Filed under: City News

Water Resources employee receives state and national awards

A professional association dedicated to quality water services has recognized a City of Asheville Water Distribution Operator with back to back awards for outstanding efforts and contributions to water services.

Timothy Burdine, an 11-year employee of the city’s Water Resources Department, received awards from the North Carolina American Water Works Association and the North Carolina Water Environment Association (NC AWWA-WEA) as well as the AWWA’s national body.

Tim Burdine at the awards ceremony with NC AWWA-WEA Chair Jackie Jarrell.

Burdine was awarded the NC AWWA-WEA’s Water Operator of the Year Award and the AWWA’s Operator’s Meritorious Service Award Plaque at conference in Concord, NC earlier this month.

Water Maintenance Superintendent Ivan Thomas says that actions such as Burdine’s handling of traffic, communications and remediation after a recent water break on Swannanoa River Road cut off a major route for ambulances to Mission Hospital led to his nomination for the awards.

Burdine, Thomas says, also has impacted the department by standardizing operational procedures and upgrading them to utilize new technology, reducing water loss throughout the system.

“We are proud of Tim and the great work he does for Water Services,” Thomas said. “And these awards highlight the kind of dedication he brings to his job every day.”

Burdine supervises three work crews that head up construction projects, valve assessment and leak detection and recently oversaw two water construction projects replacing 700 linear feet of galvanized water lines with new pipe. This summer, he began attending Southwestern Community College.

Click here for more on the City of Asheville’s Water Resource Department.

Leave a Comment November 25, 2013

Public/private partnership restores high-speed communication to Asheville’s emergency responders

Fire engines and police cruisers alike lit up on September 17 at the Murphy-Oakley Community Center and Fire Station Building, but they were not responding to an emergency. The blue and red lights were flashing in celebration of a high-speed communication connection that means better and faster service responses by Asheville’s emergency responders.

The City of Asheville Information Technology Services Department has been working on restoring the fiber-optic reconnection since 2009, and the accomplishment was the result of a great community collaboration. Asheville-based Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas (ERC), which received a grant in 2012 in partnership with North Carolina-based MCNC to enhance its fiber-optic network in Western North Carolina, has partnered with the City of Asheville to connect 12 Fire Stations and 4 Police Stations to dispatchers using its new fiber optic network. The move provides the fastest emergency alert notification available and saves the City of Asheville the approximately $5 million it would have cost to install its own fiber network.

“In a project of this magnitude, there are a lot of moving parts,” said Jonathan Feldmen, the city’s Chief Information Officer. Feldman presented plaques to the ERC’s Executive Director Hunter Goosmann as well as representatives from the Reed Memorial Baptist Church, which allowed the city to use its steeple for a wireless connection while the communication system was in transition.

Joined by firefighters and police officers who rely on the ability to respond quickly in emergency situations, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy spotlighted the increased public safety and even its impacts on the city’s accreditation. “Today we are talking about how to make sure people are even safer,” she said. “To the IT Department, this shows your commitment to making sure the City of Asheville is wired and at a low cost.”

In 2012, Asheville City Council approved a franchise agreement with the ERC in support of the partnership that provides the high-speed fiber-optic access.

Leave a Comment September 20, 2013

Asheville Fire Department recognizes promotions, achievements and sacrifice

In December, 2012, the Asheville Fire Department responded to an auto accident on Lyman Street in which a vehicle wound up upside down in the French Broad River with the driver trapped inside.

The team of firefighters that worked the scene would grow to 16 strong, and involved water rescue and dive team personnel, but they managed to save the life of the woman in the vehicle. Those are the kinds of stories the department reflects on each year at its promotion and recognition ceremony. Some stories, such as the French Broad rescue, make headlines. Other times, they are not as widely noted. But in each case highlighted by Chief Scott Burnette at the September 11 ceremony, a life was saved.

“These are all people who are alive today because of the actions of our firefighters,” Burnette said.

The incident recognition has become a tradition at the annual ceremony, held in conjunction with the remembrance of first responders and citizens who perished in the 2001 attacks in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In remembering the sacrifice of those fallen, Burnette said, we also honor those who put themselves in harms way in the interest of saving lives.

Mayor Terry Bellamy thanked the firefighters of Asheville for their “unwavering dedication.”

“I know the people of Asheville, Buncombe County and Western North Carolina appreciate the service you provide each and every day,” Bellamy said. “You all answer a call that most of us only think about answering. You run in when others run out.”

Below are those recognized at the ceremony, including promotions, notable achievements and firefighters who have retired since last year’s ceremony.

Retirees in the last year:
Andrew Henderson, Captain
Herbert Roberson, Engineer
James Fox, Captain
Joseph Heafner, Engineer
Johnny McCulloch, Engineer
Mike Bellows, Captain
Keith Gillespie, Captain
Michael Roland, Captain
Ronald Morrow, Captain
Thomas Brown, Engineer
John Gaines, Senior Firefighter
James Cowan, Battalion Chief
Gordon Silvers, Senior Firefighter
David McFee, Assistant Chief
Harley Haug, Senior Firefighter

Promotions:

To Safety Training Officer:
Shane Mackey
Chris Johnson
Julian Anders
Dan Padilla

To Captain:
Eric Johnson

To Lieutenant:
Clint Brown
Michael P. Riley
Stephen Burnette
Mike Stageman
Steve Wickham
John Eldreth
Nathan Rogers
Adam Wilson
Bjorn Larson
Rich Rauschenbach

To Engineer:
Chad Bryson
Barnaby Raikes
Zach Wetmore
Steve Fesperman
Nathan Miller
Jeremy Brooks

Advancements:
To Senior Firefighter:
Jacob Hansbury

Deputy Fire Marshal Tracy Coggins, Advanced Firefighter
Deputy Fire Marshal Rodger Martin, Advance Firefighter

Assistant Fire Marshal Jeff Payne, Advanced Firefighter
Assistant Fire Marshal Tre Allen, Advanced Firefighter

Recognition of professional achievements:
Fire Marshal Wayne Hamilton received Fire Marshal Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence on Professional Credentialing and Fire Plans Examiner from the International Code Council.

Arson Investigator David Cutshall received Basic Law Enforcement Training Certification at A-B Tech, Evidence Collection Technician from the International Association of Arson Investigators and Practical Dynamics and Modeling from the National Fire Academy.

DFM Dewayne Fender received Origin and Cause-National Fire Academy
DFM Casey Silvers received Origin and Cause-National Fire Academy, Level II Fire Inspector.
Acting Deputy Fire Marshal Amy Pollard received Fire Inspector Level II.
Deputy Fire Marshal Rusty Freck received Certified Fire Investigator Technician.
John “Sam” Roberson received Certificate of Merit (RIT Team and Training).
Barry Hendren received the GiGa Innovative Solutions Award.
Zach Wetmore and Philip Padilla recognized for outstanding work with the Asheville City Schools Foundation Celebration Community Choice Award-IRL Program.

Asheville Way Award recipients:
Rich Rauschenbach
John Presley
Anna Pigman

Recognition of significant events:

Childbirth complications – Apr. 14, 2013
Barry Sheppard
Joel Sherwood
Michael G. Riley
Jacob Hannon

Cardiac arrest – Dec. 23, 1012
Andy Randalls
Sam Robertson
Will Willis
Carla Ball

Cardiac arrest – Apr. 9, 2013
Roger Cantrell
Kyle Corn
Jacob Hansbury
Wes Rogers
Landon Davis
Rich Rauschenbach

Life Saved, accidental stabbing – July 10, 2012
Eddie Wyatt
Frank Morris
Nathan Miller

Life Saved, MVA at French Broad River – December 2, 2012
Stephen Burnette
Adam Hoffman
John Presley
Robert Mitchell
Amy Pollard
Partick Boland
Neil Spencer
Matthew Pride
John Eldreth
Steve Fesperman
Wallace Sexton
Nathan Rogers
John Ellis
Ross Parkinson
Christopher Rice
Chris Johnson

Cardiac Arrest – Dec. 28, 2012
Ken Radford
Jim Hitesman
Mark Jameson
Luke Miller

Cardiac Arrest – July 16, 2013
Shane Valliere
Matt Justice
Garry Shackelford
Scott Mullins

Infant Choking – July 30, 2013
Zachary Wetmore
Spencer Tetrault
Eric Wardwell
Josh Jenkins

Cardiac Arrest – Aug. 15, 2013
Rafael Bango
Bradley Duncan
Jimmie Causey II
Thomas Lael
Isaac McCurry
Paul Walker
Matthew Cutshall
Joel Sherwood
John Cram

Trench Rescue – Oct. 4, 2012
James Cowan
Carlo Marzella
Mike Coggins
Ken Edwards
Clint Brown
Erik Parcell
Jeremy Edmonds
Paul Dehart
Jason Gunn
Larry Morrow
Stan Presley
Paul Walker
Erik Stalte
Eric Johnson
Rick Miller
Mike Russell
Jay Bettencourt

Cardiac Arrest – Feb. 14, 2013
Nathan Rogers
Joey Hammond
Patrick Worley

Cardiac Arrest – Nov. 8, 2012
Stephen Fridl
Eugene Delong
Chad Brooks
Blake Baker

Cardiac Arrest – Nov. 1, 2012
Anna Pigman
Keith Merrill
Roy Thomas
Scott Mirkin

Certificate of Merit – Boone RRT Response – June 8-9, 2013
A-Shift
Chris Budzinski
Shane Mackey
Jeff Lyons
Chad Brooks
Jacob Hannon
Amy Pollard
John Butler
Phillip Padilla
Eric Wardwell
Paul Walker
Adam Hurdt
Nathan Rogers
Tim Zajac
B-Shift
Julian Anders
Jeremy Knighton
Adam Hurdt
Michael Hartsell
Angie Bell

AFD retirees who passed in the last year:
James “Moon” Waldrop, Engineer
Bobby Ingle, Engineer
Eddie Teague, Sr. Engineer
Rayburn Whitt, District Chief
Jack Waites, Captain
James Whitworth, Captain
David Bryson, District Chief

Leave a Comment September 17, 2013

2013 Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day Ceremony

On Monday, May 27, the City of Asheville Mayor’s Committee on Veterans Affairs and Buncombe County presented the 2013 Memorial Day ceremony at Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park.

The 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.

“The men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country belong to an elite rank of individuals,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.

A slideshow of Monday’s ceremony can be viewed below.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Leave a Comment May 28, 2013

Asheville Way Awards shine light on employee excellence

Streamlining services, innovative problem solving, even saving lives — some of the City of Asheville’s exemplary employees were recognized April 17 at the Asheville Way Awards ceremony. The annual event, held in the Banquet Hall of the U.S. Cellular Center, recognizes those employees who uphold the values of the Asheville Way:  Continuous Improvement, Integrity, Diversity, Safety and Welfare, and Excellent Service.

Contenders for the awards, both individuals and teams, are nominated by their colleagues, supervisors and the people they work alongside, and a highlight of the ceremony is hearing the special accomplishments of each nominee.

“This is a great opportunity to hear examples of people who do excellent work across the city in a variety of ways, because that’s who you are,” said Kelley Dickens, the City of Asheville’s Director of Human Resources said at the ceremony.

Below are the nominees in each category, with the winners marked in blue. Congratulations and a big thanks to all nominees. See more pictures at the City of Asheville’s Flickr page.

Continuous Improvement

Rich Rauschenbach – Asheville Fire Department
Robert Martin – General Services

Integrity

John Presley – AFD
Mike Brookshire – Water Resources

Diversity

Anna Pigman – AFD
Sonia Salgado – Water Resources

Safety and Welfare

Jeremy Godfrey – Water Resources
Linette Sieben – Water Resources
Jamie Bryson – AFD

Hazard Device Team – Asheville Police Department

Excellent Service

Jason Williams – IT Services
Keith Mastin – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Nick Harvey – Public Works
Sandra Travis – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Holly Waltemyer – Human Resources

Special Victims Unit – APD
Drug Suppression Unit – APD
Battalion 3 C Shift – AFD
APD Day Shift Downtown Unit

Outstanding Leadership

Kevin Taylor – APD
Ron Kerns – Water Resources
Robert “Rock” Jones – Public Works
Douglas Quinones – AFD

Open Data Catalog Team

Above and Beyond

Erik Hagen – General Services
Kathy Wilson – IT Services
Josh Darty – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Brenda Mills – Finance
Charity Constant-Morris – Finance
Diane Meek – Development Services
Dion Eskew – General Services
Avery Gibbs – AFD
Anthony Oliver – Public Works
Rafael Bango – AFD
Hayne Griffin – AFD

Public Housing Unit – APD
Transit Master Plan Team – Transportation
Flushing Team – Water Resources

Rising Star

Jonathan Ingle – Public Works

Leave a Comment April 23, 2013

2013 Board and Commission openings a great opportunity for citizen involvement

There are seven elected members on Asheville City Council, but that body relies on more than 250 people serving on 35 council-appointed Boards and Commissions to help guide policy for the City of Asheville.

From the Downtown Commission to the Greenway Commission to the newly formed Neighborhood Advisory Committee, these are the groups that deliberate and advise on a wide range of issues facing Asheville. Citizen involvement is crucial in making decisions that affect the city, and the recommendations of Council’s Boards and Commissions play a big role in Council’s decisions. Some of the most influential policies in the City of Asheville have their beginnings in one of these bodies.

With so many advisory bodies, seats frequently come up for consideration; in 2013, there will be openings on 22 City Council Boards and Commissions. To fill those seats, City Clerk Maggie Burleson sends out regular announcements of upcoming board vacancies. Asheville City Council selects and interviews applicants, and appoints members all in a public forum. A typical term is three years. There is a lot of great information about applying and serving on a Council Board or Commission here.

But hopefuls don’t have to wait until a vacancy is announced. Applications can be submitted at any time and will be held for up to a year. Click here to download an application.

To receive regular notifications of Board and Commission Vacancies, contact City Clerk Maggie Burleson at 259-5601 or mburleson@ashevillenc.gov. Notices are also posted on the City of Asheville website and on the City of Asheville’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Click here to see the upcoming Board and Commission vacancies for 2013 and early 2014.

Click here to see the “Talent Scout” brochure.

Leave a Comment January 8, 2013

ART system gets nine new buses

Upgrades to Asheville’s transit fleet continue with the replacement of nine buses with newer models. The new buses, two hybrids and seven diesels, began partial service this week and are expected to be in full operation within the next ten days.

City of Asheville busThe streamlined models are expected to reduce repair costs and fuel expenses as the City of Asheville continues to expand the implementation of the Transit Master Plan.

“This is a big milestone. We’ve been working full speed for four years to get new buses to replace our fleet,” said Transportation Planning Manager Mariate Echeverry.

Four of the buses were purchased with a blend of federal earmarks secured by former Rep. Heath Shuler in 2008 and 2009 and section 5309 of the Federal Transit Administration, allowing for an 80 percent federal funding match. Another 10 percent was picked up by State of North Carolina Department of Transportation and the remaining 10 percent by the City of Asheville.

The remaining five buses, all diesels, were purchased with an allocation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 covering 100 percent of the cost.

The nine new buses mean that 14 out of 21 buses in the City of Asheville fleet have been replaced, making for a more efficient and reliable bus pool.

The new look of transit in Asheville began in 2011 when blue and green hybrid buses appeared on city streets. By the time phase one of the Transit Master Plan launched this spring, the new buses had become a common sight around the city.

The newest buses sport a more streamlined front end and continuous windows along their length, but they also utilize new automated passenger count technology that will provide needed data to continue to improve the ART system. The technology notes whenever passengers board or disembark a bus.

Those numbers provide data that allow the City of Asheville’s Transportation Planning Division to better understand the needs of the system’s ridership and to prioritize system improvements, as well as submit accurate three-year counts for federal funding applications.

One feature that remains unchanged is the presence of bike racks on buses. The racks have proved themselves to be a crucial enhancement to the growth of multimodal transportation in the City of Asheville, a strategic goal of Asheville City Council.

For more information about the ART system and route/schedule information, go to ridetheart.com.

1 Comment December 5, 2012

Aloft hotel opening marks great public/private partnership

Beneath the bright and festive décor of the Aloft Hotel, which marked its grand opening Thursday, lies the City of Asheville’s most recent addition to its parking facilities. The 404-space parking garage is the fourth downtown deck operated by the City of Asheville and was built at considerable savings to the city thanks to a partnership with hotel developers McKibbon Group.

“It’s a great day here in Asheville,” said Mayor Terry Bellamy at Thursday’s ceremonial ribbon cutting. “We are happy to have a good community partner, and we appreciate the investment in our community.”

That partnership resulted in construction savings to the city of $2.66 million and design collaboration meant retaining maximum storefront potential along Biltmore Avenue.

The new garage addresses a need for additional parking identified in a 2008 parking study.

“This gives us additional parking that was sorely needed and identified for years,” the Mayor said.

Entrances to the parking garage can be found on Biltmore and Lexington Avenues. Parking is free for the first hour and $1.00 per hour thereafter. Monthly spaces are available by contacting the city’s Parking Services at (828) 259-5437.

For more information about the City of Asheville’s Parking Services, click here.

Leave a Comment August 27, 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 ridetheart.com. 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

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