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4 Republicans team up in quest to end one-party rule of Asheville
Thursday, 20 January 2022 19:11
By JOHN NORTH
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Two of the four Republicans — who are planning to run as a bloc in May’s election for four contested seats on Asheville City Council — made a major step in their campaigns by appearing and speaking Jan. 14 at an East Asheville neighborhood meeting.

The two making an official appearance were Dr. Clifford O. Feingold, a retired dentist who is running for mayor; and Alexander Cobb, a Realtor who is both openly gay and a Republican, and who is running for a council seat. Their pictures taken by the Daily Planet at the forum appear to the left.

The other two Republicans seeking council seats — for which the newspaper was unable to reach for interviews or to obtain pictures from before this edition’s print deadline — are Doug Brown and Andy Ledford. 

Only Cobb has officially filed to run, as the process has been suspended by the court system for a while. Feingold said it is his understanding that filing should resume Feb. 24, when he immediately will file to run. He also said Brown and Ledford have vowed to file, too. 

While Asheville council seats are billed as being nonpartisan, all of the seats have been held by Democrats for more than a decade.

In a Jan. 16 telephone interview, Feingold confirmed to the Daily Planet that reports — that “‘the four’ are running ‘as a team’” — are correct. He added, “It’s three Republicans running for City Council — and me (also a Republican) running for mayor.”

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Lake Lure makes list of ‘hottest’ U.S. real estate markets for 2022: WNC’s ‘hidden gem’ wins ranking in the top 10
Thursday, 20 January 2022 19:09

From Staff Reports

LAKE LURE —The mountain community of Lake Lure — touted by a local Realtor as a “hidden gem” — recently was named one of the top 10 real estate markets for 2022 in an article by the real estate website Redfin, Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported on Dec. 30.

“We’re seeing houses sell within days of being put on the market,” Lake Lure Mayor Carol Pritchett was quoted as saying by News 13. Pritchett herself moved to Lake Lure from Houston back in 2011. “It’s a slower pace environment, but you’re also close to places like Asheville, Hendersonville, Charlotte,” she told News 13.

The TV station added that “those are the same reasons real estate broker Shannon Walsh says others are moving to Lake Lure as well — location, location, location.

 “The location — I mean, you are so close to everything,” Walsh said in the interview.

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City agrees to end discriminatory ‘black-only’ grants, scholarships in lawsuit settlement
Thursday, 20 January 2022 19:06

From Staff Reports

The City of Asheville recently settled a federal civil rights lawsuit after agreeing to remove all racially discriminatory provisions in a city-funded scholarship program. 

The city also agreed to remove racially discriminatory eligibility provisions in a related program that provides grants to educators. City Council approved the settlement on Jan. 11.

In October 2021, the lawsuit was filed by Judicial Watch in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of a North Carolina citizens group, WNC Citizens for Equality Inc., whose members include high school students who were ineligible for a scholarship program only because they are not black.

The verdict was termed a “Judicial Watch victory” in the organization’s recent newsletter. (Judicial Watch bills itself as a “conservative activist group that files Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to investigate claimed misconduct by government officials.”)

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E. Asheville forum focuses on safety, homeless issues homeless
Thursday, 20 January 2022 19:03
By JOHN NORTH
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The alleged terrible leadership from city hall was repreatedly decried during a Jan. 14 meeting of East Asheville residents who live near the Ramada Inn homeless shelter.

Indeed, more than 60 people packed the meeting room at River Ridge’s S&J Cafeteria, which borders the former Ramada Inn, to share their anger and vent their frustration with the city’s homeless initiative staff members over decisions being made from city hall.

The two-hour session began with Doug Horne welcoming everyone.

Horne, who is an investor at Westgate Plaza, also pointed out to the crowd the three city officials  from the homeless initiative staff who were attending the meeting to get a sense of the neighborhoods concerns.The meeting was organized in part by the group East Asheville for Safety and Wellness.

He added that, “at the end of March, the Ramada Inn will not be there with the homeless. The new people, (for-profit developer) Shangri-La, will redo it and rent it as efficiency apartments.”

Further, Horne pointed out, “We’re kind of ‘accountability people’ because ... we’ve got to pay the mortgage.” 

Under a new plan for the shelter, Horne said the residents will be “drug-tested, alcohol-tested, etc., to try to help them, rather than just house them in some hotel... The thing we’re worried about is when the hotel is closed, the homeless camps will refill.”

Horne then thanked Bailey Stockwell, a chief organizer of the forum and an East Asheville neighborhood leader and activist.

As the crowd enthusiastically applauded a smiling Stockwell, Horn added, “We’re trying to get her to run for office, but she won’t....” which prompted calls from meeting attendees that she should — indeed — run for office.

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