Blog :: 07-2008

River Festival on Asheville's French Broad

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7/31/2008 - River Festival on Asheville's French Broad
by http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/journal/

The party on the French Broad River keeps getting better every year. This year's Rockin' River Fest will feature local bands, food and river races. There will be artists, vendors and a doggie parade. You have until Friday to enter a raft in the race, so jump on it. It doesn't get much better than this, folks. Click here to download a map for parking. To have a table at the festival, click here. Click here for more info. The dets: Where: French Broad River Park, Amboy Rd, Asheville When: Saturday August 2nd, 2008 What: Fun for the whole family! Raft Race, music showcase competition featuring local bands, food, beer, kids parade & activities, pet parade & adoptions, games, vendors, artists and more. Free to enter festival. Why: Celebrate the French Broad River Who: RiverLink, 96.5 WOXL, and you Schedule of events: 10:00 am Raft Race begins - Registration deadline extended to Fri Aug. 1. 11:00 am Kid Parade - kids can decorate their bike, rollerskates, skateboard or walk (any nonmotor means of transportation) and win prizes donated by Diane Bauknight State Farm Insurance in Arden for most creative, funniest and cutest within each of the following age categories: 0-3 yrs, 3-6 yrs, 6-9 yrs and 9-12 yrs. Costumes and decorations encouraged! Meet at the main stage starting at 10:30 am. 11:30 am Dog Parade - Show off your pooch in the Rockin RiverFest Dog Parade, organized by Animal Compassion Network, with the opportunity to win a prize for cutest, smaller or biggest dog as voted by our celebrity judges. Costume is optional. Registration begins at 11am near the main stage. Noon 5:00 Music Showcase & Other Performances Noon: SILVERGUN SUPERMAN 12:30 pm: Asheville Aerial Arts 1 pm: BY MORNING 1:30 pm: Pet Adoption Features 1:40 pm Musician's Workshop feature 2 pm: ODDSTAR 2:30 pm: Baraka Mundi Belly Dancing 3 pm: HOLLOWPOINT 3:30 pm Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedians 4 pm: JAZZ THE RIPPER 4:30 pm Announce winners of raft race 5 pm Announce Music Showcase winners 6-8 pm After-Party @ Wild Wing Cafe - The Wild Wing Winner of the Music Showcase will be the featured band of the evening. So come out, have fun and bring your Rockin' River Fest Cup with you to get $1.00 Beer! Great games and prizes with Wild Wing Cafe and 105.9 The Mountain. Other Fun Stuff for the whole family: Asheville Hoops - Hula Hooping with Mel MacPink WNC Nature Center Petting Zoo Volleyball & Bocce Ball sponsored by Special Olympics of WNC Spray-on Tattoo Artist Carey Baker ($2-$3) Cornhole Bean Bag Toss sponsored by Asheville Radio Group Face Painting by Asheville Face Painting & Funtastic Faces ($3, $5 & $7) Good Eats/Drinks: Circle In The Square Pizza Satay-A-Go-Go Thai Food Wild Wing Cafe Miller/Yuengling Cheerwine products Bottled Water Parking: Parking will be available at Carrier Park on Amboy Rd, Karen Cragnolin Park (former Edaco Junkyard) on Amboy Rd and in gravel lot at intersection of Lyman St. and Clingman Ave. Free shuttles will be available to/from French Broad River Park beginning at 10:30am till 5:30pm from these locations. Limited handicapped parking will be available at French Broad River Park. Public parking will not be allowed at French Broad River Park. Click here for map of parking locations.

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Nicklaus Golf Course Opens in Asheville Area

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7/31/2008 - Nicklaus Golf Course Opens in Asheville Area
by http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/

Jack Nicklaus Design has crafted a 1,932-yard, par-29 course for Bear Lake Reserve, a resort community in Tuckasegee, N.C. The family-friendly, nine-hole layout in the development, located 55 miles east of Asheville, opened July 5. "We want to encourage not only parents to play this great game, but also their kids," said Bo Alexander, superintendent and director of golf at Bear Lake Reserve. "Bear Lake Reserve offers an inviting golf experience that the entire family can enjoy without feeling intimidated." Summit Golf Course features seven par-3s and two par-4s suitable for beginners and children learning the game. It also has a comprehensive practice facility. The course offers views of the surrounding mountains and forest, while golfers share the fairways with deer, foxes and wild turkeys. Summit was laid out to fit into the natural environs of Bear Lake Reserve. Its fairways wind around forested areas with minimal disruption to the terrain, resulting in a course where golf and nature peacefully co-exist.

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Asheville Celebrates National Organic Harvest Month

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7/28/2008 - Asheville Celebrates National Organic Harvest Month
by http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/journal/?currentPage=2

The organic food industry, now one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, is good for your health and the planet's. Celebrate National Organic Harvest month on Sept. 6 at the 7th annual OrganicFest. Held at Battery Park in Asheville, N.C., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the event will feature some of the finest organic foods and refreshments from across the country. This event is sponsored by a local non-profit, Imagine Center, that aims to promote the organic lifestyle through fun, educational events. Increase your green knowledge - visit the array of environmental organizations standing by to answer your organic living, organic gardening and other Earth care questions. Activities will include live music, dancing and drawings for organic goods and gift certificates, as well as an OrganicFest kids parade. WHAT: OrganicFest 2008 WHEN: Sept. 6 WHERE: Asheville, N.C. ONLINE: www.organicfest.org - Jessica Luton (For more savvy travel info, pick up the latest issue of travelgirl magazine or visit www.travegirlinc.com.)

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Dayjet Comes to Asheville

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7/28/2008 - Dayjet Comes to Asheville
by http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/

DayJet, a per-seat, on-demand air carrier, has added Asheville (N.C.) Regional Airport as a DayStop in its network. Asheville is one of 15 new destinations added by the carrier to boost its route map across the Southeast. DayJet flies point-to-point between regional airports and is primarily geared towards the business traveler who needs to participate in day-long meetings. Since its launch in October 2007, the company has flown more than 2,500 customer trips, totaling more than one million miles. DayJet flies the Eclipse 500 jet, piloted by two captains, and carries no more than three passengers. "We are extremely pleased to offer this option," said Asheville Director David Edwards, Jr., A.A.E., "DayJet's arrival means that Western North Carolina business travelers now have the ability to conduct same-day travel to major business centers, thereby strengthening our economy."

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Asheville Tourists Set Record

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7/28/2008 - Asheville Tourists Set Record
by http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Lakewood was no-hit for the first time in team history on Wednesday night at McCormick Field, as Bruce Billings pitched the game of his career in a 10-0 Tourists victory.,/p> Billings was two runners away from a perfect game. A first-inning two-out walk to Tim Kennelly and a ninth- inning error on Billings with Joel Naughton at the plate were the only blemishes of the evening. The 22-year old right-hander struck out eight in the complete game performance. Lakewood was nearly no-hit on April 27 in Lexington, but collected three hits in the ninth and nearly came back to tie the game. It was not to be for the 'Claws on Wednesday, as Billings got Derrick Mitchell to fly out to complete the no-no. The last no-hitter thrown at McCormick Field came on June 26, 2000 when the Tourists no-hit the Cape Fear Crocs. The Crocs moved to Lakewood and became the BlueClaws prior to the 2001 season. While Billings (8-7) was putting his name in the history books, his offense did more than enough to take the pressure off. The Tourists got five runs against BlueClaws starter Julian Sampson (6-4), although just two runs were earned. The BlueClaws defense, which has been well below average in recent games, committed three errors in the first four innings, including two in the fourth to allow three unearned runs to cross. Sampson gave up the five runs in his five innings on five hits and three walks. He also struck out four Asheville hitters. The Tourists put the game away against reliever Eryk McConnell in his Lakewood debut. McConnell breezed through a 1-2-3 sixth inning, but fell apart in the seventh, allowing nine hitters to come to the plate. The Tourists puncuated the five-run rally with two home runs against the North Carolina native, one each from Heldor Velazquez and Brian Lapin. All nine Tourists hitters had at least one base hit. Lapin led the way, finishing 3-for-4 and a triple away from the cycle.

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LAAFF Returns to Asheville

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7/28/2008 - LAAFF Returns to Asheville
by http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/

LAAFF is in its 7th year of filling up Lexington Ave in downtown Asheville for one fabulously freaky day of all local, all original entertainment, arts, and food showcasing the diverse and amazing talents of WNC artists. LAAFF 2008 will take place on Sunday, September 7th, the week AFTER Labor Day Weekend. From 11am- 10pm. LAAFF is a FREE event is fun for all ages and encourages costumes. There are multiple performance areas featuring belly dancing, fire dancing, break dancing, flamenco, salsa, reggae, bluegrass, rock, funk, afrobeat, jazz, trance, punk, opera, blues and more... and the beat goes on... Street performances and interactive art areas are scattered up and down the street in between art and craft venders, local breweries, local foods, the underground art show, stuff for kids, bicycle jousting, puppetry, arts cars, dancing and LAAFFing and More! You Can Help Create LAAFF, too! Mini Grants This year, LAAFF is accepting applications for special spaces at the festival. We will provide a tent, tables, chairs, and supplies for great interactive art ideas. Your idea should be something that will delight and entertain our visitors, and give them a unique arts experience that fits the LAAFF vibe. And yes, you can sell your stuff, too. Write us a proposal! Send ideas to kitty@arts2people.org. Deadline? Aw, come on guys. the sooner the better! Why wait? Art Car Painting Party Every year at LAAFF a car is transformed from a plain jane "normal" car to a creative funk art with an Asheville flair. Donate your car! It's tax deductible! Art and Craft Vending Everybody gets a corner thanks to our unique quad arrangement that lines the street from College to Woodfin! Apply for your booth space by filling out the application. If you have any question please contact our vending coordinator, Rebeccah Hecht. Food Vending Local culinary artists and brewers showcase their talents for everyone to try. IF you would like to vend food or beer at LAAFF download the food vender application. Local Non-Profit and social service organizations A Limited number of booths are available first come, first served. Booths are free to non-profits. Download the application. Performances and Musical Acts LAAFF is all about showcasing the variety of talents the Asheville has to offer. If you would like to perform contact Lexfest@arts2people.org and send us a press kit and demo CD. Do you have an idea for LAAFF or would you like to volunteer or sponsor to help create LAAFF? Email: Lexfest@arts2people.org

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Asheville, N.C.-Ranks High in Safe Hospitals

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7/15/2008 - Asheville, N.C.-Ranks High in Safe Hospitals
by http://www.forbes.com

Forbes Magazine ranks Asheville's Mission Hospitals as third in the nation.

Mission Hospitals Mission Campus
Asheville, N.C.
Beds: 703
Total Employees: 4,813
Average Stay: 5.3 days
Western Carolina's biggest hospital, Mission Hills has 600 doctors on staff.

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Asheville's Real Estate Makes Top Ten Yet Again

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7/15/2008 - Asheville's Real Estate Makes Top Ten Yet Again
by http://realestate.msn.com

Apparently, there's just something about North Carolina. For the second year in a row, America's best city in which to live lies within its borders, according to Relocate-America.com's annual list.

This year, Charlotte is in the top spot, the site announced late last week. Last year's winner was Asheville, which slipped to No. 7 on this year's list.

"North Carolina is very active on our radar," said Steve Nickerson, president and CEO of HomeRoute. "It continues to get a flood of interest from all over."

HomeRoute is the real-estate firm that operates Relocate-America.com, a source of community information and real-estate resources for people who are relocating. Each year, the site ranks the top 100 places to live in the country.

Areas need to be nominated on the site in order to be eligible for the list; more than 2,000 were nominated this year, Nickerson said. Special efforts are made to prevent spamming campaigns from influencing the results, he added.

But the site's editorial team also takes into account an area's growth, its educational and employment opportunities, crime rates and housing options before granting it a spot in the top 100. Environmental highlights also play a role, with a city gaining points for good air and water quality or the strength of its recycling efforts, Nickerson said.

Home-price appreciation does get some consideration; however, it's only one piece of the analysis, Nickerson said explaining why some struggling real-estate markets in California and Florida, for example, still made the top 100. Areas that offer a comfortable climate and economic opportunity tend to be the most sought-after communities on the site, he said.

Charlotte's diversity of housing options and home affordability were two of the reasons users nominated the city, Nickerson said. The city's strong economy, boosted largely by the banking industry, was another selling point.

Second on this year's list was San Antonio, which people praised for its cost of living, recreational opportunities and diversity, he said. Chattanooga, Tenn., came in third place, noted for its vibrant downtown and affordable home prices in the nominations.

Below are the top 10 cities on Relocate-America.com's 2008 list:

  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • San Antonio
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Greenville, S.C.
  • Tulsa, Okla.
  • Stevens Point, Wis.
  • Asheville, N.C.
  • Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Huntsville, Ala.
  • Seattle

Read the full list at Relocate-America.com.

The firm also plans to release a coffee-table book on the top 100 soon, Nickerson said. Proceeds will benefit American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, he added.

The view from the top
Certainly, being ranked as the top city to live in has its benefits, mainly as a marketing tool for the area, said Tony Crumbley, vice president of research for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. An e-mail blast sent news of this list to thousands of residents, and the chamber actively keeps track of where Charlotte falls in many of the lists that are published.

"They are important," Crumbley said of the good rankings the city receives. But he also knows that these rankings come and go and that they're somewhat subjective; the city's appeal can change from one day to the next, depending on who is writing the list.

There weren't any significant changes in Charlotte during the past year that would account for boosting the city to the top of this particular list, he said. But the city definitely gets recognized a lot more today than it did 25 years ago, he added.

Bank of America and Wachovia have their headquarters in Charlotte, and it's also a hub for US Airways all of which seem to have increased the visibility of the city outside its boundaries, Crumbley said. The addition of professional sports teams since the 1980s has also helped.

In recent years, Charlotte has been successful in attracting young, educated workers to relocate there, he said. Asheville, on the other hand, has become a popular choice with retirees, he added.

But cities can easily make it to the top of one list and rank poorly on another, he said. Case in point: One recent Forbes.com list ranked Charlotte as one of the country's most miserable cities, a ranking, not surprisingly, that Crumbley and others disagree with.

Forbes also ranked it as one of the best places to invest in foreclosures, in part because the real-estate market there is relatively stable.

"If they're good, you use them. If they're bad, I won't tell you you should ignore them you look at them," he said of the lists o n which Charlotte appears. But negative rankings aren't likely to end up getting used as a marketing piece for the city.

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Asheville To Get Air Taxi

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7/14/2008 - Asheville To Get Air Taxi
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A fledgling company that bills itself as a first-of-its-kind air taxi today added Orlando to its growing network of cities.

Boca Raton-based DayJet Corp. said it will begin flying to Orlando Executive Airport, as well as airports in St. Petersburg and 14 other markets across the Southeastern United States. With the expansion, the nine-month-old company that flies three-seat "very light jets" will now offer flights to more than 60 locations in seven states.

Unlike traditional air carriers, DayJet doesn't have a set flying schedule. Instead, travelers planning a trip simply give alert the company when and where they need to travel and DayJet responds with an itinerary and a fare. The more flexible the travel window, the lower the fare.

DayJet's targets business customers traveling between secondary markets, who typically would otherwise need to drive or fly a cumbersome commercial schedule with long hours and layovers.

The company is hoping to capitalize on flight cuts that larger passenger airlines are making between Orlando and secondary markets. For instance, four of the cities DayJet is adding -- Asheville, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; Greenville, S.C.; and New Orleans -- are markets that Delta Air Lines has dropped, or plans to drop, out of Orlando International Airport.

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sheville has become a book lover's paradise

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7/7/2008 - Asheville has become a book lover's paradise
by http://www.citizen-times.com

ASHEVILLE Books do furnish a room, the British novelist Anthony Powell once wrote. In Asheville, books are deeply woven into the fabric of the citys vibrant culture.

"We are lucky in Asheville. We are an art destination and the prevalence of bookstores here goes hand in hand with the notable artists, said Chan Gordon, who with his wife Miegan, has sold used and rare books at The Captains Bookshelf Ashevilles oldest bookstore since 1976.

When we opened, there were tumbleweeds blowing down Haywood Street, Gordon said. We have become a destination simply because weve been around so long. In many ways, we are fueled by the book-minded tourist coming from Charlotte, Atlanta, Knoxville, even Washington, D.C.

While independent bookstores nationwide struggle as they compete against national chains such as Barnes & Noble, discounters such as Wal-mart and Internet booksellers like Amazon, veteran booksellers like Gordon have survived and even thrived in Asheville. In the town that gave birth to literary legends such as Thomas Wolfe and Charles Frazier, readers like to buy books locally, Gordon said.

But Asheville has seen recent turnover in booksellers. The Atlantic Books closed on Lexington Avenue this spring after relocating several years ago from Charleston, S.C. On May, Gillian Coats put a f0r-sale sign on the door of The Readers Corner, a used bookstore, which had operated on Montford Avenue for 11 years.

Bookselling is still a struggle, Gordon admitted. The streets are not lined with gold, but we just happen to live in a place with lots of visitors who support the arts, he said.

Threat of rising rents

Emoke BRacz opened Malaprops Bookstore in 1982. With a focus on poetry, feminist issues, Southern and regional writers, Malaprops has become a downtown institution, hosting readings by writers from across the nation.

I think book selling is a dream, not really a business, BRacz said in an interview last year. We dont compete against anyone, but we are realistic.

That blend of idealism and realism helped BRacz build her business. She has moved into the used book market, opening Downtown Books on Lexington Avenue in 1988. In 2000, Publishers Weekly named Malaprops its bookseller of the year, the first Southern seller to win that distinction.

Asheville is unusual from what I hear from other booksellers across the Southeast, said Linda Barrett Knopp, the stores general manager. Our sales are up, and Ashevilles local economy seems pretty healthy. People are very supportive of us.

Knopp credits some of Malaprops ongoing success to a generous landlord. The Haywood Street location is owned by Public Interest Projects, the for-profit company launched by philanthropist Julian Price to boost the downtown area.

Until recently, The Captains Bookshelf had the same landlord, but Public Interest Projects decided to sell the Page Avenue building that is home to the bookstore in order to settle taxes due on Prices estate.

Bookstores are businesses that require significant amounts of square footage. As property values rise, that square footage becomes more precious, Gordon said.

You cant survive in a high-traffic location, especially if youre a store meant for casual browsing, he added. I mean, were 32 years old and we still dont have a cash register.

The Gordons became minor partners in a group that bought the building for $1.3 million. We have a favorable lease now, and were here for the foreseeable future, Gordon said.

Secret of service

Down in Biltmore Village, Stan Collins has been selling childrens books at Once Upon a Time for the past 15 years. I think that Asheville may be unique in the number of independent bookstores, he said.

People are really committed and dedicated readers have a tendency to patronize us independents. They know when they come into an independent store, that the people there really know the books. I really try to read each of the books that comes in my store, Collins said.

In North Asheville, Lewis Sorrells and Patrick Covington are marking the 25th anniversary of Accent on Books, the independent that specializes in childrens titles, theology and spirituality.

Independents succeed by focusing on service and in-depth knowledge of whats new and whats good to read, Sorrells said. Even with reader recommendations on Amazon.com, the Internet cant duplicate the physical sensation of browsing along a shelf of new or used books. Theres that aesthetic sense of actually holding the book in your hand, Sorrells said.

Barnes & Noble, m eanwhile, has found Asheville a good place for business. After outgrowing its current store on South Tunnel Road, which opened in 2000, the bookseller is building a 35,988 square feet store at the Asheville Mall, due to open in 2009. At that time, the chain plans to close the B. Dalton store, which it also owns, inside the mall.

Barnes & Noble is also expanding its presence into South Asheville with a new store under construction at the Biltmore Park Town Square project. That store is set to open this fall.

But the independents dont seem overly concerned by that expansion. Its amazing to me how loyal our customers are, Covington said. They can go to Barnes & Noble and buy many books cheaper, but so many have stuck with us.

Webshapes used book business

After 11 years dealing in used books, Gillian Coats was ready to write a new chapter in her life.

On May 17, she pasted a f0r-sale sign on The Readers Corner, the used bookstore she operated on Montford Avenue. It was time for me to move on, Coats said.

Bookselling is a labor of love that runs in her family. Her father, Irv Coats, has operated The Readers Corner in Raleigh since 1976.

With used books, you buy a bunch of books, and pay 15 to 25 percent of what you think you can sell it for, Coats said. You wind up not selling perhaps 80 percent of what you buy.

The Internet has revolutionized the used book business. Now anyone around the world can go online and find any used title imaginable, while prices for used books have flattened. A popular novel that I might have sold for $10 now sells online for a $1, Coats said.

That affected the amount she could pay for used books coming into the store. People dont like getting $1 for a book they might have paid $25 to buy and read.

But many used bookstores have found the Internet to be a gold mine, Coats said, including her fathers store, which specializes in selling technical and research textbooks online.

Chan Gordon of The Captains Bookshelf, which deals in rare and antique books, agreed that the Internet has been a doubled-edged sword, raising the price of hard-to-find books and flattening the costs of others.

The Internet has made the rare book rarer, Gordon said. The first edition of Thomas Wolfes Look Homeward, Angel has escalated in price rapidly, while a seventh printing edition of Charles Fraziers Cold Mountain has gone down in monetary value.

Still, the used book business has been steady, particularly in Asheville, Coats said. She hopes to find a new buyer for her store with its full stock of 20,000 books, DVDs, CDs and vinyl records.

In the meanwhile, shell serve as interim director of the Media Arts Project, and she has launched her own New Mediacast Productions, a company specializing in podcasts and other audio programs for online users.

Customers with store credit at The Readers Corner can use their credit at the Raleigh store if they are ever in that area, Coats said. Interested buyers for the Montford Avenue store can contact Irv Cross at 919-82807024.

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