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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for November, 2014

Heating Assistance Applications for Low Income Energy Assistance Program

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) will be accepting applications beginning Dec. 1, 2014.

LIEAP is a federally-funded program that provides a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills during the cold-weather months. Citizens interested in applying should review the application process and the eligibility requirements for the LIEAP benefit, which may be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/energy/req.htm.

Eligible households which include a person aged 60 and above or at least one disabled person (receiving SSI, SSA or VA disability) receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) can apply Dec. 1.

If funds remain available after Dec. 31, any other eligible households may apply from January through March 2015, or until funds are exhausted.

Applications for Buncombe County residents will be accepted at Eblen Charities located at the Westgate Shopping Plaza in Asheville (50 Westgate Parkway, Asheville, NC 28806).  Those who are unable to apply in person can call (828) 255-3066 to apply over the phone. The completed application will be mailed to applicants to obtain a signature along with instructions and a list of documents needed to process the application.

Residents from other counties in N.C. can apply by contacting their local county Department of Social Services. A list of these offices and contact information is available at www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/local/.

City Manager Announces Succession Plan for Chief of Police

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Asheville Police Chief William Anderson announced Friday, November 14 his plans for retirement effective December 31.  A recruitment process is underway for his replacement.

City staff expect to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) by the end of November for a high-quality professionally managed recruitment process that includes significant opportunities for community and employee involvement.  With the successful consultant in place by February, the target start date for the new chief will be June 1, 2015.

A key deliverable for the consultant will include a comprehensive input process into preferred candidate characteristics for 1) leading the men and women of the Asheville police department and 2) sustaining and further growing the relationship between the police department and the community.

“The recruitment process will coincide with ongoing, aggressive improvement efforts within the Asheville Police Department,” said City Manager Gary Jackson.  “With many employees already engaged in implementing the APD strategic operating plan, we believe it is important to continue to support their efforts while also providing a reasonable timetable for identifying Asheville’s next police chief.”

Information currently being gathered in the organizational assessment by Matrix Consulting Group will be considered in the recruitment process.  Final reports for both the assessment and the audit being conducted by Johnson Price Sprinkle Public Accountant into certification of radars will be made available for the incoming police Chief.  Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette will continue to provide employee engagement expertise as police department employees continue to implement the department’s strategic operating plan.

In addition to his work with Police Chief Anderson, Fire Chief Scott Burnette will also work closely with the interim police chief who will be in place in enough time to maximize a smooth transition through and after Chief Anderson’s last day.

A-B Tech Joins the National #GivingTuesday Movement

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A-B Tech Community College’s Foundation has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners – charities, families, businesses and individuals – to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support, and help create a better world.

Taking place December 2 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping.

The A-B Tech Foundation joined #GivingTuesday to support the Lavender Fund. The Lavender Fund provides scholarship opportunities to support single parents with children at home who want to go back to school to gain the education and confidence needed to change their current situation and become financially independent. The program is designed to help student-parents enroll in college and stay in school. The Foundation also has other initiatives and scholarships to support students.

“#GivingTuesday is a worldwide day of giving focused on ordinary people coming together to do extraordinary things.  One of the most extraordinary gifts we can give is access to education. A scholarship is a true game-changer for our community college students.  It gives them an opportunity to create a future with no limits,“ said Sue Olesiuk, Executive Director, A-B Tech Office of College Advancement.

Seeing an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by the 92nd Street Y (92Y), came together to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving. Thought leaders in philanthropy, social media and grassroots organizing joined with 92Y to explore what is working in modern philanthropy and how to expand these innovations throughout the philanthropic sector.

The concept gained steam, and with the help of the United Nations Foundation and other founding partners, more than 10,000 organizations have joined the movement and are providing creative ways people can embrace #GivingTuesday and collaborate in their giving efforts to create more meaningful results.

“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”

“I do have moments when I feel overwhelmed but then I think of the people who have invested their time, energy, and finances in me; who say, ‘You can do this.’ Thinking of this empowers me,” said Bethany D., a Lavender Fund recipient at A-B Tech.

Anyone interested in joining A-B Tech’s Foundation #GivingTuesday initiative can visit abtech.edu/donate

UNC Asheville ‘GEARS UP’ to Foster College Readiness in 8 WNC Counties

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – UNC Asheville is partnering with Appalachian State University to increase the number of students in eight Western North Carolina counties who are prepared to enter and succeed in college, as part of the GEAR UP program funded by grants from the U.S Department of Education.

GEAR UP – Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs – is designed to support students as they progress through three distinct transitions: 1) college awareness and readiness; 2) college enrollment; and 3) college achievement, by employing evidence-based support services and resources that are early indicators and predictors of success.

UNC Asheville will offer services and resources to students, parents and teachers in Alleghany, Clay, Graham, Madison, Rutherford, Swain, Wilkes and Yancey counties. GEAR UP will begin with middle school students and expand one grade level each year as students advance through high school and into their first year at a community college or four-year university.

“We are excited to join in this multi-university effort to boost educational achievement across the region,” said UNC Asheville Provost Joseph Urgo. “Here in Asheville, our students and faculty have long been involved in boosting college awareness and readiness through the city school system’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program. Now, we are moving forward with GEAR UP to expand our engagement with young people throughout Western North Carolina.”

As part of GEAR UP, UNC Asheville will offer its growing roster of professional development seminars, with topics including math, art, chemistry, genetics, and culturally relevant pedagogy to K-12 teachers in the eight target counties. The university also will make available its innovative precollege awareness programs that allow students and their families to think critically about college match and fit; and overnight summer enrichment programs will give students a sample of college life.

UNC Asheville will hire a GEAR UP coordinator to serve as the liaison to school districts connecting teachers, students and parents to campus resources. The GEAR UP grant will cover program activities for seven years; UNC Asheville’s annual GEAR UP budget will be $150,000.

Appalachian State University is coordinating GEAR UP project activities in a total of 11 WNC counties; other partners also include Western Carolina University, Isothermal Community College, Tri-County Community College, Wilkes Community College, Discovery Place and the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

For more information, visit oscopp.unca.edu/gear or contact Annie Burton at [email protected] or 828.251.6498.

Diamond Brand Outdoors “Step Out and Shop” benefit Diana Wortham Theatre

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Diana Wortham Theatre and Diamond Brand Outdoors have announced their fourth annual “Step Out and Shop” event at Diamond Brand Outdoors’ new downtown location at 51 Biltmore Avenue in the Aloft Hotel.  Hosted by Diamond Brand Outdoors, the event will be held Thursday, December 4, from 5:00 until 8:00 PM.

A long-standing supporter of Diana Wortham Theatre and sponsor of the theatre’s Mainstage Dance Series, Diamond Brand presents this evening of shopping with a storewide 20% discount* off its finest selection of brand name fashions, outdoor gear, and accessories.  10% of all store sales will be contributed to the theatre.

While shopping, guests will enjoy an evening of music by the Sara Fields Trio, known for their mix of swing and classic jazz standards. Savory and sweet hors d’oeuvres will be provided by the Aloft Asheville Downtown Hotel’s culinary team.

According to Catherine Gay, an owner of Diamond Brand Outdoors, the Diana Wortham Theatre is a vital part of WNC and an indispensable contributor to the arts in this state. “We are especially excited to host this year’s event at our new downtown location as we are now neighbors with the theatre, and theatre patrons can enjoy the beautiful downtown area while experiencing the evening!” she said.  “We look forward to introducing patrons and guests to our new, innovative ‘adventure boutique,’ which features an array of wonderful new outdoor gear and gift items in a remarkable setting, just in time for the holidays.”

“Diamond Brand Outdoors cares deeply about our community and the Diana Wortham Theatre is an important part of that community,” Gay continued.  “It is a privilege for us to support the theatre in its endeavors to further the arts and to positively impact the lives of its patrons.”

Proceeds from the evening’s sales will provide vital financial support for the ongoing programs of the Diana Wortham Theatre. Located in the heart of downtown Asheville and a block away from the new Diamond Brand location, the Diana Wortham Theatre offers live performances of music, theatre and dance throughout the year.  The theatre features nationally touring artists (the Mainstage Series), as well as a wide array of performances by professional and avocational regional arts groups such as the Asheville Ballet, Asheville Lyric Opera, Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre, Asheville Puppetry Alliance, Ballet Conservatory of Asheville, and the annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. In addition, the Diana Wortham Theatre serves over 9,800 regional students with its Matinee Series for Students and Families.

For more information on the Diana Wortham Theatre, visit www.dwtheatre.com.  For more information on Diamond Brand Outdoors, follow them on Facebook at Diamond Brand Outdoors and Diamond Brand Outdoors Downtown; or on Instagram at diamondbrand_outdoors; or visit www.diamondbrand.com.

*Discount not valid on boat purchases. Available on in-stock items. Promotion may be discontinued at management’s discretion.

‘Sounds of the Season’ Dec 7 at WCU

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The annual “Sounds of the Season” holiday concert, featuring faculty and students in small chamber groups and larger ensembles, will be presented by the School of Music at Western Carolina University on Sunday, Dec. 7.

The concert will begin at 3 p.m. in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

This year’s program will begin with performances by the University Chorus and Concert Choir of “Sing Noel,” “Gloria” and “O Christmas Tree.”

The WCU Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Student Trombone Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, Continuum Saxophone Quartet, Euphonium Ensemble and Early Music Ensemble/Recorder Consort also will perform.

Lyn Burkett and Pavel Wlosok will share piano arrangements of “Variations on Adeste Fideles” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” respectively. Susan Belcher, wife of Chancellor David O. Belcher, will perform the whimsical parody “A Little Christmas Music (with apologies to Mozart)” accompanied by the WCU Concert Choir and Ann Tiner, harpsichordist.

The Jackson County Children’s Choir, a group made up of more than 40 students from Fairview, Cullowhee Valley and Scotts Creek elementary schools, also will perform.

A sing-along of holiday favorites will be led by special guest Santa Claus to close the program.

Reserved seat tickets are on sale now. Prices are $17 for adults; $11 for WCU faculty, staff and those 60 and older; and $5 for students and children. Proceeds benefit the School of Music Scholarship Fund.

For tickets or information, visit bardoartscenter.wcu.edu or call 828-227-2479.

“An Old Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival”

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – This is a newly formed event combining our Christmas tree lighting and our Dickens Festival into one grand holiday event.  We invite you to step back in time and enjoy Christmas as it once was.

Friday night:  6:00 PM   Over 1000 luminaries will line the streets of Historic Biltmore Village to celebrate the lighting of our 25′ Christmas Tree.  The event will feature the AC Reynolds Madrigal Choir. There will be freshly made Christmas Wreaths for sale, in addition to horse drawn carriage rides through the Village and other festive treats.

Register to win one of the many gifts to be given away the night of the event on our website at www.historicbiltmorevillage.com/events or that night during the tree lighting.  We will also be taking monetary donations for Manna Food Bank at the registration table that night and at our stores during the month of December, as part of our “Hungry for the Holidays” promotion, in conjunction with Talbots.

Saturday: 1:00 – 7:00   Located throughout the Village will be strolling carolers dressed in period costumes, musicians, and other lively holiday entertainment. The Montford Park players will also be on hand to entertain. There will be freshly roasted chestnuts for sale and the horse drawn carriage will be there during the day to complete the holiday experience.

Some stores will observe extended holiday hours and will be serving festive treats throughout the weekend.   An “Old Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival” is sponsored by Catawba Brewing Company, Olde World Christmas Shoppe, and Budweiser of Asheville, in addition to the merchant members of Historic Biltmore Village Partnership.

About Historic Biltmore Village:  Located directly across from the world famous Biltmore Estate, The Historic Biltmore Village is truly one of the south’s most unique touring and shopping environments.  The Village features a collection of independent, regional and national retailers along with the most sought after restaurants and outstanding lodging.


Help Light-Up the Night with a New Asheville Tradition

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The North Carolina Arboretum will begin a new tradition this month with Winter Lights opening November 22and running through January 4.  Visitors will walk through a winter wonderland and experience the gardens in a whole new way! The Arboretum is seeking volunteers – individuals, families and groups, to help and be part of the inaugural year.

The Arboretum has collaborated with Jerry Stripling, former designer and manager of holiday decorations, special projects and events for Walt Disney World®, to create a truly magical experience. This new light show will enhance the natural beauty of the gardens and landscape. By bringing in new visitors and involving volunteers, Winter Lights helps to support the Arboretum’s mission of cultivating connections between people and plants.

Volunteers may enjoy the event while helping out in a variety of fun ways as part of the festivities. Outside opportunities are available at the Fire & S’mores station or having fun welcoming and directing visitors as a Greeter/Wayfinder. If you prefer indoors, volunteers are needed to assist with admissions, in the gift shop or at the information desk. Volunteer shifts are available seven days a week, 5:30 – 9:30 PM, including holidays. Minors 16 and over are welcome to volunteer for designated positions with adult supervision. Individuals and groups are encouraged to sign up!

Find out more and sign up to volunteer at http://www.ncarboretum.org/join-and-give/volunteer/, email [email protected] or call 828- 665-2492 x 219.

Winter Lights will be open nightly and feature music, gifts, and food & beverages. Tickets are on sale now exclusively through eTix.com and are date-specific with limited quantities. All tickets must be purchased in advance; no tickets will be sold at the gate.

Located in the inspirational Southern Appalachian Mountains, The North Carolina Arboretum cultivates connections between people and plants through creative expressions of landscape stewardship, including:     Conservation, Education, Garden Demonstration, Research, and Economic Development. Find out more and plan a visit today – http://www.ncarboretum.org.

For Further Information Contact:

Tara Griffith, Coordinator of Volunteer & Guest Services

North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville NC 28806

(828) 665-2492 x 219

E-mail: [email protected]


Lake Julian Festival of Lights

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Lake Julian Park presents “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” at Lake Julian Park. The first night of the Lake Julian Come on out &d see the lights!Festival of Lights is for walkers only.

Thursday, December 4, Lake Julian Park will become a wonderland for pedestrians – no cars allowed! Enjoy the holiday lights from a new perspective as you stroll through the brightly lit woods.

Take time to warm yourself by the fire and toast a couple of marshmallows with the kids.

Gates open from 6 – 8 p.m. Adults admission is $5 and children get in FREE!

Wonderland Walkers should wear comfortable shoes, warm clothing and be prepared to walk over half a mile on a paved walkway. The walkway is of moderate difficulty with some inclines. Parents with young children are welcome to bring strollers or wagons. No pets please.

Lake Julian Park is in Arden, just off Long Shoals Road. Parking for “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” is at:

Family of Faith Fellowship Church
212 Long Shoals Road, Arden
Directions to “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” Parking

For more information, call (828) 684-0376 or email [email protected].

“Walking in a Winter Wonderland” is subject to weather conditions. Lake Julian Park reserves the right to cancel the event or close the event early without notice.


Light up your Holiday nights at the Lake Julian Park Festival of Lights. This is the 15th year for the annual spectacle. The drive through show begins on Friday, December 5 and is nightly from 6 – 9 p.m. through Tuesday, December 23. The park is brightly lit with thousands of colored lights and over 50 animated and stationary light displays. The road circling the park becomes a magical journey through tunnels of dazzling lights.

The cost for this drive through presentation is $5 for a car, $10 for a van and $25 for a motor coach. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Buncombe County Special Olympics. Lake Julian Park is located off Long Shoals Road.

Lake Julian Park
406 Overlook Road Ext, Arden
Directions to Lake Julian Park for the Festival of Lights

Ending Veteran Homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Mayor Esther Manheimer has signed on to the Mayors’ Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015, a program initiated earlier in the year by First Lady Michelle Obama.  Ending veteran homelessness means reaching the point where there are no veterans sleeping on our streets and every veteran has access to permanent housing.

The Mayor’s Challenge is a call to action – announced by First Lady Michelle Obama earlier this year, and has received support from the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veteran’s Affairs (VA), US Interagency Council on Homelessness, and by the National League of Cities. The challenge is for mayors to make a commitment to ending Veteran homelessness in their cities by 2015.

Increasing access to permanent housing in Buncombe County occurs through a collaborative partnership that includes the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative, the VA, the Housing Authority, Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministries, and Homeward Bound of Western North Carolina.

In the coming months, this collaborative will be focusing on strengthening its plan to address all forms of homelessness among veterans. This plan will include rapid re-housing strategies to ensure a quick transition back into safe, stable and sustainable housing for veterans and their families who have become homeless, as well as prevention strategies to ensure housing stability for those imminently at risk of homelessness.

“The Asheville-Buncombe community took on the challenge of ending chronic homelessness by 2015 when the 10 Year Plan was adopted,” said Veterans Administration Homeless Programs coordinator Allison Bond. “Because of strong, collaborative partnerships, creative solutions, and now Mayor Manheimer’s endorsement of the Mayor’s Challenge, we are on track to achieve ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 as well.”