Asheville seeks solution for graffiti vandalism

(Asheville Citizen-Times) It’s not just buildings and fences in the West Asheville neighborhood where Catherine Campbell lives. Even some trees get tagged by vandals using spray paint to leave their signature. “The tagging has exponentially increased over the last eight weeks,” Campbell said. Asheville records show she’s right — about tagging and graffiti in general, problems the city has acknowledged and is working to address. City crews have cleaned or covered graffiti in nearly 7,100 cases since July 1, the start of this fiscal year. That has come at a cost of $31,500 for labor, equipment and supplies, city spokesman Brian Postelle said.The number of cases so far this fiscal year nearly equals the number recorded in all of the previous year.

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Asheville entrepreneurs find bureaucratic barriers to business

(Asheville Citizen-Times) City Manager Gary Jackson knew he had a problem when he took the job nine years ago. Contractors were getting tied into knots trying to get building projects through City Hall. The city required as many as 11 copies of an application, which were then sent off to multiple departments for review. Builders followed that paperwork through a maze of regulators. The city, under Jackson’s direction, has since tried to streamline the process, putting most employees builders deal with under one roof and automating much of the permitting process. A new city department to handle those tasks was formed in July.

See the full report HERE>

Montreat College Announces Major New Initiative

(WLOS Channel 13) A Montreat College official says “ambitious plans to revitalize” the future of the school are underway, in the launch of a program called “All In.” That announcement from interim president Joe Kirkland came late this afternoon following a board of trustees meeting. Just this morning, a group of students, faculty and alumni rallied outside, expressing concerns about financial issues, leadership and possible closure. The latest major development came last week when a proposed merger with Point University was called off. “All In” is described as a one-year, $8 million dollar initiative that’s already received $6.4 million in gifts and pledges.

See the full report HERE>

Deadly new drug raising concerns in WNC

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Local law enforcement and public health workers are learning more about a powerful synthetic drug, up to five times more potent than heroin, that is linked to dozens of deaths in the Northeast. The drug, acetyl fentanyl, made its way into North Carolina, where state toxicologists linked it to three deaths earlier this year, including one in Transylvania County. A recent health advisory from the state was the first time many in the area had heard of the drug.

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‘You’ll have girls everywhere!’ Jennifer Lopez falls for ‘heartbreaker’ rock n’ roll man (and Asheville native) Caleb Johnson on American Idol

(The Daily Mail) She’s known for her high octane club tracks. But Jennifer Lopez is gooey for a shaggy rocker from Asheville, NC on this season’s American Idol. The 44-year-old A-list beauty gave a standing ovation to Caleb Johnson who went out ‘all guns blazin’ with ‘Pressure In Time’ by Rival Sons on Wednesday night’s show. Leaping to her feet ‘Jenny From the Block’ whooped for the 22-year-old, who admits being ‘pretty overweight’ and has already been rejected from Idol twice. ‘You are so ready for the rock star life,’ beamed Lopez, who was wearing a lace two-piece that revealed her taut stomach. ‘I can see you on the bus with your band, just wreaking havoc and having girls everywhere and breaking hearts…I can just see it,’ she grinned, while complimenting his vocal capacity. (Too which Johnson belted out a guttural rock n roll scream of “Yeeeeeeah!”)

Read the full story and see a video clip HERE>

Ingles proposes Enka store west of Asheville

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Ingles Markets has applied to Buncombe County government for permission to locate a large supermarket just southwest of the intersection of Smoky Park Highway and Sand Hill Road. Plans show a 79,611-square-foot store with a separate gas station and a small amount of room for other retail shops that could be built later. The store would add to shopping choices available to Enka-Candler residents, but could aggravate what are already congested traffic conditions at the intersection. The supermarket would be located between Sand Hill Road and Forest Lawn Memorial Park on property once proposed for a mixed-use development that would have been called Main Street at Enka Village.

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Wicked Weed Brewing expects big crowd in downtown Asheville for Saturday release of first bottled beer

(Ashvegas)  On march 1st, Wicked Weed Brewing will release their first bottled brew, 100% Brettanomyces Serenity Farmhouse Ale during an event held at the brewery. Bottles will go on sale at 12 p.m., Saturday, March 1st at the Wicked Weed Brewpub on 91 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. Patrons will be limited to a purchase of four bottles per person at $10.95 per bottle. In addition to bottle sales, Serenity will be tapped at 12pm for enjoyment on premise. There will be Serenity gear for purchase and, weather permitting, live music. Wicked Weed anticipates bottles will run out by 4pm on the day of the sale. Serenity was the brewery’s first 100% Brettanomyces beer, and only 8 months after opening its doors, Wicked Weed, received the Gold Medal at The Great American Beer Festival for American Style Brett Beer in 2013.

See the full release HERE>

Demolition of Haywood Street parking deck begins March 11

(Mountain XPress) The demolition of the downtown city-owned vacant parking structure at 68 Haywood Street near the corner of Page Avenue is slated to begin the second week of March and be completed by the end of the month. Use of the parking structure, sometimes called the Handipark, was discontinued in 2010. Outside contractors could begin installing safety fences and barricades as soon as Feb. 28, and demolition is scheduled to begin March 11. Nearby businesses have been consulted and the city’s project manager says the demolition will take into consideration the sensitive location and populated area. (1350 WZGM is located at 46 Haywood St., on the same block – if you hear any banging in the background – you’ll know what it is.)

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School Club Controversy: Fabricated?

(WLOS News 13) School officials say reports they denied a Pisgah High student the chance to start a secular group are completely false. The story has gone viral with an article published in the Huffington Post. Reports allege Kalei Wilson wanted to start an atheist club for teens and got nothing but resistance. The school’s attorney says the entire story is a fabricated lie. Numerous national news outlets had run with the story without ever actually interviewing anyone at the school system and may have went solely on information grounded in an online post by the student. Now, the people involved won’t grant interviews.

See the full report HERE>

Climbing comes to Asheville’s River Arts District

(Asheville Citizen-Times) After 20 years, Stuart Cowles is still hanging around town. But Cowles, the owner of Climbmax Indoor Climbing Center, will be hanging — climbing, reaching and growing — in another part of town, when he expands his longtime Wall Street business into the River Arts District. The groundbreaking for the new Smoky Mountain Adventure Center took place Tuesday at 173 Amboy Road, sitting in between the French Broad River Park and Karen Cragnolin and Carrier parks, and across the street from city-owned parking and a greenway. It will house the RAD’s first permanent climbing wall and add to the ever-growing outdoor recreation options in the once-gritty factory-turned-arts-eatery-and tourism-friendly river corridor.

Read the full story HERE>


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