Three Asheville Tourists selected for All-Star Game

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Three of the South Atlantic League’s top home-run hitters are also the Asheville Tourists’ three starters for the South Atlantic League’s All-Star Game. Rosters for the 55th annual game, set for June 17 in Hickory, were announced on Tuesday and include Asheville infielders Ryan McMahon and Correlle Prime and outfielder David Dahl. Asheville trainer Billy Whitehead was also selected to the team. McMahon will start at third base, Prime will be the designated hitter and Dahl will start in the outfield for the SAL’s Southern Division team.

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Christian prayers violated Buncombe school policy

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Christian prayers at a North Buncombe High Band Boosters event honoring veterans violated Buncombe County Schools’ religion policy, school officials say. The event on Saturday sparked complaints from some students and at least one parent. “This was a flagrant breaking of policy,” said Ginger Strivelli, a Pagan and the mother of a student who was at the event. Strivelli helped push for the policy a couple of years ago after her son came home from North Windy Ridge Intermediate School with a Bible. School officials said Gideons International left the Bibles at the school for students. Saturday’s event was not on school property. It was held in the field near Dollar General on Weaverville Road. The North Buncombe Band Boosters hosted the ceremony to open its “Field of Honor” flag display. The display aims to honor veterans. It is also a fund-raising event for the band, which will travel to Hawaii to perform at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade. Ginger Strivelli said she wants Mercer removed from the booster club. She is promising to do a non-Christian prayer at a band event on Friday if he is not removed.

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Special Celebration and Reflection Planned in Asheville for Memorial Day

File Photo Courtesy of The City of Asheville

(Staff Reports) On Monday, May 26, 2014 at 2:30 p.m., the City of Asheville Mayor’s Committee for Veterans Affairs will host the annual Memorial Day ceremony on the Roger McGuire Green stage of Pack Square Park starting at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, May 26, 2014. Event highlights will include musical performances by the Tennessee Air National Guard’s concert “Band of the South” and Asheville’s premier choral group, The Reuter Center Singers. Presentation of Colors will be by the Asheville High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC. A Recognition of Service presentation to our Armed Forces and community first responders will be given by Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chairman, David Gantt. Commander Douglas A. Bradley, U. S. Navy, Commanding Officer of the nuclear powered, fast attack submarine, USS ASHEVILLE SSN 758 is the keynote speaker.

A commemoration wreath will be presented by Mayor Manheimer, Chairman Gantt, Commander Bradley, members of the Armed Forces and Asheville and Buncombe County emergency responders in commemoration to those who have sacrificed their lives in service to this country and community. During the ceremony, the “Band of the South” will perform a unique “Flag Folding” presentation such as is done at the end of military cemetery services. The folded flag will be presented to a local Gold Star mother. Kit Cramer, President and CEO of the Asheville Area Chamber Of Commerce, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

Meadows and Shuler to Testify in Congress

(Staff Reports) Tuesday morning, May 20, 2014, Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) will be joined by former Democratic Representative of the 11th District, Heath Shuler, to testify before the House Sub-committee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation urging it to pay Swain County funds allocated for the “Road to Nowhere.”

The hearing will begin at 9:30a.m. Congressman Meadows is expected to testify at 10a.m.You can watch a live-stream of the hearing http://naturalresources.house.gov/live/

Judge strikes down new NC law that ended teacher tenure

(Associated Press) A judge ruled Friday that a law cutting teacher job protections in North Carolina is unconstitutional. Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood said veteran teachers have an established right to a layer of review beyond school administrators when they face firing. His ruling also said the law passed by Republican lawmakers last year violates constitutional rights that protect contracts and prevent governments from taking a person’s property. Abolishing teacher tenure “was not reasonable and necessary to serve an important public purpose,” Hobgood said in his ruling.  State Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, promised that the ruling will be appealed. “Today a single Wake County judge suppressed the will of voters statewide who elected representatives to improve public education and reward our best teachers with raises. This is a classic case of judicial activism,” he said in a statement.

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Moogfest 2014 loses $1.5 million

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Moogfest 2014 lost more than $1.5 million, according to a grant application from the organizers of the five-day Asheville festival designed to celebrate art, technology and music. The grant application for $250,000 from the Buncombe County Culture and Recreation Authority reveals new details about the retooled spring event’s profits and losses. The application also emphasizes how organizers are seeking grants, sponsorships and other contributions to minimize loss and increase profit margins in 2015. Moogfest ticket sales totaled more than $712,000, with food, beverage and merchandise sales at around $29,000. Expenses totaled more than $2.7 million. The majority of the festival costs came from talent. Festival organizers Moog Music spent more than $1.5 million on artists and artists travel, hotel and meals.

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I-26 Connector meeting brings worries on impacts

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Some of those attending a meeting Monday on the Interstate 26 Connector project questioned the idea of widening Interstate 240 in West Asheville to eight lanes while others just wanted to see whether their home lies in the path of the road. More than 200 people came to a three-hour informational meeting the state Department of Transportation held at the Asheville Renaissance Hotel to update the public on the status of the project. Those attending expressed a good bit of unease about what the connector will do to neighborhoods, especially those in West Asheville, although several said there is a real need to address traffic congestion on Bowen Bridge, which carries I-240 across the French Broad River.

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UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program Announces Summer 2014 Workshops

(Staff Reports)  Local writers will have the opportunity to hone their skills with UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP) workshops in poetry and prose. All summer classes will be five weeks long, and held in various Asheville locations. Class size is limited, so early registration is suggested.

Poetry – Jeff Davis will lead “The Magic of Language,” an introductory workshop in procedural poetics, using ancient and modern procedures to “unlock the speech of the imagination.” Davis’ poems have appeared anthologies and literary magazines, including Lillabulero, Iron, Asheville Poetry Review and Nantahala Review. His books include Transits of Venus (Wildwood Press, 2005) and Natures: Selected Poems, 1972 – 2005 (New Native Press, 2006). Class meets Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m. beginning June 3.

Creative Nonfiction – In “Exploring the New Appalachia” with Jennifer McGaha, participants will look at the region’s culinary, musical, and literary trends, and explore how the back-to-the-land movement reflects both traditional culture and contemporary Appalachia. McGaha is a writer, teacher, and humorist whose creative nonfiction work has appeared in dozens of magazines and literary journals, including Baltimore Fishbowl, Your Impossible Voice, Gravel Magazine, and The Brooklyner. Class meets Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m. beginning June 3.

Creative Nonfiction – “The Well-Tempered Sentence,” led by Molly Walling, will focus on the difference between memoir and creative nonfiction. Participants will look at examples of memoir, essay, and journalism, and consider style, accuracy of fact and process. Walling has taught at UNC Asheville, Mars Hill College, Virginia Highlands Community College, and King College. Her book of creative nonfiction, Death in the Delta: Uncovering a Mississippi Family Secret, was published in 2012 by the University Press of Mississippi, and her essays and articles have appeared in regional arts publications in Virginia and North Carolina. Class meets Wednesdays from 6-8:30 p.m. beginning June 4.

Flash Fiction –Beth Keefauver will lead “The Illuminated Moment.” In this workshop, students will focus on the intensity of short prose forms, including microfiction, nanofiction, short-short fiction, sudden fiction and prose poems. Keefauver’s fiction has appeared in The Citron Review, Pisgah Review, Stirring and Blue Lotus Review, among others. She has taught literature and writing for Lenoir-Rhyne University, Warren Wilson College, Western Carolina University and the University of Tennessee. Class meets Wednesdays from 6-8:30 p.m. beginning June 4.

The 5-week courses qualify for one UNC Asheville credit hour in Literature and Language. For in-state residents, the cost is $137.68. The costs are higher for out-of-state residents. A $20 non-refundable application fee for new students also is required. For more information or to register, visit agc.unca.edu or call 828.250.2353.

More development, more traffic for Hendersonville Road

(Asheville Citizen-Times) With at least two new apartment complexes and a much-anticipated grocery store expected to add more traffic to Hendersonville Road in the coming months, Fletcher resident John Williams has his own solution for getting around. “Remind me not to drive down here during rush hour,” Williams said as he fueled up his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle at Ingles Gas Express last week. “Every night when I’m going to stuff, you hear on the radio, ‘There’s a traffic jam on Hendersonville Road between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mills Gap Road.’” That thriving, five-lane section of black top — one of Asheville’s busiest — routinely clogs during morning and evening rush hours. And it will undoubtedly get more crowded in the coming months as possibly more than 450 new apartments and a new Publix grocery store come on line.

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‘Idol’s’ Caleb Johnson apologizes for remark

(Asheville Citizen-Times)  Asheville rocker Caleb Johnson issued an apology Saturday for remarks he made online Thursday night that appeared to label some of his fans “retards” for their song suggestions. After Thursday’s “American Idol” results show, Johnson was asked on camera by an online reporter from AfterBuzz TV whether his opinion of social media had changed, since Wednesday’s live performance show had featured each contestant singing two songs selected by fans via social media. Clearly annoyed that he was forced to sing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” a song recorded by Aerosmith and written by pop ballad composer Diane Warren (better known for her tunes for the likes of Celine Dion), Johnson let loose.

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