ICYMI: Xpress feature reads from the week

Cherokee heirloom seeds, saved from a previous harvest, will soon produce new yield thanks to a seed saving program from the Center For Cherokee Plants. Read more in Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt's story "Empowerment from the Earth." Photo by George Etheredge

The work week goes by fast and it’s not always easy to factor in time for a leisurely read. But if you’re looking to spend some time this weekend relaxing and getting caught up on what you missed in the last seven days, we’re here to help. Here’s a roundup of Xpress‘ feature stories from the last week. Happy reading!


"The Hunt" is the new album from Asheville musician Adrienne Ammerman.
“The Hunt” is the new album from Asheville musician Adrienne Ammerman.

Local author Sara Gruen pens an all-consuming new novel
By Alli Marshall

Author Sara Gruen gets lost in her books. “I wasn’t able to immerse myself completely with Water for Elephants,” the Asheville-based author says of her 2006 best-seller that became a film starring Reese Witherspoon. “The type of circus I was writing about no longer existed.” But for her new book, Gruen spent a total of five weeks in the British Isles, researching, absorbing the culture and immersing herself — literally. (Continue reading)

Sound track: “The Hunt” by Adrienne Ammerman
By Alli Marshall

Each of the 13 tracks on Adrienne Ammerman‘s new album The Hunt is relatively short: only three go over the four minute mark. They’re minimalistic, too — a strummed guitar, bare-bones percussion — allowing for the melody to be carried by Ammerman’s voice. And that’s the magic of this record. It’s spare but rich, each song a perfectly encapsulated story, each story underscored by its own emotional tone, a soft touch that cuts to the quick. (Continue reading)


DONE: Katuah Market owner John Swann.
Katuah Market, owned by John Swann, closed this week.

Katuah Market owner cites location, competition as store closes
By Max Hunt

No Asheville industry has seen stiffer competition than the area’s grocery store market in recent years. The latest indication of the high stakes involved surfaced March 17 when Katuah Market, a locally owned, locally sourced food store and deli, announced it was closing on after struggling to compete in a saturated market for the past year. Katuah attributed the struggles to “location, difficult ingress-egress and relentless corporate competition.” (Continue reading)

Give me a break: A behind-the-scenes peek at restaurant deals
By Jacqui Castle

Websites such as Groupon and local outfit Asheville Deal offer patrons an opportunity to try out, at a discounted rate, restaurants they might not otherwise venture into. It’s obvious what’s in it for diners, but why do successful local establishments opt to take part in these programs? (Continue reading)


The Cancer Support House community garden
The garden at Cherokee’s Cancer Support House is one of several garden-based community building efforts.

Empowerment from the Earth
By Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt

Cherokee is a community in flux. Decadeslong high poverty and unemployment rates are beginning to decline, but access to healthy food remains limited and cultural values seem to be changing. “It’s Western civilization versus our traditional Cherokee ways,” say community leaders. But community efforts are using gardens to reconnect the Cherokee people to local food, health and a collective heritage defined by knowledge of the earth. (Continue reading)


Bringing It Home
The inaugural Bringing It Home conference encouraged a conversation about local economy.

Common wealth: Bringing It Home conference ponders local paths to collective prosperity
By Kat McReynolds

“Let’s rethink the economy,” urged Ed Whitfield of the Greensboro-based Fund for Democratic Communities, the keynote speaker at Asheville’s inaugural Bringing It Home conference. His clarion call — simple in conception, but challenging to execute — espoused a sense of shared responsibility that seemed to permeate every interaction during the March 18 event, manifesting in candid panel discussions, probing question-and-answer sessions and impassioned side conversations as some 192 individuals brainstormed the best routes to collective prosperity. (Continue reading)


Step up: “If we really take a step back and examine ourselves, then you’ll find that the change you want to see in this world is the change you need to be,” observes Keynon Lake, whose mentorship program, My Daddy Taught Me That, teaches kids about personal responsibility.
Keynon Lake’s mentorship program, My Daddy Taught Me That, teaches kids about personal responsibility to themselves and their communities.

We also rolled out some selections from the 2015 Get It! Guide. The entire publication can be found on stands and online.

Asheville tries to keep pace with rising demands for sidewalks, bike lanes
By Jake Frankel

Asheville is faced with a rising interest in transportation alternatives, but the path to greater advances seems to be lined with historic neglect and budgetary hurdles. The city still has a long walk ahead to fulfill its 2004 goal of building 108 miles of sidewalks. In the last decade, Asheville has constructed only about 18 miles worth. (Continue reading)

The consequence of waste: Buncombe’s discarded problem is piling up
By Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt

Week in, week out, our trash is bagged, tied, dragged to the street, left behind in cavernous dumpsters and promptly forgotten. The cycle is hypnotically simple: take it out, toss it in and worry about it no more. But this isn’t magic — it’s a convenient illusion that prevents us from seeing the true costs of what we so casually throw away. And the cycle of waste often comes with unseen but enormous societal, economic and environmental tolls. (Continue reading)

Watering the sprouts
By Jordan Foltz

When it comes to creating a resilient community, it’s important to consider the education we offer our youths. Education has the potential to empower future generations with the values, understanding and connections necessary for everyday actions that nurture a healthier world. What can we as parents and mentors do to water our sprouts so that they will grow strong? Where are we falling short, and what is necessary to empower upcoming generations to succeed? Some parents and teachers are seeing our children’s education fall short. It’s time to consider “who” we are graduating into the world, they say — and shift the focus from memorization and abstract academia to purpose and values. (Continue reading)

Conservation in WNC — where we’re going, where we’ve been
By Cameron Huntly

Long before the age of Internet lists and online travel magazines, people came to Asheville and Western North Carolina for the intrinsic natural beauty. But if the beauty of our environment is what many say makes this place, are we adequately protecting what we have? What initiatives are underway to help ensure that the region remains a respite and a haven for generations to come? (Continue reading)


Thanks for reading through to the end…

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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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