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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for February, 2009

From Earthy Origins to a Decadent Delivery, Truffle Fest Aims to Please

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – On March 5th through 8th, in Asheville, the exquisite mushroom will bring together artists and chefs, farmers and sommeliers, musicians and dog-trainers for the First Annual National Truffle Fest (www.NationalTruffleFest.com).

Even in today’s slumping economy, truffles are proving to be a lucrative business. Many tobacco farmers in the Eastern United States are now planting vines for wine and trees for truffles. At around $1000 a pound, that’s a rich harvest!

During this decadent 3-day event, guests will be offered cooking demonstrations, tasting dinners, competitive cook-offs, truffle-dog hunting and a sampling of the very best truffles North America has to offer.

Guests will be invited to take part, on Friday, in a reenactment of a truffle hunt on the beautiful grounds of Whisper Mountain (www.WhisperNC.com).

Seven top chefs will create a once-in-a-lifetime, seven-course meal at Saturday’s "Chefs’ Dinner." Culinary icons like Iron Chef Walter Royal and Giorgios Bakastias will be preparing dishes for 300 lucky guests.

Local music and a breathtaking atmosphere ensure an excitement and energy all food and wine enthusiasts will enjoy.

For information on the "Grower’s Forum", "Truffle-Dog Trainer," "Guest Chefs," and "Winemaker Dinners" see: www.NationalTruffleFest.com

Or contact: Traci Tucker-Cortez (919)845-8880 / [email protected]

Williams Leads UNCA Bulldogs Past High Point in Overtime 81-78

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

HIGH POINT, N.C. – John Williams scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead UNC Asheville to a thrilling 81-78 overtime victory at High Point Wednesday night.

The Bulldogs (13-14, 9-7 BSC) won for the fourth time in the last five games and won their third straight overtime game. It was Asheville’s first win at High Point since the 2003-04 season.

Williams went 11-of-14 from the field and 10-of-14 from the free throw line. He scored eight points in overtime.

Sean Smith added 19 points for the Bulldogs, while Matt Dickey chipped in 11 points. Cruz Daniels led the Panthers (8-18, 4-12 BSC) with a career-best 25 points and 15 rebounds.

"I’m really proud of our guys for battling hard and winning the game," said UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We should have won the game in regulation but did a great job in overtime and got some key offensive rebounds."

Asheville led 79-78 with 32 seconds left in overtime when the Bulldogs fouled David Singleton. Singleton missed both free throws that would have given the Panthers the lead. Williams got the rebound and was fouled. He hit one free throw that pushed the lead to 80-78.

Williams got another key offensive rebound with nine seconds left and made a free throw to get the lead to 81-78. High Point had a chance to tie but Nick Barbour’s three-pointer was short and the Bulldogs escaped with the victory.

The Panthers tied the game at the end of regulation when Eugene Harris hit a 15-footer as the buzzer sounded to make it 70-70. Williams had given the Bulldogs the lead with five seconds left when he scored on a dunk.

UNC Asheville led for much of the first half thanks to great shooting from the field and the three-point line. The Bulldogs shot 62 percent from the field and 60 from beyond the arc to take a 43-36 halftime lead. Smith had 12 points in the opening half on three treys. High Point stayed close behind the play of Daniels who scored 14 points in the first half.

"John Williams really played great tonight," commented Biedenbach. "He also hit some big free throws when we had to have them."

The Bulldogs play their final regular-season home game of the year Saturday afternoon against Coastal Carolina starting at 4:30 p.m.

Law Enforcement Agencies Join Western Carolina Gang Task Force

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

ASHEVILLE – Three local law enforcement agencies will hold a press conference at 8:30 AM Wednesday, Feb. 18 to formally enter into membership on the Western Carolina Gang Task Force.

The press conference will be at the Asheville Police Department in the third floor training room. The APD is located at 100 Court Plaza in downtown Asheville.

Participating agencies are the APD, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Bill Hogan, Sheriff Van Duncan and Sheriff Rick Davis will sign an agreement Wednesday morning to signify formal efforts to collaborate on gang investigations and reducing gang crime.

Gang investigators from all three jurisdictions have moved into a common office, which allows them to more closely communicate and collaborate on investigations.

The three agencies have worked together in an informal manner on identifying gang members, tracking gang trends, gang investigations and sharing gang information that is relevant to all three jurisdictions.

The primary goal of this task force is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle area gangs to end their negative impacts on the community.

UNCA Men’s Basketball Travels to High Point Wednesday Night

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team returns to the hardwood Wednesday night when the Bulldogs travel to High Point for a key Big South Conference game at the Millis Center starting at 7 p.m. The game will be audio-streamed at www.uncabulldogs.com and can be seen on The Edge for a small fee at www.bigsouthsports.com.

UNC Asheville (12-14, 8-7 BSC) is trying to bounce back from a heart-breaking 66-65 defeat on Saturday to Big South Conference-leader Radford at Justice Center. The Bulldogs led most of the way against the Highlanders but just couldn’t put Radford away in the end.

"We really played pretty well against Radford but had some crucial mistakes that will cost you in a close game," commented UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "It was a tough loss but hopefully we’ll learn from it and be better the next time we get in that situation."

Biedenbach and his staff expect a tough game with a resurgent High Point squad on Wednesday. The Panthers (8-17, 4-11 BSC) have won three of their last four games, including victories over Winthrop and Gardner-Webb. Freshman guard Nick Barbour is averaging 13.9 points per game and knocked down 56 treys. Guard Eugene Harris is scoring 12.3 points per game and has 53 treys. The Bulldogs edged High Point 61-59 back on Jan. 13 at Justice Center in a game that the Panthers led most of the game.

"High Point is a tough match-up for us," said Biedenbach. "We have always had our hands full with them, and we were fortunate to beat them earlier this season. High Point has had a tough year with some close losses but they’re playing quite well right now."

The Millis Center has not been a place the Bulldogs have enjoyed playing at over the years. Asheville has lost five straight at High Point by an average margin of 18.8 points per game. The Dogs last win here came during the regular-season of the 2003-04 campaign when Asheville edged the Panthers, 78-73.

Senior forward Reid Augst leads the Bulldogs in scoring with a 15.5 average. John Williams has a 12.2 scoring average and leads the team in rebounding (6.8) and blocked shots (53). Matt Dickey has a 10.3 scoring average. Sean Smith is at 10.0 points per game and tops the club in three-pointers made with 57.

NOTES: Eddie Biedenbach has 104 Big South Conference victories and is tied with former Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall for second all-time in that category…UNC Asheville has five players averaging in double-figures in scoring in league games…the Bulldogs have been out-rebounded in 11 of their last 12 games…Sean Smith has 115 made three-pointers in his career and needs just two to pass Brandon Carter (116) into ninth place on the school’s all-time career list…Reid Augst is 12-of-16 from the three-point line in the last four games.

Asheville City Lists Street Closures on Web

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

ASHEVILLE – Because advance warning of roadwork improves driver safety and convenience, the city is now listing all permitted street closures at www.ashevillenc.gov/street_closures.

The web page provides a detailed listing of approved street closure permits processed by Asheville’s Transportation and Engineering Department.

This new online listing provides advance notice of local road closures, enhancing roadway safety and notifying the community of possible delays. It is also a convenient resource for business owners to plan for deliveries and impacts on parking.

For more information about street closure permits, visit www.ashevillenc.gov/street_closures or call (828) 259-5943.

Asheville Non-Profit Organization Makes People in WNC Smile With Recycled Flowers

Monday, February 16th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – In the summer of 2008, co-founders Nancy Pope and Lisa Baker came together to launch a non-profit organization in the Asheville, NC area called Second Bloom. Second Bloom collects cut flowers from grocery stores, weddings, parties, holiday events and other occasions in order to create beautiful, simple flower bouquets for hospice, nursing home, and long-term care residents to keep in their rooms. Since the summer months, Second Bloom has developed an interactive web site, secondbloom.org, and started its first volunteer program in Western North Carolina.

Second Bloom is in search of volunteers near Asheville that can assist with the Flower Exchange Train and help collect donations, deliver flowers and create floral arrangements. Trustworthy volunteers over the age of 18, with a valid driver’s license, are needed for floral delivery and pick up. Volunteers interested in spending time with residents and making small floral bouquets and flower arrangements are also invited to join the team.

In addition, Second Bloom seeks charitable donations and corporate sponsors to provide financial funding in support of their activities and to fund various projects. In 2008 various Asheville area florists, grocery stores and event centers rushed to provide support and flowers for Second Bloom. Biltmore Estate (Lioncrest, Stable Café, The Inn at Biltmore, The Floral Displays Department), Black Mountain Floral Center, Blossoms at Biltmore Park, Flower Gallery, The Bloom Room, Earth Fare, Fresh Market, Homewood, Coleman Place and The Crest Center have all donated flowers to make floral bouquets. Second Bloom continues to expand their flower donations. Recipients of the flowers include Magnolia Health Care Center, Care Partners Hospice, The Laurels of GreenTree Ridge, The McCune Center, Highlands Farm Retirement Community and Shadybrook Assisted Living.

Baker and Pope were inspired to start Second Bloom for personal reasons. Baker’s love of flowers and plants began as a child when taking flowers to her grandmother at the nursing home became a regular outing with her mother. Pope became involved after nurturing a close friendship with Clara Kaminski, a resident of Pisgah Manor. "We couldn’t resist the idea," says Baker. "It has become an amazingly heartwarming enterprise to be involved with day after day," adds Pope. Information about volunteers and charitable donations can be found online at www.secondbloom.org or call (828) 702-0515 / 702-0516.

Asheville’s newest nonprofit organization recycles flowers from grocery stores, florists and events in order to make and deliver floral bouquets at nursing homes, retirement communities and long term care facilities. Second Bloom is the inspiration of founders Nancy Pope and Lisa Baker and currently looking for charitable donations as well as local volunteers throughout Western North Carolina.

Radford beats UNCA at the Buzzer 66-65

Monday, February 16th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Amir Johnson scored with 1.5 seconds left to lift Big South-leader Radford to a 66-65 Big South Conference victory over homestanding UNC Asheville Saturday afternoon.

The Highlanders (15-10, 12-2 BSC) trailed 39-31 at halftime but rallied to win their sixth straight game and remain unbeaten in road games in Big South Conference play at 7-0.

The Bulldogs (12-14, 8-7 BSC) had a three-game winning streak snapped with the heartbreaking loss. UNC Asheville led for most of the game but could not put the visitors away.

The Bulldogs were led by freshman guard J.P. Primm with 17 points. John Williams added 16 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Sean Smith had 14 points and seven rebounds. Reid Augst contributed 11 points.

Radford was led by Artisom Parakhouski with a double-double as he scored 15 points and collected 14 rebounds. He also blocked four shots. Kenny Thomas and Joey Lynch-Flohr had 14 points each. Johnson added 12 points and a game-high seven assists.

"This is a tough loss," admitted UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We played as hard as we could and battled against a very good Radford team but a few mistakes really hurt us in the end. We’ve bounced back before from tough losses, and we will bounce back from this one.&quot

Lynch-Flohr scored on a lay-up to give Radford a 62-61 lead at the 1:21 mark. It was the Highlanders’ first lead since early in the game. The Bulldogs came back and took the lead when Augst scored on a driving lay-up with 58 seconds left to put Asheville in front 63-62.

RU missed a three-point from Johnson but Thomas got the rebound and scored when Williams was called for goal-tending at the 22-second mark.

The Bulldogs got the ball to Smith, who scored on a driving lay-up and was fouled with 7.3 seconds left. Asheville led 65-54. Smith missed the free throw and Johnson came down with the rebound. He got the ball down to Johnson who quickly drove down the floor and hit a lay-up at the 1.5 second mark to give the Highlanders the lead and the win.

Asheville used red-hot shooting from beyond the arc to lead in the first half. The Bulldogs were a sizzling 10-of-17 from the three-point line and led 39-31 at halftime. Primm scored 13 of his points in the opening half and knocked down three treys, including a long three-pointer as the first-half buzzer sounded to give the Dogs the eight-point lead.

Radford quickly rallied in the second half behind Parahouski. The junior center scored points in the first five minutes of the half to get the Highlanders back in the game at 43-41.

The Bulldogs managed to keep Radford at bay behind the play of Williams. He scored 11 of his points in the second half to keep Asheville in front.

The Highlanders out-rebounded the Bulldogs 40-32 and out-scored Asheville 34-20 in the paint.

Both teams face tough Big South road games in their next game. UNC Asheville travels to High Point Wednesday night (Feb. 18) at 7 p.m. Radford plays at Charleston Southern Monday night at 7:30 p.m.


Bonnie Raitt Coming to Asheville

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Bonnie Raitt will be coming to the Asheville Civic Center on Tuesday, March 17th.

More than just a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer, and accomplished songwriter, Bonnie Raitt has become an institution in American music. The recent release of Souls Alike is her 18th album.

Tickets can be purchased at the Civic Center box office or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

Rep. Shuler Statement on Conference Report of Stimulus Package

Friday, February 13th, 2009

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Representative Heath Shuler today released the following
statement after voting against the conference report on H.R. 1, the economic stimulus

"We all agree that action must be taken to stimulate our economy. However, I continue to disagree with the course of action laid out in this bill. Its focus should have been solely on programs that offer an immediate economic impact — like extending unemployment insurance — and investments in our nation’s infrastructure, which have a rate of return of 6 to 1. While this final bill does provide some funding in those areas I am remarkably concerned that only 3.4% of the funding in this package goes toward repairing our country’s highways and bridges. More specifically, across the country there are currently transportation projects totaling $64 billion that could be under contract within 180 days, yet this bill provides only $27.5 billion for those projects."

"In the end, this bill simply contained entirely too much spending in areas that will not provide an immediate stimulative effect to our nation’s economy. With our national debt approaching $11 trillion we should not be borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars without careful and deliberate consideration."

"Additionally, I am remarkably disappointed in House leadership for bringing a bill of this size and magnitude up for a vote without giving members adequate time to review it fully. We must have a greater respect for this institution and for its Members."

Background Shuler introduced legislation in the 110th Congress, H.Res, 484, to require all legislation be posted on the Internet for 48 hours before it is considered on the House floor.

Asheville Police Descend on Edwin Place, Arrest One

Friday, February 13th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Over ten Asheville Police officers were on-scene at Edwin Place in North Asheville around 11 PM Saturday night.

Officers arrested one male for attempted breaking and entering as neighbors had early reported seeing the individual tampering with parked cars. Officers combed through neighborhood yards with flashlights in an attempt to recover stolen property and any results of their search were not yet made public. Additional charges may also be pending.

Be sure to check the Local Scoop on Saturday for more information on this developing story.