ICYMI: Xpress feature stories from the week

Like 40 percent of rural U.S. households, many rural Buncombe residents can’t get service that meets the Federal Communications Commission’s current definition of broadband. Read more in Cameron Huntley's story "Digital disconnect." Photo by Pat Barcas

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!


Woody Pines album cover
Ashevillean Woody Pines releases self-titled album. Image courtesy of the artist

Local playwright Waylon Wood stages sentimental “Letters and Notes”
By Justin Souther
“It’s a strange process; it’s like osmosis,” says producer, writer and director Waylon Wood of his latest play, Letters and Notes Found on the Windshield at the Piggly Wiggly Parking Lot. “I started this play in college,” Wood says. “It was a play-writing exercise about ‘a declaration of love.'” But the inspiration behind the piece goes back much further than that. (Continue reading)
Sound Track: Woody Pines’ self-titled album
By Alli Marshall
Even at 11 tracks, the new self-titled album from former Ashevillean Woody Pines is just over 30 minutes long. It’s an album that wastes little time. Each note feels precise, the melodies are wrench-tight and the lyrics are delivered with an efficient snap. That said, each of those 11 tracks is packed with humor, history and the kind of nimble rhythms that have your feet tapping before your brain even starts to think about dancing. (Continue reading)


Publix protest
A group of farm workers wants Publix to join its Fair Food Program, a campaign which encourages retail food companies to push for higher labor standards for farm workers. Photo by Pat Barcas

Farm workers to Publix: Join Fair Food Program
By Pat Barcas
The opening of a Florida-based Publix supermarket in South Asheville brought with it fresh produce, sensible prices and protesting farm workers. On May 2, just days after the new store opened, numerous individuals created a picket line along Hendersonville Road across from the market, including many members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers from Immokalee, Fla., a worker-based human rights organization founded in 1993. (Continue reading)
Businesses at 45 S. French Broad Ave. unveil big changes
By Rachel Ingram
A year of renovations to 45 S. French Broad Ave. are nearing completion, says building co-owner Charlie Ball, of Asheville Distilling Co. “We’ve gone from what was essentially a two-tenant building to multiple tenants,” says Ball. Downtown Market has moved into a smaller, 7,700-square-foot space, while Hopey & Co. will almost triple in size to 20,000 square feet. (Continue reading)
Asheville Food Park to offer year-round food destination, social space
By Pat Barcas
The floods of 2004 brought 8 feet of water into the building — previously a bar built in 1948 — sealing its fate after already being shuttered for five years. Slowly, the space hobbled back into the world of commerce as a small produce stand, but it’s now being primed to return to its former glory as a social hub, family gathering place and food spot. (Continue reading)
From the hearth: Smoky Park Supper Club breaks new ground
By Jonathan Ammons
Seen from the road, the pile of repurposed shipping containers looks more like something out of a science fiction movie than the home of a progressive, esoteric restaurant. But when the Smoky Park Supper Club opens sometime this summer, it will also boast something equally curious: an almost entirely wood-fired kitchen. (Continue reading)


The atrium at the Smoky Park Supper Club was constructed by cutting through the floor of the two containers that make up the structures top level. Removing the steel floor — which Hecker says is the thickest and heaviest part of the container — required plasma cutters and a "laborious" process, Hecker adds.
The atrium at the Smoky Park Supper Club was constructed by cutting through the floor of the two containers that make up the structures’ top level.  Photo by Carrie Eidson

City building blocks: Shipping container structures are stacking up in Asheville
By Carrie Eidson
You may have seen them on the glossy pages of lifestyle and design magazines like Dwell or House Beautiful. You’ve likely glimpsed them on your Facebook or Pinterest feed, or scrolled through photos of them on sites like Buzzfeed or Grist. And if you’ve driven though the River Arts District anytime in the last year, you’ve definitely seen them stacked up by the river. Shipping containers seem to be the new architectural craze and city residents and visitors will soon get to explore one of these buildings up close. (Continue reading)
Community Foundation promotes local philanthropy
By Krista White
Contributions to The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina are gifts that literally keep on giving. By investing donated funds and using the earnings in the years to come, the nonprofit provides a legacy for its donors. It now oversees more than $240 million in assets and puts that money to work in the form of grants and scholarships in the 18 westernmost N.C. counties. (Continue reading)
Brevard’s proposed electric vehicle charging station could alter WNC map
By Ned Ryan Doyle
A proposal to establish Transylvania County’s first public charging station could expand options for electric vehicle owners across Western North Carolina. The proposal highlights the need for infrastructure in a sparsely served region to tap a rapidly growing market and its local economic impact. Without at least one such facility, argues Brevard resident Jim Hardy, Transylvania County is essentially discouraging tourism and business development. (Continue reading)
Healthy Eating and Living conference educates medical professionals
By Elizabeth L. Harrison
To help those with eating disorders, first you have to see the problem, and that’s a key focus of the eighth National Healthy Eating and Living Conference being held on Thursday-Friday, May 14-15, at the Hilton Asheville Hotel in Biltmore Park. One of the keynote speakers, Beth Riley, says her battle with anorexia and bulimia went unnoticed by her parents and doctors for years. “No one said a word, ever.” (Continue reading)


A 2014 meeting of the Buncombe County Commissioners.
County Commissioner meeting are running longer — some say because partisan politics are leading to more conflict. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

Digital disconnect: Some Buncombe rural residents get left behind
By Cameron Huntley
Sarah Sanders stands in her driveway, outside the remodeled 19th -century log cabin where she lives with her partner, Allison, and Allison’s two children. Across the road, a cylindrical white-and-orange post with a domed top indicates that a broadband Internet line is buried underneath. But that line doesn’t service her home or those of most of her neighbors. “It’s like it’s just sitting there, mocking us.” (Continue reading)
Nonprofits seek creative funding in Buncombe County
By Hayley Benton
On April 14, representatives from 43 nonprofits requested funding from Buncombe County, as part of the county’s community development grant program. But these organizations make up only 9.6 percent of the total nonprofits in the county. Others rely on privately funded grants and donations, as well as individual donations — both small and large. Each organization must constantly work to grab and hold the public’s attention. And in a city like Asheville, it seems there’s never a shortage of worthy causes. (Continue reading)
Local nonprofits face uncertain future
By Margaret Williams
Hundreds of nonprofits call the Asheville area home, providing services ranging from housing to health, environmental advocacy to youth sports. These groups employ thousands of local folks and help pump nearly $2 billion into the local economy, according to the N. C. Center for Nonprofits. But in the bumpy post-recession landscape, these service-oriented organizations face significant challenges. (Continue reading)
Democracy or bunkum? Buncombe commissioners debate the merits of longer meetings
By Clarke Morrison
Doing the county’s business takes longer these days. Meetings of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners now regularly run three hours or more, some say because of a partisan split and time-consuming conflict. (Continue reading)

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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