FULL HOUSE: A sell-out crowd gathered for the Asheville Downtown Association's State of Downtown luncheon on Jan. 31 at the U.S. Cellular Center. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Annual State of Downtown event focuses on investment­, opportunit­y

At the Asheville Downtown Association’s annual State of Downtown luncheon, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Buncombe County Commission Chair Brownie Newman touted lists of major public projects and initiatives that benefit downtown. Meanwhile, urban planning consultant Joe Minicozzi argued that tax revenue data show more municipal investment in downtown is both warranted and needed.

Peer pressure: Kevin Mahoney and Geena Hammond, both with the nonprofit Sunrise Community, will lend their expertise to a new diversion program the Buncombe County district attorney is rolling out that’s aimed at prioritizing treatment over convictions.

Cure for pain: Preventing opioid-related deaths

Buncombe County, like many places across the country, is in the throes of an opioid epidemic, many local sources say. Despite law enforcement efforts and increased awareness of overprescribing, the last few years have seen a dramatic rise in opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Between 2005 and 2014, the county had 110 homicides, according to the […]

COLD COMFORT: Since 2006, electric heat pumps have replaced over 12,000 oil- or propane-fired furnaces in WNC. While the heat pumps can be highly efficient at moderate temperatures, engineers and energy industry experts say they are less so when the mercury drops below freezing. Data from the Energy Innovation Task Force and Duke Energy; graphic by Scott Southwick

Heat pumps drive rapid growth in WNC’s peak electricit­y demand

Using data provided by Duke Energy, a local task force has shown that much of the growth in WNC’s peak electrical demand is driven by the conversion of existing oil- and propane-fired heating systems to electric heat pumps. Slowing the growth in peak demand is the mission of the task force, which hopes to delay or eliminate the need for one of three new power plants proposed for Duke Energy’s Lake Julian station.

Nonprofit agencies will make their case for funding from Buncombe County's upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2018. A total of 46 nonprofits are asking for an aggregate of almost $11 million.

Resolution against discrimina­tion, committee appointmen­ts among first issues new board will consider

The newly constituted Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will hold its first post-election meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The agenda is relatively light and will be the first helmed by Brownie Newman, who is transitioning from commissioner to chair, and will be the inaugural meeting for Commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Robert Pressley. The board will […]

BUDGET FINALIZED: The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a budget during its meeting June 21. The spending plan includes a property tax hike of 2.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

UPDATED: Spending takes off in Buncombe commission­er races; Chair candidates loan campaigns big bucks

The two candidates for Chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners have loaned their campaigns a combined total of $272,000. Democrat Brownie Newman loaned his campaign $42,000 and Republican Chuck Archerd loaned himself $230,000 according to the candidates’ campaign finance reports.