Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Oct 25 Symposium Transportation Planning

Friday, October 10th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Everyone needs to get around. That’s the simple idea behind Asheville In Motion, an evolving and exciting community-based initiative designed to increase access to all forms of transportation.

On October 25, the public is encouraged to participate in a symposium on Asheville’s transportation future. The event will feature a panel discussion, community exercises and opportunities to let the community know your biggest priorities for mobility in Asheville.

Input and information will become part of the city’s AIM mobility plan, which will meet Asheville’s growth and transportation needs by changing how we think about getting around.

“In the past, we have thought of sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure and streets as being in different silos,” says Transportation Manager Mariate Echeverry. “The best way to build a mobility network that gives attention to all forms of transportation is to examine them in a holistic, interconnected way.”

Better mobility means easier access to jobs, better neighborhood connectivity, a boost to business, and a safe, healthy, sustainable transportation system. Help Asheville take AIM at the future of mobility by attending this exciting event.

The Asheville In Motion symposium will take place Saturday, October 25 in the U.S. Cellular Center Banquet Hall from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Find more information about Asheville In Motion here.

WCU Predicts Increase in October Tourism for WNC

Friday, October 10th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Students in a senior-level “Tourism Strategies” class taught by Steve Morse, economist and director of the Hospitality and Tourism Program in WCU’s College of Business, are predicting even more “green” this fall, as their analysis of October travel and tourism trends portends an increase in hotel occupancy rates across 21 WNC counties.

The students analyzed data supplied by Smith Travel Research, a leading source of information for the hospitality industry, to develop the second annual “October Tourism Forecast for Western North Carolina.”

In addition to travel data from previous years, the students’ forecast also is based on declining gasoline prices, new tourism marketing campaigns by the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau and by Smoky Mountain Host promoting WNC as an outdoors destination, improving economic conditions and “pent-up travel demand,” Morse said.

“The federal government shutdown during the first 15 days of October in 2013 resulted in little growth in tourism last year because of the closure of campgrounds and visitor centers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway,” he said. “Our analysis indicates those who did not travel to the mountains last October may have a stronger desire this year to feed their fall foliage yearning.”

Another factor, Morse said, is the improving outlook for leaf-lookers in the mountains, as WCU fall foliage forecaster Kathy Mathews, associate professor of biology, says the chances are increasing for a brilliant fall color season this year. “Brighter colors should attract even more tourists this year,” Morse said.

In the tourism study, the WCU students divided 21 WNC counties into five groups; examined the total number of hotel rooms sold and the overall occupancy rates for October 2013; compared weekday and weekend occupancy rates from last October; and determined the average change in the number of hotel nights sold for October during the previous three years. The students’ predictions, by region:

Region 1 – Cherokee, Clay, Graham and Macon counties: A 2.7 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.

Region 2 – Haywood, Jackson, Transylvania and Swain counties:  A 3.3 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.

Region 3 – Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga and Wilkes counties: A 2 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.

Region 4 – Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties: A 1.7 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.

Region 5 – Buncombe and Henderson counties: A 3.7 percent increase in October 2014 tourism compared to last October.

Ty Marion, a senior from Hendersonville majoring in hospitality and tourism, said the project provided a new perspective on the annual fall color show. “Since the leaves start changing colors in early October and continue for the rest of the month, tourists travel from all over, which increases everything from the demand of hotel rooms to revenue,” said Marion, a 2007 graduate of East Henderson High School and the son of Jim and Lisa Marion.

“I think this study is important because many people overlook how much of an impact is made from fall foliage,” he said. “Being from Hendersonville, I never thought much of the yearly change, but from a business standpoint October is the month you wait an entire year for. Tourists flock to see the colors of the leaves, which means they stay at a hotel, spend money in local businesses and help our economy.”

The “October Tourism Forecast for Western North Carolina” is part of a series of reports about travel trends in the mountain region to be provided by Morse and his students. For more information about WCU’s Hospitality and Tourism Program, visit the website hospitalityandtourism.wcu.edu. For a copy of the tourism forecast report, call 828-227-3386.

Celebrate World Kite Day with Us! Oct. 11

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – For thousands of years kites have delighted flyers and onlookers. Kite Come fly a kite with us!designs range from the simplest to the intricate and dramatic.

Bring your favorite kite or come to watch.

October 11 is World Kite Day  and the event is 1 – 4 p.m. Come to Field #8 at the Buncombe County Sports Park in Enka - there’s always a gentle breeze blowing!

Want to make your own kite to fly? View these helpful instructions. The Library, Recreation and Culture Department will have some basic Kites on hand for use. This is a FREE event. For more information, contact Jay Nelson at 250-4269 or [email protected].

Airport Main Entrance to Close

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Asheville Regional Airport’s main entrance will close permanently Wednesday, October 8. All traffic will then access the airport through the south entrance at the light near Fanning Bridge Road, and this traffic pattern will be in place through early 2015 when a new main entrance will open. Signs will be posted to direct traffic. The closure of the main entrance is due to a North Carolina Department of Transportation project on Airport Road. The airport’s main entrance will be relocated slightly south of its current location (at the light directly across from J&S Cafeteria and the Fairfield Inn), and is slated to open by January 2015.

Step Afrika! Dance Performance at UNC Asheville

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
ASHEVILLE NC – The first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping, Step Afrika! will bring it’s high-energy percussive dancing to UNC Asheville. Originating from the song-and-dance tradition created by African-American college students, stepping uses the body to create sound and rhythm through hand clapping, foot stomping and spoken word. Step Afrika! will be offering a performance at 8 p.m Thursday, Oct. 23 in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. Their performance is free and open to the public.

Although stepping began with historically black Greek letter college fraternities, Step Afrika! has taken its exciting dance style to a wide variety of audiences. On top of its annual 50-city tour of American colleges and universities, Step Afrika! partners with the U.S. State Department, Navy Entertainment and other international organizations to hold performances and workshops for communities around the world.

Step Afrika! is known for bringing its art into the classroom and will lead a free masterclass from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in UNC Asheville’ Humanities Lecture Hall.

Step Afrika! events are co-sponsored by many UNC Asheville offices and programs, including the Office of Multicultural Student Programs, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Africana Studies, Connections Peer Mentoring Program, the Center for Diversity Education, the Black Student Association, International Student Services, Campus Recreation, the Department of Education and Transition/Parent Programs.

For more information, contact UNC Asheville’s Office of Multicultural Student Programs or 828.251.6577.

Get Local Gets in the Fall Spirit, Celebrates Apples This October

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Local apples are at the core of our region’s agricultural economy. So what a better way to celebrate fall in the Southern Appalachians than with local apples? Area farmers grow them all – Arkansas Black, Cameo, Fuji, Mutsu, Pink Lady, and the list goes on. Chefs at Appalachian Grown™ partner restaurants take advantage of the abundance of local apples for sweet and savory dishes all month for ASAP’s Get Local campaign.

This month The Market Place is featuring two delicious specials on their menu with apples from Barber Orchard – an apple and goat cheese salad with almonds, shaved roots, apple mostarda, and aged sherry vinaigrette as well as an apple crisp with cinnamon crumble and buttermilk ice cream. At Early Girl Eatery their menu is packed with local apples from Odell Barnwell & Sons including an apple, walnut and goat feta salad as well as a special apple stack cake. Need more apple sweets? Over at King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffles try some fried apple pie topped with Looking Glass Creamery Carmelita with local apples also from Odell Barnwell & Sons. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge is featuring apples from Creasman Farms in their sweet treats this month including an apple trifle with bourbon apple compote and a seasonal vanilla cake with apple compote and salted caramel buttercream.

Join Chef Jason Brian of Jack of the Wood on October 19 from 1:30 to 5:30 pm for Get Local on the Mountain – a multi-course small plate event on top of Little Pisgah Mountain in Fairview. The menu will feature rabbits and apples from Imladris Farm. Tickets are $60 per person, which includes food, beer, wine, and the view! Proceeds of the event benefit ASAP. To purchase tickets visit asapconnections.org

Can’t make it to Fairview? Then head to Black Mountain on October 19 from 3 to 7 pm to celebrate Foothills Deli and Butchery’s anniversary with a block party featuring live music, food, drink, and local apples from Moss Farms. Foothills Deli and Butchery is also featuring local apples in the deli case with apple based sausages and apple glazes on deli hams. They are hosting the Butcher’s Table dinners through October. To RSVP contact Casey at [email protected].

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.

ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)

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.

Sing Together Series at Diana Wortham Theatre

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville, North Carolina announces the schedule for its 2014/2015 Intersections Sing Together events. The series, which runs October 2014 through April 2015, is designed for family and friends to celebrate the joy of music and singing in spirited sessions led by musicians Beth and Jim Magill, bringing community together through song. The Forum, a large multi-purpose space adjacent to the theatre and accessible from the theatre’s main lobby, is the venue for all Sing Together events.

The 2014/2015 Sing Together Series opens with Songs of the 60s (October 10, 2014). Relive an era when the tides of change were turning in America with familiar classics by Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell. Kicking off the holiday season, one of the most popular Sing Together sessions is Winter Songs (December 12, 2014), where seasonal songs are shared with the entire family. Slow down during the busy holiday season and spend a precious hour singing with the ones you love. Back by popular demand is Freedom Songs & Spirituals with guest artist Becky Stone (February 13, 2015), a vibrant song-filled exploration of that great network of passengers, conductors, shepherds and stationmasters on the Freedom Train. And new this season is Carl Sandburg’s American Songbag (April 17, 2015). Experience American folk music – songs representing the hearts and voices of thousands of men and women – performed, collected, and preserved by the renowned poet and national icon.

All Intersections Sing Together sessions take place at 6:30 p.m. in The Forum at Diana Wortham Theatre. $10 adults/$8 children 12 and under; children 2 and under are free. To obtain more information on the Diana Wortham Theatre’s Intersections Sing Together Series or to buy tickets, call the theatre’s box office at (828) 257-4530 or visit www.dwtheatre.com.

WCU’s Fall Foliage Forecaster Says Outlook Improving for WNC Leaf-Peepers

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The outlook for a bright leaf season is improving, as Western Carolina University fearless fall foliage forecaster Kathy Mathews has updated her prediction about the quality of the annual color show, based on changing conditions in the mountains.

“The weather patterns that we have been having in Western North Carolina in recent weeks should mean a brighter display of fall colors than originally thought,” said Mathews, an associate professor of biology at WCU who specializes in plant systematics. “The drier, sunnier weather improves our chances of a brilliant fall color season.”

Mathews bases her color forecast in part on weather conditions. She believes that the formation of higher levels of pigments in the leaves correlates with dry weather throughout the year, especially in the spring and September.

Although a wet spring with above-average amounts of rainfall originally pointed to an autumn with spotty colors across the mountains, the development of dry conditions in late August and September should improve the overall outlook and produce vibrant bursts of color, she said.

In addition, the seasonal forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for slightly above-average temperatures this fall in the Southeast. If that prediction pans out, the color season could be longer than normal, extending well into November, Mathews said.

The timing of “peak color” is difficult to nail down and is dependent on the decreasing amount of sunlight that comes with the passing days, plus the elevation of a particular location, she said. The peak of fall color typically arrives during the first and second week of October in the highest elevations – above 4,000 feet – and during the third week of October in the mid-elevations of 2,500 to 3,500 feet. An early frost could accelerate the timing of peak color, Mathews said.

In any event, visitors to WNC always will find a pleasing leaf display somewhere in the mountains from September into November, with a vast palette of color made possible by the region’s more than 100 tree species, she said.

Ag Demo Day in Buncombe County

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Buncombe County Cooperative Extension Service and the Buncombe Soil and Water Conservation Service are hosting a Farm Equipment Demonstration Day in cooperation with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Shared use equipment can be accessible for local farmers at a minimal cost, the shared-use equipment can result in higher farm profits by increasing efficiency and land productivity. Equipment to be demonstrated includes:

  • GrassWorks Weed Wiper, which can be towed behind a tractor or all-terrain vehicle to ‘wipe’ herbicides selectively across pastures and hay fields without damaging the grass
  • ShaverPost Driver to install fencing at lower costs
  • Raised Bed Mulch Layer, designed to make a raised bed, lay plastic mulch, and drip irrigation in one pass
  • Water Wheel Transplanter, which can plant bare roots, pots or plugs and can carry up to 25 trays.

The various equipment was acquired through grant funds made available through the TVA Ag & Forestry Fund sponsored by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

  • October 1, 2014 from 3 – 6 pm

This event is free, but you will need to register in advance to receive directions and further details.  For more information or to register, please contact Buncombe Extension Agents Meghan Baker at [email protected] or Ethan Henderson at [email protected].

Highland Brewing Company Expansion

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – In conjunction with the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC), Highland Brewing Company announced expansion plans today to add 15 jobs and invest $5 million in new equipment and facilities over the next three years. The expansion, which includes tanks and a new bottling line, will increase its brewing capacity to over 60,000 barrels, or 828,000 cases, and enable the company to expand their distribution over time.

Highland was Asheville’s first brewery after Prohibition and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The origin of Asheville’s thriving brewery scene arose from a hobbyist’s passion for good beer in 1994 when a three-person Highland crew rolled out their first barrels of Celtic Ale from the basement under Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria downtown. The founder, Oscar Wong, has been credited as the Godfather of craft beer culture in Western North Carolina.

Today Highland Brewing Company has 47 full-time employees and is Buncombe County‘s largest brewery. The metro area totals 19 breweries and counting in a fast-growing cluster that yields a growing regional economic impact in increased jobs, a developing supply chain industry, and boosted tourism.

Highland’s current distribution covers nine states from Florida to Washington, D.C. This milestone expansion represents two decades of continuous growth to meet the demand for its popular flagship beers like Gaelic Ale. Notably, Black Mocha Stout has won Silver Medals at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup in Denver, Colorado.

Beyond Asheville’s brewing industry, Oscar Wong has built a reputation of unparalleled generosity focused on supporting the community’s needs, protecting our mountains and nurturing a sustainable, values-driven business culture. A few of the numerous organizations that have benefited from Highland’s support include: Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Adopt-a-Stream, Manna Food Bank, RiverLink, The Arc of Buncombe County, LEAF, Red Cross, and many others.

“We are proud that Asheville is the home of Highland Brewing.  We have a deep appreciation for the positive impact Highland Brewing has had in the development of a vibrant economic cluster throughout North Carolina and well beyond our state’s borders. We appreciate the confidence that Highland has shown in our City as the place they plan to grow their business,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer.

Chairman of the Buncombe County Commissioners, David Gantt commented, “Back in 1994 when Oscar started brewing his first batch of beer down the street, I couldn’t have imagined the vital role he would play in jumpstarting the craft beer movement in Western North Carolina. We’re so proud of his successes and the impact this industry has on Buncombe County’s economy.”

“We’re so thankful for the ongoing support from fans, fellow brewers and our beloved Asheville community, as well as the City of Asheville and Buncombe County. All inspire us to give our best to brewing beer and enable us to contribute to many great causes that enhance quality of life in Asheville,” said Leah Wong Ashburn, Oscar’s daughter and heir apparent of Highland Brewing Company.

“Highland Brewing is Asheville’s gold standard for creative entrepreneurism.  Oscar’s focus on quality innovation with integrity, along with his support for the broader brewing community, is a leading example of how high-growth entrepreneurs drive the critical mass necessary to bring talent, capital and ideas together in the 21st century economy,” remarked EDC Chairman Paul Szurek.

“Oscar’s passion for Asheville and beer is without equal. Every pint we drink in Asheville is a toast to Oscar Wong and Highland Brewery,” said Tim Schaller, owner of The Wedge Brewery.

Since its founding in 1994, Highland Brewing Company has focused on quality, with owner/founder Oscar Wong weaving his philosophy of honesty, integrity and respect into every aspect of the company. Wong has been called “The Godfather of Craft Beer in Western North Carolina,” having led Asheville from a zero-brewery town to a brewing community that has garnered national attention, including being named “Beer City USA” four consecutive times in a nationwide poll. Highland’s goal is to be the craft brewery of choice in the Southeast, measured not by size, but by quality of beer and a responsible culture that is sustainable for employees, customers and the environment, and by maintaining strong ties to the local community.

The Economic Development Coalition (EDC) for Asheville-Buncombe County is a public-private partnership committed to: creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions.  The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment.  The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Town of Weaverville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the AVL 5×5 Campaign. Visit www.ashevillechamber.org/economic-development.

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member organization with over 1,800 member businesses and organizations. Chamber members collaborate with community organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Chamber is home to a 4,000 square foot Visitor Center which welcomes over 200,000 visitors per year. To get active in the Chamber, visit www.ashevillechamber.org.