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Protecting Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – Protecting older adults and adults with disabilities is a community responsibility in Buncombe County.

As a community, we want to ensure that our elderly and vulnerable adults are protected.  We depend on the community’s eyes and ears to keep our residents safe. In Buncombe County, 17.5 percent of residents are over the age of 65 and 12 percent of the population 18 and over have one or more types of disabilities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

North Carolina’s Adult Protective Services law provides protection to all adults over the age of 18 who have a disability and who might be abused, neglected or exploited and who might be in the need of protective services.

We are all mandated reporters by law and it is our duty to report if we suspect the following:

Abuse
Any caretaker that willfully inflicts physical pain, injury, mental anguish, unreasonable confinement or deprivation of services from an adult who is disabled which are needed to maintain the adult’s mental and physical health.
Caretaker Neglect
Any caretaker who withholds necessary care from an adult who is disabled.
Self-Neglect
The inability of an adult who is disabled to provide himself/herself needed services to maintain mental and physical health.
Exploitation
The use of an adult who is disabled resources for another person’s profit or advantage.  This most commonly is a family member but can also be a stranger or scam artist.

Statistics
In fiscal year 2014, 1,665 reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of vulnerable and elder adults were made to Buncombe County Health and Human Services.  1,157 of those reports were screened in and evaluated by an Adult Protective Services Social Worker.  According to the North Carolina Adult Protective Services Register, 87% of reports received in 2014 were regarding adults with disabilities living in their own homes, while about 13% of the reports were regarding individuals living in long term care facilities.  Older adults are the majority of persons receiving Adult Protective Services (APS) in North Carolina; 71% of reports were regarding adults 60 years of age or older.

What can I do?

If you see what you think is abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult who is disabled, call Buncombe County Health and Human Services and report your concerns.  Our intake line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached by calling (828) 250-5800.

This is a vulnerable population and you can help them if you SPEAK UP and report:
Sudden changes in behavior or finances
Physical injuries, dehydration, or malnourishment
Extreme withdrawal, depression or anxiety
Absence of basic health care or necessities
Kept away from others

Unsanitary living conditions
Personal items or resources missing

Again, North Carolina is a mandatory reporting state. The law underscores the important role that each member of the community plays in keeping our neighbors and community members safe.  You might wonder, “Is this something that is serious enough to report?” or “What if I am wrong?” Remember that you are making a report in good faith and it is important to SPEAK UP for the elderly and adults with disabilities.

County Holiday Closings

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Buncombe County Government Offices will be closed December 24-26 for Christmas, and January 1 for New Year’s.

Buncombe County Public Libraries will be closed:

  • Wednesday, December 24 – Friday, December 26
  • Closing at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 31
  • Thursday, January 1

The Landfill & Transfer Station will be closed:

  • Close at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24
  • Thursday, December 25
  • Open regular hours on Friday, December 26, and Thursday, January 1.

Household Hazardous Waste Day and Electronics Recycling at the Buncombe County Landfill will be closed:

  • Friday, December 26

 

Ag Demo Day in Buncombe County

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Buncombe County Cooperative Extension Service and the Buncombe Soil and Water Conservation Service are hosting a Farm Equipment Demonstration Day in cooperation with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Shared use equipment can be accessible for local farmers at a minimal cost, the shared-use equipment can result in higher farm profits by increasing efficiency and land productivity. Equipment to be demonstrated includes:

  • GrassWorks Weed Wiper, which can be towed behind a tractor or all-terrain vehicle to ‘wipe’ herbicides selectively across pastures and hay fields without damaging the grass
  • ShaverPost Driver to install fencing at lower costs
  • Raised Bed Mulch Layer, designed to make a raised bed, lay plastic mulch, and drip irrigation in one pass
  • Water Wheel Transplanter, which can plant bare roots, pots or plugs and can carry up to 25 trays.

The various equipment was acquired through grant funds made available through the TVA Ag & Forestry Fund sponsored by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

  • October 1, 2014 from 3 – 6 pm

This event is free, but you will need to register in advance to receive directions and further details.  For more information or to register, please contact Buncombe Extension Agents Meghan Baker at [email protected] or Ethan Henderson at [email protected].

Buncombe County Wins 7 Awards of Excellence

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Buncombe County Government received 7 National Association of County Information Officers Communication Awards The awards showcase the best of the best in government communications in the Nation.during the National Association of County Commissioners annual conference in July. The awards were presented on Sunday, July 13 in New Orleans.

This awards competition showcases the best communications and public relations projects from public information professionals throughout the country. NACIO President Todd McGee, the Public Relations director for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners said, “I know the judges had a difficult time in selecting the winners, and that is a testament to the great work that is being done to help citizens better understand what county governments do.”

Buncombe County received seven awards:

To see more of our award winning videos or to subscribe to our ezine, go to buncombecounty.org.

For more information about these awards, check out: www.nacio.org.

Local Food Sales Surge in WNC

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Local food sales in Western North Carolina have grown significantly in the last five years. The 2012 Census of Agriculture, released on May 2, shows that direct sales alone have increased by nearly 70% in the region according to analysis by ASAP’s Local Food Research Center, from under $5 million in 2007 to over $8 million in 2012. The 2012 Census of Agriculture also shows that the region has reversed a disturbing trend in loss of farm acres, actually adding over 10,000 acres between 2007 and 2012 while the rest of North Carolina and the country lost farmland.

It has been five years since the United States Department of Agriculture released the 2007 Census of Agriculture. In that time period the local farm and food scene in Western North Carolina has undergone a visible and dramatic transformation.

“The 2012 Census of Agriculture verifies what we see every day in Western North Carolina – the local food movement is growing,” said Charlie Jackson, ASAP’s Executive Director. “We just never imagined it would be this dramatic.” For over a decade ASAP has worked to build demand for food grown by local farms through their many programs and products, such as the Local Food Guide, Appalachian GrownTM certification and branding, and the Farm Tour.

The success in Western North Carolina is particularly impressive when compared to the rest of North Carolina and the country as a whole. While North Carolina saw a slight increase in direct sales, it is entirely due to the increase in direct sales in Western North Carolina. “If you remove the 23 westernmost counties, North Carolina had a net decrease in direct sales,” said Jackson. Direct farm sales are an important measure of consumer demand for locally grown food. According to Jackson “per capita, Western North Carolina consumers buy nearly three times as much directly from farmers than do the rest of North Carolinians.”

ASAP’s Local Food Research Center has come to the same conclusion as the Census of Agriculture data demonstrates – local food sales are growing and more and more people are seeking out food from local farms. The Center’s own data shows that local farms and locally grown food are defining features of life for the people who live in the region. In every category of local food sales there have been large increase. “Not only have are we seeing these large increases in direct sales, we are seeing more and more restaurants, grocery stores, and even universities, hospitals, and public schools embrace local food” said Jackson. According to ASAP, consumers spent over $170 million on local farm products in 2013, a 42 percent increase from the previous year.

“Local food is more than just a trend, it is now a movement” said Jackson. “This Census data and our research are proving that local food is an effective and successful approach to keeping farms and engaging people in where their food comes from.”

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

THE REST OF NORTH CAROLINA

UNITED STATES

Direct sales to consumers 2012*

$8,311,000

$23,515,000

$1,309,287,000

Direct sales per capita 2012

$7.45

$2.72

$4.17

Direct sales: percentage change 2007 to 2012

+69%

-3%

+8%

CSA farms 2012

148

431

12,617

Population/CSA farm 2012

7,533

20,031

24,880

Sales of vegetables, melons, and sweet potatoes: percentage change 2007 to 2012

+247%

+23%

+15%

Sales of fruits, tree nuts, and berries: percentage change 2007 to 2012

+24%

+4%

+39%

All statistics from the table were calculated by ASAP’s Local Food Research Center using data from the USDA Census of Agriculture 2012 and 2007, and the United States Census Bureau’s State & County Quickfacts population estimates.

*Direct sales include agricultural products produced and sold directly to individuals for human consumption from roadside stands, farmers’ markets, pick-your-own sites, etc.

To find out more about ASAP’s Local Food Research Center, or to read up on their research visit: www.asapconnections.org/local-food-research-center/. To find locally grown food visit www.AppalachianGrown.org or pick up a Local Food Guide.

ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. ASAP’s Local Food Research Center works to assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of localizing food systems. To learn more about ASAP’s work and the center, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

Take Charge of Your Health with These Workshops

Monday, March 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Now is the perfect time to take charge of your health.

Whether you are living with a chronic health condition or have a loved on who does – this 6-week program can help you turn the corner of self-management. Topics covered include:

  • Manage pain, fatigue depression and frustration
  • Get a good night sleep
  • Prevent Falls
  • Improve and maintain health with exercise
  • Use medications wisely
  • Communicate effectively with family, friends and professionals
  • Eat for health
  • Set goals that are doable
  • Solve everyday problems
  • Evaluate treatments
  • Relax and manage stress
  • Work in partnership with your healthcare team

Get involved!  Upcoming workshops:

  • Living Healthy with Diabetes
    Woodfin YMCA, 40 N. Merrimon, Asheville, NC 28804
    Mondays, March 17 – April 21, 5:00 – 7:30 pm
  • Living Healthy with a Chronic Condition
    HCPRD Athletics and Activity Center, 308 South Grove Street, Hendersonville
    Tuesdays, May 20 – June 24 , 4:30 – 7:00 pm
  • Living Healthy with a Chronic Condition
    Jewish Family Services, 2 Doctors Park Suite E, Asheville, NC 28801 (located at 417 Biltmore Avenue)
    Mondays, March 24 – April 28, 10:00 – 12:30 pm
  • Living Healthy with a Chronic Condition
    Osher Lifelong Learning Center, 1 Campus View Rd, Asheville, 28804
    Fridays, March 28 – May 2, 9:00 – 11:30 am
  • Living Healthy with a Chronic Condition
    Silvermont Opportunity Center, 364 East Main Street, Brevard
    Fridays, March 28 – May 2, 9:00 – 11:30 am
  • Tomando Control de Su Salud leader training (CDSMP for Spanish Speakers, leader training)
    YWCA of Asheville, 185 South French Broad, Asheville
    Thursday & Friday, May 15, 16, 22 and 23

Registration information or class details are available  at www.livinghealthywnc.org.

County Blood Drive December 30

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

ASHEVILLE NC – Donors of all blood types are needed, especially O negative, A negative and B negative. Type O negative blood is universal and can potentially be transfused to patients of any blood type.

This holiday, give something that means something.

Photo of drops of blood.Give blood and you could help save up to three lives.

The drive is open to anyone qualified to give and it only takes around an hour.

Buncombe County Blood Drive
Monday, December 30
10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Administration Building
200 College Street
Conference Room

Call Samantha Holcombe at 230-6322 or go to www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code buncombecounty to schedule your appointment.

Deadline to Pay Property Taxes January 7

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

ASHEVILLE NC – Don’t forget, January 7, 2013 is the LAST day to pay your Buncombe County property taxes before the 2% interest is added on January 8, 2013.

On January 8, interest of 2% will be added to any unpaid balance on a tax bill and ¾% will be added each month thereafter.

Property Tax Bill Payments postmarked by the US Postal Service on or before January 7 will be accepted on time.

Payment options include:

  • Mail (Postmarked on or before January 7)
  • Drive-up payment box located at:
    35 Woodfin Street, where the Tax Department is now located.
    The payment box is located on the driver’s side of the driveway as you exit 35 Woodfin Street. Payments placed in our drop box on January 7 or the night of the 7th will be considered on time.
  • Credit/Debit Card – on web. (There is a convenience fee for using a credit/debit card – please see the back of your bill.)
  • Credit Card – by phone. (See instructions and the phone number on the back of your bill.)

If taxes are not paid on time and the taxpayer has not set up a payment plan with the Tax Office, forced tax collection measures may take place at anytime once the bill is past due. These measures can include attachment of the taxpayer’s bank account or wage garnishment. Additional fees are included for each of these measures. In addition, banks also charge additional fees for processing bank attachments.

The Tax Office encourages taxpayers to contact the Tax Office if their taxes are delinquent:

  • By phone at (828) 250-4910
  • In person in the Tax Office located at 35 Woodfin Street. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

There are several programs that can help citizens with tax payment including:

  • Preauthorized debit program – payments deducted from a checking or savings account each month
  • Prepay taxes – some taxpayers begin making monthly payments as early as January each year and prepay their taxes before they receive a bill in August.

For automated information about tax bills and payments or other tax issues, citizens can access the Automated Information Line by calling 250-4910 and pressing the number “1.” Information on this line includes:

  • office hours
  • holiday schedule
  • last day to pay before interest begins
  • credit card information
  • drive-up payment box directions
  • print bills and receipts online at buncombecounty.org/tax.

The tax website offers many options for taxpayers. You can print bills, print receipts, and look up property information.

Homeless Initiative Coordinator Accepts Prestigious New Post

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Amy Sawyer, the homeless initiative coordinator for Asheville and Buncombe County, has accepted a position with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).  As a regional coordinator with the USICH, Sawyer will assist cities and states throughout the United States to implement “Opening Doors,” the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.  The goal of the program is to end homelessness among veterans in five years and end all types of homelessness in ten years.  Coordinating the activities of 19 federal agencies, USICH uses the systems change model in its approach to end homelessness.

“This is a great opportunity for Amy,” said City of Asheville Planning and Development Director Judy Daniel.  “The work she facilitated here made Asheville and Buncombe County a national model for ending chronic homelessness.  We are proud her expertise will now be applied at the national level.”  City of Asheville community development staff will provide continued support of the initiative until her successor is identified.

Serving as the coordinator for the Homeless Initiative since 2006, Sawyer has coordinated the work that has positively impacted City Council and County Commission strategic goals of ending homelessness.   In that time, the Homeless Initiative’s model of building partnerships, combined with a commitment to data collection and strategies based on analysis and best practices has reduced the incidence of chronic homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County by 70% since 2006, as evidenced by the annual Point in Time Count conducted nationally each year in January.

Key to this success has been the work of the Chronic Homeless Subcommittee which focuses resources on housing formerly chronically homeless persons.  Over 90% of formerly homeless households assisted by the activities of this sub-committee have retained housing for more than a year.  Two member agencies of this sub-committee, Homeward Bound and the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville, were one of only fourteen programs in the nation recognized in 2010 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development with a national “Doorknocker Award.”  The award highlighted the member agencies’ innovative use of federal HOME funds which couples tenant-based rental assistance, supportive services and priority access to vacant apartments in public housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Other notable accomplishments of the initiative include collaborative support for people facing imminent homelessness.  In 2009, Homeless Initiative partner organizations mobilized to access Federal Recovery Act Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing (HPRP) funds designed to help families severely affected by the economic downtown.  This program helped households develop and follow housing plans and paid past due rent and utility bills to retain housing, or paid security deposits and rent payments, enabling households to maintain stable housing while seeking new work, participating in workforce training, or accessing other streams of income.  A unique partnership of agencies in Asheville and Buncombe County, including Homeward Bound, Eblen Charities, Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministries, Western North Carolina AIDS Project, Pisgah Legal Services and United Way’s 211 allowed the funds to be efficiently and effectively used while exhibiting a comprehensive model of responding to housing crisis.

————————————-

The Homeless Initiative project is based on the community’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness,  a coordinated and collaborative effort among a diverse group of agencies and individuals in Asheville and Buncombe County to end chronic homelessness and prevent all homelessness  A primary goal of the Plan is to implement “Housing First,” which addresses the housing need of someone experiencing homelessness first and foremost, and from that stable base provide needed support that addresses conditions that will enable the household to maintain their housing and connect to the larger community.   For more information on the initiative, visit http://www.ashevillenc.gov/Departments/CommunityDevelopment/CurrentInitiatives/HomelessInitiative.aspx.

City Council and Buncombe County Commissioners appoint and work with the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee of Asheville and Buncombe County, which offers oversight to the 10-Year Plan implementation process and the Homeless Coalition, a homeless provider network in order to make a meaningful impact on the community’s response to housing crisis.

First Scoop Free – Mulch at Landfill

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Your first scoop of mulch is FREE April 2 – 30 at the Buncombe County Landfill! After that it’s only $10 per scoop. One scoop will The mulch is available for $10 per scoop (one scoop will fill up the bed of a large pickup truck).fill the bed of an average size pick-up truck. This is a limited time offer, only in April, so don’t miss out.

Loading hours for mulch are:

  • Monday – Friday: 8 – 11:15 a.m. & 12:45 – 4 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

A tarp is required to cover the load of mulch. If you do not have a tarp with you, you will not be able to purchase mulch.

For more information, call the Landfill at 250-5462.