The North Carolina Technology Association has announced that the City of Asheville’s 123 Graffiti Free Dashboard is among the finalists for the 2014 Tech Awards. The online tool is one of four finalists in the “Business Value” category under “Use of Technology,” and was selected from more than 500 nominations. It is also the only example of public sector tech among the finalists.
IT GIS Analyst Cameron Carlyle with the 123 Graffiti Free dashboard.
“This tool was designed to allow the public easy access to information, and to clearly illustrate the progress the 123 Graffiti Free program was making in the community,” said Business & Public Technology Manager Scott Barnwell. “Ease of use and transparency are the kinds of roles tech should be playing in the world.”
The dashboard was designed by Cameron Carlyle, the newest member of the Information Technology Services team, with the collaboration of the Graffiti Team, the Office of Planning and Multimodal Transportation and the Office of Communication and Public Engagement.
With a visit to 123GraffitiFree.com users can see the number of requests made for graffiti cleanup, the number of jobs completed, and the amount invested by the City of Asheville. They can also track individual projects and see a map showing locations of graffiti cleanup sites.
In July, the city launched the 123 Graffiti Free cleanup assistance program offering $500 in cleanup assistance to property owners. Property owners who have not participated in the program are eligible through September 30, 2015 (or until funding runs out) for a one-time $500 incentive to help clean up graffiti on their site.
The NC Tech award winners will be announced on November 6.
October 17, 2014
Leaf season is upon us, and with that comes leaf collection. The City of Asheville Sanitation Department picks up leaves on an alternating schedule. Be sure to leave bags untied or use a reusable container marked “leaves”.
And if you need some reusable bags, you can pick them up from any City of Asheville fire station!
Here are the details:
The City of Asheville provides bagged leaf collection service on an alternating schedule and provides reusable leaf bags at City of Asheville fire stations on a first come – first served basis.
Bagged leaves are collected twice per month and should be placed to the curb by 7:00 a.m. on the Monday of the assigned collection week. For residents with a Monday and Tuesday trash collection, bagged leaves will be collected the first and third week of each month. For residents with a Wednesday and Thursday trash collection, bagged leaves will be collected during the second and fourth week of each month. Bagged leaves are collected year round.
Reusable leaf bags are now available at City of Asheville fire stations. To ensure collection, leaves should be placed in untied bags or a reusable container marked “leaves”. Residents can find curbside leaf collection weeks by visiting the city’s website.
Composting is another alternative for the loose leaves to be placed and is great for the soil in your garden.
For further information contact the City of Asheville at 251-1122 or visit www.ashevillenc.gov/sanitation.
October 15, 2014
Everyone needs to get around. That’s the simple idea behind Asheville In Motion, an evolving and exciting community-based initiative designed to increase access to all forms of transportation.
On October 25, the public is encouraged to participate in a symposium on Asheville’s transportation future. The event will feature a panel discussion, community exercises and opportunities to let the community know your biggest priorities for mobility in Asheville.
Input and information will become part of the city’s AIM mobility plan, which will meet Asheville’s growth and transportation needs by changing how we think about getting around.
“In the past, we have thought of sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure and streets as being in different silos,” says Transportation Manager Mariate Echeverry. “The best way to build a mobility network that gives attention to all forms of transportation is to examine them in a holistic, interconnected way.”
Better mobility means easier access to jobs, better neighborhood connectivity, a boost to business, and a safe, healthy, sustainable transportation system. Help Asheville take AIM at the future of mobility by attending this exciting event.
The Asheville In Motion symposium will take place Saturday, October 25 in the U.S. Cellular Center Banquet Hall from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Find more information about Asheville In Motion here.
October 9, 2014
“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” That quote, originally spoken by Dolly Parton, was a cornerstone message from Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer at the City of Asheville 2014 State of the City address.
“I really think that fits well for Asheville,” Manheimer told a crowd gathered at the U.S Cellular Center’s banquet hall on October 1. The Mayor took the opportunity to spotlight the city’s sense of pride in culture, creativity and sense of place, but also to talk about the challenges the city faces as it grows.
Fiscal imbalances between growth and expenditures outlined in a 2012 white paper remain, and reduced funding opportunities present their own challenges, but Asheville is fortunate to have local and regional partners that form a network for moving forward.
“Addressing the long-term viability of our region requires an innovative approach to economic development, government services, and a full engagement of the network,” she said.
One option is the creation of Metropolitan Service Districts, or Innovation Districts, currently being considered for three areas of town: The River Arts District, South Slope and Charlotte Street. Investing in these areas in the form of street and sidewalk improvements, stormwater infrastructure and off street parking facilities has the ability to create an environment for economic development, multimodal transportation improvements, affordable housing options and revitalization.
The Mayor stressed the great role of important partners like Buncombe County, the Asheville Housing Authority, A-B Tech, Mountain Housing Opportunities and Green opportunity for forwarding the vision of the community.
“Asheville is not a complacent city,” she said. “ We all want to see the city thrive.”
Are you curious and want to know more? Watch the full video of the Mayor Manheimer’s State of the City address.
October 8, 2014
The Asheville Fire Department is reminding everyone that October is Fire Prevention Month and that smoke alarms save lives!
From the AFD:Working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a fire. That’s the message behind this year’s Fire Prevention campaign, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!”
Along with firefighters and safety advocates nationwide, the Asheville Fire Department is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) during Fire Prevention Month, which is October, to remind local residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home and testing them monthly.
According to the latest NFPA research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
“In a fire, seconds count,” said Kelley Klope, PIO. “Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out.”
This year’s Fire Prevention campaign includes the following smoke alarm messages:
• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
• Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all do.
• Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly.
• Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.
The Asheville Fire Department will be hosting many activities during Fire Prevention Week/Month to promote “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives!” The following is a list of just some of dates/times/locations that AFD will be educating at local schools.
Oct. 1 Isaac Dickson 8:30-10:30
Oct. 2 Estes Elementary 8:30-12:00
Oct. 6 Jones Elementary 8:30-12:00
Oct. 7 Oakley Elementary 8:30-10:30
Oct. 8 Francine Delaney 8:30-10:00
Oct. 9 Haw Creek 8:30-10:30
Oct. 13 Asheville Catholic 8:30-10:30
Oct. 14 Bell Elementary 8:30-10:30
Oct 16 VIP at AHS 10am & 2pm
Oct. 20 Hall Fletcher 8:15-10:15
Oct. 21 Claxton Elementary 10:00-12:00
Oct. 22 Sandhill Venable TBA
Oct. 23 Vance Elementary 9:00-11:00
To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities, please contact the Kelley Klope, PIO for the Asheville Fire Department at (828)251-4011 or email@example.com. To learn more about smoke alarms and “Working Smoke Alarms Saves Lives”, visit NFPA’s Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.
September 29, 2014
The Asheville Fire Department’s newest vehicle is a top-of-the-line piece of public safety equipment. Its features include LED lights that use a smaller generator and leave more room for equipment, a wireless internet hotspot that enhances communication at a command post, a night-vision camera, airbag technology that protects firefighters and mobile hydraulic tools like the jaws of life that allow for greater range. It was also built nimble enough to navigate city streets, but with the climbing capability to handle the steep terrain in our area.
But high-tech capabilities do not trump tradition, and on Tuesday, Asheville Firefighters honored the long-standing tradition by pushing Squad 1 into downtown’s Gus Werhan Station 1.
The tradition goes back to the days of horse-drawn fire engines. Horses couldn’t back engine in, so firefighters had to push the vehicles back into the bay after responding to fires. Click below to see video of the event:
September 24, 2014
The Harvest House Community Center on Kenilworth Road turned the big 5-0 this year, and to hear people talk, it has never been better. The senior center, known for its large selection of activities, classes and events, has built an impressive following over its five decades.
“The overlaying spirit is that everyone is happy to have this place,” said Alan Kaufman at the center’s birthday celebration. “Everyone here is welcoming.”
Kaufman, an artist who regularly uses the center’s fully-equipped woodworking shop, says the center’s community is as important as its resources.
“I have all the tools I need here, but I already have most of these at home. I come here for the camaraderie,” he says. Kaufman adds that it’s not only seniors who use the facility, and that the Harvest House is open to any age group. “There are young people who come here too,” he says.
Center Director Lee Dansby says the Harvest House has as many as 300 regular visitors who participate in everything from weaving classes and line dancing to pool games and Tai Chi. Groups form to play card games or Scrabble on a regular basis and to catch up with one another. “There is a real sense of community that forms with all of these groups,” she says.
At 50, Harvest House has a long history in the city of Asheville. The building on Kenilworth Road was erected in 1925 as a retail space, and had several different uses before it was converted to a community center by the Junior League of Asheville in 1964. The next year, the league donated the center to the City of Asheville.
Harvest House organizes regular day trips, pot lucks and lunch outings for seniors and offers anything from book clubs and card games to outdoor shuffle board. It was the recent site for an arts and crafts expo and regularly hosts area entertainers.
And, Dansby adds, the people who use the center add to the atmosphere with contributions of time and skills. One Harvest House regular refelts the pool tables when needed while another restored a player piano and donated it to the center. Game nights and book clubs are led by enthusiasts who take it upon themselves to keep up with calendars and manage lists of participants. “Every group tends to evolve to have its own leaders,” Dansby says.
Elenore Lemey, who herself leads a bookclub but also enjoys playing in with ladies pool group, agrees.
“Harvest House offers a lot that interests people. It is a special place because people make fast friends here. It promotes camaraderie and a feeling of well-being.”
Harvest House is operated by the City of Asheville Parks and Recreation Department, and, alongside the Senior Opportunity Center at 36 Grove Street, is one of two community centers specializing in programming for seniors. For more information, call (828) 350-2051 or visit the Parks and Recreation website.
September 23, 2014
AFD Chief Scott Burnette (at podium) awards Engineer Zach Wetmore the Medal of Valor.
The Asheville Fire Department promotes firefighters throughout the year, but saves the recognition and pinning ceremony for a somber and notable day for firefighters: September 11.
This year’s ceremony, held at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center, observed the promotions or advancements of 49 firefighters as well as the recognition of those instances in which firefighters had saved lives in emergency situations.
Of note was the award of the Medal of Valor to Engineer Zach Wetmore in recognition of a June 12 incident in which he and a civilian pulled a woman from her burning home on Sand Hill Road. Wetmore was off duty when he noticed flames coming from the home. He and a neighbor found the owner and pulled her from the house.
The Medal of Valor is second-highest award firefighters can receive.
Though the AFD is most visible in fire scenarios, the ceremony also noted actions of Asheville firefighters who saved lives in situations like cardiac arrest and floods and who assisted in childbirth.
“Today, we are honoring the men and women who continue to serve and protect our community through their commitment to the Asheville Fire Department,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer speaking at the event. “Most of us who do not work in the fire service can’t even imagine the level of trust and support that these men and women must have for one another. I am proud to say that our Fire Department is recognized as one of the premier fire and rescue departments in North Carolina. The dedication to our community shows in the diligent commitment to improve the quality of service provided and the enhancement of safety for you, the firefighters who protect us.”
The following firefighters were recognized for retirement, promotion or advancement:
Recognition of Retirees:
Carlton Denning, Division Chief
Mike McCoy, Captain
TJ Swafford, Captain
Rick Emory, Captain
Mike Hartsell, Captain
Deputy Fire Marshal:
Assistant Fire Marshal:
September 17, 2014
On Thursday, Sept. 11, the Asheville Police Department promoted three of its own to the rank of Sergeant. Officers Brien Griffin, Ann Fowler and Tammy Bryson were sworn in during a ceremony in the Asheville City Council Chambers, with Mayor Esther Manheimer administering their oaths.
From left: Sgt. Brien Griffin, Sgt. Ann Fowler, Sgt. Tammy Bryson, Chief William Anderson.
“These are three truly dedicated individuals,” said APD Chief William Anderson. “Each has done something in their career that rises to this level, and all three of them know how proud I am of their performance.” Between them, the three newly-decorated sergeants represent 38 collective years with the department.
September 17, 2014
The announcement that the City of Asheville won $14.6 million in federal funding for transportation improvements in and around the River Arts District and adjacent neighborhoods advances the hard work and planning that has gone into that area. The TIGER VI award was announced September 12 during a visit by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who called the East of the Riverway Multimodal Network Project a “ladder of opportunity in the area.”
Transportation Secretary Foxx (left) with Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer at the Sept. 12 announcement at Jean Webb Park.
“These improvements will connect low and moderate income neighborhoods with jobs, neighborhood services and community assets in Asheville’s rapidly developing riverfront,” Foxx said. “With the help of TIGER, Asheville residents and visitors will soon have even greater access to their community, with the ability to bike and walk the city’s streets more safely and securely than before.” See all of Secretary Foxx’s comments here.
The grant award, and a one-to-one match from the city, means that a total of $29.2 million will go into pedestrian and bicycle improvements, traffic flow enhancements, connections to surrounding neighborhoods, greenways and an all around safer transportation experience in the river district, and in adjacent Southside, WECAN and East-West Asheville neighborhoods. Those goals are in line with national visions for enhanced, safe, multimodal transportation options.
The City of Asheville Department of Community and Economic Development and Transportation Department have worked closely with community stakeholders, residents and regulatory officials to coordinate efforts and resources in the riverway, and in 2010 secured a TIGER II grant. That money allowed the city to push forward with planning that was integral to bringing the TIGER VI funding to Asheville.
“We are still celebrating,” said Riverfront Coordinator Stephanie Monson Dahl. “This is a huge piece of the puzzle in the future of Asheville’s riverfront. A lot of people have put in a lot of time and energy into crafting visions for the riverfront and East of the Riverway Neighborhoods, and this award solidifies that effort.”
The East of the Riverway Multimodal Network Project, alongside the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Plan (RADTIP) the Craven Street Improvement Project, and the construction of the New Belgium brewing facility, all play a part in the transformation of Asheville’s river district and creating needed transportation connections there.
“This is a huge win or Asheville,” Mayor Esther Manheimer said at the announcement. “These funds will provide for the continued revitalization of our River Arts District, creating a shared community vision of expanded greenways, street and sidewalk improvements and development opportunities that will continue to generate economic growth for Asheville.”
Groundbreaking on several projects in the East of the Riverway Multimodal Network Project is anticipated to begin in 2015. Watch ashevillenc.gov/projects for updates.
September 15, 2014