March 29 Housing and Community Development Committee meeting

Housing and Community Developmen­t Committee struggles with nonprofit grant requests

“I don’t know how to stretch $230,000 into three-quarters of a million. I just don’t know how to do it. Maybe if I had Jesus here with the fish, and he was feeding everybody, maybe we could do that,” said committee member Keith Young to laughter from the audience. “That’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek response, but it is tough.”

Ahead of meeting, DOT backs off four lanes for Amboy and Meadow roads

The N.C. Department of Transportation has begun planning for a project intended to improve traffic flow and add facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists along the corridor that connects West Asheville and Biltmore Village. But with neighbors gearing up to oppose what they feared would be a plan to widen both Amboy and Meadow roads to four lanes, a DOT engineer says the agency has already taken that option off the table.

Asheville government­, schools, nonprofits launch effort to address achievemen­t gap

A group representing government, education, business and nonprofit organizations is coalescing to form a community response to a severe racial achievement gap in Asheville City Schools. But it’s not yet clear how the initiative will define its goals and approach — and what resources it can attract to fund the effort.

Asheville GreenWorks pruning workshop

Urban forestry proposals aim to save Asheville’­s trees

By adding a dedicated urban forester, crafting an urban forest master plan and strengthening the current municipal tree ordinance, say members of Asheville’s Tree Commission, the city can manage its growth in a greener and more climate-resilient way. “The more hard surface we have, the more green we need to balance it out,” says commission chair Stephen Hendricks.

News briefs: Asheville Habitat celebrates women in constructi­on

Women make up over half of the local nonprofit’s construction staff and work in roles that provide new construction, home repair, volunteer coordination and construction administration. Each year, the Women Build Advocacy Team — aka WomBATs — recruits female volunteers and raises funds. This year’s Women Build House will come together on May 7.

Lynne Forrest brings The Reality Formula to Asheville

Author Lynne Forrest will present a three-hour workshop Sunday, March 10, at Jubilee! Community in downtown Asheville. The goal, she explains, will be to help participants “get in touch with the limited story they are believing about themselves in the world, and then I will give them tools to see it in a different light.” The event is a fundraiser for Woman to Woman WNC, which promotes women’s self-empowerment.

News briefs: County dollars go to affordable housing, economic incentives

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners doled out a $2.2 million loan for an affordable housing complex in Swannanoa and over $200,000 in economic development incentives at its Feb. 5 meeting. The city of Asheville held two public sessions seeking input on the selection of a new police chief. Residents can also weigh in via an online survey through March 1.

Mission Hospital

News briefs: HCA completes acquisitio­n of Mission Health; Dogwood Trust establishe­d

As a result of the HCA acquisition of Mission Health, proceeds of the sale created the Dogwood Health Trust, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is “to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities in Western North Carolina,” according to a press release from the trust.

White irisette

Polk County hosts nationally significan­t species diversity

“The vagaries of climate and geology and time and the dispersal mechanisms of plants and animals too — all of those things, just over vast eons of time, have given Polk County this sweet spot,” says botanist David Campbell. His inventory of the county lists 32 significant natural heritage areas, as well as 127 rare or watch-list plant species found at those sites.

New report examines health care disparitie­s among transgende­r population­s

Asheville-based nonprofit Campaign for Southern Equality, along with Western North Carolina Community Health Services, released a study last month detailing the health care experiences of transgender and nonbinary people. Transgender Health in the South centers on the experiences of a diverse focus group of people from transgender communities across six Southern states, including North Carolina. […]