PRICELESS PROPERTY: DuPont State Recreational Forest encompasses waterfalls, trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, and open space for public enjoyment. The forest has received funding through the state's Natural Heritage, Parks and Recreation and Clean Water Management trust funds. N.C. legislators are considering allotments to those funds as well as other spending related to the environment as they meet in Raleigh to finalize the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Photo by Rob Travis courtesy of the Friends of DuPont Forest

WNC environmen­tal programs and agencies could see more cuts in new state budget

Local legislators and environmental advocates share their thoughts on which state budgetary and policy decisions could have a big impact on WNC’s environment in the coming fiscal year and beyond. They cited issues including the state’s response to novel contaminants like GenX chemicals, the budget for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and funding for the Clean Water Management, Parks and Recreation and Farmland Preservation trust funds.

BUYING TIME: While some requested data about the Asheville Police Department will be released soon, city staffer Scott Barnwell, right, told City Council, other records requested by activists and Council members will take longer to be made public. Photo by Daniel Walton

Police accountabi­lity and transparen­cy focus of City Council meeting

Amid calls for increased public access to policing data, Asheville City Council left the city’s volunteer board dedicated to hearing residents’ concerns about law enforcement in place for now. At the same time, the elected officials noted many vacancies on the Citizens Police Advisory Committee and signaled their longterm intent to dissolve the body once the newly forming Human Relations Commission has gotten up and running.

Mission Health CEO Dr. Ron Paulus shares his rationale behind the health system's intended sale to Hospital Corporation of America.

Mission Health sale, policing top conversati­on at CIBO breakfast meeting

Mission Health President and CEO Dr. Ron Paulus sees system expansion through mergers as a nearly inevitable survival tactic in the current healthcare environment. “There are many leaders — not me, but Mayo Clinic and others — that believe within 25 years, there will be maybe four or five health systems in the U.S.,” he said.

GUNNING FOR THE BADGE: Five experienced law enforcement officers (some retired) are battling for position to step into Sheriff
Van Duncan’s shoes. The candidates are, from left, Randy Smart, Quentin Miller, R. Daryl Fisher, Chris Winslow and Rondell Lance.
Early voting is underway for the primary, to be held May 8. Photos courtesy of the candidates

Five Democrats vie to advance to general election for Buncombe sheriff

Buncombe County Democrats are picking their choice for a new sheriff in the primary election on May 8. The five Democratic candidates have differing takes on how to shape the next iteration of the office. And though they find common ground on topics from drugs to community engagement, competition is fierce as they vie for […]

DEJA VU: Ben Scales, left, is running against Todd Williams again for the position as the
county’s chief prosecutor. This time, Williams is the incumbent, and Scales is running as
a Democrat. Photos courtesy of the candidates

Williams and Scales replay fight for Buncombe DA title

If this year’s primary race for Buncombe County district attorney seems a bit familiar, that could be because it’s happened before. After then-defense attorney Todd Williams upset six-term officeholder Ron Moore in the 2014 Democratic primary (with no Republicans or Libertarians competing), Ben Scales collected nearly 8,000 signatures to get on the general election ballot […]

Student protestors with signs

Asheville students protest gun violence at downtown rally

Several hundred students from Asheville-area schools gathered in front of the Vance Monument before marching to Pack Square Park on Friday, April 20, in protest of gun violence and support of gun law reform. The rally, organized by student leaders from Odyssey High School, was part of a nationwide student walkout on the anniversary of […]