Filed under: City Officials
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.
Rich Rauschenbach – Asheville Fire Department
Robert Martin – General Services
John Presley – AFD
Mike Brookshire – Water Resources
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
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
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
Jonathan Ingle – Public Works
April 23, 2013
The President’s choice for Asheville as his first stop following Tuesday’s State of the Union Address highlights an exciting success story in the city and region’s job growth and economic development efforts.
Linamar’s 2011 announcement that it would locate its manufacturing facility in Asheville, and the swift news of its expansion in 2012, means a collective 650 new jobs and a revival of the manufacturing industry that has historically been the backbone of the region.
Job growth and economic development are among the city’s top strategic goals. The City of Asheville’s investments into its infrastructure focus an eye on keeping Asheville a good place to do business and supporting a skilled workforce.
“Our goal is to create an environment that builds on the quality of life Asheville offers and encourages companies to come here, stay here and expand here,” said Lauren Bradley, the city’s Finance and Management Services Director.
Having a strong pool of skilled workers in the area is also crucial to attracting business to Asheville, and the educational opportunities provided by local community colleges ensure that we have an exceptional workforce. Keeping them here is just as important. Asheville’s dedication to quality of life is reflected in strategies like affordable housing and in its complete streets policy, which shows its commitment to multi-modal transportation options.
That commitment was integral in attracting businesses like New Belgium Brewing, which is bringing $175 million in capital improvements and more than 175 jobs by building its east coast facility here.
Attracting businesses like Linamar and New Belgium would not be possible without important collaborations between groups like the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, a public-private partnership of which the City of Asheville is a part, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Buncombe County, and advocates at the state level.
Economic development collaborations have resulted in recent success stories like the construction of the Aloft Hotel and a new city-owned parking deck, the expansion of Thermo Fischer Scientific Inc.’s operations within the City which brought with it 110 jobs, and the development of Biltmore Park Town Square, a 42-acre mixed-use development of office, retail and residential space.
February 14, 2013
Three Asheville Police Officers took on new roles at a Jan. 31 ceremony at Asheville City Hall, with two receiving promotions and another filling a major leadership role in the department.
Lts. Stony Gonce and Christopher Reece-Young were both promoted to the rank of Captain at the ceremony and sworn in by Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.
Chris Reece-Young is sworn in at Thursday's ceremony.
Reece-Young is a 23-year veteran of the APD and has experience in a wide variety of roles in his career, having served as a patrol officer, mounted patrol officer, field training officer, K-9 officer and as part of the emergency response team. As a lieutenant, he has served as the Drug Suppression Unit Commander, South Central District Commander and as the Patrol Special Services Commander.
Gonce joined the APD in 1998 and has served as the District Traffic Officer in West District, Patrol Sergeant, Traffic Safety Unit Supervisor, District Commander and Acting District Commander in Criminal Investigations.
Newly sworn APD Captain Stony Gonce with Mayor Terry Bellamy (right).
Both officers were joined by their families for their swearing in before a room full of colleagues.
“I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my family,” Gonce said. “There isn’t a person in this room who hasn’t helped me all the way.”
Capt. Wade Wood was named Deputy Chief, having served as the APD’s Interim Chief in 2012 during the City of Asheville’s search for a new leader for the department. Chief William Anderson said Wood was an obvious pick for the role.
“There is no doubt in my mind I made the right choice” Anderson said. “I really appreciate Wade stepping up to the plate.”
APD Chief William Anderson (left) named Wade Wood (right) as the department's Deputy Chief.
Wood came to the APD from the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department in 1992 and served as patrol officer and on the Community Together Team. During his career he has also served on the Administrative Division and Criminal Investigations Division.
Mayor Terry Bellamy wrapped up the ceremony by thanking the department and the officers in the room.
“You are all a wonderful force and we are a better city because of you all.” Bellamy said. “Thank you for the work that you do.”
February 1, 2013
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
January 8, 2013
For some, the ceremony held September 11 by the Asheville Fire Department was recognition of achievement and the effort they have given to the department and
The annual ceremony recognizes new hires to the AFD as well as promotions, special achievements and life saving efforts over the year.
community. For others it was the beginning of a new career and life as a firefighter. But for each person at the ceremony, the day was a reminder and celebration of the dedication it takes to be part of the AFD.
“Thank you so much. We are proud of what you have achieved,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy speaking to the firefighters and their friends and families gathered at the Sherrill Center on the UNC Asheville Campus. “You represent the best and the brightest.”
27 Asheville Firefighters were recognized for promotions or advancements at the Sept. 11 ceremony.
The Asheville Fire Department recognition program observed the advancement or promotion of 27 firefighters and the hiring of 26 new recruits. AFD Chief Scott Burnette said the department’s outreach efforts through programs like the department’s Explorer Post and In Real Life program not only brought in a large field of new applicants, but also allowed the department to increase the numbers of minority hires over the last year.
In the past year, 16 firefighters advanced to the role of Senior Firefighter, and four were advanced to Captain. Seven firefighters received promotions, including 14-year veteran Joy Ponder, who notably achieved the status of the AFD’s first female Battalion Chief.
Joy Ponder is the Asheville Fire Department's first female Battalion Chief.
Ponder was also the 2012 recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women of Influence award, that organization’s recognition of women who are role models in the community. The 2011 recipient of the TWIN award was AFD firefighter and Public Information Officer Kelley Klope.
“That honorees have been women in the Asheville Fire Department for two years in a row, we think is pretty significant,” said Burnette.
The AFD award ceremony is held in tandem with its annual remembrance of the September 11 attacks and the firefighters who gave their lives to save others, as well as a time to honor those from the Asheville Fire Department who lost their lives in the line of duty.
“We honor the lives lost that day by continuing to improve and advance, never forgetting our mission to save lives and to minimize suffering,” Burnette said. “We are here today a stronger nation and a stronger fire service and we will always be grateful for those who gave their lives to save others.”
Below are the AFD firefighters who received promotions and advancements:
David House (Active Military Duty)
DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL
New hires to the AFD are:
September 20, 2012
The final touches are underway on two sections of sidewalk along Patton Avenue that provide safer walking routes for pedestrians along the busy corridor. The two linkages, one from Parkwood Road to Leicester Highway and another from Regent Park Boulevard to the Capt. Jeff Bowen Bridge (formerly the Smokey Park Bridge), total a combined 4,150 linear feet of new sidewalk but link together a much larger network of sidewalks that stretches from the Capt. Bowen Bridge to the Smokey Park Highway. The route gets a high rate of use by pedestrians for its connection to retail and grocery stores along Patton as well as its proximity to bus stops on the City of Asheville ART system.
Crews complete a paint job on a safety railing along Patton Avenue near the busy I-240/I-26 interchange.
“This one really rose to the top in our pedestrian master plan,” said City Transportation Planner Barb Mee. “And it provides walking access to multiple stores, the Westgate shopping center and along the interchange at Patton Avenue, I-26 and I-240 which was tricky for pedestrians to say the least.”
The design includes safety railings along shoulders where traffic is exiting and entering the interstates and involved a collaboration between the City of Asheville and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The Patton Avenue connections are just two examples of several sidewalk projects that are in some stage of development in the City of Asheville, including another recently completed section on North Louisiana Avenue, a section under construction on Lyman Street in the River Arts District, and a stretch along Tunnel Road in collaboration with the NCDOT that is underway and will eventually connect downtown to the ABCCM Veteran’s Quarters. A sidewalk project along Hendersonville Road is in the planning stages.
The City of Asheville pedestrian plan identifies 110 miles of needed pedestrian linkages that are prioritized using several factors including proximity to community destinations, safety concerns and feasibility of construction.
In the case of the two Patton Avenue connectors, those factors all added up to a green light. “This one really jumped off the charts,” said Greg Shuler, the city’s streets and engineering manager. “We are fortunate that City Council has put a high priority on this kind of infrastructure,” Shuler said.
GIS mapping of Asheville's expanding sidewalk network can be seen at mapAsheville. Click on the image for more.
The Patton Avenue linkages were paid for with City of Asheville capital improvement project funds, but sidewalk projects throughout the city are funded through a combination of sources, including Community Development Block Grants and federal funding like Safe Routes to Schools which provides money for projects that make it easy and safe for students to walk to school. The North Louisiana sidewalk project that connects neighboring students with Emma Elementary School combined Safe Routes to Schools funding with federal CDBG funds and a Job Access/Reverse Commute grant through the Federal Transit Administration.
Click here to see more about the City of Asheville’s Pedestrian Thoroughfare Plan.
September 18, 2012
A gathering of bicyclists, joggers, walkers and parents with strollers celebrated the opening of a new section of the Reed Creek Greenway on Saturday, Sept. 8. The event marked the latest addition to the City of Asheville’s growing greenway network.
The Reed Creek greenway runs parallel to Broadway Street, crossing Cauble Street, and the addition is a vital link in a continuing expansion that will give bordering neighborhoods greenway access to downtown Asheville.
Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, Council member Chris Pelly, Greenway Commission member Sue Barlow and Olympic medalist Lauren Tamayo officially opened the connector.
“Thank you to the City and to everyone involved,” Tamayo said. “This is something Asheville can get behind and embrace.”
Following the ribbon cutting, bicyclists including Tamayo and members of the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club rode the new stretch of greenway.
The newest addition to the Reed Creek Greenway includes a 10-foot-wide paved path, a bridge crossing over Reed Creek, and an emergency call box.
Click here for more information about the City of Asheville’s Greenways.
September 11, 2012
Asheville City Council’s Public Safety Committee is considering revisions to the city’s noise ordinance, and it wants you to be involved. For the next few weeks, the City of Asheville is collecting public input on the changes proposed by the committee and your input on this survey will help make that decision.
Don’t like taking surveys? You can email stand alone comments to email@example.com with a subject line of “Noise Ordinance Comment,” mail them to: City of Asheville, Community Relations Division, ATTN: Noise Ordinance, PO Box 7148, Asheville, NC, 28802, or call 259-5604.
Then on Monday, August 27, city staff will hold a public meeting to gather comments and discuss potential changes to the ordinance’s formal complaint process. That meeting will be held at William Randolph School, 90 Montford Avenue from 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Click here to go to the survey.
August 7, 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.
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.
“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.”
Vasilik 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.
The program's music, including the National Anthem, America the Beautiful and Amazing Grace, was performed by Rockell Whiteside, Taylor Whiteside, Brenna Daughtery and friends.
Presentation of the colors was performed by members of the Enka High School Air Force JROTC
Click here to see more pictures from the 2012 Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day observation.
May 29, 2012
ASHEVILLE – Local leaders say the community is best served during emergencies and national disasters when area governments work together, sharing information and resources under the unified goal of lessening risks and hazards to the public.
This type of cooperation has a name: hazard mitigation. On Tuesday, Asheville City Council approved a resolution adopting the latest update to the Buncombe County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
“Hazard mitigation” is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as “sustained action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects.”
This photo, taken from staff video during the September 2004 floods, shows the serious effect the storm had on Biltmore Village. The county's hazard mitigation plan provides guidance for such emergencies.
The local Hazard Mitigation Plan includes Buncombe County and the six municipal jurisdictions located within it: the City of Asheville, and the towns of Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Montreat, Weaverville and Woodfin.
The plan last went through a major update in 2010, according to Asheville Assistant Fire Chief David McFee.
“Our plan is extremely comprehensive,” McFee told Asheville City Council at the Sept. 13 meeting. “It’s designed to give us guidance in all emergencies and disasters.”
McFee said the plan provides a blueprint to the city council, city staff and the community on preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery.
It’s a “living document” that is reviewed and updated regularly to stay relevant to the community’s needs and to changing technologies, he said.
The preparation and adoption of a local Hazard Mitigation Plan is also a requirement for receiving many types of mitigation and post-disaster recovery funds, according to the plan document.
During a disaster, the Asheville Fire Department coordinates all resource needs through Buncombe County Emergency Management. The AFD, Building Safety, Engineering, and Finance departments in a disaster or major emergency would forward all damage reports to Buncombe County Emergency Management, which is charged with collecting the data needed for a countywide declaration of emergency, or to request a state or federal declaration of emergency for assistance.
The approved plan update is posted on Buncombe County’s website and can be viewed by following this link:
September 19, 2011