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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for April, 2012

Short Story Contest Deadline – May 1

Friday, April 20th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Tuesday, May 1 is the deadline for the Black Mountain Friends’ Short Story Contest for children ages 8-14.

The winners of the contest will be announced at an awards ceremony on Monday, May 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Black Mountain Library.

For more information, call 250-4756.

NC Arboretum and Bent Creek Institute Unveil New Botanical Testing Service

Friday, April 20th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – The North Carolina Arboretum is pleased to announce its newest collaboration with Bent Creek Institute: the US Botanical Safety Laboratory (USBSL). A non-profit quality testing services network, USBSL will begin offering routine botanical identity, purity, and phytochemical composition testing of botanical ingredients beginning April 23, 2012.

USBSL is a network of non-profit testing laboratories in North Carolina with a depth of botanical domain expertise. Founding partner labs include the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository at The North Carolina Arboretum, the North Carolina BioNetwork BioBusiness Center Laboratory at the Asheville- Buncombe Technical Community College, and the David H. Murdock Research Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

The network will serve a variety of clients in academia, public non-governmental organizations, and private industry supply chains seeking to verify the integrity, authenticity, and purity of their botanical ingredients. USBSL’s botanical identity testing will be backed by botanical vouchers maintained by Dr. Joe-Ann McCoy, Laboratory Director of the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository. A respected medicinal plant physiologist and microscopy researcher, Dr. McCoy is an Advisory Board member to the American Botanical Council.

USBSL is managed by Bent Creek Institute, Inc., a non-profit botanical research and economic development organization with the mission to accelerate sustainable, scientifically-backed, and responsible use of botanically-based integrative therapies derived from traditional cultural uses of medicinal plants. Bent Creek Institute will receive, qualify, and blind all botanical samples using a secure and private Internet-based sample submission and tracking system, and issue all final certificates of analysis to clients. Under this sample management protocol, USBSL partner labs will never know the identity of the client submitting the original samples, thus assuring the non-biased nature of the analytical results.
Bent Creek Institute is an analytical laboratory endorser of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program and a member of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the United Natural Products Alliance, the American Botanical Council, and the American Herbal Products Association.

For more information about the US Botanical Safety Laboratory, please visit www.usbsl.org. For more information about The North Carolina Arboretum, please call (828) 665-2492 or visit www.ncarboretum.org. The central mission of The North Carolina Arboretum, an affiliate institution of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system, is to cultivate connections between people and plants.

Open Houses to Share Upcoming Changes to Transit System

Friday, April 20th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Beginning Monday, May 21, the city’s bus system, currently operating as Asheville Transit, will begin operating as ART (Asheville Redefines Transit).  In addition to introducing a new look, new routes and new rides, the launch will celebrate the first phase of transit master plan implementation.  The new ART transit network will demonstrate the City of Asheville’s commitment to multi-modal transportation, affordability and sustainability.

In advance of the May 21 launch, the City of Asheville will host six informational drop-in sessions.  Seeking to encourage citizen engagement, the sessions will use interactive tools to share information about the upcoming changes.  New schedules and maps will be available to take home and opportunities to get hands on experience learning to navigate GoogleTransit, a new online tool riders can use to plan bus trips, will be available.  Staff and transit commission members will be onsite to answer questions.

The April 30 session at the U.S. Cellular Center will have a new hybrid bus on display for family friendly activities and a “load your bicycle on the bus” competition.


The public can drop-in between 4-7 p.m. on any of the following dates:

Monday, April 30, U.S. Cellular Center Banquet Hall, 87 Haywood St.

Tuesday, May 1, West Asheville Community Center, 970 Haywood Rd.

Thursday, May 3, Reid Memorial Recreation Center, 133 Livingston St.

Monday, May 7, Linwood Crump – Shiloh Community Center, 121 Shiloh Rd.

Monday, May 14, East Asheville Community Center, 906 Tunnel Rd.

Tuesday, May 15, Grace Episcopal Church – Parish Hall, 871 Merrimon Ave.


For more information about Asheville Transit, contact 253-5691, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.ashevillenc.gov/transit

Farm to School is in Swing This Spring

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – At preschools and elementary schools throughout Western North Carolina, students are planting seeds and harvesting early-season vegetables, whipping up fresh local foods, and preparing for enriching farm field trips through ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program.

“While our program runs year-round, there is something special about springtime,” says Growing Minds Director Emily Jackson. “Children get to see the seeds they planted grow into beautiful vegetables and flowers, and our area’s farms are coming to life again. Farms are ready to welcome children for field trips and have product to provide to school cafeterias and to chefs for classroom cooking demos.” She adds, “This season is also the best time for us to share our resources—from free seeds to children’s books to grant funding.”

Teachers are now using cooking kits, distributed by ASAP’s Growing Minds earlier this year, in classroom local food cooking demos. Forty schools received kits valued at $2,000 each; Partnership for a Healthier America awarded the kits to ASAP.

ASAP recently announced recipients of their 2012-2013 Farm to School Community Grant: Bald Creek Elementary in Yancey County, Freedom Trail Elementary in Avery County, and Pinnacle Elementary in Rutherford County. The grantees receive training and technical assistance, $3,000 to launch or expand a Farm to School program, and local food and farm promotional materials.

ASAP’s Growing Minds is also providing 10 mini-grants for farm field trips in 2012. Nine schools—from preschool through high school—in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Anderson (SC) counties are receiving $200 to fund educational outings around local food.

Spring is an equally exciting time for the Growing Minds program. They just released the second Local Food Guide for Kids, modeled after ASAP’s popular adult version; the publication is a guide to area school gardens, family-friendly farms, and other Farm to School happenings in Asheville City schools and schools in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Jackson counties. It is currently being distributed to students and can also be found online at growing-minds.org. The program will also launch a new website this season. The vibrant new layout and design will make resources for teachers and parents easier to find and download.


ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. Growing Minds, ASAP’s Farm to School program, works to connect farms and schools and give children positive experiences with healthy foods. Experiences include farm field trips, nutrition education, school gardens, and local food in cafeterias.

To learn more about Growing Minds, visit growing-minds.org. For information about ASAP’s work in the region, visit asapconnections.org, or call 828-236-1282.

Homeless Initiative Coordinator Accepts Prestigious New Post

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Amy Sawyer, the homeless initiative coordinator for Asheville and Buncombe County, has accepted a position with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).  As a regional coordinator with the USICH, Sawyer will assist cities and states throughout the United States to implement “Opening Doors,” the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.  The goal of the program is to end homelessness among veterans in five years and end all types of homelessness in ten years.  Coordinating the activities of 19 federal agencies, USICH uses the systems change model in its approach to end homelessness.

“This is a great opportunity for Amy,” said City of Asheville Planning and Development Director Judy Daniel.  “The work she facilitated here made Asheville and Buncombe County a national model for ending chronic homelessness.  We are proud her expertise will now be applied at the national level.”  City of Asheville community development staff will provide continued support of the initiative until her successor is identified.

Serving as the coordinator for the Homeless Initiative since 2006, Sawyer has coordinated the work that has positively impacted City Council and County Commission strategic goals of ending homelessness.   In that time, the Homeless Initiative’s model of building partnerships, combined with a commitment to data collection and strategies based on analysis and best practices has reduced the incidence of chronic homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County by 70% since 2006, as evidenced by the annual Point in Time Count conducted nationally each year in January.

Key to this success has been the work of the Chronic Homeless Subcommittee which focuses resources on housing formerly chronically homeless persons.  Over 90% of formerly homeless households assisted by the activities of this sub-committee have retained housing for more than a year.  Two member agencies of this sub-committee, Homeward Bound and the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville, were one of only fourteen programs in the nation recognized in 2010 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development with a national “Doorknocker Award.”  The award highlighted the member agencies’ innovative use of federal HOME funds which couples tenant-based rental assistance, supportive services and priority access to vacant apartments in public housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Other notable accomplishments of the initiative include collaborative support for people facing imminent homelessness.  In 2009, Homeless Initiative partner organizations mobilized to access Federal Recovery Act Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing (HPRP) funds designed to help families severely affected by the economic downtown.  This program helped households develop and follow housing plans and paid past due rent and utility bills to retain housing, or paid security deposits and rent payments, enabling households to maintain stable housing while seeking new work, participating in workforce training, or accessing other streams of income.  A unique partnership of agencies in Asheville and Buncombe County, including Homeward Bound, Eblen Charities, Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministries, Western North Carolina AIDS Project, Pisgah Legal Services and United Way’s 211 allowed the funds to be efficiently and effectively used while exhibiting a comprehensive model of responding to housing crisis.


The Homeless Initiative project is based on the community’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness,  a coordinated and collaborative effort among a diverse group of agencies and individuals in Asheville and Buncombe County to end chronic homelessness and prevent all homelessness  A primary goal of the Plan is to implement “Housing First,” which addresses the housing need of someone experiencing homelessness first and foremost, and from that stable base provide needed support that addresses conditions that will enable the household to maintain their housing and connect to the larger community.   For more information on the initiative, visit http://www.ashevillenc.gov/Departments/CommunityDevelopment/CurrentInitiatives/HomelessInitiative.aspx.

City Council and Buncombe County Commissioners appoint and work with the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee of Asheville and Buncombe County, which offers oversight to the 10-Year Plan implementation process and the Homeless Coalition, a homeless provider network in order to make a meaningful impact on the community’s response to housing crisis.

WCU Controlled Chaos Film Festival

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Films created by Western Carolina University students will be screened at the fourth annual Controlled Chaos Film Festival in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on Friday, April 27.

The festival begins at 7 p.m. and features a range of short works as well as three senior-thesis film projects written, directed and produced by students from the Motion Picture and Television Production Program and starring performers from the School of Stage and Screen.

“This event is the highlight of our season because it showcases our entire student body’s skills encompassing directing, writing, acting, cinematography, design and production skills, culminating in a fascinating and eclectic mix of student films,” said Thomas Salzman, director of the School of Stage and Screen.

The first senior-thesis film, “Moses Cove,” is set in the Appalachian Mountains and conveys the story of a man forced to make an important moral decision in a way that offers a poignant view of responsibility and ethics.

The second, “Crossroads,” is set in Asheville and centers on a woman who must choose between having the career of her dreams and being with the man that she loves.

The third is a documentary about Cullowhee that captures the community’s past, present and future in the context of its beauty and history.

The festival will run for approximately two hours and will be followed by a reception.

Admission is $10 cash only at the door. Proceeds and donations benefit the Motion Picture Student Project Fund.

For more information, contact Leah Thomas, senior from Lilburn, Ga., majoring in motion picture and television production and student organizer of the festival, at [email protected], or the School of Stage and Screen at 828-227-7491.

Reuter Center Singers Perform Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – “Tell Me on a Sunday,” the annual spring concert from the Reuter Center Singers, will feature some of the most loved songs in musical theater – the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The concert takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 6, in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center, home of the N.C. Center for Creative Retirement.

The concert is free and open to the public, and will feature songs from Webber’s biggest stage hits, including “Cats,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and more.

A chorus of more than 50 voices, the Reuter Center Singers perform regularly in many community venues. In February, the chorus offered a Black History Month performance of music by African American composers at St. Matthias Episcopal Church. The Reuter Center Singers are directed by Chuck Taft, who also serves as music director for Southern Appalachian Regional Repertory Theatre.

For more information, contact Linda Bushar at 828.254.4108.

Survive on Wild Edibles at Chimney Rock Workshop

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park will host “Wild Edibles,” the second workshop of its three-part survival skills series this spring on Saturday, April 28. The series is intended to better equip people for outdoor adventures and introduce them to knowledge and techniques for short-term survival in the wilderness. A two-hour “off the beaten path” hike to scavenge for edible plants will be followed by a presentation by the Asheville Mushroom Club. Each workshop costs $27/adult, $15/Annual Passholder, $20/youth (ages 6-15) and $12/Grady’s Kids Club Members and includes Park admission for the day. Advance registration is required; register online at chimneyrockpark.com/events or call (828) 625-9611.

Part 2: Wild Edibles

Saturday, April 28; 9am-noon

Food and water are essential to wilderness survival. Abundant, nutritious edible plants grow in Western North Carolina each season, from berries and flowers to nuts and mushrooms. Be prepared to hike off the beaten path for about two hours identifying and learning about wild edibles. Then Sheila Dunn, a longtime member of the Asheville Mushroom Club and a Buncombe County Master Gardener, will whet your appetite with a presentation on favorite edible fungi, such as chanterelles, morels and chicken of the woods. Listen closely when she discusses the few poisonous mushrooms that lurk in our hills!

Part 3: Shelter-Building

Saturday, June 9; 9am-noon

There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the woods without one of the most important means of survival: shelter. We’ll look in-depth at various types of primitive shelters and how to construct them out of materials readily available when you’re caught outside with no place to go. Includes practical, hands-on construction of shelters.  We’ll also touch on building a fire as time allows. Led by local naturalist Clint Calhoun.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species, and the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern United States. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com. More information on current Capital Improvement projects at chimneyrockpark.com/progress or by calling 800-277-9611.

About Asheville Mushroom Club

The Asheville Mushroom Club is diverse group of mushroom enthusiasts who enjoy learning about, collecting, cultivating and eating edible fungi gathered in forests in the Asheville area. At regular meetings, we expand our knowledge through presentations by experts—many of them club members—about different aspects of fungi identification, folklore, cultivation and culinary preparation. The club also arranges many forays, or field trips, around Western North Carolina, from day trips to camping adventures. Experienced members enjoy sharing their knowledge and introducing people to the fascinating world of mushrooms, with an emphasis on having fun. Learn more at www.ashevillemushroomclub.com.

Asheville Downtown Association Announces Lineup for 2012 Downtown After 5

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – The Asheville Downtown Association is pleased to announce that Harmony Motors of Asheville has signed on as the presenting sponsor for the 24th annual Downtown After 5 concert series. Today’s annual Downtown After 5 Kickoff Celebration included volunteer orientation as well as unveiling the music lineup for the season. In the continued spirit of providing top-shelf entertainment throughout the downtown area, Downtown After 5 will return to the same location on North Lexington Avenue between Hiawassee Street and I-240 on the third Friday of the month May to September from 5-9pm.

2012 Lineup

May 18

Headliner: Velvet Truckstop featuring keyboardist Tom Constanten (Grateful Dead) – Soul-infused Carolina rock n’ roll, velvettruckstop.com

Opener: Kellin Watson Band – Black Mountain’s raw and powerful blend of soul and folk,


June 15

Headliner: Space Capone – 70’s-style grooves mixed with 80’s-inspired funk with a fresh twist,


Opener: The Secret B-Sides – Asheville-based smooth, progressive soul and R&B, thesecretb-sides.com

July 20

Headliner: Sol Driven Train – Genre-defying mix of horns, percussion, strings and rotating vocals,


Opener: Common Foundation – Spirited blend of reggae, rocksteady and uptempo ska,


August 17

Headliner: Simplified – Exploring elements of rock, reggae rock, island vibe rock and roots, simplifiedmusic.com

Opener: Shane Pruitt Band – Combining the musical traditions of Delta blues, gospel and southern rock, shanepruittband.com

September 21

Headliner: The Black Lillies – Rustic blend of Americana and Appalachian sound, theblacklillies.com

Opener: The Buchanan Boys – Countrified rock n’ roll with a twist from Haywood County, reverbnation.com/thebuchananboys

Each year, the Asheville Downtown Association selects five non-profit organizations to receive proceeds from the event’s wristband sales. This year’s recipients are: Asheville GreenWorks (May18), Katy’s Kids/MANNA FoodBank (June 15), Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association (July 20), Homeward Bound (August 17) and Blue Ridge Pride (September 21).

The Asheville Downtown Association continues its commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of its events. Downtown After 5 features compostable food and beverage containers and with the aid of Danny’s Dumpster has reduced the amount of waste taken to the landfill to a handful of bags per event. Sundance Solar is again providing the solar array that powers the main stage performances and Asheville On Bikes will be onsite with valet bike parking.

2012 Downtown After 5 corporate partners also include Budweiser Distribution of Asheville, Empire Distribution Company, Highland Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing Company, SpringHill Suites and Courtyard by Marriott, Go Mini’s Storage Containers, ARC Printing, The Orange Peel, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Mountain Xpress, Asheville Citizen-Times, Deal Chicken, WLOS ABC-13, Asheville Radio Group and Clear Channel of Asheville.

Downtown After 5 is a production of the Asheville Downtown Association. Celebrating its 25th year serving the downtown community, the Asheville Downtown Association is a non-profit, membership-based organization committed to being the voice of downtown.

More information about Downtown After 5 and the Asheville Downtown Association can be found online at ashevilledowntown.org or by following through social media including Facebook (facebook.com/AshevilleDowntownAssociation) and Twitter (@AvilleDowntown).

Chimney Rock Announces Get Elevated (Again) Contest

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Are you one of those passionate Chimney Rock fans? If your family has been visiting Chimney Rock regularly for more than two generations, you may have a chance to win Annual Passes for your family, $200 in retail and dining gift certificates and the privilege of being among the first to ride Chimney Rock’s modernized elevator at the grand reopening celebration later this spring. According to the Park’s Get Elevated (Again) contest ending May 2, one family with one of the longest ongoing visitations, a historical photograph showing family members at the Park and the most fascinating story about their family connection to Chimney Rock will be selected as the lucky winners. The winning family will be announced about one week prior to the opening celebration. For the entire contest rules, go to http://chimneyrockpark.com/getelevated.php.

Submission Requirements.  The following is required to be eligible to win the Get Elevated (Again) contest:

  1. A brief paragraph, maximum of 450 words, telling a fascinating story about your family history of visiting the Park over the past decades.
  2. An original or scanned historical photograph showing members of your family inside the Park. Submitting a photo dated around or before the original elevator opening in the late 1940s will increase your chances of winning. The older the photo, the better.
  3. A photo caption 1-2 sentences long, stating: 1) who is shown in the photo, 2) location inside the Park where the photo was taken and 3) what year the photo was taken.

Ways to Submit.  Submit your story, photograph and photo caption to the Get Elevated (Again) contest no later than Wednesday, May 2. Choose one of the two ways below to submit:

  1. Email your submission with a digital or scanned photo to: [email protected].
  2. Mail your submission to: PR & Events, PO Box 39, Chimney Rock, NC 28720.

Questions? If you have any questions about the contest or submission requirements, please email [email protected]  or call (828) 625-9611 ext.*812.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor attraction located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. In 2012, the Park is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the release of The Last of the Mohicans, which was filmed in Chimney Rock. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com. More information on current Capital Improvement projects at chimneyrockpark.com/progress or by calling 800-277-9611.