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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for March, 2009

YWCA of Asheville to Celebrate New Solar Panels on Earth Day

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The YWCA of Asheville will hold a solar panel dedication celebration on Earth Day, April 22, at 8:00 am at the YWCA, 185 S. French Broad Avenue. This event, which is sponsored by Progress Energy, is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Supporters of the YWCA Solar Project, such as the William H. and Frances O. Beattie Foundation, will be celebrated. This YWCA Solar Project is in the memory of Ske Bonsike.

The 30 solar panels that have been installed at the YWCA provide energy to heat water for the agency’s pool, showers, and kitchen. The benefits of solar energy include the economic benefit of a 20% reduction in YWCA natural gas utility bills. From an environmental perspective, the YWCA’s solar panels will prevent 18 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. Moreover, the YWCA is proud to be leading Buncombe County in energy independence.

The mission of the YWCA is eliminating racism and empowering women. For more information about the YWCA’s many social change programs, go to www.ywcaofasheville.org.

Asheville Greenworks to Host Cleanup Kickoff Party

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville GreenWorks will be hosting a Great Asheville Buncombe Cleanup Kickoff Party at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Terry Bellamy and County Commissioner David Gant will proclaim April Great Asheville Buncombe Cleanup month and help with the kickoff cleanup on Chamber grounds and nearby streets. Everyone in the community is invited to this event to help with the cleanup or pick up supplies for their own cleanup.

Asheville GreenWorks, formerly Quality Forward, will be sponsoring community cleanup events and projects throughout the month of April to promote environmental awareness and community action.

Asheville GreenWorks is a new name on a longtime goal: to clean and green Asheville and Buncombe through volunteer projects. In April Asheville GreenWorks will be sponsoring annual cleanup drive Great Asheville Buncombe Cleanup, expanding on the events from last year five-fold. As part of the drive community volunteers will clean up streets, waterways and public spaces by removing litter and illegal dump sites, greening up parks, schoolyards and other public spaces, holding recycling drives, hosting educational events, removing graffiti, and more.

Volunteers are wanted Saturday for the Great Asheville Buncombe Cleanup. We’ll be meeting at six Bojangles locations listed below between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to distribute supplies and eat breakfast. Asheville GreenWorks volunteers will equip you with bags, gloves and safety vests, and other supplies as needed, and Bojangles will provide breakfast to hungry volunteers. If you already know of a spot in your neighborhood that needs work, pick up some supplies and mobilize your own neighborhood pickup.

If you want to make a difference in the greater community contact Asheville GreenWorks beforehand and we’ll set you up with a site and group. Contact [email protected] or 254-1776 for questions or to register for this event.

Asheville GreenWorks is the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and has been working for a clean and green Buncombe County since 1974. For more information, contact Allison McGehee at 254-1776

Litter pickup supplies will be available at the following Bojangle’s parking lots:

· Central / West: 974 Patton Avenue 253-7858

· Central / North: 99 Merrimon Avenue 252-2777

· Skyland: 1578 Hendersonville Rd. 277-3820

· Weaverville: 164 Weaver Rd. 645-7662

· Candler: 1507 Smoky Park Hwy. 670-6829

· Oteen: 1338 Tunnel Rd. 298-6001

Pound Pup Becomes UNC Asheville’s Mascot

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The new bulldog mascot for the University of North Carolina Asheville began his college career as a rescued dog at the Escambia County (Alabama) Animal Shelter.

His name was Rebel when he was rescued along with a female named Dixie in early 2008. Dixie and Rebel were the proud parents of 10 beautiful puppies. Their owners surrendered them to the animal shelter, according to Renee Jones, director of the Humane Society of Escambia County, Ala.

Jones fostered the canine family at her home for nine days before they were moved to the Rockin’ P Boxer rescue in Jackson, Ala.

“I sent her the pics of how adorable the pups were and she agreed to take them. Two of her wonderful volunteers met us in Montgomery and crammed the two adults along with the ten puppies into a small little neon and off they went,” Jone said. Rebel was later transfered to a rescue shelter in Georgia.

For years, UNC Asheville’s bulldog mascot, Rocky, has been known to be tenacious, strong and courageous… now rescued can be added to this list of traits.

The University unveiled its new live mascot “Rocky I,” a white Victorian Bulldog with black spots, at half-time of the men’s basketball homecoming game against Coastal Carolina on February 21, at UNC Asheville’s Justice Center. Rocky I will make his triumphant entrance following the presentation of the 2009 Athletics Hall of Fame inductees.

“Students, alumni, faculty, staff and the entire community are absolutely going to fall in love with this dog,” said Kevan Frazier, UNC Asheville Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations, who has been instrumental in bringing back the tradition of a live mascot. “At first glance you see an 85-pound bulldog and then you see a very friendly attention-loving pal. And on top of that, he’s just cute.”

The University has had four live bulldog mascots dating from 1948 to the early 1980s. The tradition lay dormant for more than 20 years until recently. About two years ago, students, alumni and staff began working diligently to bring back the tradition.

Alumni couple and dog lovers Alexis and Ed Johnson volunteered to be the mascot’s keepers and trainers. Ed, who is a lecturer in UNC Asheville’s Mathematics Department, began contacting breeders across the southeast. For months he had little luck finding the right dog. On a whim one day, Ed started researching bulldog rescue organizations. In less than 30 minutes he found what seemed like a perfect match in Rebel.

Last November, Ed and Alexis drove to Georgia to meet the rescued Victorian Bulldog and to determine if they could mold him into mascot material. Immediately they knew they had found Rocky I.

“When I met Rocky, I knew that he was the dog for UNC Asheville,” said Frazier. “He was worth the wait, drool and all.”

One student who has met Rocky is Mary Ann Craver, who served on the mascot committee.,/p>

“I was so excited to meet him and wasn’t disappointed,” said Craver, a senior from Lexington, N.C. “Rocky’s energy is great. He’s very friendly and athletic and brings the mascot personality to life. Now the UNC Asheville Bulldog isn’t just a symbol.”

Frazier agrees and sees Rocky’s rescue from Georgia as especially serendipitous.

“From all accounts, this dog didn’t want any part of being a Georgia Bulldog,” he said. “Rocky is a UNC Asheville Bulldog through and through. We’re proud to welcome him home.”

Asheville Arts Center Presents "Annie"

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Arts Center will present “Annie” at 7 p.m. Friday and at 3 p.m. Saturday at Estes Elementary School at 275 Overlook Road in South Asheville, featuring 35 children from ages 5 to 13 who participate in the Asheville Arts Center’s south location.

Tickets are $7 for ages 10 and younger and $10 for others. Call the center at 253-4000 for advance tickets.

Asheville’s Smith-McDowell Museum to Host Wedding Exhibit

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Wedding bells are ringing at Smith-McDowell House Museum. The museum’s annual Wedding Exhibit is on display now through April 30. It consists of various displays, including period wedding and bridesmaid dresses, accessories, and a trousseau. From a ca. 1822 wedding dress to early 20th century bridal gowns, these ornate displays well represent the propriety and elegance of times past.

During the 19th century, Queen Victoria displayed her power and prestige by initiating the tradition of the white wedding dress. This practice was not universally popularized until the 1950s as white wedding dresses became more affordable at this point in time. Most women found colored dresses more practical and wore whatever they had or could afford.

Smith-McDowell House Museum — recently featured on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Weekend — is a restored circa 1840s mansion and history museum. Admission to the museum includes admission to the exhibit, which is featured throughout the museum’s seven period-decorated rooms.

Smith-McDowell House is at 283 Victoria Road on the campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in Asheville. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children ages 8-17.

The museum is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. For more information, call 828-253-9231.

Biltmore Announces 2009 Summer Concerts Series

Monday, March 30th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Biltmore Estate invites guests to enjoy a talented mix of performances during its 12th annual summer concert series. Warm breezes and stunning sunsets set the stage for concertgoers to listen and watch their favorite performers from the South Terrace lawn of America’s largest home.

Biltmore’s 12th Annual Summer Evening Concerts’ performers include:

* Friday, Aug. 1: An Evening with Steven Curtis Chapman

General Admission $32, Reserved $37, Premium Reserved $47

* Saturday, Aug. 2: KC & The Sunshine Band and Village People

General Admission $55, Reserved $60, Premium Reserved $70

* Wednesday, Aug. 6: The Stepcrew

General Admission $27, Reserved $32, Premium Reserved $42

* Thursday, Aug. 7: An Evening with Gladys Knight

General Admission $55, Reserved $60, Premium Reserved $70

* Friday, Aug. 8: An Evening with B.B. King

General Admission $60, Reserved $65, Premium Reserved $80

* Saturday, Aug. 9: An Evening with REO Speedwagon

General Admission $40, Reserved $45, Premium Reserved $55

* Friday, Aug. 15: An Evening with The Beach Boys

Admission $50, Reserved $55, Premium Reserved $65

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 1 at 8:00 a.m. To reserve tickets, visit www.biltmore.com or call 866-336-1255. Tickets do not include or require estate admission. Performers and dates are subject to change.

Twelve-Month Passholders receive a $5.00 discount on reserved seating through June 15, and a $5.00 discount on general admission tickets until sold out. There is a limit of four discounted tickets per passholder per concert.

Asheville Tourists Begin 2009 Season

Monday, March 30th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Tourists will be kicking off their season on April 7th at “Fan Fest” with an exhibition game against Blue Ridge Community College. The festivities will begin at 4:00 p.m. at McCormick Field and it marks the first chance to see the team in action, get autographs and take advantage of ticket and merchandise specials.

Season ticket holders and sponsors are invited to take part in an exclusive Tourists meet-and-greet cocktail hour catered by Zaxby’s. The festivities will end with an exhibition game beginning at 7:05 p.m. and it will double as a fund raiser for Blue Ridge Community College athletics.

Fan Fest and the exhibition game are free to everyone and fans are encouraged to make a donation to the BRCC athletic association. Any donation of $5 or more will be rewarded with two Tourists general admission tickets to a future game at McCormick Field.

“Fan Fest is something that we always look forward to,” Director of Broadcasting Jay Burnham stated. “The team comes into town and the fans can take advantage of ticket discounts and giveaways.”

Some of the Fan Fest festivities include: inflatable concourse games, $1 popcorn, soda and hotdogs along with a chance to win various prizes throughout the game. Ted E. Tourist will be out to celebrate the event and tickets for any box or general admission seat for future games can be purchased for $5. Some restrictions do apply.

Fan Fest will begin at 4:00 p.m. with the exhibition game taking place at 7:05 p.m. The team is scheduled to take batting practice on the revamped field from 4:15-5:00 p.m. with autographs to follow. The season ticket holder meet-and-greet cocktail hour will be held in the clubhouse from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“This is an event that is dedicated to our fans,” Assistant General Manager Jodee Ciszewski. “It commemorates our season beginning and offers a chance to come out and get a feel for baseball and family fun.”

The Tourists players are sent to Asheville by their Major League affiliate the Colorado Rockies. It is uncertain which players will be suiting up for the team until Spring Training ends and the players actually arrive in Asheville. The Tourists regular season home schedule begins at 7:05 on Monday, April 13th. The team opens up on the road in Kannapolis on April 9th. Each game this season can be heard on 100.7 FM WRES or online at www.theashevilletourists.com.

Asheville Airport To Offer Daily Non-Stop Flights To NYC

Monday, March 30th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Regional Airport Authority is pleased to announce that Delta Air Lines will begin daily non-stop service to New York City. Flights from Asheville Regional (AVL) to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) start June 4, 2009, using 50-seat regional jets.

“Passengers now have another option when traveling to New York with the return of non-stop flights to the “Big Apple”,” said David N. Edwards, Jr., A.A.E., Airport Director. “Asheville Regional Airport, with our partner Delta Air Lines is proud to bring this new service to the Western North Carolina community.”

“As we continue leveraging the opportunities presented by our merger with Northwest, Asheville will now see a direct benefit with new nonstop service to New York’s LaGuardia Airport and the opportunity to connect through our global gateway at John F. Kennedy International Airport to over 40 International destinations and five continents,” said Joe Esposito, Delta’s managing director of schedule planning.

Travelers can book their tickets now at http://www.delta.com and http://www.flyavl.com. Atlanta, Cincinnati and Detroit are other destinations currently provided by Delta out of Asheville. Asheville Regional Airport is also served by AirTran (beginning June 11th), Continental and US Airways.

Bele Chere Extends Deadline for Asheville Restaurants

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Bele Chere Asheville

ASHEVILLE, NC The city has extended the deadline for Asheville restaurants to apply for the Taste of Asheville food court at the 31st annual Bele Chere Festival, July 24-26.

The Taste of Asheville food court offers restaurants the opportunity to sell food to approximately 300,000 festival attendees. All restaurants located within the city limits are eligible to participate. Priority will be given to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis and to non-chain restaurants.

Taste of Asheville booths are offered at up to a 70 percent discount from the non-local food vendor rate and tents will be provided. The early application deadline to receive a beverage fee waiver, a $750 value, has been extended to April 10. All applications must be postmarked by April 17.

For more information and an application, contact Kristin Pérez at 828-259-5800 or [email protected].

Asheville’s River Arts District: Galleries and Restaurants Abound

Monday, March 30th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The neighborhood has that wrong-side-of-the-tracks feel about it, and sure enough, the railroad runs right through the middle and sometimes backs up traffic. Great hulking warehouses look slightly shabby; from a distance, the barbecue joint across the narrow road looks less than appetizing.

But appearances are deceiving. The ramshackle warehouses and factories comprise Asheville’s up-and-coming River Arts District, and the ‘cue shack is the famous 12 Bones Smokehouse that earned top honors in “Good Morning America’s” “Best Bites” competition a while back.

It’s not that the arts are a new thing in this mountain city. Since early railroad days, Asheville has drawn people with wealth, talent and style.

In the 1890s, George Vanderbilt purchased 125,000 acres and built his palatial Biltmore Estate here. In the 1900s, the great art deco architects created an extraordinary collection of flashy buildings. In the 1930s, F. Scott Fitzgerald used the clubby Grove Park Inn as his base. For decades, the area has been known for its crafts; the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Folk Art Center is just outside of town, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

But the hard times that hit much of America after the 1929 stock market crash lingered here, and it’s only in the past 10 to 15 years that the downtown has filled with antique shops, funky boutiques, gourmet restaurants and a dozen galleries showcasing contemporary painting, glass, pottery, quilts and jewelry.

Along the French Broad

Still, Asheville isn’t “too” cute – at least not yet – and the burgeoning River Arts District helps keeps things that way. From downtown Asheville, it’s about a five-minute drive, or 11/2 miles, due west. Just take Patton Avenue west to Clingman Avenue, turn left and you’re there. It’s a warehouse area up against the French Broad River and serviced by six or seven streets tied one way or another to the Norfolk & Southern tracks.

We’re talking banged-up curbing, weed patches and an abundance of corrugated metal and institutional brick.

As downtown Asheville gentrified over the past 15 years, upper floors in buildings on Broadway and other central city streets went to lofts and condos. Artists with studios there faced higher rents, and increasingly restrictive zoning made it harder for artisans to pursue their crafts. Some pushed out to nearby places such as Weaverville and Black Mountain, establishing artistic satellite communities. And many just shifted west to the warehouses to create the River Arts District.

A 2008 directory lists people working in 10 venues, in fields ranging from pottery, ceramics and paint to photography, fabric, wood, metal, stone and more. Leonard Lopatin builds flutes. John Murphy makes stuffed toys and monsters.

Eileen Black, a potter who moved here from Greensboro, is president of the area’s association. In her five years in town, the district has grown from 30 artists to about 115 – people such as Genie Maples, who moved here from Atlanta with her teens 21/2 years ago, and Laurie McCarriar, a photographer who moved here two years ago from Northern Virginia.

Says Black, “You get the young hippies and the old hippies.” Her husband, Marty, a former electronics engineer sporting a “Need a little pot?” T-shirt, has joined her in the pottery business.

“It’s hard to find us; that’s one of our biggest challenges,” she says. That’s the downside of a district that’s physically off to the side

The group sponsors two annual Studio Strolls, in June and November. Most studios are open to the public on weekends, and even on a Monday, you’ll find a few busily working at their craft or packing up orders for shipment. Many of the buildings are artist-owned, says Black – meaning they won’t be chased out by high rents as the district becomes more popular

Helping raise the profile is artist Jonas Gerard, whose bright paintings and tiles appear in collections including the Bass Museum in Miami Beach. Gerard moved here from Florida about a year ago, taking over 5,000 square feet of a furniture factory-turned-storage warehouse-turned-clay-making shop. “It was time for me to move on, to make a fresh start,” Gerard said.

“We drove in and saw the art galleries, the cafes, the hippies, the drumming circle on Friday night. I didn’t see any Victoria’s Secret or McDonald’s. It was a nice homey feeling. Everyone seemed to be grooving.”

New restaurants

In recent years, the district has spruced up and two restaurants have opened. The Clingman Cafe – which serves gourmet coffee, biscuits and sandwiches – serves breakfast and lunch six days a week. On the other side of the tracks, in a former diner, 12 Bones dishes up chicken, sliced brisket, pulled pork and its signature slow-smoked ribs – full or half rack – that patrons smother in sauces flavored with blueberry chipotle, horseradish, strawberry and rhubarb, chili and ginger, mango and jalapeno, or mocha, stout beer and cherries.

Be warned: It’s only open weekdays at lunch. And despite its humble appearance, the line is always out the door.

Thirsty? The district also has a micro-brewery, The Wedge.

By Jane Wooldridge

McClatchy Newspapers