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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for January, 2010

Minor Flooding Closes Area Parks

Monday, January 25th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Heavy rainfall has caused flooding in the parks along Amboy Road. Minor flooding has also occurred on Riverside Drive below the Westgate Bridge. Flooded areas have been blocked from entry to ensure public safety.

Citizens are urged to take precautions around flooded roadways. Children should be kept away from drainage areas and culverts and caution is urged when walking near river banks. “Most flood fatalities are the result of citizens driving into flooded streets. We want to remind drivers to avoid roadways covered with water,” said Fire Chief Scott Burnette.

At 1 a.m., the French Broad River in Asheville was at 7.98 ft. and the Swannanoa River in Biltmore was at 7.6 ft. The respective flood levels are 8 ft. and 12 ft. City officials will continue to monitor levels throughout the day.

To report flooding or high water, please dial 9-1-1.

For updates on watches, warnings and advisories issued by the National Weather Service for the Asheville area, visit www.nws.noaa.gov/alerts/nc.html

For information about emergency preparedness, visit www.ready.gov

UNCA Bulldogs Down Winthrop 66-53

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Sean Smith scored 20 points and knocked down six 3-pointers as UNC Asheville downed Winthrop 66-53 before a close to sell-out crowd of 1,076 at Justice Center Thursday night.

The victory gave Bulldog coach Eddie Biedenbach his 110th Big South Conference win and made him the league’s all-time winningest coach in regular-season conference games.

Asheville (7-12, 4-4 BSC) won its fourth straight, while the visiting Eagles (8-10, 4-4 BSC) had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Matt Dickey contributed 11 points for the Bulldogs. He also had six assists and six rebounds.

“I’m just happy we won the game and beat a good Winthrop team,” said Biedenbach afterwards. “The record is nice but I’ve gotten the record because I’ve had some great players and some great assistant coaches.”

Winthrop was led by Mantoris Robinson with 11 points, while Matt Morgan finished with 10 points. Andy Buechert had a game-high 11 rebounds.

Smith helped break the game open for the Bulldogs in the second half. The senior guard knocked down four straight 3-pointers as Asheville built a 44-34 lead at the 15:48 mark. The Bulldogs scored six more points after Smith’s barrage to build the lead to 50-34 as Chris Stephenson scored on a tap-in and freshman center D.J. Cunningham hit two lay-ups. The second put Asheville up 16 at 50-34 with 10 minutes left. Winthrop went seven minutes without a basket.

The Eagles clawed back in the game with strong inside play and some three-pointers. A trey from Robbie Dreher at the 4:39 mark cut the lead to 56-49.

Asheville led 60-53 with two minutes left and the Eagles had a chance to get closer but misfired on a three-point attempt. The Bulldogs were able to get an offensive rebound and Smith sealed the victory with a long trey from the right corner to put the home team in front 63-53 at the 1-minute mark.

The Bulldogs held Winthrop to just 33 percent shooting (21-of-63) from the field. The Eagles also had a tough time from long distance as they shot just 21 percent (4-of-19). Smith also had six assists and three steals. Cunningham came off the bench and had nine points and four blocked shots. John Williams had eight points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

“I thought our guys played hard for 40 minutes tonight and that’s what we knew it would take to beat a team like Winthrop,” said Biedenbach. “We did a great job on defense and Sean Smith got hot for us in the second half. Sean played a fine overall game, as well.”

Asheville shot 48 percent (28-of-59) from the field and 43 percent (6-of-14) from long distance. The Bulldogs were 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in the second half.

Asheville stays at home to play Presbyterian Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. The Eagles travel to Gardner-Webb on Saturday.

Asheville Art Museum Hosts Lecture by Dr. Andre Chaves

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Art Museum is pleased to present a lecture by Dr. Andre Chaves titled Illustrated Books of the Arts and Crafts Era followed by a reception and tour of Nouns: Children’s Book Artists Look at People, Places and Things from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 20, 2010.

Dr. Andre Chaves will present an illustrated talk about book illustrations from the 1880s and 1920s, with a special emphasis on children’s classics and renowned illustrators such as N.C. Wyeth.

Dr. Chaves, a long-time Arts and Crafts collector, writer and speaker, is the founder of Clinker Press, a full letterpress shop printing books in very limited editions. His interest in printing, and his wife Ann’s interest in textiles, has led Dr. Chaves to explore the meaning of the Arts and Crafts Movement both originally and currently.

The Asheville Art Museum is honored to host Dr. Chaves here as he explores the universal appeal of classic illustrations and what illustrators really meant in the 20th century.

After the talk, enjoy a reception and tour of Nouns: Children’s Book Artists Look at People, Places and Things.
Registration is required. Please call 828.253.3227 to register. Tickets are $20 for Museum Members and $25 for non-Members. A shuttle will be available to and from the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa. Held in conjunction with the exhibition Nouns: Children’s Book Artists Look at People, Places and Things and the Grove Park Inn Annual Arts and Crafts Conference.

Popular Wee Naturalists Program in Full Swing at NC Arboretum

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Parents, grandparents and children alike enjoy connecting with nature, and a popular youth education program at the North Carolina Arboretum provide affordable ways for all ages to bond and explore nature together.

Wee Naturalists is a hands-on, outdoor learning experience for pre-kindergarten children and their parents, grandparents and caregivers. Every lesson includes age-appropriate activities for ages 3 to 5 (2-year-olds are also welcome) such as nature walks, garden exploration, stories, crafts and visits from our classroom animals.

Upcoming programs include:

Birds of a Feather – November 3, 2009: While many birds live in our area year-round, several fly south for the winter months. We’ll talk about some of the brightly colored birds that have left or are leaving in search of warmer places and will go on a short hike in search of beautiful warblers that we may find passing through. Make and color a monacular to take along with you on a hike, then use it to study birds where you live! (Additional $2 fee applies for crafts).

Winter Sleepers – November 10, 2009: There’s a chill in the air and the leaves have fallen from the trees, which means animals need to prepare for the winter. Join us as we talk about local wild animals that sleep all winter long. We’ll head outside to see places that make an ideal den for animals from flying squirrels to black bears, and what foods animals can find in our
woodlands to prepare for their long nap.

Wild about Turkeys! – November 17, 2009: This time of year one bird in particular tends to get a lot of attention. Join us as we explore the wonders of wild turkeys – what they eat, how they live, and what those crazy sounds they make are all about. Children will make a craft using real turkey feathers.

At only $6 for each child over age 2 (younger siblings and adults may attend free of charge), Wee Naturalists provides a cost-effective opportunity to explore nature as a family. A “Wee Card” may also be purchased at a cost of $20 and is good for 4 visits. Registration not required. Programs begin in Classroom 3 at the Education Center most Tuesdays
October – May.

The hour-long program begins at 10 a.m. A parent or guardian is required to attend the full duration of the program. All participants should be dressed for an outdoor program. For information, contact Jonathan Marchal, Youth Education Coordinator, at [email protected] or 828.665.2492, ext. 228.

Four New Businesses Coming to Biltmore Park

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – If you are feeling down about the winter weather, let Biltmore Park help you shake off the blues with four new businesses. Cuisines Laurier, The Natural Home, Constance Boutique, and The Wine Loft recently announced plans to join Town Square’s growing repertoire of dynamic independent retailers and restaurants.

For those with an eye for design, Cuisines Laurier, a custom cabinetry manufacturer, will open their first United States showroom in early April. The kitchen and bath cabinet and countertop displays will give customers a great way to visualize new home projects and feel inspired to update their decor with the modern and sophisticated designs. Michael Dawson, a resident of Asheville, is the owner of the soon-to-open showroom.

Decorating enthusiasts will also love The Natural Home, which, after being a longtime fixture in downtown Asheville, will move to Town Square this March. Owned and operated by local residents Ted and Beth Hill, the store will continue to be a leader in offering the community the best natural and organic home products, and they will heighten their focus on bed and bath as well as broaden their offerings.

Also relocating from its original location in Biltmore Station is Constance Boutique, which will open in late January. A treasure trove for fashionistas seeking their favorite labels, Constance Boutique will offer clothing, shoes, and accessories from designers that include Diane von Furstenberg, Citizens of Humanity, and Marc by Marc Jacobs.

In addition to these retailers, The Wine Loft will soon add to Town Square’s restaurant scene. The unique venue will be an ideal after work destination for the business crowd and a great option for night owls in search of an upscale after hours hangout. Intimate seating and chic decor will complement and impressive list of 65 wines by the glass and 200 by the bottle in addition to a full bar and classic small plate menu choices.

Be sure to stay tuned for news about these new tenants and their opening dates. In the meantime, stop by Biltmore Park Town Square to explore the many boutiques, national retailers, and casual and fine dining restaurants that are already here.

UNCA History Major Becomes Bluegrass Royalty

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Brevard native Mike Guggino ’01 has hit the big time in the music world. Guggino is a history major turned mandolin player, and is one-fifth of the wildly popular bluegrass band, the Steep Canyon Rangers.

Guggino started playing music at an early age. “I’ve been playing music my whole life. I started when I was about four or five years old and could sit by myself on a piano stool.”

But the naturally talented musician wasn’t initially drawn to the bluegrass music of Western North Carolina. Instead he gravitated to jazz and classical music. In fact, he studied classical guitar on a scholarship at Brevard College. But after two years, Guggino realized that he had fallen out of love with the genre.

He transferred to UNC Asheville and became a history major. He honed in on Appalachian history classes taught by Dan Pierce. “Dr. Pierce became something of a mentor to me, and I took as many classes with him as I could,” Guggino said.

At about that time, two classmates from Kentucky re-introduced Guggino to bluegrass and he heard the music that had surrounded him his whole life in a whole new way. “I fell in love with it,” Guggino said, simply. “It was the exact opposite of the classical music I had been playing – it was unstructured and unformal. I was drawn to playing the mandolin and began playing just for fun.”

“I definitely feel very blessed to do what I love for a living. And I’m very thankful for my experiences at UNC Asheville. I got a great education and met a lot of wonderful faculty and students.”

As it turns out, Woody Platt, a childhood friend, picked up the bluegrass guitar at about the same time. Guggino and Platt joined up with a few other college buddies and formed the Steep Canyon Rangers. “We were all new to bluegrass but worked hard and developed a style and a sound,” he said.

And that sound was a hit. In 2006, the band received the coveted Emerging Artist of the Year Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association, and the title track on their album “One Dime at a Time” made it to the top of the bluegrass charts. They haven’t slowed down since.

The band’s fourth album of original songs, “Deep in the Shade,” was released last fall and rose to number three on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart – the band’s highest album ranking so far. Steep Canyon Rangers also was featured on the cover of the November issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. At the close of 2009, their songs topped year-in-review rankings from Country Standard Time to National Public Radio.

The acclaim also is due in part to a successful fall tour with nationally known comedian Steve Martin, who also is an ace banjo player. Sold-out audiences across the Southeast were treated to shows by Martin and the Rangers before the tour hit Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and then stops in Canada and London.

In December, the band played 16 shows in Germany and Switzerland. For many in the audience, it was the first time they had heard bluegrass music. “It’s quite an honor to be an ambassador for bluegrass,” Guggino said.

After a rest over the holidays, Guggino and the band are hitting the road once more. Their first show of 2010 is at the Orange Peel in Asheville, followed by stops in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. In addition, the Steep Canyon Rangers have been tapped to headline the 2010 MerleFest music festival April 29-May 2 at Wilkes Community College. As usual, North Carolina music legend – and UNC Asheville honorary degree recipient – Doc Watson will be at center stage. The longstanding festival honors Doc’s late son and performing partner, Merle Watson.

As Guggino looked ahead to 2010 and reflected over his successful career, he said, “I definitely feel very blessed to do what I love for a living. And I’m very thankful for my experiences at UNC Asheville. I got a great education and met a lot of wonderful faculty and students.”

The Grove Park Inn Unveils New Line of Beer

Monday, January 18th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Beer Lovers Unite!

F. Scott Fitzgerald considered The Grove Park Inn “home” during the summers of 1935 and 1936 – seeking refuge and literary inspiration within the historic resorts granite walls. In his honor, The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa has collaborated with Asheville’s oldest legal brewery, Highland, to create and launch a new beer, “GPI’s Great Gatsby Abbey Beer.”

To celebrate the new beer, The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa is offering the GPI Microbrew for Two Package, which includes accommodations, a $100 Grove Park Inn gift card, a six-pack of our new brew, Great Gatsby Abbey, and discounts on golf and spa at the resort as well as a coupon for discounted admission to the Asheville Brews Cruise Brewery Tour, which operates Wednesday-Saturday. So, enjoy a value packed stay at the historic resort, sample Grove Park Inn’s new beer and discover why Asheville was recently named East Coast Beer City USA.

The GPI Microbrew for Two package includes:

– Two nights of accommodations

– $100 Grove Park Inn Gift Card

– Six-pack of GPI’s Great Gatsby Abbey Beer

– $65 per round of golf, for up to two people

– 20% discount on a Spa treatment, excluding nail treatments and Saturday appointments

– Discount coupon for Asheville Brews Cruise Brewery Tour

Midweek package price for two starts at: $420

Weekend package price for two starts at: $520

For more information, please contact The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa at 800.438.0050 or 828.252.2711; visit www.groveparkinn.com, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ewgrove and Facebook at www.facebook.com/groveparkinn

Asheville City Offices Closed Monday

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville city government offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

Asheville Transit operations will also be closed.

All public safety services, including police, fire and emergency response, will operate according to normal schedule – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – during the holiday.

AB Tech Holds ‘Green Business’ Workshop

Friday, January 15th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – A-B Tech’s Center for Business and Technology Incubation is sponsoring a class called “Is Your Green Business Feasible?” from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays from Jan. 21 to March 18 in room 2046 of the Small Business Center at the College’s Enka campus.

The course is designed for anyone planning to start a new business, expand their existing business or introduce a new product, with a special emphasis on “green business.” Participants will learn how to prepare a preliminary feasibility study and will be critiqued by the Professional Services Team at the Center for Business and Technology Incubation, enabling them to determine if their ideas and products are viable.

Registration is $25. For more information, call Christy Ramm at 254-1921, Ext. 5857 or register online at: http://abtech.edu/ce/registration/default.asp.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Announces Winter and Spring Excursions

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

BRYSON CITY, NC – All Aboard for winter and spring journeys as the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes you through a remote corner of North Carolina into river gorges and tunnels carved out of mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has adventures, excursions and special events planned throughout 2010, and is excited to announce our first quarter schedule.

The Nantahala Gorge Excursion carries you 44 miles round-trip into the Nantahala Gorge for a 4 ½ hour tour. Travel the Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers across Fontana Lake and into the Nantahala Gorge. Enjoy a one hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center with sightseeing, a picnic lunch by the river and just plain relaxing (January excursions have a 30 minute layover at NOC resulting in a 4 hour excursion).

Nantahala Gorge Departures

Jan 16 – Mar 6: 11:00 am departures on Saturdays

Mar 12 – Mar 20: 11:00 am departures on Fridays & Saturdays

Mar 23 – Mar 31: 11:00 am departures Tuesday through Saturday

April 1 – May 8: 10:30 am departures Tuesday through Saturday

April 4: 10:30 am departure on Sunday

You don’t want to miss our special events; they offer an exciting twist on an already unforgettable journey. Join us on Saturday, February 13th for the Peanuts™ Valentine Express and an upgraded brunch option on the Nantahala Gorge Excursion or the Sweetheart Dinner Train for a romantic evening with your special Valentine. Lucy, Snoopy and Charlie Brown will be back for the Peanuts™ Easter Beagle Express on April 2nd and 3rd. Celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring with our special brunch upgrade option on Nantahala Gorge Excursions April 3rd and 4th.

Winter & Spring bring great values to Great Smoky Mountains Railroad passengers. Value Season pricing is a great savings in January & February – Standard seating passengers receive free upgrades to ride in Crown Coaches. North & South Carolina residents can take advantage of our Tarheel Ticket, and receive $5 off adult & $2 off child tickets from January 16 – March 31 when reserved in advance (passengers must present Photo ID at depot). GSMR offers special student rates on the Nantahala Gorge excursion to home-schooled children on April 16th.