Filed under: City Departments
Community engagement and involvement played a huge part in a recent investigation into several break-ins in an Asheville community. See this press release from the APD on how initiatives like community policing and “Changing Together” have brought neighbors and police together to fight crime in communities:
On September 2, 2013, three residents of the Southside community of Asheville experienced breaking and entering into their homes. These crimes occurred during the day and while the victims were out of their homes. Asheville Police officers assigned to the Southside community noted the similarities between these three incidents and began to investigate them as being related. While the officers were doing so, however, the numbers of similar cases in that same community began to grow.
The officers were able to recover physical evidence left by one of the offenders that resulted in revealing his identity. Through these same officers having a working knowledge of their beat, the suspect was taken into custody. Further research into this person’s known associates revealed a number of other offenders that were subsequently implicated in the string of crimes.
At the same time, one of the officers recognized the need of the Asheville Police Department to involve the members of the community in the investigation. The purpose of this need was to provide the citizens with ideas and methods to protect and secure their homes against future crimes of opportunity, and also to empower them to work alongside the officers working toward making their community a safer place to work and live. Dozens of community members attended the meeting, during which these cases and other issues affecting the community were discussed.
As the investigation continued, community support led to the identification of the home in which the spoils of these crimes were being kept. The collaboration between the community members and the APD led to the ability of the officers to receive a search warrant for this home. A subsequent search led to the seizure of multiple items of stolen property, including a firearm taken during one of the early breaking and entering cases. In all, the investigation involved 17 separate incidents and resulted in excess of 30 felony charges being levied against nine offenders.
The successful resolution of the incidents is the direct result of a positive collaboration between community members, stakeholders (Changing Together, Southside Community Advisory Board), and patrol officers within the Asheville Police Department. Through dedicated and ongoing efforts such as these, the philosophy known commonly as community policing was put into practice and is shown to be an effective method of addressing crime.
For more information about how the APD interacts with communities as well as ways to report criminal activity to officers, click here.
December 2, 2013
Two City of Asheville parking garages will been seen in a different light thanks to the City of Asheville’s participation in a newly implemented energy efficiency program with Duke Energy Progress.
Utilizing the Duke Energy Progress Small Business Energy Saver Program, the city will replace lights inside the Wall Street and Rankin Avenue parking garages with LED lighting. LED lighting is much more energy efficient than the high-pressure sodium lights currently being used, and the move will dramatically reduce the energy used by the facilities, resulting in significant utility savings to the City of Asheville.
Thanks to the SBES Program, the upgrade comes at a considerable savings to the City of Asheville. Duke Energy Progress will pick up 65 percent of the cost of the installation, leaving the city’s match at $47,510. With a projected savings of $20,000 per year, the project will pay for the city’s contribution in less than 36 months.
Since they run 24 hours a day, parking garage lights are a great candidate for energy reduction strategies. In all, 225 lights will be replaced in the two garages, with an energy reduction equal to the equivalent of 150 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The replacement will take place during December and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The scope of work and impact of the work will be comparable to routine maintenance in the garages and is expected to create a minimum of disruption for holiday shoppers parking in the facilities.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to advance the goals of reducing the City of Asheville’s carbon footprint in a very cost effective way,” said Kerby Smithson, Energy Analyst with the city’s Office of Sustainability. “And we are thankful to Duke Energy Progress for making this kind of partnership available to the city and to small businesses in the area.”
The Wall Street and Rankin Avenue facilities are two of four parking garages operated by the City of Asheville. The city’s newest garage, on Biltmore Avenue beneath the Aloft hotel, was constructed using LED lighting.
Asheville City Council unanimously approved this partnership at its November 12 meeting. Council has set a goal of reducing carbon reduction goal from municipal operations 80% by 2030, and one of Council’s strategic goals is that Asheville be the southeastern leader in clean energy and environmental sustainability.
The City of Asheville’s Sustainability Office works throughout the City of Asheville organization to develop opportunities for reductions in municipal energy use.
For more information, go to ashevillenc.gov/green.
More from the CoaBlog:
LED Streetlights Coming to a Street Near You
Biltmore Avenue Parking Garage earns regional recognition
November 26, 2013
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.
November 25, 2013
The Asheville Police Department is proud to announce the promotions of two of its officers. On Wednesday, November 20, fifteen year veteran Detective Ricardo Martinez and Senior Police Officer Shaun Ward, an 11 year veteran, were promoted to the rank of sergeant at a ceremony in Asheville City Council Chambers.
APD Sgt. Ricardo Martinez
APD Sgt. Shaun Ward
The ceremony was officiated by Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and attended by the families, friends and colleagues from the Asheville Police Department and the City of Asheville organization.
“I am proud to be able to promote two outstanding members of our department,” said APD Chief William Anderson.
Mayor Bellamy had words of encouragement and praise for Martinez, Ward and the other officers of the Asheville Police Department. “Every day, you put on a badge and say ‘I’m going to go out and protect someone I don’t even know.’ I look forward to seeing you all do great things in this department.”
November 21, 2013
An audit of the City of Asheville’s Building Safety Division by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) has resulted in high marks for performance and commitment to building code enforcement.
The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) measures effectiveness of building safety programs. Scores range from 1 to 10 with low scores representing the highest quality (a score of 1 is considered “exemplary”.) An ISO audit of the city’s program this summer resulted in scores of 2 for both the residential and commercial building safety programs.
“These are scores to be proud of,” said Director of Development Services Shannon Tuch. “It shows a dedication to quality, professionalism and customer service on the part of our building safety employees.”
Strong adherence to building codes affects the kind of impact natural disasters have on buildings, and positively affects the safety of citizens and the economic stability of a community.
ISO ratings also impact insurance scores statewide, and low scores like the one achieved by the City of Asheville result in lower insurance rates across North Carolina.
Asheville’s Building Safety program consists of a team of 30 people responsible for the application and permitting process, plan review, and building inspection services to all areas within the Asheville City limits. The mission of Asheville’s Building Safety program is to protect lives, health, and property in the city and to support economic development by providing quality building and development permit services while enforcing the North Carolina State Building Codes, Asheville Housing Code, and related environmental codes. The Building Safety program is a division of the Development Services Department. Click here for more information.
November 19, 2013
In the below video, UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center Director James Fox talks about the upcoming open house to examine and discuss potential impacts from heavy rainfall events.
Original press release below:
Open house to focus on weather impact strategies
ASHEVILLE – On Nov. 20, the public is invited to an open house to learn more about the impacts and responses to this summer’s rainfall, and to discuss what the area can expect from future weather events. The open house, presented by the City of Asheville and UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), will take place at NEMAC’s 116 Grove Arcade location in downtown Asheville.
The summer of 2013 saw record rainfall in and around Asheville, with storms dumping nearly 12 inches of rain in July alone. That volume of rainfall in such a short period of time presented new challenges to the City of Asheville as Public Works officials responded to incidents like landslides and sinkholes.
“This summer’s rainfall affected many people in our community and had a profound impact on infrastructure and property,” said Assistant City Manager Cathy Ball. “And as a community, we need to have a conversation about what steps we can to take to prepare for and minimize impacts from future storm events.”
The on-site technology provided by NEMAC will offer visitors computer simulations of rainfall impacts on Asheville, and even provide site-specific illustrations of flood and stormwater runoff impact. The City of Asheville and UNC Asheville’s NEMAC have been working together for the past seven years, largely collaborating on flood reduction and stormwater work.
Representatives from the City’s Public Works Department, Stormwater Services Division and Office of Sustainability will be on hand at the Nov. 20 open house to talk about the realities of heavy rain events, detail community responses from the city, and discuss options for preventative measures in the future.
“We really want the community’s voice in this discussion,” Ball said. “We want to hear from people who were affected and those who are concerned about what we can expect as we adjust to this new reality.”
The open house will take place Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the RENCI Engagement Site located in the Grove Arcade, Suite 116, One Page Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801.
For more information about this event contact Chief Sustainability Offier Maggie Ullman at (828) 271-6141 or email@example.com.
November 18, 2013
At its October 22 meeting, Asheville City Council unanimously approved a partnership with the NCDOT that will result in a major sidewalk expansion in South Asheville. The project, slated to begin in 2014, will see sidewalks installed on both sides of Hendersonville Road from I-40 to Long Shoals Road – adding walkability to a stretch of highway approximately 5.3 miles long.
Workers pour concrete for another new South Asheville sidewalk at Overlook Road in October
“This is a huge project and a great addition to our sidewalk network,” said Greg Shuler, the city’s Streets and Engineering manager. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
The partnership includes a major federal funding match, with 80 percent of project funds provided by the Surface Transportation Program – Directly Attributable (STP-DA) through the NCDOT. The funds were allocated by the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization which is charged with administering STP-DA funding at the regional level. The City of Asheville will be responsible for the remaining 20 percent of funding as well as administering and conducting the work on the sidewalk installation. The city’s $825,000 match is included in the city’s FY 2013/2014 capital improvement budget.
Hendersonville Road represents a large and growing section of South Asheville, as well as a gateway into Biltmore Village, and this project will enhance access and safety for people who walk along this corridor of residential areas, businesses, and retail and dining destinations.
Asheville City Council has prioritized pedestrian safety and infrastructure in its 2013/2014 strategic plan, and projects like the Hendersonville Road sidewalk project advance that goal.
Following Council’s approval, the agreement goes to Raleigh for final approval. Shuler says there is plenty to do before breaking ground next fall – local easements need to be established with adjacent property owners and historic properties need to be evaluated. Work will continue alongside the NCDOT to identify rights-of-way while the city will research and identify environmental considerations like flood zones and impact on wildlife.
Another important step in the planning stages, Shuler points out, is community participation, and the city will host community input meetings and invite feedback from the public on the project. Public input opportunities will be announced by press release and posted on the City of Asheville’s information outlets including ashevillenc.gov, twitter.com/cityofasheville and facebook.com/cityofasheville.
More from the CoABlog:
New sidewalks coming to Overlook Road
November 6, 2013
November is “Recycle It!” Month in Asheville and throughout the month, the City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability is offering tours and information that spotlight the city’s commitment to solid waste reduction.
Halloween may be over, but the Upcycled Halloween Costume Contest continues through November 5, with voting running through November 24. So submit those costume photos and then help choose the winner! Go here for details.
Also this month, the Office of Sustainability presents tours of the area’s solid waste and recycling facilities to offer a first-hand look at the impact recycling can have. The tour locations and times are:
Buncombe County Landfill tour: Wednesday Nov. 6, 12:15 p.m.
Danny’s Dumpster Compost Facility tour: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 12:15 p.m.
Curbside Management Recycling Plant tour: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 12:15 p.m.
All tours are free and open to the public, but registration is required ahead of time.
Contact Joey Robison at firstname.lastname@example.org or (828)232-4517 to sign up.
Follow the City of Asheville on Facebook or Twitter for tips, information and cool facts throughout the month about the ways Asheville is decreasing its environmental impact.
Recycling is easy for Asheville residents – just put all of your recyclables in the big blue bin. Check the website for all that can be recycled and your pick up schedule: http://www.ashevillenc.gov/recycling.
November 1, 2013
In an effort to ensure everyone has a fun and safe Halloween, the Asheville Police Department has these safety tips:
Safety at Home:
• Turn on exterior home light
• Keep walkways free of obstructions
• Don’t allow anyone in your home that you don’t know
• Choose bright colored costumes. If dark colored costumes are selected, affix reflective tape for visibility
• Consider using makeup rather than a mask. Masks reduce peripheral vision and present a hazard to children wearing them
• If masks are used, cut eye holes large enough to provide improved vision
• On the inside of the costume, affix the child’s name, address and phone number
• Plan out a route that will be followed
• Cross streets at intersections, never mid-block or from between parked cars
• Walk on sidewalks when provided. If they aren’t available, consider a different route or walk facing the flow of traffic
• Parents, remind children that you need to inspect all candy before they eat it
• Increase visibility by providing children with a functioning flashlight or glow stick
• Never take shortcuts across alleys, back yards or fields
• Instruct children not to enter strange cars or homes
• Avoid Trick-or-Treating in areas and homes with which you are not familiar
Treat Safety and Other Tips
Treats – Don’t Forget the Safety Check
• Check for loose or tampered packaging
• Discard open candy and fruit
• If fruit is to be eaten, wash and cut it into small bite-sized portions to allow for internal inspection
• Avoid consuming homemade treats unless a parent can be certain of the source
Other tips to stay safe
• Attend public activities such as trunk-or-treat
• Host a family function
• Organize a neighborhood block party
• Have a safe, enjoyable time
• To avoid creating a monster, don’t let children eat all of their candy at once!
October 31, 2013
The Biltmore Avenue Parking garage, situated beneath the Aloft Hotel and opened in August of 2012, has been recognized among the region’s best by the Carolinas Parking Association.
Earning an award of merit in the category of New Design, the garage was recognized alongside parking garages from throughout the region.
“This is a really exciting development in a garage that was situated in a dense area of downtown yet nearly tripled available public parking there,” said the city’s Transportation Director Ken Putnam.
The construction was the result of a collaboration between the City of Asheville, Aloft owners the McKibbon Group, and Public Interest Projects, who owned the property – a partnership that resulted in a construction savings of $2.66 million to the City of Asheville and resulted in a parking garage in a corner of downtown with limited parking options, a need identified in a 2008 parking study.
The City of Asheville maintains four parking garages with a total of 1444 parking spaces in downtown Asheville, including the garage at Biltmore Avenue and decks at Rankin Street, Wall Street and behind the U.S. Cellular Center. Except in cases of special event rates, the first hour is free when parking in any of these garages, with each additional hour $1.00.
Click here for more about the City of Asheville parking services.
More from the CoABlog:
Aloft hotel opening marks great public/private partnership
October 31, 2013