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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for June, 2014

Asheville Among Global Grand Prize Winners in Amazon Innovation Challenge

Monday, June 30th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The City of Asheville is excited to be named one of four winners of Amazon Web Services’ global “City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge.”

The Best Practices Award recognizes innovative and impactful local government projects running on the AWS Cloud, and rises out of the city’s use of a cloud-based disaster recovery system launched in May. The system also means a greatly reduced operational cost, since the City does not have to purchase backup hardware.

Amazon’s award comes with a prize of $50,000 in Amazon Web Service Credits, saving the city even more money on what it spends for disaster recovery.

The collaboration between the city’s IT Services Department, Water Resources Department, and the U.S. Cellular Center ensures that the city can recover the USCC’s point-of-sale system and the Water Resources asset management system in the case of a hardware failure, power outage, or natural disaster (see more at http://ow.ly/ytWTS.)

“It is an honor to be included among this short list of grand prize winners,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “I am pleased that our IT Department is being recognized by Amazon for their innovative leadership and ability to implement cutting edge technology.”

In its announcement, Amazon Web Services said Asheville was chosen by a panel of worldwide experts “…based on the impact of their solution, likelihood of long-term success, implementation of AWS services, and the potential to help other local governments solve similar challenges.” See Amazon’s full press release at http://ow.ly/ytXn3.

Native Marketplace Features Cherokee art

Monday, June 30th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Our Native American Business Network is coordinating a Native Marketplace from 11am to 3pm at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (36 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC), July 15.

This event is free and open to the public, and serves as a showcase for Authentically Cherokee, a group of contemporary Cherokee artists from Cherokee, North Carolina, historically referred to as the Qualla Boundary. Artists will not only sell their work, but also demonstrate their skills.  All in the community are encouraged to attend, learn, support and shop from 11-3!

Come meet talented Native craftsmen, including a modern wood ‘carver’ who utilizes technology to etch, engrave and carve Cherokee designs; a basket weaver and jewelry maker; another artist who creates soaps, lotions and more; and others! If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Heidi Reiber at [email protected].

The partnership between ONABEN and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce was established as a result of ONABEN’s close work with Sequoyah Fund in Cherokee. There, ONABEN is providing training and technical assistance to the Cherokee, North Carolina community as part of a three-year grant with the Administration for Native Americans. This event is co-sponsored by the City of Asheville, Asheville Area Arts Council and Society of North American Goldsmiths.

Veronica Hix, Executive Director of ONABEN, welcomes people to visit the Chamber during the event, adding, “We are looking forward to this Native Marketplace and working with an amazing group of people, representing a wide variety of contemporary artistry. Not only does it provide a beneficial learning opportunity for these artists, but it is also a fun way to support local artists and small businesses!”

The Sequoyah Fund is an independent, non-profit Native American Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The organization evolved from a loan fund program of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Sequoyah Fund’s mission is to provide training, technical assistance, and resources to support entrepreneurship, business start up and expansion, and community development in the seven far western counties of North Carolina and on the Qualla Boundary.

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member organization with more than 1,800 member businesses and organizations. Chamber members collaborate with area organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. 

ONABEN – Our Native American Business Network is a national nonprofit headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ONABEN provides its Indianpreneurship® curriculum, training and organizational consulting focused on developing entrepreneurship in Native communities. The group is driven by its mission to support Indigenous individuals, economic development organizations and communities by increasing opportunities for sustainable economic growth through culturally relevant entrepreneurial training and organizational development.

For more information, visit http://www.onaben.org or call 503.968.1500.

“Climate Change and Society” UNC Asheville Certificate Program

Monday, June 30th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A few positions remain open in the fall semester for UNC Asheville’s unique, graduate-level certificate program, Climate Change & Society. Tailored for working professionals and students interested in the fields of climate and sustainability, the two-year program consists of four courses, one each semester, with a convenient evening schedule.

The certificate program and course of study were developed to bridge the gap between climate scientists and the government agencies, business and community organizations whose decisions and work may be impacted by climate change.

Applications to enroll in the third cohort of the program are due August 1, 2014. Ten students have completed the coursework, which may be taken on its own through the certificate program, or within the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences (MLAS) degree program at UNC Asheville.

“I chose classes and research topics that directly related to my work at ASAP,” said Katie Descieux, who began her studies while an intern at ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project), and was able to advance to a staff position as research coordinator for ASAP’s Local Food Research Center while earning the certificate and MLAS degree. “The classes that I took that focused on issues of sustainability and community resiliency really resonated with me … and ignited my passion to positively contribute to my community.”

The certificate was affirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2011. The four course sequence includes:

  • Fundamentals of Climate Change Science
  • Tools for Climate Change Information and Decision-Making
  • Decision Modeling and Statistics
  • Communicating Science

For more information about the program or to start your application, visit mlas.unca.edu/climate-change-society or call 828.250.2399.

Rococo Ballroom Opens in Asheville

Monday, June 30th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Rococo Ballroom dance studio opens its doors this week in North Asheville, bringing to the area the only ballroom dance studio with a unit-based class structure, teaching all styles of partner dances.

Owners Jake Lavender and Meghan McDonald have been dancing competitively and providing ballroom dance instruction for eight years with Arthur Murray International Dance Studios. This is the team’s first venture as an independent studio.

“We teach using three different classes to maximize the learning potential,” says McDonald, “the advantage of this model is that anyone, with any level of experience, can learn more skills to reach their personal goals faster.” The studio offers private lessons for learning new things, as well as group classes and parties for reviewing and practicing skills while getting helpful hints from an instructor. All of the teachers are full-time dance instructors and professional competitors.

The new studio is located in a 1600- square-foot space in Reynolds Village and it features a large dance floor, twenty feet of mirrors, and a modern sound system for private instruction and group classes. Rococo Ballroom offers private instruction in any partner dance, including Bachata, Bolero, Cha-cha, Foxtrot, Rumba, Salsa, Samba, Swing, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Western, Waltz, and others.

Rococo Ballroom will officially open on Saturday, June 28, 2014 with a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The studio is located at 51 North Merrimon Avenue, Suite 107, and will be open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 828-575-0905 or visit Rococo Ballroom on Facebook for more information.

July Events Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Chimney Rock State Park announces July’s variety of outdoor events and activities.

Family Fun Nature Programs

Daily 2pm at Outdoor Classroom. Included with Park admission.

Join us for a variety of family programs about wildlife, plants, trees, ancient rocks and more! See chimneyrockpark.com for program topics.

Rockin’ Naturalist Guided Hikes

Every Saturday, 11am-noon. Meet at Cliff Dwellers Gifts. Included with Park admission; limited to first 15 people.

Explore the popular Hickory Nut Falls trail with a Park naturalist and learn about its plants, wildlife, geology and more along the way.

4th of July Weekend Family Fun

Friday-Saturday, July 4-6; programs 2pm, climbing tower open 11am-4m.

Included with Park admission.

Meet Grady the Groundhog or some or our other animal ambassadors up close, and get one free climb per person on our climbing tower — then stand under Old Glory atop Chimney Rock for the family photo op of the year!

Beats, Burgers & Brews

Fridays and Saturdays, 6-8pm every weekend in July and first weekend of August at the Old Rock Café. No cover charge and no reservations required.

Pools Now Open Daily

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Buncombe County Pools are now open daily for the season. The pools will remain open daily until Buncombe County Pools will open to the public beginning on Memorial Day Weekend.school begins in August.

Pool hours:

  • Monday – Friday (Noon – 5:45 p.m.)
  • Saturday (11 a.m. – 6:45 p.m.)
  • Sunday (1 – 6:45 p.m.)

The cost to swim is $3 per person. Discount passes are available at all pools.

  • 10 visits for $25
  • 25 visits for $50

Pool Contact Information:

Cane Creek – Fletcher (828) 628-4494
Erwin – Asheville (828) 251-4992
Hominy Valley – Candler (828) 667-9937
North Buncombe – Weaverville (828) 645-1080
Owen – Swannanoa (828) 686-1629

Estill Voice and Alba/Feldenkrais Workshops

Monday, June 23rd, 2014
ASHEVILLE NC – UNC Asheville’s Arts and Ideas Program is offering July workshops using Estill Voice Training and Alba and Feldenkrais methods for emotional and kinesthetic awareness and expression.
  • Estill Voice Workshop, July 13-16 – Participants will learn anatomical elements that change the quality of sound and power of the voice, and how to voluntarily adjust them for confident vocal control and versatility. Kerrie Obert, Director of Medical Arts and Clinical Voice Pathologist at The Ohio State University Voice and Swallowing Disorders Clinic and a certified course instructor of Estill Voice International, will lead the workshop, which is appropriate for beginners as well as professionals. Cost of the four-day workshop is $330. Registration is due June 27.
  • A Body of Emotion: Alba/Feldenkrais Workshop, July 21-25Laura Bond, chair and professor of drama at UNC Asheville, and Feldenkrais master teacher Lavinia Plonka, director of Asheville Movement Center, will lead this five-day workshop, combining the Alba and Feldenkrais methods. This workshop is designed for those interested in increasing their ability to manage and regulate emotions and achieve full embodiment of personal expression. Cost for the workshop is $700. Registration is due July 16.
  • Intermediate Alba Training, July 21-25 – Bond and Jessica Beck, an Alba Emoting instructor and veteran of theater in the United Kingdom, will lead this workshop for students who have had at least 30 hours of Alba training and are interested in refining their pattern work and learning intricate methods for applying the Alba Method to their professional work and life.  Cost of the workshop is $650. Registration is due July 16.

All workshops will take place on campus. Residence hall lodging on campus is available for an additional fee. Those seeking on-campus lodging should register by July 7. For more information or to register, visit arts.unca.edu/events or call 828.251.6808.

Elevator Reopens at Chimney Rock State Park

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The elevator at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park has reopened to the public after repairs due to power issues were completed. Visitors to the Park will now have the option of walking to the top of the Chimney via the 491 steps of the Outcroppings Trail or taking the 35-second elevator ride, which opens into the Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli.  A boardwalk from the Sky Lounge accesses the final 44 steps to the top of the “Rock.”

“We’re thrilled that everyone can once again reach the top of Chimney Rock,” says Chimney Rock State Park General Manager Mary Jaeger-Gale. “Chimney Rock is unique in that it offers a spectacular view for people of all ages and abilities. Our 26-story elevator makes it possible for people who might not be able to hike or climb to experience our 75-mile, panoramic views.”

Power-related and leveling issues had rendered the elevator inoperable for weeks at a time for a little over a year. In November of 2013, North Carolina State Parks and Chimney Rock Management, LLC mutually agreed to cease operations of the elevator until its problems could be remedied. State Park Superintendent James Ledgerwood says these issues have been resolved:

The state parks system has been committed to keeping all the infrastructure at Chimney Rock State Park safe and in good repair, so that visitors of all ages and physical abilities can enjoy this scenic treasure.  The unique location of the elevator has provided a multitude of challenges that have required many minds to come together to ensure a reliable elevator.  I am pleased that these issues have been corrected and access has been restored.”

Because the elevator served as the secondary egress for the popular Sky Lounge Gift Shop and Deli, it was closed as well. The Sky Lounge is now open and offers souvenirs, local crafts and grab and go snack options and ice cream.

The elevator originally opened in 1949 as the tallest in North Carolina. It took eight tons of dynamite to blast the Park elevator’s 258-foot-high shaft and 198-foot-long tunnel through solid granite.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor attraction located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features a hiking trail to one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com.

Local Publisher Launches New Asheville Guide Series

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Connecting Corridors, an Asheville-based boutique publisher, has just released their first Asheville Pocket Guide: an illustrated guide to experiences along the French Broad River corridor from Hominy Creek to Glenn Creek. Unlike other print guides on the market, the Asheville Pocket Guide folds conveniently to pocket-size for easy travel, and it doubles as a beer coaster—it is, after all, a guide to one of the country’s best beer towns.

The pint-size eight-panel publication is packed with information to help locals and visitors alike immerse themselves in authentic Asheville adventures near the beloved French Broad. Names and addresses of art galleries, restaurants, parks, campsites, outdoor centers, and other businesses and locales are included. Area nonprofits are also spotlighted. To further help connect people to unique places, Connecting Corridors has turned the pocket guide into an integrated website and digital magazine with weekly articles, as well as a mobile-responsive navigational guide.

The Corridors team includes local writers, designers and artists deeply connected to and knowledgeable about Asheville—from Outward Bound leaders, to naturalists, to food writers, to environmentalists, to popular bloggers. “We’re the corner store merchants who point you in the right direction, then reveal our favorite café nestled in a secluded alley” describes owner and project coordinator Sammy Cox. “Our publications provide both the basics and fun insider info.”

Cox has lived and worked in Asheville for 25 years, forming a strong bond with the area and its businesses and publishing landscape. He believes strongly in this innovative, multimedia tour guide approach and plans to follow up the French Broad River Corridor Asheville Pocket Guide with a full series, while growing the companion website. “Bigger isn’t always better,” he says. “An easy-to-digest focus on unique geographical and conceptual corridors and a handful of sponsors and advertisers can have a sizable community impact.”

The guide is distributed by Grass Routes to more than 100 strategic locations, including the Asheville Chamber. Find them all and learn more at ashevillepocketguide.com.


Connecting Corridors is a small-batch publisher and marketing company focused on connecting people to unique places. They strive for sustainability, embracing new media to drastically reduce paper use and printing on Forest Stewardship Council-certified stock. To learn more, visit ashevillepocketguide.com, or call (828) 989-6965.

Registration Available for WCU’s Dulcimer U Summer Week

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Registration is ongoing for Western Carolina University’s 15th annual Dulcimer U Summer Week, a gathering that brings mountain dulcimer virtuosos and students to the WCU campus in Cullowhee for six days of classes and concerts.

The year’s conference, set for Sunday, July 13, through Friday, July 18, will feature an instructional staff of nationally recognized musicians and performers, including hosts Larry and Elaine Conger.

A variety of classes will be held during the week, and participants will get to choose the group that is best for them based on their ability level and the skills they wish to improve. Special classes will include “Dulcimer Building” with Bob Magowan, “Caregiving and Comfort Using the Mountain Dulcimer” with Lorinda Jones, “From Player to Teacher” with Joe Collins, and “Mountain Dulcimer Ensemble” with the Congers.

The schedule for Thursday, July 17, includes a mountain dulcimer concert featuring the instructional staff playing “in the round.” The show, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Tickets, priced at $10 for the public and $5 for WCU faculty, staff and students, are available by calling the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or by going online to bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.

Registration that includes all confirmed classes, materials, staff concerts and other events is $335 per person. On-campus accommodations and meals packages are available for an additional $339 for single-occupancy rooms and $289 for double-occupancy rooms.

For more information or to register, visit dulcimeru.wcu.edu or call WCU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education at 828-227-7397.