Cherryfield Creek

Study explores economic impact of French Broad

Commissioned by the French Broad River Partnership with $56,000 in grant funding from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Ecology Wildlife Foundation and Duke Energy, the research effectively seeks to fill out the river’s books. A team led by economist Steve Ha of Western Carolina University will analyze the monetary value of a healthy river to its eight-county watershed.

Dogwood Health Trust CEO Antony Chiang talks philanthro­py

Perched atop an estimated $1.5 billion endowment — the proceeds of the sale of nonprofit Mission Health to for-profit HCA Healthcare — Antony Chiang talked with Xpress after his first couple of weeks in Western North Carolina. The new leader of Dogwood Health Trust reflects on his approach to philanthropy, what it takes to make a real difference on some of our toughest social and health issues and how he maintains his own physical and mental wellness.

2007 Asheville magnolia protest

Symposium renews call for urban tree protection­s

Climate Change and Asheville’s Urban Forest, a symposium organized by Asheville GreenWorks for Thursday, Nov. 14, 5-7:30 p.m., brings together a broad coalition around the results of the city’s recently released canopy study. Urban forest advocates emphasize that trees are critical to help Asheville avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Western North Carolina forest overlook

Smallholde­r Access Program certifies WNC forests

Less than 0.1% of all small woodlands are currently certified as responsibly managed, despite making up over 75% of all privately owned Southeast forests. The SAP pilot, a collaboration of forest product companies, the Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance, is exploring how to bring those previously overlooked parcels into certified status.

Local agencies present update on battle against opioid addiction and overdose

Over 100 members of the community attended Let’s Talk Opioids, described as a “community update and conversation on opioid crisis response in Buncombe County.” The standing room-only crowd listened as in-the-trenches experts presented information, including the Mountain Area Health Education Center, Vaya Health, Asheville Fire Department, Buncombe County Health and Human Services and the N.C. Department of Justice. 

Cantrell Creek Trail ribbon cutting

Transylvan­ia County Tourism funds environmen­tal conservati­on

In 2017, the county’s tourism board launched the Transylvania Always initiative, which has since invested thousands of occupancy tax dollars into everything from hiking trail restoration to French Broad River cleanup. “I really don’t know of anywhere else, particularly anywhere else of our small size, that is doing anything similar,” says Clark Lovelace, the TCT’s executive director.

Rachael Nygaard

Buncombe considers changes to nonprofit grant process

Commissioner Amanda Edwards and Rachael Nygaard, the county’s director of strategic partnerships, proposed substantial revisions for Buncombe’s approach to Strategic Partnership Grants. The changes, which will likely be put to a vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5, included the establishment of a volunteer grant review committee, strict adherence to deadlines and standardized criteria for judging applications.