As of Saturday, Dec. 1, vehicle owners in Haywood, Henderson and Rutherford counties will no longer have to submit their cars and light-duty trucks to an annual emissions inspection. Inspections remain in place for Buncombe and 21 additional counties, while the three other counties bordering Buncombe — Madison, McDowell and Yancey — have never required them.
According to the project website for the planned Interstate 26 Connector project in Asheville, the N.C. Department of Transportation has been meeting with community groups about the roadway since 1989. On Tuesday, Dec. 4, NCDOT will again convene local stakeholders. Also: a major public land acquisition in the Cherokee National Forest, and a new community service option for veterans involved with the criminal justice system.
When invasive plants reach into productive “rich coves” like Sandy Mush, they can choke out much of the region’s native biodiversity. Endangered and sought-after plants such as yellow mandarin, black cohosh and wild ginseng, as well as thousands of other species of native plants and animals, can be at risk.
The new facility’s planned retirement is in 2059 — 17 years after Buncombe County government’s 2042 goal of transitioning all homes and businesses to completely renewable energy. Jason Walls, Duke Energy district manager, said his company is committed to helping local governments achieve their goals but that the new plant’s construction is based on forecasts of growing energy needs.
A second campus of the N.C. School of Science and Math is on tap for 2021 in Morganton, and fundraising is underway to assemble the final pieces of the puzzle to bring the plans to life. Montreat College announced a new student loan repayment program, local elected officials came out to oppose all six constitutional amendments on the ballot in the 2018 general election and a major controlled burning training exercise will take place through Friday, Nov. 9 in the area.
Craig Harper with the University of Tennessee notes that negative public perception about prescribed burning generally arises from a lack of understanding about how fire benefits the landscape. “Many people will argue for increased diversity on national forests, but they don’t want disturbance,” he says. “If you don’t have disturbance, then it is impossible to have increased diversity.”
“It’s like the playing field that everyone’s playing on — that the economy’s playing on, that companies are playing on, that the government’s playing on — that playing field is starting to erode,” says Josh Dorfman, CEO of The Collider in downtown Asheville. “I think there’s more on the line than many people understand.”
While the long-running planning process has made considerable progress toward a consensus vision for the forest, sticking points do still remain. Conservationists continue to disagree with some hunting advocates and logging industry groups about protected area designations and the exact extent of active management on the land.
Duke Energy has installed smart meters for a significant number of customers in North Carolina, but the rollout has experienced some pushback from consumers who have expressed concerns about the impact of RF emissions on the human body.
On Aug. 3, Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment presented N.C. National Guard Field Management Station No. 1 with the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award, given annually to just nine individuals, teams or installations from Army operations across the country.
Seven regional storytellers and Papadosio side project EarthCry perform at the Dogwood Alliance event, Sept. 8 at The Grey Eagle.
GemFinding owner Chip Freeman hopes that the community will rally behind his last two river cleanups, taking place at Azalea Park on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Saturday, Sept. 15. “The cleanup depends on how many people we have there to tackle it,” he says. “You don’t have to come for four hours —if you pick up four or five pieces of trash, you’ve done something.”
State of the French Broad River Watershed 2018 summarizes a bevy of data from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, the Black Mountain-based Environmental Quality Institute and MountainTrue’s own monitoring into a single holistic measurement for waterway cleanliness.
The N.C. General Assembly cut funding for landslide mapping in 2011, a decision area officials and scientists attribute to a combination of revenue shortfalls and lobbying by development interests. The state is now allocating $3.6 million for a new mapping project in the wake of multiple landslides this summer.
Located on Amboy Road between Carrier Park and the French Broad River Park, the new Karen Cragnolin Park — named for RiverLink founder Karen Cragnolin — will connect the parkway system along the river’s western bank. But before the property can fulfill that role, it must overcome its past as a junkyard.
Sylvan Sport founder Tom Dempsey says the inspiration for his company’s adventure camping trailers comes from spending time outdoors — and there’s no better place to find inspiration than this area. “We couldn’t do what we do anywhere else,” he says.
In collaboration with the Sierra Club, New Alpha Community Development Corporation and Kingdom Living Temple, Dogwood Alliance is traveling across eight southern states to engage vulnerable communities and build solidarity around climate crises. Emily Zucchino with Dogwood Alliance says the event will tie the community’s poverty and gentrification issues together with the greater environmental context.
In November, North Carolina voters will choose whether to add the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife to their constitution. If the amendment passes, the state will join 21 others, including all of the South save Florida, Maryland and West Virginia, in explicitly affirming this right.
The benefit concert for the Puerto Rico Teachers Federation takes place July 7 at Salvage Station.
In conjunction with the work of the Energy Innovation Task Force, the Asheville Workplace Challenge aims to expand participation and engagement in the program, which recognizes the efforts of local companies as they do their part to create a more sustainable future.
One of only three local air quality agencies in North Carolina — the others are in Forsyth and Mecklenburg counties — WNCRAQA will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 on Tuesday, June 26