News in brief: Tips for living alongside bears, Blue Ridge Honor Flight celebrates veterans

IN IT TO WIN IT: At the Buncombe County Special Olympics Spring Games on Thursday, May 2, over 500 athletes will compete in a variety of events. The day begins at 9 a.m. with an opening ceremony featuring a law enforcement torch run. Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Recreation Services

Roberson plays host to Special Olympics

Buncombe County Special Olympic’s annual Spring Games will welcome over 500 athletes at the T.C. Roberson High School stadium at 250 Overlook Road on Thursday, May 2, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The event is free and open to all community members, who are invited to cheer on athletes in events including runs, walks, relays, long jump, shot put, ball and bag tosses and ball rolls.

“Spring Games is our largest competition of the year,” said Karla Furnari of Buncombe County Recreation Services in a press release. “Like other local athletes, Special Olympics athletes need to hear the cheers and encouragement of their fans to reach their highest potential. They’ve worked hard all year, and this is a great way to celebrate before summer arrives.”

The rain date is Friday, May 3. More information is available at

City offers bear tips

With the return of warmer weather, bears throughout Western North Carolina are becoming more active. In the city of Asheville, that means it’s time to secure the trash, bring in the bird feeders, feed pets indoors and clean outdoor grilling equipment thoroughly.

According to Jes Foster, Asheville’s Sanitation Division manager, while the city is “researching ways to fund bear-resistant [garbage] cans,” there are no current plans to provide more secure receptacles citywide or in neighborhoods where bears are numerous. The city advises that two types of garbage carts can work with city trash collection trucks: a locking container that the owner unlocks before trash is collected and a type that unlocks itself when a sanitation truck arm lifts the container into the air. Residents can find a list of compatible carts and their prices at

“If a resident does purchase a bear-resistant can, we do appreciate a call [at 828-251-1122] to notify the Sanitation Division,” said Foster in a press release.

Other “BearWise” tips offered by the city include:

  • Place trash and recycling on the curb on the morning of your scheduled pickup, not the night before.
  • Freeze food scraps and place them in the garbage while still frozen on the morning of pickup to reduce bear interest.
  • Never feed or approach bears.
  • Notify neighbors when you observe bear activity.

If you encounter a bear, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission advises:

  • Do not approach the bear. Quietly move away and leave the area.
  • If you are a safe distance away from the bear, make loud noises, shout or bang pots and pans together to scare it away.
  • Give the bear a clear escape route.

Honor flight to welcome veterans home

Local veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars will visit Washington on Saturday, May 4, to visit memorials. Community members are invited to a welcome home celebration at the Asheville Regional Airport at 7 p.m. that evening.

“The welcome home for these veterans is one of the most memorable and moving parts of this whole trip,” says Jeff Miller, who founded Blue Ridge Honor Flight in 2006. “It means so much to them to have the welcome home they never got when they returned from the war, and it’s an amazing thing for bystanders to witness.”

According to a press release, the celebration will include a live band and a sign-making station for creating posters to greet the veterans.

More information is available at



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