Local Scoop


Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for May, 2010

Planting for Hummingbirds

Monday, May 24th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Hummingbird feeders are a fun way to attract hummers to an area where you can watch their acrobatics. But keep in mind that natural nectar sources provide better nutrition for the birds and help to keep the birds in the area. Most flowers with trumpet or tubular shapes will attract them.

They are especially drawn to red or orange flowers, but will go to other colors as well. Plan to work some of their favorite flowering plants into the landscape:

– Shrubs: azaleas, abelia, clethra, red and bottlebrush buckeyes

– Vines: trumpet honeysuckle (coral honeysuckle), cross vine, trumpet vine

– Perennials: columbine, salvias, red hot poker, beebalm, penstemon

– Annuals: fuschia, salvias, petunias, nicotiana, cypress vine morning glory, foxglove, hibiscus

For more information, call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.

City of Asheville Opens French Broad Greenway Extension

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – On May 14, The City of Asheville and its partners celebrated the official opening of the 1.2 mile French Broad River Greenway Extension. The West Asheville bike and pedestrian route represents the longest continuous stretch in the city’s greenway system and connects to one of the city’s most-utilized park facilities, Carrier Park, to the Hominy Creek Park. The link provides a 3.25 mile connector to the French Broad River Park.

Speaking at the opening, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy heralded the greenway as a step in the right direction toward Council’s strategic goal of green initiatives, encouraging alternative transportation, preservation of green space, protection of wildlife and keeping people connected with Asheville’s natural surroundings.

Like any large initiative, establishing the greenway relied on a long list of partnerships both public and private. The greenway route crosses land owned by the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, and required easements by Progress Energy, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and MSD. Not to mention that the greenway crosses the Asheville Outdoor Center and Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park. The owners of both those businesses were on hand at the ribbon cutting.

Obtaining the necessary easements, planning and design for the greenway constitute five years of work across several city departments and relied on funding from the NC DOT.

“This started a long time ago, and it took a lot of partners to make this possible,” said Asheville’s Director of Parks Recreation and Cultural Arts Roderick Simmons.

Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones also credited the collaboration between city and county leaders and personnel in getting the job done. “I think that connection is just wonderful,” Jones said.

The City of Asheville Parks, Recreation, Cultural Arts and greenways Master Plan was approved by Asheville City Council in 2009. For more information on the plan, click here.

First Riverfront Redevelopment Commission Meeting Set for May 24

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Riverfront Redevelopment Commission will hold its first meeting Monday, May 24 at 9 a.m. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the city’s Recreation Division Offices at 72 Gashes Creek Road in Asheville.

City Council passed an ordinance establishing the Asheville Riverfront Redevelopment Commission in November 2009. The purpose of the commission is to support the continued development and sustainability of the riverfront.

This commission is a strategic partnership and includes appointees from the city of Asheville, Buncombe County, RiverLink, Council of Independent Business Owners, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the city’s River District Design Review Committee. The Commission acts as an advisory board and provides policy recommendations to the city and strategic partners.

In addition to reinvigorating the implementation of the Wilma Dykeman Riverway Master Plan, the Commission is envisioned to support effective management of public resources for the riverfront and assist in the pursuit of private sector investment. The Commission will also support cooperation and collaboration between property owners, merchants, residents, businesses, tenants, institutions and other members of the riverfront community.

The May 24 meeting will address introductions, the membership roster, ordinance review and next steps. The meeting is expected to last one hour.


– Transit route 13 stops on Swannanoa River Road/81 just outside the park. Walk up Azalea Road and turn right onto Gashes Creek. The building is up the hill on the left after Mama T’s.

– Driving, headed east on 81/Swannanoa River Road: pass the Walmart entrance on your right. Continue past the municipal golf course (and entrance to the Beverly Hills neighborhood). Take the next right/Azalea Road. Take next right/Gashes Creek. Pass MamaT’s on the left. The next building on the left is the Recreation Division Offices Building. Please do not park in front of the building (unless you need ADA accessible parking). Park along the road across the street, or in parking spots in front of MamaT’s.

Help Save Lives – Blood Drive, May 24

Friday, May 14th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Calling all Buncombe County citizens – anyone ready to save a life! The May blood drive is very important in this time of shortage and need.

Lately people have been signing up, but many haven’t shown up at the American Red Cross drives in our area. There is a definite need at a time when so many are going on vacation for summer fun.

This drive is open to anyone qualified to give and it only takes around an hour. While you are at the drive, try for a door prize from Sensibilities Day Spa or Bloomin’Art – and sign up for a chance to win a cruise for two!

Buncombe County Blood Drive

May 24 from 9:30a.m. to 2 p.m.

Training and Development Building

199 College Street

Register online at:


Enter sponsor code 11594 to schedule your appointment.

Any questions? Check with the American Red Cross at www.redcrossblood.org.

What Makes a Food “Organic?”

Friday, May 14th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Organic farming is among the fastest growing segments of U. S. Agriculture. In December 2002, the National Organic Standards Board of the U. S. Department of Agriculture established a national standard for the term “organic.”

Organic foods must be produced without the use of sewer-sludge fertilizers, most synthetic fertilizers & pesticides, genetic engineering (biotechnology), growth hormones and/or antibiotics.Organic food is defined by how it cannot be made rather than how it can be made. Organic foods must be produced without the use of sewer-sludge fertilizers, most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetic engineering (biotechnology), growth hormones and/or antibiotics. Any produce, grains, meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods can be produced organically.

Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a government approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) “organic” guidelines.

Keep these factors in mind:

– NUTRITION – The USDA makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.

– QUALITY & APPEARANCE – The difference in organic food is how it is produced, processed and handled. Organic foods may spoil a little quicker because they are not treated with waxes or preservatives. It may also vary some in appearance, but not always.

– PESTICIDES – Conventional growers use pesticides to protect their crops. This can leave a residue on produce. Some people buy organic foods to limit their exposure to these residues. Most experts agree that the amount of pesticides found on fruits and vegetables poses very little health risk.

– ENVIRONMENT – Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil.

– COST – Organic foods often cost more than conventional foods. However, there are cost efficient ways to make organic foods work into your budget. Venture beyond the grocery store by shopping at farmers markets, joining a food co-op or a Community Supported Agriculture farm (CSA).

– TASTE – Taste is a personal consideration, so decide for yourself. Finding the freshest food available may have the biggest impact on taste.

Whether you become a fan of organic foods or not, shop wisely and handle your food safely. Read food labels carefully. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.

Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly with running water to reduce the amount of dirt and bacteria. If you are concerned about pesticides, peel your fruits and vegetables and trim outer leaves of leafy vegetables in addition to washing them thoroughly.

For more information, call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.

Asheville Transit Service Changes for UNC-Asheville: Route 2, 3 and 18

Friday, May 14th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The City of Asheville and UNC Asheville will suspend Route 3, also known as the Bulldog Express, this summer due to reductions in ridership at the close of the university academic year. Route 3 will be suspended Friday, May 14 through mid-August when freshmen orientation begins.

During this time, Route 2 will continue to operate between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Route 52 will continue to operate between 8 -11:30 p.m.

The UNC Asheville Commencement Ceremony this Saturday, May 15 will affect the following bus routes:

– Route 2 and Route 18 will be detoured from 8:15 -9:15 a.m.

– Route 2 will not enter campus for its normal 8:15 and 9:15 a.m. loop through campus and will turn around at the traffic circle on WT Weaver Boulevard. Passengers seeking to catch Route #2 on this trip should plan to wait at the MAHEC shelter on WT Weaver Boulevard.

– Route 18 will not enter the campus for its normal 8:45 a.m. loop through the campus and will turn around at the traffic circle on WT Weaver Boulevard. Passengers seeking to catch Route 18 on this trip should plan to wait at WT Weaver Boulevard & Founders Dr.

Top Five Names for WNC Nature Center’s New Otter

Friday, May 14th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The City of Asheville’s contest to name the Western North Carolina Nature Center’s new male otter has received an overwhelming response with around 400 entries. Now, staff has narrowed the list to five names, and it’s up to the public to select the winning name. The top five are Mo, Ike, Obiwan, Twist, and Pitt.

The City of Asheville encourages Western North Carolina residents to visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/chosetheottersname to vote for their favorite. Voting will be open until May 20, and the winning name will be announced at a special naming event press conference in June. The person who entered the winning name will receive an otter adoption package from Friends of the Nature Center and be invited to attend the naming ceremony. If more than one person suggested the winning name, a winner will be drawn randomly.

Traditionally, otters at the Nature Center have received a name beginning with the letter “O,” though all names were considered for this contest. Entries were diverse and included names referencing pop culture and TV characters, Native American culture, natural features of Western North Carolina, and favorite family member names.

For more information, contact Chris Gentile, Director of the Western North Carolina Nature Center, at 828-298-5600.

WNC Nature Center Collecting Materials for Gulf Coast Oil Spill Clean-up Effort

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Western North Carolina Nature Center is partnering with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and zoos nationwide to collect and deliver clean up materials to areas affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Staff members of the Nature Center are currently coordinating with other organizations to determine where the materials will be shipped or delivered.

“We are exploring any and all efforts where we can help, and we know the supplies that are going to be needed,” said WNC Nature Center Animal Curator Allison Ballentine. “The citizens of Asheville are very forward thinking and we wanted to give them a way to help out.”

Area residents are asked to drop off the following items at the WNC Nature Center during regular business hours:

– Paper towels

– Blue Dawn dishwashing soap

– Old fabric towels and sheets

– Tooth brushes and scrub brushes

– Pepto-Bismol

– Animal kennels/carriers

– Rubber Gloves

– Extension cords

The center has placed a bin in its main lobby to collect the cleaning supplies. The center is located at 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville. Call 298-5600 for information.

The WNC Nature Center’s mission is to increase public awareness and understanding of the natural environment of Western North Carolina. Featuring over 150 animals including otters, black bear and red wolf, the Center is open from 10:00 – 5:00 daily.

The WNC Nature Center is operated by the City of Asheville and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

Grove Park Inn Offers ‘Spa-Tacular’ May for Locals

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The month of May just got a whole lot more relaxing at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa with a new “Spa-Tacular Days of May” promotion. Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, residents of Buncombe and surrounding counties are invited to buy one 80-minute Spa treatment and get one 50-minute treatment (of equal or lesser value). Bring a friend or keep both treatments for yourself. This offer is valid for treatments only on those three days, reservations must be made in advance and both treatments must be scheduled for the same day. Some restrictions apply, subject to availability; guests will pay the full service charge before the discount.

Call 828.252.2711, ext. 2772 for more information and to schedule treatments.