Buncombe COVID-19 case graph

Buncombe continues mask mandate amid record COVID spread

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners members unanimously voted Jan. 4 to extend the county’s indoor mask mandate through Wednesday, Feb. 16. The extended mask requirement does not contain any language regarding enforcement, nor does it specify the type of face covering that residents should wear, despite health experts saying cloth masks are insufficient against the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Asheville Police Department protest

Year in Review: Security felt elusive in 2021

When Xpress asked community members about safety and security in 2021, the questions were intentionally left very broad. After all, concepts like safety and risk can mean very different things to different people depending on their circumstances. Would respondents opine about public safety? Housing security? Financial security? Sexual assault? Homophobia? The resulting responses take the […]

Year in Review: Residents and local leaders reflect on Asheville’s growth and tourism

With growth comes worsening traffic, rising housing costs and long lines of tourists waiting at locally beloved bars and restaurants. But it’s not all bad, as 2021’s Year In Review participants note in their reflections on Asheville’s development and tourism sector. These residents and local leaders shared their growth gripes and hopes as they look forward to the coming year.

Mt. Pisgah view

Green in brief: State budget brings millions in environmen­tal funding to WNC

Among the largest allocations are $12.2 million to accelerate the purchase and opening of Pisgah View State Park in Buncombe County, $7.2 million for the removal of hazardous dams in WNC and $5 million to upgrade the city of Hendersonville’s wastewater treatment plant.

Volunteers operate Code Purple emergency shelter for six nights

For more than half of nights in November, the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Coalition called Code Purple: an emergency protocol, triggered when temperatures drop below freezing, to increase space in homeless shelters beyond normal capacity. But for all of those nights, people sleeping on Asheville’s streets had no officially designated place to go. The two Code Purple […]

Lakeside Produce light pollution

WNC wrestles with light pollution

With the notable exception of the IDA-certified dark sky park at the PARI in Transylvania County — one of only two such facilities in the state — no sky in Western North Carolina is untouched by light pollution. Central Asheville can reach as high as a 6 on the Bortle Scale, in which 1 is complete darkness and 9 is the Las Vegas Strip.