For at least five years, Asheville City Council members have debated and grappled with some of the most pressing issues facing Asheville in regularly scheduled private meetings with city staff — meetings that are outside of public view.
On top of the $1.3 million Asheville paid to sponsor the U.S. Open tennis tournament, the public tourism board spent more than $70,000 in expenses that included catering and travel for their staff, board members and guests, nearly $25,000 on Asheville-branded beer coozies, and more than $1,000 on floral arrangements.
A year has passed since Buncombe County recorded its first Covid-19 death on March 28, 2020. Since then, another 293 people have died. In the official government record, they’ll be remembered as statistics of a pandemic that killed swiftly and indiscriminately, but to their families, friends and neighbors, they were so much more.