Human traffickin­g exploits vulnerable population­s

Human trafficking takes many forms. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services fact sheet, it can include not only sex for money involving coercion or fraud but also any kind of involuntary servitude. And while most folks associate trafficking with children, two-thirds of the more than 200 North Carolina cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline last year were adults. The Second Annual Anti-Trafficking Summit, slated for Sept. 15-19, is co-sponsored by Mars Hill University and Life 107 Ministries. This year’s summit will be online-only due to COVID-19.

Friends of East Flat Rock poster

Green in brief: Henderson planning board votes against asphalt plant

Board member Rick Livingston, who made the motion to deny the recommendation, said the proposed SE Asphalt plant’s location in a “very residential area” off the Spartanburg Highway was incompatible with both the county’s comprehensive plan and East Flat Rock’s community plan.

Mark Forbes at MountainCare

Wellness in brief: Adult day program loses space

In April, Pardee UNC Health Care notified MountainCare that it would no longer donate the use of the 6,000-square-foot building that houses MountainCare’s Henderson County adult day program. MountainCare now must move out by the end of the year to allow Pardee to reuse or sell the building and seeks a free or low-cost space where the program can continue operating.

Solar panels on parking garage

Green in brief: Local government­s fund community solar, Asheville School conducts first in-city deer hunt

Together, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County approved over $11 million in funding to install roughly 7 megawatts of solar power at public facilities and area schools. The projects are anticipated to save the governments and local schools roughly $650,000 in electricity costs in the first year and more than $27 million over the installations’ 30-year operational life.

Psychographic illustration

BCTDA seeks ‘responsib­le travelers’ in new ads

During a June 24 meeting, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority board heard a presentation from marketing firm 360i about a new advertising campaign, scheduled to start in July, designed to attract a “responsible tourist audience” to the region. Ads will target visitors whose behaviors agree with “psychographic statements” about “willingness to conform.”

Josh Kelly by logging road

Green in brief: Small firms claim exclusion from local public solar process, Forest Service OKs Buck Project

Mike Diethelm, president and founder of Asheville-based SolFarm Solar Co., says a $10 million construction bond requirement for would-be bidders on the solar projects “knocks out so many local medium and small solar businesses, which we have a lot of in this town, and only opens it up to the big guys.”

NC Stage closed due to COVID-19

Who will benefit from local COVID-19 business relief?

Funds supported with tax money from Buncombe County, the city of Asheville and the Tourism Development Authority are being managed by the nonprofit Mountain BizWorks. Because of this arrangement, government and TDA officials say they will play no direct role in determining what area businesses and nonprofits receive public dollars.