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Dude ranch outside of AVL becomes 40th N.C. state park
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:46

From Staff Reports 

RALEIGH — Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 535 into law on July 19, authorizing Pisgah View State Park as a new state park in Buncombe and Haywood counties, according to a July 22 press release from the governor’s office.

The 1,600-acre Pisgah View Ranch, a former dude ranch in Candler outside of Asheville, is now North Carolina’s 40th state park. 

Senator Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson, introduced the bill in April and noted that the land  has been owned by the same family since 1790.

Cooper said he expects the new state properties — including a separate Senate bill authorizing three state trails — to have widespread positive impacts for health, quality of life, and the economy. 

“These new parks and trails will conserve important wildlife habitats and support North Carolina’s flourishing outdoor recreation industry,” the governor said in his press release. 


As it ends, ‘lack of diversity’ issue raised about speakers at ‘connection’ forum fielded by Hitch
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:44
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Six different speakers gave separate addresses on “What are we doing now to connect community?” at UNC Asheville’s Leadership Asheville Buzz Breakfast series on July 25 at Crowne Plaza Expo Center in West Asheville.

The 105-minute session, preceded by a 30-minute breakfast, drew 226 people who signed up to attend, an organizer said. The meeting’s theme was billed as “Building a connected community — the importance of grassroots engagement”

While the speakers each told of their organization’s efforts and accomplishments — and future goals — to achieve community connection, perhaps the most memorable moment of the morning came at the very end.

With the meeting running 11 minutes past its stated 90-minute goal, emcee Ed Manning lamented that there was “time for (just) one question.”

He then read a question from the audience stating that“the lack of diversity of speakers is telling about who is ‘in’ the community. How might we invite those we are trying to bring into the community have a voice in (future) Buzz Breakfasts?”

Those still on the stage looked to fellow speaker Dawa Hitch, comunicationss and public engagement director for the City of Asheville, who stepped to the microphone.

After looking around cautiously — and confirming that Catherine Mitchell, executive director, River Front Development Group, was nowhere in sight, Hitch asserted, “I think I’m the only person of color left on stage... It’s a great question...

“I think ‘diversity’ can have a number of different forms. The more specific we can be about what we mean about ‘diversity’ can be helpful…. It can feel disheartening to someone who has shown up, who is ‘of color,’” to meet with mainly whites. “Let’s foster participation by those who show up. And beyond that, let’s invite” more people of color to participate.

During her presentation, Mitchell had lamented the lack of — and need for -— connection for African-Americans in Asheville.

Black officials blast police gang data release; APD apologizes
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:43

From Staff Reports 


The Asheville Police Department issued an apology after its recent release “of its numbers on gangs” triggered cricism from some local black officials who contended that “the data is not helpful in addressing gun violence and could be a pretext for biased policing,” a July 12 story in the Asheville Citizen Times reported.

On July 10, two days afer the ACT’s original story on the APD’s gang data release, Asheville City Councilwoman Sheneika Smith was quoted by the ACT as saying:

“I, like other members and allies to the black community, can’t help but fear that this is not about awareness. It’s black propaganda intended to criminalize blackness and give clearance to something that damages our existence further.”

Along the same lines on the same day, Delores Venable, president of Asheville Black Lives Matter and vice chair of the city’s Human Relations Commission, was quoted by the ACT as calling the data “skewed.”

“I think this is fear-mongering, more than anything” Venable said, according to the ACT

A day after the criticism of the APD’s gang date was voiced, July 11, an apology was issued from the APD from its media spokeswoman, Jerri Jameson, who said “she should have provided more context and details,” the ACT reported.


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