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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for January, 2011

Free Tax Assistance Starts Today

Monday, January 31st, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Do you have questions about your taxes? Would you like assistance in completing your income tax forms?

The AARP Tax-Aide Program, in cooperation with the IRS, N.C. Dept. of Revenue, the Council on Aging and Buncombe County Public Libraries, will again offer free tax preparation for seniors and low to middle income taxpayers. The assistance will begin January 31 and end April 18.

In addition to the AARP tax assistance during the week, the VITA tax assistance program will be at Pack Library on Saturdays from February 5 to April 9.

Federal tax forms will be available by the end of January at every library except the Oakley/South Asheville Library. State tax forms are no longer distributed to the libraries. Libraries can print forms off the Internet for the standard library copy fee. Taxpayers may also order free copies of federal tax forms by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) and free copies of state tax forms by calling 877-252-3052.

Electronic filing (E-file) is available for safe and accurate preparation and fast refunds. The locations and times for tax assistance are:

Tax Assistance Sites

Pack Library

67 Haywood Street, Asheville

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturdays (thru April 9)
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
West Asheville Library

942 Haywood Road, Asheville

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Weaverville Library

41 N. Main Street, Weaverville

Noon – 5 p.m.
Black Mountain Library

105 N. Dougherty Street, Black Mountain

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Taxpayers should bring the following documents:

  • Social Security cards and Identifications for taxpayers and all dependents.
  • Last year’s (2009) tax return.
  • W-2 forms from each employer.
  • 1099 for Social Security, Pension, Interest, Dividends, and Broker/ Mutual Fund and Miscellaneous Income, etc..
  • Detailed list for Medical Expenses, Charitable Contributions, Real Estate Taxes, Mortgage Interest, if claiming itemized deductions.
  • Real Estate Tax invoice and invoice for a new car purchased after February 16, 2009, for special credit this year, even if not claiming itemized deductions.
  • A blank check for direct deposit of any refund to your checking or savings account.

Questions and requests for homebound individuals can be directed to the Buncombe County Council on Aging at 277-8288.

How to Clean Your House – the Green Way!

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – How can you tackle spring cleaning without using cleaners that may harm both your family and the environment? Follow these tips for easy, economical and green ways to freshen and clean your home this spring.

  • Kitchen floors: Whether you have vinyl, linoleum or ceramic tile in your kitchen, white vinegar – straight or mixed with water – is all you need to get floors clean. Use a sturdy mop, natural sponge or clean cloth to scrub, then mop up any excess. Vinegar and a stiff short bristled brush can also be used to clean grout.
  • Kitchen sinks: Make your own sink scrub using one part vinegar, four parts baking soda and several drops of essential oil. Scrub the paste on with a sponge, let sit for a few minutes then rinse.
  • Windows: Use white vinegar again, this time pour it in a spray bottle. Use crumpled newspaper or a lint-free cloth to complete the cleaning.
  • Carpets: Before vacuuming, shake baking soda over the carpet; it will help to absorb odors. For spot cleaning, white vinegar will lift some spots. Spray it on, then scrub out the spot with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
  • Upholstery: Sprinkle cushions and chairs with baking soda (made easier by putting it in a shaker container) then vacuum after letting it sit for a while.
  • General odors: Make your own scented sprays by mixing distilled water, alcohol (keep this away from heat and flames, as well as from children and pets) and several drops of essential oil in a spray bottle, then spray wherever needed.
  • Tubs and toilets: Spray with vinegar first, then sprinkle on baking soda for totally natural, fizzy cleaning power. Scrub with a sponge or toilet brush, then rinse clean and flush.
  • Garbage cans: Sprinkle the bottom with borax (a natural mineral) to prevent the growth of mold and fungus and to keep away insects.
  • Spring house pests: Spring is when ants and other pests start showing up in your home. To keep them out, mix equal parts sugar and borax in a shaker bottle and sprinkle along likely household entry points (keep away from areas accessible to children and pets).

Source: thegreenguide.com

Line-up Set for Celtic Adventure at the Grove Park Inn

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa invites guests to celebrate the Scots-Irish heritage of Western North Carolina with the finest in dance, literature, food, drink and music during Celtic Adventure Weekend, Feb. 4 through 6. Passion and artistry collide at the resort during this dream weekend for lovers of all things Celtic.

Weekend concerts showcase some of the best and brightest talents in Celtic music including Gaelic Storm. It has now been more than a decade since Gaelic Storm’s career lifted off with their appearance in the blockbuster film Titanic. Since their big-screen debut 10 years ago, the band’s fan base continues to multiply with each new album, turning the one-time-pub-band into one of the premier touring acts in the Celtic music genre.

At 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa is proud to bring The Hunt Family to the stage. The Hunt Family Fiddlers are an award-winning family of Irish step-dancers, fiddlers and singers who have been entertaining crowds across the country with their high-powered performances and other instrumental talents including drums, accordion, keyboard and guitar. This extraordinary family of nine performs Celtic, bluegrass, inspirational and popular tunes, offering a unique blend of diversity to every show. Tickets are $20.

The music continues at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon when attendees will enjoy the music and stories of Scottish songwriter and guitarist Colin Grant-Adams. Hailing from Oban, Scotland, Grant-Adams is one of the most sought after Scottish/Celtic entertainers and one of the premier solo Scottish balladeers on the Scottish festival circuit today. Grant-Adams is well known for his energetic and driving rhythm guitar, the stirring claw hammer style of the banjo, and his wonderful ability to charm the crowd. Tickets are $15.

Back by popular demand and headlining Celtic Adventure Weekend, Gaelic Storm blows back into Asheville at 8 pm on Saturday night for another raucous, crowd-pleasing performance. Don’t miss this opportunity to sing along with one of the hottest Celtic bands firing up the stage in performance venues across the country. Tickets are $35.

Irish dance demonstrations and workshops, scavenger hunts and sheepdog trials demonstrations are also part of the fun. For more information, please contact The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa at 800.438.0050 or 828.252.2711; visit www.groveparkinn.com, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ewgrove and Facebook at www.facebook.com/groveparkinn.

Asheville Tourists Announce ‘Name-the-Mascot’ Contest

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Tourists are hosting a Name-The-Mascot contest that will net the winner a pair of season tickets for the 2011 baseball campaign at McCormick Field..

In November, the Tourists revealed their new identity program by introducing their sunglasses-wearing “Mr. Moon” mascot to Western North Carolina and the baseball world. Mr. Moon will join Ted E. Tourist for games this season at McCormick Field, but the Tourists believe he needs a first name. In order to find the perfect one, the team is hosting a contest that will allow the winner to see Mr. Moon as well as the Ted E. and the Tourists in action for every game this season.

Fans can enter the contest by recommending first names for Mr. Moon while logging on to the Asheville Tourists’ official website, www.theashevilletourists.com. Online submissions are being accepted now through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, February 7. The top seven submissions will then be voted upon from February 9 through Wednesday, February 23, at 11:59 p.m. The winning name will be announced on Friday, February 25, with the fan who submitted the new first name receiving two season tickets for the 2011 campaign.

In the event that two or more people suggest the same winning name, the winner of the season tickets will go to the contestant who first submitted the name.

“We’re excited about our new identity program and Mr. Moon is definitely looking forward to receiving a first name,” said Brian DeWine, president of the Tourists. “The response to our new logos, colors and caps has been outstanding. We’re hoping that by involving our fans and rewarding the winner with a great prize will create even more anticipation as we count down to Opening Day.”

The Tourists open their 2011 home slate at McCormick Field on April 15th against the Lexington Legends after spending the first week of the campaign on the road at Hickory and West Virginia. Season ticket packages are currently available at the McCormick Field box office. For more information, contact the Tourists front office at (828) 258-0428.

UNC Asheville’s Super Saturday Program Offers Super Classes for Kids

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Saturdays are super this spring at UNC Asheville! Academically gifted, creative, and/or highly motivated students in grades 3-8 have the opportunity to explore foreign language, model rocketry, magic, and much more at UNC Asheville’s spring semester Super Saturday program, beginning March 5. More than 12,000 children from across Western North Carolina have explored their special interests through hands-on learning on the UNC Asheville campus as part of Super Saturdays.

Students can choose from more than 25 courses. Kids interested in working with their hands can create their own pottery, sculpt a unique game board, or build 3-D geometric shapes. Science lovers can crack geodes, explore physics with a marshmallow catapult, or experiment with lasers. Aspiring performance artists can learn the basics of sound production, scenic painting or puppetry.

Super Saturday classes are taught by UNC Asheville faculty members, upper level students, public school teachers, and other professionals.

Super Saturday classes meet from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays from March 5 to April 9. The registration deadline is February 27. Tuition is $69 for each six-week course. A limited number of financial scholarships are available.

Note: On Saturdays when “Saturday school” snow make-up days at area schools affect a majority of Super Saturday students, Super Saturday classes will be moved to the afternoon, with classes beginning at 2 or 3:30 p.m. UNC Asheville will announce any schedule changes resulting from “Saturday school” on the Friday afternoon before each Super Saturday class.

For more information or to register, visit the Super Saturday Web page at UNC Asheville’s Cultural Events and Special Academic Programs, or call 828.251.6558.

Ebook Publishing Workshop at the Black Mountain Library

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC – The Friends of the Black Mountain Library will host a program on Monday, January 31, at 6:30 p.m. entitled “How to Turn Your Book into an E-book and Get Published.”

The program will offer publishing tips including how to get a book contract, how to find the right editor for your book, and how to establish a publicity track record.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the library at 250-4756 or email [email protected].

Pedestrian Bridge Community Update Meeting Rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The city of Asheville will hold a community information meeting and Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) walk Saturday, Feb. 5, from 1-3 p.m.  The meeting will start at the Hillcrest Community Center at 100 Atkinson St.  An information session will kick-off the meeting followed by a community walk where participants will be invited to walk the bridge and areas adjacent to the bridge, sharing safety concerns along the way.  The original meeting scheduled for Jan. 8 was cancelled due to winter weather.

City staff will include representatives from the transportation department, police department, public works department and administrative services department.  APD Captain Daryl Fisher shared, “we’ve already increased our presence in the areas adjacent to the bridge but the key to keeping the old problems from taking root again will be strong relationships between the community and law enforcement officers.  This walk will be an important step in the process.”

Visit www.ashevillenc.gov/progress to view the status of various tasks associated with the reopening of the bridge.

Homesteading Courses at A-B Tech Bring Back the Basics

Monday, January 24th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – A-B Tech has created a new homesteading program that taps the desire for self-sufficiency and a return to simpler living.

“The emerging generation is looking to break the current economic model,” said Shelley White, Interim Vice President of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. “People are choosing to make their own clothing rather than buy clothing from China and choosing to grow their own food or buy locally rather than purchase food trucked from California.”

Ashley English, who teaches a class for the College on how to raise chickens in the backyard, is one of those people. “We have two hives of Italian honey bees, six chickens, I regularly can, we have a large kitchen garden and I grow a number of herbs that I incorporate into culinary, medicinal, and body care use,” she said.   “I make many homemade dairy products, we cook almost all of our meals from scratch and I make many of my own home cleaning products.”

English has written books on the subject and embraced the homesteading lifestyle because she finds it empowering.  “It doesn’t matter if you live in a condo with no yard to speak of or if you live on 11 wooded acres like I do, there’s something to be gained in learning to meet your food, shelter, and other basic needs. Whether it’s learning to grow some of your own food and can it for later use, keep a flock of laying hens, make medicine from homegrown herbs, or sew a garment or two, homesteading skills plant you squarely in the driver’s seat of your life, customizing it as you see fit in order to best meet the needs of your home and your family,” she said.

Students at A-B Tech can learn how to knit, sew, raise bees, quilt and preserve the summer’s harvest through canning and other methods. Other topics include gardening, recycling, alternative energy sources and permaculture, sustainable land use design.

“We decided to offer a wide variety of courses related to the homesteading lifestyle, including urban, rural and advanced topics,” said White. “The courses can help participants maintain a more sustainable household, rekindle an interest in handcrafts or create their own economic recovery.”

Today’s Planning Board Meeting Cancelled

Monday, January 24th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Today’s Planning Board Meeting has been canceled due to inclement weather.

Register Now for National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a community event designed to give women of all ages a chance to try out a variety of fun activities. This year’s event will be held at UNC-Asheville on Saturday, February 12, 2011 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The day consists of clinics designed to motivate girls and women to lead an active, healthy life. The goal is to give girls and women the opportunity to try new sports and experience a variety of fitness classes in addition to building skills in a sport of interest. All women and girls age 6 and up are invited to participate.

Early registration ends January 21, 2011. The early entry fee is $12 per person. After January 21, the entry fee will be $15 per person. Early registration is advised as space is limited.

Admission includes:

  • Four clinics (Sports clinics run by qualified, professional college coaches and athletes)
  • T-shirt
  • Goody bag
  • Delicious healthy lunch
  • Chance to win some great door prizes
  • Ticket to the Women’s Big South Conference Game at UNC-Asheville that day.
  • The chance to meet local female athletes and get autographs

This event is sponsored by Buncombe County Parks, Greenways and Recreations, Asheville Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department, UNC Asheville, Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts of WNC Pisgah Council, YMCA, Ultimate Frisbee Club, Disc Golf Association, and the YWCA. Pre-registration is highly recommended as we do run out of space and t-shirts.

For more information or to register, contact Allison at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center at 350-2058