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Archive for November, 2007

15th annual Grove Park Inn Gingerbread House Contest

Friday, November 30th, 2007

The 15th annual Grove Park Inn Gingerbread House contest will be held on Monday, December 3rd at the Resort & Spa. The award ceremony, which is free to all, starts at 5 p.m. in the Heritage Ballroom.

The ever-popular contest has three categories of: adult, teen and youth. Over $6,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the top gingerbread house artists, after an expert panel judges theses completely edible treats.

The winning entry and several unique entries will be taken to New York City for its tenth straight appearance on the ABC network’s popular morning show, "Good Morning America."

The Inn also is currently displaying all entries, when it began allowing showings on November 20. The houses are scheduled to be on display through January 5th, 2008. For more information, call the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa at (828) 252-2711.

Asheville expands recycling program

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Asheville’s Curbside Management is adding two new materials to its collection program. All empty aerosol and plastic bottles will now be accepted for recycling!

Recycling expansion program

Asheville residents can now recycle both materials by placing them in their green recycling bin and following these rules:

  • For aerosol cans: Make sure the can is empty and remove the plastic top.
  • For plastic bottles: Remove the bottle’s cap and throw it away with your non-recyclable garbage. Make sure to rinse the bottle and flatten it, as much possible.

To see whether a plastic container is in fact recyclable, here is what to look for:

  1. A neck on the bottle or an opening smaller than the widest part.
  2. A number of 1 – 7 inside the recycling symbol.

There are still a few plastics that cannot be recycled. The following items will not be collected:

  • Bottle caps or tops.
  • Antifreeze, pesticide, motor oil, or other hazardous / environmental waste material containers.
  • Containers that are not bottles; like yogurt containers, butter tubs, or flower pots.
  • Bottles not marked with a recycling symbol.
  • Prescription bottles.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Plastic wrap.
  • Styrofoam.

If you have questions regarding recycling in Asheville, please call Curbside Management at (828) 252-2532.

Asheville asking residents to conserve water

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

With Western North Carolina still in a drought, Asheville City Government is asking residents to conserve water. This voluntary conservation effort is the first step of a three-phase plan that will be implemented if water consumption in the city cannot be curbed. The Phases are as follows:

Water conservation

Phase I – Voluntary Measures –
The City asks its customers to conserve water as much as possible.

Phase II – Mandatory Measures –
All citizens must conserve water. No irrigation systems can be used, no watering lawns, no washing vehicles at home, reduce clothes washing, etc. Commercial customers are asked to conserve as much water as possible while not impacting their revenue and employees’ jobs.

Phase III – Surcharges Implemented –
Additional charges per unit of water (each 748 gallons) may be imposed to encourage water conservation. The current rate surcharge is $1.40 per unit of water.

Asheville’s primary source of water is the 6 billion gallon North Fork Reservoir in Black Mountain, which is located in a 22,000 acre protected watershed. Asheville also gets water from the Bee Tree and the Mills River water treatment plants. These facilities provide water to all of Asheville.

Asheville uses a computer-based drought management modeling program that helps the city assess how much water is on-hand. The model takes into account current water levels, precipitation, past reservoir levels and recent rainfall to access future drought conditions.

Asheville Native to Design Good Morning America Set

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Asheville native Cathy Barnhardt, Interior Designer for the Biltmore Estate has been chosen to be lead designer for Good Morning America’s (GMA) Christmas set.

Cathy is Biltmore’s floral manager and will be on GMA December fifth to show off her holiday design for the show. She will also give tips on Christmas tree decoration. Her decorations will be on-set to be seen by American viewers on December third, but won’t be mentioned until that Wednesday when she appears on the show.

Cathy and her team of three floral designers are leaving Asheville for New York City on Thursday to start decorating. This is not her first time decorating the set; she was also chosen to decorate the set 15 years ago. Since then the set has changed considerably, and her team will have to deal with totally new color schemes. The new design will incorporate lots of Garland, and eight different Christmas Trees.

The Asheville team’s main message is that you don’t need expensive or elaborate objects to make a room beautiful. Simple things can be just as beautiful if not more so.

The Good Morning America show airs live from 7 AM until 9 AM on the ABC television network.

Asheville’s Orange Peel to host Acoustic Syndicate

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007
Acoustic Syndicate

In case you haven’t heard of them, Acoustic Syndicate is a native North Carolina rock / folk / bluegrass group. Formed in 1992, the band has toured all over the United States, playing at major festivals such as Farm Aid and Bonnaroo. Their harmonies and intricate banjo playing exemplify one of the many reasons they have been successful. While most of the band’s members hail from just outside Shelby, North Carolina, bassist Jay Saunders is an Asheville native and he is coming home for Thanksgiving in a big way.

Though the band announced it was going to take an indefinite break in 2005, they reunited last spring and have decided to play their yearly homecoming concert here in Asheville at The Orange Peel. There are also rumors that the newly reunited band will record its seventh album.

Acoustic Syndicate has stated that they never had any plans to stop producing music for good, but that they just needed a break from the constant grind of touring. Before the break, the band was touring 250 days a year just to stay afloat with their record contract.

Having said they will continue to play concerts, there are no formal plans for booking any national tours in the near future. They have stated that this time around, the terms will be their own and they will pick their own shows. For right now, the band members seem to be content spending as much time as they can with their friends and families.

The concert is November 24th, with the doors opening at 8. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the gate.

Asheville investigation leads to raid on Liberty Dollar Office

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
liberty dollar

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007, federal agents used their resources on Asheville’s Liberty Dollar Organization (LDO) Office in order to get a seizure warrant for the alternative currency being produced as a replacement for the United States dollar. The agents then used the warrant to raid the Liberty Dollar National Headquarters, located in Indiana.

us liberty gold coin

William Innes, the Asheville LDO’s currency officer, is on the Liberty Dollar’s national committee and was targeted in the federal investigation. Undercover FBI agents came to Asheville and joined our local Liberty Dollar association to begin the targeted bust. Asheville ranks in the top three cities in America for Liberty Dollar distribution, with more than 70 businesses participating.

Proponents of the dollars claim their currency is based on a private barter system that does not usurp the Federal Reserve. The dollars are either backed by both silver and gold to fight the inflation that has plagued the United States’ paper currency.

The Federal Government says anyone making or using the dollar is violating the law because it looks like federal currency. They have also asserted that the Liberty Dollar is in fact a "pyramid scheme" because it makes a profit with every dollar it produces and circulates. Apparently, a 20 dollar note only contains about 15 dollars worth of silver. The FBI states that this is grounds for a charge of mail and wire fraud, also noting that the company uses Federal Reserve dollars to conduct its regular business.

In the company’s defense, the US Treasury stated in 2006 that businesses could use Liberty Dollars—also with the US Dollar in swift decline that 15 dollars worth of silver could soon be 25 dollars worth of silver, as precious metals tend to gain value with economic decline.

Dolly Parton visits Asheville

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Dolly Parton, the famous actor / singer, who was raised in nearby Sevierville, Tennessee, trekked over the mountains to Asheville Monday morning in order to meet up with fans and promote her new album. She also was interviewed by a local country radio station. During the interview, Parton also announced she would be hosting this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Parton enchanted a group of loving fans that won a radio contest to actually meet her. One fan even had had Dolly sign on her back, stating she would have the autograph turned into a tattoo, "So she could take Dolly with her anywhere". Dolly wrote nine songs on her new album Back Woods Barbie, which is currently available in stores.

Dennis Kucinich Speaks in Downtown Asheville

Monday, November 12th, 2007

More than 200 people at Malaprop’s in Downtown Asheville on Sunday evening heard from presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.

The Democratic Presidential Candidate from Ohio flew down to Asheville to attend the Ani DiFranco concert at the Asheville Civic Center and chose to speak at Malaprop’s after the concert.

Speaking about his current resolution to impeach Dick Cheney, Kucinich drew wild applause and chants when he took the microphone. He accuses the vice president of leading the United States into the war with Iraq and manipulating intelligence data about Iraq.