Archives – June, 2010

Brush collection schedule to change July 1

In an effort to conserve costs and use city resources more efficiently, the frequency of brush collection will change from twice per month to once per month beginning July 1.

Revised brush collection schedules will be mailed to residents over the next few days. New schedules can also be viewed and downloaded on the City’s website at

The new schedule will mean brush crews will collect in one trash collection area per week. This will mean that Monday trash customers will have their brush collected the first week of each month. Brush for Tuesday trash customers will be collected the second week of the month. Wednesday trash customers will have brush collected the third week of the month, and Thursday trash customers will have their brush collected the fourth week of the month.

Brush collection will continue to occur on a scheduled week and not a specific day. Residents should make sure brush is out for collection by 7 a.m. on collection week.

Brush should be cut to four feet in length and six inches in diameter. Crews ask that residents do not mix trash, debris, garden waste, weeds, vines, construction materials, leaves or dirt. For the safety of crews, thorny trimmings should be placed in a separate pile.

For further information contact the City of Asheville at 251-1122 or visit

Leave a Comment June 25, 2010

Butterflies return to WNC Nature Center on Saturday

The summer months will see the WNC Nature Center hosting more than 20 species of butterflies and moths for the center’s highly-anticipated Beauty of the Butterfly exhibit. The exhibit opens on Saturday, June 26 as part of the center’s Nectar Collector Day and will run through August 24.

The popular exhibit allows WNC Nature Center visitors to wander through a hoop-house, coming in close contact with blooming flowers and several hundred butterflies. This is the seventh year the exhibit has appeared at the center, and an estimated 30,000 people visit the butterflies each season, says Eli Strull, the center’s Education Specialist.

Butterflies on display in the exhibit come from actual butterfly farmers in other parts of the county, mostly in Texas and Florida. While the WNC Nature Center is permitted to keep the specimens in the display area, it is not allowed to release them into the wild.

Butterfly Visionary, Tracy Trout, and Exhibit

The Beauty of the Butterflies exhibit returns June 26

This will be the last year the exhibit takes place in the temporary hoop-house, as next summer will see the opening of a permanent exhibit area at the center. The new exhibit area is made possible by a $45,000 donation by the Friends of the WNC Nature Center, and will be located above the turtle pond that is currently under construction.

The new, larger exhibit will allow visitors to wander a loop trail and spend more time with the butterflies, and will open in the summer of 2011. While the butterflies will still appear seasonally, the trail itself will be home to many plants that attract the flying insects.

The June 26 opening of this year’s exhibit will coincide with Nectar Collector Day, which will celebrate the importance on nectar collecting animals as well as provide fun activities, crafts, games and food.

“We’ll talk about the life cycle of the butterfly, why pollination is so important and what we can do to help,” Strull said.

For information on this and other exhibits and events at the WNC Nature Center, call (828) 298-5600.

The WNC Nature Center’s mission is to increase public awareness and understanding of the natural environment of Western North Carolina. Featuring over 150 animals including otters, black bear and red wolf, the Center is open from 10:00 – 5:00 daily.

The Center is operated by the City of Asheville and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Leave a Comment June 23, 2010

Asheville kicks off RiverWay redevelopment planning process

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy speaks at the RiverWay announcement

In a kickoff event at the River District’s Riverview Station, the City of Asheville announced the launch of a environmental study and preliminary redesign process for Riverside Drive and Lyman Street.

The announcement marks a step toward the realization of the Wilma Dykeman Riverway Plan, a system of parks and greenways, roadway improvements, and context-sensitive development opportunities along the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers. Among other positives, the connectivity would encourage multi-modal transportation opportunities like bicycling, and enhance access to the city’s river fronts. The Wilma Dykeman plan, championed by the local nonprofit RiverLink, was formally adopted by Asheville City Council in 2004.

The planning, which will be overseen by Wilbur Smith Associates, is funded by a federal appropriation channeled through the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The plans are needed in order to secure funding for the restructuring of the corridor.

In her remarks, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy compared reworking the riverfront to the resurgence of Asheville’s downtown, and said it would make the areas by the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers more inviting to residents and guests.

“This will make Asheville’s riverfront a premier location to work, live and play,” Mayor Bellamy said.

Lyman Street

Lyman Street in Asheville's River District

In 2009, Asheville City Council formed the Asheville Riverfront Redevelopment Commission, an appointed body that will make recommendations on initiatives pertaining to the riverfront such as redevelopment in the area. That commission began meeting in May.

Reflecting the partnerships and cooperation the riverfront initiative has engendered, speakers at the kick-off event included City of Asheville Transportation Director Ken Putnam, River District Design Review Committee Chair Jane Matthews, RiverLink Executive Director Karen Cragnolin and LandDesign principal and landscape architect Stephanie Pankiewicz. Pankiewicz has been selected by the City of Asheville to head up an extensive public input process during the planning phase.

1 Comment June 22, 2010

Asheville youth attend Asheville Fire Department camp

On Friday, June 18, Asheville Fire Department wrapped up its first annual fire camp for kids. The day camp, which was held June 16-18 at the Asheville Firefighters Association Camp off Clayton Road, gave 18 boys and girls the opportunity to learn more about the tools and skills firefighters use, and even let them get their hands on some of the equipment.

Over three days,  the youths got to go up in the department’s bucket truck, raced each other in putting on firefighter gear, learned to handle a fire hose, witnessed a staged vehicle extraction and learned about fire extinguisher safety.

Asheville Fire and Rescue Public Information Officer Kelley Webb said the activities were geared to keep kids active, having fun and engaged in team-building exercises in a safe environment.

The camp was made possible by grants from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and the Asheville Housing Authority. Thanks to those grants, the camp was free to children, and included snacks, lunches, T-shirts and some take-home goodies.

The Asheville Fire Department hopes the camp will be the first of many over the coming years, Webb said.

The department is also host to Asheville Fire Explorer Post 77, which trains young adults ages 13-20 firefighting skills. Youths participating in this camp were encouraged to join Explorer Post 77 if they wanted to continue learning more about firefighting and rescue response.

For information about future camp opportunities, contact Kelley Webb at (828) 251-4011 or

2 Comments June 18, 2010

City’s IT Director to speak at TEDx in Savannah, GA

IT Director Jonathan FeldmanJonathan Feldman, Information Technology Services Director for the City of Asheville, will be a featured speaker at the TEDxCreativeCoast event in Savannah, GA on Friday, June 18. Feldman was invited to speak about his experiences in fostering innovation in technology organizations.

Feldman has worked for the City of Asheville for over five years, and most of his work over the past 15 years has involved improving technology programs for military, government, health care and financial services industries.

Under his leadership, the City of Asheville’s IT Services Department earned awards for citizen-focused technology innovation three years in a row, in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

“The City of Asheville’s IT Services employees have proven to me that, through creativity, and even during multiple tight budget years, there are ways to boost service levels to departments and citizens,” said Feldman, who is appearing at the TEDx event while on personal leave.

TEDx conferences are local, self-organized events that bring people together to share experiences in the worlds of technology, entertainment and design (TED). At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

Leave a Comment June 17, 2010

City of Asheville announces 2010 Bele Chere music lineup

Bele Chere logoThe City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce the musical lineup for the 2010 Bele Chere Festival held July 23-25 in Downtown Asheville.

Click here for the 2010 Bele Chere entertainment schedule.

The weekend will feature 43 musical acts over four stages throughout the festival, many of which call Western North Carolina home. In recent years, a dedicated push has been made by festival organizers to increase the number of local and regional bands featured at Bele Chere. This year, 38 percent of musical acts are local. That benchmark continues to reflect a 2007 public input process and direction by Asheville City Council to bring a more local flavor to Asheville’s biggest festival.

“We’ve been beating those goals every year,” said Sandra Travis, Program Supervisor for Festivals for the City of Asheville. “We focused on trying to make sure we have a great mix of local bands.”

More than 750 acts submit applications to perform at Bele Chere every year. A selection committee is made up of community members active in the local music scene and industry.

An added local touch will be the performance of this year’s winner of the “Last Band Standing, Road to Bele Chere ’10″ competition made possible through a partnership between the City of Asheville and WNC Magazine. After an online poll of participating local acts, four finalists have been announced. Those bands will play at a June 23 event at The Orange Peel, and the winner from that evening will perform the festival’s first show on the afternoon of Friday, July 23. Click here to see the finalists in the “Last Band Standing, Road to Bele Chere ’10″.

The Bele Chere Festival has also been working toward a larger presence of local vendors, Travis said. During the selection process for participating artists and craftspeople, local applicants have an extra point added to their score.

All stages are free. The entertainment schedule is subject to change without notice. The Schedule is tentative until all contracting processes have been completed.

For more information on the 2010 Bele Chere Festival, go to

2 Comments June 16, 2010

No-smoking ordinance prohibits smoking on city property starting July 1

Beginning July 1, a revision to City of Asheville’s no smoking ordinance prohibits smoking on all city owned and occupied property. The new language applies to all City of Asheville parks, greenways and the grounds of city municipal facilities.

The move is intended to provide a healthier environment for City of Asheville employees and the general public and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. With cigarette butts constituting a large portion of litter in the City of Asheville, the non-smoking ordinance is expected to contribute to the overall cleanliness of the city as well.

The revised ordinance will not apply to city sidewalks and streets except where sidewalks are inside park boundaries. The sidewalk surrounding downtown’s Pritchard Park, for instance, is within the park’s borders and therefore will be subject to the non-smoking ordinance.

The law allows for designated smoking areas at city facilities, to be determined by the Asheville City Manager. A designated smoking area for the Asheville Civic Center will be determined in the near future.

Enforcement of the ordinance will rely on community policing and will be complaint-based. Violation of the ordinance could result in a fine up to $50. City crews will soon be installing signs clearly marking areas where smoking is prohibited.

The amended ordinance was passed by Asheville City Council in April, enabled by 2010 legislation by the North Carolina General Assembly.

2 Comments June 15, 2010

Help avoid bear incidents by being “Bear Smart.”

Warmer weather means an increase in bear activity around Asheville. Recent years have seen an increase in calls to the Asheville Police Department with regards to bears, says APD Captain Daryl Fisher, and Spring and Summer means bears are roaming in search of food.

Bears that enter residential or urban areas are seeking out and are attracted by food sources like garbage or even greasy grills, and are not interested in interacting with humans. Paying attention to the proper storage of those food sources can reduce bear incidents.

The Asheville Police Department’s Animal Services Division has the following tips for being “Bear Smart”:

• Never approach or feed bears.

• Don’t leave garbage cans outside except on the day it is to be picked up.

• Don’t store or leave pet food outside.

• Remove bird feeders at night or if bear activity is reported.

Click here to download a brochure about bear safety (PDF)

Click below to see the “Bear Smart” video produced by the City of Asheville and aired on the Asheville Channel.

Leave a Comment June 14, 2010

ABC Board launches PSA against underage drinking

On Thursday June 10, the Asheville ABC Board, in conjunction with 12 other boards across NC, launched an underage drinking prevention campaign in Asheville. At a press conference at the Grove Park Inn, ABC Board members unveiled a new public service announcement encouraging parents to reduce teen drinking by staying involved with their children.

Asheville ABC Board Chair Charles Worley

Asheville ABC Board Chair Charles Worley introduces a new PSA aimed at discouraging underage drinking.

The press conference was attended by Asheville ABC Board members, Asheville and Buncombe County law enforcement and education officials, and city and county leaders, each of whom spoke of their support for the initiative. The PSA will play in rotation on the Asheville Channel.

Click the image below to play the PSA.

Leave a Comment June 10, 2010

CAYLA students earn $133,000 in scholarships, incoming class larger thanks to community support

23 students who participated in the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy, 10 of whom are graduating high school seniors, have earned a total of $133,000 in academic scholarships this year. And thanks to donations from outside supporters, the size of the 2010/2011 class will increase by 10 students.

The City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy program selects Asheville High School students for paid summer internship programs in city departments and participating community non-profits and organizations. Throughout the summer and school year, students are also engaged in workshops that focus on topics like financial literacy and the college application process. Since community participation is an important theme for the CALYA program, students also take on community service projects, planning and completing more than 400 hours over the past year.

“These kids are doing phenomenal things, not just in the internships but also in creating business plans and community service,” said CAYLA program coordinator Erika Germer.

CAYLA graduates at City Hall

Graduates of the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy with proclamations from Asheville City Council

One of CAYLA’s goals, as expressed by Asheville City Council and Mayor Terry Bellamy, is to be part of a regional “grow your own” effort to raise, educate and retain local students so they can become Asheville’s future professionals.

“We want to show students the wide variety of professional jobs that exist in Asheville. By doing so, we hope they will come back to live and work in the area after college,” Germer says.

Community generosity means even larger class for 2010

Thanks to outpouring of donations from local partners that enhances the City of Asheville’s CAYLA program budget, the Leadership Academy will be able to expand its roster by ten students in the upcoming year.

Orientation for the new class begins June 21, and includes a weeklong schedule of activities including a community scavenger hunt, an entrepreneurship discussion, goal setting activities and a welcome by Mayor Bellamy.

“The City is committed to offering Asheville’s youth valuable experiences that can enhance their education and their future careers,” Germer said. “CAYLA is designed to help students take an active part in shaping our community and to become role models of leadership for their classmates.”

Click here for a full press release announcing the academic scholarships.

Click here to read more about the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy.

1 Comment June 10, 2010

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