Blog :: 2008

Mike Miller recalls Oakley's history

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12/16/2008 - Mike Miller recalls Oakley's history
by Asheville Citizen Times write Rob Neufeld

My son was a train enthusiast, 91-year-old Rae Roberts says of Dale Roberts, recalling when Dale was a toddler in Oakley in the early 1940s. When he heard a whistle from afar, she relates, he would go to the dining room windows, and he would say, Here comes number ' and he would name it. They were steam engines then, and the numbers on them were real big. And when they got here, he was right every time.

When Dale began helping his older sister with her singing lessons, Rae started suspecting he had perfect pitch. I put him in that room, she told Joshua Hubing-Cooper, a Warren Wilson College student who recently interviewed her, and I hit notes on the piano, and he could tell what they were. He went to Furman (University for his bachelor's degree), and they called him P.P., for perfect pitch.

Dale Roberts taught for many years as assistant professor emeritus of music at Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C., before his death on April 29, 2004. The alumni bulletin noted, For many years, he was first oboist with the Greater Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. His lifelong hobby was steam locomotives of the Southern Railway.

The train is also prominent in the memory of Mike Miller, Oakley native and owner of Town and Mountain Realty in Asheville. When he was 13 years old, he and his brother rode their horses to Pressley's Feed and Seed Store (on a site behind present-day Home Depot). The boys helped unload the hay that came by rail to the store yard.

We'd get on our horses and ride through the woods, and we'd go up Lover's Loop Road, and then hit the (Blue Ridge) Parkway. This was after hours, when all the workers had left for the day. The section of parkway between U.S. 70 and Brevard Road had been the last piece to be constructed, except for the Linn Cove Viaduct at Grandfather Mountain.

Miller recalls riding up to the Upper Reservoir, now called Busbee Reservoir, getting through gaps in fences and riding all over property owned by the Biltmore Co. We'd ride on these logging roads, Miller recounted to Rebecca Williams, oral historian, and we would skinny-dip in that upper reservoir. It was very small and very deep.

A dilapidated gatehouse confronted the boys. You could get in that gatehouse, Miller noted, and walk around the holes in the floor, and where there had been a window, you could dive into the reservoir. It was a neat thing for boys that age, growing up; and we watched the parkway getting completed.

Hubing-Cooper and Williams were two of several people involved in a collaboration between Jerry Pope's community arts class at Warren Wilson College and Together We Read. The class and Williams met with nine Oakley residents in preparation for a presentation of student interpretations at Oakley Community Center on Monday.

Whereas historians' views of the past take the forms of dramatic stories and connective themes, history as recollected by individuals often involves a different kind of lens one that reveals a constellation of vivid memories, not necessarily in story form.

For example, one of the almost mythological particulars in Roberts' life is the former bridge that had connected Oakley with the Sayles-Biltmore Bleachery. It was made of wood and had allowed only one car to cross over the railroad at a time. Every 10 years, Roberts says, the bleachery closed the bridge to traffic to maintain the private status of the road.

You go through the woods there, Roberts says, visiting her past. There were no houses, just woods on each side, and it was kind of scary sometimes. But they had a patrolman who would come over there every day and see that the children got to school, and nothing happened to them. That's one of the memories I have.

An image of the woods through which Scout Finch walked in her ham costume in To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind. But unlike Scout, Roberts had never been attacked; the drama stayed contained in a feeling.

Rob Neufeld writes the local history feature, Visiting Our Past, for the Citizen-Times. He is the author of A Popular History of Western North Carolina and Asheville's River Arts District. Contact him at RNeufeld@charter.net or 768-2665. Visit thereadonwnc.ning.com.

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Asheville's T&M ECO certified agents

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9/29/2008 - Asheville's T&M ECO certified agents
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Asheville, NC - Town and Mountain Realty prides itself on providing specialized service depending on their client's needs. Whether someone is a first time home buyer or looking for commercial property, our brokers can guide you with their knowledge and professional service. Town and Mountain is proud to announce its team of ECO certified agents. If you are looking to buy, sell or build GREEN, give us a call.

Mike Miller

Jody Whitehurst

Sadhvi Gantenbein

Jude Welsh

Mark Mathews

John Fisher

 

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Asheville Arts Council Starts Resource Center

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8/26/2008 - Asheville Arts Council Starts Resource Center
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ASHEVILLE The Asheville Area Arts Council is creating a resource center intended to help performing and visual artists and organizations become more successful.

In partnership with Mountain BizWorks and Handmade in America, the arts council is founding The Resource Center for the Arts. The center will provide a physical location where artists and arts organizations can receive the training and resources necessary to succeed in their creative endeavors.

The council is planning the center now, and the steering committee will begin meeting with performing and visual artists and agencies to determine what services the arts community needs and wants, the council said.

Most prominent among preliminary ideas are networking, marketing and fundraising support, business planning and professional development classes, collaboration and mentoring opportunities and resources such as legal counsel, co-op buying, insurance and affordable studio space.

Residents are more likely to stay in (and more people are attracted to) counties with larger proportions of workers in arts-related occupations, according to the report Creative Economy: The Arts Industry in North Carolina, done for the North Carolina Arts Council. The presence of creative professionals in a given county is the single-most important factor associated with the amount that visitors will spend, the report states.

Were making it a top priority to help grow the creative economy in Asheville and Western North Carolina, said Asheville Area Arts Council executive director Angela Martinez. We want to ensure that we provide a friendly, responsive and supportive environment for the arts.

The council is seeking sponsorships and grants for the center, which will operate under the non-profit status of the arts council. Contact the council at 258-0710.

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New Asheville River Park Planned

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8/25/2008 - New Asheville River Park Planned
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Volunteers picking away at a former automotive shop near Ashevillle's  French Broad River are helping turn an area known best for post-industrial blight into a centerpiece park.

Vacant lots and former commercial buildings make up the land that runs along the river behind 12 Bones restaurant to the south and Craven Street to the north.

But within five years, organizers say that will turn into a 30-acre chunk of green space on Riverside Drive four times the size of Pack Square Park planned for City-County Plaza downtown.

Alex Cury, a retired attorney and artist from Montford, bicycles on Riverside Drive and puts her canoe in at Gene Webb Park, a small piece of the tract already used for recreation.

It is a very unpleasant ride through the industrial area, and the cars drive too fast, Cury said. Its seedy, and there is nothing green about it. So to ride back on a greenway would be glorious.

RiverLink, which promotes the protection and recreational use of the French Broad, bought the final 3-acre missing link for the park in September for $575,000.

Volunteers are in the process of taking apart a blue building that housed an automotive shop on the site. RiverLink will test the ground to see if any pollution needs to be cleaned before the site can be re-used.

The 3-acre plot will house a sculpture garden and will join surrounding properties to make up a short section of greenway, a linear park that features pedestrian and bicycle paths, said Karen Cragnolin, RiverLink executive director.

The other properties include Gene Webb Park and land recently donated to the city by Progress Energy.

The project will change more than the view along the river, Cragnolin said, since it will be visible from the Smoky Park Bridge, the main roadway over the French Broad.

Part of the excitement here is really that Ashevilles front door is the Smoky Park Bridge. And right now, when you go into downtown, what do you see? A blue building and nothing attractive, she said.

When we start putting in the greenway and the sculpture garden, that is going to be a really powerful statement about what is going on at the river. Were telling people we are an arts destination.

RiverLinked

The nonprofit RiverLink is trying to create 17 miles of unbroken greenway on and around the French Broad River. RiverLink acquires the property then gives it to local governments, like Asheville or Buncombe County. Some details:

Plans call for a greenway from the N.C. Arboretum in the south to the Blue Ridge Parkway on the east and UNC Asheville to the north.

Completed portions include Carrier Park on Amboy Road, French Broad River Park on Riverview Drive and Azalea Park off Azalea Road.

Portions soon to be added include Karen Cragnolin Park on Amboy Road, a portion next to N.C. 191 southwest of the N.C. Farmers Market and a portion connecting Carrier Park and Hominy Creek River Park.

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Western NC's Largest Solar Facility Set For Asheville

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8/25/2008 - Western NC's Largest Solar Facility Set For Asheville
by David Horn

ASHEVILLE -- Appalachian Energy will create the largest solar array in the western region of North Carolina. The regional alternative energy provider said the 75-kilowatt installation in Asheville should be completed by the end of 2008.

The project is part of the largest contract in Appalachian Energy's seven-year history. The company is partnering with Jim Barkley Toyota to provide a turnkey solar energy system that will be the largest photovoltaic installation in Western North Carolina.

Next month Appalachian Energy will begin installation of 336 solar panels on the roof of the Jim Barkley Toyota building in Asheville. The dealership will be able to sell electricity to Progress Energy.

It was a business decision that made good financial sense based on the federal and state tax credits available, as well as the collaboration with Progress Energy and Appalachian Energy, said Jim Barkley, CEO of Jim Barkley Toyota. This deal is another example of how business leaders are turning to solar power to boost their revenues, said Appalachian Energy CEO Scott Clark. The value of the contract between Appalachian Energy and Jim Barkey Toyota was not released.

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Downtown Asheville After 5

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8/15/2008 - Downtown Asheville After 5
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 15, 2008

Downtown After Five - August Event

Forecast: SUNNY AND COOL WITH HOT TUNES!

The weather is looking to be absolutely perfect today for a delightful afternoon downtown with some free live music!

What could be better than a balmy summer's eve with some sizzling hot music playing in the back ground while you talking with your old friends and meeting new ones over a delicious icy cold beverage? We certainly can't think of a single thing that sounds better on a summer's night!

The back to school rush is almost over so come on down and treat yourself to a relaxing evening of mighty fine mingling with old and new friends alike!

One World will be joining us tonight and bringing some of the best vegetarian fare you've ever had! We'll have everything from BBQ to Lobster Rolls and Hot Dogs to Gyros and Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream and now some new mighty darn tasty vegetarian fare along with our extensive selection of icy cold beers and fine wines to sodas and our new certified Carbon Neutral produced water! Whew! We've got something for everyone and every taste!

The event starts at 5:00, just enough time to get your wristband (to help support Homeward Bound) and get situated before the music starts around 5:30 with Peggy Ratusz, Asheville's premier Blue's Chanteuse and her band Daddy LongLegs.

We'll shift gears into some beautiful and blistering tunes from " how did we get so lucky to have this kind of talent locally" musicians with the Shannon Whitworth and Jeff Sipe Band around 7:30. There are sure to be many magical musical moments tonight, Shannon was the lead singer of the Biscuit Burners and Jeff has toured with bands such as Susan Tedeschi, Keller Williams, Leftover Salmon, Aquarium Rescue Unit and Trey Anastasio.

Please remember to help support the Manna FoodBank this evening if you can by bringing a few canned food items for their food drive.

Downtown After Five is located just down the hill from the Civic Center on Lexington Avenue by the I-240 overpass, so c'mon down and celebrate yet another beautiful evening with us tonight in downtown Asheville!

Links:

Homeward Bound: http://www.hbofa.org

Peggy Ratusz: http://www.myspace.com/peggyratusz2

Shannon Whitworth: http://www.myspace.com/shannonwhitworth

Jeff Sipe: http://www.myspace.com/jeffsipeakaaptq258

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Asheville's Ag Center Update

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8/14/2008 - Asheville's Ag Center Update
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After the Mountain State Fair closes down on Sept. 14, look for the construction crews to swing into high gear at the WNC Agricultural Center.

Ive been interested from day one in renovating this facility, and I believe this will make it a shining star in the west, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said this morning at a press conference at the Ag Center.

Construction will begin on two buildings after the fair closes a $3 million arts and crafts building and a $2.1 million livestock building. The Ag Center, located at the intersection of Fanning Bridge Road and U.S. 280 across from Asheville Regional Airport, hosts more than 150 events a year and brought in 138,000 visitors last year, not counting the nearly 188,000 who attended the fair.

Troxler made the announcements as part of a discussion of overall plans for the Ag Center, the WNC Farmers Market and the Western Animal Diagnostic Lab. In all, Troxler outlined $15.1 million of improvements and additions at the facilities.

The Ag Center will receive the bulk of the improvements. Besides the two new buildings, plans also call for a $7.5 million renovation and addition to the Davis Arena, $169,400 in improvements to the McGough Arena and $339,559 in improvements to the Sales Arena.

Im excited about it, said Ag Center Manager Matt Buchanan. Its been since 92 since weve had any capital improvement money.

The facility generates about $15 million in economic activity, and it is self-supporting through its own receipts.

At the the Farmers Market, located off Brevard Road in Asheville, construction will begin by years end on a $402,000 project to add ventilation fans in the retail building, and for roofing on two buildings.

Were tickled to death, said Mike Ferguson, the market director. Weve not had any capital money for about 10 years.

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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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