Archives – May, 2012

Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day Ceremony 2012

Monday, May 28 saw the commemoration of Memorial Day in a ceremony held on Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park and presented by The City of Asheville Mayor’s Committee on Veterans Affairs and Buncombe County.

Memorial Day 2012The ceremony commemorates the sacrifice and service that men and women have given in the name of protecting the nation, and was attended by veterans and serving members of all branches of the military as well as by public safety and emergency response personnel. Families, friends and supporters filled the park’s seating area to pay tribute to those who have fallen in battle.

“We do it by remembering. We do it by honoring the sacrifice they made,” said the keynote ceremony’s speaker, retired Naval CEC Capt. Kenneth J. Vasilik. “I believe those who died in battle want us to remember them. And we do remember them.”

Memorial Day 2012Vasilik commemorated the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Asheville shortly after the invasion of Pearl Harbor and the 132 men who died in the attack.

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and Buncombe County Board Chair David Gantt laid the ceremonial wreath, a presentation that was followed by a moment of silence, a 21-gun salute by the Asheville Police Department Honor Guard, and a rendition of taps.

Asheville Police Chaplains Kent Withington and Wayne Roper gave the invocation and benediction, and Buncombe County Commissioner Bill Stanley led the Pledge of Allegiance and closing comments.

Memorial Day 2012 Memorial Day 2012

Click here to see more pictures from the 2012 Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day observation.

Leave a Comment May 29, 2012

Big blue bin boosts recycling 87%

Asheville's big blue bin

City of Asheville residents stepped up their recycling game in a big way following the introduction of “Big Blue,” the 96-gallon carts rolled out in April, with a whopping 87 percent increase in recyclables collected over April 2011.

April was the first full month of implementation of the Zero Waste AVL Recycling Program, with 28,000 homes utilizing the carts. Curbside Management, the company contracted by the City of Asheville to collect recyclables, reported that it took in nearly double the material in April 2012 as compared to April 2011.

“These are phenomenal numbers for our first month, and we feel it’s just the beginning,” said David Foster, assistant director of public works. “We expect our customers will get better at recycling as the program continues and that our tip fees will see an even bigger reduction over time.”

Overall, the City of Asheville saw a reduction of more than 112 tons of trash headed for the landfill in April 2012, which means the city spent approximately $4,826 less in trash disposal fees than it did in for the same month in 2011.

Asheville City Council approved the Zero Waste AVL in August 2011, and the City of Asheville began delivering the big blue carts in March. Before that, a sample of city residents participated in a test run of the program. The carts require no sorting or bagging. At the same time, Curbside management began accepting even more kinds of recyclable materials. Both steps make it easier than ever to recycle in Asheville.

“It’s great to see Asheville respond so positively to the recycling program,” said Maggie Ullman, energy coordinator for the city’s Office of Sustainability. “We see it as a success story, from both the standpoint of fiscal responsibility and sustainability.”

Find more information about recycling in Asheville here.

Leave a Comment May 23, 2012

Roll out the ART: Asheville launches new transit push

The first phase of the City of Asheville’s Transit Master Plan was set into motion on Monday, May 21, as Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and members of City Council officially launched the Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) system.

ART launch eventFollowing a bus ride around downtown Asheville in which Transportation Director Ken Putnam described system improvements, the mayor and council members stood in front of City Hall and cut the ceremonial ribbon. Mayor Bellamy praised council for its leadership in approving the master plan in 2009 and for prioritizing sustainable and multi-modal transportation in Asheville.

“We could not have done this without the commitment of city council,” Bellamy said.

City staff has worked closely with the city’s Transit Commission, transit riders and the public at large to make the plan a reality. Commission Chair Julie Mayfield was on hand for the celebration. “This is a great day for Asheville and the transit system,” she said. “This will better serve the people already riding the bus and better serve the people we want to get riding the bus.”
ART ribbon cuttingART system upgrades provide increased frequency along major corridors, improve on-time performance, improve service for people with disabilities, consolidate daytime and nighttime service and make more connections with sidewalks. Access to digital route information also makes planning trips easier.

ART volunteers

Volunteer Michelle LaRocque shows ART rider LaVerne Clay the system's new cross-town route. LaRoque has ridden Asheville's transit system since 2006.

In order to help the launch of the ART system go smoothly, volunteers are positioned at the ART station at 49 Coxe Avenue to assist riders in taking advantage of the updated route information. Bus drivers are also equipped with post cards that show where to find information about the improvements.

The ribbon cutting was held in conjunction with the Mayor’s Leadership Community Ride for Strive Not to Drive Week and Asheville’s bicycle community was out in force for the occasion. The City of Asheville was recently recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a bicycle friendly community, another step in advancing multi-modal goals for the city.

See timetables, route information and more about the ART system at Bus fares are free through June 8.

See more pictures from the launch event and Mayor’s Ride here.

Leave a Comment May 22, 2012

Teens get a close up look at dangers of unsafe driving

On May 15, the Asheville Fire and Police Departments, in partnership with Buncombe County EMS, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department and the North Carolina Highway Patrol staged a mock motor vehicle fatality on the campus of Asheville High School to encourage teens to drive safely.

Safe Driving demoSeveral hundred Asheville teens attended the demonstration, which was preceded by a presentation from Asheville ABC Law Enforcement, Asheville High School and SILSA High School on the importance of driver safety, seat belts, obeying traffic laws and speed limits, and the dangers of drunk driving.

“Motor vehicle accidents are now the number one killer of teens,” says AFD spokesperson Kelley Klope. “We sincerely believe that through this on-going teenage driver safety program and with strong parental support, teenage traffic fatalities can be eliminated in our community.”
Asheville High driving safety demonstration
(Special thanks to Johnson Auto Parts for donating the vehicle and Rice Towing for delivering it and hauling it away.)

Leave a Comment May 16, 2012

APD and BCSO team up on the Special Olympics Torch Run

On Monday, May 14, members of the Asheville Police Department and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office teamed up to participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit the Special Olympics. The group escorted the torch through Black Mountain before passing it on to the Old Fort Police Department to continue its trip east.

special olympics torch run
From left to right: Lt. Mike Yelton, Sgt. Rebecca Allen, Brandon Morgan, Lt. Gary Gudac, Billy Morrissey, Nick Mitchell, Sgt. Ronnie Lance, Lt. Chris Young, Dep. Vicky Bradley, Lt. Stony Gonce.

Leave a Comment May 16, 2012

Asheville named Bicycle Friendly Community

Asheville bicycles

On Monday, May 14, the League of American Bicyclists, a leading voice in bicycle advocacy and education, announced that it is designating the City of Asheville as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The league awarded Asheville a bronze-level designation based on the city’s accomplishments in increasing bicycle accessibility and awareness.

“This is a special achievement for us,” said Barb Mee, transportation planner and the City of Asheville’s staff liaison to the Asheville Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force. “We have been making strides in the bicycle community both in terms of communication and in infrastructure. To get this kind of recognition from an outside national organization helps spread the word that we are on a good track.”

Mee pointed to the hard work put in by the task force and other volunteers that is crucial to the evolution of Asheville’s bicycling network.

“Those folks are putting so much energy into this. We couldn’t do this without the partnership we have with the cycling community,” Mee said.

As part of its comprehensive bicycle plan, the City of Asheville has rolled out a number of enhancements to bicycle access and safety, including an expanded bike lane network, color coded lanes, bike racks on city buses, bike lockers, and a bike repair station. Bicyclers can stay connected to city developments through the email account.

The City of Asheville remains dedicated to supporting multi-modal and sustainable transportation options. The league’s announcement comes as the city is preparing to participate in Strive Not to Drive week held May 21-25, as well as the May 21 roll out of phase one of Asheville’s Transit Master Plan. See more about the City of Asheville’s emphasis on multi-modal transportation at

Leave a Comment May 14, 2012

CoA employees recognized for outstanding achievements

City of Asheville employees from throughout the organization and across multiple disciplines were recognized May 2 at the Asheville Way Awards. The event is organized each year to spotlight achievements that affirm the city’s core values of excellent service, continuous improvement, integrity, diversity and safety and welfare.

Asheville Way awards3

Whether it was dramatically reducing landfill waste through a single-stream recycling program or leading youth programs in schools, implementing systems that save money or intervening to save lives, the City of Asheville had much to celebrate this year.

“We are a better organization for the work that you do,” said Assistant City Manager Jeff Richardson.

Nine teams and 30 individuals were nominated by their fellow employees, with nine awards given.

Asheville Way awards 4“That’s probably the best part of these awards,” said Derrick Swing, the City’s human resources manager. “The nominees are picked by their peers. There is the sense that their coworkers really want to give credit where credit is due.”

See more photos at the City of Asheville’s flickr page.

The 2012 Asheville Way Award nominees are listed below, with the winners highlighted:

Continuous Improvement

Jamie Bullman (Water/Customer Services)
David Foster (Public Works)
Dave Stuart (Water Production
Ivan Thomas (Water/Maintenance)
Joel Tweed, Jr. (Water/Customer Services)


Brandon Buckner (Water/Meter Services)
Jerry Hill (Public Works/Fleet)
Derrick Swing (HR)


Christopher Daniels (Public Works/Streets)
Douglas Zuendt (Fire)

Safety and Welfare

Michelle Massey-Smith (Water)
Bernard McDowell (Public Works/Administration)
Keith McCulloch and Kevin Skoniezcny (APD)

Excellent Service

Phyllis Corns (Water/Customer Services)
Stephen Fridl (Fire)
Chris Maloney (Public Works/Sanitation)

Outstanding Leadership

Ron Kerns (Water/Administration)
Joy Ponder (Fire)
Jeff Staudinger (Planning)
Thomas “Shane” Williams (Public Works/Fleet)

Above and Beyond

Amanda Buchanan (APD/CID)
Janet Dack (Economic Development)
Joe Fioccola (APD/Support)
Krystal Frizzell (Finance & Management Services)
Karen Good (Water Production)
Robert Kun (Public Works/Engineering Services)
Sue McMullen (APD/Animal Services)
Randy Stallings (Planning)

Rising Star

Zachary McTaggart (APD/Animal Services)
Mark Stevens (Public Works/Fleet)

Outstanding Teamwork

Asheville U.S. Cellular Center Team (Civic Center): Karen Gillespie, Dan Dover, Benita Wynn, Anne Stafford, Marcia Hart, JC Gillespie, Jim Smith, John Ball, Richard Quick, Jeanine Crum, Norbert Irvin, Ian Moye, William Hyde, Jody Beck, Chris Scott.
Communications Team (APD/Support):  Cathey Trimnal, Joy Griffin, Joe Fioccola, Angela Young, Stephanie Bierce, Terry Darakjy, Susan Macmurchy, Scott Sutton, Dwight Danner, Chad Hyatt, Megan Young, Kristina Hoffman, Lynn Fraser, Hannah Combs, Jane Barbee, Kara Moyers, Karen Morris, Tim Bailey, Charles Parker, Rich Zayatz, Shelli Tayman, Evan Edwards, Harry Gillis, Angela Siciliano.
FY 10-11 Audit and CAFR Team (Finance and Management Services): Charity Constant, Jeanie Eplee, Beverly Evans, Eric Hardy, Samantha Jones, Tia Keith, Pat Liguori, Harry McDaniels, Tony McDowell, Amy Patterson, Carey Perkins, John Sanchez, Erin Wheeler.
Health Services & Building Safety Team: Mark Case, Nikki Reed, John Kutscher, Erik Hagen, Debbie Weisbeker, Nancy Walker, Karen Fountain, Pat McCall, Debbie Byrne, Marlene Hensley, Anne Hawes.
PC Rightsizing Team (IT): Kathy Wilson, Jeff Reble, Sonya Crump, Steven Frey, Larry Bopp, JJ Wilson, David Hutcherson, Debbie Ruff, Ellane Chandler, Gina Zachary.
Purchasing Team (Finance and Management Services): Amy Patterson, Lyle Willis, Donna Martin, Jim Wright, Otis McIntosh, Celia Lytle.
Recycling Team (Public Works/Finance): David Foster, Maggie Ullman, Richard Grant, Sonja Kun, Russell Roe, Laura Piraino.
Utility Billing Team (Water/Customer Services): Deb Romaine, Darlene Barnwell, Jamie Bullman.
Rapid Intervention Team Training Instructors (Fire): Sam Robertson, Chad Bryson, Adam Wilson, Mike Quinones, Eric Johnson, Dustin Cooper, Rafael Bango, Nate Rogers, Mike Webb, Patrick Crudup, Wes Rogers.

Leave a Comment May 8, 2012

Volunteer Opportunity: Be a Bus Ambassador!

Asheville Redefines Transit Bus

There’s a natural connection between public transportation and interacting with people. Riding the bus sparks conversation and fosters real face time with others in the community. Now, the City of Asheville is looking for volunteers who have the knack for both to be “Bus Ambassadors” and help us introduce riders to the changes that are part of the new upgraded ART Transit System.

As the May 21 roll out date approaches, the City of Asheville has been engaging with the community to unveil the new routes, increased service frequencies and other changes that are part of the implementation of the first phase of the Transportation Master Plan. A touring gallery of new maps, route information and Google Transit demonstration has been making the rounds throughout City of Asheville neighborhoods to let people know about coming enhancements.

“We have had some very successful events and we have more planned, but what we need now are people from the community to help us spread the word about the great changes we’re going to see,” said Transportation Planner Mariate Echeverry.

In the weeks surrounding the rollout, volunteer bus ambassadors will be stationed on buses and at the downtown Asheville transit center to provide tips and answer questions and help other riders get acquainted with the new system.

No experience is necessary and everyone is encouraged to take part; volunteers will take part in a training session about enhancements like Google Transit and route optimization and be equipped with maps, FAQ’s and a cool ART systems map T-shirt they can keep.

“This is a great opportunity for fans of multi-modal transportation, whether it is biking, walking or bus riding, to volunteer and show support for improving public transit.” Echeverry said. “You can come out and have fun, learn something new and help build the community’s awareness of transportation alternatives.”

To sign up as a volunteer, log in at or email for more information.

2 Comments May 2, 2012

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