(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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(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!”)

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(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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(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.

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(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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(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.

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(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.

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(Mountain XPress) Almost 50 people have now completed the Swannanoa Valley Museum’s popular, but strenuous Swannanoa Valley Rim Explorer Hike Series, and more than two-dozen hikers have already registered for the 2014 series. But many Swannanoa Valley residents have expressed interest in learning the fascinating history of the valley on more moderate hikes. So beginning March 15 and continuing once a month through October, the Museum will offer a new moderate hiking series, consisting of eight, approximately 3-mile hikes to historic locations around the Swannanoa Valley, one in each of their communities. For interested hikers, two free informational meetings will be held – one on Thursday, March 6 at 7:00pm at the Swannanoa Valley Museum and a second on Tuesday, March 11 at 7:00pm at Black Dome in Asheville.

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Drought Impacts Beer Industry

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

(WLOS News 13) Some local breweries are counting their blessings after some beer makers in the western U.S. struggle from drought. Many breweries out west that had used river and stream water now have to use ground water with a higher mineral content. That content is said to negatively alter the taste of the beer. Joey Justice, head brewer at Highland Brewing Company says 85 percent of beer is water, so it’s no surprise a large supply of good quality water has helped Western North Carolina’s beer industry thrive. Justice says working with conservation groups like the Southern Applachian Highlands Conservancy to protect watersheds is key to protecting the local beer industry.

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(Asheville Citizen-Times) North Carolina regulators say they may force Duke Energy to move a pair of leaky coal ash dumps, more than three weeks after a massive spill coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic gray sludge.The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Tuesday it plans to reopen Duke’s wastewater discharge permit and consider changes that would require the company to remove its remaining coal ash from the site at Eden to a lined landfill away from the river. The agency’s statement makes no indication whether similar permitting changes are under consideration for Duke’s other 13 dumps in North Carolina.

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