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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for May, 2015

Outdoor Pools Open Weekends

Friday, May 29th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – Buncombe County Pools open to the public beginning on Memorial Day Weekend and will only be open on weekends until schools are out for summer break. Summer season runs from June 6 through August 2. Cost to swim is $3.00 per person per day.

Buncombe County Pools will open to the public beginning on Memorial Day Weekend.The following pools will open on weekends beginning May 23:

  • 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


Goats on Asheville Greenway Clear Invasive Species

Friday, May 29th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – During the next few weeks visitors to the Hominy Creek Greenway, a 14- acre park between Sandhill and Shelbourne Roads in West Asheville, will see goats along the walking path.

The goats are part of a partnership between the Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway, FOHCG and the City of Asheville to remove invasive plant material from the park. Asheville Greenworks and RiverLink are also partners to maintain the 14-acre park. This is the first phase of goat herbivory, with a second phase happening later in the year.
Through a grant from Buncombe County, the FOHCG hired KD Ecological Services, to supply and manage the goats on the property, and ensure care and safety of the goats and visitors to the park.
Goats will be monitored on a daily basis and will be on the property for approximately four to six weeks beginning this week through June. The goats are contained within electric wire fencing, along with an additional plastic fence along areas directly adjacent to the trail. Please be aware of the fencing when using the park with children and dogs. We ask that you do not feed or pet the goats.
Battling invasive plants
Non-native plants are a growing threat in the Carolinas. They displace native plants and animals, decrease property values and hinder access to land resources. Using goats in particular is a very effective way to control non-native invasive plants by ecologically friendly technique. No machinery needs to be used, and little to no herbicide is needed to control large monocultures of non-natives.
FOHCG and the City of Asheville joined forces in 2013 to maintain and make improvements to the Hominy Creek Greenway. FOHCG and the city share recurring maintenance, while FOHCG takes the lead on special projects such as invasive plant control, trail maintenance and trail amenities.
For information about the invasive species removal project at the Hominy Creek Greenway, contact Jack Igelman at [email protected] or Debbie Ivester at [email protected]
For information about the goats and the herbivory services, contact KD Ecological Services at 828-290-9380.

Asheville the First NC City to Issue ‘Green bonds’

Friday, May 29th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – Sustainability. Environmentally friendly. Green. These words not only apply to earth-friendly principles, they now also can apply to financial bonds. They are called “green bonds” and the money used – as well as the profits returned – finance environmentally friendly or sustainable projects.

Asheville is the first municipality in North Carolina to issue green bonds. Money from these bonds is being used to pay for infrastructure improvements and enhancements to protect Asheville’s water resources.
“We’re refinancing debt for improvements already on the books,” according to Barbara Whitehorn, City Chief Financial Officer. “As long as the underlying projects fit the criteria, we’re identifying opportunities to classify these projects as green bonds.”
Green Bonds raise funds for new and existing eligible projects with environmental benefits, according to the International Capital Marketing Association. Sustainable water management is one of the categories eligible for green bond financing.


‘Green’ financing used for water resource projects

Because of the mountainous topography Asheville faces special water management challenges, especially when it comes to pressure on its water lines.
“Our system is unusual in that even our average pressure is higher than most systems’ high pressure,” said Steve Shoaf, Water Resources Director.
That high pressure can result in high water loss, sometimes around 30 percent. While it’s not an unusually high percentage in a mountainous area, the City is working to limit that loss. Valve replacements help address that issue. So does enhancing water tanks, which in Asheville are not the sky-high structures seen in most places. They are lower to the ground because there is no need to enhance water pressure.
Some money used for Asheville’s green bonds was also used to replace failing water lines, “so we’re getting the water from point A to point B with fewer leaks,” explained Shoaf.
An emergency generator project was a large contribution to the Asheville Water Resources system. With the emergency generators, the City is able to keep its pump stations online even when power goes off. That means even in an emergency people can get water.
Improvement to the Bee Tree Reservoir spillway was another project financed with green bonds. The Bee Tree Reservoir is categorized as a watershed protection area.
In all, the City of Asheville has issued $55 million in green bonds to finance multiple watershed and water service protection projects.
“What I hope to see us do is every time we issue bonds is to go through our projects, look for qualifying projects and labeling these bonds green to show was we are doing,” said Whitehorn. “It informs the investor.”
“The bottom line is we’re protecting the resources,” said Shoaf.

Buying green bonds
How does an investor go about buying green bonds? Talk to your money manager when assigning assets to your portfolio.
For more information about the City of Asheville’s green bonds, visit municipalbonds.com.

Photo above: Asheville’s Bee Tree Reservoir, which is categorized as a watershed protection area.

Unwind at Biltmore this Summer

Friday, May 29th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – Unwinding from the daily routine can mean many things at Biltmore: romantic garden strolls, wine tastings, farmyard visits, scenic bike rides, and live music under the stars. Not to mention exploring the castle-like, 250-room Biltmore House. Imagine the possibilities on vacation at Biltmore this summer, running now through Sept. 7, 2015.

Biltmore’s great outdoors

Acreage surrounding Biltmore House offers a dynamic variety of activities for fans of the great outdoors. Meander through the colorful and ever-changing manicured gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, or explore miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through wooded areas and open fields. Take in mountain and Biltmore House views from the back of a horse, while floating down a lazy river, on a Segway, or on a carriage ride. Try your hand at fly-fishing, sporting clays or get behind the wheel of a Land Rover.

Music under the stars: The Biltmore Concert Series

Dance under the stars on select summer nights during Biltmore’s Concert Series, staged on the South Terrace next to Biltmore House. Kicking off Aug. 7, the 2015 line-up includes Natalie Cole and Peabo Bryson; Counting Crows: Somewhere Under Wonderland Tour with Citizen Cope; ZZ Top with Blackberry Smoke; Chris Tomlin and MercyMe; Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers and Blues Traveler; and The Four Tops and The Temptations. Visit www.biltmore.com/concerts for dates and details.

NEW! Free cooking demonstrations by Biltmore chefs

Biltmore’s chefs will share their knowledge in a series of free cooking demos, set for dates in June, July and August. They’ll demonstrate techniques and share basic Biltmore-inspired recipes for the home kitchen. Select events also include a three-course lunch featuring highlights from the class (additional price). Advance registration is required for each demonstration, and seating is limited. http://www.biltmore.com/events/cooking-demonstrations

Month of June: Chef Mark DeMarco – Cedric’s Tavern

June 12, 10 to 11 a.m.: Pickling Summer’s Bounty
June 19, 10 to 11 a.m.:  Making Fresh Sausages at Home
June 26, 10 to 11 a.m.:  Seasonal Jams and Preserves
Call 828-225-1320 to reserve. Please tell the reservationist if you plan to stay for lunch ($24 per person).

Month of July: Chef Kirk Fiore – Lioncrest

July 16, 10 to 11 a.m.:  Fresh Salsas with Summer Fruits and Vegetables
July 23, 10 to 11 a.m.:  Hand-made Vinegars with Fresh Garden Herbs
Call 828-225-6260 to reserve.

Month of August: Chef David Ryba – The Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore Estate

Aug. 6 and 13, noon to 1 p.m.:  The Edible Garden, featuring heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs and salads. Call 828-225-1699 to reserve. Please tell the reservationist if you plan to stay for lunch ($30 per person).

Fun in Antler Hill Village and Farm

Admission to Biltmore includes access to Antler Hill Village Farm and Barnyard. The Barnyard is home to blacksmiths, woodworkers and other craft demonstrations. “The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad” exhibition is housed in the Legacy building and sheds light on the time the Vanderbilt family made Biltmore House their home, and their world travels. Summer evening weekends feature Live After Five in Antler Hill Village with musical performances by area musicians on the bandstand at the Village Green. On-site culinary options are available, and Cedric’s Tavern, the Bistro, and the Creamery will be open.

The Winery

Admission offers entry to Biltmore Winery, with complimentary tastings and a production tour.  Specialty tours such as the Vine to Wine Tour, Biltmore Bubbles Tour and the Red Wine and Chocolate seminar are available at an additional cost.

Stay over at Inn on Biltmore Estate

Extend your visit with an overnight stay at the award-winning Inn on Biltmore Estate or with our local accommodations partners and take advantage of packages on select dates this summer.

Summer 2015 vacation deals at Biltmore

Kids 16 and younger receive FREE admission now through Labor Day, Sept. 7.
Dads receive FREE admission on Father’s Day, June 21, with purchase of an adult or youth ticket.
Save $12 when tickets are purchased seven days in advance.

More information is available at 866.336.1245, or by visiting www.biltmore.com. View suggested itineraries for more family travel ideas.


“AsheFestivals: Secrets to Successful Festivals” Summer Breakfast Series

Friday, May 29th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – Leadership Asheville‘s 2015 Buzz Summer Breakfast Series begins on Wednesday, June 17, with “AsheFestivals: Secrets to Successful Festivals,” a panel moderated by Jon Fillman, economic development specialist for the City of Asheville. The Buzz Breakfast event takes place at 8 a.m. at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, 31 Woodfin Street in Asheville. Admission is $20.

The “AsheFestival” panel includes Terry Bemis, director, Mountain Sports Festival; Jennifer Pickering, executive director and founder, LEAF; Meghan Rogers, executive director, Asheville Downtown Association; and David Whitehill, executive director, Asheville Symphony. Additional programs in the series include “Boosting Business: Asheville’s Resources” on Wednesday, July 15, and “Asheville’s Innovations Districts: A Catalyst for Growth” on Tuesday, August 18.

Leadership Asheville, the region’s foremost community leadership development organization since 1982, is a program of UNC Asheville, and is supported by sustaining partnerships with TD Bank, Mission Health System and BorgWarner. The Buzz Summer Breakfast Series presenting sponsor is Ward and Smith, P.A. For more information, to purchase tickets or reserve corporate tables visit the Leadership Asheville website or call 828.255.7100.


Highlands Siler Bald Hike

Friday, May 29th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – On June 11 join the Highlands Biological Foundation for a guided hike to the top of Siler Bald in the Nantahala National Forest near Franklin, NC with trip leaders John and Jennie Stowers.  The trip offers beautiful panoramic views including Nantahala Lake to the west and Standing Indian Mountain to the south.  This hike is difficult in sections and will be approximately 4 miles round trip.  The climb will ascend through rhododendron thickets, a deciduous mixed hardwood forest.  We will see and discuss ancient oak trees and a true southern Appalachian bald at the summit of the trail.  This trip will depart from Highlands, NC at 10:00 am and return to Highlands at 3:00pm.  Cost is $15 for members of the Highlands Biological Foundation and $35 for new members.

For more information about the Biological Station and our three components:  The Highlands Nature Center, the Botanical Garden and the Biological Laboratory, and learn more about our many programs, workshops and classes.  Visit our website:  www.highlandsbiological.org.


WCU Faculty Member Trying to Save Heirloom Seeds

Friday, May 29th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – When warm weather returns to the mountains each spring, the thoughts of many Western North Carolina residents turn to planting seeds to find out what their green thumbs can produce. But James Veteto thinks about seeds and their innate potential all year long.

The Western Carolina University assistant professor of anthropology’s work is focused on helping save heirloom seeds – seeds that have a history with a family, community or individual that goes back 50 or more years. In recognition of his efforts, Veteto was recognized in a recent issue of Southern Living magazine as one of “50 People Who are Changing the South in 2015.” The magazine called him an “inspiration to a young generation of farmers to take interest in cultivating heritage seeds that are at risk of becoming extinct.”

Veteto’s work with heirloom seeds is based at the Appalachian Institute for Mountain Studies, a 30-acre institute in Yancey County where research takes place that focuses on traditional and agro-ecological Southeastern farming techniques. Southern Seed Legacy, one of the main sustainability projects at AIMS, is led by Veteto to promote the use of heirloom seeds in farming activities and encourage seed trade between local farmers and gardeners.

The project collects and distributes seeds to share with local farmers on a subscription basis. “We have a program called ‘Pass Along Southern Seeds,’” Veteto said. “The idea is that (participants) will grow out a third of the seeds for themselves, give out a third to their neighbors, and send a third back to us. So that keeps the seeds circulating when they may not otherwise be.”

Southern Seed Legacy also sends out a newsletter and organizes “seeds swap” events to encourage farmers and gardeners to get together and share seeds. The events often include barbecue and old-time music, and Veteto said plans are to hold a seed swap at WCU in the fall.

Veteto earned his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Georgia. He was not raised on a farm, with the last farmers in his family being in his grandparents’ generation, but he rapidly got involved in environmentalism during his college years. “That soon enough led me to the conclusion that the more I grew my own food, sustainably, the better my ecological footprint was going to be,” he said. “I started growing out some heirloom varieties, which I was really intrigued by, because they are not only seeds. There was interesting cultural history behind them.”

Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated – that is, pollinated by themselves, insects or wind instead of professionally bred by plant breeders, Veteto said. One main threat to the seeds comes through the passing of the older generation of farmers, preventing the genetic, biological and cultural heritage from being maintained in a current national landscape in which less than 2 percent of the population are farmers, he said.

“If you narrow the genetic basis you rely on, you get situations like the famous Irish potato famine,” Veteto said. “There were two varieties that were being grown in Ireland in the early- to mid-19th century. Neither was resistant to the fungal disease late blight, so they were totally wiped out. In the Andes, where potatoes are originally from, you have late blight there, too, but they have between 6,000 and 10,000 varieties. You have never heard of an Andean potato blight because they have varieties that are resistant.”

Veteto said he believes that, from a cultural standpoint, it is important to save local foodways heritage. For example, some Cherokee foods, such as Cherokee bean bread, only can be cooked with specific corn and bean varieties to achieve the traditional taste. “It is usually made with Cherokee white corn flour and Cherokee butterbeans or it doesn’t taste right,” he said.

The publicity in Southern Living has directed more public attention toward the Southern Seed Legacy project, with more people “liking” its Facebook page and sending Veteto invitations to speak at various events. “I have talked to a lot of academics, activists and sustainable food people. Just getting the attention on the project is a good thing,” he said. Plans for the remainder of 2015 are to connect with more students and local residents and to boost the seed swap program. Veteto also is looking into the possibility of partnering with someone to start an heirloom seed company to help finance the project, which currently operates on donations.

Veteto said his work as a WCU anthropology faculty member provides an avenue for getting the word out to students and recruiting interns. “Whatever (the students) end up doing in the future, I hope they can incorporate a little bit of what they have learned working with me to create a better, sustainable, environmentally healthy and socially just world,” he said.

Anyone interested in becoming involved in Southern Seed Legacy can contact Veteto at [email protected].

Information for story compiled by WCU communication alumnus Gautier Villette.

Ride ART Buses Free and Get Free Breakfast May 20

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – National Strive Not to Drive Week runs Friday to Friday, May 15-22. It’s a great time to take the bus or ride your bike. Walk to a neighborhood business rather than hop in your car. And it’s a good time to think about carpooling to work.

Asheville Transit will offer free bus fares Wednesday, May 20. Also, as part of Strive Not to Drive, there will be free breakfast stations on Wednesday, May 20 from 7-9:30 a.m.:

  • River Arts District – At the Clingman Avenue roundabout, next to the bike “fix-it” stand.
  • Rainbow Community School – Students are hosting a breakfast station in front of the school for the first time this year.
  • UNCA Campus – Meet in front of the Bulldog for a campus thank you.

Find out more here.

Here’s more information about Strive Not to Drive events around Asheville.


Multimedia Paintings at UNC Asheville May 19

Saturday, May 16th, 2015
ASHEVILLE NC – Homage to Life, an exhibit of 24 multimedia paintings by Hendersonville-based artist Cecilia R. Frederic, will open Tuesday, May 19, in UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library Blowers Gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Frederic’s series was created in collaboration with the artist’s 28-year-old daughter, Abigail, who was diagnosed with Trisome 18, a genetic condition that is rarely survivable beyond infancy. Frederic used her daughter’s drawings as a foundation and point of departure for her work. “Her drawings are instinctive and intuitive which to me is where the essence of art lies,” Frederic said. “A primal human impulse is at the center of making art. My daughter has that essential impulse.”

Homage to Life will be on view in the Blowers Gallery through July 30 during regular library hours. For more information, including the library’s summer hours, visit the Library’s website or call 828.251.6336.


Find the Goats at Chimney Rock State Park!

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – Starting May 12, 2015, the ‘goats of the gorge,’ previously seen working along HWY 74-A last fall, will be working near the attraction at Chimney Rock State Park. The project is made possible by the partnership of Chimney Rock State Park (CHRO), Chimney Rock Management, LLC., the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park and the Weed Action Coalition of Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG). Goats, fence, and maintenance during the project are provided by KD Ecological Services (KDES), a local habitat management and restoration business out of Mill Spring, NC.

In order to accomplish this important conservation work, a partnership was formed. CHRO, Chimney Rock Management, LLC., and the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park were able to provide funds, advertising and approval of the project. WAC-HNG is a Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy-run program operating in HNG to support local landowners in managing non-native invasive plant species on their properties. WAC-HNG partners with CHRO frequently and presented and facilitated the project in an effort to further their mission of protecting “the natural communities and scenic beauty of the HNG by managing… non-native invasive plant species”.

Fifteen goats will be hard at work on a 2 acre plot near the upper parking lot of the attraction, beginning May 12, for about 3-4 weeks. This area of the park is a dense monoculture of non-native invasive species that out-compete native plants and contribute to hazards like erosion and landslide. Monocultures of non-natives prevent soil stability normally provided by a diverse group of native plants. The HNG is susceptible to such events because of steep slopes and heavy rain events.

CHRO falls into a significant natural heritage area (SNHA) known as Chimney Rock Natural Area, a SNHA of “outstanding” significance, the highest level of ranking. SNHAs are evaluated on the basis of the occurrences of rare plant and animal species, rare or high quality natural communities and special animal habitats, determined by the NC Natural Heritage Program within NCDENR. Because of this classification, it is imperative to preserve these natural communities and the animals and plants present.

The goats will devour anything in their sight, which was an important factor in choosing an area for treatment. The determined plot is home to mostly kudzu, one of the goats’ favorite meals, but also other invasive plants including Princess Tree, Oriental Bittersweet, Multiflora Rose and more. Goats are excellent candidates for this project because of their small body size, agility in navigating the uneven hillsides of the HNG, and preference for feeding on woody vegetation, including thorny plants. The goats will clear the 2 acres in about 3-4 weeks in May and June, and will re-treat the area again in the fall. The site will then be monitored for regrowth and the project will be reassessed for next year.

To learn more about herbivory, and to donate to support future projects like this, please visit www.wachng.org. To learn how you can donate to adopt a goat, go to www.wachng.org/Goats/adopts.

About Weed Action Coalition of Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG)

WAC-HNG is an initiative of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy that works as a coalition of area partners to protect the native habitat of the Hickory Nut Gorge. WAC-HNG does this by eradicating invasive species which threaten our natural communities.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock can be accessed via a 491-step Outcroppings Trail or a 26-story elevator and offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species. The Rumbling Bald section of the greater State Park off of Boys Camp Road in Chimney Rock is the only other area of the Park that is currently open to the public. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Chimney Rock section of the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com.