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Archive for January, 2014

Reclaiming Sacred Ground Film Series at West Asheville Library

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Led by UNC Asheville professors Trey Adcock, Reid Chapman and Sarah Judson, Reclaiming Sacred Ground: Native American Self-Representation in Film is a 4-part film and discussion series at the West Asheville Library beginning in January.  The series will start with Smoke Signals, the first feature film made by a Native American crew and creative team.

Scripted by Sherman Alexie, this award-winning movie concerns two young men from the Coeur D’Alene Reservation in Idaho who have very different memories of Arnold Joseph, a former resident of the reservation who has just died.  Journeying together to Phoenix to retrieve the dead man’s ashes, the young men confront the profound reality of Arnold’s legacy and their own identity as Native Americans.

Running time for the film is 89 minutes, with discussion to follow.  Contact the West Asheville library at 254-4752 for information. This program is free and the public is invited.

The next three films in this series will be:

  • February 26 – Barking Water
  • March 19 – The Fast Runner
  • April 23 – The Cherokee Word for Water.

Stay tuned for more details on those showings.

Advance Care Planning Workshop on February 13 UNC Asheville

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
ASHEVILLE NC – The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will hold an advance care planning workshop from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, at the Reuter Center, home of OLLI at UNC Asheville. This workshop is free and open to the public.

The workshop will feature a panel experienced in addressing end-of-life issues. Discussion will include communicating treatment wishes to family and medical personnel, ethical and legal issues, and the uses of advance directives. Assistance will be provided for those wishing to complete a legally valid advance directive, including the notarization required in North Carolina, using the “Five Wishes” format.

For more information on the workshop, including suggested things to do and read in advance, visit OLLI’s website or call 828.251.6140.

WCU Kicks off Yearlong Celebration of 125 Years

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A yearlong celebration of Western Carolina University’s 125th anniversary kicked off Thursday, Jan. 23, as the campus and surrounding community paused to reflect on the institution’s growth from a one-room schoolhouse with 18 students to a comprehensive regional university with an enrollment of more than 10,100 – that, and to eat cake and enjoy a fashion show.

Before the fun, games and icing, WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher began the celebration with a touch of formality, reminding the crowd of the many changes that have occurred at the institution over the years – including names ranging from the Cullowhee Academy through Western Carolina Teachers College to its current moniker as part of the University of North Carolina system.

What began as teacher training school – a model emulated statewide by institutions known today as Appalachian State and East Carolina universities – has grown and diversified over the decades to offer a variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees not only in Cullowhee, but also in Cherokee, Asheville and online, Belcher said.

“In the two-and-a-half years Susan and I have been at Western Carolina, one of the things that has struck me the most is how, despite the remarkable changes this university has witnessed here in Cullowhee over the decades, the fundamental mission of this institution remains the same,” said Belcher.

“Through all of the changes, a strong mission to serve the people of Western North Carolina has been the foundation of this strong institution,” he said. “And Western Carolina has taken that mission and infused it into its instructional, research and service profile, challenging students to be engaged in their communities even during their collegiate years.”

Belcher urged those the packed house in attendance in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center to participate in events planned throughout the year, both on campus and in surrounding communities, that are designed to help celebrate the milestone of reaching 125 years – an anniversary known by the formal name quasquicentennial.

“The year 2014 will be a year of events, exhibits, reflections and anticipation of the next 125 years of educating eager minds in the heart of a mountain paradise – a region rich in culture, art, music and innovation,” he said. “It’s going to be a great year. It will be a year for the history books, and certainly one in which you will want to be involved.”

Following Belcher’s remarks, students, faculty, staff and community members took part in a fashion show of clothing from throughout the university’s 125 years of history, along with apparel adorned with WCU’s commemorative 125th anniversary logo.

Highlights of the fashion show included Will Peebles, director of WCU’s School of Music, wearing 19th-century vintage overalls; Sylva Town Manager Paige Roberson in an Edwardian bustle dress; Susan Belcher, wife of the WCU chancellor, in a purple 1930s May court dress; and Paws, the Catamount mascot, dressed in a 1940s football uniform with padded pants.

Members of the Cathouse Band, the cheerleading squad and the dance team then helped roll out a cake decorated with candles in the shape of the numbers 1, 2 and 5, and the crowd broke into an impromptu rendition of a popular birthday song.

The event, which also featured a variety of games, prizes and giveaways, and a display showcasing the university’s history, was just the first in a yearlong celebration of WCU’s 125th anniversary.

Activities moved that night to Ramsey Regional Activity Center as the men’s basketball team played Davidson College in a Southern Conference game, with special activities and promotions as part of the evening.

The official 125th birthday bash will be held in August, the month in which the school that became WCU was founded in 1889. The event is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 26, with a picnic on the University Center lawn, old-fashioned games, music and photo opportunities in historical garb representative of the late 19th century.

The final celebration event is tentatively set for Friday, Dec. 5, in the Ramsey Center, with music from the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band (which will have just returned from its appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), refreshments, remarks from the chancellor and special recognition for those who will graduate in December 2014, the last graduating class of WCU’s 125th year.

Other events will be designed around traditional highlights of WCU’s annual calendar, such as spring commencement ceremonies, Mountain Heritage Day, the Spring Literary Festival, Homecoming, alumni receptions across the state and the Southeast, and a variety of events in communities across Western North Carolina.

For more information, visit the website at celebrate125.wcu.edu.

Shindig on the Green Announces 2014 Members

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Folk Heritage Committee, the volunteer behind-the-scenes force which annually spearheads Asheville‘s Shindig on the Green and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, announces its 2014 committee members: Jackie Allison, Jeff Atkins, Glenn Bannerman, Brooke Buckner, Tom Chapman, Loretta Freeman, Bob Gregory, Mary Jane Hunter, Judy Miller, Carol Peterson, Ronald Rhodes, Kathy Roberts, Linda Smathers, Jerry Sutton, and Kent Withington.

2014 Advisors to the committee are: Craig Bannerman, Leesa Brandon, Kevin Hamlin, Richard Hurley, Jerry Israel, Bruce Peterson, Carol Rifkin, Rodney Sutton, and Elly Wells.

The volunteer not-for-profit Folk Heritage Committee’s mission is to produce Shindig on the Green and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in order to support the preservation and continuation of the traditional music, dance and storytelling heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

To contact the Folk Heritage Committee, email [email protected] or call the Folk Heritage Info Line at 828.258.6101 x345. More information at www.folkheritage.org.


WCU’s Online Entrepreneurship Program Earns “Best Buy” Designation

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Western Carolina University’s online bachelor’s degree program in entrepreneurship has received a high national ranking in affordability and “Best Buy” designation from the distance education information clearinghouse GetEducated.com.

WCU’s program was ranked No. 2 in affordability following a national survey of 69 regionally accredited higher education institutions that offer 165 business management-related online bachelor’s degrees, said Melissa Eubank, director of information services for GetEducated.com.

The survey showed that the average cost of an online bachelor’s degree in business is about $53,000, with the most expensive program coming in at more than $131,000, Eubank said. The cost of WCU’s program is $19,715 for North Carolina residents.

“WCU’s College of Business is always pleased to see third-party affirmation of our quality and affordability,” said Darrell Parker, dean of the college. “Our bachelor of science in business administration degree in entrepreneurship is an excellent choice for those students seeking an online accredited business degree.”

Earlier this month, WCU was listed among the nation’s best providers of online bachelor’s degree programs in a collection of rankings released by U.S. News and World Report. The magazine ranked WCU in 34th place on a list of 205 schools that offer the “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.”

WCU’s online bachelor’s program in criminal justice and another online undergraduate program that allows registered nurses to enhance their educations by earning bachelor’s degrees in nursing, known as the RN to BSN, have previously received high national rankings and have been listed as “Best Buys” by GetEducated.com. Online master’s programs that have received those distinctions are project management, human resources, nurse educator, nurse administration and health sciences.

Information about the university’s online programs is available at the website distance.wcu.edu or by calling the Office of Educational Outreach at 828-227-7397.

New Belgium Brewing’s Clips Beer and Film Tour

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – New Belgium Brewing is now accepting film submissions for its 2014 Clips Beer & Film Tour. Selected films will be viewed in 21 cities across the U.S., starting in May. Clips Beer & Film Tour is a unique film festival where guests sit under the stars, enjoy New Belgium beers, and watch a composition of original films, while simultaneously raising money for local nonprofits.

The selected filmmakers will receive a trophy-worthy beer in a custom screen-printed bottle made exclusively for the winning submissions. In addition, they will receive a limited edition, hand-forged Clips belt buckle.

“The Clips tour is a philanthropic celebration of the creativity of craft brewing and film,” said Christie Catania, Clips National Special Events Manager. “The selected filmmakers have the opportunity to share their passion with thousands of people across the country, win unique prizes, and of course bragging rights.”

Film submissions can range from 10 seconds to five minutes on any or all of these topics:

  1. Craft Beer
  2. Advocacy/Activism
  3. Humor
  4. Culture
  5. Adventure
  6. Art
  7. Fun.

Over the years, selected films have run the gamut on genres and topics, including the technique of dice rolling, the quest for the ultimate full moon shot, a duel to be the hippest hipster, homebrewing in a small New York City apartment, a documentary about controversial water rights, a tale of lizard wrangling in Wisconsin, and a piece of art entirely created with old school theater trickery, puppeteering and black light.

New Belgium is accepting submissions through April 1st at http://www.newbelgium.com/Events/clips-beer-and-film/submit-your-film.aspx and selects approximately 20 films each season. Filmmakers must be at least 21 years old and must secure rights for all elements included in the film. The 2014 schedule will be announced soon.

During each Clips show, 100 percent of proceeds from beer sales directly benefit a local nonprofit working to improve the community. Last year, Clips Beer & Film Tour raised nearly $158,243 for local organizations and approximately 22,000 people sampled beer, viewed films, and diverted 85 percent of event waste from landfills. Since its inception in 2010, Clips has raised $366,893 for nonprofits nationwide.

For the latest information on Clips, go to http://www.newbelgium.com/Events/clips-beer-and-film.aspx. For more information on New Belgium Brewing, visit www.newbelgium.com.

About New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, and one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire, New Belgium brews eight year-round beers; Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Ale, Blue Paddle Pilsener, Abbey Belgian Ale and Trippel. Learn more at www.newbelgium.com.

Home Repair Program for Veterans

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Veterans who have been unable to make needed home improvements due to limited income are encouraged to contact Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.

Thanks to a veteran-specific grant from The Home Depot Foundation, Habitat will partner with a qualifying low-income veteran within the next few months to make repairs and upgrades that will improve accessibility, increase comfort through weatherization and improve quality of life overall.

By utilizing volunteers and offering 0% interest financing and low monthly payments, Habitat makes home improvements affordable.

If you or someone you know is a low-income veteran, please call Byron at 828-210-9370 for more information or to request an application–or, complete the application on-line.

City Policies Impact Property Insurance Rates

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Safety, vulnerability to natural disasters and emergency response availability are some of the many factors that determine property and homeowner insurance rates. And while insurance rates are set at the state level, the City of Asheville is dedicated to performance levels that minimize the impact of insurance rates to homeowners where possible, steps that also promote economic development and safety by making property more secure.

A major determinant in establishing insurance rates is the ability for firefighters to effectively respond to structure fires. The NC Office of the State Fire Marshal’s evaluation of the City of Asheville Fire Department, City of Asheville Water Resources Department, and Buncombe County Emergency Services 911 resulted in an ISO Property Protection Class of 3, a level achieved by only a small number of communities in North Carolina. This level of performance directly results in significantly lower property insurance rates for Asheville. “In fact,” says Asheville Fire Department Chief Scott Burnette, “Asheville property owners enjoy some of the lowest insurance premiums in the state.”

Likewise, high levels of performance from other departments also figure into Asheville’s insurance picture. In the summer of 2013, the City of Asheville’s Building Safety Division earned high marks for performance in both the city’s residential and commercial building safety programs. Commitment to building code enforcement and adherence to building safety codes, as rated by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), impact insurance rates across North Carolina.

“These are scores to be proud of,” said Director of Development Services Shannon Tuch. “It shows a dedication to quality, professionalism and customer service on the part of our building safety employees.”

City personnel are also on the lookout for opportunities on the horizon as well. Under the direction of Asheville City Council, the city’s Development Services Department is currently pursuing membership in a program that spotlights the city’s high standards for floodwater management. The ISO’s Community Rating System recognizes cities that exceed the requirements of FEMA’s flood insurance program and supports public outreach and education. Participation would mean lower flood insurance premiums in the city and the application process is underway.

This article can be found at www.ashevillenc.gov

A-B Tech Team Wins Culinary Gold

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A team of five A-B Tech Community College students took first place and earned a gold medal during state Hot Food Team culinary competition January 12 at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, earning a trip to the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) regional competition.

Students will compete April 26-29 in Charleston, S.C., at the ACF’s Southeast Regional conference. Members are captain Alex Harris, Caroline Williams, Ruth Solis and Daniel Radle. Kristina Costa serves as team manager and Jay O’Hannon is an alternate. The students are either in Culinary Arts or the Baking and Pastry Arts programs at A-B Tech.

“The team performed with precision and grace while facing challenges,” said team coach Chef Eric Backer. “They had a great rapport with the other teams, coaches and judges. It was a pleasure to see their confidence.”

The competition requires student teams to demonstrate butchery and knife skills and then prepare a four-course signature meal. A-B Tech teams have been ranked seven times in the past 11 years as one of the top four nationally in the competition. Since 1997, A-B Tech teams have won 15 state titles.

“This team is exceptional and it most certainly was evidenced during the competition, said Sheila Tillman, Associate Dean of Hospitality Education. “They remained focused and worked with intention throughout the competition, but also sprinkled in bits of humor to ease moments of tension. The judges positively acknowledged the team’s skill level and their interactions with each other,” said Sheila Tillman, Associate Dean of Hospitality Education.

“All of our students represented A-B Tech very well regarding their appearance, attitude and professionalism.  They epitomized the word team from start to finish, supporting each other and being very gracious to our hosts and fellow competitors.  Several family members and friends of the team showed up in support, which further proved their dedication to their chosen craft,”
said Matthew Tracy, Culinary Arts Director and Chair.

A gold medal is awarded to a team scoring between 36 and 40 points, with 40 being a perfect score. The students sacrificed their winter break to practice and it paid off, according to Backer. “The judges made comments as to how well-prepared they were and that it was obvious how much effort and thought they had put into their preparations,” he said.

Grady’s Groundhog Day Shadow Sighting February 2

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Grady the Groundhog, animal ambassador for Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, will be making his annual winter prediction at noon on Sunday, February 2 behind the Old Rock Café in Chimney Rock Village, next to the park entrance. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting, the public is invited to a free wildlife program to learn quirky things about groundhogs and the Groundhog Day tradition and participate in kids’ crafts.

Around noon Grady the Groundhog will awaken from his winter slumber to see if his shadow appears, which would signal six more weeks of winter. But if there’s no shadow, then spring should be around the corner. Grady outwitted Punxsutawney Phil to predict the weather correctly last year, and Park staff are anticipating another accurate prediction. Drop in at the Old Rock Café for a lunch special of Grady’s favorite soup and other groundhog-themed menu items.

“Grady has been resting up and feasting on sweet potatoes, his favorite snack, to get ready for his big day. He’s under a lot of pressure now to give an accurate winter prediction two years in a row. I think it’s gotten to him because he gained a lot of weight going into the winter… but he’ll be ready,” said Matt Popowski, PR & Events Manager at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.

Vote on Grady’s Shadow. Cast your vote online whether or not you think Grady will see his shadow at chimneyrockpark.com. Then attend the event or check back on the Park’s website or Grady the Groundhog’s new Facebook page on February 2 to see if you guessed correctly. Grady is now on Facebook to answer your questions about wild critters and share details about upcoming wildlife and nature programs.

Grady’s Kids Club Special.  During February, Grady’s Kids Club memberships are on sale for only $8. For less than 45 cents a month, kids ages 5-15 get unlimited visits to the Park for 18 months, discounts on Park dining, retail and friends’ admission and additional savings at favorite area attractions. Buy your kid’s pass online, by phone at (800) 277-9611 or at the park during winter hours. 

Animal Fun. Adjacent to the Great Woodland Adventure, a popular TRACK Trail for kids, is Grady’s Animal Discovery Den. It’s home to Grady the Groundhog, an opossum and several other live animal habitats for reptiles and amphibians. These critters are stars in some of the park’s education programs for schools, homeschoolers and scouts. Grady’s Den also features hands-on, kid-friendly displays of furs and skulls from native animals, including deer, skunks and turtles.

Chimney Rock’s inaugural Groundhog Day shadow sighting was held in 2006, and this is only the fourth year with Grady as the star of the show. The official Groundhog Day can be traced back to 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pa. For more information on Chimney Rock’s hands-on education programs for schools, homeschoolers and scouts, as well as summer camps, visit chimneyrockpark.com/education.

Best known for its stunning 75-mile views overlooking Lake Lure, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park offers scenic hiking trails, guided rock climbing, nature education programs and ancient geological features that attract visitors from around the world. Chimney Rock is located only 45 minutes southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. For current park hours and rates, call (800) 277-9611 or visit chimneyrockpark.com.