The letter of the law
Video-poker machines in Buncombe County appear to be out of compliance with state law. In recent visits to eight local establishments that have such machines, Xpress did not find any that seemed to satisfy the letter of the law.
The most frequently encountered violation was placing the machines out of sight. According to NCGS 14-306.1.(f), "Any video gaming machine available for operation shall be in plain view of persons visiting the premises." On other machines, the required registration information wasn't visible.
During his brief tenure, Homer Honeycutt, a civilian Sheriff's Department employee, was in charge of overseeing compliance with state regulations. But he no longer works for the Sheriff's Department, and this is now the responsibility of Lt. John D. Harrison.
Under North Carolina law, video-poker machines are registered, reported to county tax officials, and almost exclusively regulated by county sheriffs. Although the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement can step in if a serious violation has occurred, this rarely happens.
ALE's Raleigh office referred Xpress to the WNC regional office, which in turn referred questions to the Buncombe County Sheriff's Department. At press time, Sheriff Bobby Medford had not responded to repeated requests for information about these issues. Department attorney Julie Keppel, however, told Xpress that enforcing the video-poker laws is the duty of every law-enforcement agency in the state, not just the Sheriff's Department.
-- Cecil Bothwell
Julian Price papers given to UNCA's Ramsey Library
The Julian Price papers were recently donated to UNCA's Ramsey Library by his widow, Asheville resident Meg MacLeod. Price, a key player in the city's downtown revival of the 1990s, died in 2001 after more than a decade spent working to revitalize Asheville with his vision and investments. His papers comprise more than 10,000 documents and 2,000 photographs.
"Julian was one of so many people who loved this city and helped it blossom," said MacLeod. "He had an incredible sense for what people cared about and wanted before they asked for it -- like more downtown living spaces. I'm happy that his collection will be at UNC-Asheville so more people can learn about this sweet, shy man's quirky style of making things happen."
Price, a Greensboro native, came to Asheville in 1991 after living in California and Oregon for 20 years. He immediately fell in love with the city and invested in many of the landmark buildings and businesses that make Asheville what it is today. He renovated the former Asheville Hotel, now home to Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe, and his Public Interest Projects Inc. invested about $9 million in Salsa's Mexican Caribbean Restaurant, Zambra Wine and Tapas Bar, the Laughing Seed Cafe, Jack of the Wood brew pub, the French Broad Food Co-op, the Fine Arts Theater and other projects. "You can stand on any corner in [downtown] Asheville and see something he funded," observes UNCA Public Information Director Merianne Epstein.
Price also created the Dogwood Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, through which he provided grants to nonprofit groups working for social justice, downtown revitalization and environmental protection.
"This collection is not only the history of one man's life, but also a history of Asheville in the 1990s," notes Helen Wykle of Ramsey Library's Special Collections. "Some of the great business, social and cultural changes that took place in the city during those years can be traced back to the energy and vision of Julian Price." The papers include personal memorabilia and correspondence between Price and friends, as well as his business and philanthropic files. The collection also contains information about his earlier life in radio and his West Coast civic work. The photographs, mostly of Asheville, were used in his advocacy work and in CityWatch, a magazine he published.
"Collectively, the papers are a comprehensive record for anyone wishing to document and study the rebirth and revitalization of a small city in the American Southeast and the role of individual advocacy and philanthropy," says Wykle. "It is a record for the public who may be interested in specific civic projects, in Julian Price, and in the process of community advocacy and community building."
The papers are being sorted by Special Collections staff and will be available to the public early in 2005.
-- Megan Shepherd
Small college, high marks
Warren Wilson College proves the adage that quality is more important than quantity. Although this small, liberal-arts college nestled in the Swannanoa Valley has only about 800 undergraduates, it regularly turns up on some notable national lists.
The 2005 edition of The Princeton Review cites WWC as one of the "Best 357 Colleges Nationwide" (UNCA also made the list).
Besides giving the school high marks for academics and campus life, the guide's "Inside Word" notes the following:
"Warren Wilson is a college for thinkers with a deep sense of social commitment. The admissions process clearly reflects the committee's desire for solid academic achievement in successful candidates, but they also take a close and careful look at the person being considered."
The college also landed atop one of the lists in a section of the guide titled "Students Most Nostalgic for Bill Clinton," which in all likelihood has since been renamed "Students Most Likely To Vote for John Kerry." ("Students Most Nostalgic for Ronald Reagan," "Most Politically Active" and "Election? What election?" were among the other lists in this section.)
WWC also notched 15th place in a list titled "Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians." (Other lists in the guide include "Future Rotarians and Daughters of The American Revolution," "Jock Schools" and "Dodge Ball Targets.")
Additionally, in the 2005 edition of America's Best Colleges, WWC is named among the top schools in two categories that the guide calls "outstanding examples of academic programs that are believed to lead to student success."
The annual guide, published by U.S. News & World Report, includes WWC among only 10 schools under the rubric "Internships/Co-ops." As the guide notes, "Schools nominated in this category require or encourage students to apply what they're learning in the classroom to work in the real world."
Warren Wilson is also one of 23 schools in the guide's "Service Learning" category. "In service-learning programs, required volunteer work in the community is an instructional strategy," the guide explains. "What's learned in the field bolsters what happens in class and vice versa."
For more information about WWC, call the college at 298-3325 or visit www.warren-wilson.edu.
-- Lisa Watters
Absentee ballots recalled
The Buncombe County Board of Elections has recalled 1,359 absentee ballots mailed to voters last month. Assistant Director Marvin Hollifield told Xpress that the total number of absentee voters will easily exceed 10,000 this year. "During a six-day period in the last week of September, we received 7,000 requests," he said.
The faulty ballots were reproduced on a copier because the official absentee ballots had not arrived from the printer and the BOE didn't want to delay delivery to distant voters. Hollifield told Xpress that the problem was due to a defect in the copier used.
On the recalled version, the candidate names do not line up with the "bubbles" voters fill in to indicate their choices. This is precisely the same problem experienced in Florida on the infamous "butterfly" ballots in 2000.
Asheville resident Mark Burleson, who's now teaching college in Atlanta, contacted Xpress about receiving a faulty ballot. "I phoned the Board of Elections and talked to four different people," he said. "None of them could tell me how to fill it out correctly, but they all agreed that if it were filled out incorrectly it would not count."
Concerning the possibility that replacement ballots will not arrive on time, Hollifield noted, "If we don't get the second one, we will count the first one."
-- Cecil Bothwell
Now that the flooding is over
For some WNC residents, last month's flooding is a quickly fading memory -- inconvenient at the time, perhaps, but their lives are now largely back to normal. But for those who've lost their livelihood, their business and/or their home, the disaster isn't over.
The following benefits and resources are designed to help flood victims get back on their feet.
• Drying Out the Dreams is a two-part benefit series conceived to bring relief and support to the artists, businesses and community members of Asheville's River District. The proceeds from these events will go directly to those affected and, depending on how much money is raised, to others throughout WNC who have also suffered losses.
A Drying Out the Dreams fund-raiser will take place on Friday, Oct. 15, beginning at 7 p.m. at The Orange Peel (101 Biltmore Ave.) in Asheville. From African drumming to Middle Eastern techno trysts, rock, rhythm, blues and gospel, the evening will be filled with a multi-ethnic potpourri of regional and local musicians. There'll also be an auction of donated artwork, a bounteous buffet stocked by local restaurants, and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets for the event are $20.
A Drying Out the Dreams benefit concert happens Thursday, Nov. 11 at the Asheville Civic Center Arena, and an internationally acclaimed band will headline, according to organizers. At press time, ticket prices, lineup and other details were still to be announced.
• Womansong, Asheville's oldest and largest women's community chorus, will present "On The Move" on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22 and 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church (1 Edwin Place) in Asheville. The concert will feature an eclectic variety of music celebrating the passages women make during life's journey. Tickets are $12 at the door; $10 in advance -- available at Malaprop's, Essential Arts and from any Womansong member. A portion of the proceeds will help Manna Food Bank and the Animal Compassion Network assist flood victims.
• Asheville-based relief organization Hearts With Hands has opened a second distribution center in Waynesville (202 Lea Plant Road). The Asheville facility is at 951 Sand Hill Road. Both centers still need nonperishable food items and cleanup supplies, especially bleach and paper towels. They've also begun collecting new and slightly used furniture items, construction materials and appliances for distribution to those in need.
• Additionally, the Craft Emergency Relief Fund is encouraging local artists whose livelihood was affected by the flooding to contact the nonprofit foundation. CERF offers financial support, booth-fee waivers, and donations of or discounts on craft supplies and equipment to professional craft artists experiencing emergencies.
For more information about Drying Out the Dreams, call 258-2511 or visit www.dryingoutthedreams.com. To contact the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, call (802) 229-2306, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.craftemergency.org. To learn more about Hearts With Hands, call 667-1912 or visit www.heartswithhands.org.
-- Lisa Watters
Montford opens its doors
Many of them are more than 100 years old. Surrounded by even older trees now blazing in full fall splendor, they're the pride and joy of one of Asheville's most historic neighborhoods.
The 10 homes featured in the upcoming Montford Tour of Homes, sponsored by the Montford Neighborhood Association, were constructed in late Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Queen Anne and Craftsman Bungalow styles. Together, they offer a look into the heart of a diverse community.
"The homes on the tour run the gamut from grand to modest," notes Media Chair Lee Stinnett. "They have a domestic feel that appeals to many people."
Participants will be given a flier describing each home's architecture and history, and on-site guides will be available to answer additional questions.
The tour runs from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16; advance tickets ($16) can be purchased at various locations around Asheville, including the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's Visitor Center, Malaprop's Bookstore, The Reader's Corner, Viva Europa and the Montford Arts Center. On the day of the tour, any remaining tickets will be sold for $20 at the Montford Resource Center (777-1014).
Proceeds from the tour (now in its 11th year) will benefit the neighborhood association and the Montford Resource Center's programs for youth.
Organizers are advising those interested in attending to buy their tickets as soon as possible (only 500 will be sold).
For more information, call Lisa Sizemore at 259-3939, ext. 1354, or visit the association's Web site (www.montford.org/tourofhomes.html).
-- Amelia Pelly
How women changed America
Every so often, it's smart to stop, take stock and reflect.
A collective effort to do just that -- led by professor Sara Evans, the author of Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America -- will take place this Saturday at UNCA.
Evans, who teaches history at the University of Minnesota, will talk about the history of feminism (from the perspectives of social movements and policy), as well as her research into how women have shaped and reshaped public life, and the "second wave" of feminism.
A panel discussion will follow, featuring: Sarah Judson, UNCA history professor; April Spencer, Asheville High School social-studies teacher; Kathleen Balogh, western region director for the N.C. Council for Women/Domestic Violence and League of Women Voters president; and state Rep. Susan Fisher.
The free event takes place Saturday, Oct. 16 at 9:15 a.m. in UNCA's Laurel Forum in Karpen Hall.
To reserve a seat, contact Holy Ground at 236-0222 (e-mail: email@example.com).
-- Tracy Rose
Best Boarding Kennel, take 2
Paws down, the correct winner for Best Boarding Kennel under the Best Personal Services section of 2004's Best of WNC should have been listed as Bed & Biscuit. The first-place winner was accidentally omitted from this particular category in Xpress' Oct. 6 issue, allowing the competition to move up the ladder.
The listing should have read as follows:
1. Bed & Biscuit, 1420 North Fork Road, Black Mountain (669-6578);
2. Top Dog Kennels, 680 Old U.S. 70 Hwy., Swannanoa (686-3175);
3. (tie) Arbor Creek Kennel and Stables (645-7775) and Avery Creek Kennel (684-2161).
-- Alli Marshall
And the winners are...
In a scholarship competition where volunteerism and community service rank as the most important qualities, two local students have soared to the top.