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Removal OK’d of downtown Confederate monuments
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 22:56

From Staff Reports 

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on June 16 voted 4-3 in favor of a joint resolution — unanimously approved by Asheville City Council seven days earlier — to remove confederate monuments in downtown Asheville. 

The county vote was stricly along party lines, with Democrats Al Whitesides, Amanda Edwards, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Chairman Brownie Newman voting in favor of the removal. Republicans Anthony Penland, Joe Belcher and Robert Pressley voted against taking down the monuments.

“The resolution forces the immediate removal of two of the monuments and creates a task force to figure out what to do with the Vance Monument,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported afterward.

“These are public symbols that sit on public land and send a really clear message about what our values are as a community,” District 1 commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said, according to News 13. 

Whitesides, the commission’s sole African-American, termed the decision the beginning of needed change. “I’ve had to watch these monuments from the time I was 15 years old. I’m glad to see that finally here now we are beginning to have this conversation,” Whitesides said, News 13 noted.

“I get that people are concerned by that and hurt by that, but I don’t think that the way this is written and I don’t think this is the answer,” Belcher said, according to News 13, which then quoted Pressley as saying, “Put this on the 2020 ballot in November and let the people, you know, voice their opinion,.”

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Governor requires masks, ‘pauses’ N.C. in Phase 2
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 22:55

From Staff Reports 

RALEIGH — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper — during a June 24 press briefing — issued an executive order to keep the state in Phase 2 for another three weeks, while making face coverings mandatory in public.

 “The order that moved the state into Phase 2 on May 22 was scheduled to expire on Friday (June 26),” the Raleigh News & Observer reported afterward. “It has been extended until July 17. The mask requirement takes effect Friday (June 26) at 5 p.m.”

Cooper noted that his action essentially “pauses” the state from moving into Phase 3, meaning businesses that still were closed during Phase 2 — gyms, fitness centers and bars — will remain idle.

Cooper said the state’s numbers and metrics on cases and hospitalizations and the state’s trends resulting from COVID-19 clearly indicate the state should not move forward with easing further restrictions. 

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Black Lives Matter mural proposed for downtown
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 22:54

From Staff Reports

Asheville City Councilwoman Sheneika Smith, along with the Asheville Area Arts Council and other community groups and leaders, “are coordinating a public art installation in Asheville’s central business district,” according to a June 23 report by Asheville television station WLOS (News 13). 

 The mural is conceived as a way to “galvanize solidarity and celebrate our collective movement towards addressing systemic issues locally,” News 13 noted.

Under the plan, each letter will be individually designed by African-American artists. “I think it’s gonna stir up a few more problems around town with people not agreeing with with what should happen, but I believe it’s a good thing to do,” Asheville resident Jack Price told the TV station.  

It “is planned to be a temporary project. Organizers say permanent projects have a longer approval process and this is meant to be a bridge until a decision is made about the Vance Monument,” News 13 reported.

 
Rising from the ashes, Asheville’s beloved Earth Fare reopens
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 22:52

From Staff Reports 

Earth Fare in the Westgate Shopping Center in West Asheville officially reopened on June 22, just months after the company announced it was going out of business.

 Indeed, Earth Fare, a homegrown Asheville favorite, is back open under new ownership, but still proudly using the chain’s long-time slogan that it has been “Keeping It Clean Since 1975.” 

In March, an Asheville-based investment group that includes its founder bought back eight of the 50 Earth Fare stores, including in Boone and Roanoke, Va.

The chain aspires to use its restart as a chance to re-emphasize its roots as an organic food retailer.

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