Asheville Deemed One of America’s “Smartest Cities”

Photo by Derek Olson

(WLOS Channel 13 News) According to a new list by Forbes, Asheville is one of America’s smartest cities. It ranked eighth on the list of small towns which also includes St. George, Utah (1st), Ocean City, New Jersey (3rd), Wilmington, North Carolina (5th) and Redmond-Bend, Oregon (9th). Forbes compiled the smart city list by looking at the growth of the cities’ college-educated population, saying the small towns have “lured many down-shifting, but often well-educated baby boomers.”

Read the full story HERE>

AdvantageWest gets $1.2 million for ScaleUp WNC

(Asheville Citizen-Times) With 14,000 gallons produced this year, Noble Cider is not the same company it was two years ago when the market’s big thirst for their small batch of 2,000 gallons caused the barrels to run dry before the next apple season.  In less than two years, the local hard cider company has grown its production by 700 percent, increased its contracts from 5 to 75 and is in the process of opening a 9,000-square foot facility in the former Carpet Connection building in West Asheville. The startup phase is over. However, a new opportunity to help Western North Carolina businesses like Noble Cider to grow has just begun.  AdvantageWest, the nonprofit economic development partnership for the state’s 23 westernmost counties, was recently awarded a five-year, $1.2 million contract to develop ScaleUp WNC. The initiative will provide intensive growth strategy development and implementation assistance to 150 local, high-growth entrepreneurs — a resource that Matt Raker, vice president of entrepreneurship at AdvantageWest, said the region sorely needs.

Read the full story HERE>

Cold Snap Prompts “Code Purple”

(WLOS Channel 13 News) Area homeless shelters are opening their doors and making extra room to help people stay warm. They’ve issued a “code purple” alert, which means extra cots for people showing up during this cold spell.

“We’re going to find space and we’re going to make sure that people are taken care of and we have extra people who actually volunteer to step up and be able to handle the crowds,” Micheal Woods said, with WNC Rescue Ministries.

See the full report HERE>

Chocolate Lounge to open soon in Asheville

(Asheville Citizen-Times) The heart of Asheville is about to be a hub for chocolate, with a seven-flavor hot chocolate dispenser and a chocolate bar library. Jael and Dan Rattigan, owners of the French Broad Chocolate Lounge since 2006, will open their new 4,200 square-foot chocolate boutique and lounge Nov. 28 at 10 Pack Square. The original Lexington Avenue Lounge will hold its last service Nov. 22, according to Jael Rattigan, who owns the growing chocolate business with her husband Dan Rattigan. The Rattigans do not know what will take over the 10 S. Lexington building.

Read the full story HERE>

Police Request Surveillance After Body Is Dropped Off at E.R.

(WLOS Channel 13 News) Asheville Police say they are still working to identify the man who dropped off a body at Mission Hospital around 1 a.m. Saturday. Law enforcement said Tuesday afternoon they have requested hospital surveillance video via a search warrant. The body was identified Monday as 26-year-old Logan Pittman of Bakersville. Friends said they were stunned to hear the news. “Getting dropped off at a hospital, I mean that’s what shocked me the worst,” Logan’s friend Allen Cason said. “If you’re going to take somebody to the hospital, at least make sure they’re all right and stay with them – don’t just leave them.”

See the full report HERE>

Boyle column: Is race driving APD Chief controversy?

(Asheville Citizen-Times – OPINION) A reader called me a couple of weeks ago and left me a somewhat blistering voice mail, chastising me for joining “the witch hunt” on Asheville Police Chief William Anderson. The caller, who left no name, said problems have been ongoing at the department long before Anderson showed up, and when white police chiefs were in charge, we ignored them.

Read the full commentary HERE>

Oak Hill Commons caps goals for 10-year plan to end homelessness

(Mountain XPress) Ten years ago, the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee, made up of eight city and eight county appointees from a variety of organizations, embarked on an ambitious plan to end chronic homelessness in Asheville. Now, almost precisely that amount of time later, it is coming to fruition, with a final project that cty of Asheville Homeless Initiative Coordinator Heather Dillashaw hopes will reduce chronic homeless to a “functional zero.” Oak Hill Commons will be a private housing development, a mixed-use facility meeting workforce rent levels that, Dillashaw says, looks to be completed by mid-to-late 2015. But its unique, and arguably most important, feature is the 24 units designated specifically for the “hard-to-house.” Hard-to-house people, says Dillashaw, are a specific subset of the homeless that need closer attention and care: “They’re not maintaining and they’re still falling apart when they get into housing. Most folks who are experiencing homelessness don’t need this level of intervention.”

Read the full story HERE>

Cold, wind, snow expected to blast Asheville area

(Asheville Citizen-Times) The weather could get a little scary in the Asheville area late Halloween night and into Saturday, with high winds, the coldest temperatures of the season and, yes, even snow possible. Snow is in the forecast even for valley locations such as Asheville, National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Horne said Thursday. The immediate Asheville area could get about an inch of snow by Saturday afternoon, he said, while areas to the north of town such as Weaverville could get up to 3 inches. Higher mountains along the Tennessee border, above 3,500 feet, could get 3-6 inches of snow.

Read the full story HERE>

Asheville’s food pioneers: Blue Ridge Food Ventures nurtures local startups

(Mountain XPress) Blue Ridge Food Ventures is a subset of AdvantageWest, a nonprofit regional economic development partnership serving Western North Carolina. The facility attracts many entrepreneurs who, like Anderson, need access to equipment that would be too expensive or impractical to purchase themselves. Other clients seek business advice, branding consultation or assistance with regulatory compliance and product development. In other words, all the things a new business owner needs in order to become successful and profitable. That kind of guidance is particularly crucial for, say, the person who might have a killer hot sauce recipe but has no clue how to get those bottles onto grocery store shelves. “A lot of people that we see are really more artisans than true production people,” Executive Director Chris Reedy explains. “Some of them may have business backgrounds, some of them may have food backgrounds, but there’s a big difference between working in a retail-style restaurant kitchen and working in a production kitchen. So what we try to do is really tailor our services to the people who need that kind of help.”

Read the full story HERE>

Dozens of APD Officers Publicly Call for Chief Anderson’s Immediate Resignation

(WLOS News 13) A 4 page petition has been delivered to the Asheville City Manager’s office this afternoon demanding the APD’s leadership problems be addressed immediately. The petition was signed by 44 APD police officers within the past two days, shortly after News 13 Investigates exposed problems including an officer shortage, morale issues and expired radar guns.  In the petition, officers state they, along with the citizens of Asheville, are not being best served by the current APD leadership. As a result, they are requesting these issues be addressed immediately. Several officers interviewed with News 13 and are now publicly demanding the Chief hand in his resignation immediately. Officers say although 44 signed the petition, twice that number have endorsed it but will not add their signatures for fear of retaliation. For the first time, nearly a dozen APD officers have agreed to come forward, explaining how the APD’s current atmosphere is putting public safety at risk.

See the full coverage of the controversy HERE>

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