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News Stories for Friday Feb. 9, 2007.

Eden shelter aids man in fresh start
Greensboro News Record, NC
It was late December 2003, and Robertson, who was living in Fletcher, a small town near Asheville, was restless. After five or six cold mountain winters, ...

Cherokee tribe gives self authority to banish members for drug dealing
The Eastern Band of Cherokee has a membership of about 13,500. Its land is about 50 miles west of Asheville near the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Though the tribal law may dump drug offenders to nearby counties.

Bush, Cavs in indoor meet this weekend
Salisbury Post
Asheville's Isaiah Thompson is seeded first at 23-13/4, but Bush finished first at the recent Clemson High School Invitational with an ...

Catawba softball sweeps
Salisbury Post
UNC Asheville's Dane Corriher (South) finished 13th in the 400 at Boone. * Rockwell Christian XXENDBOLD Rockwell Christian's varsity boys ...

SXSW Reveals Lineup
2 hrs ago |
Razorlight (London UK), Jay Reatard (Memphis TN), Reigning Sound (Asheville NC), Gruff Rhys (Cardiff UK), Rickie Lee Jones (Chicago IL), Rodrigo y Gabriela (Terra Acida MEXICO), Sam the Sham (Memphis ...

Federal agency joins Alcoa showdown
Stanly News & Press, NC
Mark Cantrell, a fish and wildlife biologist in the Asheville office, has been involved with the Yadkin process and with APGI’s Tapoco Division in Tennessee.
“We usually intervene to protect the resources, fish and wildlife,” he said.


News Stories for Thursday Feb. 8, 2007.

Asheville Student Arrested for GA Robbery
Gainesville Times, GA
Cobb was attending Mars Hill College near Asheville, with hopes of making the school's football team in the spring. He was back in Gainesville on Christmas break at the time of his arrest.
"We got information that (Chester) would go North Carolina where Mr. Cobb was living," Williams said, adding that the timing may have coincided with robberies in October and November of Jelas Tax Services on Auburn Avenue.

Myrtle Beach Sun News, SC
(At) UNC Ashville 78, Brevard 70 | Reid Augst and Matt Day scored 12 points apiece to lead UNC Asheville. Top 25No. 4 Wisconsin 71, (at) Penn State 58 ...

Couples could benefit from `financial first date'
Chicago Tribune, IL
But the Asheville, NC, couple said it took them a long time to figure out how to handle their finances together. "Shonnie is a saver," said Mulkey. ...

The Good, The Bad and the Queen To Play SxSW
Undercover Music News, Australia
... Reigning Sound (Asheville NC); Relay (Philadelphia PA); Herb Remington (South Bend IN); The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band (Eagletown IN); Reykjavik! ...

Sinicrope earned her soccer scholarship
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, AK
Shanna Brown was a sophomore goaltender last season for North Carolina-Asheville, which captured the title in the 2006 Big South Conference Tournament and ...

Crafts, history in Statesville
Charlotte Observer, NC
Founded in 1789, Statesville grew into a major trading center due to its railroad links with Charlotte, Asheville and Salisbury. The downtown area features ...


News Stories for Wednesday Feb. 7, 2007.

Chain-reaction crash on I-40 kills one
Associated Press
Helicopters sent from Asheville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Johnson City rushed victims to hospitals in McDowell, Asheville and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The wreck follows a string of injuries and fatalities involving police in western North Carolina.
A McDowell County woman being pursued by Black Mountain police last week died from injuries sustained when she crashed into parked vehicles. A man fleeing police at speeds up to 125 miles per hour last December struck and seriously injured a man driving home from work near Asheville.

Upping the ante
Smoky Mountain News
With a current staff of 1,800 employees, Harrah’s already is the largest private employer west of Asheville, drawing its workers from across Western North Carolina. More than 600 Jackson County residents are on the payroll, more than from any other county.
When the casino opened in 1997, unemployment rates were high and the various part-time and full-time jobs with benefits provided much needed work for a local economy on the manufacturing downturn. And while Consolidated Metco, the largest local manufacturing employers in Swain and Jackson counties, just announced a plant closure in Cashiers and layoffs in Bryson City, unemployment rates overall have significantly fallen.

Judge rules against Denise Mathis in unemployment case
Smoky Mountain News
Winner addressed this issue in his ruling. In the event Winner’s decision is appealed and his ruling reversed, the Employment Security Commission is required to hold a second hearing to determine whether Mathis gave fraudulent testimony in her first unemployment hearing. The requirement is a disincentive for his decision to be appealed.
“It is everything that the Council on Aging requested,” said John Hunter, an attorney from Asheville that presented the challenge.

Best Bets for Feb. 9-15
... FEB. 9 THIS AND THAT The word 'eclectic' doesn't even begin to define the band Mad Tea Party. The Asheville-based musicians pull influences from old-fashioned string band music, psychedelic rock, classic jazz, and even country-western. ...

Budget would give N.C. parks more
Winston-Salem Journal
ASHEVILLE Two national parks in North Carolina would get more money for upkeep, law enforcement and visitor services under President Bush's federal-budget proposal. Bush has proposed a $2.4 billion budget for the National Park Service, $230 million more than he requested last year. Under the plan, the Blue Ridge Parkway would get $1.5 million, an 11 percent increase, parkway Superintendent Phil Francis said.

Forecasters say it'll be frigid in N.C. mountains
By: Associated Press
-- The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for portions of western North Carolina.
Wind gusts of 45 to 50 miles per hour are possible later Tuesday night at higher elevations across the central and southern mountains. While the winds at this time do not look strong enough to cause damage, if the area of low pressure responsible for the winds becomes a little stronger, damaging gusts could develop late Tuesday night.

Musicians struggle for gigs in competitive Asheville
The Herald Sun
-- It may be the hardest part of the music business, tougher than writing a song, forming a band or recording a CD.
It's getting a gig. And in Asheville, it's increasingly difficult for musicians to hook up with performing venues and for clubs to decide which artists to hire.
So far, more than 800 acts have applied for this summer's Bele Chere festival for about 75 performance opportunities, said Asheville's festivals director Melissa Porter. Last year, about 600 applications were received.
"It is very hard to get a gig in Asheville that will pay anything," said blues guitarist and singer Chuck Beattie, who has been working here since 1999. "There are so many good musicians here that are hungry for places to play. They are walking on top of each other."
Sidney Barnes, who has performed nationally and internationally since the 1960s, described the local scene as "hard, if you want to make a modest amount of money." It's more difficult when bands are involved, and money is divided four or five ways.
Local music venues have their own struggles, trying to pull audiences night after night.
"We are certainly not getting rich," said Brian Landrum, co-owner of the Grey Eagle Music Hall and Tavern, one of Asheville's premier music spots. "There were months when we didn't pay ourselves anything."
"The economics of running a club are really difficult," said veteran promoter Ashley Capps, who books the major national and regional touring acts at The Orange Peel and presents concerts at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
"A club can only afford to pay well if you are bringing in a lot of people. A career as a successful musician is a tough, tough situation."
The local music scene is part of the overall tourism picture in Asheville, said Marla Tambellini, assistant vice president and director of marketing and public relations at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber does not track statistics on local entertainment, but "it's another dimension to the very special nature of what Asheville is," she said. "I think downtown has become a must-see (attraction) when people are in Asheville, and things to do downtown (such as) music are a part of that."
Some rooms, like the Grey Eagle, don't accept unsolicited materials from musicians or book young performers without experience. Landrum said he is overwhelmed with requests to play the Eagle in the French Broad River Arts District. The Grey Eagle books through performers' agents or uses established locals. Standing room capacity for the room is 610.
Turning down musicians "is my least favorite part of the job," Landrum said. "You have to have some kind of marquee value, which is a term I don't like," he said. "It's hard. There are not a lot of places where you can work your way up."
Asheville's biggest nightclub, The Orange Peel, primarily features national and regional artists who are booked by Capps. But local artists sometimes can play the Peel, such as last fall's Rocktoberfest battle of the bands, said club spokeswoman Liz Whalen.
"People will send us music and we will listen," she said. The Orange Peel can accommodate 950 guests "and we want to be sure we can fill it up," she said.
Some Asheville-based artists have found fame outside of western North Carolina. Among them are the world-music group Toubab Krewe, Grammy-winning folk musician David Holt, singer-songwriter David Wilcox and the afro-beat band Afromotive.
To break through, performers need "that special something that makes people care, where people relate to your music," Capps said. "The number of (musicians) competing for this is overwhelming."
"It's a challenging town," said veteran Asheville music agent John Loyd, who operates Loyd Artists. He rarely books performers in local clubs "because no one will pay," he said. "Trying to get started in this town is really tough. You have to pound the pavement."
The most successful local artists are those "playing a single keyboard and doing society (party) work," Loyd said. "Most (musicians) are part-time, of course."
While local venues often don't offer big paydays, "at least they give an opportunity for a person to play at all," he said. "You can learn your stage craft and get your chops together and learn how to do a performance."
The French Broad Brewing tasting room near Biltmore Village is one of Asheville's smaller music spots, handling fewer than 50 visitors at a time. The brewery added a small stage and features an early set of music from 5:30 to 8 p.m., said brewer Bobby Krussen.
Musicians mostly play for tips, though the brewery adds some cash, usually "$40 or $50," buys the performer's CD and provides them with beer, Krussen said. On a good night, an act can make "a couple of hundred dollars in tips," he said. No admission is charged.
French Broad Brewing has a waiting list of musicians eager to work the venue.
"We turn down about half" the artists asking to play, Krussen said. "We usually tell people to try back in a few months. There are so many artists in Asheville, we are able to be selective on who plays here."
Many area musicians are working day jobs to pay the bills. Blues guitarist Beattie just found work in computer programming for Buncombe County. Barnes works as a bellman at the Asheville Renaissance Hotel.

News Stories for Tuesday Feb. 6, 2007.

Protestors Speaking Out From Atop Billboard
WWNC-AM Asheville
A group of protesters gather in an unusual place to speak out against Progress Energy's plans to build a power plant at the old landfill in Woodfin. Asheville police removed protesters off a billboard on Riverside Drive, overlooking I-26, Tuesday morning. Claire Jones, with Rising Tide North America, says the group is protesting the power plant because she says it will have high emission rates and will contribute to global warming. Jones says there are more protests to come.

Forecasters Say It'll Be Frigid In N.C. Mountains
WSOC-TV 9 Charlotte
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for portions of western North Carolina. Wind gusts of 45 to 50 miles per hour are possible later tonight at higher elevations across the central and southern mountains.

Cold, but not record cold
News & Observer, NC
The state was almost uniformly cold this morning; Asheville in the mountains and Rocky Mount on the coastal plain both recorded lows of 16. ...

Carolina Pet Friendly Hotels Join
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Holiday Inn Asheville Biltmore East offers warmth and comfort and is located within minutes of the area's most popular attractions and destinations such as Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Historic Downtown Asheville.

Drop-Out Rate Good At Asheville City Schools
WWNC-AM Asheville
A group of protesters gather in an unusual place to speak out against Progress Energy's plans to build a power plant at the old landfill in Woodfin. Asheville police removed protesters off a billboard on Riverside Drive, overlooking I-26, Tuesday morning. Claire Jones, with Rising Tide North America, says the group is protesting the power plant because she says it will have high emission rates and will contribute to global warming. Jones says there are more protests to come.

Downtown Asheville Traffic Detour
WWNC-AM Asheville
Follow the detour signs, that from Donna Clark with the Pack Square Conservancy. She says the latest round of construction for Pack Square Park is changing the traffic flow on the Patton Avenue Extension, in front of the south side of Pack Square. Clark says the detour will last about two months. She says the good news is that this is one of the last steps in finishing the infrastructure. Pack Square Park is set to be finished by late next year.


News Stories for Monday Feb. 5, 2007.

Super Bowl XLI: Colts 29, Bears 17
MIAMI -- Peyton Manning, named the game’s most valuable player, no longer has to worry about a career without a Super Bowl title. Tony Dungy, who joined Lovie Smith as the first African-American coaches in the Super Bowl, became the first African-American coach to win it. The Colts’ defense, often maligned for being too soft against the run and too unreliable in key situations, forced five turnovers and held the Bears to 3 points in the second half to secure a 29-17 victory Sunday night at Dolphin Stadium.

Bond motion denied in attempted kidnapping
Harlan Daily Enterprise
... be sentenced to serve the remainder of his two year sentence," Alred said. -- Demetrice Lemar Splawn, 21, of Asheville, N.C. entered a guilty plea to two counts of first-degree trafficking a controlled substance and accepted the commonwealth's ...

Winthrop Gets by Bulldogs in Men's Hoops
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Michael Jenkins scored 25 points as Big South-leading Winthrop won its ninth straight game by defeating homestanding UNC Asheville, 88-69 in a league tilt at Justice Center Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs (7-16, 3-6 BSC) were led by Bryan Smithson with 20 points. K.J. Garland contributed 14 points and four assists. He also collected eight rebounds.
Winthrop (19-4, 9-0 BSC) won its 11th straight Big South Conference game dating back to last season. It was the Eagles 13th win in the last 14 games. The win was also the 99th regular season conference victory for Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall. Joining Jenkins in double figures were Phillip Williams with 19, Taj McCullough, 13, and Antwon Harris, 10.
"Winthrop is a very good team and they showed that today," stated UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We simply gave them too many open looks and they made us pay for it every time. We battled hard but didn't play good enough defense to beat a team the caliber of Winthrop."
The Eagles shot 54 percent (30-of-56) from the field but were especially sizzling from beyond the arc and the free throw line. Winthrop shot 55 percent (12-of-22) from the three-point line and a season-high 89 percent (16-of-18) from the charity stripe.
The game was close before the Eagles got hot from the three-point line midway through the first half. Winthrop led 21-20 with eight minutes to go in the first half before going on an 11-0 run to race to a 32-20 lead. The Eagles knocked down three treys during the run, two by Jenkins, and added a basket from Jenkins to build the big lead. Winthrop led 38-25 at halftime. The Eagles were 6-of-8 from beyond the arc in the opening half.
UNC Asheville battled back in the second half and cut a 16-point lead to eight at 55-47 on a Garland jumper at the 10:49 mark. A trey from Chris Gaynor padded the lead to 58-47 before two free throws from Joey Harrell narrowed the margin to 58-49.

Building a brand on an elegant foundation
St. Petersburg Times, FL
ASHEVILLE, NC - Merely running America's largest home - a 1890s French Renaissance-style, 250-room chateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Over the past 50 years or so, those trusted with George Vanderbilt's palatial Biltmore Estate have added a winery, a luxury hotel, five restaurants, a dozen shops and a network of retailers that sell their collection of home and garden products. Biltmore is now a successful national brand, a private company with $130-million in annual revenue and growing sales.
"What's fun is that we haven't always promoted ourselves," said Jerry Douglas, senior vice president of marketing and sales at the Biltmore Co. "Over the years, the Biltmore name and all things associated with Biltmore have become more recognized."
At the same time, in 2006 the estate welcomed more than 1-million visitors for the first time.
Preservationists say the upkeep of some of America's most prestigious houses has become an expensive chore. To help with the costs of repairs, maintenance and staffing, several are being offered up for private purchase, including Colonial Williamsburg's Carter's Grove.
But by building a brand, Biltmore is different. Along with making the estate a tourist spot, Biltmore developed its own food, furnishings, plants and building products, and sells them at its gift shops and through 3,000 retail locations.
All of it ties to the estate and the elegant lifestyle of a family once among the wealthiest in the world.
The shops also sell Biltmore-inspired cookware, china, cookbooks, and books and DVDs cataloging historical events.
"They started with an asset and then the question became what do they need to do with it," said J. Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina. "They have been extremely remarkable in achieving what they've done."
The Biltmore Co. also has gotten into the lodging business, opening the high-end Inn on Biltmore Estate in 2001, with 213 rooms designed to resemble the Biltmore House.

State Legislator To to Live In in RV During Session
ASHEVILLE, NC - New state Representative Charles Thomas said he will says he'll live in a recreational vehicle while the Legislature is in session to beat the cost of Raleigh ...

Tennis Teams Fare Well at Southeastern Indoor Championships
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville men's and women's tennis team had another successful day on Friday at the Southeastern Indoor Championships that is being held at the Asheville Racquet Club.The men's squad posted three wins in singles competition, while the women's team had a split in their singles matches but earned a win in the doubles competition.

N.C., S.C. Groups Lend Hand To Tornado-Hit Areas
yahoo news
A faith-based group from the Asheville area and the Upstate chapter of the American Red Cross have sent teams to Central Florida, where tornadoes ripped through neighborhoods and destroyed hundreds of homes on Friday.

Time for George W. Bush to take early retirement
OpEdNews, PA
He lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife, Shonnie Lavender, and their five cats. You may contact him at [email protected] or visit his ...

N.C. Center for Creative Retirement Hosts Studio Masters Series with Renowned Musicians;
Program Open to All Ages

The North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement invites artists of all ages to enroll in the new Studio Masters Series, featuring programs for artists with intermediate to advanced skills. The second of the Studio Masters Series will take place this spring with courses taught by noted choral conductor Lenora Thom and prominent mountain dulcimer player Don Pedi.
Thom will teach a Vocal Master Class from 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays April 14-28, at the Asheville Unitarian Universalist Church, located on the corner of Edwin and Charlotte streets. During the first two classes, students will each have a personal 20-minute session to perform two to three songs. Thom will offer technical advice, suggestions on interpretation and other instruction. At the final class, participants will demonstrate their improvements. Admission to the Vocal Master Class is by application only. Deadline to apply is March 20. The workshop fee is $180.
Thom has conducted the New Jersey Choral Society and Orchestra, the Kean (N.J.) Chamber Symphony, the Riverdale (N.Y.) Chamber Orchestra, and is the current director of the Asheville Choral Society. In addition, she has conducted numerous off-Broadway, regional and summer stock musical theatre productions. A native of Maryland, Thom studied at Juilliard, the Hartt School, Peabody Conservatory, Trinity College and the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors.
The one-day “Traditional Music for Mountain Dulcimer” workshop for intermediate level dulcimer players will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus. Pedi will introduce participants to authentic versions of traditional songs, tunes and hymns adapted for mountain dulcimer. Included will be tablature, sources and folklore for the music covered, as well as methods for developing appropriate rhythm, timing and speed. The unique strumming and noting techniques developed by Pedi will be applied to all tunes covered in the class, including tunes of other musical styles. The workshop fee is $120.
Pedi, a dulcimer pioneer, is known for his unique “fiddle-pick” style of playing. Prior to being named a “Master Dulcimer Player” by Fiddler’s Grove contest organizers in 1982, Pedi was a fierce competitor, winning more than 30 first place trophies and awards. In 2003, he represented Appalachia at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For more than 20 years, Pedi has been an on air host of “Close to Home,” the traditional, old-time and contemporary folk music program, on NPR affiliate WCQS-FM in Asheville. In addition, Pedi, a nationally recognized arts preservationist, has helped organize the annual Asheville Mountain Music and Dance Festival, taught at the John C. Campbell Folk School, and appeared in several movies including “Songcatcher” and “The Journey of August King.”
Class size is limited; early registration is suggested. For more information or to register, call the N.C. Center for Creative Retirement at 828/251-6140 or click on For information on need-based scholarships, contact Ann Bass at 828/251-6873 or e-mail [email protected]