News briefs: VTC graduates 6th class; Bissette to speak on public higher education

Buncombe County Courthouse, left, home of the Veterans Treatment Court, and Asheville City Hall. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

Trauma volunteer training offered

Specially trained trauma volunteers are called in by emergency responders to support those affected by tragedy in the immediate aftermath of the event. A 10-day training program for those interested in joining the Trauma Intervention Program of Western North Carolina to provide this service will be offered Thursday, Sept. 26-Saturday, Oct. 5. 

No experience is required, but participants must be 16 or older, able to pass a background investigation, possess a clean driving record and be willing to respond throughout Buncombe County and the city of Hendersonville. Classes take place at the Asheville Regional Airport Public Safety Building, 139 Wright Brothers Way, Fletcher.

More information and registration are available at or 828-513-0498. 

VTC to graduate sixth class

Through participation in Buncombe County’s Veterans Treatment Court, military veterans involved with the justice system receive help with behavioral and mental health issues and, upon satisfactory completion of the program, may petition the court to have their legal charges dismissed. The VTC will hold its sixth graduation ceremony for program participants on Friday, Sept. 27. 

The following day, Kevin Rumley, a combat-injured veteran and VTC coordinator, and his dog Clifford will graduate as members of the Warrior Canine Connection class of 2019 in Boyds, Md., the culmination of a two-year training program.

“My experience of working with Clifford has meant the world to me,” said Rumley in a press release. “From providing snuggles to traumatized youth in the courtroom (during difficult [guardian ad litem] trials) to supporting justice-involved veterans (in Veterans Court), Clifford is having a positive impact on every person he meets.”

Bissette to speak on public higher education at Oct. 2 forum

Former Asheville Mayor and past chair of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Lou Bissette and others will address higher education accessibility, funding, faculty recruitment and retention and governance at a free discussion open to the public on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 6-7:30 p.m.

Other speakers include Paul Fulton, Emma Battle and William Sederburg. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A. The event takes place at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on the campus of UNC Asheville at 300 Campus View Road.

UNCA-led research team reveals increase in global human rights violations

Political science faculty members at UNC Asheville lead a team of researchers that develops the Political Terror Scale, a human rights data set. The team released an update that shows significant increases in the number of people living in “hell on earth” conditions. 

According to a press release, “PTS ranks human rights conditions in nations around the world on a scale from one to five. … At level four, ‘Civil and political rights violations have expanded to large numbers of the population. Murders, disappearances and torture are a common part of life.’ Level five conditions are described this way: ‘Terror has expanded to the whole population. The leaders of these societies place no limits on the means or thoroughness with which they pursue personal or ideological goals.’”

Researchers concluded that nearly 70% of the world’s people live in nations ranked at levels four and five. The data also revealed a very dire trend: “Level four countries went from only about a quarter of the world’s population in 1985 to more than 60% by the year 2000 and 64.4% in 2018.”

More information is at


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