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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for November, 2012

UNC Asheville Earns High Grades in National Survey

Friday, November 16th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – UNC Asheville significantly outperformed national averages in key academic benchmarks identified in the just-released 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). UNC Asheville also scored significantly higher than the national average in the “deep approaches to learning” scale measuring activities which, according to the study authors, “result in effective and enduring learning.”

The NSSE is conducted annually by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, and the 2012 Annual Results, sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, were released today. More than 1,500 colleges have participated in the survey since its inception in the year 2000. The 2012 survey measured responses from 285,000 freshmen and seniors at 546 U.S. colleges and universities.

UNC Asheville significantly exceeded the national average in all five benchmarks for freshmen, and in four of the five areas for seniors. UNC Asheville also improved significantly, particularly with freshmen, setting all-time high scores for first-year students in all five academic benchmarks. The scores for seniors improved in three of the five benchmarks compared with 2010, when the university last participated in the NSSE.

“It’s great to have the NSSE survey affirm what we already know: Accomplished, interesting, and curious students are mentored by superb faculty and staff, whose work with students extends beyond the classroom,” said Chancellor Anne Ponder. “Fostering creativity and critical thinking is at the heart of the UNC Asheville Liberal Arts educational experience; those qualities are what employers need and appreciate in our graduates.”

UNC Asheville freshmen were found to write more, present in class more, and are more likely to say they have serious conversations with students of other races, ethnicities, religions and political views, compared with the national average.

On the “deep approaches to learning”(DAL) scale, UNC Asheville scored 69 for freshmen, compared to a national average of 61, and scored 70 for seniors, compared to the national average of 66. According to the NSSE authors, the DAL scale “has demonstrated strong correspondence with how much time students devote to their studies, perceived learning gains in college, and overall satisfaction.”

The five key academic benchmarks identified by the NSSE are:

  • Level of Academic Challenge – How challenging is your institution’s intellectual and creative work?
  • Active and Collaborative Learning – Are your students actively involved in their learning, individually and working with others?
  • Student-Faculty Interaction – Do your students work with faculty members outside the classroom?
  • Enriching Educational Experiences – Do your students take advantage of complementary learning opportunities?
  • Supportive Campus Environment – Do your students feel the institution is committed to their success?

Based on student responses to factual (i.e. how many papers will you write this semester) as well as opinion questions, the study authors assign numerical scores in each area to each participating college.

For more information about the NSSE, visit nsse.iub.edu.

City of Asheville Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Asheville city government offices will be closed Thursday, Nov. 22 and Friday, Nov. 23 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Garbage and recycling collection will be suspended Thursday, Nov. 22.  Customers with Thursday garbage collection will have trash collected Friday, Nov. 23.  Garbage should be placed by the curb by 7 a.m.  Questions about garbage collection can be directed to the City of Asheville at 828-251-1122.  Questions about recycling collection can be answered by Curbside Management at 828-252-2532.

City bus service will be suspended Thursday, Nov. 22 in observance of the holiday.  Asheville Transit will resume normal operations Friday, Nov. 23.

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts facilities will function on the following schedules over the holiday:

·         Asheville Municipal Golf Course – open on Thursday, Nov. 22, 7:30 am – 2:30 pm; and Friday, Nov. 23, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

·         Nature Center – closed Nov. 22, open Nov. 23

·         Aston Tennis Center – closed Nov. 22, open Nov. 23

·         Food Lion Skate Park – closed Nov. 22, open Nov. 23

·         All recreation centers – closed Nov. 22, closed Nov. 23

All public safety services, including police, fire and emergency response, will operate according to normal schedule – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chimney Rock Hikes Thanksgiving Weekend

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Looking for a fun way to burn off your Thanksgiving dinner that involves fresh air and beautiful scenery? Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is offering family guided hikes on the Hickory Nut Falls trail at 11am-noon on Friday and Saturday, November 23-24. Hikes are limited to the first 25 people who sign up at Cliff Dwellers Gift Shop, where the guided hike begins.

After a scenic hike, join one of the Park naturalists to meet some of Chimney Rock’s resident non-releasable critters at 2pm on November 23-24 in the Classroom on the Meadows. Hear stories about Grady the Groundhog and friends and find out what these critters would be doing if they were out roaming the Park during the changing season. Up-close encounters with wildlife can be exciting and educational for kids of any age.

These special hikes and programs are offered at no additional cost with paid Park admission, which is $15 adult, $7 youth (ages 6-15) and free for kids under six. Or for a limited time, from Black Friday through Christmas Eve (Nov. 23 to Dec. 24), save $5 on Annual Passes at Chimney Rock for only $23 per adult. For less than the cost of two visits, Annual Passes include benefits such as a 15 percent discount on Park retail and dining, as well as savings at Biltmore, Lake Lure Tours, Mast General Store and many other local favorites. Consider pairing an Annual Pass with a Chimney Rock sweatshirt, coffee mug or hiking stick for a gift that keeps giving all year long. The Annual Pass holiday special is available at the Park and in their online store at www.chimneyrockpark.com.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. The 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge. In 2012 the Park is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the release of The Last of the Mohicans, which features Chimney Rock’s 404-foot waterfall and mountain scenery during the film’s final 17 minutes.  It’s located only 40 minutes southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. Call (800) 277-9611 or visit chimneyrockpark.com.

Rooting for Roots – ASAP’s Underground Veggies

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Think that apples are the last hurrah when it comes to local farm-fresh produce before wintertime? Think again! Right now, farmers are digging up root vegetables, and lots of them – from beets to carrots and radishes to turnips. While also available at other times during the year, roots reach their full flavor potential in the fall.

That excites Miki Kilpatrick, who owns the Asheville restaurant HomeGrown with her husband, Greg. She and her team feature local root veggies heavily at the eatery during fall and winter in side dishes like vanilla smashed sweet potatoes and a roasted medley. But they pull out all the stops for their Thanksgiving catering menu: collard greens with turnips; sweet potatoes stuffed with apples, raisins and sage; and root veggie, bacon and Boursin stuffing. And then there are the sweet treats: sweet potato pie and maple-sweet potato toffee brownies! While all roots have a place on HomeGrown’s menu, Kilpatrick does have a favorite: golden beets, which are used in the restaurant’s logo.

It’s not just the local veggies themselves that are close to her heart. It’s also the farmers growing them and organizations like ASAP working to promote local food. That’s why she and her husband are donating a percentage of proceeds from all Thanksgiving catering orders to ASAP this year.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Kilpatrick says. “ASAP does so much for our local farming community; we’re happy to offer some support in return.” When it comes to supporting the farmers directly, HomeGrown’s local roots come from Whispersholler Farms primarily, a series of small family farms in Buncombe and Yancey counties. They also purchase local food from the distributor Madison Farms and “whoever shows up at our back door!”

Find HomeGrown’s full holiday catering menu at slowfoodrightquick.com; menu begins November 14. For a list of all area growers producing root veggies and the restaurants serving and groceries and tailgates stocking them, search ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.

LED Streetlights Coming to a Street Near You

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Beginning Monday, Nov. 12, the city will move into the third and final phase of the streetlight upgrade program in which traditional bulbs will be upgraded to LED fixtures. When complete in June 2013 all roads in city limits except Department of Transportation roads will be upgraded to LED streetlights. Upgrades will take place Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. with no expectations of traffic disruption.  Installations will begin at the base of city limits in south Asheville this fall, moving to east Asheville this winter and concluding in north Asheville next spring.

Over the last two years the City has upgraded 3,400 street lights to the energy efficiency LED technology and will complete the city wide program in June 2013 with a total of 7,400 fixtures.  Once completed all three phases are expected to save $450,000 annually and 1,294 tons of avoided carbon which is equal to the emissions from burning 7 rail cars of coal.

The first and second phases of this program have already resulted in $165,000 of energy savings. When this program began the municipal budget for streetlights was $1.7M annually. In order to make the investment in LED streetlights the city is keeping this budget flat and using the energy savings to pay for the investment in this technology. The energy savings is so substantial that in addition to all streetlights being upgraded the majority of the sustainability program activities are being funded through this source.

The City of Asheville is the first in the nation to implement this innovative financial model called the Green Capital Improvement Program, where all the energy savings pay for the energy efficiency investment. These lighting upgrades build further upon the successful lighting ordinance passed in 2008 which ensures all municipal streetlights adhere to “Dark Sky” standards.

For more information about these upgrades please visit the frequently asked questions page at www.ashevillenc.gov/green or email [email protected].

Medicare Choices Made Easy November 8

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – The Council on Aging of Buncombe County will be offering the following Medicare Choices Made Easy classes this fall:

  • Thursday, November 8 from 3 – 5 p.m.
    West Asheville Library
  • Tuesday, November 13 from 4 – 6 p.m.
    Weaverville Library
  • Wednesday, November 14 from 3 – 5 p.m.
    Fairview Library
  • Thursday, November 15 from 4 – 6 p.m.
    Black Mountain Library
  • Tuesday, November 20 from 4 – 6 p.m.
    Leicester Library

The purpose of the class is to inform people who are new to Medicare or have questions about how the program works. The class will also cover additional coverage options that are available, ways to save money and answer general questions regarding the program.

The class is free and open to the public. People who are about to enroll or recently enrolled in Medicare should attend, as well as caregivers and others who help senior citizens with their Medicare insurance. The information presented is unbiased and accurate. No products are sold, recommended or endorsed.

Space is limited, so call The Council on Aging at 277-8288 today for further information and to reserve your place.

Stamp Out Hunger! Hunger Games Marathon Week

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Suzanne Collins’ book, The Hunger Games, is a world-wide phenomenon and Buncombe County became a part of that when the movie was filmed in Western North Carolina. Join us in celebration of this fantastic dystopian story for a viewing of The Photo of Hunger Games video cover.Hunger Games film and discussion of the book. The times and dates are:

  • Tuesday, November 13 at 5 p.m. – Swannanoa Public Library
  • Wednesday, November 14 at 4 p.m. – Skyland Public Library
  • Friday, November 16 at 4 p.m. – Weaverville Public Library
  • Friday, November 16 at 5 p.m. – Fairview Public Library
  • Saturday, November 17 at 2 p.m. – East Asheville Public Library

Help us stamp out hunger! Bring cans or non-perishable food items to donate to MANNA FOOD BANK at any of the showings if you can. This program is free and a food donation is not required.

The Hunger Games is rated PG-13 and has a 2 hours and 20 minutes runtime. For more information, contact your local library or visit buncombecounty.org/library.

Diana Wortham Theatre Presents Mountain Heart Nov 9

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Join Diana Wortham Theatre on November 9 at 8 pm for Mountain Heart. Mountain Heart is fearlessly revolutionizing the way acoustic music is presented and played: its name has been synonymous with cutting-edge excellence in acoustic music circles since the group’s creation in 1999. One of the most highly awarded groups ever assembled, Mountain Heart has won or been nominated for multiple Grammy, ACM, CMA and IBMA awards. Versatile, multi-genre superstars, they have shared the stage with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard, Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss, Levon Helm, and John Fogerty — but it is the group’s high-energy sound, fresh and unmistakably their own, that has audiences clamoring.
Tickets: Regular $30, Student $25, Child $15
Groups of 10-19: $27 each
Groups of 20 or more: $25 each

UNC Asheville Hosts Special Events for Native American Heritage Month

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – UNC Asheville will celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a series of special events including a panel discussion, storytelling performance, and presentations of Cherokee language, ceremonies, pottery, ceremonies and rituals.

Native American Heritage Month Activities at UNC Asheville include:

  • Cherokee Coalition Experience: Transformation through Forgiveness – Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and non-natives will discuss the “Journey to Forgiveness and Healing,” a recent retracing of the Trail of Tears from Oklahoma back to Cherokee, N.C. Refreshments will be served. 1-2:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, UNC Asheville’s Karpen Hall, Laurel Forum.
  • A Cherokee Perspective of Place: Traditional Storytelling – Tom Belt, visiting Cherokee language instructor at Western Carolina University, presents a storytelling performance. Native American studies exhibits by UNC Asheville students will also be on display, and refreshments will be served. 12:30-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union, Alumni Hall.
  • Cherokee Language Demonstration – Tom Belt and Hartwell Francis, director of the Cherokee language program at Western Carolina University will discuss the history of syllabary and demonstrate its use. 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 at UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union, Intercultural Center.
  • Exhibit of Pottery and Art by Darrin Bark – Bark, a Cherokee artist and potter, has taught and demonstrated at the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual. One of his drawings, a winner in the Congressional Arts Competition, was displayed in the White House. The exhibit will be on display throughout November. A reception with the artist will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union, Intercultural Center.
  • Ceremonies and Ritual Discussion – Sharon Oxendine, program director at Mountain Bizworks, will discuss ceremonies and rituals of indigenous Native American groups. 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union, Intercultural Center.
  • “We Shall Remain” – PBS documentary series will be presented in installments at 7 p.m. Mondays through Dec. 3, in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union.

All Native American Heritage Month activities at UNC Asheville are free and open to the public.

Co-sponsors for these events include the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and many UNC Asheville departments and programs. For more information, call Laura Bond, chair and professor of drama, at 828.232.2992, or Lamar Hylton, director of multicultural student programs, at 828.251.6585.


Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday – November 2 – 4

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – North Carolina will also be offering a sales tax holiday on qualifying energy star certified appliances on November 2 – 4 of this year. The holiday applies to the following Energy Star purchases:

Energy Star logo

  • Clothes washers
  • Freezers
  • Refrigerators
  • Central air conditioners
  • Room air conditioners
  • Air-source heat pumps
  • Ceiling fans
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Programmable thermostats