The day Hazel Fobes showed me up

When I look back at the early ’90s, I can remember a lot of issues that everyone worked on. Specifically, though, when I think about Green Line and then the Mountain Xpress, I am reminded of publisher Jeff Fobes’ mother, Hazel Fobes. She attended meeting after meeting, waiting to speak her opinion on all kinds of issues, from the problems with a water source to zoning issues. She was dedicated to her causes.

I recall one public hearing during the winter that went on into the night. The snow was coming down and the roads were getting really slick. I sat next to Hazel and we were both worried about the worsening weather. As always, we were the only audience members at 11:15 at night. Hazel spoke last after hearing me ask her to shorten her remarks. She didn’t, of course, because that was not her style. Afterwards, I walked her to her car and it was really slick.

The next morning, there was an early meeting at the Water Authority. I waited for a while to come into town until the roads got better, so I missed the meeting. At another meeting later that day, Hazel came up to me and asked why I missed the water meeting. That was Hazel Fobes, one of the most colorful and diligent figures in the area at the time.

Mike Plemmons is a lifelong Buncombe County resident and is executive director of the Council of Independent Business Owners.

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