News Roundup: Asheville Humane Society launches new center to help families keep pets

HELPING HAND: The Asheville Humane Society's new community sheltering team is available to assist families from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Photo courtesy of the Asheville Humane Society

The Asheville Humane Society, in partnership with Buncombe County Animal Shelter, is launching a community sheltering center designed to reunite families with their lost pets and provide support for people who are considering surrendering their pets because of a lack of resources. The center will have emergency pet supplies such as food, bedding, flea/tick preventatives as well as community resources such as flyer templates and new lost-and-found pet technologies.

“Buncombe County Animal Shelter is pioneering a visionary shift, empowering the community to lead the way in rehoming owned pets and reuniting lost pets with their families,” said Adam Cotton, director of community solutions of the Asheville Humane Society, in a press release. “By equipping individuals with essential resources, we’re fostering a stronger, more collaborative bond between our shelter and the community, ensuring every pet possible finds their home.”

For families who are unable to keep their pets, the community sheltering team will help surrender the pets and get them to the shelter.

“An important part of this new effort is that although we are thrilled by the prospect of keeping families together, we also know that it is not always an option for someone in the community to house a pet they have found or an owner to keep their pet,” said Jeff Hassel, executive director of the Asheville Humane Society, in the release. “After our team engages to find solutions, if a person cannot or will not keep the animal, we will make arrangements to take the animal into the shelter.”

The community sheltering team is available 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday. For all other services, including vaccines, microchips, end-of-life services, lost-and-found reclaim and donation drop-off, the shelter is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Mars Hill receives academic equity grant

Mars Hill University has received a nearly $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program. The competitive grant focuses on providing equitable opportunities for student success. The funding will allow the university to partner with Portland, Ore.-based company InsideTrack to launch an academic coaching program for students.

The grant also will support the university’s Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning in its initiatives to provide faculty development in success-oriented instructional design. Additional funding supports the expansion of the Men of Distinction program and resources related to academic advising best practices.

Monthly networking events in Weaverville 

Collab Coworking announced three networking events for the business community in Weaverville.

Coffee & Cards is a drop-in event for individuals in any level of business to stop in, enjoy a coffee and share business cards with others in the community. This event takes place 8-9 a.m. on the first Wednesday of every month.

Lunch & Learn is 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month and will feature an expert speaker on a variety of topics. Lunch is not provided, but attendees are invited to bring their own.

After Hours Wine-Down is a social happy hour that takes place every second Thursday, 5-6 p.m. More information is at

Septic repair grants

Asheville-based environmental group MountainTrue is partnering with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to provide septic repair grants to qualifying homeowners in Buncombe, Henderson, Mitchell, Transylvania, Yancey and Madison counties.

Private septic systems can begin to fail as they get older or due to neglect, but repairs can be expensive and out of reach for many residents. Homeowners can apply through MountainTrue to see if they qualify for a state grant to cover the full cost of fixing their septic systems. More information is at

New financial aid program at UNCA

UNC Asheville is launching Access Asheville, a financial aid program designed to make education attainable for low- and middle-income North Carolinians. Access Asheville covers full tuition and fees through grants and scholarships during fall and spring semesters for North Carolina residents whose adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less. The program is open to new first-year and transfer undergraduates entering fall 2024. More information is at

Grants for dislocated workers

The Southwestern Commission and Land of Sky Regional Council received a $7.5 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to serve dislocated workers in Western North Carolina. Dislocated workers are those who have lost their jobs due to downsizing or closure, such as the closure of the Pactiv Evergreen plant in Canton. Employers who hire dislocated workers may be eligible for grant funding that would pay for up to 75% of the worker’s salary during their training period. More information is at

Better Business Bureau president to retire

Thomas Bartholomy has announced that he will retire at the end of January as president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina. The BBB, with offices in Charlotte and Asheville, has been led by Bartholomy for 22 years. Bartholomy began his BBB career in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1982.

Mountain Bizworks receives grant to help entrepreneurs

Asheville-based nonprofit Mountain BizWorks was awarded over $2.3 million from the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency. Mountain BizWorks is one of 43 organizations out of a pool of over 1,000 applicants to receive the national grant from the Capital Readiness Program, which provides funding to organizations with expertise to support underserved entrepreneurs.

Mountain BizWorks will give more details about the four-year plan for the funds at a year-end celebration event 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, at The Mule at Devil’s Foot Beverage Co. More information is at

 Community Foundation changes focus areas

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina announced several adjustments to its focus areas for grant funding. Since 2011, its four priorities for spending discretionary funds have been human services, early childhood development, food and farming, and natural and cultural resources. “While these areas remain critical for a thriving Western North Carolina, much has changed in the funding landscape since we identified our original priorities for grants,” said President Elizabeth Brazas in a press release. “Other funders, including Dogwood Health Trust and WNC Bridge Foundation, direct grant dollars toward issues that overlap with ours.”

The foundation will separate natural and cultural resources into two priorities, absorb food and farming priority into human services and restructure early childhood development to include other educational programs, such as scholarships, the Learning Links teacher minigrant program and other discretionary funding. More information is at

New home for a veteran

A local veteran will be getting a new home this Veterans Day. On Saturday, Nov. 11, Mars Hill-based nonprofit QB1 Enterprises will announce the recipient of a home the organization has built. The nonprofit works to build affordable homes for marginalized communities, focusing on helping first-time homebuyers and individuals with low income or credit scores.

“We’re trying to grow relationships in the community to give us the opportunity to give a veteran a home annually,” says Brandon Quinn, founder. “But also, we really want to find a way to deliver on providing more affordable housing for people in the area.”

Quinn says the idea of gifting a home to a veteran came from his son, Brandon Quinn Jr., a junior at Mountain Heritage High School in Burnsville. Quinn Jr.’s position as quarterback for the school’s football team also influenced the name of the nonprofit, which additionally offers developmental programs for individuals through scholarship and training.

“The quarterback is the leader of a team,” Quinn Sr. says. “We want to help create leaders.”

The recipient of the home was chosen from a pool of nominations submitted by community members via the nonprofit’s website. An awards ceremony will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Asheville at a future date to be announced. More information is at

-Chase Davis, with additional reporting from Andy Hall


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About Chase Davis
Chase Davis is an Asheville-based reporter working for Mountain Xpress. He was born and raised in Georgia and holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from LaGrange College. Follow me @ChaseDavis0913

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