Letters to the editor

Justice wears a mask in immigration court Recently, while waiting in a lobby of an immigration court, the attorney called for me to enter for the judgment. The case of a young Salvadoran and his wife had been quickly processed in this administrative courtroom. After hurriedly reading the court’s judgment, the immigration judge finally looked […]

Kicking up a Celtic storm

Natalie MacMaster is a pyrotechnic performer with more lift than a NASA launch pad. This step-dancing dervish in skin-tight neon pants kicks higher than her waist — simultaneously launching into a full-blown fiddling frenzy. You can practically see smoke beneath the blur of her fingertips, curls of 24-karat golden hair fly every which way, and […]

Asheville City Council

When almost no one shows up for your party, someone’s got to pat you on the shoulder and say, “Don’t feel so bad.” That’s what residents told Asheville City Council members on March 31. Council hosted its first community meeting of 1998 that evening, at the city’s Public Works Building in central Asheville. Problem was, […]

Annexation­: Good for everyone?

A typical city annexation could bring nearly $2 million in new tax revenues to Asheville every year. But how does that amount compare to the cost of providing water, sewer, police, garbage and fire-protection services to newly annexed residents? No one’s entirely sure. Looking for ways to increase city revenues, Asheville City Council members wanted […]

Goodbye, hello, landscape painting

A farmed valley, vast under the fanning rays of a setting sun. A cottage, petite and cunning, set beside a singing brook. Cliffs and gulls; the stray grassy knoll and placid cow. At best, the words “landscape painting” can conjure images of such bucolic vistas — a sort of pastorale cum Rousseau — casting in […]

Cosmoelect­ric power source discovered

In a revolutionary scientific breakthrough, scientists at the Asheville Chakra Center have discovered a free, unlimited source of power, dubbed “cosmoelectric.” “During morning meditation one day, we were pondering how hydroelectric plants use running water to generate electricity,” said Dr. R.U. Vedic, “when we realized that the future is constantly flowing through the present into […]

Know your sewers

True or false: The Metropolitan Sewerage District is a branch of Buncombe County government. Answer: False. If you guessed right, you’re doing well: In a recent survey, 36 percent of Buncombe County residents had the mistaken impression that their sewage is treated by a county agency; another 26 percent figured the MSD is connected to […]

A garden of artful delights

In your torment of impatience for spring, that perennial temptress, consider this: It took local nature sculptor Tom Jordan seven years to finish his first piece (which he describes as an “unnamed dragon”). What’s more, the earthy fodder for Jordan’s art is actually the harvest of the winter months. The dried vine tendrils, seed pods, […]

In search of the yellow-bellied sapsucker

When I was 9 years old, I thought the dark-eyed junco sounded like a character from Don Quixote. But when I found a discarded, half-burned field-guide on birds, I discovered that it’s actually a little gray-backed, white-bellied bird (junco hyemalis) that darts through high-elevation woodlands, building mossy nests tucked into the crevices of steep embankments. […]

The serial killer inside

“Poor Horace,” the teacher had written in the comments section of Horace Benjamin Beach’s first-grade report card. “There’s something terribly wrong in his home. Whatever shall we do for him?” Forty years later, forensic psychologist Faye Sultan wrestled with the same question: What to do for Horace? But by then, the stakes had been raised […]

Letters to the editor

A way to stop unsafe police driving When I see law-enforcement officers driving down the road, I pay attention to their driving etiquette. Sometimes they drive courteously and respectfully, but as many times as not, they are driving aggressively and unsafely. I have wanted to see a system installed whereby a citizen can call in […]

Asheville City Council

Newspaper editors don’t usually attend City Council meetings, much less address Council members. But on Feb. 10, new Asheville Citizen-Times Executive Editor George Benge went after Council like a bulldog. Thwarted despite repeated requests for access to 30 years’ worth of cable-franchise-fee documents, Benge accused Assistant City Attorney Patsy Meldrum of having a conflict of […]

A crash course in miracles

“There’s no dialogue,” says Ron McIntyre-Fender, adding, “In auditioning for a role like Helen Keller, you look for someone with pure gut instincts.” The director of Asheville Community Theatre’s version of William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker goes on to stress the unusual challenge facing the winner of that role. “It has to be someone that […]

Letters to the editor

Champion should clean up its mess A recent article in the Asheville Citizen-Times brought to light the fact that Champion International recently bought a new paper mill in Brazil. The company has extensive landholdings in the South American country and is looking to “expand” its presence there. At the same time, Champion is trying to […]

Letters to the editor

Rep. Taylor should represent us Charles Taylor seems to be the representative of the “significant opposition,” not the “broad support,” on the American Heritage River designation of the French Broad. He claims 3-to-1 opposition, but his office will not reveal specific numbers. However, they acknowledged that the opposition number was less than 1,000. Knowing that […]

Chick sleuths

Imagine this: Sherlock Holmes — that’s right, the pipe-smoking, “Watson, you putz” guru of detective fiction, in his ubiquitous overcoat … and what is that? a deer-hunting cap? — lies on his bed, the better to slither into a pair of too-tight jeans, just so he can hit the town, dressed to the Halloween nines […]

Letters to the editor

Why you shouldn’t invest in the stock market The stock market is usually an irresponsible place to invest. Stock investors often have no idea what their money does to people and the Earth. It is an absentee ownership so far removed from accountability that many think only numbers are involved. Because no one feels personally […]

Asheville City Council

When you’re all wet … shake it off and laugh. That’s how Asheville City Council members took the latest developments in their proposed purchase of the French Broad Golf Center, after a six-inch rainfall on Jan. 7 left only the flags on some greens still visible. Council members and city staff know how to take […]

Buncombe County Commission

Many Buncombe County residents love their junkers, and in a Jan. 13 public hearing peppered with laughs, applause and controversy, a whole heap of those folks let the Buncombe County Commissioners know it. In a courtroom three times the size of the chambers where the commissioners usually meet — but still not big enough to […]

The secret language of jazz

It’s a tough gig, you’d think, playing jazz in a small Southern city known for its devotion to folk and bluegrass. But that’s not the way Luci Anne Evans and Tom Coppola see it. “Are you kidding?” Evans says, rolling her eyes. “Musicians in Manhattan wish they could live here. When they sleep at night, […]


Award-winning rest areas When you’re cruising down a North Carolina highway, your legs crossed tight and trembling as you pray, “Please, Lord, let me make it to a bathroom soon,” that rest area looming up ahead may seem like heaven. Desperation aside, however, the N.C. Department of Transportation recently singled out four of the 61 […]