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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for July, 2014

WCU New Lifelong Learning Program for WNC Retirees This Fall

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Western Carolina University is launching a new lifelong learning institute aimed at people age 50 and older across Western North Carolina who are interested in enriching their lives through the pursuit of knowledge.

The institute, based on the idea that “learning is for everyone” and titled [email protected], will feature weekly interactive seminars in Cullowhee and Asheville. Sessions will focus on a wide variety of topics spanning business, history, science, literature, politics and personal development.

[email protected] is designed to extend to residents of the greater WNC community the wide array of academic resources available at the university and in the community, said Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU provost.

“The LIFE program is for retirees, alumni and community members seeking to engage in lifelong learning. It is for those seeking networking, community and engagement in the learning process,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “The program topics will nourish the mind, spirit and body.”

The mission of [email protected] is simple, she said. “We want to establish a community of lifelong learners, age 50 and over, by offering participant-determined topics of interest that promote learning and community-university engagement,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “The programs are intended to enrich the quality of life for seasoned adults as they learn new things, meet new people and exchange ideas.”

The institute will include educational lectures, social opportunities and field trips as presenters, including university faculty, share expertise from a variety of backgrounds, she said.

Sessions are weekly for 12 weeks during the fall and spring semesters. Fall semester programs are tentatively scheduled to get underway Sept. 9 in Cullowhee and Sept. 10 in Asheville.

Participants will register for sessions being held at one of two sites. Programs will be held Tuesdays at the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching adjacent to the WCU campus in Cullowhee, and Wednesdays at the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square, located at 28 Schenck Parkway in Asheville. Sessions at both sites will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until noon.

Among the proposed topics for this fall are “Operations of the Biltmore House,” “Useful Legal Matters,” “Cherokee and the Seven Clans,” “How the Civil War Affected WNC,” “Native Plants,” “Local Scenic Hikes,” “Making the Theory of Evolution Clear to People Like You and Me,” “Storytelling in Appalachia,” “Seeing, Imagining and Recording: The Process of Creative Writing,” “Theater and Design,” “The Major Differences between the Core Beliefs of Conservatives and Liberals,” “State and Federal Politics and Trends: Impact on the Economy and Education,” “Terrorism and Global Threats,” “Being and Doing Good” and “Living While Dying.

The final lineup of program topics will be announced soon.

Cost of membership in the institute is $125 per year, including 24 engaged learning experiences with opportunities to take part in additional activities related to some of the topics. Participants may attend all or as many sessions as they like.

“For example, participants might hear from the director of a play about how to develop and put on a performance, and then go and see the play,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “Or participants might hear about the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, and then go visit the town of Cherokee and see it with different eyes.”

For more information or to register for the [email protected] institute, contact the Division of Educational Outreach at 828-227-7397 or [email protected], or visit the website life.wcu.edu.

Southeastern Sports Medicine Annual WNC Concussion and Injury Symposium

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – For the second year, Southeastern Sports Medicine will bring western North Carolina medical providers a concussion symposium based on the most current research and updates from North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association. The event will take place at the DoubleTree Hilton in Asheville on Friday, July 25, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

According to a recent survey of 778 athletes, 69 percent of those with concussions reported playing with symptoms, and 40 percent reported that their coach was not aware of their concussion.

The goals of the WNC Concussion and Injury Prevention Symposium are to educate athletic trainers, nurses, physical therapists and other medical providers in western North Carolina on updated research and current North Carolina standards for high school athletes, and bring more consistency to the local area on the management and treatment of concussions.

Breakout sessions will be provided for coaching staff and parents in the community. Coaches will be offered a free CPR/AED certification. The symposium is free for coaches, parents and students. Physicians, physician assistants and nurse assistants will be charged $20, and athletic trainers, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and physical therapists will be charged $10.

To register for the WNC Concussion and Injury Prevention Symposium, fill out the online registration form at http://www.sesportsmed.com/events.html.


About Southeastern Sports Medicine: Established in 1997, Southeastern Sports Medicine’s team of physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, athletic trainers and massage therapists support each patient through a customized treatment plan to find freedom from pain and mobility for life. Southeastern Sports Medicine’s physicians, which include Dr. Keith Maxwell, Dr. Gregory Motley, Dr. Andrew Rudins, Dr. Richard Jones, Dr. R. Christian Estes, Dr. James Phelps, Dr. Andrew Kersten, Dr. Amal Das, Dr. Brian Seng and Dr. Brian Stover, provide care for patients experiencing issues of the spine, shoulder, knee, hip, foot & ankle, and hand & upper extremities. Southeastern also offers care in the specialties of sports medicine, physical medicine & rehabilitation and medical acupuncture. Southeastern Sports Medicine continues to expand its services and adapt its care model to meet growing demands for orthopedic care in Western North Carolina. Walk-in clinics are now available at the team’s Asheville, Hendersonville and Waynesville locations on weekday mornings from 7:30 to 10 a.m. To find out more about Southeastern Sports Medicine and its services, please visit www.sesportsmed.com.

About Park Ridge Health: Founded in 1910, Park Ridge Health is a beloved piece of our growing community’s health care network, providing leading-edge, compassionate care in a Christian environment. Park Ridge Health is a member of Adventist Health System, a family of 45 exceptional, faith-based hospitals across the country that operate independently to deliver care and services that best meet the needs of their communities. Leading the way in many medical firsts for the region, Park Ridge Health provides personalized care at more than 30 locations, offering a dedicated network of more than 140 physicians and providers, cardiac care & rehabilitation, emergency services, nationally awarded cancer care, state-of-the-art surgical care, full-service orthopedic care, a boutique labor & delivery experience, a full range of imaging services and the only accredited hyperbaric medicine facility in Western North Carolina. For more information about Park Ridge Health or to find a physician, please visit www.parkridgehealth.org or call 855.PRH.LIFE (855.774.5433).

Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival on August 13

Monday, July 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy festival kicks off August 13 with Chris Porter, a top three contestant during Season 4 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. With proceeds being donated to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, the festival will launch at Highland Brewing Company. Tickets are on sale now at www.laughyourashevilleoff.com.

About Chris Porter

Best known for his third place finish on the Season 4 of Last Comic Standing, Chris can also be seen on his own “Comedy Central Presents” special and “Live at Gotham”. Chris Porter has been a touring comic since he was 23. Since the beginning Chris’ raw energy and unique perspective has distinguished him as one of the elite comics in the industry.


Born and raised in Kansas City, Chris brings a true stand-up experience to his live shows. There are no sound cues, no puppets, and no catch phrases. Just gut wrenching laughter drawn from his own experience and observations. Chris can also be seen on his own “Comedy Central Presents” special and “Live at Gotham”. Catch his hit special on NETFLIX now!

About Laugh Your Asheville Off

The five-day multi-venue festival spotlights more than 60 of the nation’s funniest up-and-coming and established comics. The comics have hopes of turning the heads of the major TV network casting agents, talent bookers, and comedy club owners that have traveled to the festival to discover stand-up comedy’s next crop of rising talent. “We’ve received seven years of support from Asheville and we’ve been embraced by the national comic community, and have grown into one of the largest comedy festivals in the country. In return, we hope to continually raise the bar of world class entertainment while keeping ticket prices reasonable,”  said Charlie Gerencer, festival producer and production company executive.

Since submissions began this year, several hundred comedians from all over the country submitted stand-up clips hoping to secure one of the 60 performer slots. The festival kicks off Tuesday August 13, 2014, with the “Local Laughs for Brother Wolf” charity show at Highland Brewing Company. Proceeds from the show will be donated to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.
Individual show pricing: $16/ticket
Cosmo Festival Passes: $66-$86 for access to all shows (excluding “Local Laughs for Brother Wolf”)
The largest non-competitive comedy festival in the southeast, LYAO hosts comics, industry professionals, and talent producers during a multi-day, multi-venue event in Asheville, North Carolina. Previous talent have gone on to appear on network sitcoms, half-hour Comedy Central specials, and late night flagship shows like The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as well as many others.

Lineup is available at www.LaughYourAshevilleOff.com and the schedule will be available next week.

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About Brother Wolf Animal Rescue

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a No Kill organization in Asheville, North Carolina. They are a 501(c)(3) Tax Deductible Corporation (EIN: 20-8787719).  In addition to offering services to the community including free spay/neuter assistance and a pet food pantry, our Behavioral Counseling and Youth Education programs help promote a better understanding of, and respect for, companion animals.

The 10,000 sq.ft. Joyce B. Cambron Adoption Center, located at 31 Glendale Avenue, is home to up to 100 dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens each day. In this clean, happy, and energetic environment, animals receive mental stimulation and exercise through a variety of enrichment programs. BWAR’s dedicated volunteers ensure that each pet receives lots of love and attention until finding his or her forever home. The friendly Adoption Counselors and Animal Care Attendants work hard to find just the right match between a potential adopter and a furry new family member.

Line-up for 87th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival Announced

Monday, July 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, the country’s longest running folk festival, now in its 87th year of highlighting mountain culture, returns to the Diana Wortham Theatre this summer. The Festival runs for three full evenings, Thursday, July 31 through Saturday, August 2 at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville. Tickets are on sale now.

With introductions beginning at 6:50 p.m. and the show beginning at 7:00 p.m. nightly, the festival formally showcases an amazing repertoire of mountain performers – old-timers as well as the newest generation of bluegrass and mountain string bands, ballad singers, big circle mountain dancers and cloggers – who share music and dance that echo centuries of Scottish, English, Irish, Cherokee and African heritage. The festival begins Thursday, July 31 with Hometown Appreciation Night. In keeping with the grassroots flavor of the festival, local families and individuals are encouraged to attend to help kick off the first night of the festival.

Audiences at each of the three performances will see an extensive line-up of the best musicians, ballad singers and dancers; each evening features at least four dance teams from the very young to the young at heart. The popular and long-standing house band, the Stoney Creek Boys, returns to perform each evening. And each night of the festival features both well-known musicians and new talent alike, representative of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and its continuing traditions.

2014 Mountain Dance and Folk Festival Performance* Schedule (a/o 7/11/14):

(*Note: Performers and schedule are subject to change at any time.)

Thursday, July 31: Carol Rifkin and Jerry Sutton, Masters of Ceremonies; Ed Herron; Grey Eagle (Stoney Creek Boys with buck dancers); Dance Team: Fines Creek Flatfooters; Betty Smith; The Peg Twisters; Maggie Lauterer, Zack Allen & Jon Lauterer; The Griggs; Dance Team: J Creek Cloggers; Dance Team: Folk Heritage Smooth Dancers; Sheila Kay Adams, Jeanette Queen & Carol Rifkin; Crooked Pine Band; Dance Team: Green Valley Cloggers; Bobby and Blue Ridge Tradition; The Trantham Family; Dance Team: Southern Mountain Smoke; Whitewater Bluegrass Company.

Friday, August 1: Laura Boosinger and Kevin Hamlin, Masters of Ceremonies; Ed Herron; Grey Eagle (Stoney Creek Boys with buck dancers); Dance Team: Cole Mountain Cloggers; Appalachian Consort; Phil & Gaye Johnson; The Waymasters; Joe Penland; Dance Team: Appalachian Mountaineers; Dance Team: Avery Smooth Dancers; The New Broad River Band; Bryce Parham & Kathryn Brickey; Dance Team: Dixie Darlins; The Arrowood Sisters Band; Laura Boosinger; Bearwallow; Dance Team: Southern Appalachian Cloggers.

Saturday, August 2: Glenn Bannerman and Richard Hurley, Masters of Ceremonies; Ed Herron; Grey Eagle (Stoney Creek Boys with buck dancers); Dance Team: Mountain Tradition Cloggers; Paul Crouch & Friends; The Ross Brothers & Terry Woody; Brooke & George Buckner; The Cockman Family; Don Pedi; Dance Team: Bannerman Family & Friends; Dance Team: Bailey Mountain Smooth Dancers; Clearwater Connection; Roger Howell; Dance Team: Southern Mountain Fire; Southern Highlanders; Richard Hurley; Dance Team: Bailey Mountain Cloggers; Buncombe Turnpike.

Parking:  Festival patrons can park off-street, at the parking garage on Biltmore Avenue – which also provides wheelchair access to the Festival – or at the various parking garages located throughout downtown Asheville.

The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival is presented by Asheville’s Folk Heritage Committee which also produces its sister event, the 48th Annual Shindig on the Green, a free gathering held each year at Pack Square Park on the Bascom Lamar Lunsford stage, with a stage show and informal jam sessions on Saturday evenings – June 28; July 5, 12, 19; August 9, 16, 23 and 30. Both events rely on the generosity and shared talent of the region’s finest old-time musicians and mountain dancers.

Raffle: The much-sought-after annual raffle items for the 2014 Shindig season are: a D-16 Adirondack acoustic guitar by C.F. Martin & Co.; and a 75” x 75” handmade quilt from a 19th century quilt pattern, created by local quilting collaborative Mountain Jam Circle. Raffle tickets are available at each Mountain Dance and Folk Festival evening and the winning tickets are pulled at the end of the summer Shindig season.

Sponsors: The Folk Heritage Committee produces Shindig on the Green’s 48th Summer Season and the 87th annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival with support from the following Corporate Sponsors: Able Rent-A-John; Acoustic Corner; Acoustic Sound Production; Alan’s Jewelry & Pawn; Americare Pharmacy Consultants; Biltmore®; Brian C. Hunter, CPA, P.A.; C.F. Martin & Co.; Elly Wells Marketing + Project Management; Fox Dental Associates; Graybeard Graphics; Greybeard Realty; Henco Reprographics; Jack of the Wood; Laughing Seed Café; Lenoir-Rhyne University; Luella’s Bar-B-Que; Mast General Store; Mountain Jam Circle; Okie Dokies Smokehouse; Pack’s Tavern; Parsec Financial; RomanticAsheville.com Vacation Guide; Sam’s Club; Skyland Auto Group; State Farm Insurance – Diane Bauknight; Stevenson & Carney, Attorneys at Law; Telco Community Credit Union; Timothy E. Gillespie, DMD, FAGD; and Town Hardware & General Store. Media Sponsors are: 880 AM The Revolution; 88.7 FM WNCW; 99.9 FM Kiss Country; The Laurel of Asheville; Mountain Xpress; News Radio 570 WWNC; Smoky Mountain Living; Smoky Mountain News; and WNC magazine. Ongoing support of Shindig on the Green is provided by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Asheville, and Buncombe County.

Ticket Information: Tickets (Regular $20; Children 12 and under $10; 3-night package $45 for adults and $24 for children) for the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival are available from the Diana Wortham Theatre box office: (828) 257-4530 or online at www.dwtheatre.com/mountain-dance-and-folk-festival-2014.  For more information on the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival or Shindig on the Green, visit www.folkheritage.org or call the Folk Heritage Info Line: (828) 258-6101 x345.

Competitors to Make History at WCU’s 40th Mountain Heritage Day

Monday, July 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – You can make history as a competitor at this year’s Mountain Heritage Day, Saturday, Sept. 27, on the Western Carolina University campus.

This year’s festival celebrates its 40th anniversary, along with the university’s 125th, with a number of contests, from whisker-growing to old-fashioned costumes and home-canned goods contests, a chainsaw competition, antique auto show and the Mountain Heritage Day 5K. Your name can go down in history as a winner at this milestone-year event.

Artists and craftspeople will even be in juried competition for cash and ribbon recognition of their products and booths. Applications are still being accepted (available online at www.mountainheritageday.com<http://www.mountainheritageday.com>), and are especially sought for vendors of baskets and weaving, glassblowing, cornshuck art, woven rugs, leather goods and handmade ceramic tiles.

There is no entry fee for any of the contests except the arts/crafts vendor booths and the 5K.

Planned and coordinated by students in WCU’s Sport Management Association, the 5K race usually begins at 8 a.m. and winds its way through the campus, with registration beginning an hour before. Proceeds from the entry fee support a WCU scholarship fund. Full race details, pre-registration forms and costs will be posted online at http://claws.wcu.edu/sma/5K/.

Baked goods as well as home-canned and preserved foods will be judged in the festival’s “A Gathering In” traditional foods competition. An adult and a youth winner also will be declared for the “Best in the West Sweet Potato Recipe Contest.” Winners will receive ribbons in a number of categories, all described in the booklet linked to the “Contests” page at www.mountainheritageday.com<http://www.mountainheritageday.com>. For more information, contact Peter Koch at [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]> or 828-227-7129.

Children and adults are welcome to compete in the traditional clothing contest, sporting the fashions of pioneer days through the turn-of-the-19th-to-20th century. Audience members participate in the judging after competitors model their outfits on stage.

Trophies will be awarded in the different classes of the chainsaw contest to be held the morning of Mountain Heritage Day.

Owners of antique and classic automobiles also are invited to polish them up and compete for awards by participating in the festival’s all-day car show.

Teams are scheduled to square off in traditional Cherokee stickball, as well as the traditional courting game called “fish.” Though there are no contests among festival food vendors, cloggers, musical performers, shape-note singers, or living history demonstrators, you will find many old and new favorites.

Admission and parking still will be free at WCU’s daylong celebration of Southern Appalachian music, arts, dance and history.

Mountain Heritage Day and its many competitions are only weeks away – always the last Saturday in September. There’s plenty of time to start growing, sewing and canning; and to practice chopping, polishing and jogging.

For more information about Mountain Heritage Day contests, call WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129. You can also keep up with developments leading up to the festival on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MountainHeritageDay or by following @WCU on Twitter.

Cradle of Forestry Songcatcher Series

Monday, July 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Cradle of Forestry in America’s annual Songcatchers Music Series continues on July 20 with Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Roberts-Gevalt.

Now in its 12th year, the series is held each Sunday afternoon in July, beginning at 4:00 p.m. It honors traditional mountain music and the talented performers who preserve it, share it and make it their own. This year’s series is sponsored by Morrow Insurance Agency, Inc.

Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Roberts-Gevalt met in 2010 and soon began planning adventures together. These talented young women use all the creative tools they can think of: storytelling, research, fiddle, banjo, guitar, ballads, puppets, poetry and handmade moving scrolls called “crankies.” Anna and Elizabeth honor the lives and creativity of those who have gone before us – ancestors, pioneers, friends and teachers. They enjoy bringing to life old ballads, tunes, hymns and stories of everyday people, as well as sharing traditions with today’s youth.

Concerts take place in the Cradle’s covered outdoor amphitheater, and move indoors if the weather is stormy. Anna and Elizabeth’s show is from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Local old-time musicians will play informally by the Cradle’s wildlife habitat garden before and after the concert.

Concert-goers are welcome to arrive early and enjoy indoor and outdoor exhibits, two interpretive trails, the Giving Tree gift shop, and food from Hob Nob at the Cradle of Forestry. The site, including the amphitheater, is wheelchair accessible and will be open until 6:00 p.m. on Songcatchers Sundays.

The series closes with the Palmetto Gravel Scratchers string band on July 27.

Admission for all shows is $6.00 for ages 16 and older; $3.00 for youth 15 and under and America the Beautiful and Golden Age pass holders. The Cradle of Forestry is located on Hwy. 276 in the Pisgah National Forest, six miles north of Looking Glass Falls and four miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. For more information, call 828-877-3130 or visit www.cradleofforestry.org.

The USDA Forest Service manages the Cradle of Forestry, the birthplace of modern forestry in America. Visitors enjoy mountain music at the Cradle as it fits into the late 1800s to early 1900s feel of the historic site.

July Menus Brimming With Beans for ASAP’s Get Local

Monday, July 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Local beans are a Southern staple, especially around these parts. In fact, it’s thought that more heirloom beans (traditional cultivars like greasy beans) originated in Western North Carolina than anywhere else in the country. Today, more than a dozen varieties are grown here, including types of bush beans, pole beans, fresh shell beans, and dry beans. To honor the history and current harvest, they get the star treatment on restaurant menus throughout July in ASAP’s Get Local campaign.

Appalachian Grown™ partner restaurants are excited to use local beans in their side, salad, and soup dishes this month. West End Bakery is highlighting local green beans in their salads and soups this month, including their sesame green bean and quinoa salad. Farm Burger is also jumping on the bean train featuring local beans from Jake’s Farm, Ivy Creek Family Farm, and more in their “snacks” specials. Their “snacks” change daily, so be sure to stop by the restaurant throughout the month.

If you want to enjoy local beans at home this month, be sure to shop your neighborhood tailgate market for many different varieties. What’s more, July is just the exciting start of the season, and many beans will stick around through summer and into fall.

Visit ASAP’s website at asapconnections.org/getlocal to find details on what’s happening this month. You can also Get Local at home: Find each month’s featured food—and other seasonal products—at your neighborhood farmers tailgate market, roadside stand, or grocery store. Browse for markets, stands, and stores via ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.


ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

WestCare Primary Clinic at WCU

Monday, July 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – WestCare Health will launch a new full-time primary care clinic in the Health and Human Sciences Building on the West Campus of Western Carolina University, with a targeted opening in September.

The clinic is the result of a partnership between the hospital and the university in which access to care will be expanded in the community and educational opportunities will be provided to health sciences students.

A family nurse practitioner will begin seeing patients this fall when the clinic opens and will be joined by a physician recruited to the community specifically for the clinic at WCU. The practice will treat patients ages 16 and older.

Doug Keskula, dean of WCU’s College of Health and Human Sciences, hailed the opening of the clinic as the latest collaborative effort between the college and health care partners to help meet the needs of people from the region while providing students opportunities for hands-on education and faculty members with opportunities for professional practice and research.

“We are excited to welcome the WestCare primary care clinic to the Health and Human Sciences Building at Western Carolina University,” Keskula said. “Through this important partnership, we can provide exceptional health services to our community while supporting the development of a highly skilled health workforce for the future.”

Steve Heatherly, president and CEO of WestCare, said the health care provider serving four counties of Western North Carolina has a tradition of working with WCU to serve the health care needs of the community.

“There is a need for additional access to primary care in our community and we are pleased to serve the residents of southern Jackson County as well as the faculty and staff of Western Carolina University. Serving the educational needs of local health sciences students through clinical rotations is an important feature of the clinic and we are privileged to participate,” said Heatherly.

The clinic will occupy 2,000 square feet within the 160,000-square-foot Health and Human Sciences Building, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the critical intersection of health sciences and technology. In December 2013, WestCare opened a rehabilitation and sports medicine clinic in the building. Carolina West Sports Medicine provides care to the community and collaborates clinically with WCU rehabilitation and sports medicine faculty, staff and students. WestCare donated the onsite therapy pool used in treating specific injuries and conditions. The new primary care clinic will be located adjacent to the Carolina West Sports Medicine space.

“WestCare is committed to serving the community through access and education so that local healthcare can be strengthened from both the patient and provider aspects,” Heatherly said. “The clinic at WCU creates an environment for the hospital to partner with the university in improving lives.”

The Health and Human Sciences Building is the first facility to be built on WCU’s West Campus, 344 acres across N.C. Highway 107 from the main campus that were acquired in 2005 as part of the Millennial Initiative. A comprehensive regional economic development strategy, the Millennial Initiative promotes university collaboration with private industry and government partners to enhance hands-on student learning and collaborative research.

Health care has emerged as a point of emphasis for the Millennial Initiative and for the university, said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher.

“We have long envisioned this building as a place of learning, collaboration and community – a point of intersection between our educational pursuits and our community engagement values,” Belcher said. “Thanks to partnerships such as the one we have with our friends at WestCare, that vision is becoming reality.”

WestCare Health System was formed through a partnership of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital in 1997 and serves Jackson, Swain, Macon and Graham counties with primary and subspecialty care, outpatient facilities and urgent care.

Founded in 1889 to bring education and career opportunities to Western North Carolina, Western Carolina University is one of the 16 senior institutions of the University of North Carolina system. WCU enrolls more than 10,100 students in undergraduate and graduate programs of study.

Clean Air Excellence Awards 7/8/2014

Friday, July 11th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Since 2004, the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency (WNCRAQA) has been giving special recognition to local businesses and other organizations that have gone above and beyond air quality rules and regulations to implement voluntary, innovative programs that reduce air pollution in our region.  In 2012, with the assistance of the Agency’s Advisory Committee, the awards program was updated and expanded to include more detailed guidelines and generate more interest from the local community.  This year, WNCRAQA is presenting a Clean Air Excellence Award to Alliance AutoGas (AAG) in the Special Award category.

AAG, based in Swannanoa, is America’s only complete program to transition fleets to clean burning propane autogas.  The AAG program includes vehicle technology, EPA-certified conversions, refueling infrastructure, data integration, fuel supply, and all of the training required to keep fleets up and running on autogas.  Construction is underway on the new AAG Autogas Research and Technology Center, located on Sweeten Creek Road in Asheville NC.  Once completed, the world- class center will focus on testing and development of propane autogas systems and also provide vehicle technician training.  The Autogas Research and Technology Center is expected to open in the fall of 2014.  Originally founded by Blossman Gas, the nation’s largest independent propane company, AAG is comprised of more than 90 companies nationwide, with the hub of the company being in Western North Carolina.

Autogas produces significantly fewer pollutants than gasoline, including 25 percent less carbon monoxide, 40 percent less nitrogen oxide and 12 percent less carbon dioxide.  The 105 octane rating of autogas means vehicles produce equivalent performance and maintenance is also improved as fewer oil changes are required.

In 2013, 116,208 gallons of gasoline was displaced in Buncombe County in AAG vehicles, reducing harmful emissions by 30% from each of these vehicles and saving the participating organizations and businesses tens of thousands of dollars over a period of years in fuel costs.  Partners in Buncombe County include Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department, Biltmore Estate, Mountain Mobility, and Blossman Gas.

The award will be presented at the beginning of the WNCRAQA Board Meeting on July 14th at 4:00 pm at the Agency’s office on Mount Carmel Road.  For additional information, please contact the Agency at 828-250-6777, [email protected], or visit the website at www.wncairquality.org.

APD Presents Strategic Operations Plan to the Community

Friday, July 11th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Asheville Police Department’s development of a strategic operations plan for 2014-2017 reaches a new milestone as the department prepares to introduce its three-year plan to the community. The Strategic Operations Plan is a proactive tool intended to deliver guidance and structure for the department to continually improve its service to the citizens of Asheville.

The SOP development process began in 2013, with the recognition of the need for a roadmap for the department as it heads into the future. Since then, an ongoing input process that includes members of the public, stakeholders, the Citizens Police Advisory Committee, and police department employees, has provided the framework for a successful blueprint.

“Our plan not only serves as the foundation for how we will provide police services in the future, but also serves as the department’s vehicle for establishing a shared vision as a unified department,” said APD Chief William Anderson.

Anderson will present the Strategic Operations Plan to the public at a series of meetings, beginning with a July 17 meeting at the Public Works facility at 161 S. Charlotte St. The community is encouraged to attend to learn how public input was integrated into the plan and participate in the next steps for strengthening the partnership between the department and the community. The meeting will take place from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

“We knew from the beginning that the public’s involvement would be crucial to creating a successful plan,” Anderson said. “We are looking forward to presenting this plan and continuing the dialog with the community.”

The APD Strategic Operations Plan, background on the development process and upcoming steps in its implementation can be found at ashevillenc.gov/projects.