Blog :: 08-2012

Asheville festivals roundup

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8/31/2012 - Asheville festivals roundup
by Asheville Citizen Times

This weekend

North Carolina Apple Festival, today-Monday, downtown Hendersonville. Food, crafts, family fun, live music. www.ncapplefestival.org.

Labor Day festival, today-Monday, Canton Rec Park, 77 Penland St., Canton. Live music, crafts, food vendors, kiddie rides, outdoor movie night at dusk on Saturday, car show. Parade at 10 a.m. Sept. 3. Ends with music by Hoss Howard Band at 3:30 p.m. and Chase Rice at 7 p.m. Free admission. www.cantonnc.com.

Smoky Mountain Folk Festival, Friday and Saturday at Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska. Open tent show begins at 5 p.m. with ticketed mainstage performance at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 door, free to children ages 11 and younger. Call 800-334-9036.

Wild Things Weekend, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Pack Place, 2 S. Pack Sq., Asheville. Live animal show, wildlife films, interactive exhibits. $5. Hosted by conservation organization Wild South. www.wildsouth.org.

Annual Mile High Kite Festival, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Beech Mountain. BJ's Dog Show 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Open meadow in heart of town and Beech Bark park. Free admission. Demonstrations by kite clubs and open flying. Kid's activities. Dog show entry fee is $20 one dog, $30 two dogs. 800-468-5506.

TriCities Bacon Fest, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. with concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Bristol Motor Speedway, 151 Speedway Blvd., Bristol, Tenn. Music, arts/craft vendors, and bacon. Visit www.tricitiesbaconfest.com or http://facebook.com/tcbaconfest.

Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival, Sunday, Lexington Avenue. A ticketed pub crawl is 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday night ($20 advance, $25 day of event includes admission to many downtown venues). http://lexfestasheville.com/

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Commissioners to consider greenways plan

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8/31/2012 - Commissioners to consider greenways plan
by Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider a plan Tuesday to put greenway paths through several parts of the county.

The plan identifies corridors where greenways would go but does not say when they would be built.

A staff report says county parks officials may seek funding for some of the plan during the process of drafting the 2013-14 county budget.

Priority greenway corridors include:

o Along the French Broad River from central Asheville north to the Madison County line.

o Along the Swannanoa River from central Asheville east to the McDowell County line.

o Along Sweeten Creek Road from Biltmore Village south to Arden.

o Paralleling the French Broad River and Interstate 26 from West Asheville south to the Henderson County line.

o From West Asheville to Hominy Creek Park.

o From N.C. 251 west of Weaverville up the Reems Creek Valley to Beech.

o From Mills Gap Road west through future Collier Park, Lake Julian Park and along Long Shoals Road.

o From East Asheville to Reynolds High School.

Commissioners are also scheduled to approve a list of values to be used during the coming countywide property revaluation.

Commissioners meet at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at 30 Valley St. in downtown Asheville.

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Asheville-area Outdoors Calendar

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8/30/2012 - Asheville-area Outdoors Calendar
by Asheville Citizen Times

OUTDOORS EVENTS

 WILD THINGS WEEKEND: Wild South presents the inaugural event 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Pack Place downtown Asheville featuring live animal shows, award winning wildlife films and interactive exhibits from outdoor businesses, environmental educators and conservation groups. A $5 donation is requested. Visit www.wildsouth.org.

 APPLE FESTIVAL 8K: Henderson County Chamber of Commerce presents the race starting at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Pardee Medical Office Building. The Chick-Fil-A Mini Moo Mile fun run/walk starts after. Entry fee for 8K race is $30 by Friday , $35 race day, $10 for one-mile. Register at www.active.com. Visit www.hendersoncountychamber.org. 

 MOUNTAIN MEDLEY TRIATHLON: Inaugural race Sept. 8 at Camp Green Cove is a fundraiser for Mainstay, Henderson County's domestic violence shelter. Distances are: Advanced Tri: 800-meter swim, 6-mile bike, 10K run; Novice Tri: 400-meter swim, 5K bike, 5K run. Doubles and relays are also available. Register atwww.imathlete.com. 

 REEL ROCK 7 FILM TOUR: Tickets now available for rock climbing film tour at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at Asheville Pizza and Brewing, 675 Merrimon Ave., and at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 20 at Western Carolina University. $10. Call at 255-4077 or visit www.reelrockour.com. 

RUNNING - RACES

 ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES HALF MARATHON and 5K RUN & WALK: The 13.1-mile half marathon starts at 7:15 a.m. and the 5K starts at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 15 at 14 O. Henry St. Packet pickup will be 11 a.m.-9 a.m. Sept. 14 at the Wilma Sherrill Center at UNC Asheville. Entry fee for 5K is $30, half marathon is $65.Visit CITIZEN-TIMES.com/race. 

 WNC RUN/WALK FOR AUTISM: Autism Society of North Carolina event, sponsored by Diamond Brand, starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 29 at UNC Asheville. Includes competitive and non-competitive 5K and a 1K fun run. Entry fees for chip-timed 5K, non-chip-timed 5K and the 1K are $25 per person, including T-shirt. Visit www.wncrunwalkforautism.org. 

 MOUNTAIN HERITAGE DAY 5K: Western Carolina University hosts 5K race starting at 8 a.m. Sept. 29, as part of WCU's 38th annual Mountain Heritage Day festival. Entry fees are $15 by noon Sept. 28, $25 race day; and $10 for students. Visit http://claws.wcu.edu/sma/5K/ or call David Tyler at 283-0203 or email dtyler@wcu.edu.

 AMAZING RACE 3K: Obstacle course race for children and parents is 9 a.m. Oct. 6 at Enka High School, 475 Enka Lake Road, to benefit Buncombe County Schools Foundation. Entry fee is $25 for a single participant or a team. Register at www.bcsf.net. Call Lisa Adkins, BCS Foundation executive director, at 232-4190. 

RUNWAY 5K AND AVIATION DAY: The second annual race starts at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 6 at Asheville Regional Airport in Fletcher. Course is down the entire runway. Planes on display, live music, chance to win free airfare. Entry fee is $30. Register at www.imathlete.com. For more, visit www.gloryhoundevents.com.

FALL BY THE TRACKS 5K and FUN RUN: Old Depot Association and Black Mountain Parks and Recreation hosts the race starting at 10 a.m. Oct. 6 at the Depot in Black Mountain. Entry for 5K is $25 for adults, $15 for students K-12. Proceeds support music, art and heritage programs at local schools. Register at www.olddepot.org.

HICKORY MOUNTAIN 10K: Starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 6 at Guion Farm in DuPont State Forest. Entry fee is $25 by Friday, Aug. 31, $30 after. Call race director Lydia Odell at 553-5628, email lydianodell@yahoo.c om or visit http://race.degreemap.org.

DUPONT STATE RECREATIONAL FOREST 50K and TWO-PERSON 50K RELAY: Start at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 7 at Guion Farm in DuPont State Forest. The 50K (31-mile) is a two-loop course. Entry fees are $70 for individual 50K, $100 for relay. Proceeds go to the nonprofit DegreeMap. Call 553-5628, email lydianodell@yahoo.com or visit http://race.degreemap.org.

WALK TO CURE DIABETES: The Asheville JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, on the track at UNC Asheville. The walk is a 5K, or 3.1 miles. The walk is a fundraiser for the JDRF, which works to fund type 1 diabetes research to cure, treat and prevent the disease. Register as an individual or team. Visit www.jdrf.org/walk.

SOUTHCLIFF BLACK & BLUE CLASSIC: Starts at 11 a.m. Oct. 27 at Southcliff, off U.S. 74A in Fairview. The Black course is 6.5 miles, Blue is 2.6 miles. Entry fee is $30 at www.imathlete.com. Call Greg Duff at 400-5868 or visit www.gloryhoundevents.com.

SHUT-IN RIDGE TRAIL RACE: Starts at 10 a.m. Nov. 3 at the N.C. Arboretum. Nearly 18 miles to Mount Pisgah mostly on single-track trail. Entry fee is $75. Registration now open at Jus Running, 523 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Download paper entry form at www.jusrunning.com.

ASHEVILLE MARATHON: Inaugural 26.2-mile race will be March 3, 2013 on the Biltmore Estate to benefit Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Registration now open at www.imAthlete. com. Visit www.asheville marathon.com.

RUNNING CLUBS

ASHEVILLE TRACK CLUB: Promotes and support the running communities of WNC by providing information, education, training, social and sporting events. Visit www.asheville trackclub.org.

FOUR SEASONS RUNNING CLUB: Official running club of Hendersonville/Henderson County. Call 388-3200 or email fourseasonsrunningclub@gmail.com.

JUS' RUNNING: Groups meet for various levels of road and trail runs and track workouts at the Jus' Running store, 523 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Call 252-7867, email jusrun@bellsouth.net or visit www.jusrunning.com.

DIAMOND BRAND RUNNING GROUPS: Meets at 6 p.m. every Wednesday. Runs are 3-6 miles at an 8-10 minute pace. All running levels welcome. Contact mmcbride@diamondbrand.com.

FOOTRX RUN: Meets at 8 a.m. Saturdays at the south exit of Hendersonville Road and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Call Chuck Martin at 687-3476.

SWAIN COUNTY TRAIL RUNNERS: Long-run group meets 8 a.m. Saturdays at the Deep Creek Trailhead parking area in Bryson City. All runs are on trails in the Smokies or Tsali Recreation Area. All distances, paces, ages welcome. Call 399-0989, 488-6769 or e-mail wdtreern@yahoo.com.

CYCLING

PISGAH MOUNTAIN BIKE STAGE RACE: Fourth annual race through Pisgah National Forest is Sept. 17-22. The race covers 195 miles and 28,000 feet of climbing on single-track trails and fire roads over five days. Cash purse of $3,500. Entry fees are $800 for pro men and women, $700 for open men and women and $1,400 for relay teams of two-five riders on www.active.com. Visit www.blueridgeadventures.net.

RING OF FIRE PRESENTED BY WILD WING CAFE: The VeloSports Racing Team hosts 12-race training series Wednesday nights at Carrier Park track on Amboy Road in Asheville. Road bike racing in all categories plus free kids races. Call Andrew Kimble at 215-962-4826 or email andyk1973@earthlink.net or Wade Turlington at 335-7494.

ASHEVILLE BICYCLE RACING CLUB: Promotes amateur bicycle racing in WNC. Members get organized training rides, coaching and financial assistance. Visit www.abrc.net .

ASHEVILLE WOMEN'S CYCLING: All-female cycling club and all-female racing team, Team Prestige Subaru. Promote recreational road and trail cycling among women. Visit www.ashevillewomenscycling.com.

o 30th Annual Town Mountain Hill Climb Time Trial: Co-sponsored with Ski Country Sports, 5-mile race starts at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 at foot of Town Mountain Road. Entry fee is $15. USA Cycling license is required. One-day licenses are $10. Register at www.active.com or race-day from 4-5:45 p.m. Call 254-2771 or visit www.ashevillewomenscycling.com.

BLUE RIDGE BICYCLE CLUB: Encourages safe and responsible recreational bicycling in WNC. Weekly rides ranging from novice-advanced levels. Rides usually have a designated leaders and cyclists will not be left behind. Visit www.blueridge bicycleclub. org.

PISGAH AREA SORBA: Chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, dedicated to improving technical off-road biking programs through advocacy for quality trail systems. Visit www.pisgah areasorba.org.

TRACK CYCLING CLINICS/TRAINING: Clinics and skills practice, 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays, Carrier Park, Amboy Road, Asheville. Open to all ages. Email mpbikegirl@aol.com. www.mellowdrome.com.

BRBC TUESDAY MORNING RIDES: The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club holds rides the first Tuesday of the month starting at Fletcher Park. All other Tuesday rides start from Liberty Bicycles,1378 Hendersonville Road. Visit www.blueridge bicycleclub.org.

HIKING/WALKING

ASHEVILLE AMBLERS WALKING CLUB: Club features free, monthly 5K or 10K (6.2-mile) noncompetitive walks in Asheville, Black Mountain and Hendersonville. Visit www.amblers.homestead.com or call 687-2777.

ASHEVILLE HIKING MEET-UP GROUP: Social and hiking club made up of all ages and professions. Hikes take place Saturdays and Sundays. Free. Visit www.meetup.com/ashevillehiking.

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY: The most-visited unit of the National Park Service, stretching 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in Cherokee. Call 298-0398 for road and weather conditions or visit www.nps.gov/blri.

o Beechy Keen Hike: Meet parkway rangers at 10 a.m. Sept. 7 for a moderate 2-3 mile roundtrip hike on Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Learn more about beech trees and beech nuts. Start at the Glassmine Falls Overlook (MP 361.2). Free but registration is required. Call 298-5330, ext. 304.

o National Public Lands Day: Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway will hold a work day Sept. 29 at the Pisgah Campground, Milepost 408.5. Volunteers needed to pull weeds, install bear proof food containers and to attach cooking grills to the ground. E-mail Dan Wells at friendsbrp.asheville@yahoo.com by Sept. 15 for more details.

CAROLINA MOUNTAIN CLUB: More than 175 hikes a year. Call Stuart English at 883-2447 or visit www.carolinamtnclub.org for schedule of hikes. Hikes are free. Nonmembers should call ahead.

DIAMOND BRAND OUTDOORS: The outdoor outfitter on Hendersonville Road in Arden hosts walks, hikes and other outdoor programs throughout year on trails and in local parks. Call 209-1538 or visit www.diamondbrand.com.

WOMEN-ONLY HIKING GROUP: Women-only hike the third Saturday of each month with Diamond Brand Outdoors. Hikes are free, registration is required. Call 684-6262 .

NANTAHALA HIKING CLUB: A hiking/trail maintenance club based in the Franklin-Highlands area. For a schedule of guided hikes, call Kay Coriell at 369-6820 or visit www.nantahala hikingclub.org.

PISGAH HIKERS: Five different hiking groups meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Brevard. Hikes range 3-12 miles. Visit http://pisgahhikers.squarespace.com.

SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS HIGHLANDS CONSERVANCY: Nonprofit working to conserve the clean water, unique plant and animal habitat, local farmland and recreational treasures of the Southern Appalachians. Visit www.appalachian.org.

SWANNANOA VALLEY MUSEUM: Hosts various hikes, camps and community events throughout the year. At 223 W. State St., Black Mountain. Call 669-9566 for information and to register for events. Programs and activities are available by appointment year-round.

HUNTING/FISHING

FLY-FISHING CLASSES: Rivers Edge Outfitters in Cherokee conducts free fly-fishing classes at 10 a.m. every Saturday. For more, call 497-9300.

N.C. WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION: State agency regulating hunting, fishing and trapping seasons and rules. For more information, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

o Hunting/Fishing Rule Change Hearings: The commission will hold public hearings on 68 proposed wildlife management and fishing regulation changes for the 2013-2014 seasons. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. District 9 hearing will be Sept. 18 at Tri-County Community College n Murphy. District 8 hearing will be Sept. 19 at Municipal Auditorium in Morganton. For a complete list of the proposed regulations changes, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

FRENCH BROAD RIFLES: Meet for muzzle-loading target shooting at 9 a.m. the second Saturday of each month at the club's range in Madison County. Email hchadw1932@aol.com.

LAND O' SKY TROUT UNLIMITED: Asheville-based organization of anglers and conservationists dedicated to the protection of trout and their habitat. Visit www.landoskytu.com. Meetings are at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month.

LAND OF THE SKY BASSMASTERS: WNC's oldest bass club and NC BASS Federation affiliated club meets the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Bubba Q's Restaurant across from airport in Fletcher. Serious anglers can build friendships, camaraderie and angling knowledge. For more, call 551-5786.

PIGEON VALLEY BASSMASTERS: New members welcome. Regular meetings are at 7 p.m. the second Monday of each month at Shoney's Restaurant, at Exit 44 off I-40. For more, call Patty Blanton at 712-2846.

PISGAH CHAPTER OF TROUT UNLIMITED: Hendersonville-based anglers and conservationists with members in Polk, Henderson and Transylvania counties. Visit www.main.nc.us/PCTU.

MULTISPORT/ SWIMMING/ON THE WATER

ASHEVILLE MASTERS SWIMMING: Organized workouts, 5:45-7:15 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at the Asheville School, and at 7:30-9 a.m. Saturdays at Warren Wilson College. Coached workouts 5:45-7:15 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday at WWC. Competitive, fitness and triathlon swimmers welcome for training, stroke work and socializing. Visit www.ashevillemasters.com.

ASHEVILLE ROWING CLUB: A nonprofit athletic and social organization dedicated to promoting health, fitness and fun through rowing and learn to row classes on Lake Julian in Skyland. Visit www.ashevillerowing.org.

ASHEVILLE TRIATHLON CLUB: For competitive and beginner triathletes. Club provides resources, training, racing and social opportunities. Call Greg Duff at 400-5868.

ASHEVILLE YOUTH ROWING ASSOCIATION: For ages 13-18, a youth rowing program at Lake Julian on Saturdays, Sundays and two afternoons per week. Call Jack Gartner at 230-3901 or visit www.ashevilleyouthrowing.com.

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS TRIATHLON CLUB: Hayesville-based club for those interested in running, biking and swimming competitions. Races throughout the year. For more info. call Scott Hanna at 389-6982, email tri2000@dnet.net or visit www.gsmtc.com.

GREEN RIVER ADVENTURES: Saluda-based guide for professional kayaking instruction, inflatable kayaking trips and custom adventure experiences. Call 800-335-1530 or visit www.greenriveradventures.com.

NANTAHALA OUTDOOR CENTER: Outdoor outfitter, providing whitewater rafting, paddling instruction, adventure travel, group adventure programs, festivals and events, on U.S. 19 W. in the Nantahala Gorge, west of Bryson City. Call 888-905-7238 or visit www.noc.com.

PARKS, CLUBS, & MORE

ASHEVILLE LAWN BOWLING: Meet 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting, at Carrier Park green on Amboy Road. Free instruction and the use of club bowls. Call Hans at 684-1815 or Stan at 665-7768.

ASHEVILLE MUSHROOM CLUB: Meets monthly at the WNC Nature Center on Gashes Creek Road in Asheville. Meetings are open to the public. Membership is required to participate in forays. $18 individuals, $25 family. www.ashevillemushroomclub.com.

ASHEVILLE PARKS OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure this winter and spring. Fees are listed for Asheville city residents and for nonresidents. Call Christen McNamara at 251-4029 or email outdoorprograms@ashevillenc.gov.

WESTERN CAROLINA BOTANICAL CLUB: Identifies and studies native plants and their habitats and encourages members and the public to protect and preserve the biodiversity of our natural world. Weekly field trips, community service projects, workshops and more. Beginners are welc:ome. Call 696-2077.

BLUE RIDGE NATURALIST CENTER: Various programs, walks and seminars for the community. At UNC Asheville. Call 251-6198 for more information or to register for programs.

CARL SANDBURG HOME: National park located in Flat Rock. Tours of the home (admission fee), several miles of hiking trails, gardens, descendants of Mrs. Sandburg's dairy goat herd. Free programs year-round. Call 693-4178 or visit www.nps.gov/carl.

CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LAND CONSERVANCY: Hendersonville-based nonprofit dedicated to land preservation. Guided hikes, outreach events and volunteer opportunities. Contact Aimee McGinley, outreach@carolinamountain.org, 697-5777 or visit http://carolinamountain.org.

CHIMNEY ROCK STATE PARK: Located 25 miles southeast of Asheville. Hiking trails, guided rock climbing, bird watching, children's programs. Admission fee. Call 625-9611, 800-277-9611 or visit www.chimneyrockpark.com.

o Music on the Mountain: Balsam Range, Town Mountain and Darin & Brooke Aldridge will perform Sept. 16 at Chimney Rock State Park, 3:30-7:30 p.m. at the park's Pavilion, a covered venue in the Meadows. It is limited to 300 tickets per event. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park. Advance tickets are $22 for adults, $25 at gate; and $12/$15 for ages 6-15, at Old Rock Café or call 800-277-9611 or visit www.chimneyrockpark.com.

DIAMOND BRAND OUTDOORS: Outdoor enthusiasts have opportunity to participate in several types of free instructional clinics and special events. A complete schedule and information can be found at www.diamondbrand.com.

DUPONT STATE FOREST: Miles of multiuse trails, waterfalls and lakes straddling Henderson and Transylvania counties. No admission fee. Visit www.dupontforest.com.

ELISHA MITCHELL AUDUBON SOCIETY: Promotes an awareness and appreciation of nature, to preserve and protect wildlife and natural ecosystems and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship. Offers bird walks, naturalist programs. Visit www.main.nc.us/emas.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION: Hendersonville-based conservation nonprofit. Guided hikes and community events. Call 692-0385 or visit www.eco-wnc.org.

FLETCHER DISC GOLF: Fletcher Parks and Recreation-hosted disc golf doubles program is at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays at Fletcher Communi ty Park. Program to players of any ability. Loaner discs available. Visit www.fletcherparks.org.

FONTANA VILLAGE: Local author and hiker Jerry Span leads family-friendly, diverse programs throughout the year. For information or to register, call 498-2211, ext. 144.

FOOTHILLS EQUESTRIAN NATURE CENTER: FENCE offers 384 acres of hardwood forest, meadow and wetland for hikers, birdwatchers, gardeners and astronomers. Located at 3381 Hunting Country Road, Tryon. 859-9012 or www.fence.org.

GORGES STATE PARK: State park in Transylvania County, about 45 miles southwest of Asheville. Park office is on U.S. 64 in Sapphire. Trails, waterfalls, picnic areas, campsites. Admission is free. Call 966-9099.

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN: Located off N.C. 221, south of Boone. Attractions include Mile High Swinging Bridge, environmental habitats for native wildlife, natural history museum and alpine hiking trails. Visit www.grandfather.com or call 800-468-7325.

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK: Extends 70 miles along the North Carolina-Tennessee border. Hiking trails, scenic driving routes, camping, picnic sites. Open year-round. Free. Call the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on U.S. 441 at 497-1904 or visit www.nps.gov/grsm.

LAKE JAMES STATE PARK: At the base of Linville Gorge, Lake James State Park is a 6,510-acre lake with boating, fishing and swimming in season, picnic area, campground, hiking trails and ranger-led nature programs. Call office in Nebo, McDowell County, at 584-7728 or visit www.ncparks.gov.

o Bear In Mind: Meet at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Catawba Area office to learn about black bears and what to do if you encounter one. Free. Call 584-7728.

o Astronomy: Meet at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, in the parking lot of the Paddy's Creek Area for a night of star gazing. Free. Register by calling the park office at 584-7728.

LOST COVE NATURALIST CENTER: Offering programs in outdoor self-reliance living skills. Learn primitive technology skills, taught by hands-on professionals. Center is at 160 Grassy Knoll Way, Blowing Rock. More at 295-8570 or www.lostcovenaturalist.com.

MOUNTAIN WILD: Local chapter of the N.C. Wildlife Federation works to preserve and increase wildlife and wildlife habitat of the WNC mountains. Free programs meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at the WNC Nature Center, 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville. Call 338-0035.

MOUNT MITCHELL STATE PARK: Home to the highest peak east of the Mississippi, Mount Mitchell, 6,684 feet elevation. Located on N.C. 128, off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 355. Interactive programs are free. Call 675-4611 or email mount.mitchell@ncmail.net.

o Animals of Mt. Mitchell: Meet at non Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Education Classroom near the summit to learn about species that inhabit the area.

o Towers of Mt. Mitchell: Meet at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, or 1 p.m. Sunday, at the Education Classroom to learn about all the past towers.

o The Bear Facts: North American Bears: Meet at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, or 2 p.m. Sunday, at the Education Classroom to learn about black, grizzly and polar bears.

N.C. ARBORETUM: Connects people and plants through various year-round programs, lectures and special events. Promotes conservation, education and research. Located off N.C. 191/Brevard Road, south of the Biltmore Square Mall. Call 665-2492 or visit www.ncarboretum.org.

PISGAH CENTER FOR WILDLIFE EDUCATION: Ongoing classes at center, adjacent to the fish hatchery in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. Operated by N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. All programs are free; registration required. Open daily, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. except Sunday. Call 877-4423.

PURA VIDA ADVENTURES: Adventure guide service offering guided climbing, mountain biking, hiking, water tours and paddling trips. Call 772-579-0005 or visit www.pvadventures.com.

REI ASHEVILLE: Outdoors outfitter in Biltmore Park, 31 Schenck Parkwa y offers ongoing schedule of classes and special events. Call 687-0918 or visit www.rei.com. Registration required.

o Map Reading Basics: Meet 7 p.m. Aug. 22 at REI Asheville. Learn how to read contour lines, contour intervals, terrain features and how to orient the map, and basic route planning skills. Class is limited to 20. Free, but registration required. Register at www.rei.com/event/43260/session/55578.

o Bike Maintenance: Wheels: Meet 6-8 p.m. Aug. 23. Cost is $20 REI members/$40 non-members. Hands-on class will go over how to change and repair a flat tire, and how to perform trailside emergency spot truing to a wheel using basic tools. Limited to 10 participants. Park Tool's Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair is highly recommended. Registration required at www.rei.com/event/43231/session/55553.

SIERRA CLUB (PISGAH): The Pisgah chapter of the national environmental club. Monthly meetings and discussions. Call Robert C. Hynett at 693-1975 or email kodiac@cytechcis.net.

SIERRA CLUB (WENOCA): Western North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club. Meetings at Unitarian Church, corner of Charlotte Street and Edwin Place, Asheville, and are free and open to public. Visit www.northcarolina.sierraclub.org/wenoca.

SLICKROCK EXPEDITIONS: Cullowhee-based guide service that runs recreational trips of backpacking, canoeing and camping in wilderness areas throughout the Southeast, as well as in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Call Burt Kornegay at 293-3999 or visit www.slickrockexpeditions.com.

SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN HIGHLANDS CONSERVANCY: The conservancy works with individuals and local communities to identify, preserve and manage the region's important lands. Hikes scheduled on Saturdays. Call 253-0095 or visit www.appalachian.org.

RV CAMPING CLUB: Small local camping club looking for new members. Camping trips are one weekend per month, March-November. All ages welcome. No dues, no structured activities. We share a love of the outdoors, good company, great food & a roaring campfire. Contact Lillian at lilnau@aol.com or 369-6669.

WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED: Offering various bird programs with instructor and owner Simon Thompson. Visit www.asheville.wbu for directions, more information or contact WBU at 687-9433.

WNC NATURE CENTER: A living museum of plants and animals native to the Appalachian region, 75 Gashes Creek Road in East Asheville. Admission: $8 adults, $5 children, free to members of Friends of the Nature Center. Call 298-5600. Visit http://wncnaturecenter.com/.

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Lenoir-Rhyne offers graduate program in Asheville

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8/29/2012 - Lenoir-Rhyne offers graduate program in Asheville
by Casey Blake - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- A new program for graduate students, complete with high-tech classrooms, now shares a building with the Chamber of Commerce.

Nine different graduate programs are under way at the Lenoir-Rhyne Center for Graduate Studies, a 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that occupies almost half of the Montford Avenue building, on its second and third floors.

Lenoir-Rhyne is a private university in Hickory, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. It has about 1,850 students at the Hickory campus, including about 1,600 undergraduate students.

The school's new center, which began classes last week, hosts about 100 graduate students pursuing degrees in everything from sustainable business to arts entrepreneurship.

The facility, which Lenoir-Rhyne bought for more than $2 million, was constructed and designed specifically for the university's purposes, complete with digital projectors, multimedia labs and local artwork lining the halls.

"We wanted to collaborate with the community to assess what was really needed in this area from day one," said Paul Knott, director of the center. "It has really only been 13 months from start to finish in seeing this come to fruition, so it's exciting to already have the opening day here."

The programs are all designed for adult students balancing school and work, Knott said, and classes will be held in the evenings, on weekends and online. The center will operate on a rolling enrollment system, and the next admission deadline is Oct. 1, for classes in early 2013.

The center will offer everything from a masters of arts degree in writing to degrees in health care, including what the school says is the country's only dietetics internship with a focus on childhood obesity.

Other programs will focus on degrees in the creative arts, including writing courses led by poet laureate of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Laura Hope-Gill.

"In coordinating the Master of Arts in Writing Program, I have the opportunity of a lifetime," Hope-Gill said.

"Most people who know me know I am as devoted to the disciplines of research and rhetoric as to the wild and beautiful nuances of the language," she said. "I believe in rigor and scholarship as tools for supporting each student's search for and attainment of his or her writing goals.

"The students of the Master of Arts in Writing Program will work hard, read widely and develop their powers of inquiry as well as assertion. I have the honor of helping them do that."

Most classes will be taught by in-house professors, but some program options will include online courses and classes taught via a two-way interactive video screen by professors on the Hickory campus.

"It has always been a big focus of ours to fill voids and meet needs specific to this area and this community," Knott said. "And this is a very creative community with a lot of unique, niche business opportunities."

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The Block, finally, lands $11.1M face-lift

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8/28/2012 - The Block, finally, lands $11.1M face-lift
by Dale Neal - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE - Terry Bellamy remembers as a little girl sipping soft drinks at the soda fountain in the old Del Cardo building down on The Block, "waiting on my grandmother to get her curl and press."

On Monday, Asheville's first black mayor stood at that same soda fountain, welcoming the news of a $11.1 million project that will restore economic life to The Block, the historic heart of black commerce and community in downtown.

"This has been 20 years in the making," Bellamy said.

The Del Cardo building at the corner of Eagle and Market Streets along with the Dr. Collette building and the Ritz Building on South Market will be renovated and incorporated into a 90,000-square-foot mixed-use complex -- the Eagle Market Place. Along with new commerical space, the $11.1 million project will include 62 affordable apartments with monthly rents ranging from $200 to $780.

Plans to renovate the historic buildings along Eagle and Market streets have come and gone over the years, but this project forged ahead through the partnership of and the Eagle Market Streets Development Corp. and Mountain Housing Opportunities, the local nonprofit builder of affordable housing.

Backed by $4.1 million funded by the city of Asheville and Buncombe County, the final piece of the puzzle feel into place on Thursday when the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency awarded $7 million in funding.

Keeping the historic buildings intact while adding new residential and commercial space was vital to the project's success, according to Stephanie

"The Block was known as the black Wall Street of Asheville," Twitty said. "This was the hub of everything African-American in this city."

The district was once home to 70 residences and 20 thriving businesses, including drugstores and hotels, before urban renewal efforts starting in the 1960s dislodged homeowners and businesspeople.

"This project will bring back 62 of those 70 residences and 15 to 20 of those businesses," Twitty said.

Buncombe County commissioners saw the importance of reviving The Block as an economic driver for downtown, said commission Chairman David Gantt.

"The people in the city pay the same (county) tax as the people in the county. We have to give back, particularly to a community that has been ignored," Gantt said. "This is the right and fair thing to do. We had forgotten about these folks and about the history here."

The project will generate some 500 construction jobs over the two-year build-out. Work should begin in June 2013 with the grand-opening slated for summer of June 2015.

"I look forward to the day when we cut the ribbon and open the doors," Bellamy said. "We'll welcome people."

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Hearts With Hands seeks Isaac-releif supplies

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8/28/2012 - Hearts With Hands seeks Isaac-releif supplies
by Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- The disaster relief program of Western North Carolina nonprofit Hearts With Hands is preparing to help as needed along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Isaac makes landfall.

The storm is expected to reach hurricane strength and by the time its eye hits land, which may happen Wednesday.

"This storm has potential to make landfall the exact same day as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 at almost the exact same area," said Bill Bradley, executive director of Hearts With Hands.

The group is seeking donations immediately of nonperishable foods, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, hygiene and first aid items, camping supplies, diapers and other baby items, new clothes and over-the-counter medications.

Donations may be dropped off in Asheville at the organization's Asheville warehouse (951 Sand Hill Road) or Brown's Pottery (2398 Hendersonville Highway) or at Computers For Christ in Swannanoa.

To learn more, call 667-1912 or visit www.heartswithhands.

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Asheville adding higher-paying jobs

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8/24/2012 - Asheville adding higher-paying jobs
by Dale Neal - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- Tom Tveidt has been crunching the numbers about the local economy for the past 13 years at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Metro Economic Outlook.

For most of those years, the numbers have been almost boring, with more of the same steady growth. That was before the steep decline in jobs and business with the Great Recession and a few years of waiting for recovery.

But on Thursday, Tveidt was able to point to welcome signs of a new economy led by higher-paying jobs in manufacturing, health care and professional services.

"The real growth has been in in knowledge workers. For years, we thought Asheville would be a great place to attract them. Finally, we're starting to see them," Tveidt told the crowd of business leaders at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville.

Tveidt, who heads SYNEVA Economics in Waynesville, pointed to a record high in firms in various industries -- led by 639 companies in wholesale trade, 305 in management and technical consulting, 262 in architectural and engineering services and 257 legal services offices.

Communications equipment manufacturers, such as AVL Technologies, have grown in the past decade, employing a record 304 workers, paying some of the area's highest wages at an average of $1,383 per week. Fabricated metal product manufacturing wages closely followed at a high of $1,106 a week.

Food and beverage manufacturing has become a sizable industry in Asheville, even before New Belgium and Sierra Nevada have opened their major breweries. The Asheville area boasts 31 food manufacturers while a record high of 363 workers are employed in local beer making -- jobs that didn't exist a decade ago.

Asheville's economy is growing at its historic rate of around 1.5 percent, looking back to the 1990s, rather than the 4 percent of 2007 leading up to the bubble, Tveidt said.

Unemployment remains painfully high for the four-county metro area of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties at 7.9 percent, though that's still lower than both the state and national rates. "We lost about 10,400 jobs from our peak, but we've gained 4,800, so we still have about two to two and half years to gain back those jobs," Tveidt said.

Older workers have gained more of a foothold in the job market at the expense of younger workers, numbers show. The metro's labor force shows 1,673 or 7 percent more workers aged 55-64 percent compared to 2,168 fewer workers age 25 and under.

Tveidt hazarded a guess that more Baby Boomers may be afraid to retire or leave those jobs.

"Age and experience before youth and eagerness," quipped James F. Smith, an economic forecaster with Parsec Financial in Asheville.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy still remains a colossus, with Americans producing about 25 percent of the world's economic output with only about 4.8 percent of the world's population, Smith said.

But the U.S. has also experienced the weakest recovery in the past 100 years. "Why the expansion has been so weak, no one knows," Smith admitted.

But he pointed to three strengthening sectors of the U.S. economy: housing, vehicle sales and business investment.

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Things to do with the kids in Asheville

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8/24/2012 - Things to do with the kids in Asheville
by Katie Waddington - Asheville Citizen Times

In her spare time, Katie Wadington is the editor of WNC Parent magazine. That's when she's not driving to an after-school activity, or speed shopping, or looking for her sanity, or trying to find an outing that will please two very different children. (For example, her daughter, 13, considers "hike" to be a four-letter word, but show her son, 10, a trail and he's on it.) Downtime needs to be put on the calendar just like PTO meetings. And if a night out requires a sitter, it better be worthwhile.

This week, Katie says: Give your weekend an international flavor with a visit to the Goombay Festival. Dancing, drumming and food with a Caribbean and soul flair is sure to capture the little ones' attention.

Worth a sitter: If your children wouldn't appreciate the wildness that Lexington Avenue has to offer during the Lexington Avenue Arts and Family Festival, grab a sitter for next Saturday. But if you have older kids who might enjoy the true Asheville weirdness of LAAFF, bring 'em along.

Can't make it to either? Check out these other kid-friendly events:

SING, SIGN AND STORY TIME: 10 a.m. Thursdays, West Asheville Vineyard, 717 Haywood Road, Asheville. $7 per family per session. No weekly commitment. Learn sign language through music, movement and signing. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthandsasheville.com.

FREE HIKE FRIDAY: Take guided hike out to Hickory Nut Falls, tallest waterfall on the East Coast. No registration necessary. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday at Chimney Rock Park. Free with admission. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com.

HICKORY NUT GORGE OLYMPIAD: Eighth-annual three-day sport and community festival with events and activities for all athletic abilities. With golf tournament, beach barbecue, free water ski show, fireworks, 10K, more. Friday-Sunday. Visit www.hickorynutolympiad.com.

BLUE RIDGE ROLLERGIRLS: Double header, doors open at 4 p.m. with first bout at 5, second at 7. Tickets $10 in advance, $12 for ages 13 and older, free for 12 and younger. At WNC Agricultural Center, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher. Saturday . Visit www.blueridgerollergirls.com.

MOVE IN THE PARK: Puss in Boots, at Fletcher Community Park. Saturday. Arrive 7:30 p.m., movie starts at dark. Visit www.fletcherparks.org.

SHINDIG ON THE GREEN: Mountain tradition, with bluegrass and old-time string bands, cloggers, storytellers and more. 7-10 p.m. Saturday at Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park, Asheville. Visit www.folkheritage.org.

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UNC Asheville, Warren Wilson recognized

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8/23/2012 - UNC Asheville, Warren Wilson recognized
by Asheville Citizen Times

UNC Asheville is featured in the Princeton Review's "The Best 377 Colleges - 2013 Edition," and is also ranked No. 11 on the "college city gets high marks" list that is part of the annual guidebook released Tuesday.

The Princeton Review selected the 377 colleges and universities from among more than 2,000 on which data are collected, primarily based on academic strength. The "best of" lists and descriptions of each college in the guidebook are based on a survey of 122,000 students who provide candid assessments of their institutions.

Earlier this year, the Princeton Review included UNC Asheville in its "Guide to 322 Green Colleges," and also ranked UNC Asheville as one of the nation's 75 "Best Value" public colleges.

Warren Wilson College was also recognized recently as a "Best Buy" schools in the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges, according to a news release.

The guide recognized 21 public and 20 private colleges and universities. Fiske Best Buy schools fall into the inexpensive or moderate price category, and most have four- or five-star academics ratings.

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Weather Experts Target Western N.C. as Best Bet for Fall Colors

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8/23/2012 - Weather Experts Target Western N.C. as Best Bet for Fall Colors
by Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Aug. 22, 2012 -- ~ Favorable Blue Ridge Mountain forecast encourages travelers to book early this fall season ~  

- With atypical weather crisscrossing the U.S. landscape this spring and summer, climate scientists are targeting Western North Carolina as a best bet for colorful fall foliage. Despite a far-reaching national heat wave, weather experts predict that well-nourished trees resulting from beneficial wet weather patterns may position Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains as a bright light among 2012 fall foliage destinations.  Leaf peepers looking to optimize their autumn vacation should keep their eyes on the sky, as weather will be a defining factor of the 2012 fall season.Healthy Trees"While much of the country continues to suffer through drought, including parts of the Northeast, ...Western N.C. has enjoyed plentiful rainfall this year (but not too much!), setting us up for what should be a great fall color season," said Pamela McCown, coordinator for the A-B Tech Institute for Climate Education."The ridge of high pressure that plagued much of the central U.S. ... produced conditions here in Western N.C. that led to almost daily afternoon showers and thunderstorms. As a result, the trees are not stressed from lack of rain and should be ready to put on a beautiful display," McCown said.Escaping Drought "In terms of temperature, Western N.C. has experienced warmer-than-average conditions this summer, along with the rest of the nation," said Jake Crouch, climate scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville. "However, above-average rainfall has kept us out of the drought that is impacting nearly two-thirds of the contiguous United States. Conditions are favorable for healthy trees and, thus, a vibrant palette of fall colors, but the weeks ahead will be the deciding factor.""Other areas known for fall color, such as New England and the Great Lakes, have been dry this year with drought impacting a large percentage of the region. The hot and dry summer will have placed stress on the trees and could potentially dull the color display," Crouch said.Weather Key in 2012 "Optimal fall colors come from a combination of conditions that must occur is the right order," McCown said. "The good news is that one of the key conditions is already in place because we've had a good growing year... The next key step will be related to the temperatures as we move into late summer and early fall. Cool, crisp temperatures at night and sunny, warm days without significant rain or early freezes in late September and early October are important for the development of vibrant color."Promising fall color predictions for the 2012 foliage season are good news for travelers. Color seekers should consider planning ahead to make the most of the busy autumn travel season.FALL TRAVEL TIPS: Avoid the Red, Yellow & Gold Rush. Want tickets to the big fall color show? Accommodations fill up quickly during the popular fall travel season. Book early to avoid the rush. FallintheMountains.com and the Asheville Concierge can guide you to a suite with a view, a mountain cabin or a cozy B&B that fits your budget.
Worried about Missing the Color Peak? Travelers are surprise

d to learn that there isn't one specific week to see peak fall colors. The North Carolina Mountains are unique. Extreme elevation variations and more than 100 species of leaf-shedding trees offer the longest and most colorful foliage season in the nation. From late September into early November, travelers can easily locate sweeping views of fall colors, especially if they follow expert advice... 

  
Follow the Weekly Color Reports. To help visitors locate where the autumn color is peaking from week-to-week, the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau is working with park officials, biologists, climate experts and attractions around the region to compile weekly fall foliage reports for the North Carolina mountains at FallintheMountains.com. Asheville's fall color experts will also be tweeting up-to-the-minute color updates, travel tips and travel deals at @FallColorHunter on Twitter.
AboutLocated along the Blue Ridge Parkway and just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Asheville area is steeped in natural history and full of fall adventure. With elevations that range from 1,500 feet in the valleys to 6,684 feet at Mount Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi River), the Blue Ridge Mountains are a kaleidoscope of colorful fall foliage from late September through early November. FallintheMountains.com Online Resources FallintheMountains.com - Insider tips, fall travel deals, events, autumn adventures and updates on the progress of the foliage season

Weekly Fall Color Report - Expert advice to help leaf peepers find the best color from week-to-week throughout the season, starting September 13
Asheville Concierge's "Fall Deal of the Day" - Book directly, get advice on hotel availability and deals
Scenic Drives, Rides and Hikes - Best fall color tours tailored for early, mid and late fall
Up-to-the-Minute Color Updates - Fall tips via Facebook & @FallColorHunter on Twitter
Fall EventsSalute to F. Scott Fitzgerald Weekend | The Grove Park Inn | Sept. 21-23
Flock to the Rock | Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park | Sept. 29-30
Oktoberfest | Downtown Asheville | Oct. 13
A Moveable Feast | Biltmore | Oct. 13
The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands | US Cellular Center | Oct. 18-21
Moogfest | Downtown Asheville | Oct. 26-27
River Arts District Studio Stroll | River Arts District | Nov. 10-11

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/08/22/4206509/weather-experts-target-western.html#storylink=cpy

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