21 The beneﬁts of psilocybin mushrooms for depression
the varieties of yoga 13 40 Ways to transform WNC’s local food system OUR 29TH YEAR OF WEEKLY INDEPENDENT NEWS, ARTS & EVENTS FOR WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA VOL. 29 NO. 26 JAN. 25-31, 2023
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NEWS ARCHIVES WELLNESS A&C A&C NEWS CONTENTS FEATURES PAGE 8 SHROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT Asheville is home to a number of guides who assist people in taking psychedelic mushrooms as “plant medicine.” Many say they have turned to psychedelics when traditional pharmaceutical medications for their depression and anxiety haven’t worked. COVER IMAGE iStock COVER DESIGN Scott Southwick 4 LETTERS 4 CARTOON: MOLTON 5 CARTOON: BRENT BROWN 8 NEWS 27 BUNCOMBE BEAT 29 SNAPSHOT 34 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 36 WELLNESS 40 ARTS & CULTURE 50 CLUBLAND 54 FREEWILL ASTROLOGY 54 CLASSIFIEDS 55 NY TIMES CROSSWORD 19 SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK Public Montessori school to open in August 32 ‘CONSIDERABLE SACRIFICE AND DISCOMFORT’ City confronts nursing issues, 1923 36 HEALTH ROUNDUP Sunrise Recovery opens drop-in center 40 THE ROAD AHEAD Transforming our local food system to feed the region 44 AGRARIAN ADVANTAGE Leveller joins Weaverville brewery scene 13 MANY PATHS Demystifying yoga with local teachers www.junkrecyclers.net 828.707.2407 P urge Unwanted Junk, Remove Household Clutter! call us to remove your junk in a green way! Greenest Junk Removal! 26 Glendale Ave • 828.505.1108 regenerationstation.com TheRegenerationStation Open Everyday! 10-5pm Best of WNC since 2014! 36,000 SQ. FT. OF ANTIQUES, UNIQUES & REPURPOSED RARITIES! Asheville’s oldest Junk Removal service, since 2009 TRS Junk Recyclers Handcrafted Dining Tables Find in Booth #705
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A creative solution for affordable housing
When Lee Walker Heights was transformed from 96 apartment units into a subdivision of 212 units, it was a prime opportunity for Asheville to convert these units from subsidized housing apartments into affordable condominiums that qualifying low-income residents could buy. This would be a win-win for residents and the city.
More people would enjoy the benefits of homeownership, and they would pay less for mortgage payments and ad valorem property taxes than many people currently pay for rent. The city would benefit by (1) selling the condos and getting repaid most or all of its investment and (2) using the sales proceeds to fund other housing options.
This would be preferable to pushing more “bonds” on taxpayers. Bonds simply lead to increasingly expensive property taxes, which ultimately make housing less affordable.
Granted, people would need to qualify for a mortgage, but there are housing grants available, and Federal Housing Administration loans avail-
able that finance up to 100% of the purchase price. The city might also contribute or waive the down payment, such that a mortgage company would be willing to provide financing for the units. How many people would be willing to work harder or clean up
their credit score if they knew buying their own home was a viable option?
According to dwellics.com, in 2022, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Asheville was approximately $1,474 per month. As a hypothetical, if a two-bedroom, onebath condo unit sold for $200,000, a 30-year mortgage financed at 5% interest would result in a monthly mortgage payment of $1,073.64. If $125 per month were added to the mortgage for estimated property tax, homeowners insurance and homeowners association maintenance fees, the monthly housing cost would still be under $1,200 per month.
This is affordable for the average individual or family earning $3,600 a month, or $43,200 a year. If an individual wanted to sell their unit within a certain time frame, there could be a mechanism in place to keep it affordable. One example would be that they could only sell it for an amount sufficient to recoup the principal that had been paid on the mortgage.
People would take better care of the units if they owned them. They would also care more about their neighborhood being free of drugs, crime and litter.
Instead of borrowing money (bonds) that is given to investors, perhaps the city could invest directly in its citizens.
— L. Cash Asheville
When teddy bears meet power lines
To the “people” who think it is fun to adorn our downtown power lines with stuffed animals:
On Tuesday, Jan. 17, I arrived at work, on time, to the popular downtown café that employs me to be greeted by the generous owner, who informed me that we would not be opening for business that day.
The reason? Someone had tied some teddy bears together and adeptly tossed them over the power lines in front of the café, shorting out the power system and leaving half of the block without electricity. Not only depriving all of the eager hourly employees without pay for that day but costing the owners a day of income, leaving the patrons of our establishment without choice but to go elsewhere and no doubt costing the city untold thousands of dollars to remedy the matter.
I have observed this behavior in West Asheville as well. The same type of “people” think that it is fun to paint babydolls red and similarly decorate the power lines. To what end? I haven’t the foggiest clue.
So to you, I say: Thank you for your bold efforts to contribute nothing to our esteemed community. Please go back to kindergarten and learn respect for others. Thank you.
— John Harte Asheville
Why you should talk to your children and teens about porn
I appreciate John Van Arnam’s work supporting families and communities in discussing the risks of children watching porn [“Awkward Conversation: How to Talk to Your Kids About Online Pornography,” Jan. 11, Xpress]. As a health educator, this is also one of my passions because, while we were trying to keep our families safe during the pandemic, our kids’ screen time, often unsupervised, nearly doubled and at times may have included pornography.
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 4
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CARTOON BY RANDY MOLTON
According to a survey of teens, 84.4% of males and 57% of females have viewed pornography, and 10% of views are by children under 10. In addition, there was a startling increase (147,188 reports) of 11- to 13-year-old girls taking nude photos or videos of themselves and posting them online, often after being groomed by an online sexual predator (Internet Watch Foundation, 2021). Furthermore, 1-in-5 girls and 1-in-10 boys (ages 13-17) agreed that they had shared nudes of themselves.
Online pornography is free; there are no age restrictions, and I know it is hard to acknowledge, but if your child has a device and is 8 or older, they may have seen porn. Sex is taboo; porn is even more so, and it can be uncomfortable to discuss. However, our kids need us to explain that porn is not a safe space to learn about sex.
As Van Arnam stated, nearly all free porn does not show sex or intimacy; it depicts sexual violence. Over 85% of scenes in explicit online content show acts of aggression and sexual violence, and the victim is usually a woman or girl who responds either neutrally or with expressions of pleasure (A.J. Bridges et. al., 2010). When kids see this, they learn that sexual violence and rape are normal sexual behavior. If we do not teach them otherwise, then sex is violence.
Current research shows a link between watching online pornography and increased verbal and physical violence against women (Lemma, 2020). Porn teaches that name-calling, choking and hitting are normal sexual activities. The natural progression of attraction, communication, holding hands and a first kiss erodes. A poll of 31% of surveyed teen girls ages 16-21 says they’ve taken part in sex acts without even a kiss first (Thorn, August 2020). Love, trust, healthy communication, healthy relationships, consent, birth control and emotional intimacy are not shown in porn.
What do we do? First, come to terms with what our kids are seeing. If your child has access to a screen, they are at risk of viewing porn. Second, set content restrictions on their device. If your child is 12 or older, they probably know how to get around restrictions, so read up on what the best available product is to prevent that. Third, if you have not initiated the conversations about sex, start today. Teach them the anatomical names of their private parts. Teach them how to say “no” and ask for help if someone asks to see, touch or receive a digital image of their body. Fourth, talk about the risks of watching porn and that porn is a business that focuses solely on profit.
Porn is not a safe source of sexual health information. Talking about
porn for the first time can be uncomfortable. However, weigh that against your child thinking porn is an example of normal sexual behavior. Lastly, even if they act like they are not listening, students report that parents are their most trusted source of sexual health information. Remember, it is never too early or late to start talking about healthy relationships, healthy communication, anatomy, physiology and setting boundaries.
— Julia Pierce Gerton
Editor’s note: Pierce reports holding a master’s degree in public health and a master’s of divinity.
Now I get the Merrimon Avenue plan
So, the halving of Merrimon Avenue’s ability to handle traffic appears to be to provide two lanes formerly available to move traffic to accommodate orange barrels! Wow — what a plan!
And, speaking of plans, instead of wasting all that money to destroy Merrimon Avenue, why wasn’t it used to improve and fix the well-known antiquated water system that left so
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 5
CONTINUES ON PAGE 6
CARTOON BY BRENT BROWN
many people without water for extended periods over the holidays? And please don’t tell me it’s money from a different department; let’s try to use some common sense.
Or is that in the same category as dedicating two lanes of traffic to orange barrels?
— Patricia Wald Asheville
Local leaders must listen to the people calling for change
You and our children may be the most significant generation of human beings who ever lived. Let’s look at education as a process of living: a beginning of lifelong learning. There is no better education than experiences that are self-driven.
I have a sense that local schools are really up against the reality of today’s world. I know of local parents, home-schoolers and school employees who are really stressed. And my activities with local peace and justice workers, along with environmentalists, have motivated me to speak out. The latest being the Only One Earth Coalition, whose members have been very active as we move into the new year.
I call on parents to reclaim your children’s education not only through home-schooling but being active in the school that your child attends. I call on educators to push for a radical transformation of our school system. Nothing short of that will suffice in the new age ahead. Education is not merely schooling, which is increasingly standardized and test-driven — too often crushing the zest for knowledge and inner growth.
It’s easier to develop strong, healthy, creative children than to educate “grown-ups” who are busy surviving rather than thriving. I’d like to see grade-appropriate peace and justice included in our public school curriculum, along with more internal freedom to develop their inner strengths.
The primary grades do a better job teaching such things as kindness, respect, honesty and caring, but that isn’t enough. Be aware that neuroscientists and spiritual teachers suggest that we all have the potential to continue developing and transforming our minds from birth right up to death.
In other words, we are always becoming, expanding our consciousness and intellect to live a full, meaningful life — or we are simply in a rut, spinning our wheels just trying to survive, allowing television, political hacks and the distractions of so-called entertainment guide our lives.
Let’s make our schools the hub of social services, introducing social action that includes democratic participation in peace and justice that are relevant to our families, our workplace and our churches. There are many wonderful, positive ideas floating around but they are ignored by the dominant culture’s values. It is a bitter pill to swallow that it’s going to get worse despite the healthy, creative and inspired people who are calling for a spiritual transformation.
We need to stand from a position of our own inner growth. Democracy requires an informed citizenship, not prepackaged messages designed to manipulate and control. I suggest reading biographies of our Founding Fathers to grow in more freedom, independence and understanding of our Constitution.
The good news is that there are many local, national and international groups that are open, alive and thriving, resisting inequality, consumerism, racism, militarism and passivity by using their hearts and minds. They ground their ethics for social change, placing people at the center — not politics, ideology or wealth. There are local communities, programs and organizations. I call on our local leaders to recognize that they have a big challenge before them. They must listen, study, reflect and openly act to transform our society by honoring those who are calling for change. Not perfection but accepting greater power to we the people.
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” — Thomas Jefferson
For further information or challenges, email email@example.com.
— Ed Sacco Asheville
Editor’s note: A longer version of this letter will appear at mountainx. com.
Invest in vasectomies
[Regarding “Abortion Funds Are Too Dilute,” Jan. 11, Xpress:] I believe we can solve the problem of some unwanted pregnancies with vasectomies. Maybe Alan Ditmore can work to create an organization that funds this procedure for men who have already had children and/or do not want (more) children.
Since one man can get multiple women pregnant, this could be a good investment. A quick Google search shows 20 doctors in Asheville willing to do this outpatient procedure for an estimated cost of $1,000 or less.
— Barbara Sloss Asheville X
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Shroom for improvement
WNC explores psychedelic mushrooms for mental health
BY JESSICA WAKEMAN
To an outside observer, Eliza ’s life appeared to be one of untrammeled privilege. She was raised in a wealthy suburb, attended private schools and traveled widely. By her 20s, she’d earned a degree from a top university and gotten prestigious jobs in politics.
But those appearances hid a chaotic upbringing. Eliza’s father was an alcoholic, and her parents divorced while she was in middle school. She began experiencing depression and was prescribed the antidepressant Prozac at age 13.
Then, after he had survived a serious illness, Eliza’s father died suddenly following an injury. Two years later, her boyfriend died by suicide. These two deaths, occurring so close together, plunged Eliza into a deeper depression, and she began thinking of killing herself all the time. Prozac was no longer cutting it.
Fast forward to today, and Eliza’s life looks familiar to that of many Asheville women. She loves farmers’ markets and walking her dogs. She has a zeal for the outdoors.
And for some people, one aspect of her mental health care regimen is particularly familiar: Eliza takes psychedelic mushrooms in a guid-
ed setting for the management of her depression.
Eliza spoke with Xpress using a pseudonym, as possession of the chemical those mushrooms contain, psilocybin, is illegal under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, psilocybin is a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment.”
However, Eliza and others like her call the benefits from mushrooms “plant medicine.” They credit psilocybin for their mental well-being and point to a growing body of research supporting that experience.
“There’s not as much stigma around” psychedelics such as mushrooms being used therapeutically, explains Dr. Tiffany Sauls , an Asheville psychiatrist. She provides psychotherapy assisted by ketamine, another drug with hallucinogenic properties, at Asheville Integrated Psychiatry.
Sauls says the use of psilocybin is being “mainstreamed” in the mental health community, although she notes she does not use it in her practice. “It’s being used in research, versus just hippies having a good time,” she adds with a laugh.
BEYOND THE PILLBOX
People who use mushrooms for depression or anxiety often have a clinical history of using pharmaceutical antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication. But for several reasons — undesired side effects, acclimation to the dosage or the drugs simply not working — they find those medications wanting.
Eliza found her way to psilocybin through clinical uses of ketamine and MDMA. (The latter, like psilocybin, is also illegal to possess except in medical research). She says she was “not functional” after losing her father and boyfriend back-to-back, and in 2017, her brother began researching how ketamine might reduce the symptoms of her depression. “It was kind of this Hail Mary for me,” she recalls.
She ended up participating in a clinical trial for the drug, then began getting ketamine intravenously as a depression treatment. After moving to Asheville a couple of years later, Eliza tapered off her pharmaceutical antidepressants to use MDMA for depression “under the radar with a mental health professional.” She says both ketamine
and MDMA helped her depression symptoms temporarily.
Then her brother, who was coping with similar mental health issues, introduced Eliza to “people who worked with plant medicine.” Her first experience with psilocybin in 2019 “kind of cracked me open,” she says. Her use of psychedelic mushrooms almost 10 times over the past four years, she continues, has addressed her pain and feelings of abandonment in ways pharmaceuticals, ketamine and MDMA never did.
Although Indigenous cultures have long used mushrooms and other psychedelics in spiritual or healing contexts, they weren’t widely known in the U.S. until 1957. That year an American banker, R. Gordon Wasson , published an account of visiting Mexico and taking mushrooms with the Mazatec shaman Maria Sabina in Life magazine. (The attention generated by Wasson’s article led Sabina to be ostracized from her community, and she came to regret sharing the tradition.)
Western scientists proceeded to explore therapeutic uses for psilocybin in the 1950s and ‘60s, but
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FREUDIAN TRIP: The strain of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms called “penis envy” is considered more potent than other strains. Photo by Jessica Wakeman
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a social backlash against psychedelics and their association with countercultural movements led to Congress outlawing them in 1966. Formal research on mushrooms almost entirely stopped until 2000, when a research group at Johns Hopkins University got regulatory approval for a new study.
That team has since published over 60 scientific articles on psilocybin and its effects, and many other scientists have started to work with the chemical. Sauls, who studies MDMA but has not been involved in psilocybin research, says those results have been promising.
“The research up to now is showing that even a single high dose of psilocybin can be effective treatment for depression, end-of-life anxiety, ruminative thought patterns and addiction,” says Sauls. She also notes that the potential risks and adverse events from psilocybin usage are low. Unlike some other drugs used to treat mental health conditions, like the benzodiazepine Xanax, it is not addictive.
Like Eliza, Andrew Phillips also found his way to psychedelics after trying multiple pharmaceutical treatments for his treatment-resistant depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. He says clients who hire him to provide “psychedelic peer support,” or preparing them for using a psychedelic and sitting with them through the experience, are often “absolutely fed up” with the medical establishment.
“A lot of these people have been in the mental health system for 10-20 years and haven’t found relief,” he says.
Phillips began teaching educational workshops about psychedelics, which he organizes on Meetup, in September. “They’ve been incredibly popular,” he tells Xpress . “Every time I have one, I have a waitlist.”
PLAN B: Ehren Cruz, who calls himself a legal harm reduction ceremonial facilitator, says many people turn to psilocybin when they no longer feel joy in their lives. He says some people find pharmaceuticals for depression and anxiety don’t work for them. Photo courtesy of Cruz
‘BROUGHT EVERYTHING TO THE FORE’
In general, pharmaceutical antidepressants and antianxiety medications treat symptoms of mental illness by affecting neurotransmitters: substances produced by the brain, like serotonin or dopamine, that change how its cells communicate. While psilocybin also tweaks neurotransmitters, people with depression or anxiety who have used it say the chemical addresses something more deeply at their core.
Eliza, for example, says her first time using psilocybin “brought everything to the fore” regarding her father and her boyfriend’s deaths — in particular, “everything that I’d been avoiding feeling, everything that I hadn’t processed.”
In fact, due to the intensity of that
experience, she says her depression “got a lot worse before it got better,” because she needed to integrate the learning from her psychedelic journeys into her life.
Phillips says education about psilocybin’s effects at different doses and how to use it safely is crucial, as is preparing mentally. “Self-care is really important,” he says. He advises people to “do things that make you happy and bring you joy so when you show up for the experience, you’ll be in a better head space to get the most out of the experience.”
Everyone has a uniquely different experience using psilocybin, but generally speaking, Philips says, “an inner monologue will come online.” He says this inner monologue generally exudes an OK-ness with oneself or with the world. It can sometimes offer something like life advice, such as encouraging the person to spend more time outdoors.
“That’s where the integration [afterward] comes in,” he explains. However, a user needs to be willing to receive whatever that voice might say, including the resurgence of repressed trauma.
During her most meaningful immersive experience, Eliza remembers “being in this visual [of] this room with these doors, and I kept just opening them, and there was nothing there.”
She continues, “My brother’s voice came into my head, [saying,] ‘No, there’s nothing there. There’s
SAFETY FIRST: Andrew Phillips, who calls himself a psychedelic peer support, offers educational workshops about safe psilocybin usage. He says the rosters he uses for these workshops fill up quickly and he’s frequently asked to host more. Photo courtesy of Phillips
no secret. Look at everything you have. Life is good. Just let it be. Let the goodness that is there be.’” She remembers “laughing at how utterly simple it was — how like this thing that people have been trying to tell me for, at that point, 30 years, just suddenly clicked.”
Revelations like that from mushrooms, Eliza says, represent the difference between “intellectually understanding something [versus]
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to know it, to feel it, deliver it and absorb it.”
The majority of Eliza’s psilocybin experiences have taken place in Asheville, working with people who have come from outside North Carolina. “Some of them are in a very ceremonial place; some of them are actually working one-onone with a facilitator,” she says.
Facilitators can also be found locally, such as Ehren Cruz , founder of The SpArc, an Asheville-based psychedelic coaching group. He says that a handful of other guides — “seven to 10 at most” — operate openly in WNC, with others choosing to stay underground due to the legal status of psychedelics.
Cruz describes his work as being a “legal harm reduction ceremonial facilitator,” and like Phillips, he says his guidance for clients starts well before they ingest any mushrooms. (According to his website, Cruz has “facilitated over 85 highdose, one-on-one ceremonial journeys and served as lead facilitator in 10 psychedelic retreats.”)
During his initial consultation, Cruz, who is a certified psychedelic coach through the public benefit corporation The Third Wave, conducts a mental health and medication screening. “It’s important to recognize that there are some key contraindications in mental health that this particular type of experience may not be optimal for — people that are suffering from schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder, or bipolar disorder or mania,” he explains.
He also screens for people who are taking certain classes of pharmaceutical antidepressants. Taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Lexapro, Prozac or Zoloft, for example, “will severely blunt the experience [of psilocybin],” Cruz explains. “You won’t be able to actually have a highly immersive experience.” Monoamine oxidase inhibitors like Nardil and Parnate, on the other hand, can extend a four- or five-hour immersive experience to 10-14 hours, he says.
Cruz has clients complete a questionnaire about their past traumas, as well as suicidal ideation. Some people opt to have their immersive experience with him as a facilitator
An integrative approach to medicine
Sara Mills is a licensed acupuncturist and owner of Acupuncture Center of Asheville. She holds a Master of Science in Chinese medicine and has lived in Western North Carolina since 2015. Mills speaks with Xpress about the community’s growing awareness of herbal medicine and the benefits of an integrative approach to medicine.
What is a common misconception about herbalism?
People often think that herbalists use one single herb for one individual symptom. In Chinese medicine, we typically use multiple herbs in a formula to treat a pattern of imbalance. When using a formula, each herb has a specific action and direction in the body, and they can balance each other out for a desired effect. By treating the root imbalance, we can resolve a number of symptoms and support overall health and vitality.
How has the community’s understanding of herbalism evolved within your time here?
Based on my clinical experience at the Acupuncture Center of Asheville, I have witnessed that more patients are willing and interested in taking an herbal formula. More people in our community are gaining an understanding that herbal medicine can be used preventatively and as a first line of defense.
What role does herbalism play in Western medicine?
Herbal medicine is safe and effective and can be used as an adjunct or alternative to Western medicine. I truly believe that a patient can receive the most effective care by taking an integrative approach and combining the strengths of Chinese medicine and Western medicine. Chinese herbs are a powerful way to address a wide variety of conditions without the many side effects of prescription drugs. X
alongside a psychotherapist or a counselor. “Those types of triggers and traumas, when unearthed, can be very difficult to navigate through,” he explains.
When Phillips trip-sits someone during immersive experiences, he listens to them talk about their experience and “be a calm, guiding presence [beside] them.” If a person having an immersive experience starts to freak out, also known as “a bad trip,” Phillips says he will “calmly reassure them this will be over soon,” and will hold their hand if they want.
He continues, “There’s really no way to talk somebody down [during a bad experience]. It’s just got to move through. ... Then when it’s on the other side, they’re almost always better.”
INTO THE LIGHT
Because psilocybin is illegal, Cruz and Phillips both emphasize that they do not provide any mushrooms. Clients must bring their own, and the guides are simply present when the client consumes them. Both have disclaimers on their websites saying their educational information should not be interpreted as medical advice.
Yet Phillips says he isn’t fearful of law enforcement knocking on his door. “I’m not doing anything illegal — I’m not offering anybody any medicine,” he explains. “I’m just sitting for somebody while they’ve taken the medicine.”
In fact, he says he would welcome a conversation with law enforcement about psychedelics. “They need to be educated, just like the public does, so they know how these medicines work and what people are using them for,” Phillips says. “So no, I’m not concerned. … I totally expect law enforcement to show up
one day and start asking questions. And I welcome that 100%.”
Eliza doesn’t speak openly about her therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms except with close friends. She tells Xpress that the prohibition of the drug carries a stigma she finds hard to shake.
“That’s something I’ve actually talked a lot about with my therapist — that I’ve had trouble giving myself permission to [do it],” she explains. “It feels indulgent. … But you know what? That’s actually my medicine and where I find healing and growth and peace.” X
Most mushrooms that contain psilocybin are in the genus Psilocybe, explains Mike Hopping, an amateur mycologist, retired psychiatrist and co-author of a book about mushroom hunting in Western North Carolina. The most common so-called “magic mushrooms” are Psilocybe cubensis, which he says likely do not grow in the wild in North Carolina due to the climate.
“The mountains are largely bereft of wild magic mushrooms,” Hopping writes in an email to Xpress. “The more likely places to find them growing around here is under beds or in closets.”
Instead, Hopping explains, “they can be very common” in Florida and South Georgia due to the warmer temperatures in those states. He notes there are other mushrooms in the genus Psilocybe that “are rarely found in Western North Carolina,” he explains, calling them “potent, but real uncommon.” X •
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BY CARMELA CARUSO
If you’d told a young Tucker Shelton that he’d one day become a yoga teacher, he would have told you to get lost.
Shelton recalls his first yoga class, taken while he was still in high school: “At the time, I’d never done anything like it in my life, so my body was freaking out because it was so much, so fast,” he says. “My legs went numb and were on fire, and I was just so uncomfortable.”
At the end of class, during a final resting pose designed to be meditative and restorative, someone played a didgeridoo over his chest.
“I wish I could say it was like this heart-opening experience, but it was more like this wash of hot, stinky breath coming out,” says Shelton.
Despite vowing off yoga forever, Shelton did eventually try again in college — and got hooked. He now runs his own instructional website, Tucker Yoga, and teaches at both the Asheville Yoga Center and Laughing Elephant Yoga in Hendersonville.
The way Shelton teaches yoga is much different from how he was first
introduced to the practice. He focuses on a style called Kaiut yoga, which involves holding seated or supine postures for several minutes at a time rather than blasting through different motions. “A lot of it is very restful and about soothing the nervous system,” he explains.
Asheville-area residents looking to get started with yoga might take a page from Shelton’s experience. Different yoga studios, styles and teachers can each offer completely different takes on the practice, each suited for different wellness needs.
Xpress set out to demystify some of the varieties of yoga available in the area and spoke to a number of local teachers about their yoga journeys — what went right and wrong, how they came to teach and what inspires them to practice.
Sierra Hollister, author of Moon Path Yoga and a teacher at both West Asheville Yoga and Asheville Yoga Center, once believed all yoga was “gentle and boring.” She had started experimenting with the practice as
a teen, learning poses from books. But as an avid rock climber, she wanted something that would offer a physical challenge. A friend dragged her to her first power yoga class.
“It was sweaty and hard,” Hollister recalls. “But it came through for me. And then the next morning, when I could barely move, I was so sore, that’s actually what hooked me.”
Power yoga, sometimes called Vinyasa or flow yoga, is one of the most commonly practiced forms in Asheville. It typically includes sun salutations — a series of bends, folds and standing postures — interspersed with poses that are designed to stretch, strengthen and open different parts of the body. The practice often incorporates ujjayi breath, from the Sanskrit word for “victorious,” in which long, slow inhales and deep, steady exhales are synchronized with each movement.
Many hot yoga classes are also based on a power yoga approach. As the name implies, hot yoga is performed in a heated room, usually between 90 and 105 degrees; practi-
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Many paths Demystifying yoga with local teachers NEWS CONTINUES ON PAGE 14
STICKING TO IT: Despite what he describes as a “traumatic introduction” to the practice, Tucker Shelton eventually became hooked on yoga and now teaches through the Asheville Yoga Center, Laughing Elephant Yoga and his Tucker Yoga website. Photo by Emily Nichols, courtesy of Shelton
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Offering spiritual guidance to student athletes
Kelsey Davis , the director of Blue Ridge Service Corps and the missioner for Campus Ministry at Western Carolina University and UNC Asheville, discusses providing college athletes spiritual guidance and the challenges these students face.
What distinct challenges do you face while providing spiritual guidance to college athletes?
Offering spiritual care to collegiate athletes is a gift and privilege. Walking alongside collegiate athletes means that I get to care about their holistic well-being, particularly their spiritual life, mental health and vocational discernment.
One of the challenges for college athletes is finding the time and space to nourish their spiritual life. Their schedules are so full with classes, practices, work, relationships and more. They have a lot on their plates and do an incredible job navigating all of it.
Another challenge is vocational discernment. Most collegiate athletes do not continue playing their sport after college at a semiprofessional or professional level, though they have played a sport their entire lives. Accompanying college athletes as they discern who they are and what they are called to is sacred and good work.
How are you able to overcome these challenges?
It is my hope to equip our college athletes with spiritual tools — such as ancient Christian practices and mindfulness techniques — that they can carry with them and use in daily life wherever they are, in addition to the invitation to gather and connect with one another in spiritual community.
It is also my hope to humanize our college athletes. I ask about and care for their lives — hopes and dreams, joys and sufferings — not simply their performance in sport or classroom. We do intentional exercises around discovering identity and vocation, and so much of it is lived out through listening and reflecting back what is heard in conversation.
Which obstacles regularly prove most difficult to overcome for students, and how are you working to make those challenges more manageable?
Connecting with self, others and God (Divine/Life Source) is always a courageous act. It can be so vulnerable, even for those of us who spend our lives pursuing nourishing the spiritual life. Saying yes to our interconnectedness and reaching out to one another is difficult with so many options to stay in a silo. So, we have to choose to develop the muscle of connection to self, others and the Divine. Nourishing the spiritual life is a daily practice. X
tioners say the temperature helps the body to move more easily.
Adi Westerman, owner and founder of Hot Yoga Asheville, was drawn to the style for the way it combines physical rigor with mental focus. “You have to be adapting to the heat and the environment and the instruction all at once,” she explains. “You really can’t be thinking about other things. Your mind really focuses in the moment, and that’s really what yoga is to me: being in the present moment.”
FROM THE HEART
Years after her first power yoga class, Hollister discovered what she calls the yoga of her heart: Kundalini yoga. “It’s one of the few practices that you can find nowadays that still retains ancient teachings,” Hollister says. “It hasn’t been changed. It hasn’t been stripped of its spiritual dialogue and meaning. It could never be reduced to just an exercise.”
Kundalini yoga involves kriyas (sequences or complete actions) designed for specific purposes, such as “opening up the lung meridians or supporting the body in forgiveness,” explains Hollister. “There’s in
the neighborhood of 8,000 kriyas, so there’s kriyas for everything.”
The poses that make up the kriyas are typically repetitive motions, coupled with pranayama, or intentional
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 14
PEACEFUL PRACTICE: Barbara Schauer of Weaverville Yoga teaches Anahata yoga, a style that aims to open the heart through deliberate postures and rhythmic breathing. Photo courtesy of Schauer
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breathing. Each class also includes a warmup with sun salutations or a flowing sequence of poses, as well as a final meditation that might include the use of a gong or chanting a mantra.
Although the “ultimate destination” of Kundalini yoga is self-realization — “remembering the deep inner connection that we have with each other and this planet and the cosmos,” in Hollister’s words — she says students don’t have to be on a spiritual path to participate in or enjoy the classes.
While Barbara Schauer, owner and teacher at Weaverville Yoga, dabbled with yoga over the years — and, like Hollister, lived in a Kundalini ashram (spiritual learning center) for a while — it wasn’t until she encountered Anahata yoga that she found her calling. During one of her first classes, she felt as if the depression and anxiety she’d struggled with for years had become something solid and slid off her body to the floor. After the experience, she was determined to bring the practice to others. “I want this for everyone,” she says.
Anahata, a Sanskrit word meaning “unhurt,” is also the name for the heart chakra — one of the seven main energy centers in the body, according to Hindu traditions. In Anahata yoga classes, students move through basic seated, standing and supine postures while maintaining what Schauer calls a “rhythmical balanced breath” to focus the mind. The poses and verbal cues are designed to open the heart and expand the chest in a way that counterbalances the hunched posture many have in their day-to-day lives.
“If you look around at people right now, everybody looks like a turtle,” says Schauer. “Everybody is curled over. … We’re all entranced and captivated by our electronics, and it’s not really normal for human beings to be in that position.”
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
The same might be said for some of the advanced postures practiced in Ashtanga yoga that involve placing the feet behind the head and binding the hands behind the body. But Christine Wiese, founder of Ashtanga Yoga Asheville, says that the style is very accessible for beginners as well, especially when taught in its traditional form.
Ashtanga yoga involves a series of fixed poses linked together by sun
salutations and held for a set number of breaths. In the Mysore-style workshops hosted by Wiese, so named for their origins in the south Indian city, the sequence is broken down into manageable chunks and tailored to the interests, goals and abilities of individual students.
“We give each practitioner their own practice, and they can really take ownership of it so they’re not dependent on a studio or a teacher in the long term,” explains Wiese.
Similarly, Randy Loftis, co-founder and teacher at Iyengar Yoga Asheville, hopes that his students will take what they learn in class and practice on their own. The studio even offers “open practice,” where students are encouraged to practice together without direct instruction.
Iyengar yoga is often known for its use of props: chairs, bolsters, straps, blocks and a wall outfitted with ropes, all meant to support students in accessing and holding postures. The practice itself is alignment based, encouraging students to notice the mechanics of a pose and how it affects them physically, mentally and emotionally.
“How do we take the asana [physical posture] and what the asana has to show us and use that to understand the deeper part of ourselves?” Loftis asks. “Eventually, you’ll study those actions, and then you’ll know how to take care of yourself — ‘Oh, I feel bluesy. I need to do this pose.’”
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FOCUS GROUP: Purna yoga classes, such as the one pictured here, are conducted without music to maintain a meditative atmosphere, says Letitia Walker of Purna Yoga 828. Photo by Paola Nazati, courtesy Purna Yoga 828
ASK AN EXPERT: Yoga advice for beginners
Xpress asked local teachers to offer advice for complete beginners. Here’s what they said:
“Show up on the mat. Be willing to be a mess. Don’t worry about what other people think.”
– Adi Westerman, Hot Yoga Asheville
“Go ahead and make a date with yourself [to attend class]. And go ahead and just feel that you do have that power to connect with yourself to institute changes in your life that you know would be good.”
– Barbara Schauer, Weaverville Yoga
“Ask questions of the studio and the teacher around whatever your intention is and see what kind of answers you get back. Do you get answers that, when they hit you, feel expansive and feel like they resonate?”
– Letitia Walker, Purna Yoga 828
“Don’t be intimidated. Don’t be afraid to walk in the door. … I think all of us [yoga teachers] would say, ‘Please come in, we’re going to make space for you. You’re welcome here.’”
– Randy Loftis, Iyengar Yoga Asheville
“Shop around initially, and then when you find something that resonates, give it some time and be consistent with a style and see where it takes you.”
– Christine Wiese, Ashtanga Yoga Asheville
“Experiment, because often it’s the teacher that makes the connection. So you might be doing something you never anticipated doing, but you love that teacher.”
– Andrew Jones, Asheville Yoga Center
New forms of yoga often sprout from older lineages. Such was the case with Purna yoga, which is similar to Iyengar yoga but also offers instruction in meditation and lifestyle choices. “The physical practice [of Purna yoga] itself doesn’t necessarily look that different than Iyengar yoga … but it’s a softer approach. It’s a more holistically oriented approach,” explains Letitia Walker, director of Purna Yoga 828.
Purna is a Sanskrit word meaning “complete,” and the yoga practice is built around the idea of addressing the whole self. While its physical postures, breathwork and use of props are similar to Iyengar, Purna also incorporates “heartful meditation” techniques in every class and “discussion of lifestyle components” based on the yamas and niyamas (a set of internal and external ethics derived from Hindu tradition.)
To help maintain a meditative atmosphere, Purna classes are conducted without music. “We really want to focus on listening to our own bodies and listening to our breath and listening to the inner teacher,” says Walker.
For Pam and Andrew Jones, teachers at Asheville Yoga Center,
it was Dharma yoga that led them to adopt a more holistic lifestyle, one that was free from alcohol and drugs, meat and dairy, and encouraged them to seek happiness within, rather than from outside sources.
Dharma yoga is a very physical Vinyasa-based yoga practice that includes sun salutations as a warmup, followed by a series of standing postures, handstands and other inversions, twists and bends. The end of class usually involves a prolonged guided meditation, or yoga nidra, designed to relax the body.
Despite the demands of the physical postures, both Joneses say the class can be adapted for all levels. Andrew, who teaches a beginner class at AYC, describes himself as “not super flexible” and someone with “lots of issues in the body,” including having a “fake knee.”
For many teachers Xpress spoke to, finding the right yoga practice took some time. But all are glad they stuck with it. While taking just one class can have benefits — more body awareness, increased mobility, relaxation — they say maintaining a regular practice can have a cumula-
tive effect on wellness of body, mind and spirit.
“Yoga makes you aware of what’s wrong, what’s right, how are things going … and shines a light on the direction we need to go,” Loftis explains.
Most local studios offer new student specials, or discounted passes that allow practitioners to try out a variety of classes in a short period of time. For those unsure of where to begin, teachers recommend looking at the schedule for classes labeled “beginner” or calling the studio and asking for advice.
“Yoga teachers are happy to match people up with the class that they’ll be able to enjoy and keep coming to,” says Schauer. “And that’s the whole idea is that you should like it.”
And if one class, teacher or style doesn’t work, suggests Shelton of Tucker Yoga, try another before dismissing yoga altogether. He’s grateful that he didn’t stop after that one bad class in high school.
“Don’t give up on it,” he urges new students. “It’s like finding a good therapist or the right medication. It takes time and experimentation, and sometimes it’ll work and sometimes it won’t, and it might change over time.” X
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SOUND MIND, SOUND BODY: Pam and Andrew Jones say their Dharma yoga practice encouraged them to adopt a healthier lifestyle and seek happiness within. Photo by Jeremy Frindel, courtesy of Jones
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Public Montessori school to open in August
BY JESSICA WAKEMAN
When the Asheville City Board of Education voted in December 2021 to close Asheville Primary School, “it was like the floor dropped out from under me,” says Brittany Wager Her two sons attended the public Montessori school in West Asheville, and she said they benefited enormously from Montessori learning.
The Montessori model is based on a method by Italian educator Maria Montessori whereby students are guided by their own interests and students educate each other. The method emphasizes learning life skills and encourages self-motivation and problem-solving skills. APS was the only public Montessori school in Asheville; there is a small, private Montessori school, as well as a Montessori home-schooling program.
“Preschool had been very, very hard” for her son Rowan, Wager says, and an autism diagnosis before kindergarten had made Wager nervous about Rowan’s schooling. But beginning with kindergarten at APS, Rowan had “such an amazing experience that so exceeded my expectations,” she recalls. Through second grade, when APS closed, he was “coming home from school every day saying he loved school, he loved his teachers. … It was everything I’d ever wanted for him.”
The closure of APS in June upset parents and educators and displaced over 100 students who attended kindergarten through fourth grade. School families and teachers immediately began to meet and research “a new iteration” of the school, says Sophie Mullinax, whose daughter attended APS.
Some advocated fighting to reopen APS. Others wanted to open a second Montessori private school, while others found it important that APS had been public. “It became evident that the charter school route would be the closest thing to reopening Asheville Primary and that it would bring public Montessori back to WNC,” Mullinax says.
And from the heartbreak of the APS closure, a happy ending is evolving. Supporters labored throughout 2022 on an application for a new Montessori charter school within Asheville City Schools. Following
COUNTING ON IT: Brittany Wager’s son Rowan, age 9, attended Asheville Primary School from kindergarten until its closure last year. Wager loved the APS Montessori program and hopes her family will win admission in Mountain City Public Montessori’s lottery. Photo by Brittany Wager
an approval from the state, the new school, called Mountain City Public Montessori, is projected to open for kindergarten through sixth grade in August.
Including MCPM, Asheville has six charter schools, each serving different grade levels.
North Carolina funds charter schools with local and state tax dollars, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Charters are operated by an independent board of directors and are not subject to some regulations, like following the curricula within the N.C. Standard Course of Study, which is required at district schools.
(Charter schools in North Carolina are governed by state statute, state
Education Board policy and a charter agreement.)
New charter school proposals must be submitted to the N.C. State Board of Education. A committee of about 18 people on behalf of MCPM completed the 100-plus-page application over several months with the assistance of consultants from Leaders Building Leaders, a charter support organization. The application requires a vision statement and goals for the school, details about the major instructional method, assessment strategies and general policies on transportation, lunch and discipline.
The school’s nonprofit board submitted the application by the state’s April deadline. The NCDPI’s Charter School Advisory Board
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 19
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interviewed the MCMU board in September and gave its unanimous approval. NCDPI gave its final approval in December.
MCPM’s application requested an accelerated opening for the 202324 school year so students don’t have continued disruptions in their Montessori education, says Mullinax.
The school’s name listed on its application is Two Rivers Public Montessori; the nonprofit changed its name to Mountain City because there is already a public charter school in Boone called Two Rivers.
Jim Causby, interim superintendent for Asheville City Schools, and Dillon Huffman, spokesperson for ACS, both declined to comment on the new charter school in an email.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Finding a suitable space for the school was a challenge, Mullinax says. For example, kids younger than age 6 must be in a groundfloor classroom with its own exit. The APS building can no longer be used as an instructional facility due to environmental issues (including lead paint, Causby has confirmed in a previous interview with Xpress). MCPM supporters hoped to find a location downtown or in West Asheville accessible via Asheville Rides Transit.
The location committee toured seven-10 church facilities. “It’s known among the small, independent school community that churches can often be great partners in terms of the school location,” Mullinax says. Central United Methodist Church, 27 Church St., came out on top. CUMC operated a private preschool in its education wing for 65 years before closing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mullinax says the church was ideal both for being within walking distance to downtown and because “they were a very excited and willing partner to host us,” Mullinax says.
The space features three floors with three-four classrooms per floor, a kitchen, multipurpose space, stairs and elevators. Mullinax says the school wing needs “minor retrofits” to meet fire safety regulations, including installation of exit signage, horn and strobe devices in all classrooms and new smoke detectors. A budget summary from Beverly-Grant, a construction management firm in Asheville, estimates over $76,000 in upgrades. MCPM’s application predicts the receipt of a Certificate of Occupancy for Educational Purposes during 2023.
Also according to the application, CUMC will waive the school’s rent during its first year and begin collecting again in August 2024. The rent amount is still being negotiated with the church.
UNTIL OPENING DAY
In the eight months until MCPM opens, there’s much work to be done. Mullinax, who is on its policy and board development committee, says her group must finalize 49 detailed policies for NCDPI by May. Work also includes writing handbooks for students, parents and staff, and hiring teachers and staff.
“We have to buy all of our classroom materials, our school bus, we have to pay teachers, we have to paint walls — all of that kind of stuff before we get any money,” Wager explains.
In October, the NCDPI will provide funding for the school through state and local taxes. Until then, it will rely on fundraising. Wager explains that many charter schools are operated by charter management companies, which provide startup costs when starting a new school.
“How do you [start a school] as a grassroots parent- and teacher-driven group that doesn’t have a huge amount of corporate, financial backing?” Wager asks. “The system is almost set up in a way to encourage
those big charter organizations and discourage truly community-driven schools.”
The school is fundraising, and Mullinax says it raised $10,000 on Giving Tuesday in November. However, Wager estimates the school will need $300,000 to $500,000 total to start — a range suggested by other groups that have opened a charter school. These startup costs are not reimbursed, says Mullinax.
Enrollment opened Jan. 1 and runs through March 31; a recent open house was well attended. Based on the popularity of enroll-
ment in its first month, Mullinax anticipates all grades will go into a weighted lottery through an online service called Lotterease. “Families who meet income guidelines for free and reduced [price] lunch will receive more weight in the lottery, as well as racial minorities, in order to comply with the federal desegregation order,” Mullinax explains.
MCPM plans to admit a minimum of 106 students in kindergarten through grade six. As per the Montessori method, each class will combine two or three grades with a range of student ages — a “lower school” of kindergarten through second grade and an “upper school” of third through sixth grade. A seventh grade will open in 2024, followed by an eighth grade the next year. At full capacity, it will admit 200 students.
MCPM will have two co-directors — one focused on curriculum and one focused on operations and finances — instead of a principal. That model is used by Francine Delany New School for Children, an Asheville charter school serving as MCPM’s mentor, explains Mullinax. “We heard from teachers that … they very much would like this model,” she says.
The space also will include a halfday preschool program called Little Grove Preschool, which will operate separately from MCPM but also will use the Montessori method.
Wager sees the work that has gone into opening the school as “responding to the community — this isn’t just something that we wanted for our kids; it’s something we realized that the community was really wanting,” she says.
“It’s been really validating,” Wager adds. “It’s been exciting to see that that community interest is very much still there and still alive.” X
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 21
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SIGN OF THE TIMES: A sign announcing the opening of Mountain City Public Montessori and Little Grove Preschool was posted on the door at Central United Methodist Church Jan. 7. Both schools will utilize the church’s education wing. Photo by Brittany Wager
Out of sight
BY SALLY KESTIN AN ASHEVILLE WATCHDOG REPORT
For at least five years, Asheville City Council members have debated and grappled with some of the most pressing issues facing Asheville in regularly scheduled private meetings with city staff — meetings that are outside of public view.
In “check-in” sessions, which appear to be structured to avoid the requirements of the state’s open meetings law, small groups of Council members meet the week before each public Council meeting in closed sessions with no minutes or recordings taken.
They discuss controversial and weighty topics of vital interest to the public, including homeless encampments and shelters, development projects and the proliferation of hotels, according to meeting agendas reviewed by Asheville Watchdog
Most recently, Council members received a detailed briefing of the holiday water system failures that left tens of thousands of Asheville homes and businesses waterless — five days before Council’s first public airing of what happened.
“I definitely think it creates issues with trust,” said Patrick Conant, an Asheville software developer and open-government advocate. “People have expressed concerns,” he said, that important city proposals are “being worked out behind closed doors.”
At least one other city council in North Carolina, Raleigh, holds similar closed sessions. But many other public governing bodies, including other cities and the Asheville Board of Education, discuss pending or upcoming business as a group in “work sessions” that are open to the public.
“It’s understandable that elected officials need to discuss ideas, review upcoming topics and talk with staff,” said Conant, whose company created and runs Sunshine Request, a platform for filing and tracking public records requests.
But “many other government entities do that in a public work session where the public and the press are able to see these discussions happen,” Conant said. “The city of Asheville has chosen instead to create this, in my opinion, complex process to have these same discussions, but to do it entirely behind closed doors.”
HOMELESSNESS, HOTELS, HOT-BUTTON ISSUES
North Carolina law requires all official meetings of a public body to be open to the public and minutes recorded. But an official meeting is defined as a “majority of the members.”
By design, Asheville’s check-ins consist of no more than two Council members and the mayor in each — not enough for a quorum and therefore, according to the city attorney, not an official meeting.
Check-ins are held the Thursday before a Tuesday City Council meeting and are attended typically by the city manager, city attorney and key staff. Three separate 90-minute check-ins are scheduled on the same day, each session covering the same agenda and the same material.
Asheville City Clerk Maggie Burleson said the practice appears to have started about five years ago under interim City Manager Cathy Ball. Ball, who is now the city manager in Johnson City, Tenn., did not respond to requests for comment.
Council members review business on upcoming agendas of the Council and committees, confidential legal matters and “other issues/concerns.” According to check-in agendas —
typically the only public record of the meetings — Council members have discussed “homelessness,” a proposal for a “camping village,” affordable housing and other contentious issues before they came up for a public vote.
The check-in agenda for Feb. 3, 2022, for instance, included limiting “food distribution in parks,” a proposal that had rankled homeless advocates and generated a petition in opposition. Another item up for discussion was “Memorial Stadium,” the city-owned stadium behind McCormick Field that had become a source of friction with residents of the historically Black East End/ Valley Street neighborhood over a promised new track that wasn’t being delivered. The next month, the Council approved stadium improvements that included a six-lane track.
The controversial Merrimon Avenue “road diet,” reducing a portion of the main thoroughfare in North Asheville to three lanes from four, was on the agendas of at least three check-in meetings before Council voted in public to approve it in May 2022.
Conant, who has submitted several public records requests to the city for check-in documents, said he was dismayed to learn how much discussion had occurred outside of public
view about how the city should spend federal COVID-19 relief money.
“The way the city decided to allocate those funds was either discussed in the check-in meetings or by Council members ranking and basically voting on the projects they wanted to fund via a shared Google spreadsheet,” Conant said. “It was nearly $20 million, a once-in-a-decade, once-in-a-generation opportunity for the city to have this infusion of additional funding.”
He added, “Who knows if the same projects would have been selected if the public actually had the opportunity to weigh in more on the process?”
GAUGING COUNCIL’S TEMPERATURE
The city maintains that no votes are taken in check-ins and that all decisions are made in the public meetings. But the check-in discussions do include polling Council members for their views and shaping the proposals that will come up for a vote, as one recording of a January 2021 meeting on the city’s hotel moratorium shows.
Normally, the city takes no minutes and does not record check-ins, but the hotel moratorium virtual
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 22
SHADY BUSINESS: Asheville City Council’s “check-in” sessions allow members to discuss issues with each other and city staff in private, a process local transparency advocates say undermines trust in government. Photo courtesy of Asheville Watchdog
City Council, mayor and staff hold closed-door meetings, sowing distrust
North Carolina” book by professors at the UNC School of Government.
“It says individual public officials do have the right to meet with their colleagues individually and in small groups, and the law requires public access only when a majority of the board is gathered together simultaneously,” Branham said. “The limitation on this is the board can’t rely on these individual meetings to take official action, which we don’t.”
The law also says an informal gathering of elected officials is not an official meeting “unless called or held to evade the spirit and purposes of this Article.”
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer says that, while she personally supports ending check-ins in favor of public work sessions, most of her City Council colleagues prefer the current system. Photo courtesy of Asheville Watchdog
And that is precisely what critics of the check-in process say is going on.
Hugh Stevens , general counsel emeritus of the N.C. Press Association, said the Asheville procedure is “clearly contrary to the intent of the open meetings law,” which he helped draft more than 40 years ago.
meeting was recorded at the request of a Council member who was unable to attend. The city made the recording public in response to a records request from Conant.
At the end of a staff presentation on a new zoning overlay district that would allow the city to impose more conditions on hotel developers, Mayor Esther Manheimer and City Manager Debra Campbell summarized Council members’ views.
“It sounded like a majority of folks were ready to do something with this new concept,” Manheimer said. She asked staff, “Do you feel like now that we’ve completed these checkins, you know what you’re bringing back to Council?”
Breaking a meeting into segments doesn’t change its result, Stevens said.
“It’s just another version of the underhanded attempts to get around the law and have decision-making done out of public view,” he continued. “It’s almost impossible to imagine any other purpose than to avoid public transparency.”
Stevens shifted his voice to a drawl: “We have a phrase in North Carolina: ‘It may be legal, but it ain’t right.’”
Brooks Fuller, executive director of the N.C. Open Government Coalition, said that while check-in briefings may not violate the law, “They tip-toe up to the line.”
‘OPAQUE AND INEFFICIENT’
LEGALITY UP FOR DEBATE
Asheville City Attorney Brad Branham contends the check-ins are legal and points to the “Open Meetings and Local Governments in
limiting each check-in to no more than two Council members and the mayor, the city says, the meeting
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does not constitute a majority of the council. But often, those two Council members serve on the same committee, which does constitute a quorum.
“They’re bringing together, in many cases, quorums of their Council committees discussing either topics that will come before those committees or reviewing the agenda for those committees’ upcoming meetings,” Conant said.
And he noted that during checkins, the city attorney briefs Council members on legal and personnel matters. The law allows elected officials to discuss those matters in closed sessions of official meetings, but the minutes become public once the matter is resolved. In check-ins, no minutes are taken.
“They have to do the same meeting at least three times to repeat the same information to each group of Council members,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s an opaque and inefficient way for City Council to do public business.”
At a minimum, Conant said, the check-ins are inefficient.
NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME
Check-ins apparently began and have continued because a majority
of Council favors them over public work sessions. The topic came up at an annual retreat in March 2022.
“There’s definitely some concern in the community about transparency,” Mayor Manheimer said. “I can understand that perspective.”
At a time when the city has limited resources, Council member Kim Roney said, “We’re spending upwards of six to eight hours of staff time” on check-ins — with no official minutes.
Then-Council member Gwen Wisler said she needed to be able to
ask questions and have staff answer honestly, and that often her first question was not “well thought through. … I probably wouldn’t want to see it on the front page of the paper.”
Check-ins, said Council member Sheneika Smith, provided an opportunity for the elected officials to “be a little raw and more candid.”
“We can kind of show that we don’t know a lot about an issue,” Smith said. “But when we’re in public, ‘lights, camera, action,’ you want to appear refined and knowledgeable, and that holds people back from asking questions.”
OTHER CITIES WEIGH IN
Asheville Watchdog asked officials with North Carolina’s largest cities about their communications with elected officials. Of the five that responded, four, including WinstonSalem, said they do not hold meetings similar to check-ins.
Cary holds work sessions “where all members of council and public are present” on a quarterly basis and as needed for specific topics, said Town Manager Sean R. Stegall. “In addition, I send out a weekly report to the Council as a means of communication.”
The Greenville City Council holds monthly workshops “for the Council to get an update on various topics, discuss the topics, and provide feedback to staff,” said spokesperson Brock Letchworth. “No action is taken during these workshops, and they are open to the public and televised.”
Asheville’s check-ins are “kind of unique,” said Jeron Hollis, spokesperson for High Point, where Council members communicate through the city manager.
“As far as High Point, we don’t do anything like that,” he said. “It just sounds like it would be time-consuming, if nothing else.”
Branham, Asheville’s city attorney, said Charlotte had something similar to check-ins when he worked there before coming to Asheville in 2019. Charlotte officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Raleigh appears to have a process similar to Asheville’s. The city manager meets with groups of Council members in private sessions called manager’s briefings.
“There’s not a formal schedule of those,” said Lou Buonpane, chief of council services. “They are not in advance of a specific Council meeting. … They’re really generally discussing topics that the city manager wants to get some feedback from council on.”
BUNCOMBE COUNTY: A HYBRID
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners used to hold regular closed meetings with small groups of commissioners called “three-by-threes” but switched to public work sessions about four years ago, said Commission Chair Brownie Newman
“These three-by-three type communications were the primary way that commissioners and county management would kind of huddle on issues before issues were addressed in formal meetings,” he said.
Following the 2019 sentencing of former County Manager Wanda Greene and three other county employees on federal corruption charges, “a self-reflection process took place in county government,” Newman said. “How do we do better? How do we make all this more open and accessible to the public?”
Now, in briefing meetings held the same day before a regular commission meeting, “we preview a lot of issues that are going to be on the commission’s agenda … or take time for informational presentations and things like that,” Newman said.
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 24
PUBLIC DISCUSSION: Asheville City Council debates whether to continue check-ins at its annual retreat in March. Photo courtesy of Asheville Watchdog
Agendas are published on the county’s website, and the meetings are open to the public and recorded.
“It just seems like a much better use of the staff’s time rather than sitting in a whole bunch of separate meetings all day long,” Newman said. “And I did feel like, hey, these are interesting public policies that are being discussed. I think the community would be very interested to hear this information as well and to hear how the elected officials are discussing them.”
The commission still has “threeby-threes” — not open to the public — about four or five times a year on specific topics like personnel policies or the comprehensive plan, he said.
“I do think from time to time there might be some topics where it makes sense to have a smaller meeting,” Newman said. “It shouldn’t be the normal way that deliberations and communications happen around commission discussions, in my opinion.”
TIME FOR A CHANGE?
Asheville’s mayor would like to see the Council switch to public work
sessions and is trying to build support for that.
“If these check-ins are a barrier to folks having confidence that they’re getting all the information that the Council is receiving before it makes a decision, then I think we need to move away from that process,” Manheimer said. “We continue to discuss this as a Council, and there’s not yet a majority support to do that.”
The mayor said she is now talking to Council members and the city manager “to get some momentum” and that Council will revisit checkins at the upcoming retreat in March, if not sooner.
Council member Roney said she supports a switch to public sessions, as does Maggie Ullman, the Council’s newest member.
“The intention of having the Council informed before public meetings is appreciated, but I honestly just think it got out of hand,” Roney said.
“I understand that some folks feel really concerned about the privacy that’s happening and that there’s mistrust,” Ullman said. “Doing everything in good faith to demonstrate good will towards trust and trans-
parency is important, so I’m totally comfortable and eager and open to pursue trying something different.”
Council member Smith said she is open to more work sessions, “especially around topics with lots of public interest, but not to replace check-ins.”
She called check-ins highly useful and said that “the smaller group setting allows time for individual members to delve deep into issues of interest without the burden to share space for others’ concerns.”
At least one more Council member would have to support the change, and the mayor may now have the votes.
Council member Sage Turner said that while check-ins “can be a tool for greater communication and efficiency,” she understands concerns about transparency.
“Asheville has very active, very engaged residents,” Turner said. “I support moving to work sessions and utilizing check-ins or briefings as needed.”
The remaining two Council members, Sandra Kilgore and Antanette Mosley, did not respond to Asheville Watchdog’s requests for comment.
Stevens, who consulted closely with legislators when the current open meetings law was written, said he has no patience for elected officials who claim to see no connection between secret check-in briefings and the law’s requirement to make policy in public view.
“I think the response to that is ‘bullshit,’ or some nicer version of that word,” he said.
Conant said he hopes the Council will eliminate check-ins.
“I would love to see them switch to a more transparent way of doing business,” Conant said. “There’s no reason that the city couldn’t simply do this work and have discussions in view of the public.”
Tom Fiedler contributed to this report.
Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and surrounding communities. Sally Kestin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tom Fiedler is a Pulitzer Prize-winning political reporter and former executive editor of The Miami Herald Email email@example.com. X
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Reparations commission requests audit
Asheville’s Community Reparations Commission wants the city and Buncombe County to stop harming Black residents. And its members want outside assurance that those harms — which they say have been tied to “institutional processes” in both governments — have actually stopped.
To that end, the reparations commission has recommended an independent audit of the city of Asheville and Buncombe County. Commission Chair Dwight Mullen and Vice Chair Dewana Little presented that recommendation to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners during a Jan. 17 briefing.
The proposed audit would look at whether the city and county are complying with “federal and state laws, regulatory bodies, codes of conduct, court orders and consent degrees,” with a focus on damage caused to the Black community by noncompliance.
Gathering and consolidating data is a primary goal of the recommended audit, said Mullen. Little added that the reparations commission’s focus groups, which examine specific areas such as housing, criminal justice and education, have faced challenges in getting needed information from city and county staff.
Data is being received months after first being requested, Little explained, often because it isn’t readily available as public records. She gave the example of medical records, which she said often weren’t sorted by race in the past. Reparations project manager Christine Edwards said that, because such data isn’t easily located, government staffers have to spend a lot of extra time obtaining information from less formal sources.
“The data that we’re using are data sources that aren’t official, ranging from student papers that compose the state of Black Asheville to a variety of consultancy reports that may or may not be particularly germane to what we are studying,” explained Mullen. “Rather than the subcommittees asking for an array of data, taking a shotgun approach, [the audit] would actually home in on the needs of the subcommittees using official sources of data before we offer recommendations for policy adoption.”
The exact scope of the audit would be determined by the reparations commission in tandem with city and county staff. Assistant County Manager DK Wesley suggested that
DRIVEN BY DATA: Community Reparations Commission Vice Chair Dewana Little, left, and Chair Dwight Mullen told county commissioners Jan. 17 that their proposed audit would gather high-quality data to inform future reparations work. Screen capture courtesy of Buncombe County
the work outlined thus far could be breaking new ground.
“We’re doing research, but we haven’t found a specific audit like this being done anywhere in the United States,” Wesley said. She noted that, while compliance audits are very common, they typically don’t include the array of information that the reparations commission is seeking.
Mullen said that he was confident that the reparations commission, in conjunction with the city and county, would be able to find a consultant interested in conducting the type of audit the commission is seeking.
“What we are looking at doing has not been done before. But I believe
we are anticipating what’s happening on the forefront of other reparations movements,” he said. “Rather than politics or ideology driving it, we are looking at data-based solutions.”
The county commissioners are tentatively scheduled to vote on approving the audit during their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7. If approved, a request for proposals to carry out the work would be advertised in the spring. No cost estimate for the audit was provided; the expense would be covered by previously allocated city and county reparations funds.
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Just Economics plans ‘two-tiered’ living wage system
What’s the living wage — the minimum amount a single worker must earn to cover basic needs without outside help — in Buncombe County?
According to Just Economics of Western North Carolina, that number comes to $20.10 per hour in 2023. That’s up about 13.5% from the 2022 rate of $17.70 per hour, the largest one-year rise since the Asheville-based nonprofit established its Living Wage Program in 2007.
After hearing from employers, workers and other community members about the increase, Just Economics is planning a way to smooth that bump for Buncombe’s nearly 340 Living Wage Certified businesses. “In order to align with best practices of living wage certification in the U.S. and to welcome new employers on a pathway to a living wage, Just Economics is announcing a new two-tiered system of certification,” wrote Vicki Meath , the nonprofit’s executive director, in a Jan. 23 email to employers.
Under the new system, similar to that employed by the national Living Wage For Us campaign, businesses could remain in the Living Wage Program if they agreed to an $18 hourly minimum wage and “committed annual
increases” toward the $20.10 rate. “We have many logistical details to work out and will continue to engage employers, workers, our committee and our board in work -
ing out the language and specifics of this change,” noted Meath.
Just Economics has traditionally set the new living wage in early January, but on Dec. 14, the nonprofit informed employers that the announcement would be delayed. “Just Economics is aware that costs and expenses have been changing rapidly in recent years for a number of reasons — the pandemic, supply chain issues, housing costs and inflation have presented unique challenges to our
community,” wrote Eric Smythers , the organization’s Living Wage Program coordinator.
During a Jan. 13 virtual listening session attended by about 20 employers, Smythers explained that his nonprofit’s living wage calculation is based on housing costs. Just Economics uses a fouryear running average of fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Asheville metropolitan area, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
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BIG STEP: Buncombe County’s hourly living wage rate, as calculated by Just Economics, jumped from $17.70 to $20.10 this year — the largest one-year change in the program’s history. Graph by Scott Southwick, based on a screen capture courtesy of Just Economics
Development, to benchmark the wage rate.
That rent has increased from $799 in 2019 to $1,298 in 2023. Because landlords commonly require tenants to make three times their rent to qualify for their lease, Meath said, the living wage should increase in tandem with housing costs.
Employers present at the Jan. 13 Zoom meeting included firms in the retail, nonprofit, beverage, media and medical sectors. ( Mountain Xpress is certified under the Living Wage Program; the company’s financial interests were represented at the meeting by Operations Manager Able Allen , who had no editorial input on this article.) Many of those who spoke said that, while they agreed with the need for wage increases, moving directly to the $20.10 hourly rate could cause difficulties for their businesses.
Several business owners said they had tried to avoid raising prices amid high inflation over the past year; higher labor costs would likely force them to make that move. Others noted that increasing wages for their lowest-paid
employees would have a “ripple effect” throughout their labor force, with more senior workers also expecting better pay.
In response to questions submitted by Xpress , Meath emphasized that talks about changing the program had been underway for months and had involved “an extensive set of listening sessions, surveys, group discussions and one-on-one meetings” with multiple stakeholders.
“Oftentimes big decisions will get tabled and discussed at several meetings to make sure that we are not rushing decisions, but rather doing our due diligence to get as much information as needed to make an informed decision,” she said. “This process is democratic and does not lend to quick decisions, but we believe it is the best route to making a good decision.”
Meath said the specifics of the new program would be decided over the next month, with final decisions being made by the Just Economics board of directors. She expected applications for the program to open at the beginning of March.
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MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 29
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disability rights advocate receives recognition for her community work Series
If it weren’t for Kerri Eaker’s son, Dakota Kirkland, she would never have received the Jack B. Hefner Memorial Award for her disability rights advocacy work. In fact, as Eaker noted in her Nov. 2 acceptance speech, “Dakota has always proudly stated that he made his mama’s career.”
Eaker first got involved with advocacy in 1999, when her son was diagnosed with developmental and psychiatric disabilities at age 8. She spent years going to different doctors across North Carolina to find out what was affecting her child and finally found answers when she moved to Cleveland County.
As she continued her search for the support that her son needed, Eaker’s efforts drew the attention of the N.C. Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, a division of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services; the commission asked Eaker to help launch its System of Care program.
From there, Eaker created a career as an advocate for those with disabilities. In 2000, she was asked to serve on the Cleveland County Children’s Collaborative. “In having us at the table helping to make the decisions on how the disability community was going to be served and supported — that’s the first time I felt that the system had been willing to listen to what families were saying,” Eaker says.
Eaker continued her work over the years. In 2012, she became a member of the N.C. Council on Developmental Disabilities; in 2020, she served as the organization’s chair. Two years later, the NCCDD selected her for the Jack B. Hefner Memorial Award, which recognizes family members or volunteers who advocate for a more inclusive, understanding and supportive local and state community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Eaker ended her professional career this past year when she retired from her post as family support and outreach coordinator for Mission Health in Asheville, where she’d worked since 2009. Once more, Eaker attributes her final career decision to Dakota, as she intends to focus her time on her family and her son’s continued care.
Xpress sat down with Eaker to discuss how the award changes the way she looks at her work as well as the advice she’d give to those who would like to make a difference within their community.
Editor’s note: This interview has been condensed and lightly edited.
Xpress: Talk to me about Dakota and how he helped form your views on disability advocacy.
Eaker: We’d been in and out of many different hospital settings, trying to get an understanding of how to support Dakota. I truly believe in my faith. I was praying and asking the Lord to help us and getting the feeling that I needed to do something with this. Really, how I came to everything was trying to get help for Dakota and not finding the help that I needed. I had to learn how to access services and support every step of the way.
Dakota has multiple disabilities: developmental disability, of course, but also mental health issues. And then he has a lot of physical challenges now because of medications and treatment that we’ve had to do. The medications we use to keep him functioning also affect his physical body. He’s been diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, which are typically seen in those treatment plans.
How does this award change the way that you look at your work?
When I got into the field, I was just trying to help my son. Then I began to learn more and share that knowledge with other families, but it was all about serving others. I really feel serving others is what a person’s purpose often is. I felt so honored, but I knew that there were so many people that are deserving just as much or more than me when I received this award. It takes a village for all of us to be here. I didn’t get here by myself. It was all of us: the family and anybody who walked into our lives has had a part in me receiving this award What do you see as your biggest success to this point?
We still have Dakota! He’s not in an institution. He’s living the best life he can in the community. He’s living in his own home. We’ve got a mortgage for both of us, so his name’s on there. Because he has N.C. Innovation Waiver services [a Medicaid program that serves those with intellectual disabilities who would otherwise live in intermediate care facilities], he’s able to have staff to support him during the day. He is on his own with the support that anyone in this situation would need to be able to live in the community. We’ve just been so blessed to have the support of our community to be
able to make sure this happened for Dakota.
The other piece is that the system began to really hear what families said they needed. When we started in all of this, there were programs there, but they didn’t listen to the families and what they said they needed. It’s not just about the child in the treatment; it takes the whole family and the whole community to get involved and be a part of the process. The success was when the system began to look at the whole community and understand what it was going to take for us to make a difference for our loved ones.
And I really feel like this system is doing that, but there’s still so many families that are not being able to access the services and support that they need. There are 15,000 people still needing services in North Carolina. They are sitting on a waitlist to get services that I was so blessed to be able to get. You know, you feel so bad for the families that I know need that support. And we just can’t seem to figure out how to get everyone the kind of care and support that they need.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to make a difference?
Educate yourself. Get involved. Don’t assume that what you’re being told is all there is to the story. I feel like most people, when they hear a family has Social Security or Social Security Disability, think that’s enough funding and support for those families, but in reality, it’s not.
— LA Bourgeois X
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 31
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MOTHER AND SON: Kerri Eaker, left, and her son, Dakota Kirkland, made a recent advocacy trip to Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Eaker
‘Considerable sacrifice and discomfort’
City confronts nursing issues, 1923
“Talked of in many homes in Asheville and in all parts of the country is a problem which finds little place in public print — as yet. It is the problem of nurses,” declared a Jan. 9, 1923, editorial in The Asheville Citizen. “[T]here are not enough graduate nurses who serve and the policy of the medical profession and the rules of the graduates’ guild has tended so greatly to lessen the number of partly trained and practical nurses that few of these are available.”
The paper argued that medical institutions needed to reconsider their requirements to encourage a wider range of nursing options for the general public. Too high a standard within the nursing industry, the editorial noted, did more harm to the community than good.
“[I]s it a wise saying that no bread is better than half a loaf?” The Asheville Citizen pondered.
Not everyone agreed with the paper’s assessment. In a letter to the editor, published Jan. 11, 1923, Bessie A. Haasis, a mother and former registered nurse, argued that the issue of the partially trained nurse was not as simple as the paper made it out to be.
“When the Central Registry for Nurses was organized about a year ago by the graduate nurses of the city, every effort was made to enroll every practical or partially trained nurse so as to make them available to the public as well as the graduates,” Haasis wrote.
This strategy, she continued, resulted in 140 graduates and 80 nongraduates. A subsequent questionnaire sent out to the program’s nongraduates ascertained the extent of their training. This information, Haasis pointed out, was now available to any doctor or patient interested in knowing more about the background of partially trained nurses in the area.
“No attempt whatever has been made to regulate fees, but it has been found that the majority [of partially trained nurses] are charging $20, $25 and $30 a week [roughly $350 to $515
in today’s currency] and more than one has represented herself to her patients as a graduate and charged accordingly [$35 a week].”
There was no single solution, Haasis continued. Instead, she proposed a number of changes to both the health care industry as well as individual approaches to wellness. First and foremost, she emphasized the need for better informed residents capable of addressing minor medical emergencies at home.
“During the war, thousands of women and girls took the Red Cross courses in Home Care of the Sick, but now there is little demand for them. But why not include such instruction in the work required of each girl in High School and college, with extension courses for those these courses would not reach? This would go a good way to reduce the
‘untold suffering’ you [the paper] mention, which is often due in large measure to ignorance of just such elementary instruction.”
In addition, Haasis called for either a public or private association to provide graduate nursing services by the hour at cost. She also noted the need for stronger recruitment and better incentives within the medical industry.
“Good salaries and reasonable working conditions are now offered to women in so many lines, is it any wonder that nursing, which everyone knows requires unusual endurance and often entails considerable sacrifice and discomfort, fails to attract large numbers,” the letter writer wrote.
“Some people may clamor for ‘poor nursing for poor folks,’ but we cannot be satisfied with less than good nursing for everybody,” Haasis stressed.
In the same day’s paper, the editorial team expressed its disagreement with Haasis’ letter. “Our position was, and is, that half a loaf is better than no bread — that a partly trained or practical nurse is better than none at all, especially where all members of a household are bedridden, as no few have been, with influenza.”
On Jan. 14, 1923, Charles C. Orr, secretary of the board of directors for the Asheville District Nurses Association, reminded the paper and its readers that the organization had established the Nurses’ Club and Central Registry in October 1921 to address the area’s health needs.
“Anyone in need of nursing service will find prompt response to calls for either graduate or practical nurses through Nurses’ Registry,” Orr asserted. “An all-time Registrar, with regular, salary, is employed to answer calls for nursing service day and night. The financial responsibility for the maintenance of the registry is assumed by the Nurses Association.”
Editor’s note: Peculiarities of spelling and punctuation are preserved from the original documents. X
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 32
HELP WANTED: In 1923, a nursing shortage inspired plenty of discussion in multiple editions of The Asheville Citizen. Photo courtesy of UNC Asheville Special Collections & University Archives
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MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 33
Tai Chi for Balance
Improve balance through gently strengthening core muscles all over the whole body. All ages and beginners welcome.
WE (1/25, 2/1), 11:30am, Dragon Phoenix, 51 N Merrimon Ave
Grief Keening Circle
A discussion of loss and grief with a period of music and silence, followed by open conversation with the group.
WE (1/25), 7:30pm, Vintage Kava, 141 Reems Creek Rd, Weaverville
Tai Chi for Beginners
Learn some of the fundamentals of Tai Chi along with a short and easy form that is recognized all over the world.
TH (1/26, 2/2), 11:30am, Dragon Phoenix, 51 N Merrimon Ave
Nar-Anon Family Group Meeting
Weekly meeting for family and friends of addicts. Use Door C. TH (1/26, 2/2), 7pm, 1316D Patton Ave
Asheville Aphasia Support Group
Every Friday in Rm 345. No RSVP needed.
FR (1/27), 10am, WCU at Biltmore Park, 28 Schenck Pkwy
Magnetic Minds: Depression/Bipolar Support Group Weekly meeting for those who suffer with depression, bipolar and other mental health challenges. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text (828)367-7660 for more info.
SA (1/28), 2pm, 1316 Ste C Parkwood Rd
Wild Souls Authentic Movement Class A conscious movement experience in a 100year old building with a community of women at all life stages.
SU (1/29), Dunn's Rock Community Center, 461 Connestee Rd, Brevard Ben's Friends Offering supportive community to food and beverage industry professionals struggling with addiction and substance abuse. Every Tuesday.
TU (1/31), 10am, Avenue M, 791 Merrimon Ave
Narcotics Anonymous Meetings
Visit wncna.org/ basic-meeting for dates, times and locations.
engages visitors in dialogues around community, social contract, identity, biases, and other deeply human experiences. Open 11am, closed Tuesdays. Through Mar. 20. Asheville Art Museum, 2 S Pack Square Night/Visionary A five-person exhibition featuring contemplative works on paper, panel and canvas by Josephine Close, Renato Órdenes San Martín, Kyung Soon Park, Christina Haglid and Eli McMullen.
Through Feb. 26. Gallery open Tuesday through Saturday 10am and Sunday 11am.
Tyger Tyger Gallery, 191 Lyman St
You Draw It, We Make It
Professional glassblowers volunteered their time to create glass art based on drawings submitted by children ages five to 17. Through Jan. 31. Open 10 am, closed Tuesday.
North Carolina Glass Center, 140 Roberts St, Ste B
Photography of Kathy Kmonicek
Morganton, NC resident and multiple Pulitzer prize finalist will have her work featured in the FW Gallery through Jan. 31. Open daily 11am.
Woolworth Walk, 25 Haywood St
Smoky Mountain Impressions
Featuring works on of the Great Smoky Mountains by four new gallery members: Gail Drozd, Patricia Hargrove, Natalie Ray and Christine Schlageter. An opening reception is slated for Friday, Feb. 3, 5-8pm. Gallery open daily 11am, exhibition runs through Feb. 28.
Asheville Gallery of Art, 82 Patton Ave
Piano Recital with Evren Ozel
Featuring Beethoven, Chopin, Ligeti and more to explore polyphony, the musical concept of multiple independent melodic lines occurring at the same time. See p48-49 TU (1/31), 7pm, Central United Methodist Church, 27 Church St
Geneva Lewis and Gabriel Martins New Zealand-born violinist Geneva Lewis, winner of the 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant, teams up with cellist and 2020 Sphinx Competition winner Gabriel Martins. TU (1/31), 7:30pm, Brevard Music Center, 349 Andante Ln, Brevard
Poetry Open Mic with Host Caleb Beissert
All forms of entertainment welcome at this
at 7:30 p.m.
weekly poetry-centric open mic. WE (1/25, 2/1), 8pm, Sovereign Kava, 268 Biltmore Ave
Poetry Open Mic Hendo
A poetry-centered open mic that welcomes all kinds of performers. 18+ TH (1/26, 2/2), 7:30pm, Shakedown Lounge, 706 Seventh Ave East, Hendersonville
Storytelling on the Mountain Share or listen to a five minute true life story. If you are
interested in being a storyteller, email Jim at jamesrludwig@gmail. com or Claudia at claudiagreen.green@ gmail.com.
WE (2/1), 5:30pm, Homeplace Beer Co., 6 South Main St, Burnsville
Arboretum Reads Meet for tea and conversation to discuss Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey. TH (2/2), 2pm, NC Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
THEATER & FILM
Rising of the Necessary Diva
This one-woman multimedia show starring WCU’s Assistant Professor of Music (Voice), Dr. Tiffany Renée Jackson, and featuring a live band, is an autobiographical account of a girl raised in the hood and born to a sharecropper’s daughter. Her gift to sing paves a path for her to travel the world singing classical music, but whose heart
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 34
Sherrill Roland: Sugar, Water, Lemon Squeeze Through sculpture, installation, and conceptual art, Roland
JANUARY 25 - FEBRUARY 2, 2023
Online-only events More info, pages 46-47 More info, pages 48-49 370 N. Louisiana Ave. Asheville, NC 828.225.4980 umhs.net DEDICATED TO HELPING individuals and families affected by mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities in achieving their full potential to live, work and grow
SERVIN’ UP THE BLUES: Legendary bluesman Mac Arnold and his band Plate Full O’ Blues will perform at Hendersonville Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 28,
Arnold, who “retired” to Pelzer,
in the 1990s to become an organic farmer, was a member of the Muddy Waters Band and was part of the set band for the television show “Soul Train.” Photo courtesy of Hendersonville Theatre
For a full list of community calendar guidelines, please visit mountainx.com/calendar. For questions about free listings, call 828-251-1333, opt. 4. For questions about paid calendar listings, please call 828-251-1333, opt. 1.
recognizes the need to return to the hood to serve in purpose.
TH (1/26), 7:30pm, WCU Bardo Arts Center, 199 Centennial Dr, Cullowhee
Palimpsest : A Live Podcast Performance
In celebration of the horror audio drama's fifth anniversary, creators Jamieson Ridenhour and Hayley Heninger will host a live performance featuring three complete stand-alone episodes from 2022’s Visitations series.
FR (1/27), 7:30pm, The Magnetic Theatre, 375 Depot St
The 39 Step s A stage version of the Hitchcock classic, written by Patrick Barlow.
FR (1/27, SA (1/28), 7pm, SU (1/29) , 2pm, Black Mountain Center for the Arts, 225 W State St, Black Mountain TheaterWorksUSA presents Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School "Almost six years old" children's book character Junie B. and friends deliver the definitive word on surviving and thriving in school. Recommended for grades K-4.
WE (2/1), 10am & Noon, Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, Frankenhoooker Movie Night Free movie, free popcorn. Heckling encouraged.
WE (2/1), 8pm, The Odd, 1045 Haywood Rd
Abe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House
A re-imagination of events the night before Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, when he is mysteriously visited by Uncle Tom, the fictional character in Harriet Beecher
Stowe’s abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin . Presented by Diffrent Strokes Performing Arts Collective. Various dates and times through Feb. 19.
TH (2/2), 7:30pm, Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, 18 Biltmore Ave
North Carolina Stage Company presents Every Brilliant Thing Based on true and untrue stories, and told with the help of the audience, this play is a life-affirming story of how to achieve hope through focusing on the smallest miracles of life. Content Warning: Contains brief descriptions of depression, self-harm, and suicide. Recommended for audience members ages 14 and older.
TH (2/2), 7:30pm, North Carolina Stage Company, 15 Stage Ln
MEETINGS & PROGRAMS
Bring your machine or borrow one and be taught how to use it.
WE (1/25), 5:30pm, The Burger Bar, 1 Craven St
Cocktail Classes: Call Me Old Fashioned This class will focus on the science behind creating your favorite stirred cocktails and empower you to concoct your own unique libations at home.
TH (1/26), 6pm, Oak and Grist Distilling Company, 1556 Grovestone Rd, Black Mountain
Southside Card Game Night
Families and community members can play card games like bid whist/spades, Apples to Apples, Uno, and more. Light refreshments served.
TH (1/26, 2/2), 6pm, Dr Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center, 285 Livingston St
Digging Deeper into Gardening NC Certified Plant Professional Ruth Gonzalez will present on how nature lifts our spirits, exploring garden design, and how to maximize the enjoyment of outdoor spaces.
SA (1/28), 10am, Reems Creek Nursery, 76 Monticello Rd, Weaverville
Join others in the community for a free hot lunch in a warm and safe setting. Use the restroom, charge your phone, be part of a conversation, play cards, rest ... all are welcome.
SA (1/28), 11am, First Presbyterian Church Asheville, 40 Church St
Barks and Beers Dog Adoption Event
There will be adoptable pups and treats for humans and dogs alike. In partnership with Mountain Pet Rescue.
SA (1/28), 1pm, French Broad Brewery, 101 Fairview Rd Hemlock Hike Hemlock Restoration Initiative staff will lead a moderately strenous hike to a Carolina hemlock bluff. RSVP is required by January 25: Ally at education@ savehemlocksnc.org or (828)252-4783include name, phone number, and the number of people. SA (1/28), 1pm, Montreat Conference Center, 401 Assembly Dr, Montreat Drag Workshop Focusing on stage presence. All ages. SA (1/28), 2pm, Different Wrld, 701 Haywood Rd
The launch of a lending library of creative tools and equipment.
SU (1/29), 11am, Different Wrld, 701 Haywood Rd
All gear provided, just bring your vocabulary. Every Sunday.
SU (1/29), 12:15pm, Stephens Lee Recreation Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave
Learn & Play: Cooperative Games Board games in which players work together to achieve a common goal rather than competing against each other.
TU (1/31), 6pm, Well Played Board Game Café, 162 Coxe Ave
What the NC Carbon Plan Means to You
Join the Western North Carolina Sierra Club and Beyond Coal Campaign Representative Mikaela Curry to learn about the plan developed by the NCUC and what it will mean. For more information, contact WNC Sierra Club Chair Judy Mattox at judymattox15@ gmail.com or (828) 683-2176.
TH (2/2), 7pm, Online, visit avl.mx/977
RAD Farmers Market Winter Season
Providing year-round access to fresh local foods, with 25-30 vendors. Handicap parking available in the lot, and free public parking along Riverside Drive. Also accessible by foot, bike, or rollerblade via the Wilma Dykeman Greenway. WE (1/25, 2/1), 3pm, Smoky Park Supper Club, 350 Riverside Dr
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Tryon Resort Holiday Ice Skating
Enjoy ice skating, see festive light displays, eat, and shop. With skate rentals available by the hour, various times through Feb. 14, 2023. Tryon International Equestrian Center, 25 International Blvd, Mill Spring
Maggie Valley Ice Festival Watch live ice carving demos, see life size ice elk, take a ride on the ice slide. See p47 SA (1/28), 4pm, Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, 3374 Soco Rd
Blue Ridge Roller Derby's New Year's Retribution
With games and prizes. All ages, BYOB. SA (1/28), 4pm, Smoky Mountain Event Center, 758 Crabtree Rd, Waynesville
Winter Oysters & Champagne Party
With NOLA jazz and a variety of a la carter menu items at this open-house style event. See p47 SU (1/29), 4pm, All Darling, 102 Montford Ave
BENEFITS & VOLUNTEERING
The Blood Connection Actively recruiting donors of all ethnicities. Your donation can save up to two lives.
MO (1/30), 1pm, Highland Brewing Co., 12 Old Charlotte Hwy
Ashevillains: Local Comedy Showcase & Fundraiser
A local comedy showcase produced by Modelface Comedy. Proceeds from the show will go to help pay school lunch fees for Asheville schools.
Hosted by Marlene
Thompson. MO (1/30), 9pm, The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave Volunteer Court Advocate for Children In Need
Seeking volunteers for Guardian ad Litem advocates, trained community volunteers who are appointed by a district court judge to investigate and determine the needs of abused and neglected children petitioned into the court system. Visit volunteerforgal.org or call (828)259-6603.
Loneliness and connection
Alan Muskat, founder of No Taste Like Home, wears many hats: forager, writer, philosopher and outdoor guide, to name a few. He is also a facilitator with SeekHealing, a local nonprofit that works with individuals in recovery. Muskat speaks with Xpress about the role loneliness plays in addiction, the power of listening and ways to find connections with others.
What’s missing from Asheville’s conversation about the opioid epidemic?
As Gabor Maté [renowned physician and author] teaches, addiction is self-medication for the pain of living in an unsupportive culture. Addiction is endemic to a society that engenders loneliness. For that, opioids are just one option among many. More widespread and insidious than any substance use is screen addiction. Regardless of the coping strategy, you can’t blame the canary for the mine.
How can listening play a role in wellness?
The word “health” means wholeness, and a human is never whole alone. We are probably the most social animal on Earth.
Today, most of us die from what are known as “diseases of civilization.” Civilization is a process of separating people — from each other and themselves.
Listening is the most powerful medicine.
Where in Asheville city limits do you most like to seek peace?
I seek peace in my body and in authentic connection with others. X
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 35
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ALAN MUSKAT photo by Mike Belleme
by Jessica Wakeman
Sunrise Recovery opens drop-in center
Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness opened a new drop-in center in the Westgate Shopping Center on Patton Avenue. The nonprofit recovery community organization, which employs almost 50 peer support specialists, held the center’s grand opening Jan. 19. The center has been open since late December.
“I’m so grateful to be part of something that saves and changes people’s lives,” Executive Director Sue Polston told guests.
Mountain Area Health and Education Center peer support Kevin Mahoney launched Sunrise in 2016, and the center has been at numerous locations throughout the years. “This place is a gift to all of you,” Mahoney told the assembled crowd on Jan. 19. He credited the late Blair H. Clark of Parkway Behavioral Health and a founding member of Sunrise, for inspiring the nonprofit’s existence and choked up as he read an excerpt of Clark’s writing.
Sunrise’s new space contains several large rooms furnished with couches, bean bag chairs and a large table and chairs. Groups meeting at Sunrise throughout the week will include those for Alcoholic Anonymous, women-only, artists and Self-Management and Recovery Training. The drop-in center also offers reiki and Thai massage therapy several times a month. Mahoney says he’ll teach classes on interviewing skills and crisis deescalation to peer support specialists.
The need for recovery support services has increased steadily. From 2016-20, Sunrise had 15,000 peer interactions in the recovery community, Polston told the crowd. (Peer interactions include phone
calls as well as meetings.) During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21, the organization saw 14,000 peer interactions. In 2022, its peer interactions more than doubled to 33,000.
Kevin Rumley, a board member for Sunrise who is in recovery, isn’t surprised at the organization’s popularity. He tells Xpress it’s important to have “a place that is safe for people in recovery … ideally to connect them to services.” He underscored the need for people experiencing addiction to have community and not live in isolation.
Asheville is “on the cutting edge of recovery communities,” added Rumley. He says the city is home to many people in recovery because
it has so many people dedicatedto fighting the stigma of addiction. “There needs to be hope out there.” For more information about Sunrise, visit sunriseasheville.org.
County hears domestic violence fatality update
Members of the Buncombe Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team spoke before the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Jan. 17 to present its 2022 report and provide an update on domestic violence in the community.
According to the report, calls related to domestic violence for fiscal year 2022, which began in July, are up from the previous year. The team also reported that the county had three domestic violence- or intimate partner-related homicides during 2021 (the most recent year data was available).
More information about the team can be found at avl.mx/ccc.
New mental health facility to open
The Sweeten Creek Mental Health and Wellness Center is slated to open in early 2023. The 120-bed cen-
ter will be a new behavioral health facility for Mission Health and will serve adolescent, pediatric, adult and geriatric patients.
The facility is located on 26 acres off Sweeten Creek Road and will offer outdoor recreation space, gardening, a therapy gymnasium, music and art therapy and more.
“We are furthering our investment in our Western North Carolina community by providing this much-needed facility and adding additional resources to care for the area we serve,” says Mission Hospital CEO Chad Patrick in a statement provided by spokesperson Nancy Lindell
Student health program wins grant
Dogwood Health Trust granted $173,845 to the Student Health Ambassador program at UNC Asheville and five other local colleges.
The student-informed peer education program launched in 2020, when ambassadors focused their work on reducing COVID infections on campus and bringing meals to students who were in isolation due to an infection. Now the program includes the promotion of mental wellbeing.
In addition to public health education for students, the grant will fund
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 36
CONTINUES ON PAGE 38
A CUT ABOVE: Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness Executive Director Sue Polston, center, holds the scissors for a ribbon-cutting Jan. 19 at the center’s new location in the Westgate Shopping Center on Patton Avenue. Photo by Jodi Ford
email@example.com HEALTH ROUNDUP Series
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 37
Working with and for the community
Ameena Batada, co-director of the UNC – Asheville - UNC – Gillings Master of Public Health program in Asheville, discusses community support, her work to address health inequities and the power of friendship. How does your research directly impact the health of our local community?
Most public health research I work on is driven by communities and organizations in Asheville-Buncombe, and as such, the findings have implications for the well-being of people in this area. Evaluation research helps organizations to obtain funding to continue their health and other services, education and more. Collaborative surveys support communities and coalitions to advocate for policy changes, such as transit improvements, child care access and youth tobacco marketing restrictions. How has the pandemic impacted your advocacy in advancing health equity and justice?
I’ve really missed meeting and working in person with community partners these past few years. That said, I think the pandemic illuminated some existing injustices, which opened up opportunities for institutional decision-makers to engage in conversations and approaches to address health and related inequities. Funders also seem to be more aware of the criticality of community leadership and creativity in program and research proposals. The pandemic further cracked, but did not crumble, entrenched systems of oppression.
What is your go-to activity when stressed?
I like to get outside or to meet up with a friend. Getting outside, whether in a wooded area by a stream or for a walk down my street, encourages me to breathe more deeply, connect physically with the world and check in with how I’m feeling. Being with a friend can provide perspective and support. Plus, we almost always laugh together, which is good for my body and soul. X
a campus community health needs survey at UNCA, Montreat College, Western Carolina University, Brevard College, Mars Hill University and Warren Wilson College.
The nonprofit Dogwood Health Trust was created from the $1.5 billion sale of Mission Health in February 2019 to HCA Healthcare. The trust funds programs that advance community wellness in 18 Western North Carolina counties and the Qualla Boundary.
Mars Hill receives recovery funding for students
Mars Hill University in Mars Hill is the recipient of a $75,770 grant from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to start a program for college students in recovery.
The funds are meant to improve behavioral health and recovery services for adolescents and young adults in colleges. According to an NCDHHS press release, these services include drug- and alcohol-free places and locations for students to live, study and socialize; peer mentorship; alcohol- and drug-free social activities for students; and collegiate recovery programming.
More than self-defense
Tony Morris, the owner of Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts and an eighth-dan grandmaster instructor, speaks to misconceptions about martial arts, as well as the physical and mental benefits of the practice.
What’s a misconception about martial arts?
There are many, the biggest of which is the idea that martial arts in and of itself is going to produce specific and predictable results within the student/ practitioner. Martial arts has the reputation in our culture of developing character, creating confidence, increasing awareness and producing effective and applicable self-defense skills among other expectations. That said, the degree to which these expectations/potentials are realized is completely dependent on the quality level with which the practice is facilitated. And that varies immensely from school to school.
What are some of the greatest physical benefits of martial arts?
Properly facilitated, an authentic martial arts practice will help the practitioner develop in the following ways: increased strength, stamina, coordination, range of motion, reflex, special awareness, energy level, stress relief, hormone regulation, appetite regulation and understanding of physiology/ anatomy, in addition to the accrual of physical self-defense skills.
Could you speak to some of the form’s benefits to an individual’s mental health?
Properly facilitated, an authentic martial arts practice improves mental health through a combination of relieving stress, increasing confidence, developing self-awareness, cultivating clarity, creating relationships through community, acclimating one to goal setting and achievement, as well as creating the ongoing experience of the process of progress. X
Mars Hill University is one of nine colleges in the state to receive a total of $3.2 million in grants to address this need.
• Pardee UNC Health Care has named neurologist Dr. Joel Callahan as chief of staff. His two-year term as chief of staff began Jan. 1. Callahan has been at Pardee since 2011, most recently serving as the medical director of Pardee Neurology Associates.
• Oncologist Dr. James Radford , who retired in 2021 from Pardee UNC Health Care, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Jan. 9. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is the highest award for state service granted by the Office of the Governor.
• Dogwood Health Trust announced Carol Burton of Jackson County, and Jamie McMahan of Yancey County as members of its board of directors. Burton is vice provost for academic affairs at Western Carolina University while McMahan is executive director of the Yancey County Planning & Economic Development Commission.
• Healthgrades.com, an online resource to connect patients to doctors, ranked Mission Hospital one of America’s 50 best hospitals and ranked it one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals for cardiac, gastrointestinal and pulmonary care. Healthgrades.com also ranked Pardee UNC Health Care of Hendersonville No. 1 in stroke care. The site also ranked the hospital as one of America’s 100 best hospitals for the second year in a row.
Mark your calendars
• Asheville Parks & Recreation fitness centers at Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center, 121 Shiloh Road, and Stephens-Lee Community Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave., are offering the public free, unlimited visits through June 30. Visit avl.mx/ccd for hours, phone, indoor and outdoor features and current programs.
• The Blood Connection is holding a blood drive 1-6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at Highland Brewing Co., 12 Old Charlotte Highway. To schedule an appointment, visit thebloodconnection.org.
• The N.C. Council on Churches is holding a free webinar 11a.m.noon Monday, Jan. 30, about its mental health grants. The grants are available to faith communities mainly composed of Indigenous people, Black people or people of color. RSVP for the webinar at avl.mx/cc7.
• The WNC Health Network will host a two-day, results-based accountability training called “Getting To Results” 9-11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, and Tuesday, Feb. 7. The trainings are offered on a sliding scale of $75-$300 and are open to nonprofit organizations, funders, public health agencies and hospital representatives. For more information visit avl.mx/cc9.
• The Resilience Festival will be held Saturday, April 29, from 3 p.m. onward at Grey Eagle Outpost, 521 Amboy Road. The festival will feature tai chi, Zumba, and yoga, as well as demonstrations from a variety of wellness practitioners. The event will raise money for Resilient Voices, a Raleigh-based nonprofit that hosts retreats for sexual assault survivors in the Asheville area. X
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 38
AMEENA BATADA photo courtesy of Batada
TONY MORRIS photo courtesy of Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 39
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The road ahead
our local food system to feed the region
BY SARA MURPHY
It’s been nearly three years since the worst shortages triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic ended, but specific food items still periodically become hard to get or even vanish from local grocery shelves. For the last month, for example, the Sam’s Club on Patton Avenue has limited customers to two bags of Taylor Farms romaine lettuce, as unseasonably high temperatures and crop diseases in California have triggered lettuce shortages across the country. And in a June 2022 survey conducted by PwC Global, a high percentage of American respondents reported having been unable to purchase a product due to shortages in stores.
This may seem counterintuitive in Asheville, dubbed Foodtopia by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority in 2008. According to data from the U.S. government’s 2017 Census of Agriculture (the most recent numbers available), Buncombe County was home to 1,073 farms and 72,284 acres of farmland. Across 23 Western North Carolina counties, there were over 10,000 farms comprising more than 932,000 acres.
Yet a 2007 report by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, an Asheville-based nonprofit, found that almost all the food produced here was sent to other areas, and while the percentages may have shifted slightly since then, the overall picture hasn’t.
“When you drive through Leicester or Sandy Mush and see giant tomato fields, most of those are grown at a wholesale level, going through a distributor selling up and down the Eastern Seaboard or across the country,” notes Molly Nicholie, ASAP’s executive director.
That, in turn, means that almost all the food consumed here comes from elsewhere. That Taylor Farms romaine, for instance? Product of Mexico. This, too, reflects the bigger picture: California’s Central Valley, for example, produces 25% of the nation’s food despite accounting for less than 1% of its farmland, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Asheville author Laura Lengnick sees this extreme disparity as “the greatest fragility in our [local] food system.” To Lengnick, who wrote
Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate, the supply chain disruptions exacerbated by the pandemic were a clear sign that the current global, industrialized food system isn’t agile and flexible enough to cope with the unpredictable future posed by climate change and unexpected supply chain disruptions. Resilience, she maintains, is the ability to quickly adapt to such challenges in a way that “bounces forward” rather than merely bouncing back to business as usual. In other words, not just recovering from setbacks but making the entire system better able to anticipate and avoid future problems.
YOU CAN’T FARM A PARKING LOT
On a sunny day last June, I met Robert Turner at Creekside Farm, his roughly 50-acre operation in Arden. During most of our conversation, we sat in a 100-year-old red schoolhouse that’s been transformed into an educational center with a commercial kitchen. The venue now hosts classes on organic farming as well as locally sourced dinners and other events, in partnership with organizations like the Organic
Growers School, on whose board Turner serves.
He’s written two books highlighting the vulnerabilities of industrial agriculture and the strengths of local food systems. Turner’s most recent work, Lewis Mumford and the Food Fighters, came out last year. “This is a terrific area for local food — more advanced than most places,” he says. Nonetheless, if WNC were completely cut off from the broader food system, “We would struggle to feed ourselves.”
One of the biggest reasons, says Turner, is the continuing loss of farmland. He’s had a front-row seat watching neighboring farmers reach retirement age and immediately get swarmed by developers eager to pay high prices for their land. In 2015, Turner bought most of what is now Creekside Farm, augmenting his existing 10-acre hobby farm. This was done, he notes, both to conserve the land and because “We didn’t want to see 50 homes all around us if a developer purchased it.”
Protecting agricultural land has been a key concern of ASAP since the mid-1990s, when community members first came together to discuss how to diversify a mountain farm economy that had been heavily
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 40
ARTS & CULTURE
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LINK IN THE CHAIN: Tomatoes being harvested at Charlene’s Garden, a small vegetable farm in Polk County. Most of the food grown in Western North Carolina is not consumed here, according to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. Photo courtesy of ASAP
dependent on burley tobacco. Fallout from the 1998 settlement threatened to shutter many local farms that grew the staple crop. “So much of our work is centered around farmland preservation, to make farming economically viable,” Nicholie explains.
In Lengnick’s view, “That’s a great example of how we actually cultivated diversity. We went from a monocrop to these small and midscale diversified farm operations.”
In 2018, Lengnick took part in a resilience workshop organized by the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council. She says the group evaluated 73 programs offered by 46 food-related organizations based on six criteria: fostering strong communities, improving people’s health, emphasizing equity, cultivating vibrant gardens and farms, creating thriving economies and building sustainable ecosystems.
Sustainability is key, stresses Lengnick, because without it any land that does get preserved won’t be as viable for farming. Yet of the six criteria, it proved to be the least well represented, as it was a focus of only five of the organizations examined.
In the afterword to the 2022 book Edible North Carolina: A Journey Across a State of Flavor, editor Marcie Cohen Ferris describes how the state’s local food economies have stepped up to fill gaps created by breakdowns in national and global food supplies. “Because of their size, diversification, locations across markets and face-to-face relationships with consumers, small farmers, food
hubs and food entrepreneurs could respond quickly in times of crisis,” she writes.
When restaurants and farmers markets temporarily shut down during the pandemic, direct marketing to consumers proved to be one of the most successful survival strategies for local farms. To facilitate this, many of them created online ordering systems. “Folks that were doing freezer beef got [new] customers that ended up really liking their product,” says Jennifer Ferre, executive director of WNC Communities, an Asheville-based nonprofit. “Even now, two years later, they’ve retained that customer base.”
Some farms, in fact, did so well that they didn’t resume supplying restaurants when the eateries reopened. “The business model that they pivoted to in an emergency situation is now their main business model.”
Even pre-pandemic, however, direct marketing was a significant and growing success story for WNC farms. From 2012-17, notes Nicholie, the region experienced a 70% increase in direct sales, surpassing both the state and national averages.
Direct marketing also enables farmers to form relationships with their local customers, says Ferre. “One of Western North Carolina’s strengths is that we have strong communities. That sense of community, I’ve seen it grow stronger in the last couple of years because people are realizing how important food is to a healthy region.”
And as pandemic restrictions have loosened, she reports, farm tours and CONTINUES ON PAGE 42
Share Friedman, LCMHC, MA, MS Ed., MSCC is a Jungian transpersonal psychotherapist with a holistic clinical orientation. Share’s life experience, wisdom, and insights as an HSP, Reiki Master, LMBT, LPN, doula, mother & grandmother adds a unique perspective to overcoming life’s challenges.
Patience and access
Joe Wilkerson, founder of Body-Integrated Psychotherapy and a member of the Racial Justice Coalition’s Government Accountability Project, discusses the relationship between a healthy body and mind, the role of patience in his work and challenges community members face in addressing their health needs.
Why is it so important to focus on the body as much as the mind in therapy?
The body experiences life directly: the safety and the trauma, the love and the disconnection, the stillness and the broad range of feelings. Our mind follows our body, making meaning of these direct experiences. People come to therapy seeking fresh meanings — perhaps that we are again safe after a traumatic upbringing or that we are lovable the way we are. Real transformation springs from new embodied experience, which we can’t accomplish with self-talk alone.
How does your work as a psychotherapist influence your work with the Racial Justice Coalition’s Government Accountability Project?
In therapy, my job is to “tend the fire” skillfully, not to have all the answers. As a white volunteer in a Black-led organization, it’s the same. Being a therapist trains me to be patient with slow-moving change, to reflect often, to adjust my approach when necessary, to activate at moments of opportunity and to rely on the support of wiser and more experienced people. GAP’s work requires these same qualities from its dedicated volunteers.
What are the biggest challenges that Ashevilleans face in trying to pursue wellness?
First, the notion that individuals can possess wellness. How can a person be well when their neighbors and their environment are hurting? The project of securing wellness-as-commodity for oneself is a trap that makes people profoundly lonely. Second, distraction: So much of our technology and culture conspire to keep us looking away from the private and systemic roots of suffering. Third, access: For many, poverty and administrative burdens make connecting with effective help exceedingly difficult. X
Taking advantage of city offerings
Wayne Simmons is the program and operations manager for Asheville Parks & Recreation. He speaks with Xpress about health and wellness programs that the city offers, the benefits of physical activity and his favorite ways to stay in shape.
How does physical health factor into Asheville Parks & Recreation’s program planning?
Health and wellness plays a major role within the programming that the Parks & Recreation department offers. Examples of current programs that provide physical health benefits include the Fit 50 Challenge, free fitness center memberships, youth and adult sports leagues, hiking and rock climbing programs. We also focus on other factors that impact physical health by providing healthy foods and nutrition education as part of other programs such as our after-school and summer camp programs.
If you could relay one message to area parents about the importance of outdoor recreation for kids, what would it be?
Participation in both organized and self-directed outdoor recreational activities have been well documented to provide a variety of important health and wellness benefits including higher academic performance, reduced stress levels, increased social interaction and improved motor coordination. The Parks & Recreation department offers many opportunities for kids to enjoy outdoor recreational opportunities through our various parks and programs, and we would love to have community members join us.
What is your favorite way to approach your own physical health?
Share Friedman, NC LCMHC # 12786 Taproot Integrative Counseling, PLLC email@example.com • 828-484-1610 (voice/text) soulbirther.com • Telehealth sessions only (at this time)
We are fortunate to have an abundance of recreational opportunities available here in Western North Carolina. Taking a jog along our expansive trail system or visiting one of our local parks to join a pickup game of any number of sports is a personal favorite of mine.
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 41
WAYNE SIMMONS photo courtesy of city of Asheville
“People want to know where their food comes from, and they love that interaction with the farmers.”
— Jennifer Ferre, WNC Communities
JOE WILKERSON photo courtesy of Wilkerson
related experiences are once again in high demand. “People want to know where their food comes from, and they love that interaction with the farmers.”
In that sense, direct marketing to consumers also fits with other aspects of Lengnick’s resilience model: forging strong community bonds, increasing the consumption of healthy foods and helping support farms when their usual revenue streams dry up.
THE CORPORATE FACTOR
At the same time, Lengnick underscores the importance of traditional retail outlets such as grocery stores.
“I don’t know of any legitimate thinking that does not include supermarkets,” she clarifies. “The question isn’t how do we kill the big food companies? The question is how do we bring them along into this vision?”
Ingles Markets chose not to comment for this story, a policy that Lengnick and Nicholie say is common among large-scale food-related businesses. However, both women also cite key ways that Ingles supports the local food system. “They are the largest purchaser of local food in the whole region,” Nicholie points out. And since 2007, she continues, the company has taken steps that have made it easier for local farmers to supply its stores.
“At one point, if you were a farmer that wanted to sell to Ingles, you had to provide enough volume to serve hundreds of stores,” Nicholie explains. But more recently, “They localized some of those purchasing decisions so that [WNC growers] could sell to four or five Ingles.”
Lengnick, meanwhile, points to Ingles’ ownership of Milkco, the region’s last remaining milk bottling company, which the grocery chain bought from Sealtest in 1982. In the
APPALACHIAN GROWN: “Our approach to food systems is not so much ‘How can we locally fill those grocery shelves?’ but more long-term systems change,” says Molly Nicholie, executive director of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. Photo courtesy of ASAP
1950s, there were 22 such plants, according to Milkco’s website, and the bulk of the company’s current suppliers are within 150 miles of the facility.
“Those seeds of resilience are so important for us to begin to care for,” she says. “No matter what else Ingles does, they have supported a local dairy economy here.”
On its own website, the grocery chain also touts its 1.6 million-squarefoot distribution warehouse in Black Mountain, strategically sited within 250 miles of the company’s more than 200 stores. The massive facility enables Ingles to process more than 2 million cases of perishables and groceries per week while typically keeping some 70,000 pallets of product on hand, the website notes.
Still, while the site stresses both the freshness of the company’s produce and the organics on offer, it doesn’t identify the local farmers who supply its stores. And in those outlets, notes Nicholie, it’s not always easy to tell which products are local.
Whole Foods, too, declined to comment for this article. The chain’s website says, “About 25% of the produce sold at our stores comes from local farms.” However, the site goes on to say, “Our stores across the nation define ‘local’ one community at a time. For some, ‘local’ means within the state, while for others it means within a certain mile radius, which may include a bordering state or two.” An informal survey of products labeled local that were available at the Merrimon Avenue store turned up some coming from Charlotte, Raleigh and even Georgia.
CLOSE TO HOME
To fund his purchase of the additional acres of Creekside Farm, Turner fastened on an idea he’d come across during his research: an “agrihood,” a residential community built around a farm. According to Civil Eats, a California-based nonprofit news outlet, there are about 200 agrihoods in the U.S., including two in Western North Carolina.
A mere 6.7 miles south of downtown Asheville, Olivette comprises 411 acres, with various “hamlets” offering residential lots for sale. Turner’s smaller-scale experiment includes 12 lots on the Creekside property. To help finance the acquisition, additional parcels were spun off to The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, an adjacent upscale residential development. As of this writing, 10 of the Creekside lots have been sold.
“Building community around food is the idea,” he says. The neighborhood includes a 3-acre common area and greenhouse, and agrihood residents can “walk out their door and pick a pepper for dinner.” Creekside also functions as an incubator for future farmers. Besides serving the residents, the farm manager runs a community supported agriculture program that currently feeds some 200 people and sells at the downtown farmers market and to restaurants. The idea is that after a few years, during which time managers can build a brand and a customer base, they will acquire land elsewhere and establish their own operation.
Meanwhile, to encourage innovation among existing farmers, the N.C.
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 42
ARTS & CULTURE “Feeding our community is very different from feeding the community what they want.”
— Mollie Nicholie, ASAP
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Cooperative Extension distributed $320,000 to 41 farm businesses last year through its WNC AgOptions grant program; the money came from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. WNC Communities administers the program, and Ferre says her organization prioritized creative ideas. “We want to cover the risk of somebody doing something innovative so that if it works out, that’s an option for other farmers to do,” she explains.
Pinnacle View Farm in Buncombe County, for instance, won a grant to install a fence-line feeding system that will reduce waste and protect the pasture while improving the cattle’s health and comfort. And in neighboring Haywood County, Catherine and Rick Topel of Smoky Mountain Mangalitsa will use their grant to buy a trailer they can use to sell their pork products to folks who pay to camp on the farm and, eventually, at local off-site events.
and farmers who need to reconsider their approach: Consumer attitudes also loom large in the equation, stresses Nicholie. Shoppers, she notes, have grown accustomed to having far more options than what can be grown locally. “We have set up these expectations of constant availability and affordability anytime of the year.”
Even during the worst pandemic-related shortages, store shelves were never completely bare. Beans, for example, were always available as a source of protein when certain meats were scarce. But “Feeding our community is very different from feeding the community what they want,” she points out.
And since everybody needs to eat, we all have a part to play when it comes to building a truly sustainable local food supply.
THINK BEFORE YOU EAT
In the push for greater sustainability, however, it’s not just grocers
“Some folks,” notes Nicholie, “might come to it because they want to know how their food is grown. Some folks may come to it because they want to know the story of the farm. Whatever those reasons, whatever your ‘why’ for buying local ... bringing all those whys together keeps farmers farming.” X
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 43
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Agrarian advantage Leveller joins
Weaverville brewery scene
BY EDWIN ARNAUDIN
As a veteran of the craft brewing industry, Andrew Zinn has sage advice for any peer looking to take the next step: Don’t start a brewery unless you have something new to bring to the conversation.
Since launching Leveller Brewing Co. in Weaverville in December with his wife and business partner, Sally Anne Morgan, the couple have sought to stay true to their own ethos.
“I feel like we embody that [advice], both in making approachable and interesting beers, exploring new space within farmhouse-style beer and in trying to make the sort of business we’d like to see more of within this industry,” Zinn says. “I feel like there is plenty of space for small breweries doing something distinct from others in the region, producing top-quality beers.”
Zinn began brewing in 2005 as an undergraduate at Eastern Tennessee State University, getting homebrew kits from Asheville Brewers Supply with his friends. He then found work at Saugatuck Brewing Co. in western Michigan, after which he returned to his hometown of Holland, Mich., where he worked at a local homebrew shop and educated himself on recipe development, brewing technique and sour brewing.
His next stop was Asheville in 2012, when he landed a job with Wicked
Weed Brewing — though not in the capacity one might think.
“I actually started there in the kitchen,” Zinn says. “I was part of the opening kitchen crew but showed up to my second interview with seven sour and wild beers I’d homebrewed. Very quickly after that, they got me working in the cellar, and not long after, I was put in charge of all barrel management and blending.”
Zinn helped build Wicked Weed into a national force for wild ales, warranting the construction of the Funkatorium, the East Coast’s first taproom dedicated to sour beer. But once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the brewery restructured, and Zinn was laid off, though he says he “left the program in excellent care with Jen Currier.”
Confident then that they had something fresh to add to the craft beer industry, Zinn and Morgan — a singer-songwriter and visual artist — began looking for a brewery/ taproom location on the north side of Buncombe County, close to their Alexander home and hobby farm.
In October 2021, Zinn and Morgan secured the former Brown’s Floral building on Weaverville’s Main Street. The space is next to a free town parking lot and has patio seating.
“We never dreamed we could score such a great spot in a bustling down-
town area and have felt real support from the locals,” Zinn says. “It feels like we are bringing something to Weaverville that is enhancing the town, not just squeezing in another brewery where there already are so many.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Zinn and Morgan credit their folklorist friend Emily Hilliard with the inspiration for the brewery’s name. Once Hilliard told them about the Levellers — a radical agrarian movement in 17th-century England whose adherents believed the land should be held in common by all, not just the nobles — the couple say they immediately thought it had a nice ring to it, but more importantly a lot of symbolic significance.
“The shovel in our logo connects to labor behind the beer — the labor of the farmer growing the barley,” Zinn says. “The Levellers symbolize egalitarianism. They spoke of the earth as a ‘common treasury for all.’ This egalitarian mindset really resonates with us, especially existing within an industry that has not always been wholly inclusive and supportive of its workers.”
Zinn adds that he and Morgan are building Leveller to embody their personal and political beliefs, putting
worker and community benefit at the core of their business. They also plan to become a worker-owned cooperative within five years.
The brewery’s 5-barrel main system serves a taproom currently outfitted with seven European-style faucets, one Czech side-pull faucet and two beer engines, though Zinn notes he’s not been able to catch up enough to have more than six beers available.
“We also have a 1-barrel system — my old homebrew gear — that I’ve been using as a bit of a working pilot system, and for beers like Bitter that are best consumed as fresh as possible,” he says. “Ultimately, we’re making the beers we want to drink — that’s a bit of a clichéd line at this point, but it’s also that ethos at the root of the whole craft beer movement.”
The brewer’s interest in farmhouse beers stems from the inherent freedom within the style’s broad definition. But for Leveller, he says its key aspects are local ingredients when possible and appropriate, interesting yeast expression and dry-finishing beers. Zinn also strives to add more Czech-style lagers and English session cask beers to the Asheville-area scene, and he’ll be sure to continue his sour beer tradition as well.
LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR
Leveller is now the third production brewery in Weaverville, but despite the growing scene and proximity to the competition, Zinn and Morgan view their addition as complementary.
“We love our neighbors, Zebulon [Artisan Ales] and Eluvium [Brewing Co.], and think that by opening up near them, we are raising the profiles for all of us, encouraging more beer tourists to come to Weaverville,” Zinn says. “We’re only a 15-minute drive from Asheville, so we’re in a great spot for beer-focused tourists to be easily able to visit. And now that we’re a contingent of three, I think we’re drawing in more.”
He adds that Zebulon co-owners Mike Karnowski and Gabe Pickard are friends and inspirations. They also have a beer engine to serve cask beer, and the business owners joke that Weaverville now has the highest per-capita beer engine ratio anywhere outside the British Isles.
“The craft beer scene in general is so supportive of new breweries, and it feels good to not feel in competition but rather that a rising tide lifts all boats,” Zinn says. “There will definitely be some killer [collaboration beers] coming soon.”
Leveller Brewing Co. is at 25 N. Main St., Weaverville. To learn more, including hours, visit avl.mx/caz. X
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 44
ARTS & CULTURE
OFF AND RUNNING: Andrew Zinn and Sally Anne Morgan opened Leveller Brewing Co. in Weaverville in December. Photo by William Watson
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What’s new in food
Ever since Donald Paleno launched DJ’s Pickles’ first retail space inside the WNC Farmers Market on National Pickle Day, the shop owner has been considering legally changing his name.
Throughout the business’s initial two month’s, “People walk in here and ask for DJ,” he says with a laugh. “It’d be easier to just go by that.”
But with his shop’s new 2023 menu, Paleno’s hoping patrons will come in asking for one of his latest hot dogs, sandwiches, homemade pickle lemonade or peanut butter and pickle cookies instead.
No stranger to the local food scene, Paleno first introduced his pickle business in February 2021 at booths and tables at various WNC markets with former business partner Justin Dewalder (the “J” in “DJ’s”). Over time, the pair branched out to co-organize a number of pickle-themed events before Dewalder divested from the company in August.
As in the past, community collaboration continues to inspire Paleno the most. “The folks across the way at Coates Produce give me
fruits and vegetables that won’t sell because they have imperfections,” he says. “I use these to make pickles such as the cinnamon apple ones I sold over Christmas. It’s all about community.”
And that extends beyond the market. Recently, DJ’s Pickles has partnered with The Mule — Devil’s Foot Beverage Co.’s new taproom and event space at 131 Sweeten Creek Road — for the monthly series Bloodies with Our Buddies. On the third Sunday of each month from 2-4 p.m., The Mule will serve housemade bloody Marys embellished with garnishes from DJ’s Pickles.
Another ongoing community project is Paleno’s annual Picklepalooza, which he and Blue Ghost Brewing Co. introduced in 2021. This year’s event — to be held in either late summer or early fall — will celebrate all things pickled with live music, face painting and, of course, pickles.
Paleno’s hope is to continue to build community relationships, including with the sandwiches he is serving at the deli. “I am hoping to localize the menu more by using
local meat and maybe even getting a local bakery to make us some buns,” he says. “The partnership possibilities with pickles are endless. Say that fast a few times.”
DJ’s Pickles is located inside Market Shop A at the WNC Farmers Market, 570 Brevard Road. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Mule is at 131 Sweeten Creek Road in Arden. For more information, visit avl.mx/cbm.
All that glitters
You almost think you’ve made a wrong turn when you hit the dirt road that eventually leads to House of Brandstracts. But once you figure out which set of glass doors to walk through, the vibe goes from Fletcher warehouse to a colorful CBD emporium, featuring products such as edible mineral-based glitter. Infused with water soluble cannabinoids, the vegan Delta-8 glitter can be used to decorate food or skin.
Along with edibles, Brandstracts produces a mushroom-based coffee, a CBD seltzer and 20-milligram
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 46
ARTS & CULTURE
IN A PICKLE: Chef Donald Paleno prepares local beets for pickling at his shop at the WNC Farmers Market. Photo by Andy Hall
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Happy Snappy spiced cookies. “The possibilities are limitless,” says production manager Taylor Hartshorn . “You can put it in anything. The focus is to get creative.”
Currently, the manufacturers are working with Hendersonvillebased Up All Night Gourmet Goods on a CBD-infused hot sauce.
“Eating or drinking is an easy delivery method for the medicine that is CBD,” says Alexander “ Axie ” Blundon . “There’s no reason to smoke or vape if you don’t want to.”
Besides the warehouse shop, House of Brandstracts sells its products at local markets, including the Weaverville Tailgate Market, which takes place every Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Weaverville Community Center. You can also take a tour of the facilities, including the lab, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
House of Brandstracts is at 34 Redmond Drive, Fletcher. The shop is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Weaverville Tailgate Market is at 60 Lakeshore Drive in Weaverville. For more information, visit avl.mx/cbj.
Bubbly and bivalves
Montford restaurant All Day Darling’s annual Winter Oysters & Champagne Party will return after a yearlong hiatus on Sunday, Jan. 29, 4-9 p.m. The open-housestyle event will feature Champagne and wine from Advintage Wine, as well as a la carte menu with items such as raw oysters, lobster rolls, hot dogs and dessert. There will also be fire pits set up outdoors, and a local band will play New Orleans jazz.
All Day Darling is at 102 Montford Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/cbk.
Ice, ice baby
The Maggie Valley Ice Festival will take place at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds on Saturday, Jan. 28, 3-8 p.m. The free family festival, which is in its inaugural year, will include a variety of ice-themed activities. Highlights include an ice slide, professional ice carving demonstrations and ice sculptures. Food trucks and art vendors will have items available for purchase. There will also be a warming tent as well as a s’mores stand to help ward off any chills.
The town of Maggie Valley hopes this will become an annual event. “Winter events are a needed asset during the off season,” says Town Manager Vickie Best . “We want to draw visitors to improve businesses in the commercial district and to get people to stay in Maggie Valley.”
The Maggie Valley Festival Grounds is at 3374 Soco Road in Maggie Valley. For more information, visit avl.mx/cc0.
For your convenience
Wall Street Market, a new convenience store in downtown Asheville, recently opened at 58 Wall St. Along with basic snacks and over-the-counter drugs, the shop is preparing to offer graband-go lunch choices in the near future. “We want to give people who work downtown a place where they can come get affordable choices,” says manager Beth Pedrotti
Wall Street Market is open from 8 a.m.-midnight daily. For more information, visit avl.mx/cbs.
Asheville-based Taco Billy has officially opened its second location in Black Mountain. Located downtown, the restaurant, which uses mostly local ingredients and products, will offer the same menu as the West Asheville location. Online ordering is also available.
Taco Billy is at 117 Cherry St. and is open Tuesday through Sunday 8 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, visit avl.mx/cc1.
Calling all food vendors
Food vendors interested in participating in Asheville Downtown Association events such as Downtown After 5, the Independence Day Celebration and Asheville Oktoberfest are invited to fill out applications for the 2023 season. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 10.
For rules, fees and the application link, visit avl.mx/cbn.
— Andy Hall X
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 47
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Side House Records opens for Asheville musicians
When three Asheville musicians joined forces to open Side House Records in 2021, they were looking to create an environment where they could write, rehearse and record on their own terms.
“It’s a musician’s dream to have your own studio space,” says Lee Allen, who founded Side House with Josh Phillips and Derrick Johnson Side House is in the RAMP Studios building near Asheville’s River Arts District.
After working on some of their own projects inside the space, the three quietly opened Side House to other musicians they knew. But now they want to “extend [the invitation] beyond our own musical family to other patrons,” Allen says.
Allen and Johnson are members of longtime Asheville funk favorite Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Phillips is a former member of the band who now plays with a group that shares his name, Josh Phillips. All three musicians are also part of the Beastie Boys tribute band Check Your Head.
“As longtime members of this music community, our mission is to make good recording on top-notch equipment affordable for everyone,” Phillips says of the studio’s latest phase. With that in mind, Side House
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offers a sliding scale that allows musicians to use the recording space and equipment at a rate that best meets their budget.
Among those who have rehearsed and recorded at Side House are keyboardist John Medeski, funk group Toubab Krewe, electro-rock duo Bombay Gasoline and vocalist Blake Ellege
“You can just walk in and plug in and play,” Allen says. “We have the drums, the bass, keys and guitar amps ready.”
Long-term plans call for starting a Side House record label, Allen says, but for now, musicians retain all ownership and distribution of their recordings.
More recently, the studio acquired the mixing board The Grey Eagle had previously used for shows over the last 20 years. Moving forward, the large console will be the centerpiece of the studio, Allen says.
“What we plan to accomplish with the room is to be a space where musicians in town can feel inspired and feel like they’re not bound to the clock when they’re coming to record a record,” Allen says.
For more information, go to avl.mx/cby.
The large granite outcropping that gives the village of Flat Rock its name provides a picturesque background for residents and visitors, but does it do more than that?
That’s a question Henderson County author David Sullivan pondered after reading Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World, a 2012 book by theoretical physicist Lisa Randall.
“I learned that places with dense rock formations, like Flat Rock, could in theory be where one might find portals to another dimension,” Sullivan explains. “When you add real-life places like Bat Cave and the Blue Ridge Mountains, you have a perfect setting for a sci-fi crime thriller supported by theoretical science.”
The result is Encounters at Flat Rock, a self-published three-part novel series that follows a female FBI agent investigating murder and child abduction committed in Western North
Carolina by beings from another dimension. The series is now available in a boxed set.
Sullivan’s first novel Audacious: The Plan to Prevent the American Civil War, was also set mostly around Flat Rock and Hendersonville.
“I started writing short stories with a friend of mine in the fourth grade, creating new societies where action adventures took place,” he says. “Once I retired, I was free to continue this passion with books.”
To order Encounters at Flat Rock, contact Sullivan at jdmsullivan@att. net. The boxed set is $19.95, and payment via check is not requested until the purchaser has the books in hand.
Preserve and protect
Two historic structures on Biltmore Avenue will be protected thanks to the efforts of the buildings’ owner and the Preservation Society of Asheville.
In December, the owner donated a preservation easement for 134 Biltmore Ave., built in 1905, and 140 Biltmore Ave., built between 1913 and 1917. Under North Carolina law, the easement restricts development of or changes to the facade of the buildings. The Preservation Society is tasked with enforcing the legal agreement.
The two-story rubble granite apartment building at 134 Biltmore Ave. was designed by Richard Sharp Smith, the English-born architect who oversaw the design of the Biltmore Estate and had a major influence on Asheville architecture. The two-story apartment building at 140 Biltmore Ave. may also have been designed by Smith, but the Preservation Society
has not been able to confirm that, says Jessie Landl, executive director.
Both structures are on the National Register of Historic Places.
“It is a common misconception that buildings on the National Register of Historic Places are protected from demolition, but that is not the case,” Lendl explains. “A preservation easement is an important tool for protecting historic buildings like these.”
For more information about 134 Biltmore Ave., go to avl.mx/cbq. For more on 140 Biltmore Ave., visit avl.mx/cbr.
Pop goes the art
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center will present Rauschenberg: A Gift in Your Pocket from Friday, Jan. 27, to Saturday, May 13.
The exhibit will feature works of Robert Rauschenberg, a painter and graphic artist whose early works anticipated the pop art movement, drawn from the collection of Bradley Jeffries , Rauschenberg’s longtime employee.
Throughout their friendship and work together, Rauschenberg gifted Bradley with many of his original artworks.
BMCM+AC, 120 College St., is open Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit avl.mx/cbv.
The Asheville Symphony will present award-winning pianist Evren Ozel in recital at Central United Methodist Church on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m.
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 48
ARTS & CULTURE
SOUND BUSINESS DECISION: Co-founders, from left, Josh Phillips, Derrick Johnson and Lee Allen celebrate the latest phase of their company, Side House Records, which recently opened to the public. Photo courtesy of Side House Records
Find full reviews and local film info at ashevillemovies.com patreon.com/ashevillemovies ROUNDUP
The program will explore polyphony, the musical concept of multiple independent melodic lines occurring at the same time. It will include works by Rachmaninoff’, Chopin, Beethoven and Bach, among others.
Ozel has won numerous honors and awards, including scholarships from the U.S Chopin Foundation and Young Arts Foundation, first prize at the 2016 Boston Symphony Concerto Competition, second prize at the 2016 Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition, among others.
Central United Methodist Church is at 27 Church St. General admission tickets are $45 for adults and $15 for people younger than 25. To purchase tickets, go to avl.mx/cbt.
UNC Asheville’s Drawing Discourse juried international exhibition of contemporary drawing will run through Friday, Feb. 10, in the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery in Owen Hall.
The competitive show features selected works from 65 artists from six nations.
Owen Hall is at 100 Theatre Lane on the UNCA campus. The gallery is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays. For more information and to see a list of featured artists and their works, go to avl.mx/cbu.
A taste of honey
Half Light Honey, an Ashevillebased home decor brand, is celebrating its 10th year in business with the opening of a brick-and-mortar store in the Asheville Cotton Mill Studios.
The new space will offer monthly workshops in a variety of media and pottery painting experiences. The showroom also will feature ceramics, 2D art and home decor items by artist Samantha Carter and her team.
A grand opening will be Saturday, Jan. 28 and Sunday, Jan. 29, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. All pottery painting, workshops and items in the gallery will be 25% off. Regular hours will be MondaysSaturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Asheville Cotton Mill Studios is at 122 Riverside Drive. For more information, go to avl.mx/cc2.
Asheville Mall is hosting an exhibit of original artwork raising awareness of human trafficking and its prevention through Tuesday, Jan. 31. January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
The display is presented by Asheville Breakfast Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Asheville and volunteers from The Hundred Movement, My Daddy Taught Me That and other groups.
The artwork can be found in the area between Dillard’s and Belk inside the mall, 3 S. Tunnel Rd.
Mall hours are Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sundays, noon-6 p.m. For more information, visit avl.mx/cc4.
— Justin McGuire X
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 49
DIFFERENT STROKES! PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTIVE PRESENTS
18 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville NC worthamarts.org/events/ abe-lincoln-and-uncle-tomin-the-white-house Season Packages for 3 Different Strokes! Shows Available and include Special Benefits such as 2 free tickets to each production ABE LINCOLN AND UNCLE TOM IN THE WHITE HOUSE WRITTEN BY CARLYLE BROWN AND DIRECTED BY STEPHANIE HICKLING BECKMAN Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio 828-708-0858 Located in Asheville Mall
Photography: Carol Spags Photography
McGuire Theatre at Wortham Center for
For questions about free listings, call 828-251-1333, opt. 4.
THE GREY EAGLE
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25
12 BONES BREWERY
Robert's Totally Rad Trivia, 7pm
185 KING STREET
Winter Trivia Tournament and Karaoke Night, 7pm
ASHEVILLE BEAUTY ACADEMY
Aquanet Goth Party w/ Ash Black, 8pm
ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL
Disclaimer Stand-Up Lounge Comedy Open Mic, 8pm
BIER GARDEN Geeks Who Drink Trivia, 7pm
ASHEVILLE Music Bingo, 7pm
CAMDEN'S COFFEE HOUSE Open Mic Night, 7pm
FLEETWOOD'S Elijah Johnston, RUGG & Aunt Ant (indie), 9pm
HI-WIRE BREWING Weekly Trivia Night w/ Not Rocket Science Trivia, 7pm
HIGHLAND BREWING CO.
Songwriter Series w/ Matt Smith, 6pm
JACK OF THE WOOD PUB Old Time Jam, 5pm
RENDEVOUS Albi (vintage jazz), 6pm
SHAKEY'S 80s Night, 8pm
SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN BREWERY Jazz Night w/Jason DeCristofaro, 6pm
STATIC AGE RECORDS
Space Grandma Birthday Party (punk rock), 9pm
Gone Gone Beyond (future folk), 8pm
THE ODD Ninth Realm, Pathogenesis, All Hell, Oblivion Throne (metal), 7pm
THE SOCIAL Wednesday Night Karaoke w/Lyric, 9pm
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26
185 KING STREET
Jason Carter & Friends (bluegrass), 6pm
We Got Your Back Birke w/Kalgon & Tombstone Highway (metal), 9pm
BOLD ROCK ASHEVILLE Trivia Night, 7pm
Alt Thursday w/Selector B (90s throwbacks), 7pm
CAMDEN'S COFFEE HOUSE
Open Mic Night, 7pm
DOUBLE CROWN Gospel Night w/ Provision, 9pm
FLEETWOOD'S Punk/Indie Rock Karaoke, 8pm
FRENCH BROAD RIVER BREWERY
Jerry's Dead (Grateful Dead & JGB Tribute), 6pm
FROG LEVEL BREWERY
Kind, Clean Gentlemen (acoustic roots rock, soul blues), 5:30pm
Mr Jimmy (blues), 8pm
GREEN MAN BREWERY
Robert's Totally Rad Trivia, 7pm
HIGHLAND BREWING DOWNTOWN TAPROOM
Not Rocket Science Trivia, 6pm
HIGHLAND DOWNTOWN TAPROOM
Not Rocket Science Trivia, 6pm
HOMEPLACE BEER CO.
Kevin Dolan & Paul Koptak (singer-songwriter), 6pm
JACK OF THE WOOD PUB
Bluegrass Jam hosted by Drew Matulich, 7:30pm
OKLAWAHA BREWING CO. Donald Yelton and Bill Loftus (blues), 7pm
ONE STOP AT ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL
The Lumpy Heads (Phish tribute), 9pm
ONE WORLD BREWING Isaac Hadden (jazz, funk-rock), 7pm
ONE WORLD BREWING WEST Airshow (jam band), 8pm
SHAKEY'S Karaoke w/DJ Franco Niño, 9pm THE 2ND ACT Chartreuse Jazz Duo, 7pm
THE GETAWAY RIVER BAR Karaoke w/Terraoke+, 9pm
THE GREY EAGLE Tinsley Ellis (blues), 8pm
THE ODD Ms. Mary Marmalade's Birthday Bash, 7pm URBAN ORCHARD Trivia Night, 6:30pm
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27
185 KING STREET Hustle Souls (soul), 8pm
Assimilation: Dark Dance Party, 10pm
ASHEVILLE BEAUTY ACADEMY Venus (dark house dance party), 10pm
ASHEVILLE MASONIC TEMPLE
John Craigie w/Grace Rowland (singer-songwriter), 8pm
ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL
Zebbler Encanti Experience, Dillard, & Lavier (edm), 8pm
BOLD ROCK MILLS RIVER
The Queue (Top 40, dance), 5pm
Ben Phantom (singer-songwriter), 2pm
CORK & KEG
Soul Blue (soul, R&B), 8pm
AVL Underground Comedy: JD Scranton, 8pm
CRAFT BREWERY & TASTING ROOM
Andy Ferrell (Southern roots), 6pm
HIGHLAND BREWING CO.
Displace (funk fusion), 7pm
TAPROOM Mild Goose Chase (folk), 7pm
HOMEPLACE BEER CO.
The Pigeon River Messengers w/Andrew Wakefield (Applachian ballads & bluegrass), 6pm
JACK OF THE WOOD PUB
Tommy Alexander w/ Hearts Gone South (country), 9pm
MAD CO. BREW HOUSE
Greg Candel (roots, classic country, blues), 6pm
OKLAWAHA BREWING CO. Reedy River String Band, 8pm
ONE STOP AT ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL
• Free Dead Friday ft Gus & Phriends, 5pm
• JLAD (Jimmy Lang's Almost Doors), 10pm
ONE WORLD BREWING WEST
Keep Left (improvisational), 8pm
Big Something w/Abby Bryant & The Echoes (rock, soul), 8pm
SHILOH & GAINES
The Late Shifters (Southern rock, jam), 9pm
SILVERADOS Twins, 9pm
SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN BREWERY
Mr Jimmy Blues Duo, 7pm
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 50
THE GOSPEL TRUTH: Provision, a music group from Albany, Ga., will perform at The Double Crown’s Gospel Night in West Asheville on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 9
Photo courtesy of the band
THE GREY EAGLE
Adult Prom w/Neon Queen (ABBA tribute), 7pm
THE ODD Perversions (play party), 8pm
THE ORANGE PEEL
ABACAB: The Music of Genesis, 8pm
Fireside Fridays, 5:30pm
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28
185 KING STREET
West Fork Fiasco (rock), 8pm
Big Bombs, Socialist Anxiety & French Toast (indie), 9pm
305 LOUNGE & EATERY
Old Men of the Woods (folk, pop), 1pm
ASHEVILLE BEAUTY ACADEMY
80s MAXimum Overdrive w/DJ Nato, 10pm
ASHEVILLE CLUB Mr Jimmy (blues), 8pm
ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL Phutureprimitive + Josh Teed, & Trinity Justice (edm), 9pm
BATTERY PARK BOOK EXCHANGE
Dinah's Daydream (Gypsy jazz), 5:30pm
BIG PILLOW BREWING
Kevin Reese (country, blues, rock), 5pm
BOLD ROCK ASHEVILLE Bluegrass Brunch, 10am
BOLD ROCK MILLS
RIVER Brother West (rock), 5pm
Hope Griffin (acoustic, folk, blues), 2pm
VINYARDS CHIMNEY ROCK
Carver & Carmody (acoustic), 2pm
CITIZEN VINYL Appa-Laffin' Mountain Revue, 8pm
CORK & KEG
The Uptown Hillbillies (honky tonk, classic country), 8pm
Catacomb w/DJ Oneiric (hard techno), 9pm
FLEETWOOD'S Snake Snake Whale (indie/punk), 9pm
FROG LEVEL BREWERY
Ben & the Borrowed Band (new & old country), 7pm
Don't Tell Comedy Downtown Asheville, 7:30pm
Color Machine (Ameri cana, rock-n-roll), 4pm
GUIDON BREWING High Sierra (acoustic), 6pm
Hometown Sound Music Series: Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues, 7:30pm
HIGHLAND BREWING CO.
Jae T'Aime (soul rock, jazz, blues), 6pm
HIGHLAND DOWNTOWN TAPROOM
Up Jumped Three (jazz), 7pm
JACK OF THE WOOD PUB
• Nobody’s Darling String Band, 4pm
• Firecracker Jazz Band (New Orleans style hot jazz), 9pm
OKLAWAHA BREWING CO. Supatight (rock, funk), 8pm
ONE STOP AT ASHEVILLE MUSIC
Muskrat Flats (jam band), 10pm
ONE WORLD BREWING WEST Displace (funk fusion), 9pm
Big Something w/The Snozzberries (rock, soul, jam), 8pm
SHILOH & GAINES
Alex Bazemore & Friends (Grateful Dead, jam), 9pm
SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN BREWERY
Pleasure Chest (blues, soul, rock), 7pm
Lexi Weege, JJ Slater & Lo Wolf (soul, folk, alt-country), 9pm
STATIC AGE RECORDS Dubois Dance Party, 9pm
THE GETAWAY RIVER
BAR Slasher: Hard Dance (techno), 10pm
THE GREY EAGLE
Matt Heckler w/ Vaden Landers (dark Appalachian, classic bluegrass, country blues), 8pm
THE ORANGE PEEL
80s vs 90s Dance Party, 9pm
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 51
BEAUTY ACADEMY • Life's A Drag Brunch w/Ida Carolina & Euphoria Eclipse, 12pm • SOL Dance Party w/ Zati (soul house), 9pm NEW EDITION COMING THIS SUMMER EATS & DRINKS ASHEVILLE-AREA GUIDE Want to Advertise? Contact us! 828.251.1333 x1 firstname.lastname@example.org FRI 1/27 BIG SOMETHING W/ ABBY BRYANT & THE ECHOES SAT 1/28 BIG SOMETHING W/ THE SNOZZBERRIES SAT 2/4 BROWN EYED WOMEN WORLD’S ONLY ALLFEMALE GRATEFUL DEAD TRIBUTE ENSEMBLE SUN 1/29 SAMANTHA FISH W/ ERIC JOHANSON WED 2/8 G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE W/ DONOVAN FRANKENREITER W/ NAT MYERS THU 2/2 NEAL FRANCIS W/ DANIELLE PONDER FRI 2/10 EMPIRE STRIKES BRASS: MARDI GRAS PARTY! W/ RAHM SQUAD VOTED WNC #1 KAVA BAR OPEN DAILY • 828.505.8118 268 Biltmore Ave • Asheville, NC WWW.ASHEVILLEKAVA.COM PLEASE RELAX KAVA, KRATOM, CBD, D8
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 52
ASHEVILLE PIZZA & BREWING CO.
The Hometown Show: Reggie Tidwell (comedy), 6:30pm
Bluegrass Brunch, 10am
Roots & Dore (blues, roots), 2pm
Myron Hyman (classic rock, blues), 2pm
CATAWBA BREWING SOUTH SLOPE
Don't Tell Comedy South Slope, 6pm
HIGHLAND BREWING CO.
Sunday Funk Day w/ Pocket Tonic, 2pm
JACK OF THE WOOD PUB
• Bluegrass Brunch, Noon
• Traditional Irish Jam, 4pm
Samantha Fish (Americana, blues, rock), 8pm
THE GREY EAGLE
A Tribute to Roger Miller hosted by Cyndi Lou and The Want To, 8pm
THE ODD Comedy & Magic w/Toybox, Danny Whitson, Criswell, 8pm
THE ORANGE PEEL
Trevor Wallace (comedy), 9:30pm
WHISTLE HOP BREWING CO.
StumpWater Sunday (acoustic Celtic, folk, classical), 5pm
PL Ē B URBAN WINERY Robert's Totally Rad Trivia, 4pm
Karaoke hosted by Ganymede, 9:30pm
Robert's Totally Rad Trivia, 7pm
HAYWOOD COUNTRY CLUB
Taylor Martin's Open Mic, 6:30pm
HIGHLAND BREWING CO.
Totally Rad Trivia w/ Mitch Fortune, 6pm
JACK OF THE WOOD PUB
Quizzo! Pub Trivia w/ Jason Mencer, 7:30pm
Fly Casual Organ Quartet (jazz), 7pm
Freshen Up Comedy Open Mic, 6:30pm
Bluegrass Jam Mondays w/Sam Wharton, 7pm
THE GREY EAGLE
Ashevillains: Local Comedy Showcase & Fundraiser, 9pm
THE JOINT NEXT DOOR
Mr Jimmy at and Friends (blues), 7pm
THE ORANGE PEEL Margo Price w/The Deslondes (Americana), 8pm
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31
5 WALNUT WINE BAR
The John Henrys (jazz, swing), 8pm
ASHEVILLE BEAUTY ACADEMY
Karaoke w/Ganymede, 10pm
ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL
Tuesday Night Funk Jam, 10:30pm
CATAWBA BREWING COMPANY SOUTH SLOPE ASHEVILLE Comedy at Catawba: Liz Miele, 6pm
FRENCH BROAD BREWERY Robert's Totally Rad Trivia, 7pm
• AVL Underground Comedy: Mandee McKelvey, 7pm
• AVL Underground Comedy: Joe Pettis, 8pm
HIGHLAND BREWING CO.
Bluegrass w/The JackTown Ramblers, 6pm
HIGHLAND DOWNTOWN TAPROOM Not Rocket Science Trivia, 6pm
LITTLE JUMBO Jay Sanders, Zack Page & Alan Hall (jazz), 7pm
ONE STOP AT ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL
Early Tuesday Jam (funk), 7pm
ONE WORLD BREWING WEST
The Grateful Family Band Tuesdays (Dead tribute, jam band, rock), 6pm
SHAKEY'S Booty Tuesday: Queer Dance Party, 8pm
SOVEREIGN KAVA Weekly Open Jam hosted by Chris Cooper & Friends, 8pm
Travers Freeway Open Jam Tuesdays, 7pm
TWIN LEAF BREWERY Tuesday Night Trivia, 7pm
12 BONES BREWERY
Robert's Totally Rad Trivia, 7pm
185 KING STREET
Winter Trivia Tournament and Karaoke Night, 7pm
ASHEVILLE BEAUTY ACADEMY
Aquanet Goth Party w/ Ash Black, 8pm
ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL
Disclaimer Stand-Up Lounge Comedy Open Mic, 8pm
BIER GARDEN Geeks Who Drink: Trivia at the Bier Garden, 7pm
BOLD ROCK ASHEVILLE Music Bingo, 7pm
CAMDEN'S COFFEE HOUSE Open Mic Night, 7pm
CATAWBA BREWING COMPANY SOUTH SLOPE ASHEVILLE Comedy at Catawba: Harrison Tweed, 6pm
Westie Wednesdays (West Coast Swing): Jack and Jill Ediiion, 7pm
DOUBLE CROWN Western Wednesday w/The Heavenly Vipers, 8pm
FLEETWOOD'S Karaoke Dance Party w/Cheryl, 7pm
HI-WIRE BREWING Weekly Trivia Night w/ Not Rocket Science Trivia, 7pm
HIGHLAND BREWING CO.
Songwriter Series w/ Matt Smith, 6pm
JACK OF THE WOOD PUB Old Time Jam, 5pm
RENDEVOUS Albi (vintage jazz), 6pm
SHAKEY'S 80s Night, 8pm
SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN BREWERY Jazz Night w/Jason DeCristofaro, 6pm
THE SOCIAL Wednesday Night Karaoke w/LYRIC, 9pm
TWIN LEAF BREWERY Wednesday Open Mic, 5:30pm
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2
185 KING STREET
The Montvales (Americana), 7pm
ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL
Roosevelt Collier w/ JBOT (blues, gospel, rock), 8pm
BOLD ROCK ASHEVILLE Trivia Night, 7pm
FLEETWOOD'S Lavender Blue, Night Walks, Will Orchard & Reddenhollow (indie rock), 8pm
FRENCH BROAD RIVER BREWERY
Jerry's Dead (Grateful Dead & JGB Tribute), 6pm
Mr Jimmy (blues), 8pm
GREEN MAN BREWERY
Robert's Totally Rad Trivia, 7pm
HIGHLAND BREWING DOWNTOWN TAPROOM
Not Rocket Science Trivia, 6pm
HOMEPLACE BEER CO.
Tina Collins (indie folk), 6pm
JACK OF THE WOOD PUB Bluegrass Jam hosted by Drew Matulich, 7:30pm
OKLAWAHA BREWING CO.
5j Barrow (folk rock), 7pm
ONE WORLD BREWING
Local Thursdays ft Ashley Heath (Americana), 7pm
ONE WORLD BREWING WEST Electro-Lust (electronic Latin funk), 8pm PULP Standup Comedy ft Roman Fraden & Comedy Open Mic, 8pm
SALVAGE STATION Neal Francis (alt-rock, indie), 8pm SHAKEY'S Karaoke w/DJ Franco Niño, 9pm
THE GETAWAY RIVER BAR Karaoke w/Terraoke, 9pm
THE GREY EAGLE Pony Bradshaw (folk), 8pm
THOMAS WOLFE AUDITORIUM
Kevin James (comedy), 6:30pm
TWIN LEAF BREWERY Thursday Night Karaoke, 8:45pm
URBAN ORCHARD Trivia Night, 6:30pm
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 53
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MARKETPLACE FREEWILL ASTROLOGY BY
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Noah Webster ((1758–1843) worked for years to create the first definitive American dictionary. It became a cornucopia of revelation for poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). She said that for many years it was her “only companion.” One biographer wrote, “The dictionary was no mere reference book to her; she read it as a priest his breviary—over and over, page by page, with utter absorption.” Now would be a favorable time for you to get intimate with a comparable mother lode, Aries. I would love to see you find or identify a resource that will continually inspire you for the rest of 2023.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.” So declared Taurus philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his book Philosophical Investigations. Luckily for you Tauruses, you have a natural knack for making sure that important things don’t get buried or neglected, no matter how simple and familiar they are. And you’ll be exceptionally skilled at this superpower during the next four weeks. I hope you will be gracious as you wield it to enhance the lives of everyone you care about. All of us non-Bulls will benefit from the nudges you offer as we make our course corrections.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Poet Carolyn Kizer said the main subject of her work was this: “You cannot meet someone for a moment, or even cast eyes on someone in the street, without changing.” I agree with her. The people we encounter and the influences they exert make it hard to stay fixed in our attitudes and behavior. And the people we know well have even more profound transformative effects. I encourage you to celebrate this truth in the coming weeks. Thrive on it. Be extra hungry for and appreciative of all the prods you get to transcend who you used to be and become who you need to be.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you have any interest in temporarily impersonating a Scorpio, the coming weeks will be a favorable time to play around. Encounters with good, spooky magic will be available. More easily than usual, you could enjoy altered states that tickle your soul with provocative insights. Are you curious about the mysteries of intense, almost obsessive passion? Have you wondered if there might be ways to deal creatively and constructively with your personal darkness? All these perks could be yours — and more. Here’s another exotic pleasure you may want to explore: that half-forbidden zone where dazzling heights overlap with the churning depths. You are hereby invited to tap into the erotic pleasures of spiritual experiments and the spiritual pleasures of erotic experiments.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The circle can and will be complete — if you’re willing to let it find its own way of completing itself. But I’m a bit worried that an outdated part of you may cling to the hope of a perfection that’s neither desirable nor possible. To that outdated part of you, I say this: Trust that the Future You will thrive on the seeming imperfections that arise. Trust that the imperfections will be like the lead that the Future You will alchemically transmute into gold. The completed circle can’t be and shouldn’t be immaculate and flawless.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Shakespeare’s work has been translated from his native English into many languages. But the books of Virgo detective novelist Agatha Christie have been translated far more than the Bard’s. (More info: tinyurl.com/ ChristieTranslations.) Let’s make Christie your inspirational role model for the next four weeks. In my astrological estimation, you will have an extraordinary capacity to communicate with a wide variety of people. Your ability to serve as a mediator and go-between and translator will be at a peak. Use your superpower wisely and with glee!
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Libran musician Franz Liszt (1811–1886) was a prolific and influential
genius who created and played music with deep feeling. He was also physically attractive and charismatic. When he performed, some people in the audience swooned and sighed loudly as they threw their clothes and jewelry on stage. But there was another side of Liszt. He was a generous and attentive teacher for hundreds of piano students, and always offered his lessons free of charge. He also served as a mentor and benefactor for many renowned composers, including Wagner, Chopin, and Berlioz. I propose we make Liszt your inspirational role model for the next 11 months. May he rouse you to express yourself with flair and excellence, even as you shower your blessings on worthy recipients.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): This may risk being controversial, but in the coming weeks, I’m giving you cosmic authorization to engage in what might appear to be cultural appropriation. Blame it on the planets! They are telling me that to expand your mind and heart in just the right ways, you should seek inspiration and teaching from an array of cultures and traditions. So I encourage you to listen to West African music and read Chinese poetry in translation and gaze at the art of Indigenous Australians. Sing Kabbalistic songs and say Lakota prayers and intone Buddhist chants. These are just suggestions. I will leave it to your imagination as you absorb a host of fascinating influences that amaze and delight and educate you.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare wrote, “and all the men and women merely players.” That’s always true, but it will be even more intensely accurate for you in the coming weeks. High-level pretending and performing will be happening. The plot twists may revolve around clandestine machinations and secret agendas. It will be vital for you to listen for what people are NOT saying as well as the hidden and symbolic meanings behind what they are saying. But beyond all those cautionary reminders, I predict the stories you witness and are part of will often be interesting and fun.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In this horoscope, I offer you wisdom from Capricorn storyteller Michael Meade. It’s a rousing meditation for you in the coming months. Here’s Meade: “The genius inside a person wants activity. It’s connected to the stars; it wants to burn and it wants to create and it has gifts to give. That is the nature of inner genius.” For your homework, Capricorn, write a page of ideas about what your genius consists of. Throughout 2023, I believe you will express your unique talents and blessings and gifts more than you ever have before.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1883–1957) was nominated nine times for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature, but never won. He almost broke through in the last year of his life, but French author Albert Camus beat him by one vote. Camus said Kazantzakis was “a hundred times more” deserving of the award than himself. I will make a wild prediction about you in the coming months, Aquarius. If there has been anything about your destiny that resembles Kazantzakis’s, chances are good that it will finally shift. Are you ready to embrace the gratification and responsibility of prime appreciation?
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Piscean educator Parker Palmer has a crucial message for you to meditate on in the coming weeks. Read it tenderly, please. Make it your homing signal. He said, “Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one’s self. It is not about the absence of other people — it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others. Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other.”
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LOGIC is hiring a shop helper. Flexible schedule $18/hr. Clean the shop/equipment/ offices/bathrooms. Wash vehicles. Shuttle drive customers and pick up parts. Help technicians. Must have a clean driving record! 828-214-9961 Luke@bimmerlogic.net www.bimmerlogic.net/
SKILLED LABOR/ TRADES
DIESEL MECHANIC FOR HEAVY EQUIPMENT NEEDED Diesel Mechanic for Heavy Equipment with experience needed for heavy-highway and bridge construction company in Asheville, NC. employment@ nhmconstructors.com www.nhmconstructors.com
HELPMATE SEEKS CHILD AND FAMILY ADVOCATE
Full posting is available at helpmateonline.org. Email resume & cover letter to hiring@helpmateonline. org to apply.
HELPMATE SEEKS COURT ADVOCATE
The Court Advocate is a full time, nonexempt position, reporting directly to the Court Advocacy Coordinator. The Court Advocate’s primary job responsibilities include providing case management, court advocacy, and safety planning services to survivors of domestic violence at the Buncombe County Judicial Complex. Qualified candidates will have at least two years’ experience in domestic violence or human services field. Spanish fluency is desired and incentivized in pay. Helpmate is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Diverse candidates encouraged to apply. Salary range for qualified candidates is $36,766.76- $45,443. Helpmate provides a comprehensive benefits package, which includes health, disability and life insurances, a retirement plan matched up to 5%, optional supplementary insurances, generous paid PTO, and 14 annual paid holidays. Email resume and cover letter to hiring@helpmateonline. org with the job title in the subject line. Interviews will be held on a rolling basis, the position is open until filled. Submissions lacking a cover letter will not be considered.
YOUR CAREER STARTS
HERE WITH MHC! PROGRAM MANAGER Make a difference AND grow in your career! Methodist Home for Children is seeking a Program Manager to oversee a residential program for at-risk youth in Franklin. Candidates must have a 4-year degree, preferably in a human services program, relevant experience in staff supervision and background working in youth programs/ youth services. MHC offers excellent benefits, paid time off, and room to grow! Salary starts at $48,000. Apply today at MHFC.org/ opportunities vpenn@mhfc. org
COMPASSIONATE CAREGIVER AVAILABLE
Compassionate caregiver for private in-home elderly care. Weekend availability only. No overnights. Duties could include: light housekeeping, meal preparation/feeding, medication reminders, assist with dressing and grooming, transportation to appointments and errands as needed. No heavy lifting. I am here to help. Jennifer 828-641-1277
DISH TV SPECIAL $64.99 for 190 Channels + $14.95 High Speed Internet. Free installation, Smart HD DVR Included, Free Voice Remote. Some restrictions apply. Promo Expires 1/21/23. 1-866-566-1815 (AAN CAN)
BACKGROUND CHECKS - $50 Credit, Criminal, and Eviction - King Background Screening has been serving the needs of business owners and the rental industry since 2006. Quick results! Denise Anderson (owner) call/text 941-284-4612 KingScreening@gmail. com See web site for full details and prices. www. kingbackgroundscreening. com
JAN. 25-31, 2023 MOUNTAINX.COM 54
NO JOB TOO LARGE OR SMALL 100 Edwin Place, AVL, NC 28801 | Billy: (828) 776-2391 | Neal: (828) 776-1674 FATHER AND SON Home Improvement Billy & Neal Moxley HIRING? Advertise your job listings Place your ad here and get a FREE online posting Contact us today! firstname.lastname@example.org
ATTENTION ACTIVE DUTY & MILITARY VETERANS & FAMILY Begin a new career and earn your Degree at CTI. Online Computer & Medical training available for Veterans & Families. To learn more, call 866-2435931 (M-F 8am-6pm ET). Computer with internet is required. (AAN CAN)
4G LTE HOME INTERNET
NOW AVAILABLE! Get GotW3 with lightning fast speeds plus take your service with you when you travel! As low as $109.99/ mo.! 1-866-571-1325. (AAN CAN)
BATH & SHOWER UPDATES In as little as ONE DAY! Affordable prices - No payments for 18 months! Lifetime warranty & professional installs. Senior & Military Discounts available. Call: 1-866-370-2939. (AAN CAN)
BATHWRAPS IS LOOKING
FOR HOMEOWNERS WITH OLDER HOMES FOR A SAFETY UPDATE They do not remodel entire bathrooms but update bathtubs with new liners for safe bathing and showering. They specialize in grab bars,
non-slip surfaces and shower seats. All updates are completed in one day. Call 866-531-2432. (AAN CAN)
BCI WALK-IN TUBS ARE ON SALE Be one of the first 50 callers and save $1,500! Call 844-514-0123 for a free in-home consultation. (AAN CAN)
CREDIT CARD DEBT RELIEF! Reduce payment by up to 50%! Get one LOW affordable payment/month. Reduce interest. Stop calls. FREE no-obligation consultation Call 1-855-7611456. (AAN CAN)
DIRECTV SATELLITE TV Service Starting at $74.99/ month! Free Installation! 160+ channels available. Call Now to Get the Most Sports & Entertainment on TV! 877-310-2472 (AAN CAN)
DON'T PAY FOR COVERED HOME REPAIRS AGAIN
American Residential Warranty covers all major systems and appliances. 30 day risk free - $100 off popular plans. Call 855-7314403. (AAN CAN)
DONATE YOUR VEHICLE TO FUND THE SEARCH FOR MISSING CHILDREN
Fast free pickup. 24 hour response. Running or not. Maximum tax deduction and no emission test required! Call 24/7: 999-999-9999 Call 855-504-1540. (AAN CAN)
LONG DISTANCE MOVING Call for a free quote from America’s Most Trusted Interstate Movers. Let
us take the stress out of moving! Call to speak to our Quality Relocation Specialists: Call 855-7874471. (AAN CAN)
SPECTRUM INTERNET AS LOW AS $29.99! Call to see if you qualify for ACP and free internet. No Credit Check. Call Now! 833-9550905. (AAN CAN)
WATER DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME? Call for a quote for professional cleanup & maintain the value of your home! Set an appt. today! Call 833-664-1530 (AAN CAN)
CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
DRAWING & OIL PAINTING LESSONS If you are interested in learning how to paint the visual world as it is, and, learning about materials then this if for you. Affordable lessons and flexible schedule. jd@ studiojamesdaniel.com www.studiojamesdaniel. com
MIND, BODY, SPIRIT
ASTRO-COUNSELING Licensed counselor and accredited professional astrologer uses your chart when counseling
for additional insight into yourself, your relationships and life directions. Stellar Counseling Services. Christy Gunther, MA, LCMHC. (828) 258-3229
CRYSTAL PYRAMID https://freakiefries.com/ om.htm
GUITAR REPAIR / RESCUE
Somewhat famous luthier with 35 years experience offering comprehensive repair service. Quick turnaround, competitive rates, free evaluation / estimate (in-person only). Convenient Asheville location. Brad Nickerson. 828-252-4093 nickersonguitars.net email@example.com
Sheepish answer to “Who broke this?”
The duck in “Peter and the Wolf”
Grunts and groans, e.g.
Country with the second-most Portuguese speakers
Party people, for short
Download that might use a freemium model
“A fickle food,” per Emily Dickinson
It means nothing at Wimbledon
U.S. theater awards
Modify, as an article
Key word when writing dialogue
Word with due or true
Manhattan, on an envelope DOWN
U.K. acting award
Risk taker’s acronym
“A League of ___ Own”
Dream hand for a poker player
“Cabin Fever” director Roth
Hunter visible at night
Remove condensation from
Conquer a hero?
It can prevent cracking
Snack item sometimes shown in ads next to a glass of milk
“Fudge,” “fie” and “fiddlesticks” are some of the printable ones
Ideal for audiophiles, in brief
“Why are you making such a fuss?” … or a hint to 17-, 36- and 43-Across
Confusion might ensue when they’re crossed
Key for getting out, not in
Metal next to tungsten on the periodic table
Signal to play
E-tickets often come as these
MOUNTAINX.COM JAN. 25-31, 2023 55
56 Like tears and some language 57 Bevy :
:: parliament : ___ 58 “Now wait just a second!” 59 Blue shade 61 “Yeah, sure” 64 “Euphoria” channel 65 Place for thieves edited by Will Shortz | No. 1221 | PUZZLE BY NANCY STARK AND WILL NEDIGER THE NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWER TO PREVIOUS NY TIMES PUZZLE 1234 5678 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 PO LL CC ED S PCA AV IA HA LO AP AR T N U M B E R S E V E NO M EL I BR IE GO LA N RE T R A I N B O WL CU T AS SES GA LA S ET A BI O RU T SAS S LU CK YB RE AK S IP AS DE Y EM U NA V TE SS A UL TR A GR I S H A M R O C KI ER AS TI R PI CK NS A AB H O R S E S H O EU F BL EN D US ER R AMA C EDE NO SE BR ET > edwardjones.com | Member SIPC FDI-1867L-A © 2022 EDWARD D. JONES & CO., L.P. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. AECSPAD Call or visit your local financial advisor today. Compare our CD Rates Bank-issued, FDIC-insured % APY* % APY* % APY* * Annual Percentage Yield (APY) effective 01/13/2022. CDs offered by Edward Jones are bank-issued and FDIC-insured up to $250,000 (principal and interest accrued but not yet paid) per depositor, per insured depository institution, for each account ownership category. Please visit www.fdic.gov or contact your financial advisor for additional information. Subject to availability and price change. CD values are subject to interest rate risk such that when interest rates rise, the prices of CDs can decrease. If CDs are sold prior to maturity, the investor can lose principal value. FDIC insurance does not cover losses in market value. Early withdrawal may not be permitted. Yields quoted are net of all commissions. CDs require the distribution of interest and do not allow interest to compound. CDs offered through Edward Jones are issued by banks and thrifts nationwide. All CDs sold by Edward Jones are registered with the Depository Trust Corp. (DTC). Frankie L Adkins Financial Advisor 84 Coxe Avenue Suite 100 Asheville, NC 28801 828-252-2032 3-month 4.2 6-month 4.5 1-year 4.65
SERVICES CASH FOR CARS! We buy all cars! Junk, high-end, totaled – it doesn’t matter! Get free towing and same day cash! NEWER MODELS too! Call 866-535-9689 (AAN CAN)
Be an omen of
Belabor, with “on”
Follower of Bay or gray
Sign in a clearance section
Peach or plum
Large-scale corporate union
In the loop
One able to lift 10 to 50 times its body weight
Like flourless cake
Enthusiastic response to “Wanna come?”
“You don’t really have to”
Field for Maria Callas
Protect, as freshness
Hindu fire god
Target for an exterminator
Nowhere to be found
“Do you mind?”
Antelope with chin hair
One side of a page
Patriarchs and matriarchs
Shove down the throat of
Like marshes or bagpipes
healthyagingnc.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 828-255-7712 www.facebook.com/HealthyAgingNC Enroll or make a referral for a loved one today! • Promote health & improve physical and mental wellbeing • Lower the risk of chronic diseases or manage their long-term effects • Prevent falls and reduce fall risk Our research and evidence-based health promotion programs offer proven ways to: We support the following health programs & interventions: A Matter of Balance: 8 session group program that addresses a fear of falling & teaches fall prevention strategies Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention: Sun Style Tai Chi to improve relaxation and balance, increase activity, & prevent falls Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Programs: 6 week group skill-building and education for those experiencing chronic disease or pain Walk with Ease: 6 week program to safely build a walking routine for those who need support becoming physically active Social Bridging: one-on-one service engaging folks dealing with social isolation or loneliness Health Coaching: one-on-one service supporting clients with self-identified health goals NORTH CAROLINA’S STATEWIDE RESOURCE CENTER FOR EVIDENCE-BASED HEALTH PROMOTION PROGRAMS