Blog :: 02-2012

Asheville about to become the hoops capital of the South



2/29/2012 - Asheville about to become the hoops capital of the South
by Bob Berghaus - Asheville Citizen Times

Asheville, an eclectic city with gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and some of the best microbreweries in the country, will be hosting the Big South Conference men's tournament and the Southern Conference men's and women's tournaments.

Both conferences have held events here in the past but never at the same time. A total of 31 teams representing 20 schools will be descending upon our city with the hope of winning a championship that will ensure entry to the NCAA tournament.

Fans from cities in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and, of course, North Carolina, will come here to cheer on their respective teams. They will fill our hotels, eat in our restaurants and maybe enjoy a brew or two, contributing an estimated $5.5 million to the local economy.

The Southern Conference tournament will begin a four-day run beginning Friday, when the men's tournament begins at the improved U.S. Cellular Center (formerly the Civic Center) and the women's event kicks off at Kimmel Arena on the campus of UNC Asheville.

The Big South Conference tournament will be held Wednesday, Thursday and, hopefully, Saturday at Kimmel. That last day is contingent on the UNCA Bulldogs successfully holding serve during their first two games to earn a berth in the championship game on March 3.

The Bulldogs, who won the Big South regular-season title and are trying to return to the NCAA tournament for a second straight year, have routinely put large crowds in Kimmel this season. Local fans, expecting the Bulldogs to be playing on Saturday, have already purchased almost 2,000 tickets for the championship game.

"The fact that we we've been able to sell that many tickets for the championship game, that people are half hoping and half expecting us to be there is great," said Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach.

The Citizen-Times will provide full coverage both in print and online. We will be tweeting from the venues and providing stories at the completion of every game for our online readers, who can also look for photo galleries and video clips.

We are extending our print deadlines to provide readers with accounts of evening games.

Asheville is one of two cities -- Las Vegas is the other -- that will be holding two conference tournaments during the same week. This promises to be an exciting time for our community and for those who make the trip to Asheville.

Let the games begin.

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Asheville recycling about to get much easier



2/29/2012 - Asheville recycling about to get much easier
by Joel Burgess - Asheville Citizen Times

 ASHEVILLE -- In a city of enthusiastic recyclers, the process can still be burdensome.

As of last year, 80 percent of city residents recycled, the top percentage in the state, according to a study done by the N.C. School of Government in Chapel Hill.

But getting the recycling to the curb can mean spilled bottles, paper blown down the street and having to tote multiple bins.

The one member of her family who really likes recycling day, resident Gretchen Lewis told City Council on Tuesday, is her dog Mannie.

"He goes around and pulls all the cardboard out of boxes when I'm walking him," she said.

That all will change beginning next month with a new $1 million city recycling program that gives residents large, blue 95-gallon recycling containers similar to municipal trash cans, something for which Lewis praised the council.

"It is something we should all be proud of and excited about doing," she said.

The cans, which will take the place of several smaller bins and in which residents can put even more types of recyclables, will be delivered to the city's 27,500 households March 5-30.

The cost is an additional 55 cents per month that is tacked onto each household's water bill.

In making recycling easier and expanding which items are taken, the city's goal is to reduce what gets dumped, extending the life of the landfill and cutting overall costs to residents, said Maggie Ullman, energy coordinator in the city's Office of Sustainability.

A 2010 pilot program of 720 Asheville households showed 54 percent more items were recycled than had previously gone into the garbage, said Ullman.

Of that pilot group, 93.5 percent of residents said it was more convenient.

"This way, you don't have to juggle and balance and spill your recycling all over the sidewalk, like I do," she said.

Items not previously taken include aluminum pie tins and trays, boxes that contained juice or broth, milk cartons and plastics numbered 1-7. Even households that have not received bins yet can begin recycling these items, said Ullman.

"If it's plastic and has a recycling symbol, pitch it in." she said.

The program was not universally popular. During discussions last year, Mayor Bellamy questioned why the city should spend more money on recycling when Asheville already had a top rate in the state.

But a majority of council members said the reduction in waste hauled to the landfill was worth it.

Councilman Chris Pelly, who was elected in November and did not vote on the new program, praised the move Tuesday and asked if it could be expanded to commercial customers.

"I am really excited to see this and wonder if you saw the letter I got from a small business owner who wanted this option," Pelly said.

But Bellamy said it was a bad idea for the city to compete with new commercial recycling businesses.

City Manager Gary Jackson also emphasized that it is a service covered by a fee, which businesses will not pay.

"We would have to have a fee structure to cover that," he said.

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Finding affordable summer camp fun in Asheville is possible



2/27/2012 - Finding affordable summer camp fun in Asheville is possible
by Asheville Citizen Times

 Finding a camp that you can afford may not be as hard as you think. There are several day camps in Western North Carolina that charge less than $200 a week. And nearly every overnight camp in the area has what they call "camperships," which are scholarships, in total or in part, for qualifying campers.

 "Every camp that I've ever come in contact with has a 'campership' program," said Jane Cox Murray, executive director of the N.C. Youth Camp Association, based in Black Mountain. "My advice is find a camp that's a good match for your child and then look for a way to find the resources." Scholarship information is usually listed on a camp website's application page. 

For many people, day camps are more affordable.

The YWCA summer camp in Asheville is licensed for 150 kids. Parents drop off their children at the South French Broad Avenue campus anytime after 7 a.m. and pick them up by 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost is $140 a week for YWCA members and $160 a week for nonmembers.

On campus, the children garden and take swimming lessons. Their arts and crafts are sometimes guided by visiting artists. Field trips include travels to Chimney Rock State Park, Max Patch and swimming pools. Once a week, campers travel outside the city to places that have included Discovery Place in Charlotte and Catawba Science Center in Hickory.

"They really enjoy it," said camp director CiCi Weston, also the YWCA's school-age programs director. "When the parents come to pick their children up early, sometimes the children are crying because they don't want to go home yet."

The YMCA of Western North Carolina continues to operate its Kiddie and Explorer camps at its newly renovated 10-acre property in North Asheville's Beaverdam section. Weekly sessions are $155, plus a registration fee of $35 child/$50 family. It also operates Discovery camps at Estes, Bell and Hominy Valley elementary schools, as well as Black Mountain Primary School. The cost is the same as for Kiddie and Explorer camps. In Asheville, there are also swim and "mild" and "wild" adventure camps.

The Y also operates day camps in McDowell and Henderson counties, as well as sports, football and cheer camps at the Reuter Family YMCA in Biltmore Park. Families can apply through county social workers for vouchers that provide state assistance with costs. If they don't qualify, the YMCA has its own subsidy program. Register for the Buncombe and Hend erson county camps by March 31, and the registration fee is waived. The same is true for the first 30 registrations in McDowell County.

Hahn's Gymnastics in Arden has half-day camps ($85 per week) and full-day camps ($165 per week). Full-day camp is for children 5-12, and half-day camp is for those 3 (toilet trained) to 12. Campers get two to three hours of gymnastics training, including bars, trampoline, tumbling, balance beam and parachute. They also get arts and crafts and daily snacks. Parents are expected to provide lunch and a water bottle each day.

The full-day experience add activities and field trips related to the theme of the week, which last year included Mad Scientist, Super Soakin', Artful Antics and Wacky Week. The afternoon activities include hiking, swimming and movies.

"We're more of a theme-based activity camp with gymnastics as one of the activities," Vicki Hahn, the camp owner, said. Hahn's has supervised extended care for parents who need to drop children off at 8 a.m. (half an hour before regular opening) or pick them up by 6 p.m. (half an hour after regular closing). The cost is an additional $15 a week.

Fletcher Parks and Recreation is offering two five-week sessions of summer day camp at Fletcher Community Park that will be affordable for many people.

The cost per week is $100 for Fletcher residents and $125 for everyone else. The sessions, for children 5-12 years old, are 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday from June 11 to Aug. 17 (there is no camp on July 4). Registration at Fletcher Town Hall is 8:30 a.m.-noon. March 10. There's an additional $25 per camper registration fee.

Each week, counselors will take campers on two field trips to area outdoor recreation areas such as the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah Forest. The children will go swimming twice a week at Cane Creek pool in Fletcher, play active games daily and create arts and crafts weekly. New this year is scholarship assistance for qualifying families.

"We wanted to make it accessible and affordable to everyone," Fletcher Parks & Recreation director Greg Walker said. "We sell out just about every week."

Swannanoa 4-H Center, one of five 4-H camps and centers owned and operated by N.C. State University, has weekly half-day summer camps for children ages 4-9. The cost is $80 per week for one- or two-week sessions. Children are expected to bring their own lunch.

Weeks have themes such as "Holiday in July," "Pioneer Pastimes," and "Behind Scenes." Activities include climbing tower, archery, rifle range and swimming, as well as camping skills, Native American history, stream ecology and arts and crafts.

Your daughter doesn't have to be a Girl Scout to attend Camp Pisgah, an overnight Girl Scout camp in Brevard. Any girl entering grades 1 through 12 can attend, though nonscouts pay a $50 fee. Through March 15, a one-week session costs $295 "in comparison to other camps around us at $800 to $2,000 a week," said camp director Christine Le Clair. Scouts are eligible for financial aid, she said. After March 15, the weekly rate is $395. Most beds are filled by March 15, Le Clair said. (To get the $295 rate, buy immediately or put down a $50 deposit and pay by the end of May.)

The camp has one- and two-week sessions, as well as a three-day, two-nig ht "starter" session. Activities include horseback riding, swimming, boating, archery, overnight campouts and trips to places like the Biltmore Estate.

Providing money for "at-risk" campers is the Raleigh-based organization Scott-Free. Recommendations come from teachers, principals and counselors from N.C. elementary and middle schools. With its help, some four dozen children have been able to attend summer camps, according to founder and executive director Deborrah Jeffreys Gruder.

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Asheville's Animal Compassion Network benefits from restaurants Tuesday



2/27/2012 - Asheville's Animal Compassion Network benefits from restaurants Tuesday
by Casey Blake - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- There's never been a kinder way to enjoy an edible guilty pleasure in Asheville, and Animal Compassion Network wants you to do it all day long.

Dozens of area restaurants will pitch in Tuesday in honor of the organization's ninth annual Dine to Be Kind event, benefiting the group's long-running spay and neuter program.

From breakfast and lunch to dinner, participating restaurants will contribute 10 percent of proceeds to Animal Compassion Network's Betty Fund, which helps area families pay for spaying or neutering of pets.

"We know we can never adopt our way out of this problem of animal overpopulation," said ACN executive director Eileen Bouressa.

"The demand on the Betty Fund is at an all-time high, so the need for people to come and support this effort has never been greater."

The fundraiser also presents an added benefit for restaurants that may experience an increase in business on what may typically be a slow February day, Bouressa said.

Jason Sellers, the chef and co-owner of Asheville's newest vegan restaurant and a Dine to Be Kind participant, Plant, said he'll be whipping up some doggy bags that actually go to their namesakes for the event.

"I've always talked about making treats for animals, so I think this is the year we can start that tradition," said Sellers, who talked his former Laughing Seed staff into opening on their day off just for Dine to Be Kind last year.

"Animal overpopulation is one of those tertiary causes where people tend to put them low down on this list of priorities, long after our own rights," said Sellers, who has fostered close to 30 animals himself.

"Animal Compassion is just so dedicated to not only addressing these problems but getting in and educating people to prevent them from happening in the first place."

Tuesday's fundraiser takes place on National Spay Day, a national campaign to promote the benefits of spaying and neutering.

The Betty Fund was established in 2000 in honor of a 2-year-old stray golden retri ever mix who gave birth to 18 puppies in just one year.

Betty's last litter of eight pups was rescued from the mud underneath a trailer and put into a foster home. Betty was rescued, spayed and put into rehabilitation.

Since the program began, ACN has assisted in the spaying or neutering of more than 10,000 Western North Carolina cats and dogs.

The Betty Fund pays all or most of the entire cost of the spay or neuter surgery for pets belonging to families in need.

"There's just a really great feeling for this event all around," she said. "There's a real camaraderie and a great energy at every table where you can really feel like we're making progress.

"You eat delicious food, meet with people you love and make a big impact," she said.

"It's an easy sell."


Join one of the many participating restaurants Tuesday for the 9th annual Dine to Be Kind fundraiser. Here's a sampling of Asheville's kindest, but visit www.animal for the full list:

Okie Dokie Smokehouse, Nine Mile, The Madison Inn, Rise n' Shine Café, plant, Digable Pizza, Blue Sky Café, Well-Bred Bakery, chai pani, Apollo Flame, wingbean, Wild Wing Café, Avenue M, Café Azalea, Doc Chey's, Filo Pastries, Morning Glory Café, Mellow Mushroom, Neo Cantina, West End Bakery, Mela, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro, Jack of the Wood, Jack of Hearts, Urban Burrito, The Dripolator, Limones, The Corner Kitchen, The Grove Park Inn, The Hop West, Vinnie's, Carmel's, Green Sage, Cucina 24, Waggers Dog Depot, Sante Wine Bar, Loretta's and Sunny Point Café.

For more information about Animal Compassion Network call Pet Harmony at 274-3647 or visit

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Camping World to Open New Dealership and Retail Store in Asheville, North Carolina Area



2/21/2012 - Camping World to Open New Dealership and Retail Store in Asheville, North Carolina Area

CHICAGO, IL, Feb 20, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Camping World, the nation's largest RV and outdoor retailer, will be opening their newest retail location in Hendersonville, NC. The location will be officially named Camping World of Asheville.

Camping World of Asheville, located at 2918 North Rugby Road in Hendersonville, NC offers convenient access for travelers at exit 44 on Highway 26 and will encompass both a Camping World retail store and Camping World RV Sales dealership. It is in the facilities formerly occupied by Todd's RV & Marine.

The tentative grand opening celebration is slated for March 2012. Customers will find deals on hundreds of new and pre-owned RVs as well as a large product offering of RV supplies and service. The company is looking to hire at least 30 employees to increase their sales, service and support needs for this local dealership.

"We look forward to having Camping World serve the Western North Carolina market," said Camping World Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis. "Our strong Carolina presence, coupled with our affiliation with NASCAR through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, made this an easy decision."

Camping World offers unmatched selection, service, and pricing for top RV manufacturers including motorized and towable RVs. Offering over 8,000 products, Camping World provides customers all of their RV, outdoor/camping and service needs in a one-stop shopping location.

About Camping World & Good Sam Both founded in 1966, Camping World is America's #1 source for RVs, camping accessories, RV maintenance and repair and Good Sam is the world's largest RV owners organization offering helpful technical tips, vacation planning, extended warranty, magazine subscriptions, roadside assistance and more to serve the outdoor enthusiast. Partnered together, Camping World and Good Sam offers more to those who love the RV lifestyle by offering one-stop shopping and resources for everything RV and outdoor.

Camping World features over 8,000 quality products located at over 85 SuperCenters nationwide, easy online and catalogs shopping as well as stocking a wide selection of new and used trailers and motorhomes from top RV manufacturers. Good Sam members receive cost-saving benefits and services, plus loads of valuable RV information and travel tips to get you ready for your next adventure. Additionally, Good Sam represents more than 2,000 local RV chapters designed to bring RVers together from similar geographic regions for group camping excursions. Camping World is the title sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in addition to the Official RV and Outdoor Retailer of NASCAR.

For more information, visit and

For employment information:

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Arts and Crafts heritage celebrated in Asheville events series



2/14/2012 - Arts and Crafts heritage celebrated in Asheville events series
by Carol Motsinger - Asheville Citizen Times

 ASHEVILLE -- For Jack Thomson, Asheville's neighborhoods are museums with sidewalks instead of walls.

 And as executive director of the Asheville and Buncombe County Preservation Society, one of Thomson's missions is to educate the public about the importance of preserving historic homes, as well as to give people the tools to do it well.

That is also the theme behind tonight's panel discussion, "Problems and Solutions in Restoring Older Homes" at the Masonic Temple downtown.

Organized by the preservation society, the discussion marks the second night of Arts & Crafts Heritage Week, a series of events leading up to the 25th annual Arts & Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn.

This is the first time the conference organizers have offered public and mostly free events leading up to the weekend arts and crafts extravaganza.

Conference founder and director Bruce Johnson said he wanted to celebrate the event's milestone year by recognizing the heritage of Asheville beyond the three-day conference and partner with organizations like the preservation society.

"It really has given us the opportunity to expand the awareness of what arts and crafts mean to Asheville," Johnson said.

Important to Asheville

Arts and Crafts was an international design movement that thrived in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.

It was a reaction against what proponents deemed the dehumanizing effect of the Industrial Revolutions.

Instead of poorly made furniture burdened with impractical decorative design, architects and designers like Frank Lloyd Wrigt and Gustav Stickley produced simple, well-designed and constructed alternatives.

The movement was important in the development of the cultural and aesthetic identity of Asheville, said Jo Stephenson, one of the about 30 preservation society volunteers who plan to assist during Arts & Crafts Conference events starting Friday.

The conference's host, The Grove Park Inn, was built and furnished in the Arts and Crafts style in 1913.

In Asheville, the most common and recognizable example of the American Arts and Crafts movement is the bungalow-style home.

The rise of the modest bungalow's popularity -- seen in such neighborhoods at Albemarle Park, Montford, Kenilworth, Biltmore Village and West Asheville -- coincided with the railroad's arrival in 1880 that ushered in a period of great growth.

The bungalow was the middle-class symbol of practical restraint, in both design and cost, and in today's troubled economic times, it's re-emerging as a preferred style in both new construction and refurbished home projects.

"I believe that preservation is becoming more and more relevant in this era of new frugality," Thomson said. "We need to facilitate the education for the public to know how to do it right."

Aiming for a 'sustainable future'

For Stephenson, preservation also fits into Asheville's overall consciousness.

"Asheville is a unique place," she said. "People are really concerned with how they live ... and preservation is a big part of that." She also sees preservation as a cornerstone of Asheville's "sustainable future."

Johnson has also seen more interest in the conference from Western North Carolina. "In the early years, I would make the joke that more people from California came than from the Carolinas," Johnson said.

This year, Johnson expects more than 1,200 people will be attending from outside the region, and about 2,000 people coming from the Asheville area to attend the conference's afternoon antique and art shows.

The inn's exhibition ballroom, hallways and meeting rooms will host 125 antiques dealers, craft firms, artists, book sellers, nonprofit organizations and magazine publishers each afternoon.

The conference also include workshops, demonstrations, tours, discussions and educational displays.

"When people ask why the conference has lasted this long, I always said it's because of three reasons," Johnson said. "The conference's educational aspect, that the Grove Park Inn is just a destination and (the overall appeal of) Asheville."


Daily: Pack Memor ial Library Exhibit, "Arts & Crafts of Western North Carolina."
Today: "Problems and Solutions in Restoring Older Homes" by the Asheville Preservation Society, 6-7 p.m., Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway St., Asheville.
Wednesday: "Green and Greener: The New Arts & Crafts Bungalow" by the Asheville chapter of the American Institute of Architects, noon-1:15 p.m., Princess Anne Hotel, 301 E. Chestnut St., Asheville. Reservations required, call 404-376-7452.
Thursday: "The Pottery Tradition of Western North Carolina" by author Rodney Leftwich, benefit dinner, 6-9 p.m. at Biltmore Industries, 111 Grovewood Road, Asheville. Reservations required; visit
Friday-Sunday: The 25th National Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Conference, 1-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, 290 Macon Ave., Asheville.
Saturday-Sunday: Preservation Society House Tours, 1-4 p.m. Saturday and 12:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday. Call for reservations, 254-2343.
Saturday: Asheville Art Museum reception, "Artistic Expression of Galle and Tiffany," 5-7 p.m. at the museum, Pack Square, downtown. For reservations, call 253-3227.
To learn more, including admission fees, visit or call 628-1915.

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Asheville area literary and book-related events for the coming week



2/13/2012 - Asheville area literary and book-related events for the coming week
by Staff - Asheville Citizen Times


 JOSHILYN JACKSON: Joshilyn Jackson reads from her novel, "Grown Up Kind of Pretty," at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 3 p.m. Call 254-6734.


 WRITER'S GROUP: Nantahala Regional Library hosts a writer's group at the Murphy Public Library, 11 Blumenthal Street, Murphy, 2 p.m. Call 837-2417.

DRAMATIC READING: North Carolina Stage Company performs a dramatic reading of "Circle Mirror Transformation" by Annie Baker at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 5:30 p.m. Call 254-6734.

BOOK CLUB: The Fireside Book Club meets at Fireside Bookstore, 2270 US Hwy, Forest City, 5:30 p.m. Call 245-5188.


BOOK CLUB: Leicester Book Club discusses "The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake at Leicester Library, 1561 Alexander Road, Leicester, 1 p.m. Call 250-6480.

WRITERS GROUP: Mountain Writers Group meets at Blue Ridge Books, 152 S Main Street, Waynesville, 1 p.m. Call 456-6000.

BOOK DISCUSSION: Asheville Art Museum hosts a book discussion of "Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg" by Calvin Tomkins at, 2 South Pack Square, Asheville, 3:00 p.m. Call 253-3227 ext. 120.

BOOKCLUB: The Joy of Books Book Club discusses "The Kitchen House" by Kathleen Grissom at The Joy of Books, 242 Main Street, Hendersonville, 6 p.m. Call 828-551-7321.


DANIEL FURST: Daniel Furst discusses his book, "Surfing Aquarius: How to Ace the Wave of Change," at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 7 p.m. Call 254-6734.


PAT RIVERE-SEEL: City Lights Books features Pat Riviere-Seel, author of "The Serial Killer's Daughter," at "Coffee with the Poet" at 3 East Jackson Street, Sylva, 10:30 a.m. Call 586-9499.

BOOK CLUB: Skyland Book Club discusses "When I was Gone" by Sue Miller at South Buncombe/Skyland Library, 260 Overlook Road, Skyland 2:30 p.m. Call 250-6488.

POETRY CLUB: Women on Words poetry club meets at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 5 p.m. Call 254-6734.

LIARS BENCH SHOW: The Liars Bench presents storytelling, music and Gary Carden's dramatic monologue, "Coy" at the Mountain Heritage Center, at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, 7 p.m. Call 586-9499.

DANNY KOFKE: Danny Kofke discusses his book, "A Simple Book of Financial Wisdom," at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 7 p.m. Call 254-6734.

BOOK CLUB: Fairview Evening Book Club discusses "The Tall Woman" by Wilma Dykeman at Fairview Library, 1 Taylor Road, Fairview, 7 p.m. Call 250-6484.

POETRY EVENT: UNC Asheville's Office of Multicultural Student Programs sponsors "Soul Café," featuring poetry and music from Immovable Force, at Highsmith University Union Grotto, 8 p.m. Call 251-6585.


HUMANITIES LECTURE: Sarah Judson presents the lecture, "Women and Inequality," at UNC Asheville's Humanities Lecture Hall, 11:25 a.m. Call 251-6808.

MAJORY WENTWORTH: Majory Wentworth discusses her book, ""Taking a Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights," at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 7 p.m., as an event for Amnesty International. Call 254-6734.

VALERIE NIEMAN: Valerie Nieman reads from her novel, "Blood Clay," at City Lights Bookstore, 3 East Jackson Street, Sylva, 7 p.m. Call 586-9499.


WRITER'S OPEN MIKE: WordKeepers hosts a open-mike reading featuring Julie Townsend, Scot Pope, and Chris Arvidson at Ashe County Arts Council, 303 School Avenue, West Jefferson, 4:00 p.m. Warm up music at 3:00. Contact

DAVID HALPERIN: David Halperin presents his book, "Journal of a UFO Investigator," at Malaprop's Books tore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 7 p.m. Call 254-6734.

AUTHOR AND POET: Daniel Ladinsky, author of "A Year with Hafiz," and Tracey Schmidt, author of "I Have Fallen in Love with the World," present special readings of their work at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 254-6734.

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Asheville City schools expanding laptop program



2/13/2012 - Asheville City schools expanding laptop program
by Julie Ball - Asheville Citizen Times

 ASHEVILLE -- City schools later this month will distribute nearly 900 laptops to students at Asheville High and the School of Inquiry and Life Science, part of an effort to level the technology playing field.

 "When all students have the laptops, it's going to ensure that learning can continue to take place beyond the classroom walls," said Shannon Baggett, instructional technology facilitator and lead teacher at SILSA.

Freshmen got the computers when they started school in August. Later this month, laptops will be distributed to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Debby Dunn, who has a freshman and a junior in the city school system, says the laptops have made her more involved in her child's education.

"At first I was hesitant about it because I didn't know how well I could keep track of what they were doing," Dunn said. "But they give you their password so you can go on and check it at any time to see where they've been and what they are doing. I can also review everything she's done through the day in classes by going on. So, I almost feel like I'm part of it."

Freshman Chelsea Dunn has been using the laptop since the start of the school year.

"I really like having them. It makes the school work a lot easier," she said. "You can go on and check your grades and find the assignments and the due dates."

But not every student likes the idea.

Senior Alice Jamison is concerned that she won't be able to access the Internet at home using the machines. Jamison has her own laptop at home. She's used the school laptops in the classroom.

"I don't like the computer very much. It jumps around a lot," she said.

Jamison said she understands why the school system is distributing the laptops, but as a senior, Jamison would prefer if the program were optional. "I don't really want to deal with it right now," she said.

School officials say students should be able to access the Internet at home using the laptops. The machines are set up with filters that prevent students from using social networking sites or sites deemed inappropriate. The school system has also set up a help desk for students who have problems with a laptop.

Baggett said it's important that all students are working on the same equipment and using the same programs that teachers have been trained to use.

"Some people are really excited and glad this is finally here, but there are some parents that are a little hesitant about it," Baggett said.

The school system first distributed laptops to freshmen last year. They are using grant money and some school system dollars to pay for the machines. Each machine costs about $750, according to Steve Molinari, ninth-grade assistant principal at Asheville High.

Students are paying a fee of $25 per semester to cover insurance costs and to make the program sustainable.

"We want to make sure that all students have the same technology opportunities, so we're trying to make sure that it is available to every student regardless of what their income may be," said Keith Pittman, instructional technology facilitator for Asheville High School.

The laptops allow students to collaborate on a project without being in the same room.

"The days of having to go over to your friend's house on a weekend and pull a late-nighter to work on a project, they are gone. Now, they can be in their own houses, working on a project and the project actually turns out even better than it did," Pittman said.

Baggett said access to laptops is changing the way teachers are teaching.

"With the freshman, I have seen teaching and learning change dramatically because it has allowed our teachers and the students to be so much more collaborative in the work that they do," she said.

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Asheville area performing arts calendar for the coming week



2/10/2012 - Asheville area performing arts calendar for the coming week
by Take 5 - Asheville Citizen Times


Solas, 8 p.m. today, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square. 257-4530.

Maggie and the Romantics, 7 p.m. today at The Classic WineSeller, 20 Church St., Waynesville. 452-6000.

"Asheville Talent Slam" 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway St. Contest like TV show "America's Got Talent," open to N.C. residents 13 years or older. Three winners awarded. Benefit for Eblen Charities. Open registration and info at

Darin and Brooke Aldridge bluegrass, 8 p.m. Saturday, The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St., Asheville. $15. 270-7747.

Youngs Mountain Music, 10 acts featuring mountain music every Saturday at 7 p.m., Mountain Music Drive (off U.S. 19E), Burnsville. 675-4790.

Magnetic Music presents Asheville Improvisational Music Festival, 8 p.m. today-Saturday, Magnetic Field, 372 Depot St. $18. 257-4003.

Angela Heatherly and Terry Wetton, 4 p.m. Sunday, The Guitar Academy of WNC's Music Listening Room, 235 Duncan Hill Road, Hendersonville. Tickets $15 and up. www.wncguitar

"Share The Warmth" benefit concert, 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Haywood Community College, Clyde. Music by Hominy Valley Boys and other local performers, cloggers, jam sessions. $10 minimum donation. Fundraiser for heating assistance. 627-4522 or 648-1515 for tickets or visit Champion Credit Union or HCC bookstore.

PROJECT Trio, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Lipinsky Auditorium, UNC Asheville. Brooklyn-based trio of beatbox flute, cello, bass. $20. $5 UNCA students. $7 area students. 251-6674 or

"Cosi Fan Tutte": 8 p.m. Feb. 17-18, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Biltmore Avenue, Asheville. $30-$53, student tickets $17-$35. One hour prior to performance, attend pre-show talk by conductor and stage director in lower lobby. 257-4530 or

Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, 8 p.m. Feb. 17, Farthing Auditorium at Appalachian State University, Boone. $20, $11 age 6-18, $10 ASU students, $5 age 5 and younger. 262-4046 or

Annual Bluegrass First Class, Feb. 17-19, Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Drive, Asheville. Dailey & Vincent perform both days. $45 or $90 for both days. Sunday 9 a.m. gospel show is free. 275-8650.

Lorraine Conard, Ray Chesna, and Greg Kidd on bass, 7 p.m. Feb. 17, The Classic WineSeller, 20 Church St., Waynesville. 452-6000.

ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18, The Arts Center in Marshall. $12. Visit or call 649-1301.

Jamie Laval Celtic concert with guitarist David Brown and flutist/bagpiper E.J. Jones, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23-24, Transylvania Community Arts Council, 349 S. Caldwell St., Brevard. $15, $8 students. 884-2787 or

Christopher O'Reilly, pianist, 8 p.m. March 3, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square. 257-4530.

Danny Ellis, "800 Voices: My Life in an Irish Orphange," 8 p.m. March 9, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Biltmore Avenue. 257-4530.

Danny Ellis "An Irishman in America," 8 p.m. March 10, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Biltmore Avenue. 257-4530.

Marc Yaxley, 4 p.m. March 11, The Guitar Academy of WNC's Music Listening Room, 235 Duncan Hill Road, Hendersonville. Tickets $15 and up.

Sagapool, 8 p.m. March 22, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square/Biltmore Avenue. 257-4530.

Lunasa, 8 p.m. March 24, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square/Biltmore Avenue. 257-4530.

Mavis Staples, of The Staple Singers, 8 p.m. March 31, Lipinsky Auditorium, UNC Asheville. $35. $5 UNCA students. $7 area students. Gospel, soul, R&B. 251-6674 or

Al Petteway and Amy White, 4 p.m. April 22, The Guitar Academy of WNC's Music Listening Room, 235 Duncan Hill Road, Hendersonville. Tickets $15 and up.

Teada with Seamus Begley, 8 p.m. May 11, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square. 257-4530.

Tom Fisch, 4 p.m. May 13, The Guitar Academy of WNC's Music Listening Room, 235 Duncan Hill Road, Hendersonville. Tickets $15 and up.

The Teatotalers with John Doyle, Martin Hayes eand Kevin Crawford, 8 p.m. May 24, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square. 257-4530.

Chuck Brodsky, 4 p.m. June 10, The Guitar Academy of WNC's Music Listening Room, 235 Duncan Hill Road, Hendersonville. Tickets $15 and up.

Danny Ellis, 4 p.m. July 8, The Guitar Academy of WNC's Music Listening Room, 235 Duncan Hill Road, Hendersonville. Tickets $15 and up.


Concert of Spirituals: Traditional African-American spirituals at 3 p.m. Sunday, St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 1 Dundee St., Asheville. Featuring Brothers of Faith, Spiritual Voices, St. John "A" choirs. Donations accepted.


AmiciMusic presents "It's a Fine (Four-Hand) Romance," 7 p.m. today, White Horse, 105-C Montreat Road, Black Mountain. Featuring pianists David Troy Francis and Daniel Weiser. $15, $5 students/children. 669-0816.

Asheville Symphony Orchestra, "Beethoven's Pastoral" Symphony," 8 p.m. Saturday, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. 254-7046.

AmiciMusic private house concert, 2 p.m. Sunday, at a home off Town Mountain Road, Asheville. $35 includes wine and food. Reservations required. Call Dan at 505-2903 or e-mail

Pan Harmonious Chamber Series, Fabio Parrini on piano, Kate Steinbeck on flute, Maria Parrini on cello. 5 p.m. Sunday, The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St., Asheville. $15. 270-7747.

Third Sunday Concert Series: 4 p.m. Feb. 19, First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville, corner of Church Street and Fifth Avenue. Featured performer is Christopher Tavernier, presenting Five Authentic Hungarian Folksongs, Transcendental Etude No. 1 and No. 2 by Liszt and Widmung Dedication by Schumann-Liszt. 693-4275.

Cafe String Quartet, 7 p.m. Feb. 26, Jubilee! Community, 46 Wall St., Asheville. By donation. Fundraiser for Helpmate. 545-8865 or

Alexander String Quartet, 8 p.m. March 2, Unitarian Universalist Church, Charlotte Street at Edwin Place, presented by the Asheville Chamber Music Series.

Asheville Symphony Orchestra, "Brahms Symphony No. 1," 8 p.m. March 17, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. 254-7046.

Susanne Skyrm, pianist, 7:30 p.m. March 20, Thomas Auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock. $10, $3 students. 694-1743.

Pacifica String Quartet, 8 p.m. April 13, Unitarian Universalist Church, Charlotte Street at Edwin Place, presented by the Asheville Chamber Music Series.

Asheville Symphony Orchestra, "Mozart's Jupiter Symphony," 8 p.m. April 14, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. 254-7046.

N.C. Symphony, 7:30 p.m. April 25, Mars Hill College's Moore Auditorium. $25 general admission, $100 patron. Visit

Asheville Symphony Orchestra, "The Pines of Rome," 8 p.m. May 12, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. 254-7046.

Pan Harmonia, led by Asheville flutist Kate Steinbck, 8 p.m. June 14, UNC Asheville's Highsmith University Union Grotto. Free. 251-6674 or


"La Pasion Flamenca," 7:30 p.m. Monday, John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee. By Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana dance company. $10, $5 students. 227-2479 or www.bardoartscenter.wcu. edu.

Tango, Milonga at Tomato Cocina Latina, 70 Westgate Pky., Asheville, 8:30 p.m.-midnight second and fourth Fridays. Presented by Tango Asheville. $5 members, $6 non-members.

Hip Hop for kids, 5 p.m. Fridays, Hunab Kru Studio of Dance, Arden. For age 6-13. The art of BBoying and BGirling to all skill levels. 654-7890.

Learn to square dance with Land of Sky Square Dance Club, second and fourth Fridays, Senior Opportunity Center, 36 Grove St., Asheville. For all ages.

West African dance classes, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Terpsicorps Studio, Old Lyman Street, Asheville. Classes are done to live drumming. $10. Open to all levels. 319-2486.

Tuesday Night Dance Social, 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Homewood Event and Conference Center, 19 Zillicoa St., Asheville. $7. Music provided includes ballroom, country western, line dance, swing, salsa, more. 712-8121.

Square dance lessons with Southern Lights Square and Round Dance Club, 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Stoney Mountain Activity Center, Stoney Mountain Road, Hendersonville. 625-9969.

Contra dance, 2-4:30 p.m. every fourth Sunday, The Gateway Club, 37 Church St., Waynesville. $5. 456-6789.

Classes With Ellie Grace, Appalachian clogging and Cape Breton step dancing, West Asheville. 573-239-0430 or

Irish dance classes, ongoing classes at Miss Donna's Academy of Dance in Candler. For all levels. 242-2361.

Clogging and Irish step dancing, every Monday at Joyful Noise in Weaverville. $10 per student, per class. Call 712-7559 or e-mail for class times.

"Part II La Epoca-The Lost Rhythms in Salsa," 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18, Tomato Cocina Latina, 70 Westgate Pky., Asheville. Film followed by roundtable discussion and dance classes at 8:30 and 9:15 p.m. From 10 p.m.-2 a.m. is nonstop dancing of mambo, salsa, cha-cha-cha during which select dancers will be filmed for "Part III La Epoca." Contact director Josue Joseph at http://www.facebook. com/La.Epoca.

Puremovement, hip-hop dance 8 p.m. Feb. 23-24, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square. $40, student $35, $12 age 12 and younger. Young Audience Series performance at 10 a.m. Feb. 24. 257-4530.

Moscow Festival Ballet's "Giselle," 7:30 p.m. March 9, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium at Asheville Civic Center. $15-$60. 225-5887 or for tickets.

Diavalo, 8 p.m. March 13-14, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square. Young Audience Series performance at 10 a.m. March 13, 257-4530.

Keigwin and Company, 8 p.m. March 30-31, Diana Wortham Theatre, Pack Place, Pack Square. 257-4530.


Movies at Jackson County Library in Sylva are shown 6:30 p.m. every Thursday. Free. Call 586-2016 for schedule.

Asheville Anime Club, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Firestorm Cafe, 48 Commerce St., Asheville. Join other anime enthusiasts for geeky films and fun. Features some mature content.

Documentary "God In Human Form: The Life and Work of Avatar Meher Baba," 3 p.m. Feb. 18, Pack Memorial Library's Lord Auditorium, 67 Haywood St., Asheville. Written and produced by Asheville's Peter Nordeen, this film documents the dynamic life of Meher Baba (1894-1969), one of India's most revered spiritual masters, who observed silence for 44 years. Free. Followed by Q&A with filmmaker. 274-0307.

"Part II La Epoca-The Lost Rhythms in Salsa," 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18, Tomato Cocina Latina, 70 Westgate Pky., Asheville. Followed by roundtable discussion and dance classes at 8:30 and 9:15 p.m. From 10 p.m.-2 a.m. is non-stop dancing of mambo, salsa, cha-cha-cha during which select dancers will be filmed for "Part III La Epoca." Contact director Josue Joseph at

"We Still Live Here," 7:30 p.m. March 13, Western Carolina University, A.K. Hinds University Center, Cullowhee. The cultural revival of the Wampanoag of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. Free. 227-3622 or

"Sahkanaga," 7:30 p.m. April 17, Western Carolina University, A.K. Hinds University Center, Cullowhee. Teen in rural Gerogia makes gruesome discovery in the woods. Free. 227-3622 or


Land of the Sky Symphonic Band, 7 p.m. Feb. 24, Calvary Baptist Church, 531 Haywood Road, Asheville. 253-7301.

Depot Doins, 6:30 p.m. Fridays, downtown Marshall. Bluegrass and country jam open to singers and bands. 645-0503.

Old Fort Mountain Music, 7 p.m. Fridays, year-round, the Rockett Building, Main Street, Old Fort.669-6894.

Woody's Original Mountain Music, 7 p.m. Fridays, year-round, 3354 U.S. 70 W., Marion. 724-4158.

Bluegrass jam, 6 p.m. every first Saturday, Erwin Hills Lions Club, 188 Erwin Hills Road, Asheville. Several groups perform. Bring your instrument. Cake walk. Free admission. 713-7509.

Swannanoa Valley Bluegrass Jam, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Eye Scream Ice Cream Parlor, 2064 U.S. 70 W., Swannanoa, 505-2174.

First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Jam Series, concert and jam sessions 7-9 p.m. every first Thursday, Western Carolina University's Mountain Heritage Center, Cullowhee. 227-7129.

Sounds of Silvermont, 7:30-10 p.m. Thursdays, Silvermont Mansion, 364 E. Main St., Brevard. Local musicians playing bluegrass, country, gospel and more. 884-3166.

Bluegrass Music Jam, 7-9 p.m. Thursdays, Marion Depot, 58 Depot St. Open to all musicians; no scheduled performers. 652-2215.

Hooterville Hoedown, mini-jams for local musicians 7-9 p.m. every Thursday, Opportunity House, 1411 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville. Big Show last Thursdays featuring an area professional band, $4. 692-0575.

Open jam nights the second and fourth Thursdays, Signature Brew Coffee Company, 633 W. Main St., Sylva. Shop provides the instruments, you provide the talent. Chris Cooper's Fusion band hosts. 587-6300.

The Lady and the Old Timers Band, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. March 2, Jackson County Public Library, Sylva. Held first Friday every month. Gospel and traditional country tunes. 586-2016.


Sunday Jazz with Michael Jefry Stevens Trio, noon-2:30 p.m. Sunday, The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St., Asheville. $10. 270-7747.


Storyteller Mati Livinit, "The Badger Speaks: A Journey Into the Power of Stories" 7 p.m. today, Firestorm Cafe, 48 Commerce St., Asheville.

The Oxymorons improvisational comedy, HART's Feichter Studio, 250 Pigeon St., Waynesville. $10, $6 students. 456-6322. Today, Feb. 24, March 9, March 24, April 6.

Stand Up Comic Johnny Millwater, 8:30 p.m. today, The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St., Asheville. $10. 270-7747.

Do Tell Storyfest, Saturday-Sunday, Flat Rock Playhouse, 125 S. Main St., Hendersonville. 1-5:30 p.m. Saturday, regional storytellers, $12; 7:30-9:30 p.m. storyteller and musician Michael Reno Harrell, $10-$12; 2:30-4 p.m. Sunday, Abraham Lincoln birthday bash, $8. 693-0731.

"Harbinger 1: Rise of the 'Stache," by Feral Chihuahuas sketch comedy troupe, 8 p.m. today, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce St., Asheville. $10 online and $13 at the door. Available at feralchihuahuas. com.

"Billy the Liar" by Cripps Puppets and Toybox Theatre, 4 p.m. Saturday, The Magnetic Field, 372 Depot St., Asheville. High energy puppet farce for children of all ages. $8.

Comedy open mic 9-11 p.m. every Saturday, Wall Street Coffee House, 62 Wall St., Asheville. Everyone gets six minutes to try to make the audience laugh. 545-8502 or 423-0023.

Live comedy 8:30-10 p.m. every Wednesday at Essence Lounge at Harrah's Cherokee Casino.

The Liars Bench presents "Coy" at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 and 23, Western Carolina University's Mountain Heritage Center, Cullowhee. Southern Appalachian storytelling, music, poetry, and drama. $10. 227-7129.

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nvestors buy two downtown Asheville buildings, including historic S&W



2/9/2012 - Investors buy two downtown Asheville buildings, including historic S&W
by Mark Barrett - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- Florida-based investors have bought the S&W Cafeteria building -- one of downtown's best-known art deco structures -- and hope to bring activity back to the mostly empty building.

A related company has purchased the Windsor Hotel building at the corner of Broadway and Walnut streets and plans to put retail space on the first floor and about 12 apartments above.

Negotiations are under way to lease first-floor space in the S&W to an unidentified "major restaurant owner," said Michael Krieger, who is a principal in the companies along with his brother, Richard.

The two will complete seven unfinished condominiums in the upper floors of the building at 56 Patton Ave. and then either sell or lease them, he said.

"We just believe in the Asheville market. We think it's a good market," said Michael Krieger, who is based in Miami Beach, Fla. "We see no reason that it's not going to continue to grow."

Plans are still coming together, but he hopes new occupants will be in both buildings by the end of the year, Michael Krieger said. The buildings will retain their historic character, he said.

Bargain bin

Banks acquired both buildings by foreclosure after developers were unable to repay loans they had used to buy them.

Jack Thomson, executive director of the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, said he is particularly happy to see the S&W get new ownership that plans to put empty parts of the building to use.

The 1929 building's fanciful tile facade is one of the city's most recognizable, and it has touches inside like porcelain tiles on the walls, terrazzo floors and sculpted plaster ceilings.

"It's obviously a flagship for the art deco movement for Asheville," Thomson said. "We're excited that private enterprise is making another run at this special building."

Developers have been increasingly interested downtown buildings, said Alan Glines, a planner for the city of Asheville whose responsibilities include downtown.

The Kriegers' MRK Patton LLC bought most of the S&W from First South Bank on Jan. 31 for a little less than $2 million, according to property records. The purchase does not include three residential condominiums on the building's upper floors.

 The Spartanburg, S.C., bank acquired the building in February 2011 as the result of foreclosure of a loan to a company headed by developer Steve Moberg.

 Moberg's S&W Condominium Corp. bought the building for $2.45 million in August 2007.

Moberg added a floor to the building and began work on 10 residential condominiums in the building's two upper stories. In May 2008, he opened an upscale steak restaurant in the main cafeteria space and a casual restaurant next door.

But the main restaurant, which started with entrees priced at $18-$34, filed for bankruptcy in January 2011. Upscale restaurants were particularly hard hit during the Great Recession.

The building has about 29,000 square feet in four stories and a basement, according to property records.

A piece of history

Before it closed in 1974, the cafeteria was once part of a small chain of Southern cafeterias and was both a popular spot for a meal and a community gathering space.

"It was the heart of the downtown," Thomson said. "When you sat down and ate lunch in that space, you felt like you were somebody."

Subsequent businesses have had more trouble making money in the space, which sat empty for years at a stretch.

Those problems are "a bit of an enigma to me," Thomson said. "You don't have to be an architectural historian to look at the space and see that it's fabulous. ... There are people out there who are smarter than me who can really make it work."

The Kriegers may benefit from paying less for the building than Moberg's company did, getting more building for their money and starting out in a rising economy instead of a falling one.

Michael Krieger said the former cafeteria space is in excellent condition, and if plans to put a restaurant there pan out, "Our intention is not to make any changes" to that part of the building.

Another Krieger company, MRK Broadway LLC, bought the empty Windsor Hotel building for $885,000 in December.

Built in 1917, the Windsor Hotel was a cheap res idential hotel when a California developer bought it for $2.3 million in October 2007 with plans to turn it into an upscale hotel.

The hotel had been sold twice before in the same decade, for $960,000 in December 2003 and $1.6 million in February 2005.

Workers gutted much of the hotel and its first-floor retail space, but plans did not proceed any further. Asheville Savings Bank foreclosed on the building and took ownership in April 2010.

Michael Krieger and Tim Bramley, a broker with Dewey Property Advisors, said plans for the building, listed at 27,440 square feet, are still at a preliminary stage, but retail space could be available in spring.

The first floor is likely to have three retail storefronts on Broadway and Walnut and a small lobby for the one-bedroom apartments to be upstairs, they said.

There is a fair amount of vacant retail space downtown, but Bramely said there is already interest in space in the Windsor.

"I believe that right now there is quite a bit of demand," Bramley said. "We've received quite a few calls just after putting the (for lease) sign up."

Preservationists will be glad to see someone return the building to use and keep it in good repair, Thomson said. "While that building is certainly not as evocative or as flamboyant as the S&W, it does contribute to the fabric of downtown," he said.

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