COVID-19 vaccination initiatives announced by the county include a drive-thru site for second doses at A. C. Reynolds High School and a waitlist for first-dose vaccination appointments. The waitlist will replace a system that requires residents to schedule appointments directly as vaccines became available.
As Asheville takes steps to reckon with its long history of systemic racism and economic inequity, local business owners are wondering what impacts the city’s ambitious initiatives will have on them.
The state grant for Buncombe’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, funded as part of the first federal COVID-19 relief package, will be considered at the Tuesday, Jan. 19, meeting of the county Board of Commissioners.
The $600 checks represent the first federal assistance many in WNC have received to cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic since the first coronavirus relief package was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27.
“We recognize that it’s not a perfect system and the demand is quite high,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County’s public health director, at a Jan. 12 special meeting called to address local vaccination efforts. “We just want to reiterate that we will not have sufficient supply of vaccine for a very long time, so it is likely that we will still hear frustration and concerns about being able to get an appointment.”
Currently, the body reviews promotional criteria for Asheville police and fire staff and hears certain employee grievances. If adopted, the rules would outline a two-part test to determine if a dispute rises to the level of a CSB hearing.
Seven North Carolina counties now offer paid days off to care for a new child or an ailing family member.
Members will hear public comment on a proposed 130,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility in Enka — a plan that previously drew criticism from thousands of community members worried the facility would mean the demise of the 139-foot Enka Clock Tower.
According to a press release issued the morning of Jan. 7, county officials are working with Charter Communications to resolve the “vendor-related issue” as quickly as possible. As a temporary workaround, callers are instructed to call the Buncombe Ready team at 828-419-0095.
Of the 1,675 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Buncombe County had been allotted by North Carolina state officials through Dec. 28, the county had given just over 1,000 doses through Jan. 4. Only health care workers, first responders and long-term care facility residents will be able to receive the shot until Monday, Jan. 11.
County health officials will move into phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination process the week of Monday, Jan. 11. But as the vaccine rollout gets underway, residents should prepare for limited availability.
The foundation approved roughly $47 million in grants throughout the year, including over $3 million for personal protective equipment, $5 million to address substance use disorder, $3.7 million for racial equity and $3 million toward affordable housing.
Nearly $118,000 from the Dogwood Health Trust will hire a program manager as part of a previously funded community paramedic team. And $900,000 in federal funds will support housing and utility payments for county residents who have lost income due to COVID-19.
In a year marked by a constant churn of updating numbers — COVID-19 dashboards, economic forecasts, political polls — Assistant Editor Daniel Walton took comfort in stories that were able to report more deeply on some of the issues facing Western North Carolina.
Writer Molly Horak reflects on her 2020 reporting.
Asheville residents may have hunkered down for the holidays under a blanket of snow and ice, but across the region, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Here’s what you may have missed over the Christmas holiday.
Xpress Assistant Editor Daniel Walton and local community figures discuss how the year’s events have accelerated many of the issues that were already facing Western North Carolina.
Xpress contributor Mark Barrett unpacks the surprisingly static results to emerge from a politically tumultuous year in Western North Carolina.
If the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners were to maintain the property tax rate at 52.9 cents per $100 of assessed value for fiscal year 2021-22, noted Buncombe budget analyst Rusty Mau, the county would see about $237 million in property tax revenue, up nearly 12% from the $212 million budgeted for 2020-21.
The Asheville Police Department has followed through with a number of promises Chief David Zack made in June. But the one demand residents and activists repeatedly called for — that the city divest from the APD and invest resources in Asheville’s Black community — has not been heard, some community members say.
As the state prepares to distribute the first doses of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, a local resident who participated in a Phase 3 clinical trial for the development of pharmaceutical developer Moderna’s vaccine shares her experience.