IN THE BEGINNING: Reputed to be the third oldest river in the world, the French Broad has gone from a polluted industrial dumping ground to a key cog in Western North Carolina’s outdoor and tourism industries. This renaissance is a result of government, nonprofit, and individual efforts to improve water quality throughout the watershed. Photo by Mike Belleme; courtesy of Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority

Communitie­s along Upper French Broad work to restore water quality

In this two-part series, Xpress invites you on a guided a trip down the river as we examine the work of various communities to write the next chapter in the French Broad’s history, beginning with Transylvania and Henderson counties.

KISS ME: Bradley Johnston has worked with cows all his life, so it makes sense that the Mills River farmer feels as comfortable clowning around with the herd as he does with his human friends. Photo by Kendra Topalian

Bradley Johnston brings boutique dairy farming to Mills River

Mills River native Bradley Johnston has worked with cows all his life, but his newest venture — Mills River Creamery — is a departure from the high-volume wholesale dairy trade he used to practice. Johnston’s small herd of Jersey cows eat non-GMO feed and produce a type of milk that many find easier to digest than the usual supermarket fare.

HIGH TENSION WIRES: Residents around Henderson County are speaking out publicly over a 45 mile Duke transmission line project they say may adversely effect their community. Photo courtesy of Kathy Ziprik.

High tension wires: Duke Energy and Henderson County residents at odds over proposed transmissi­on lines

Power giant Duke Energy’s proposal for a 45-mile transmission line through Western North Carolina, part of the company’s multifaceted Western Carolinas Modernization project to upgrade and integrate the mountains with a larger regional power grid, is meeting staunch opposition from residents since the company announced its intentions in mid-July.

JOBS ON TAP: Sierra Nevada is hiring for front-of-house, back-of-house and supervisory positions at its new taproom and restaurant, slated to open this winter. Photo by Thom O'Hearn

Sierra Nevada announces plans to hire 150 for taproom, restaurant

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Mills River announced today that it’s readying for a major hiring push to staff its new taproom and restaurant. According to an email from the company’s beer ambassador, Bill Manlely, the Chico, Calif.-based brewery is seeking to fill at total of 150 slots. “We’re looking to add an additional 150 staff members in both front-of-the-house, back-of-the-house and […]

Bring high-speed Internet to Mills River

I am grateful to the town of Mills River for providing a very nice new library and town hall (and soon a wonderful park) with high-speed Internet access available during weekday business hours. The library has been a big help to me as my work as a freelance writer and editor requires a high-speed connection. […]

The big kibosh

Developer Tony Fraga has decided to abandon his massive Haywood Park proposal for downtown Asheville, which included a pair of 20-plus-story high-rises. Attorney Lou Bissette delivered the news to the Asheville City Council during its Nov. 11 meeting. Walking away: Developer Tony Fraga sent word to Asheville City Council that he was withdrawing his proposed […]

Raindrops

A welcome sound woke me at 2 a.m. one recent Saturday: Plunk … plunk … . I listened: It was faint and dull. It could be a raccoon fiddling with my trash-can lid (too faint for a bear, too loud for a mouse—we have both here). Plunk. Plunk. Pit. Pat pat pitter-pat. Rain hitting my […]