of board member James Lee.

Local pastor’s new book targets bullying

Nationwide, between a quarter and a third of U.S. students have been bullied at school, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and most bullying happens in middle school. Pastor Brent La Prince Edwards’ new book aims to head off the problem by targeting a younger audience, using simple illustrations by the author and appropriate language to address the topic of bullying while building healthy self-esteem.

Asheville government­, schools, nonprofits launch effort to address achievemen­t gap

A group representing government, education, business and nonprofit organizations is coalescing to form a community response to a severe racial achievement gap in Asheville City Schools. But it’s not yet clear how the initiative will define its goals and approach — and what resources it can attract to fund the effort.

Generation­s of failure: A plea to reform Asheville City Schools

“Oversight in this kind of system — where the board is appointed by a body with no regulatory authority, in a process closed to school employees, families and the community as a whole — is more than a little messed up. It is completely unaccountable, open to all kinds of corruption and anti-democratic, not to mention a lousy use of resources.”

North Carolina congressional districts

News briefs: Mayor Esther Manheimer to hold gerrymande­ring press conference

In conjunction with Buncombe County voters and members of Raleigh-based lobbying group Common Cause North Carolina, the mayor will discuss how gerrymandering splits Asheville voters and advocate for nonpartisan districting reform. The press conference takes place at Pack Square Park on Tuesday, March 26, at 10:30 a.m.

Amid soul searching over severe disparitie­s, City Council weighs its latest school board appointmen­ts

With James Lee opting out mid-term to take a job in another state, Asheville City Council will soon select at least one new member to serve on a board that will be compelled to turn the ship around. Two other members, Martha Geitner and board Chair Shaunda Sandford, are completing their first terms on the board and seeking reappointment. Meanwhile, in a process that will play out in the coming weeks, 11 other community members have applied to be appointed.

UNCA hosts this year’s Appalachia­n Studies Associatio­n conference

The 2019 Appalachian Studies Association conference returns to Asheville after 27 years. The annual gathering brings together an eclectic mix of scholars, educators, activists, students, groups and institutions to discuss and present on a wide range of topics related to life in the region.

County approves A-B Tech funding plan in split vote

Commissioners voted 4-3 to approve a plan that dedicates $3.13 million in Article 46 tax revenues in fiscal year 2020 for capital expenses at the college. The money would keep coming in each of the next seven years, increasing 5.5 percent annually to account for anticipated increases in construction costs. The county would also cap transfers from Article 46 tax revenue to the general fund at $5 million and would limit the use of that money to operations at A-B Tech.