Asheville council to take up Pack Place issues

(Asheville Citizen-Times) City Council is scheduled to take on the controversial issue of who is responsible for what at Pack Place on Tuesday, potentially pushing the nonprofit that has operated the cultural center out of the picture. Council is scheduled to vote on leases for space in the building between the city and each of its three occupants: Asheville Art Museum, Colburn Earth Science Museum and Diana Wortham Theatre. That would bring to an end the primary mission of the nonprofit, also called Pack Place, and raise questions about whether Buncombe County government will continue to pay for utilities and other costs to operate the building. Building occupants may take on more of the burden of keeping the building in good condition.

Read the full story HERE>

Asheville graffiti initiative makes headway

(Mountain XPress) Asheville’s new initiative to clean up graffiti seems to be making headway. Starting July 1, the city began offering property owners up to $500 in assistance toward the cost of removing the illicit markings from their buildings. And as of today, July 16, 67 property owners have requested support and 9 locations have been cleaned up, according to Brian Postelle, the city’s public information specialist. “The clean up is expected to ramp up toward the beginning of next week now that many of those who have signed up have completed the necessary waivers allowing contractors to access their property,” says Postelle. The temporary city assistance, which is funded in part by a $30,000 gift from an anonymous donor, ends Sept. 30. To request the funding, property owners can call 259-5960, email or use the Asheville App, available for free download here.

Read the full article HERE>

Think small, grow big: Urban farming, without the farm

(Mountain XPress) Many in Asheville may think their living situation doesn’t allow for a garden. Perhaps they live in an apartment building, have only a small yard, have a landlord who restricts use of the yard or move too frequently to establish a garden. Falconhurst Community Garden is a backyard garden for people who may not have a backyard. It’s also a perfect example of something big that grew from something small. The garden began 10 years ago, in a small space between two homes in West Asheville, when Abby Walker and her neighbor decided to grow vegetables for their families in a tiny communal garden. Over time, other neighbors became interested in participating in the neighborhood garden, but that would require a larger space. In the back of the Walkers’ property sits a hillside where five different properties converged — once “an extra, unmowed, unused space,” Walker says. Four years ago, Walker and her neighbors decided to turn part of that space into a communal backyard — now used by 10-30 community members to grow food and hold neighborhood potlucks and gatherings.

Read the full story HERE>

Meadows’ Bill Releasing ‘Road to Nowhere’ Funds to Swain County Advances

(Staff Reports) 1350 WZGM –  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Agreement Act of 2013, H.R. 3806, introduced by Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), advanced through the House Committee on Natural Resources on Wednesday. The bill directs Congress to release funds to Swain County, NC for the “Road to Nowhere.” Currently, the National Park Service (NPS) is withholding $4 million that was allocated to Swain County back in 2012 as part of a settlement with the federal government over a road that was supposed to be constructed as payment for the county when they conveyed land to the NPS for Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1943, but the road was never built. After a long back and forth, the county reached a settlement in 2010 with the federal government, which agreed to pay Swain County $52 million.

The county has received an initial payment, but the $4 million allocated in 2012 is being held up by the NPS. “The residents of Swain County are still waiting on funds that were allocated by Congress more than two years ago. I hope my colleagues in the House will join me in fulfilling this promise to the people of Swain County by bringing this bill to the floor for a vote,” Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said.

In May, Congressman Meadows and former Congressman Heath Shuler, testified together before the House Sub-committee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation urging it to release the funds allocated to Swain County. “I thank Congressman Shuler for his willingness to partner with me to assist my constituents in Western North Carolina. I also thank Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) for their help in moving this legislation forward,” Meadows added.

Common Core elimination bill heading to Governor for signature

(Associated Press) The Common Core curriculum standards that dictate what’s taught in grade school classrooms across the state are on their way out. The House approved a compromise bill, 71-34, Wednesday to rewrite the statewide curriculum to better tailor it for North Carolina students. The bill now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory; in a statement released minutes after the bill was passed, he said he would sign it. The bill repeals Common Core for the state’s K-12 standards and directs the State Board of Education to come up with new ones. A new standards advisory commission would be formed to make recommendations to the board. The commission would be made up of 11 members, some appointed by legislative leaders, one by the governor and others by the State Board of Education.

Read the full report HERE>

Concert review: Beck at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium

(Mountain XPress) I’m not a fan of the whole “killing it” thing, but rarely has there been a more apt usage of the term than at the end of Beck‘s show at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Following the searing, sweat-drenching, absolute mayhem of the seven-piece band’s performance of “E-Pro,” Beck literally wrapped the stage in crime scene tape. It was thoroughly killed. But really, from the opening notes of the first song — they launched with “Devil’s Haircut” and a retina-scorching backdrop of lights and geometric shapes — it was clear the band meant business. (Even AC Entertainment’s Ashley Capps tweeted that Beck’s Asheville show was “super high energy and off the hook.”)

Read the full review HERE>

Native brook trout make a mountain comeback

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Western North Carolina’s only native trout are strikingly beautiful and live in remote, high-elevation streams. “They almost look hand-painted,” said Curtis, owner of Curtis Wright Outfitters, a fly shop and guide service with shops in Asheville and Weaverville. “The fall colors, when they’re spawning, are really vibrant. They live in beautiful places. The scenery and seclusion are part of the experience for me.” The Southern Appalachian fish, genetically distinct from their northern brook trout cousins, have suffered declining numbers for decades because of habitat loss, acid rain and competition from nonnative fish such as rainbow and brown trout. But thanks to well-coordinated collaborative efforts by federal and state agencies along with private groups to restore native brookies to their original range, Curtis and other fly fishermen have more stream miles to pursue the prized fish.

Read the rest of the article HERE>

Be sure to tune in to WNC’s authority on all things fly-fishing, “Tie One On” with Jerry McNeely, every Saturday morning at 10am on 1350 WZGM.

“Speaker of the House” Tim Moffittt?

(Raleigh News & Observer) This year’s General Assembly session has coincided with the ramped-up U.S. Senate campaign of House Speaker Thom Tillis. His bid for federal office also means fellow Republicans are thinking more about whether they’ll succeed Tillis as speaker in 2015. The half-dozen or so GOP lawmakers most discussed for the job have key leadership positions, giving them the opportunity to make an impression by passing legislation or building coalitions before the session soon ends. Others are helping raise funds for GOP candidates, with the hope they’ll be remembered as a team player when incoming House Republicans gather after the November legislative elections to nominate a chamber leader. Several also have filled in for Tillis by presiding over floor debate, potentially helping rank-and-file Republicans envision whether someone can manage the daily legislative work for the next two years. Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe has publicly expressed interest in the speakership.

Read the full story HERE>

City officer stabbed, assailant shot and killed

(Hendersonville Times-News) A Hendersonville police sergeant was stabbed Sunday while responding to a sexual assault call on Third Avenue, followed by an officer-involved shooting in which the assailant was shot and killed. Sgt. Kenny Hipps and K-9 Officer Jennifer Drake were responding to a report of a sexual assault at 146 Third Avenue between 4 and 5 p.m. when they “engaged the suspect,” said Hendersonville Police Chief Herbert Blake. King was shot by Drake, Blake said, although the State Bureau of Investigation is still looking into the incident. As is usual with all officer-involved shootings, the SBI took over the crime scene a block from the Historic Courthouse.

Read the full report HERE>

No spanking: WNC principals turn in their paddles

(Photo Sarah Gonzalez/StateImpact Florida)

(Asheville Citizen-Times)  As a rookie teacher, Rick Spurling remembers his principal encouraging him to paddle students to get his classroom under control. Thirty years later, as superintendent of Mitchell County Schools, Spurling says, “I can’t imagine encouraging somebody to paddle a kid.” As attitudes have shifted, more and more North Carolina school systems have banned corporal punishing — a trend that has escalated in the past few years. Fewer than 10 school systems out of 115 in the state used corporal punishment during the 2012-13 school year, and those systems were using it far less than just a few years ago. Nationwide, 19 states still allow corporal punishment in schools, according to the Center for Effective Discipline. In North Carolina, the state lets each school district decide whether to use it. And some WNC school systems still do. Numbers from the state show that Graham County used it 31 times in 2012-13, Macon used it 15 times and Swain County used it nine times.

Read the full report HERE>


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.