Blog :: 2012

2012 Asheville trends will expand, define 2013



12/31/2012 - 2012 Asheville trends will expand, define 2013
by Carol Motsinger - Asheville Citizen Times

This past year has certainly been a busy year in local business. And I don't anticipate the action in Asheville to slow down at all in 2013.

I have some predictions to share about what the headlines are going to be in the new year. But some of these aren't exclusively forecasts -- these prophesies based on major 2012 developments.

o Cheers to the craft beverage: 2012 may well be the Year of Beer in Asheville due to the announcements of three major breweries opening Eastern region operations in WNC. But I have a feeling the big news on the craft beverage front next year will be better suited for a cocktail glass than a stein.

A hard cider company -- Noble Cider -- plans to launch in the summer. Troy and Sons Distillery continues to grow and recently debuted a whiskey. The Riverbend Malt House plans to expand to meet the growing demand from craft brewers for its locally farmed, artisan malts (some of which are being used in a whiskey for Blue Ridge Distilling Co.).

Blue Kudzu Sake is getting ever closer to debuting its locally made sake. According to the company's Facebook page, batches of the rice wine are fermenting as you read this. And I wouldn't be shocked if a few local gin companies start operations. We've heard word at the Citizen-Times for a while about a couple of gin producers getting into the craft beverage game.

I also anticipate the next wave of craft beverage producers -- beer brewers included -- to make their first steps toward toasting a glass in 2013. Remember that The Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast should open at A-B Tech in the fall.

o The new downtown business district: Buxton Avenue, and the surrounding neighborhood just south of downtown, is already emerging as a new home for expanding and innovative business.

Once a no-man's land in the shadow of the central city redevelopment, it's already home to hammock and outdoor gear manufacturer Eagle Nest Outfitters, the Prospect bar and Asheville Hardware.

The street welcomed the expansion of Lexington Avenue's French Broad Chocolate Lounge this year: The French Broad Chocolate Factory and Tasting Room. Green Man Brewing also expanded in 2012 and will use even more property for warehousing in the new year. Earlier this month, a new restaurant was announced for the street in 2013: Buxton Hill Barbecue.

Burial Beer will also open in 2013 on Collier Avenue just off Buxton Avenue, according to a report on the company's Twitter account.

There's a lot of buzz building for Buxton, but space for buildings is limited. I bet that the surrounding streets, especially those south of Buxton, will continue to be developed.

o Murals make money: Street art went inside this year. Most notably, muralists transformed two of restaurateur Hector Diaz's downtown eateries -- Chorizo and Salsa's.

Murals, of course, continued to beautify buildings and businesses around Asheville. Some of my favorites include Dustin Spagnola's tiger on the future site of New Belgium near the River Arts District and Julie Armbruster in the Montford park at Flint and Magnolia.

Asheville's mural movement matured significantly in 2012, with more collaborations with local school leaders and business owners. I feel as if almost every time I run down Haywood Road I notice more murals on businesses (BJ's gas station, for one).

I think the mural profile will only continue to rise in 2013. I anticipate more collaborations between artists for bigger and better projects.

Some larger cities with vibrant artist communities are home to high-rises completely covered with original art. That trend will come to Asheville, and murals will get massive -- think instead of downtown mural corridor, Chicken Alley, recast as Dinosaur Drive.

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Kenilworth land to be greenway



12/28/2012 - Kenilworth land to be greenway
by Mark Barrett - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- A developer who seeks to build apartments in Kenilworth is donating 3.36 acres of land in the community for use as a greenway.

The move by Frank Howington's Caledonia LLC was announced today by RiverLink, an environmental group that will receive the donation. RiverLink said the property will connect the neighborhood to the Swannanoa River area.

Neighborhood residents have opposed Howington's plans for apartments on property adjoining Caledonia Road and Finalee Avenue on Kenilworth's south side. Howington previously converted the historic Kenilworth Inn to apartments.

RiverLink's announcement says Howington plans 50 apartments on property adjoining the land he is donating.

"I appreciate that open space and greenway trails are a tremendous amenity for this and every neighborhood and will be a feature for our future development in the area," Howington said in a statement.

RiverLink says it plans to hold a series of meetings with Kenilworth residents in late January to get input on plans and solicit volunteers to help with removing invasive plants and trail development.

The status of Howington's development plans was not immediately clear.

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New Year's Eve eats in Asheville - Meals and Toasts for the Last Night of The Year



12/28/2012 - New Year's Eve eats in Asheville - Meals and Toasts for the Last Night of The Year
by Asheville Citizen Times

Avenue M: 5-9 p.m., regular dinner menu. DJ starts 9:45, champagne toast at midnight. No cover with can of food for food drive. 791 Merrimon Ave.

Purple Onion: 16 Main St., Saluda. 5:30 p.m. dinner is an a la carte menu, and Fred Whiskin on the piano; 8 p.m. is a four-course dinner, music by The JPQ Band, champagne toast at midnight, $65 plus tax and gratuity. 749-1179.

Pack's Tavern: Regular menu plus Specials, $13 bottles of champagne, two DJs, party favors, $10 cover. Century Room: Pack's Countdown to NYE Bash with DJs, hats, toppers, a champagne toast and more. Starts at 7:30, $50 per person. 20 South Spruce St. / www.

The Market Place: A la carte menu and champagne toast. Entertainment by Molly Parti. 20 Wall St.

Creekside Taphouse: Good Old Boyz featuring Woody Wood, drink specials, Asheville Brewing Co. pint specials, basketball shooting contest, champagne toast, show at 10 p.m. 8 Beverly Road.

Plant: A la carte menu and a four-course chef's tasting menu offered with optional wine pairing. Dinner hours extended until 10 p.m. 165 Merrimon Ave.

The Black Mountain Ale House: The Blue Rags play at 10:30 p.m. following a TBD opener. Tickets at $12 in advance or $15 at the door and include a midnight champagne toast. Small plates available until well after midnight. 117 Cherry St., Black Mountain.

Sunny Point Cafe: Serving breakfast and lunch 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. 626 Haywood Road.

Grovewood Cafe: A la carte menu, champagne toast, specials. 111 Grovewood Road.

Red Stag Grill: Prix fixe four-course menu with a glass of complimentary champagne and chocolate truffles, 5:30 to midnight. $99 per person plus tax and gratuity. 11 Boston Way.

The Bier Garden: New Years Eve champagne toast at midnight, DJ spinning from 10 to close, no cover. 46 Haywood St.

Jack of the Wood: 9 p.m. Floating Action with Ice Cream and DJ $teel Wheel$ (Matt Owner of Harvest Records). $15 advance tickets available at Harvest Records and Jack of the Wood. 95 Patton Ave.

Jack of Hearts: Jackomo Cajun country band. $10 Tickets available at Jack of Hearts. 10 S. Main St., Weaverville.

Bistro 1896: A la carte menu plus special holiday menu, drink specials and dessert specials. No cover. 7 S.W. Pack Square.

Asheville Wine Experience: Wine expert Kevin Schwartz joins forces with chef Denny Trantham in a 10th-floor suite at the Hotel Indigo 8 p.m.-midnight. Ten courses, five wines, entertainment by jazz vibraphonist Paul Babelay. Cost is $150; funds go toward scholarships for 12- to 21-year-old youths seeking culinary education. www.ashevillewineexperience. 301-2792 / 777-8916.

Sample sparkling wines at Table Wine: 1-5 p.m. Friday, Table Wine, 1550 Hendersonville Road, Suite 102, Asheville. Free. 505-8588.

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Connecting the 'cool people'



12/27/2012 - Connecting the 'cool people'
by Dale Neal - Asheville Citizen Times

Pam Lewis has a passion to raise the profile of Asheville as the place to start new businesses.

From networking at South-by-Southwest in Austin to organizing Startup Weekend Asheville to hosting the region's first N.C. Entrepreneurs Conference, 2012 proved a busy year for Lewis, director of entrepreneurship for the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County.

Lewis describes her job "to bring cool people together" in the mountains.

"Asheville is not just a place with cool buildings and nice scenery," Lewis said. "We have people who are passionate and committed."

Lewis moved from the AdvantageWest economic development agency in 2011 to head the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's new focus on small, start-up businesses and knowledge-based entrepreneurs.

"Pam's worth her weight in gold to use when it comes to connecting to entrepreneurs and helping to set the scene," said Ben Teague, the EDC executive director and a senior vice president at the chamber.

SXSW, the massive conference for entrepreneurs and innovators held annually in Austin, Texas, saw the launch of Venture Asheville, the campaign to brand Asheville as a magnet for entrepreneurs. Lewis led a contingent of Asheville leaders and innovators to the weeklong conference, networking with innovators from around the nation and the world.

"We actually got more notoriety back home," Lewis recalled. She's fielded calls from economic developers in Chattanooga, Tenn., Athens, Ga., and Columbia, S.C., all interested in how Asheville has raised its profile.

August saw the frenetic 54-hour competition of Startup Weekend Asheville as some 50 would-be entrepreneurs dreamed up eight new businesses in a competition at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. The event is meant to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to try new ideas and hone their business skills.

Asheville hosted its first N.C. Entrepreneurial Summit in September at the U.S. Cellular Center, drawing innovators from across the state, building on the city's growing buzz as a start-up hotbed.

"Pam mixes both old and new approaches to grow the local economy. One day she's helping recruit a new company to the area, the next she's working on events like Ignite Asheville and Startup Weekend to foster a culture of ideas and innovation in Western North Carolina," said Trevor Lohrbeer, an Asheville entrepreneur who has worked closely with Lewis.

Another major piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle falls into place in 2013 with the summer launch of Asheville's Technology Accelerator. The downtown facility will host 10 companies for a 12-week program geared at getting new businesses out into the marketplace and hiring more employees.

"The Accelerator is going to be the flagship for our entrepreneurial ecosystem," Lewis said. "It has to be in the downtown in close proximity to the National Climatic Data Center. Hopefully, we can draw in students from UNC Asheville with an entrepreneurial bent."

That passion serves the larger community, said Jonathan Feldman, the information technology director for the city of Asheville, who attended SXSW as well as Startup Weekend.

"Pam is so passionate about entrepreneurship here in Asheville that you would think that she was an activist instead of this being her job," Feldman said.

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Adventure of the Week: New Year 5Ks



12/27/2012 - Adventure of the Week: New Year 5Ks
by Asheville Citizen Times

Start the new year off on the right foot. Two organizations dedicated to promoting healthy, active lifestyles for Western North Carolina residents are hosting 5K races on New Year's Day.

"Some people aren't at their peak performance on New Year's Day, so this is a good way to get up and shake it off," said Jenifer Pressley, Jackson County wellness coordinator.

The county's Parks and Recreation Department will hold the Run In 2013 5K starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The race is chip-timed and offers prizes to the fastest finishers.

The Asheville Track Club will also host a New Year's Day run, the second annual Resolution Run 5K starting at 2 p.m. Jan. 1 in Biltmore Forest. But this one -- free to track club members -- is not timed, and everyone gets a prize at the finish line.

Resolution Run 5K

When: Starts at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Park at the South Forest Ingles on Hendersonville Road. The race starts on Busbee Road in Biltmore Forest and finishes behind Town Hall, off Vanderbilt Road.

Entry fee: Free to Asheville Track Club members. New members can join the track club at the race for $20 individual or $25 per family and then take part in the untimed run.

Details: Last year about 100 people ran, and club treasurer Dolly McLean said she is expecting more runners this year. If you're not a track club member, you can sign up the whole family starting at 12:30 p.m. before the race.

"Membership comes with a pool party in the summer and a Christmas party that are unbelievable," McLean said. Other perks include "race discounts, newsletter four times a year, speakers who come to meetings about four times a year, and 20 percent discount on food at Asheville Pizza," she added.

She said the race course is on rolling terrain through the tranquil neighborhoods of Biltmore Forest, with a special gift for everyone who finishes.

Information: Call McLean at 230-1501, email or visit


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Green features earn recreation center LEED Platinum certification



12/20/2012 - Green features earn recreation center LEED Platinum certification
by City of Asheville press release

The City of Asheville is pleased to announce that the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center at 285 Livingston Street has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. The designation is the highest level of certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council in its recognition of building design and construction practices that reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact.

"This certification is great news," said project manager Al Koph from the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. "We've worked hard to make this project a flagship for the city and an example of what can be achieved in sustainable building."
City of Asheville LEED Platinum Certification

Dedicated in October 2011, phase one of the recreation center was the first City of Asheville facility built since Asheville City Council's 2007 direction that all new municipal construction achieve at least gold LEED certification. Council includes among its strategic goals that Asheville be a southeastern leader in sustainability.

Throughout the project's first phase, project architect Jane Mathews, acting as the LEED certification administrator and working with her design team, submitted qualifying elements to the USGBC and confirmed that it was on track. Thanks to features like use of natural light and water-efficient fixtures, the project cleared the bar for gold certification and then some.

"The City of Asheville is to be commended for showing strong leadership in promoting a very high level of sustainable design for its new facilities," Mathews said. "We were honored to assist the City in fulfilling this commitment and to furthering its environmental stewardship by providing a quality, affordable and sustainable new center for Asheville and its citizens."

Mathews presented the LEED Platinum certificate to Asheville City Council at its December 11 meeting.

The Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center is probably most easily recognized by its roof, the shape of which channels rainwater into sediment reducing ponds and cisterns as well as the roof gardens. But the center also employs energy-efficient windows, geothermal temperature regulation and energy conserving insulation. In rating buildings for certification, the USGBC also factors in how far materials have to travel to get on site and the fact that most of the materials removed for the building were recycled.

Phase one of the center houses an auditorium, classrooms and office space. Phase two, which is currently in the planning stage, will include a gymnasium, a spray ground, playground, and a section of the Town Branch Greenway.

Click here for more information about the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center or any of the City of Asheville recreation centers.

Click here for more about the City of Asheville's sustainability initiative.

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Town and Mountain Realty Invites You 'Home for the Holidays'



12/19/2012 - Town and Mountain Realty Invites You "Home for the Holidays"
by Asheville Citizen Times

Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times

  • Filed Under

One of many Habitat for Humanity volunteer days. / Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times

A dog day afternoon at the offices of Town and Mountain Realty. / Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times

A dog day afternoon at the offices of Town and Mountain Realty. / Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times

Stephanie Bagby: Broker-in-Charge / Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times


It's been a great 10 years at Town and Mountain Realty, and with wonderful support from clients, agents and staff, the Asheville agency wants to give thanks to everyone who has helped the company grow and flourish, even through some rough economic times.

To celebrate their decade of success, Town and Mountain will be donating $5000.00 to several local organizations that bring needy area residents assistance yearround, and are encouraging friends and clients of the company to contribute as well. (If you'd like to help online, visit www. to donate through their "Home for the Holidays Fund".)

Service drives Town and Mountain's business philosophy, but so does giving back to the community that has supported it during these 10 years. Co-owners Mike Miller and Joy Lovoy take pride in expressing their appreciation to all of Western North Carolina for helping Town and Mountain grow from a small shop with three staff mem bers and three agents to an agency with some 40 agents and a staff of four.

Mike, an Asheville native, had been working in real estate locally about seventeen years when he started the company 10 years ago with another real estate agent, Lew Bellows (now a scuba instructor in Florida) and Joy, Mike's wife.

"We are extremely grateful for all of our past employees and agents and for the role they played in making Town and Mountain Realty the successful company it is today," Joy said.

"It's part of the American dream to open your own place and to run it the way you want it to be run," Mike said. Starting small, he and Joy put into place business practices that were based on community involvement. "My philosophy," Joy said,"has always been that with the public, our agents and the staff, we should be a service organization."

The company's agents show their support of that philosophy by taking time out of their schedules to get out of the office and make a difference in the community. Town and Mountain Realty groups participated in 10 Habitat for Humanity volunteer work days in 2012 and contributed upwards of 400 work hours building homes. In addition to working with their hands, they also give financially; the company has donated a portion of its closings to help Blue Ridge Forever safeguard land and water, and helped support Dining Out for Life and Girls on the Run over the years.

"That's part of who we are and who we want to be," Mike said. Locally owned and operated, not part of a real estate franchise, Town and Mountain is independent and focused on the needs of its clients and those who want to buy or sell real estate. The concept is important to the company.

"I've lived here about all my life,"Mike said. "All our agents are locally involved. That's who we want to be - an independent business, involved in our community and helping people achieve their real estate goals."

The office itself isn't a conventional"suit-and-tie required" environment. "Our office is our home away from home, where on any given day you might meet our kids or dogs when you drop in for a visit," Joy said.

"Town and Mountain isn't just the place I go every day to work," said Madison Link, Operations Manager. "It is also the place where I go to spend time with what now feels like my second family."

And now Town and Mountain Realty welcomes a new member into the family -Stephanie Bagby, Broker in Charge.

With 18 years of real estate experience in Western North Carolina, Stephanie has made a commitment to being the best she can be. A graduate of the Graduate Realtor Institute, she is a Certified Residential Specialist and a certified Negotiation Specialist. Stephanie has also been through the At Home With Diversity Certification program.

As Town and Mountain Realty's Broker in Charge, she looks forward to bringing her expertise in recruiting, training, retention and coaching to the associates and staff.

By sharing knowledge, adapting to trends and providing quality service, Town and Mountain Realty has successfully guided buyers and sellers in thousands of transactions, but a commitment to "The Golden Rule" is what is at the heart of this company.

"Our business is not about the next sale. It's about doing the right thing and protecting our clients, whether they're buyers or sellers," Mike said. "Providing good service and treating people the way we would like to be treated sounds kind of hokey, but it's true. It's not about us. It's about the people who trust us."

Town and Mountain Realty...
setting the bar!

Average Days on the Market
Town and Mountain: 146
Buncombe County: 165

Average List-to-Sale Price Ratio:
Town and Mountain: 95%
Buncombe County: 93%

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Asheville-area visual arts calendar



12/17/2012 - Asheville-area visual arts calendar
by Asheville Citizen Times

"NEW YEAR-NEW MEMBERS": Reception 1-4 p.m. Jan. 1, Asheville Gallery of Art, 16 College St. Featuring Jennine Hough, Everett Schmidt, Mary Webster and Eileen Ross. To Jan. 25. For more information, call 251-5796 or visit

"FIRE & ICE: Pottery, Glass, and Metalwork": Opens Jan. 16 at Haywood County Arts Council's Gallery 86, 86 N. Main St., Waynesville. Reception 6-8 p.m. Jan. 25. Celebrates the heating and cooling process involved in the art. To Feb. 9.

WORKS BY BLUE RIDGE REALISTS: Opens today at Hickory Museum of Art, 243 3rd Ave. N.E., Hickory. Reception Jan. 25. In the 1970s, WNC was the cradle of an artistic movement known as the Blue Ridge Realists. The works of the 10 men who represent this movement will be shown together for the first time. To March 10. 327-8576 or

ASHEVILLE ART MUSEUM FREE ADMISSION DAY: 3-5 p.m. first Wednesday of each month. Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Square, downtown. 253-3227 or


ABSTRACT PAINTING WORKSHOP: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 5, River's Edge Studio, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. No experience necessary. Explore methods of the great 20C abstract artists. $100 includes materials. 776-2716.

WATERCOLOR WORKSHOPS: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 10 and 24, River's Edge Studio, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. $75 per class or $135 for both. 776-2716.

"WINTER SCENES IN PASTELS" WORKSHOP: Six week class, 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 16-Feb. 20, River's Edge Studio, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. Learn how to get realistic shadows. $200 (add $25 if using class supplies). 776-2716.

"GOING DEEPER THAN WORDS" WORKSHOP: Eight week class, 9:30 a.m.-noon Wednesdays, Jan. 16-March 6, River's Edge Studio, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. Learn techniques for getting in touch with your feelings with art and simple meditations. $200. Minimal supplies needed. 776-2716.

EXPRESSIVE LANDSCAPE SERIES starts with this one day color workshop: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 17 with Jo Ridge Kelley, River's Edge Studio, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. Explore the world of oil pigments. $125. 776-2716.

BEGINNING ENCAUSTICS: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Jan. 18, River's Edge Studio, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. Learn archival methods to get started painting with wax. $100 plus $35 for most materials. 776-2716.

COLD WAX & OIL TECHNIQUES: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 26-27, River's Edge Studio, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. $245 includes specialty materials. 776-2716.

ART EXPLORATION FOR AGE 1-7: Inspired by the Waldorf Philosophy of early childhood education. Introduction to various mediums and art techniques. Parents welcome to attend with child. Classes are in Weaverville on Wednesdays and in Marshall on Thursdays. Contact Joyful Noise Music & Arts Center at

FAMILY NIGHT: 6-8 p.m. every first and third Thursday, Clay Mates Pottery, 31 Front St., Dillsboro. Bring your family for a night of painting, pottery, glass fusing, creating. Reservations appreciated. 631-3133 or

WNC FIBER FOLK GROUP: Meets noon-1 p.m. Thursdays at Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee. The group crochets items to raise awareness about social issues. 227-2553 or

CERAMICS OPEN STUDIO: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and noon-4 p.m. Sundays, The Bascom, 323 Franklin Road, Highlands. 526-4949,

PAINTING & DRAWING LESSONS: Tuesdays at 10 a.m., 1, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m., Black Mountain Center for the Arts, 225 W. State St. With wildlife artist Bob Travers. For age 8-adult. Call 776-6376 or e-mail

RICHMOND'S STUDIO: Six-week fine art classes. After-school and home-school art classes as well as adult drawing and painting classes by Richmond Smith. Times and prices vary. Richmond's Studio in Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., Asheville. Visit or call 777-3345.


"AFTER THE DINOSAURS: The Age of Mammals and Ice": N.C. Arboretum, Fredrick Law Olmstead Way, Asheville. Robotic replicas bring creatures from the Ice Age alive and interactive components allow visitors to touch the Ice Age. "On the Edge of the Great Ice" will be in the Baker Exhibit Center greenhouse, about ancient plant life. To Jan. 6. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Standard parking fee ($8 per personal vehicle) plus admission of $3 adults and $2 age 18 and younger. Admission and parking is free for Arboretum Society members. 665-2492 or visit

"AMERICAN CRAFT TODAY": Fifty-seven craftspeople exhibit baskets, ceramics, decorative and wearable fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper and wood craft objects. To Dec. 29, The Bascom, 323 Franklin Road, Highlands. 526-4949 or

ART IN THE AIRPORT: Featuring more than 40 pieces by 11 local artists, Asheville Regional Airport, Fletcher.

ART + ENERGY GROUP SHOW: Jackson County Green Energy Park, Dillsboro. Art created with renewable energy featuring blown glass, forge-hammered metals, ceramics. 631-0271 or

"ART/SEWN": Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Sq., downtown. Focuses on works of art in which sewing is integral to the making and viewing experience. To Jan. 6.

"BLACK & WHITE III": Showcasing work by members of Southern Highland Craft Guild. Folk Art Center, Milepost 382 on Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville. To Jan. 6. 298-7928 or

"CHANNELING THE USA": Featuring Asheville artist Randy Shull. McColl Center for Visual Art, 721 N. Tryon St., Charlotte. To Jan. 12. 704-944-8224 or

"CHASING THE IMAGE": Works by figurative artists Madeleine Lord and Sally Massengale. Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Sq. To Jan. 20. $8, free age 3 and younger. 257-4503.

TRUNNELL: "Impressions of My Soul," Atelier, 24 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville.

CHRIS SEDGWICK, KENN KOTARA, GRANT PENNY, KIRSTEN MORAN: Paintings, Gallery Minerva, 8 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. Ongoing. Open 7 days a week. 255-8850.

DANIEL LAI: 3D Hieroglyphs: Hermeneutics: 16 Patton, 16 Patton Ave., Asheville. Lai transforms books into sculpture. Amazing, innovative wall sculptures. To Dec. 31. 236-2889 or

"DIFFERENCES": New works by emerging artist Janis P. Rose, 310 ART at Riverview Station North, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. 776-2716.

"DISPOSABLE": Featuring hundreds of photos taken with disposable cameras, DeSoto Lounge, 504 Haywood Road, Asheville. 255-1109.

"DOLCE FAR NIENTE": Show by mixed media artist Heather Shirin. Working Girls Studio and Gallery, 30 Battery Park Ave., Asheville. To Dec. 31. 575-7731.

EARRING EXHIBIT: Mora Designer Jewelry, 9 W. Walnut St., Suite 2A, Asheville. 16 jewelers, 80 pair of earrings. To Dec. 31. 575-2294.

"EARTH AND SKY": Artists Fleta Monaghan, Betty Carlson, Bob Martin and Mark Holland and the 310 ARTists share their vision of the universe in their own unique way. 310 Art at Riverview Station North, 191 Lyman St., #310, Asheville. To March 31. 776-2716 or

GINGERBREAD HOUSE COMPETITION: View houses from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday to Jan. 2, Grove Arcade, O. Henry Avenue, Asheville.

HARRY WOZNIAK: Oil paintings and pastels, Square One Cafe, 111 S. Main St., Hendersonville. 698-5598. Visit

IAN BROWNLEE, STEVE ST. CLAIRE, JEAN CAUTHEN, CASSIE RYALLS: Paintings and sculptures, Gallery Minerva, 8 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, ongoing. 255-8850.

J.F. STEWART: New Work, New Voice: 16 Patton, 16 Patton Ave., Asheville. Using unconventional methods, her highly reflective city scenes and textural abstracts show a more contemporary style. To Dec. 31. 236-2889 or

JONAS GERARD: Live painting 2 p.m. second Saturday of each month, Jonas Gerard Fine Art, River Arts District, 240 Clingman Ave., Asheville. 350-7711.

KAREN JACOBS "ARCS": New works of mixed media abstract paintings at Gallery Minerva, 8 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. Features the artist's signature style using layers of geometry, arcs and texture. 255-8850.

"KIN": Paintings by Ursula Gullow based on photographs taken of her and her five siblings during the mid 1970s. PUSH Gallery and Skate Shop, 25 Patton Ave., Asheville. To Jan. 8. or

"LATE BLOOMER, A Celebration of Color": Mica Gallery, downtown Bakersville. Exhibition of floral inspired oil paintings by Dorothy Buchanan Collins. To Dec. 31. 688-6642 or

LONE BACKPACKER GALLERY OF WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY: Fine art photography taken on all seven continents from the perspective of the solo traveler. 94 Depot St., Waynesville. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Wednesday and Sunday. 550-8105 or visit

MARTIN STRANKA: "The Language of Stillness," Castell Photography, 2C Wilson Alley, Asheville. 255-1188.

MOLLY COURCELLE: Paintings, Atelier, 24 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville, ongoing. 275-0640.

MONTY TRAN PHOTOGRAPHY: "Old Work, New Day," Studio Chavarria, 84 W. Walnut St., Asheville. 236-9191.

NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISTS: "Lasting Impressions: Print Portfolio of Contemporary Native American Artists from the Fine Art Museum Collection." The Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee.

"NORTH CAROLINA GLASS 2012: In Celebration of 50 Years of Studio Glass in America": The Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University, N.C. 107, Cullowhee. To Feb. 1. 227-2553.

"ON THE VERGE": 10 artists exhibit, Flood Gallery, Phil Mechanics Studio, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District, Asheville. 254-2166.

OUTDOOR SCULPTURE: Works by J. Andrew Davis, Brian Glaze, Hanna Jubran, Deborah LaGrasse and Robert Winkler on display, Western Carolina University's Fine and Performing Arts Center, Cullowhee, ongoing. 227-3591.

PAMELA HADDOCK-December Featured Artist: "In A Different Light" watercolor landscape paintings, Asheville Gallery of Art, 16 College St. To Dec. 30. 251-5796 or

PHOTOGRAPHY OF Joe Bester, Tom Nebbia, Scott Treadway: "Action Images: A Photographic Exhibition Depicting the Stunning Musicals of Flat Rock Playhouse," Opportunity House, 1411 Asheville Hwy., Hendersonville. 692-0575.

POTTERY EXHIBIT: Black Mountain Center of the Arts, 225 W. State St. To Jan. 18. 669-0930.

ROBERT MORRIS: MIND/BODY/EARTH: Selections of his prints, drawings, sculpture and video works, Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Sq. To Jan. 27. $8 admission. 253-3227 or

EATON: Paintings, Short Street Cakes, 225 Haywood Road, Asheville. 505-4822.

SCULPTURES BY MICHAEL ALFANO: Gallery Minerva, 8 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. 255-8850 or

"STORIES OF MOUNTAIN FOLK" Oral History Collection: Interviews capture memories of local people at Western Carolina University's Hunter Library in Cullowhee. Collections on Horace Kephart, Civil War letters, regional crafts, Cherokee traditions and travel in WNC available at

SUSAN FINER, BARBARA FISHER, GENIE MAPLES, CINDY WALTON: "Paint," Echo Gallery, 8 Town Square Blvd., Asheville. 687-7761.

SUSANNE SCHUENKE: F ine German art paintings and prints, The Market Place restaurant, 20 Wall St., Asheville. 252-4162.

"THE ELEMENTAL ARTS: Air, Earth, Fire Water": Ongoing. Asheville Art Museum's second floor galleries, 2 S. Pack Sq., downtown. $8, $7 seniors, free students with ID, age 4-15, and members. 253-3227 or

"VARIATIONS": Skyuka Fine Art, 133 N. Trade St., Tryon. Featuring works of nationally known artist and portrait painter Dawn Whitelaw. To Dec. 31. 817-3783 or

VARIOUS ARTISTS: "Looking Back: Celebrating 60 Years of Collecting," Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Sq. Permanent collection. 253-3227.

"VITRIC COMPOSITIONS: Assemblages in Glass": The Bender Gallery, 12 S. Lexington Ave., Asheville. The exhibition explores the work of three internationally collected glass artists who construct glass sculptures by assembling individual pieces of glass by fusing or laminating. To Dec. 28. 505-8341.


POTTERY MARKET & EXHIBIT: Pottery markets closes Friday. Black Mountain Center of the Arts, 225 W. State St. Exhibit to Jan. 18. 669-0930.

LAND OF SKY WATERFALLS ART GALLERY CLOSING: Final day is Friday. U.S. 276 S. (5388 S. Greenville Hwy.), Brevard. 883-3830.

LINDA MCCANE'S "This Year and Several Thousand Before": Closes Dec. 23. Grand Bohemian Gallery, Biltmore Village, Asheville. Based on travels in Turkey and Greece. 398-5555 or

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WNC Economic Index hits 5-year high



12/17/2012 - WNC Economic Index hits 5-year high
by Dale Neal - Asheville Citizen Times

Falling unemployment, growth in new jobs and increased business activity has driven Western North Carolina Economic Index to its highest level since 2007 -- before the Great Recession, according to Appalachian State University researchers.

The index increased by 0.4 points to 104.8 in October, the sixth consecutive month of growth in economic activity measured across 25 western counties.

"This is certainly promising," said Dr. Todd Cherry, director of the Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis at Appalachian. "During the last six months we have seen consistently strong gains in regional economic activity."

A mending economy should mean more jobs opening up, Cherry said.

"This appears to be playing out now with the region adding about 15,000 jobs in the past two months. People will start to feel better when they see more jobs," he said.

But six months of growth doesn't mean the index will continue to rise for the remainder of the year as data becomes available.

Many businesses seem to be pulling back with hiring, production and orders, waiting to see how Washington lawmakers resolve the "fiscal cliff," according to Scott Hamilton, president and CEO of AdvantageWest, the economic development agency that cosponsored the monthly index.

Washington must come to an agreement on what to do over expiring tax cuts and scheduled cuts to domestic and military spending.

"I think that's weighing on people. They want to know what's going to happen. Once there's some certainty, businesses will know how to move forward," Hamilton said.

The growth has been slow but steady so far. Hamilton pointed to an increase in regional manufacturing with 50,000 workers working in factories and production lines in June, compared to 49,085 in January.

Those numbers should continue to improve into 2013 with this week's opening of the Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard. Also, Sierra Nevada will start brewing beer next summer at its Fletcher location, Hamilton said. The Canadian auto parts maker Linamar continues to hire at its new South Asheville plant, and other manufacturers have to meet pent-up demand.

"I think this recovery is going to be somewhat like a stairstep, going up and then leveling off, rather than a swoosh up like previous recoveries," Hamilton said.

The index released last week showed all counties across the region saw increased employment.

"While improvements in the job market have occurred across the region, some areas have gained more than others," Cherry said. The largest employment gains occurred in McDowell, Yancey and Graham counties with 6.8, 3.7 and 2.4 percent increases, respectively.

Seasonally adjusted WNC unemployment was 9.4 percent in October -- a decrease of 0.2 points over the previous month, and down 1.7 points from one year ago. The state unemployment rate decreased to 9.3 percent while the national rate rose 0.1 points to 7.9 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate within the region's rural counties decreased by 0.4 points to 10.6 percent in October. In the region's metro areas, unemployment fell by 0.3 points in Asheville

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City moves to protect watershed



12/13/2012 - City moves to protect watershed
by Mark Barrett - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- If Jennifer Lawrence wants to use a city watershed to shoot another movie, City Council wants to be sure she's welcome.

But it is not so happy about the idea of someone cutting trees on 17,000 acres on the north side of the Swannanoa Valley where the city gets its drinking water.

The difficulty involved in allowing activities the city wants -- but prohibiting things it doesn't -- on the property is part of the reason it took an hour of debate before council unanimously adopted tougher restrictions on the property Tuesday.

Hanging over the discussion was the possibility that the General Assembly might give control of the watershed to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. The easement would stay in effect if the land changes hands unless the legislature provides otherwise.

Part of the movie "The Hunger Games" that Lawrence starred in was filmed on city watershed property under the terms of the existing conservation easement. It lists activities that can occur and those that cannot on the property.

The city granted the easement on the property to the Conservation Trust of North Carolina in 1996. The question before council Tuesday was whether to adopt a new easement that reflects changes in the way the legal agreements are now typically written and would in some ways be more restrictive.

The new easement that council approved in principle Tuesday would prohibit commercial logging on the property and many other activities that might cause damage to water quality on the property, which is drained by the North Fork of the Swannanoa River and Beetree Creek.

But it would require the city to get the trust's permission before many uses of the property could occur. The agreement says such a request "may not be unreasonably refused" by the trust, City Attorney Bob Oast told council.

That arrangement, and the prospect of paying for forest stewardship and property management plans, worried some members.

"That's a huge tract of land and we've done a pretty good job with it over the years," said Councilman Jan Davis.

But Oast and Greg Gregory, a local attorney the city hired to work on the easement, said the city already gave up much of its control over the property in 1996. The new easement is more flexible in some ways while making it clearer that activities that could hurt water quality, like logging or significant earth moving, are not allowed, they said.

Council seemed reassured when Councilman Marc Hunt, who until recently worked in land conservation, said the terms of the proposed easement are similar to those considered state of the art that govern other water supply watersheds in Western North Carolina.

The same legislative study committee that recommended transferring the city water system to MSD also recommended strengthening the easement, he said, suggesting that the legislature would be likely to leave the protections in place.

And, there is a good chance that a private donor might pick up some or all of the cost of developing the plans the easement requires, Hunt said.

Councilwoman Esther Manheimer supported passage, saying protections in the easement would help meet an important goal of the city for the property. "Asheville as a community has really expressed strong support for conservation," of the watersheds, she said.

On other issues Tuesday, council:

o Approved plans for a 184,208-square-foot allied health and workforce development building at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College on 13.1 acres bordering Victoria Road.

o Put off a hearing on requests for changes to plans for The Thoms Estate subdivision in North Asheville that would include keeping gates closed to vehicles 24 hours a day and not building a planned sidewalk along Beaverdam Road.

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