ICYMI: Xpress feature reads from the week

“Humans need each other,” says John Mahshie who runs the therapeutic farming program Veterans Healing Farm. “Society as a whole leaves us more isolated than we have ever been. … [And] isolation is one of the biggest issues with veterans specifically.” Read more in Jordan Foltz's story "On a misson." Photo by George Etheredge

Looking for some longform (or longerform) reads to cozy up with over the weekend? Here’s a round-up of our leading feature stories from the last seven days. Happy reading!

dep
Local electronic artist dep is composing a new song every day in May.

Arts

NewSong gives big chances to small musical acts
By Alli Marshall

The NewSong Contest, which has been running for 15 years, attracts musicians from around the world and across all genres. The 12 contest finalists play for a panel of judges at Lincoln Center in New York, and the winner walks away with a prize package aimed at taking a career to the next level: a performance at ASCAP Cafe during the Sundance Film Festival, another concert at Lincoln Center and a chance to record an album on the NewSong Recordings label. (Continue reading)
 
 
A song a day in May — dep’s “Mayday 2015″
By Alli Marshall

Local musician and composer Danny Peck, aka dep, has set a challenge for himself this month: To compose, record and post one song each day. The project, called Mayday 2015, is being updated a song at a time on Bandcamp and Facebook where listeners can stream and purchase the music. (Continue reading)


A HIGHER STANDARD: In opting to purchase mostly non-GMO and organic products for his restaurant — including only non-GMO corn chips and fryer oil — Mamacita’s owner John Atwater says he is trying to use his purchasing power to send a message. “The more interest we place on holding products up to a higher standard, I think that educates everyone, from the employees that work with us to the vendors that sell the products,” says Atwater.
Mamacita’s owner John Atwater is opting to purchase mostly non-GMO and organic products for his restaurant. Photo by Tim Robinson

Food

GMOs: Yes or no? Local restaurants seek to meet demand for non-GMO foods
By Krista L. White

On April 27, Chipotle Mexican Grill became the first national restaurant chain to ban genetically modified ingredients from its menu. But while the company has made headlines across the U.S. for its bold stance against the industry’s claim that all food is created equal, many Asheville restaurants have been waging a much quieter war of their own for years. (Continue reading)
 
 
The MacNeill Uncorked: Local wineries partner for the nation’s second wine train tour
By Jonathan Ammons

Through the windows of the train, lush green mountains roll into bending rivers and swirling rapids, and kayakers battle their way through the Nantahala Gorge. Inside the train, they’re just taking away the plates from dinner. A server refills your glass with wine made just a few counties over, while the rugged Appalachian landscape drifts by, natural and untouched save for the tracks that cut through the hills like a vein. (Continue reading)
 
 
Bonfire Barbecue to open in West Asheville
By Kat McReynolds

Barbecue, a culinary institution in North Carolina, is both uniting and divisive at once. While the decision to partake in a barbecue feast is generally an easy one, heated discussions surrounding the area’s best meats, sauces and sides are quick to follow. This summer, the debate continues with newcomer Bonfire Barbecue. (Continue reading)


Veterans Helping Veterans
“I’ve seen veterans really resonate with the idea of being able to continue their service in civilian life,” says Timothy Sadler, outreach coordinator for VHVWNC. Photo by George Etheredge

Living

On a mission: Getting to the root of what veterans in transition need
By Jordan Foltz

Transitioning from the mission-driven military to ordinary civilian life is often when vets slip into unemployment, depression or homelessness. But two farming programs in WNC are working to give veterans a connection to the land, to their community and to a sense of purpose that so many seek. (Continue reading)
 
 
Western Carolina Medical Society tackles physician burnout
By Clarke Morrison

Doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and other medical professionals are getting burned out, and the Asheville-based physicians organization Western Carolina Medical Society has taken notice. A 2014 survey showed that the problem is prevalent in the region.(Continue reading)
 
 
Local companies create dream room for teen leukemia survivor
By Hayley Benton

After battling leukemia for more than two years, Megan received her final chemotherapy treatment in March — a huge victory for the family.But as they recovered from a constant state of worry, it became clear that the four Vess children, still sharing a single room, were growing out of their space. Meanwhile, in Asheville, Armour’s team at Keller Williams was looking for a charitable project for the company’s “RED Day.” (Continue reading)
 
 
Bicycle tourism: a growing factor in Western North Carolina
By Able Allen

May flowers are here, bringing National Bike Month along for the ride. In anticipation of future tourists on bikes, a coalition of organizations in the western counties gave them a boost by supporting a new study by Kostelec Planning. (Continue reading)


Quantifying tourism on the Blue Ridge Parkway can be difficult, due to its length and use by both locals and visitors.
Quantifying tourism on the Blue Ridge Parkway can be difficult, due to its length and use by both locals and visitors.

News

Will new hotels overwhelm Asheville’s carrying capacity?
By Daniel Hall

Asheville currently has about 7,200 hotel and motel rooms that are subject to the 4 percent occupancy tax levied on room sales. And if all of those current hotel projects came to fruition (which is by no means guaranteed), it would add at least 1,115 more, boosting the total number by 15 to 20 percent. (Continue reading)
 
 
Cash cows: How national and state parks boost N.C. communities
By Max Hunt

To many Western North Carolina residents, the region’s parks and recreational areas represent a chance to experience our state’s natural beauty and preserve its rich history. But what’s often overlooked is these attractions’ key role in bolstering local economies. (Continue reading)

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About Carrie Eidson
Multimedia journalist and Green Scene editor at Mountain Xpress. Part-time Twitterer @mxenv but also reachable at ceidson@mountainx.com. Follow me @carrieeidson

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