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.
Antony Chiang, the new leader of the $1.5 billion foundation resulting from the sale of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare, shared details on the nonprofit’s plans to support partner organizations with grant writing and engaged an audience of roughly 290 people at the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center around its strategic priorities.
As she wrapped up her work on the AVL Greater and AVL 5×5 2025 plans in late September, we chatted with futurist Rebecca Ryan about her upcoming encore keynote address at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP gala on Thursday, Nov. 18, what makes Asheville and Buncombe County different and how we’ll know if the area is on track to make good on the new strategies.
Using the slogan “When in doubt, throw it out,” the statewide Recycle Right NC initiative aims to reduce contamination and improve the economic value of recyclables. Additionally, according to the National Weather Service’s Greenville-Spartanburg office, Western North Carolina is likely in for warmer-than-usual conditions over the foreseeable future.
Buncombe County Veterans Treatment Court helps veterans of the armed forces pursue healing rather than jail time for offenses related to substance abuse or behavioral health issues. The court is about to graduate its sixth cohort of participants. A group of UNC Asheville political scientists leads efforts to analyze global human rights data.
Joining demonstrators worldwide, hundreds of local teenagers, children and adults walked out of class and work to participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20. Gathered in front of Asheville City Hall, the activists held a climate protest and “die-in”.
As currently drawn, the proposed districts would shift representation for large areas of Buncombe County. A 2011 state law also required that districts for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners match those of the county’s House representatives. As currently drawn, the maps would move Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara from District 1 to District 2, shift Al Whitesides from District 1 to District 3 and reassign Amanda Edwards from District 2 to District 1.
Taking place at the Vance Monument from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, the rally brings together 15 area organizations in a call for change. The speaker lineup includes Anita Simha with the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, Lucia Ibarra of Dogwood Alliance, the Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri from the Creation Care Alliance, UNC Asheville Assistant Professor Evan Couzo and Sunrise Movement member Shane McCarthy.
Leadership Asheville pulled in some high-octane local speakers for the final installment of its summer Buzz Breakfast series held on Aug. 14. The composition of the panel reveals some key trends shaping the power dynamic that’s emerged over the past year.
While the trust’s professional leadership remains under consideration, board chair Janice Brumit confirms that its board has filled out its inaugural complement of 14 members from WNC. After the nonprofit hires its inaugural CEO and finishes its strategic plan later this year, she estimates that other organizations will be able to apply for its grants starting in the spring of 2020 and receive money the following fall.
In the first quarter of 2019, the Asheville area saw an average of 5,400 new jobs compared to the same period the previous year, with gains in manufacturing, professional and business services and construction.
Beyond the city’s loan of more than $48,000 for each of the 11 affordable units in West Asheville, which will be deferred for 30 years and accrue no interest, Homeward Bound is also seeking roughly $280,000 in commercial loans and has received $89,153 in federal HOME funding administered by the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium.
Buncombe did see its unemployment tick up from the 2.8% April rate; the May rate was also higher than the 2.8% reported for the same month last year. However, the Department of Commerce noted that all of the state’s other metro areas also saw rate increases, and the Asheville metro area actually added about 1,900 nonfarm jobs in May.
Community activists Sheneika Smith and Nicole Townsend are the recipients of the pilot Tzedek Brilliance Awards, individual grants of $200,000 paid over two years. The Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund created the awards to reflect a shift toward community-directed, no-strings-attached philanthropy that aims to harness the insights and creativity within oppressed groups.
The four Democratic board members — Chair Brownie Newman, Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Commissioners Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides — have all signed letters asking state officials to withhold their support from the proposal. In February, Democratic Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller announced that his office would no longer honor ICE detainers.
A new statewide report on women’s health was unveiled June 25 in Asheville. Mercy Urgent Care is now an in-network service provider for eligible veterans using Veterans Administration benefits. The Asheville Yoga Festival will be held Thursday-Sunday, July 25-28, and one-day passes and a discount for Buncombe County residents are now available.
The questionnaire will advise the city on which updates and renovations of the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium best serve community needs. Once the survey is completed, Earl Swensson Associates Architects will draft programming and conceptual designs for the building.
“Building a Climate-Resilient Asheville,” debuted during a June 19 meeting of the city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment at The Collider, focuses on practical steps individuals can take to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather.
In the Center for Cultural Preservation’s latest documentary, Guardians of Our Troubled Waters: River Heroes of the South, filmmaker David Weintraub investigates the history of figures such as French Broad crusader Wilma Dykeman and the roles they played in fostering environmental change.
The genetically engineered chestnuts contain a gene from wheat that breaks down the main toxin produced by the chestnut blight. If federal regulators sign off on the GE trees, which could happen as early as next year, the foundation could use them freely both in its managed orchards and in actual forest settings.