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In contrast to the days of the Wild, Wild West, today’s problems are not

settled by the steadiest hand or quickest draw. Rather, finding solutions require a commitment to cooperation, a desire to find common ground, and the ability to understand all interests. Land-of-Sky Regional Council offers a forum for local government officials and community leaders to work together as a region to address challenges we face in Western North Carolina. For the past forty-one years, our organization has encouraged a spirit of regional cooperation that has remained true to our mission – to foster desirable social, economic, cultural, and ecological conditions in our four counties. The 2007 Land-of-Sky Regional Council Annual Report features many of our staff members who work with local governments, service providers, and volunteers to impact the lives of the citizens of Western North Carolina. In this report, we say goodbye to one of the leaders who has provided Joe McKinney guidance to our region for 29 years, we recognize an employee who was and Rodney Locks chosen as tops in her field statewide in 2006, and we introduce you to the face behind “the Voice of Land of Sky.” We trust it will give you better insight to the many programs of our organization….and to the people who lead these efforts. In the coming years, the Board of Directors of Land-of-Sky Regional Council will continue to tear down fences that separate our communities. Through our spirit of regional cooperation, we will continue to make a difference in Wild, Wild Western North Carolina.

Rodney Locks - Chairman

Joe McKinney - Executive Director

Executive Committee

Rodney Locks, Chair and Brevard City Councilman Eddie Fox, First Vice-Chair and Madison County Commissioner Letta Jean Taylor, Second Vice-Chair and Mayor of the Town of Montreat Chuck McGrady, Secretary and Henderson County Commissioner Carol Peterson, At-Large Member and Buncombe County Commissioner Terry Bellamy, Treasurer and Mayor of the City of Asheville Jason Chappell, At-Large Member and Transylvania County Commissioner *Ray Miller, At-Large Member and Transylvania County Commissioner

Council Members

Carol Peterson and Denise Braine, Buncombe County Chuck McGrady and Bill Moyer, Henderson County Eddie Fox and Vernon Ponder, Madison County * Ray Miller and *David Guice, Transylvania County Jason Chappell and Kelvin Phillips, Transylvania County Terry Bellamy and Robin Cape, City of Asheville George Goosmann and Charles Grimes, Town of Biltmore Forest *Will Kennedy, Town of Black Mountain Carl Bartlett and Mary Leonard White, Town of Black Mountain Greg Newman and Chris Carter, City of Hendersonville Dave Bucher and Jim Wert, Village of Flat Rock Bob Davy and Mark Biberdorf, Town of Fletcher

Jimmy Harris and Joe Albright, City of Brevard Mark Snelson and Kenny Ramsey, Town of Hot Springs Dona Mennella and James Ball, Town of Laurel Park Darhyl Boone and Bob Zink, Town of Mars Hill Dean Eastman and Luther Nix, Town of Marshall Letta Jean Taylor and Bill Hollins, Town of Montreat Johnny Rogers and J.C. Chapman, Town of Rosman Allen Root and Harold Payne, Town of Weaverville Jerry VeHaun and Jason Young, Town of Woodfin Jack Roberts, Aging Programs Representative Dave Couch, Volunteer Services Representative

At-Large Members

E c o n o m i c D e ve l o p m e n t R ep r e s e n t a t i ve s

Alfredo Oviedo Reesie Barnette


Janet Bowman Rodney Locks

George Morosani Jerry Plemmons

Larry Blair Mark Burrows

Stokoe Leads the Cavalry for 29 Years! Every effective group needs a good leader. It was true in the Wild West

days and still true today! In July 2007, Jim Stokoe retired from Land-of-Sky Regional Council as its Assistant Director and Director of Local Government Services. The group he led for 29 years, “The Region-B Cavalry,” has provided reinforcements for local governments, non-profits and citizens in the region. Since beginning his work at Land-of-Sky Regional Council in 1978, Jim worked with our member governments to improve the quality of life for the citizens of the region. One of his first projects was the Council’s French Broad River Improvement Program. He was one of the early leaders in the region’s effort to revitalize the river. One major contribution was the development of the River Access System. In the late 70s, there was very little public access to the river. Jim worked with Tennessee Valley Authority, local governments and landowners within all four counties to complete the first fifteen public access points to the river.  He also worked with landowners along the French Broad, Swannanoa and Ivy Rivers to stabilize eroding stream banks, using bioengineering methods 20 years before they became established practices.

Jim Stokoe

Jim partnered with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the French Broad River Foundation and other groups to begin the effort to revitalize the Asheville Riverfront – an initiative that led to the creation of RiverLink. Under the Council’s 208 Water Quality Protection Program, he facilitated a 10year effort that led to the consolidated ownership and management of 13 different sewer collection systems in Buncombe County under the Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD). With MSD’s technical and financial resources, sewer leaks have been significantly reduced, leading to a cleaner river and tributaries. Later in his career, Jim was promoted to Director of Local Government Services and also Assistant Director of Land-of-Sky Regional Council. He worked with the Council Board and region’s leaders to develop the “Regional Vision 2010” strategic plan which addressed many critical issues facing the region. Jim especially enjoyed facilitating strategic planning retreats for individual local government and non-profit boards in the four counties, helping them to become more effective in serving the citizens of Western North Carolina. During Jim’s tenure, he led the development and implementation of a multitude of programs in the areas of economic and community development, solid waste planning, water quality planning, farmland and forest protection, air quality improvement, energy management, land use and transportation planning, and greenways planning and development. He established effective partnerships, with many state and federal agencies, which brought millions of dollars to improve the region’s water and sewer systems, housing conditions for thousands of low-income citizens, and solid waste and recycling programs. These partnerships also redeveloped Brownfields sites, converting them into economic assets. Land-of-Sky’s reputation for innovative and effective planning programs is largely due to Jim’s passion, extraordinary business sense, leadership and vision. Fortunately for the Council and the region, he will continue to work on special projects on a part-time basis. While he won’t be leading the “Cavalry” any longer, he will still be watering and saddling up the horses as needed. Jim Stokoe has left an indelible mark on his friends, his colleagues, and our region.


M ap p i n g L o c a l T r a i l s & T r e a s u r e s Madison County residents and visitors looking for a campground,

organizing a Sunday afternoon bike ride, charting their fall color tour by motorcycle, or yearning for the perfect hike have a new map to use in planning their excursion. Land-of-Sky Rural Transportation Planning Organization (RPO) partnered with the Madison County Tourism Development Authority and the Madison County Parks and Recreation Department to create a county-wide recreational facilities map.

With assistance from Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Bowles, RPO Coordinator Carrie Runser-Turner collected data for the recreational facilities map by meeting with small groups in Madison County to identify bicycle routes, motorcycle routes, hiking trails, and recreational facilities. A public involvement session was conducted to receive comments on the Seated: Jon Beck draft map that was created using the collected data. The finalized project L - R: Billie Barlow has a county map on each side, with one side identifying bicycle routes and Carrie Runser-Turner hiking trails and the other side showing motorcycle routes and recreational facilities. It also provides contact information for the Tourism Development Authority. The maps will be distributed throughout the county so that additional comments can be received for future updates. This cooperative effort was completed as part of Madison County’s membership in the RPO at no additional cost to the County for the LOSRC staff time.

WRP is Spreadin’ Like Wildfire January 2007 marked the 15th anniversary of Land-of-Sky Regional Council’s “retired engineers” program known as Waste Reduction Partners, or “WRP.” This unique technical assistance group supports our region’s businesses and institutions in reducing pollution, solid waste, and water and energy use at no cost to the client. Their efforts have resulted in reduced utility costs and greater economic competitiveness. For the past seven years, WRP has collaborated with the NC Division of Pollution Prevention and the State Energy Office to provide volunteer engineers for Western North Carolina industries, businesses, and institutions. As a result, 86,000 hours of technical assistance have been provided, yielding a savings of more than $17.6 million in utility costs. WRP volunteers helped these organizations conserve 65,500 megawatt-hours of electricity which has reduced the amount of air pollution, equivalent to the removal of 14,300 vehicles from our highways. Their efforts have also been instrumental in the diversion of 133,000 tons of solid waste from landfills. Recently, WRP engineers and scientists extended on-site technical assistance from 32 to 37 WNC and Southern Piedmont counties. The continued success of the WRP program has not gone unnoticed; the State Energy Office awarded a two-year grant to extend the services of this model program state-wide in 2007. This grant will provide funding for a second WRP office located at Triangle J Council of Governments in Durham. LandL - R: Wayne Rumble, Don Hollister, of-Sky’s WRP staff will be playing a critical role in the start-up Elaine Martin, Tom McCullough, of the new office, including recruiting and hiring of staff and and Terry Albrecht volunteers. 3

Corralling Brownfields on the Land-of-Sky Frontier Around here towns are growing and folks are coming from far and wide. But something unexpected is happening; new buildings are rising while old factories are being left behind. Those places that used to make blue jeans or blankets are now lonely lots called Brownfields. Luckily, Land-of-Sky Regional Council houses a group which helps our cities and counties reclaim them for new uses, they are known as the Brownfields Gang.

Front Row:, L - R: Jon Beck, Ron Townley, Jim Stokoe Back Row, L - R: Kate O’Hara, Linda Giltz, Holly Bullman, and Billie Barlow

The Brownfields Gang has one agenda: get that land up and runnin’ for the next fella. By securing grants from the Environmental Protection Agency for over $2 million, they are helping folks with good ideas make new uses of old, potentially contaminated properties. These funds are used to assess properties to find potential contaminants. Developers may qualify for loans or subgrants through the Revolving Loan Fund to clean up the sites for redevelopment and reuse.

The Brownfields Gang works with developers, consultants, bankers, local council members and commissioners, known as the Brownfields Advisory Group. This group is collaborating with the Brownfields Gang to tackle seventeen sites through the Regional Brownfields Initiative. So when you saddle up and ride into town and see a potential site for redevelopment, you’ll know who to call – the Brownfields Gang.

S t r o u p R o u n d s u p N ew Vo l u n t e e r s Due to a tenacious volunteer, Delores Stroup, a new state program has been brought to Western North

Carolina and implemented in a Skilled Nursing Facility in Transylvania County. This pilot program is a new initiative that enlists volunteers who visit one-on-one with residents in nursing homes. Stroup first heard about the “Resident Companion Volunteer Visitation Program” from Sharon Wilder, North Carolina State Ombudsman. She pursued the idea with Ms. Wilder and Denise Rogers, the NC State Ombudsman Program Assistant, to set up the program at the Brian Center in Brevard. Stroup helped spread the word about the new program and found several friends from her neighborhood and church to participate and become trained as companions for residents. After one year the program now has five volunteers visiting residents. The “Resident Companion Volunteer Visitation Program” has been released from being a pilot and has expanded into Ivy Hill Health and Retirement Center, also in Brevard. This program has opened the doorway between the community and the nursing homes, enabling residents who rarely receive visitors to develop relationships with caring volunteers from their community. Delores is an active member of the Land-of-Sky Regional Council Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council, a member of the Ombudsman Program’s Nursing Home & Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee for Transylvania County, a Senior TarHeel Delegate, and a committee member of the Transylvania County Council on Aging. Delores has contributed eight years towards making a difference in her community.

Delores Stroup


C a r o l i n a s ’ M o s t Wa n t e d R e c y cl e r In March 2006, Land-of-Sky Regional Council Planning Specialist, Holly Bullman, was awarded the Carolina Recycling Association’s top award – Recycler of the Year. This is the most prestigious recycling award in the two states. The presentation took place at a formal awards luncheon during the Association’s 16th Annual Conference and Trade Show in Raleigh, NC. Over 500 of North and South Carolina’s top recycling industry professionals were gathered to celebrate the event. Holly was also elected to serve as Secretary to the Carolina Recycling Association’s Board of Directors. Holly was selected from a highly competitive field for her work in our region and throughout the state. She was chosen and recognized for numerous efforts, including:

Holly Bullman

• An exemplary leadership role in developing comprehensive school recycling programs throughout our region which included full support of school boards, principals, teachers and students. State and federal grants were obtained for needed containers, training, and outreach. She successfully negotiated the recycling services for the school systems at no additional cost; • Managing the Mobile Environmental Learning Center (MELC) which has taught over 10,000 students and citizens in our region about reducing, reusing and recycling. MELC has been used throughout Western North Carolina and has won regional, state and national awards; • Chairing the Association’s Education and Outreach Committee which developed a professional training and certification program for recycling professionals in the Carolinas. This program continues to create a comprehensive course for professional development that will promote industry standards.

Vo l u n t e e r i n g Ke ep s t h e H o m e s t e a d H e a l t hy Volunteering is a win-win effort.

Not only do volunteers make a lasting contribution to their communities, but the rewards they receive are uplifting and empowering. Take Anne Saunders, a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) participant, for example. When she realized that her Laurel Wood Apartment complex did not have enough units to qualify for a city recycling receptacle, she organized her own recycling program for the 50 residents. Another example of an RSVP contribution is volunteer Mary Burgess. Bennie Norman, RSVP Coordinator, recruited this retired nurse to perform physicals, a required aspect of volunteering for the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs. This saved the programs thousands of dollars and allowed Burgess to utilize the skills she had gained over a lifetime of service to the medical community. The Land-of-Sky Regional Council’s RSVP program also helps older adults in our area better prepare and protect themselves before, during, and after emergency situations. Connie Pegg, Lead RSVP Coordinator, has presented Disaster Preparedness Programs to aging adults which have benefited the participants and their families.

L - R: Bennie Norman and Connie Pegg 5

RSVP is a federally funded program with more than 750 chapters nationwide. RSVP volunteers are age 55+ and serve in non-profits, local governmental agencies, faith-based ministries, propriety health care facilities and agencies which assist people in crisis. RSVP offers maximum flexibility and choice to its volunteers as it matches the personal interests and skills of older Americans with opportunities to serve their communities.

T u cke r B l a ze s t h e T r a i l Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) is located in a retirement mecca.

Promoted nationally, Western North Carolina is known as one of “The 20 Best Places to Retire in the World”– just one of many such accolades. Many retirees are now calling our area “home.” While some areas of the country have yet to see an increase in the retirement population, many baby boomers have already chosen to relocate to our region. As a result, LOSRC Volunteer Services Staff had to quickly change its marketing and recruitment strategies to attract this more diverse group of potential volunteers. LOSRC Volunteer Services has since been promoted as a leading authority on working with the boomer population. These successes have resulted in a number of national speaking engagements for LeeAnne Tucker, Volunteer Services Director. At the Points of Light Conference in Seattle, a national conference on volunteering, LeeAnne presented Tapping the Boomer Volunteer Market, explaining several creative ways that LOSRC has found success in engaging this group. LeeAnne Tucker

In November 2006, at the request of Deputy Assistant to the President Jay Hein, she spoke at the White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference in Charlotte. LOSRC was highlighted for its successful work with faith-based and community organizations. LeeAnne also made a presentation titled The Boomers Are Here….And We Are Ready! at the Multi-State Cross Program Training Conference in Greensboro in June 2007. As a result, Tess Scannell, Director of Senior Corps, requested that LeeAnne speak at the National Points of Light Conference in Atlanta next summer.

P r ov i d i n ’ R e s t f o r t h e We a r y In November 2006, the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) and the Senior Companion Program (SCP) collaborated to provide family caregivers with respite services. Respite time allows a primary caregiver the opportunity to rest, run an errand, shop or complete other tasks. Family members being cared for can rarely be left alone, which is why respite services are so important to the caregiver. There is a desperate need for respite services in our region as evidenced by the extensive waiting list for Senior Companion volunteers. To address this overwhelming need, FCSP funded a Senior Companion to provide respite services for five families. Each participating family receives five hours of respite care one day a week. In January 2007, Tracy Ash, SCP Manager, went on a home visit to one of the families receiving respite services. Lorene and her husband have been caring for her mother Estella for fifteen years. As an only child, she bears the sole responsibility of caring for her mother and says the last four years have been the most challenging. When asked what the five hours of respite a week have meant, she responded, “I get a good break, I can relax and be by myself for time to think.” Evelyn Mace, the Senior Companion who provides respite for Lorene, says she enjoys working with other older adults. She also realizes the need for family caregivers to get a break and just get out of the house. With the continued need for respite services in our region, these two programs work diligently so that many other caregivers can be helped.

L-R: Carol McLimans and Tracy Ash 6

Regional Accomplishments Continued work on $250,000 Rural Center Economic Stimulus Grant for innovative, placebased economic development focusing on Coal Ash, Medicinal Herbs and Landcare Planning. Farmers were provided with herb dryers so they can produce a quality product for regional processors. Two EPA Brownfields Assessment Grants for $200,000 each were awarded to target hazardous materials contamination and petroleum contamination. $15,000 US Forest Service grant awarded to facilitate local purchase of Southern Appalachian sustainable forest products as diverse as timber, mushrooms, and crafts. Four workshops were offered to teachers across the region to enhance their waste reduction and recycling curriculum resources. 95 teachers attended the four workshops taught over the course of the year. Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) staff helped to create or expand school recycling programs in Asheville City, Buncombe County, Henderson County and Transylvania County Schools. Grants were earned from the NC Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance to pay for recycling bins for classroom and school recycling. Over 8,000 students learned about recycling from the LOSRC Mobile Environmental Learning Center, (MELC), which attended schools and local public events across the region this year. As part of the NC Hurricane Recovery Act, LOSRC continues to partner with North Carolina Division of Environment and Natural Resources to locate and evaluate hazardous waste sites, such as abandoned manufacturing plants and industrial waste treatment lagoons located in flood-prone areas. The Area Agency on Aging has teamed up with a national initiative, Active Options for Aging Americans, to promote physical activity. The Area Agency on Aging has championed this initiative in Region B by encouraging over 120 physical activity providers to submit their program details and is marketing the website to adults 65 and older. This national database is searchable by zip code and type of activity, and includes details of the physical activity programs available.


LOSRC staff collaborated with 13 local governments to form the WNC Stormwater Partnership. Securing over $40,000 in grant funding to support the Partnership’s development of numerous educational tools including television public service announcements, a print ad campaign, brochures, a regional website, training sessions for local officials and newsletter articles. Worked with local government and private sector fleet managers to explore and implement alternative fuel and clean vehicle technologies. The Council is leading an effort to achieve US Department of Energy “Clean Cities” designation for the region. Held educational forums and assisted several stakeholders in securing grants for their clean vehicle projects. $500,000 USDA National Research Initiative (NRI) grant awarded to enhance farm profitability with a combination of farmland preservation tax benefits and high value crop selection. Informed citizens and decision makers about air quality issues and solutions through the Council - facilitated Regional Clean Air Campaign and a special initiative focused on educating communities near the Great Smokies Mountains National Park. LOSRC’s Family Caregiver Support Program provided a $30,000 contract with Alzheimer’s Association Western Carolina Chapter for caregiver respite and case assistance. 30 caregivers were provided assistance. With funding from LOSRC, The Health Adventure completed another successful year of providing health education programming in our four-county region including 50 programs and serving a total of 1178 of participants. Staff of the Land-of-Sky Rural Transportation Planning Organization (RPO) completed a Central Area Parking Inventory for RPO cities and towns in Madison and Transylvania Counties. Continued work on the French Broad River Voluntary Buffer Partnership. Developed two grant applications to the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund to place conservation easements on riverside forested areas on one site in Buncombe County and two sites in Madison County.

Buncombe County Regional Ombudsmen provided 455 hours in response to 120 complaints or concerns regarding long-term care, responded to 458 technical assistance calls and provided 17 education / training sessions. 41 Community Advisory Committee volunteers contributed 379 hours and made 200 visits to long-term care facilities. Senior Companion Program saved Buncombe County over $789,800. 52 Senior Companion volunteers served over 42,000 hours to assist older adults with one-on-one care in their homes. Home and Community Care Block Grant provided $1,343,228 in funding for 14 different services that helped support over 2000 older adults living independently in their homes. Through this funding, 937 older adults were given nutritional meals, 59 participated in Adult Day programs, 253 received in-home health care and home repair services and 814 received transportation services. Asheville Parks & Recreation’s Senior Opportunity Center and Harvest House Senior Center were awarded certification as Centers of Excellence by the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services, joining the ranks of only 35 senior centers out of 166 across the state to achieve this esteemed certification status of excellence. Facilitated a series of four public land use workshops for the Town of Weaverville. In collaboration with the Aging Coordinating Consortium and the Council on Aging, the Area Agency on Aging coordinated the development of a Planning Task Force that will help our community identify, assess and respond to the needs and interests of a very diverse population of older adults, our rapidly aging boomer population and family caregivers.

$1,600 in funding from Duke Energy and Progress Energy provided 30 fans and 11 air conditioners to older adults in need through the Fan/Heat Relief Program. These units were distributed by Council on Aging of Buncombe County, Inc. Senior Community Service Employment Program provided job search training and part-time employment worth $86,735 to 25 older adults placed in 15 different organizations. Seven participants were placed in unsubsidized employment. Foster Grandparent Program saved the County over $1.1 million. 80 Foster Grandparent volunteers served over 63,300 hours to assist special needs or at-risk children achieve their short and long-term goals. Family Caregiver Support Program provided a $7,500 contract with Community Care Partners, Inc. for caregiver respite, a $12,500 contract with Council on Aging of Buncombe County, Inc. for caregiver respite and case assistance and a $5,000 contract with Landof-Sky Regional Council’s Senior Companion Program for caregiver respite. 56 caregivers were provided assistance. Secured a $200,000 EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant for the Town of Woodfin for work on the old Northwoods Golf Course site which is now known as Reynolds Valley. Continued to work with Buncombe County Schools’ Recycling Programs. To help divert approximately 800,000 pounds of recyclable waste from local landfills to material recovery facilities. RSVP saved the County over $484,000 with 234 volunteers giving over 25,780 hours to local government and non-profit agencies.


Henderson County Senior Companion Program saved Henderson County over $71,100. Seven Senior Companion volunteers served over 3,790 hours to assist older adults with one-on-one care in their homes. Foster Grandparent Program saved the County over $151,600. Nine Foster Grandparent volunteers served over 8,070 hours to assist special needs or at-risk children achieve their short and long-term goals. Family Caregiver Support Program provided a $15,000 contract with Pardee Pavilion for caregiver respite and a $5,000 contract with Henderson County Council on Aging for caregiver case assistance. 21 caregivers were provided assistance. Home and Community Care Block Grant provided $757,532 in funding for 15 different services that helped support over 900 older adults living independently in their homes. Through this funding, 634 older adults were given nutritional meals, 16 participated in Adult Day programs, 82 received in-home health care and home repair services and 177 received transportation services. Regional Ombudsmen provided 170 hours in response to 71 complaints or concerns regarding long-term care, responded to 369 technical assistance calls and provided 9 education / training sessions. 31 Community Advisory Committee volunteers contributed 1154 hours and made 323 visits to long-term care facilities. Assisted Henderson County Schools in obtaining a $4,000 grant from NC Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance to purchase bins to collect recyclable beverage containers.


$2,292 in funding from Duke Energy and Progress Energy provided 143 fans to older adults in need through the Fan/Heat Relief Program. These fans were distributed by Henderson County Council on Aging and Western Carolina Community Action – Hendersonville. Secured a $400,000 housing rehabilitation grant for Henderson County. Grant administration, technical support and project service delivery assistance was provided by Land-of-Sky staff. RSVP saved the County over $500,800, with 265 volunteers giving over 26,680 hours to local government and non­profit agencies. Secured $400,000 with a North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, Single Family Rehabilitation grant, which will support nine moderate owner occupied single family rehabilitation projects for elderly and/or disabled Henderson County residents. Secured $250,000 North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance Housing Development grant which supports infrastructure construction for the Habitat for Humanity Shuey Knolls subdivision development. Successfully completed cleanup at the Heart of Fletcher Brownfields site, due to a $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant and a $50,000 Brownfields loan from the revolving loan fund. Senior Community Service Employment Program provided job search training and part-time employment worth $14,301 to 3 older adults placed in one organization.

Madison County Family Caregiver Support Program provided a $10,000 contract with Madison County Department of Community Services for caregiver respite. Seven caregivers were provided assistance. Home and Community Care Block Grant provided $246,636 in funding for 9 different services that helped support over 450 older adults living independently in their homes. Through this funding, 244 older adults were given nutritional meals, 28 received inhome health care services and 189 received transportation services. Regional Ombudsmen provided 8 hours in response to 5 complaints or concerns regarding long-term care, responded to 29 technical assistance calls and provided 1 education / training session. Ten Community Advisory Committee volunteers contributed 38 hours and made 12 visits to long-term care facilities. Senior Companion Program saved Madison County over $180,200. 11 Senior Companion volunteers served over 9,600 hours to assist older adults with one-on-one care in their homes. Foster Grandparent Program saved the County over $16,500. Two Foster Grandparent volunteers served over 880 hours to assist special needs or at-risk children achieve their short and long-term goals. Continued the administration of a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Concentrated Needs Housing and Infrastructure improvement grant for the Town of Hot Springs. Funding was matched with $50,000 in Housing Preservation Grant funds from USDA-Rural Development to assist with the rehabilitation of four houses. Senior Community Service Employment Program provided job search training and part-time employment worth $23,258 to 5 older adults placed in 5 different organizations.

Secured a $75,000 grant from USDA Rural Development on behalf of the Town of Marshall to implement a revolving loan fund program for the downtown business district. Secured a $30,000 Building Reuse and Restoration Grant from The Rural Center for the Town of Marshall. This grant assisted and the State Employees Credit Union to move into a new branch in the old Bank of French Broad building in downtown Marshall. Provided technical and administrative assistance to the Town of Marshall on its hurricane recovery projects - $166,500 was awarded in 2005 for downtown revitalization planning, downtown business organization development, deferred loan program for hurricane damaged properties, National Register district nomination and board development and education (planning and zoning boards). Developed and produced a Pedestrian Plan with the Town of Mars Hill. Provided leadership and organizational development and planning assistance to the Town of Marshall as part of the North Carolina Small Towns Economic Prosperity (NC STEP) demonstration program. RSVP saved the County over $22,950 with 20 volunteers giving over 1,220 hours to local government and non-profit agencies. Continued to administer Hurricane Recovery Act funds to assist in comprehensive planning, board development and education, business area economic development, deferred loan program for hurricane damaged properties, streetscape enhancements, and National Register district nomination. Additionally, $498,900 has been awarded to improve Marshall’s stormwater control system via inflow & infiltration reduction.


Transylvania County

Senior Companion Program saved Transylvania County over $76,400. Five Senior Companion volunteers served over 4,070 hours to assist older adults with one-on-one care in their homes. Foster Grandparent Program saved the County over $81,240. Five Foster Grandparent volunteers served over 4,320 hours to assist special needs or at-risk children achieve their short and long-term goals. Family Caregiver Support Program provided a $12,000 contract with Transylvania Community Hospital Home and Community Care for caregiver respite and case assistance and a $4,000 contract with KOALA for caregiver respite. Seventeen caregivers were provided assistance. Home and Community Care Block Grant provided $282,563 in funding for 11 different services that helped support over 325 older adults living independently in their homes. Through this funding, 151 older adults were given nutritional meals, 21 participated in Adult Day programs, 79 received in-home health care services and 78 received transportation services. Continued to work with Transylvania County Schools’ Recycling Programs, to help divert approximately 11,200 pounds of recyclable waste from local landfills to material recovery facilities. Regional Ombudsmen provided 44 hours in response to 16 complaints or concerns regarding long-term care, responded to 76 technical assistance calls and provided 1 education / training session. Eleven Community Advisory Committee volunteers contributed 20 hours and made 31 visits to long-term care facilities.


Area Agency on Aging staff participated on a planning committee leading to approval by the County Commissioners of the Silvermont Historic site as a developing Senior Center. $1,206 in funding from Duke Energy and Progress Energy provided 74 fans to older adults in need through the Fan/Heat Relief Program. These fans were distributed by Western Carolina Community Action – Brevard. RSVP saved the County over $266,800 with 133 volunteers giving over 14,200 hours to local government and non­profit agencies. Continue administrative and technical assistance related to $400,000 NC Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Business Incubator grant. The incubator provides displaced workers of Transylvania County with educational and small business development support. The incubator facility is being built at the existing Blue Ridge Community College campus in Brevard. Facilitated Brevard City Council Retreat and the Annual Planning Workshop of the Transylvania County Commissioners. Administer and provide technical support for the City of Brevard, through a $350,000 CDBG grant. This Rosenwald Revitalization Strategies grant provided funding for the following activities: 11 water/sewer system repair projects; 5 emergency repair projects; 1 homebuyer down payment assistance; neighborhood revitalization enhancement projects; neighborhood beautification activities; stormwater and drainage controls improvements; and a Community Health Fair.

The Perfect Match Webster’s Dictionary defines companion as:

com.pan.ion -- kahm-pan yahn, noun

1. One that accompanies another: one that keeps company with another 2. One that is closely connected with something similar Dorothy Honeycutt quickly became isolated, depressed and in need of companionship shortly after her husband of 51 years unexpectedly passed away. She suddenly found herself needing assistance with the tasks her husband had always handled - transportation to the doctor, grocery store and pharmacy, as well as household tasks she could no longer perform. A concerned friend contacted Land-of-Sky Regional Council to see what services were available for Dorothy. Tracy Ash, Senior Companion Program Manager, was able to provide the perfect match. Ruby Angel, an experienced Senior Companion, was introduced to Dorothy - they bonded right away. Not only did Ruby help her with these tasks, but more importantly, she gave Dorothy companionship and friendship during a tough time in her life. With Ruby’s assistance, Dorothy is able to remain independent in her own home. She no longer feels alone and has gained more than a Senior Companion, Dorothy has a new friend. Senior Companion volunteers touch the lives of adults who need assistance to live independently in their own homes. They serve older adults, adults with disabilities, those with terminal illnesses, and offer respite for caregivers. They assist their adult clients in basic, but essential ways: • • • •

Offering companionship and friendship; Assisting with simple chores; Providing transportation; Adding richness to their clients’ lives.

Tracy Ash

Te n d i n ’ t o t h e L i l ’ Pa r d ’ n e r s Volunteering can make you feel good and is good for you!

Research has shown that volunteering helps a person remain healthy, enhances quality of life, reduces stress, and may even add years to your life. The YWCA of Asheville is proving just that by utilizing Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) volunteers. Foster Grandparents are trusted mentors, confidants and friends to children in need. Their goal is to help children with special needs improve their reading, motor skills, temperament, and behavior. Their efforts enhance children’s physical development, improve their self esteem and serve as invaluable role models. There are currently 12 Foster Grandparents at the YWCA Child Care Center. This is the largest FGP volunteer station in the program. As a benefit, the YWCA provides each Foster Grandparent Volunteer a free gym membership valued at $496 and encourages them to get involved in the various programs and classes offered. The YWCA’s Child Care Center goes out of its way to ensure the volunteers receive the same training programs and classes that are offered to their paid staff. The Foster Grandparents in the infant classroom all attended a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) training course where they were trained and given certificates of completion. Many of the Foster Grandparent Volunteers also attended CPR First Aid training through the YWCA.

Stacy Friesland

Wanda Harris, Director of Daycare, praises the Foster Grandparent Program. “The volunteers are always full of energy and support and are truly a part of what makes this daycare the great center that it is. We couldn’t do it without them!” 12

Prospecting For Greenbacks The Senior Community Service Employment Program

(SCSEP) enjoyed a successful grant year in 2007. Enrollment was up and thirty-three participants were placed in community service positions with our area/host agencies. Two new sites, Swannanoa Christian Ministries and Swannanoa Valley Museum, were added as host agencies. SCSEP is a program that provides part-time paid work experience in community service and non-profit organizations. It offers short-term training and job placement for older adults. The goal is for participants to obtain meaningful employment in the private sector.

Jennifer Atkinson and Brenda DelaCruz

“The best news for SCSEP is seven participants were placed in unsubsidized employment this year,” says Program Coordinator Jennifer Atkinson. This means the agency will provide full funding for the positions, which replaces SCSEP subsidies. Some of the host agencies that hired these participants were the Council on Aging of Buncombe County, Affordable Housing Coalition in Asheville, Veterans Medical Center, Pack Place, and WNC AIDS Project. The future of SCSEP was strengthened at Land-of-Sky Regional Council in 2007 when Brenda DelaCruz was hired as Assistant Job Developer. Her insight and experience as a former SCSEP participant enables her to better serve potential clients seeking employment in our region.

R e s t - h o m e R a n ge r s In 1965, Congress enacted the Older American’s Act which led to the creation of North Carolina’s LongTerm Care Ombudsman Program. A Long-Term Care Ombudsman serves as a mediator who seeks to resolve complaints made by or on behalf of people living in long-term care facilities. They provide a way for people to voice their concerns and have complaints addressed.  Land-of-Sky Regional Council Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has three Ombudsmen working to enhance the quality of care and life for individuals living in nursing and adult care homes which include assisted living facilities, family care homes and rest homes. They work with residents, family members, facilities, concerned citizens, as well as public and private agencies to serve our aging and disabled population. Recently, increased emphasis has been placed on advocacy for the adult care home system. Land-of-Sky’s AAA staff provided background information and technical assistance to a community-based ad-hoc committee. The committee worked on a variety of legislative and regulatory issues concerning the mixing of frail older adults and younger mentally ill people in adult care homes. Members of the ad-hoc committee included representatives from many area organizations.

L - R: Barbara Hinshaw, Lee Ann Smith, and Terry Collins 13

To help increase awareness of this issue, presentations were made to legislators representing Buncombe County and to the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging. In response, legislation to address these concerns was introduced in the 2007 session of the NC General Assembly. Our Ombudsmen will continue to advocate for changes in the system in order to better meet the needs of residents and staff of these homes.

T h e r e ’s a N ew M a r s h a l l o n t h e H o r i zo n In the fall of 2004, downtown Marshall was struggling to survive economically as jobs were moving to the US 25/70 bypass. The riverfront area was further challenged when it was inundated by the flood waters of tropical storms Ivan and Frances. The North Carolina Legislature responded to these natural disasters by enacting the Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005. Soon after, Marshall requested assistance from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) to secure funding in order to redesign their storm water management system, repair old and failing infrastructure, rehabilitate downtown buildings, renovate the Town Hall and have the downtown designated as a National Historic District. Linda Giltz, LOSRC Regional Planner, led a planning team in the initial assessment of flood damage and the development of a strategic recovery plan to build back an economic base for Marshall. Linda and LOSRC Senior Housing Planner Karen Kiehna wrote grant applications that led to the receipt of funds from the Rural Center, the NC Division of Community Assistance, and the NC Division of Emergency Management. With funding in place, local officials, residents, and business owners came together to focus energy into revitalizing the town. Marshall was accepted into the Rural Center’s NC Small Towns Economic Prosperity (NC STEP) demonstration program in March 2006. Linda coordinated a leadership team and was selected to be the town’s “coach” to identify training needs, connect leadership with economic development training opportunities, and develop a vision and economic strategy. During their first year of the three year NC STEP demonstration program, the team has planned and hosted several community events, including a 2007 Community Design Workshop to get broader community involvement and Karen Kiehna and Linda Giltz develop design ideas for the town. Four buildings in Marshall have been renovated with grant funds, while others are in the process of completion, marking the beginning of a new horizon for the Town of Marshall.

M a d i s o n C o u n t y L a s s o ’s 2 - 1 - 1 Imagine you’re a caring neighbor of an older adult who can’t afford to pay for her medication… Imagine you’re a worried parent of a teenager who is using drugs... Imagine you’re an anxious sister or brother of a man about to be laid off from his job… Imagine you’re an eager student looking for a place to volunteer… Who can you call for help and information? The one simple answer in all of these situations is 2-1-1! 2-1-1 is a community service information line that links people to local health and human services. This community resource database includes over 2,000 programs throughout Western North Carolina (WNC). United Way’s 2-1-1 of WNC is one of the most widely used referral services in our state. In 2007, through funding support from Land-of-Sky Regional Council’s (LOSRC) Family Caregiver Support Program, 2-1-1 expanded to include Madison County. This completes the coverage of this service throughout our four-county region. With the support of Madison County Government, Madison County United Way and a workgroup of local community leaders, this service was launched during a ceremony on the courthouse steps. In August, Vernon Ponder, County Commission Chairman, made a ceremonial first call to 2-1-1 introducing Madison County residents to this important service.

Joe Connolly and Carol McLimans

As a result of the collaboration between LOSRC and the United Way, Madison County residents can now call 2-1-1, or 828-252-HELP (4357) from cell phones, or visit the online database at to get connected and get answers.


Sure Fire Sherry Steps Up When Sherry Christenson was hired as an Accounting Project Assistant for

Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC), she had no idea she would one day be managing the Aging Resource Management System (ARMS) for the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). With only two weeks of training, Sherry stepped in when the staff member in charge of ARMS retired. She has since provided invaluable training and technical support for our Area Service Providers.

Sherry Christenson

ARMS is a tracking database where service provider information is entered and sent monthly to the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services. Sherry’s efforts have been invaluable to service providers as they transition to a new web-based ARMS system.

When needed, Sherry has also assisted with payroll and accounts payable functions. These tasks are time consuming, detail-oriented and critical to all LOSRC operations. Sherry’s can-do attitude exemplifies what is most valued in LOSRC employees.

M e a n wh i l e, b a ck a t t h e R a n c h … An aging pick-up complains as it hauls a full load of produce out of the

bottomland and up to the ridge leading out of the Dix Creek Community. Market day starts early but by noon Tom Elmore and his daughter Liz will head home, having served hundreds of customers with fresh, local produce. Like most family farmers, Tom has an off-farm job too. He serves as Senior Regional Planner at Land-of-Sky Regional Council. His efforts often focus on “working lands” – farms and forests that not only support families but also provide farm products and jobs to our communities. One of Tom’s recent endeavors, The Farm Prosperity Project, brings together eight organizations to look at new ways to use farmland protection techniques to make farms more prosperous. Land trusts pay farmers for development rights, Cooperative Extension agents help growers with more lucrative crops, and economists identify ways to keep farming viable.

Tom Elmore

Local governments are increasingly concerned about farmland loss. With Tom’s experience, he is in a unique position to help member governments support this important pillar of our regional economy.

Drivin’ the Welcome Wagon Everyone has experienced the frustration of calling an office and having to deal

with an automated telephone system. Embracing our core value to provide excellence in public service, Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) ensures that clients reach a person when calling our office. Bonnie Smith, our receptionist, personifies this value. Bonnie always has a friendly smile and kind word for everyone. She makes our visitors feel at home and our staff members depend on her daily for assistance with meetings and callers. Bonnie Smith


Executive Director Joe McKinney says, “Bonnie is the face and voice of Land-ofSky. Anyone who calls or visits our office has to interact with Bonnie. I have people every day tell me how pleasant and welcome Bonnie makes them feel. Bonnie is the opposite of everything you hate about automated phone attendants…she’s responsive, receptive, caring, and helpful!”

L a n d c a r e Ta ke s R o o t i n M o n t r e a t In Spring 2006, Montreat Town Commissioner O’Neil Tate and Town

Administrator Ron Nalley invited Jim Stokoe to present the landcare model to the Town’s Parks and Recreation Committee and Town Council. Jim thought it would be a hard sell. After all, landcare groups were not supposed to be under the control of local governments. What he underestimated was the depth of the conservation ethic in Montreat as well as the Town Council’s interest in starting a landcare group, but allowing it to remain autonomous. Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) involvement in landcare began its origin in 2003 when Jim attended a conference in Pennsylvania and heard a presenter describe an Australian community conservation organizing model called “landcare.” Jim was fascinated with landcare, and had the opportunity to travel to Australia to study it firsthand.

Jim Stokoe In response to Jim’s presentation to the Montreat Town Council, the Montreat Landcare Team was formed and has developed a list of 20 potential projects. Projects range from erosion control to environmental education, electric vehicles to a website with a scientific database of projects. In April 2007, team member Rusty Frank led several volunteer field work days to clear an invasive plant called Japanese knotweed from a streamside. Today, Jim finds himself on his way to facilitate the fifth meeting of the Montreat Landcare Team. He is gratified that one of LOSRC’s member governments has taken such a leadership role in becoming what O’Neil Tate states is “the first landcare town in North Carolina.”

Tribute Occasionally we encounter an extraordinary person who affects our life in a profound way. Eunice Varner, a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) participant, did just that. I was immediately impressed by her thoughtful and gracious demeanor. On my first day of work, she welcomed me with a hug. She was part of the Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) family and now, so was I. Eunice Varner pictured with Jane Whilden, Director, Western Office of Government, NC Governor’s Office

Eunice had been a volunteer at LOSRC since 1989. She was a retired secretary and loved office work. As a volunteer, she did data entry and filing for hundreds of RSVP volunteer files and never denied any work request.

While working with Eunice, I observed her grace and confidence when working with others. Her dry sense of humor and quiet demeanor made for some funny moments. When asked on a survey what her volunteer job title was, she wrote, “Assistant to the Chief Fulfiller of Volunteer Needs in Region B and Unofficial Counter of Beans.” Eunice taught me the true meaning of volunteerism. One day I asked Eunice what volunteering meant to her. She thoughtfully replied, “Volunteering is not what people think it is. It’s not answering the phone for an agency or reading to a child. Volunteering is a precious gift I give to the community. The community I choose to give to is Land-of-Sky. I give my time, my talents, my abilities, and my love.” I am forever grateful for the thoughts and insights Eunice shared with me. It broadened my understanding of what volunteering is all about. I wish the very best to Eunice as she enjoys her new home near Raleigh. Thank you, Eunice, for your 18 years of dedication to Land-of-Sky. -- LeeAnne Tucker


Staff Local Government Services Staff:

Executive Director, Joe McKinney

Seated L - R: Linda Giltz-Land Use Planner, Carrie Runser-Turner-Rural Transportation Planner Middle Row L - R: Kate O’Hara-Community and Economic Development Planner, Billie Barlow-Project Assistant, Holly Bullman-Brownfields/Waste Reduction Specialist Back Row L - R: Tom Elmore-Senior Regional Planner, Bill Eaker-Environmental Services Manager, Terry Albrecht-Director, Waste Reduction Partners, Ron Townley-Solid Waste/Brownfields Team Leader, Jim Stokoe-Director, Local Government Services, John Connell-Housing Technician, and Jon Beck-GIS Planner

Finance Department:

L - R: Sherry Christenson-Accounting Techician, Rose Sabo-Accounting Techinican, Peggy Barnes, Finance Officer

Aging Programs Staff:

Center: Joe Connolly, Director Seated L -R: Carol McLimans-Family Caregiver Resource Specialist, Rebecca Chaplin-Aging Specialist - Programs Back Row L - R: Lee Ann Smith-Regional Ombudsman, Christina Francis-Project Assistant, Barbara Hinshaw-Lead Regional Ombudsman, Jennifer Atkinson-SCSEP Program Coordinator, Volunteer Services Staff: Margaret Stanley-Contracts Specialist, Seated L - R: Stacy Friesland-Foster Grandparent Manager, Brenda DelaCruz-SCSEP, LeeAnne Tucker, Director of Volunteer Services Terry Collins-Regional Ombudsman Back Row L - R: Joleen Huertas-Project Assistant, Bennie Norman-Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs Coordinator, Tracy Ash-Senior Companion Manager, Connie Pegg-Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs Lead Coordinator

Administrative Services Department Staff:

Seated: Brett Satz-Information Systems Specialist Back Row L - R: Michelle Barber-Administrative Services Assistant, Bonnie Smith-Administrative Services Assistant, Maggie MacCormack-Administrative Support Assistant, Danna Harrell-Stansbury, Director of Marketing and Administration 17


Land-of-Sky Regional Council 2007 Annual Report  

Land-of-Sky Regional Council is one of 17 regional councils in North Carolina, which bring together programs, issues and solutions that affe...

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