Buncombe County Wins 7 Awards of Excellence

July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Buncombe County Government received 7 National Association of County Information Officers Communication Awards The awards showcase the best of the best in government communications in the Nation.during the National Association of County Commissioners annual conference in July. The awards were presented on Sunday, July 13 in New Orleans.

This awards competition showcases the best communications and public relations projects from public information professionals throughout the country. NACIO President Todd McGee, the Public Relations director for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners said, “I know the judges had a difficult time in selecting the winners, and that is a testament to the great work that is being done to help citizens better understand what county governments do.”

Buncombe County received seven awards:

To see more of our award winning videos or to subscribe to our ezine, go to buncombecounty.org.

For more information about these awards, check out: www.nacio.org.


Annual National Night Out Crime Prevention Kick-Off

July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Asheville Police and Fire Departments and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, with the sponsorship support of Target, Inc., will host a local National Night Out (NNO) kick-off event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5.

NNO is a nationwide, annual crime prevention and community policing event. NNO events are designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and community-law enforcement collaboration by promoting crime prevention.

The local kick off will be held at Carrier Park on Amboy Road in West Asheville.

Neighborhoods are invited to participate in the family oriented kick off celebration, which will feature food, a raffle of prizes provided by Target including 20 inch bikes (two for girls and two for boys), backyard games with law enforcement officers and public safety vehicles. KISS FM/99.9 and LEAF and the Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab will be at the event to provide entertainment for kids and adults. Public safety officers will be available to offer tips and facts about crime prevention.

After the kick off, neighbors are encouraged to return home to hold community oriented events in their neighborhood. Local law enforcement officers are available year-round to help neighborhoods develop strategies to build community and neighborhood solidarity against crime.

This year’s sponsorship is part of the ongoing support that Target, Inc. provides to local law enforcement agencies and community groups throughout the country.

See an online video about NNO here.

For more information about local National Night Out activities and ongoing crime prevention strategies, contact Natalie Bailey, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, at [email protected] or 250-4469 or Keith McCulloch, City of Asheville Crime Prevention Officer at [email protected] or 259-5834.

In the event of bad weather, please check the Recreation Weather Hotline to see if the event will take place as scheduled. The Weather Hotline number is 251-4082.

For more information about the national initiative, visit http://www.nationalnightout.org/nno/.


UNC Asheville SENSER Meeting

July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Hundreds of educators from many disciplines will come to UNC Asheville for the 2014 SENCER Summer Institute, sharing best practices for connecting teaching of STEM topics (science, technology, engineering and math) with critical local, national and global issues. SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) will hold its summer institute July 31-August 4, bringing together university faculty, K-12 teachers and educators from museums and science centers across the country.

“The SENCER project is perhaps one of the most important, if not the most important, curriculum reform effort currently underway, particularly in the area of science education,” says Edward Katz, UNC Asheville associate provost and dean of university programs. “SENCER’s aim is to open our students’ minds to the interconnections between fundamental science concepts and the complex social questions they powerfully address. These engaged and interdisciplinary learning approaches have enabled us to reach students who otherwise may not have been open to or interested in science, which is critical if we are to help shape a generation of citizens who are science literate.”

Keith Krumpe, UNC Asheville’s dean of natural sciences, will present at the SENCER Summer Institute, as will Rebecca Hale, Angeldeep Kaur, Caroline Kennedy and Jennifer Rhode Ward of the university’s biology faculty.

UNC Asheville also hosted the SENCER Summer Institute in 2010. “We are pleased that our annual SENCER Summer Institute is returning to UNC Asheville this year,” said David Burns, SENCER principal investigator and executive director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. “A great faculty team from Asheville won our William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science last year.”

SENCER, initiated in 2001 under the National Science Foundation’s course, curriculum and laboratory improvement national dissemination track, is the signature program of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. “Our National Science Foundation program brings the science of learning to the learning of science, specifically by connecting course content to issues of local and global impact,” said Burns.

The 285 participants invited to take part in the 2014 SENCER Summer Institute include 39 teams from 118 higher education, museum and science center institutions, and 15 Asheville-area K-12 teachers. Educators will be coming from as far away as South Africa, New Zealand and the Republic of Georgia.

To join in the social media conversation that will be part of the 2014 SENCER Summer Institute, use #SSI2014.


Mountain Heritage Day ‘A Gathering In’ Food Competition

July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – This year’s 40th annual celebration of Mountain Heritage Day again will feature the traditional foods competition “A Gathering In,” where baked goods, canned and dried foods and – this year – sweet potato recipes will vie for ribbons on Saturday, Sept. 27, on the Western Carolina University campus.

The “Best in the West Sweet Potato Recipe” will highlight the importance of sweet potatoes in the Western North Carolina region. “The recipe does not have to be original, but the entry must be made from scratch and must include sweet potatoes,” said Peter Koch, education associate at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center.

The foods contest is coordinated jointly by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service’s Jackson County Center, WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center and the Department of Health Sciences. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three entries in youth and adult divisions. A grand champion will be selected from each of the divisions of canned goods, baked goods, heritage foods conservation and vegetables.

“The Mountain Heritage Day foods contest reflects the diversity of Appalachian food origins and traditions,” the event‘s food contest coordinator, Emily Baker, said. “It is always exciting to see what kinds of recipes the contestants create.”

The weeks ahead provide plenty of time to prepare preserved entries and plan winning recipes. Food entries will be accepted at the Mountain Heritage Center at specific times during the week leading up to the festival, always the last Saturday in September.

Canned goods and heritage foods may be dropped off at the Cordelia Camp Building on campus between 7:30 a.m. and 5p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24; baked goods and the Best in the West Sweet Potato dishes (along with their respective recipes) on Friday, Sept. 26, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For more information about the foods contest or to obtain a contest guideline booklet, contact Shirley Peeler of the Jackson County Center at 828-586-4009, Peter Koch at the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129, or Emily Baker at [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>.  Visit www.mountainheritageday.com<http://www.mountainheritageday.com> for a downloadable booklet and entry form at the “Contests” link.


WCU and Mission Receive $1 Million Grant for Nursing Care in Rural WNC

July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A federal workforce diversity grant of more than $1 million will enable the School of Nursing at Western Carolina University to partner with Mission Health in an effort to increase the quality of nursing care provided to patients in rural Western North Carolina.

The funding marks the second $1 million grant awarded to WCU in the past year that is intended to improve the diversity and quality of nursing professionals in the region.

The latest grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide approximately $350,000 annually over a three-year period to create a program designed to increase the number of nurses with four-year degrees working in mountain hospitals and health care settings. The total amount of the grant, one of only 15 awarded nationally by the HRSA, is $1,049,000 over the three years.

The project will support development of nurses qualified as “advanced rural generalists” competent in meeting a variety of health care needs across diverse specialties and in different health care settings. The program will include courses addressing the unique health care needs found in the rural environment.

Research has found that the results of medical services are more successful when health care providers reflect the communities and the patients that they serve. Although the majority of nurses who work in rural health care facilities typically have grown up in rural communities, many of them lack the advanced levels of education and training necessary today, said Judy Neubrander, director of the WCU School of Nursing.

“In discussions with Mission Health, we recognized a need to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in rural areas of Western North Carolina,” Neubrander said. “We are delighted to be working with Mission Health and see this partnership as a win-win for the region by improving the quality of health care for patients in the region and increasing access to educational opportunities to those in the nursing profession.”

The project will focus on registered nurses with two-year degrees who are ethnic minorities and/or from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who work at the Mission Hospital campus in Asheville or at its rural affiliate hospitals – Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. It will provide scholarships, stipends and mentorship opportunities to allow them to receive the additional education and training offered by obtaining their bachelor’s degrees.

Participants in the project are expected to include people of African-American, Native American, Hispanic and Appalachian descent – segments of the population that typically seek advanced education at lower numbers than the rest of the population.

Titled the Western North Carolina RN to BSN Rural Education and Support (RN-BRES) Program, it is designed to benefit students and patients from across the region, said Vallire Hooper, manager for nursing research at Mission Health.

“This program will support the continued educational advancement of nurses across Western North Carolina,” Hooper said. “A more highly educated nursing workforce will ultimately lead to improved health care outcomes for our residents.”

Kathy Guyette, senior vice president for patient care, said that Mission Health is excited to partner with WCU to provide increased educational opportunities for the regional health care system’s nurses.

“This partnership will better enable us to provide community-based care that supports the goals of our BIG(GER) Aim initiative – to get each patient to the desired outcome, first without harm, also without waste and with an exceptional experience for the patient and family,” Guyette said.

A previous $1 million grant to WCU from HRSA is designed to increase the number of students from underserved rural populations, including members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who enter the nursing profession. That project, now in its second year, assists ethnically diverse and disadvantaged students from Andrews, Cherokee, Murphy, Robbinsville, Smoky Mountain and Swain high schools who are interested in nursing as a career.

WCU has been at the forefront of efforts to increase the number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees in North Carolina. The Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses Program – or RIBN – started as a partnership between WCU, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and the Foundation for Nursing Excellence six years ago. The program allows students to be dually accepted and enrolled in both the university and a community college. Since its inception, the program has expanded across the state, with seven universities and 30 community colleges now involved.

For more information about nursing education at WCU, visit the website nursing.wcu.edu. For more information about Mission Health, visit mission-health.org.                           

About Mission Health

Mission Health, based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in Western North Carolina. Mission Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems 2012-2014 by Truven Health Analytics, formerly Thomson Reuters. Mission Health is the only medium-sized health system to receive this recognition three years in a row, and the only health system in North Carolina to achieve that distinction.

Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, post-acute care provider CarePartners, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in more than 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children’s Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women’s Health. Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system’s flagship hospital and is licensed for 795 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care. It also includes Mission Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. With approximately 10,600 employees and 2,000 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, visit mission-health.org or @MissionHealthNC.

About Western Carolina University

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 and is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, about 50 miles west of Asheville, North Carolina, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2014, WCU was founded in 1889 to bring higher education and career opportunities to Western North Carolina.

The university’s mission is focused on quality education and preparation for responsible citizenship in a changing world. Since its founding, WCU has grown in size to become a major cultural, scientific, and educational force in the region and the state. The university’s academic programs, which span more than 120 specialties, are housed in five colleges – Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Allied Professions, Fine and Performing Arts, and Health and Human Sciences – and the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology. Graduate programs are offered directly through each college and the Kimmel School, and the Graduate School coordinates the admission process, funding support, and awarding of degrees to graduate students. In addition, the Honors College coordinates courses and events in every area of study, and Hunter Library provides academic support for all academic units.


Celebrate Smokey Bear’s Birthday Party August 2

July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Cradle of Forestry invites kids of all ages to Smokey Bear’s Birthday Party on Saturday, Aug. 2 from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Smokey Bear turns 70 years old this year.

The fire prevention bear will help cut his birthday cake and meet and greet his friends during the celebration. Admission is $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for youth ages 4-15 and America the Beautiful and Golden Age pass holders. Admission is free for children under four years old.

Activities during Smokey Bear’s Birthday Party are held in front of the Forest Discovery Center, indoors if it is raining. The fun includes music, making birthday cards, fire-fighting equipment demonstrations, Smokey Bingo, Pin-the-Pail on the Campfire, prize drawings, birthday cake and of course, Smokey Bear. Party favor bags for children include a little book “The True Story of Smokey Bear,” the Smokey Bear song and Smokey memorabilia. Families are welcome to pack a picnic. Hob Nob at the Cradle will offer barbeque during the party.

At 1:30 p.m., the party continues with a live animal program. Meet native wildlife and learn about their lives in Smokey’s woods.

Party Schedule:

11:00 – Welcome, children’s music, Smokey  Bear Song

11:00-12:30 – Smokey Bear games and crafts

11:15 – Smokey arrives to greet his friends

11:30 – Songs about Smokey’s forests and animal friends; prize drawings

12:25 – Smokey returns after visiting his forest

12:30 – Happy Birthday Song and cake

12:35 – More prizes and grand prize (Smokey doll)

1:00 – Games and crafts end; party-goers are invited to explore the Forest Discovery Center

1:30- 2:30 – Live animal program

Throughout the day, guests are invited to enjoy all the Cradle of Forestry has to offer. Visitors can explore the 15 hands-on exhibits in the Forest Discovery Center, including the firefighting helicopter simulator and the scavenger hunt. A collection of Smokey artwork by Rudy Wendelin, famed Smokey Bear illustrator who created Smokey’s image as we know him today, is on display. The Adventure Zone offers exploration and play designed for children along the autism spectrum, but enjoyed by everyone. Smokey’s party, the Forest Discovery Center, and the Cradle’s two interpretive trails are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

     The Cradle of Forestry is located on U.S. Highway 276 in the Pisgah National Forest along the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway, six miles north of Looking Glass Falls and four miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 412. For more information, call the Cradle of Forestry at 828-877-3130 or online at www.cradleofforestry.org.


WCU Public Policy ‘Focus on Franklin’ Discussion

July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Public Policy Institute of Western Carolina University and the municipality of Franklin will hold a “Focus on Franklin” town hall style meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, in the Franklin Town Hall.

Facilitated by PPI staff, the meeting will provide members of the public and business owners an opportunity to talk about the town and to offer suggestions. Surveys will be available for those who do not want to speak in public.

Among the questions the PPI will address are: “What do you see as the best part of living or working in Franklin? What do you see as the biggest draws for visitors? What do you see as the worst part of living or working in Franklin? Do you believe the town government is sensitive to your needs, and why or why not?”

“We are wanting folks to come in and give us an assessment of where we are going as a town, how we are going to get there and what are we going to leave for future generations,” said Franklin Mayor Bob Scott.

The Public Policy Institute was founded in 1999 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan, independent research and outreach organization. The mission of the PPI is to generate effective public policy responses and alternatives to important political, administrative and social problems that profoundly affect the quality of life in Western North Carolina.

For more information about the “Focus on Franklin” event or other PPI initiatives, call the institute at 828-227-3898 or visit the website ppi.wcu.edu.

 


RECALL on Certain Peaches, Nectarines, Plums and Plouts

July 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Wawona Packing Company of Cutler, California, recently issued a recall of certain lots of whole peaches (white and yellow), nectarines (white and yellow), plums and pluots packed between June 1, 2014 through July 12,2014 due to the potential of the products being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes based on internal company testing.  These type fruits are also referred to as “stone fruits” because they have large pits.

DISTRIBUTION

We do not have specific information regarding distribution of the recalled products in North Carolina at the moment, but based on the recall announcement, national distribution is expected.  Stores where the recall has been posted include Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Whole Foods Market, and Kroger.

LISTERIOSIS

A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has “invasive” infection, in which the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract.  Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in soil and water. Animals can carry the bacterium without appearing ill and can contaminate foods of animal origin, such as meats and dairy products.  Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can grow and multiply in some foods in the refrigerator.  The risk of invasive listeriosis after exposure to Listeria monocytogenes is very low; although exposure is common, disease is rare.

The recall announcement along with a specific list of recalled products, dates, lots, block IDs, and pictures can be found here.


Craven Street Improvement Project

July 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – On Monday, July 21, work will begin on the Craven Street improvement project in west Asheville, a long-term enhancement that will include multi-modal roadway improvements including pedestrian and bike facilities, stormwater Best Management Practices and stream restoration, low impact parking and greenway construction and water line improvements. Find background and updates at the city’s Projects Page.

The duration of the project will last from July 21, 2014 through December of 2015. The majority of the roadway work will take place during the next 6 months. As this is an active construction project, there will be heavy construction equipment in the area for the duration of the project.

During the remainder of July and the beginning of August, work will focus on clearing and grubbing activities, placement of the stormwater conveyance systems and other utilities, and existing asphalt removal. The project also involves a comprehensive improvement to the unnamed creek that starts along Waynesville Avenue and drains through the New Belgium Brewery site into the French Broad River.

Full road closures are not expected during this initial phase of the project, though delays and lane closures can be anticipated. Travelers are advised to use alternate routes where possible.

Beginning August 25, work will expand into roadway culvert improvements with Craven Street closed in the direction Haywood Road for the duration of work, which is expected to last until the end of September.

The Craven Street improvement project is located in the area surrounding the New Belgium Brewery construction site and is the City of Asheville’s portion in a public-private partnership with The State of North Carolina, North Carolina Golden Leaf Foundation, NCDOT, Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Buncombe County, the Economic Development Administration, and the Asheville–Buncombe Economic Development Coalition and others in support of New Belgium Brewing’s investment of $175 million in our community.


Songcatchers Music Series Presents The Palmetto Gravel Scratchers

July 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Cradle of Forestry in America’s annual Songcatchers Music Series closes on July 27 with the Palmetto Gravel Scratchers.

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.

From Upstate South Carolina, the Palmetto Gravel Scratchers bring together a unique mix of old-time traditional string band tunes, historical ballads, early country songs and the works of contemporary songwriters. Their music relives the times when great changes were taking place in the United States from the end of the Civil War through the 1920s and beyond.

Concerts take place in the Cradle’s covered outdoor amphitheater, and move indoors if the weather is stormy. The stage show begins with an old-time string band from Transylvania County at 4:00. The main group plays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Local old-time musicians play informally by the Cradle’s wildlife habitat garden at 2:30 p.m. before 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.

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 go to www.cradleofforestry.org.