EYE ON ART: A view from above Pack Square shows the recent closing in of the upper floors of the Asheville Art Museum as the new facility nears completion. Museum leadership says the building will be an anchor for downtown, as well as a worthy permanent home for the museum’s collection. Photo courtesy of Asheville Art Museum

Asheville Art Museum builds for the past, present and future

As the city gets ready to meet the latest incarnation of the Asheville Art Museum on Pack Square, Xpress looks at the museum’s history and its plans for the future, along with cost of the building project and its effects on other Pack Place institutions to feel out what the new space will mean to Asheville and the region.

Amy Cantrell protesting the Asheville city budget

Budget and policing disagreeme­nts at forefront of Council meeting

No additional changes made their way into this year’s budget as Council decided to adopt the ordinance in a 4-3 vote. Mayor Esther Manheimer, Vice-Mayor Gwen Wisler, and Council members Vijay Kapoor and Julie Mayfield all voted in support of the budget. Members Brian Haynes, Sheneika Smith and Keith Young voted against the plan; all three had shown hesitation about a police funding increase during previous work sessions.

Seal_of_Asheville,_North_Carolina

“Fireworks” in store for June 19 Council meeting

Two weeks before the Fourth of July, the meeting’s agenda promises a grand finale of rhetorical explosions over two matters of unfinished business. The first is the Asheville city budget, which Council member Brian Haynes has said he will not support as long as it contains funding for additional officers to staff the Asheville Police Department’s downtown district. The second is a series of resolutions to rescind and replace the three motions on police policy previously proposed by Young and passed by Council on May 22.

Kimberlee Archie, Asheville's equity and inclusion manager.

Human Relations Commission holds first meeting on Thursday

Established based on recommendations from a special Council-appointed Blue Ribbon Committee, the new group will be charged with improving human relations and equity throughout Asheville’s government — including the Asheville Police Department, which has drawn fierce criticism in recent months from Council and the public over its response to the beating of a black Asheville resident by a white former APD officer last year.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: YWCA Chief Program Officer Sala Menaya-Merrit speaks during the Board of Commissioners meeting on June 5. Commissioners announced two new early childhood education initiatives during the meeting. Photo by David Floyd

County approves GE incentives­, launches new early childhood ed initiative­s

Though breaking news about new Wanda Greene indictments made it hard for elected officials and members of the public to focus on anything else, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved $685,000 in incentives for a planned local investment by GE Aviation and announced two new early childhood education initiatives during its meeting on June 5.

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael Greene are facing federal charges related to the misuse of public funds.

Feds file new fraud and money laundering charges against Wanda Greene

New fraud charges — in addition to previous charges related to improper use of county credit cards — have been filed against former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene. In an indictment, federal officials allege that Greene “defrauded Buncombe County by misappropriating approximately $2.3 million of Buncombe County funds to purchase whole life insurance policies for herself, her son Michael Greene, and eight other County employees, and to purchase an annuity for another county employee who did not qualify for a whole life insurance policy.”