Asheville – MLK, Jr. Park was upgraded recently with an all new and safer playground. Despite the cold weather, the ribbon for the park was cut by Mayor Terry Bellamy and others November 17th making the official opening a success.
Children in the East End neighborhood joined in on the festivities and were the first to use the new equipment. The renovation for the park was long overdue.
“I think this means a lot to the community,” said Sandra Travis, festivals program supervisor, “there is a strong neighborhood association here who were very supportive towards this project. This is one of the areas that have been targeted for years to be renovated; it provides a base for the community, and with the tough economic times families can’t pay for places they may have gone to in the past, so its very important they have a free place to play.”
Cleaning and renovating the park has been planned since 2009. The 2,400 square foot playground features 19 play components and bright bold colors.
The East End/Valley Street neighborhood association president, Renee White, was overjoyed.
“This means a lot. The playground equipment was pretty old and we had a few kids who would come and play but it was becoming unsafe.” For White, the main reason for this park is for the safety and protection of the kids. “We have to make sure there are no dangers and that the equipment is safe to play on.”
The new playground facility is a place for kids to be kids, have fun, explore, and stay healthy and fit. Giving back to the community is something that Roderick Simmons, director of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts, wants the community to know that they do.
“I think this means a lot to the community,” he said, “showing that the city invests in their quality of life, by offering the citizens an area like this. This gives the citizens a place to enjoy their neighborhood and the place that they are living.”
As far as other upcoming parks or renovations, Simmons gave a little laugh.
“What we try to do is improve are facilities to keep up with the demand of the citizens in terms of making sure that all our facilities are accessible and that we offer a variety of things that the citizens would like to enjoy. We try to make improvements every year.”
ASHEVILLE – In recognition of Fire Safety Month and fire dangers associated with the fall and winter seasons – wood burning stoves, Christmas trees, etc. – the City of Asheville’s Risk Management Division and the Asheville Fire Department this week hosted portable fire extinguisher training for staff.
Asheville Assistant Fire Marshal Kelly Hinz starts a small fire for extinguisher training.
The training focused on the general principles of portable fire extinguisher use and appropriate small fire control measures. (The timing of the training also served as a reminder to check batteries in home smoke alarms, as we prepare to “fall back” one hour starting this weekend, ending Daylight Saving Time.)
Training was led by Assistant Fire Marshal Kelly Hinz and Public Information Officer Kelley Webb.
Fire Department PIO Kelley Webb prepares a city staff member to put out a small fire.
Webb explained the different types of extinguishers: All household extinguishers are classified A, B, or C (or a combination of these) on the label to indicate which types of fires — ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, or electrical—you can use them on. (See more photos of the training here.)
Homeowners should buy the type classified A:B:C, which fights all three types of fires, Webb said.
A staff member subdues the flames.
She cautioned that fire extinguishers are meant for small fires that can be put out quickly, such as fires on the stove.
“I often tell people that you don’t see firefighters rushing into a burning building carrying fire extinguishers,” she said. “That’s not what they’re meant for.”
Members of the city’s City Hall Evacuation Team and the Safety Steering Team attended the training. The Safety Steering Team’s mission is to “provide support to the City of Asheville Safety and Health Program in protecting lives, property, business and community in the event of emergency,” said Pat McAfee, safety and claims administrator.
The class served as “a refresher and as a prelude to additional training,” she said.
Members of the city's Safety Steering Committee - back row, l-r: Rick Barton, Shannon Morgan, Cheryl Heywood, Bernard McDowell, Barry Hendren, Sonya Crump. Front row, l-r: Pat McAfee, Nancy Walker, Sara McHone, Benita Wynn, Jeff Moore. Not pictured: Theodore Philson, Mike Yelton, Robert Nelson
Here’s a video on proper portable fire extinguisher use:
ASHEVILLE – Black bears are an important part of North Carolina’s fauna. However, as people move into bear country in increasing numbers, it is ultimately human attitudes toward bears that will determine whether bears will continue to exist in our state.
Unfortunately, bears are viewed either as dangerous animals or cuddly pets. Wildlife experts urge us to avoid these extreme views and to instead show a healthy respect for this magnificent forest animal.
Take look at this “Bear Smart” brochure and watch the below video from the Asheville Police Department’s Animal Services Unit to help ensure that bears and people can live together safely in our community.