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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WNC News LinkFest
October 28, 2009

Buncombe County

Asheville Journalism - Who are you sleeping with? Will you awake?

Journalism in Asheville North Carolina could, at many times, be very biased. When an insider or outsider is looking for information; they do not want to listen to reporters only tooting the horn of businesses that advertise with their publication or their friendly contacts. I believe this issue is being dealt with in the Mommy Blogging world as well. Some of these famous bloggers were being paid to put their approval on certain items that they did not necessarily believe in or even use. The outcome... hundreds and thousands of "followers" followed their advice and purchased the product. Everyone makes some money so it is right, Right?!

So called journalists many times do the same thing. Even though we hope that journalism carries a non-partial attitude when it comes to community, networking and sharing; writers who have a certain "control" when it comes to media, use this avenue many times to limit the messages of others and exclude. While some scream "community" to simply gain fans - many in the community remain excluded.

Even on your local Twitter scene. I would be a networked hireling if all I read and retweeted was what my fellow reporter friends posted. Some individuals are just as closed. They retweet any good thing or absurdity that their clique posts, and pass over a lot of great info that others may contribute for fear of losing control, seeming like they are a traitor, or to hang onto a false superiority. Weakness.

The Battle for Swannanoa

In June, state Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-Buncombe) had something to say to his colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee.

"This is about the town of Swannanoa, and I know you don't want to know anything about it, but I'm going to tell you anyhow," he said, introducing legislation to put the General Assembly's stamp of approval on incorporating the town and to set a referendum for Nov. 3. "This will be the site of the first Tiger Woods golf course in North America," he continued (incorrectly, since most of Woods' Cliffs at High Carolina Course will be in Fairview). "For those of you who've been through it, I don't know why Swannanoa isn't bigger than the city of Asheville. It's the most beautiful place you've ever seen. It's got Interstate 40, it's got sewer and water."

Future founding father? Swannanoa incorporation task force leader Dave Alexander says incorporation is necessary to give the potential town control over its own destiny. Photo by Jonathan Welch
Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Montgomery) seconded Nesbitt's motion, and the finance committee approved the bill. The whole process, including the time senators spent laughing about the town's name and Tiger's golf course, took less than three minutes.

Flashbacks of Roll Plays

Eighteen people showed up to address Asheville City Council about contaminated water in Buncombe County. The item wasn’t on the agenda because Asheville has no jurisdiction over something like that happening outside its boundaries.

Now, I am not a scientist. There is nothing scientific about me. I did, however, get a B.S. from Lyman Briggs College, the distinguished science school at Michigan State. It was one of the innovators in a course of study now known as Science & Technology Studies (STS). The curriculum was designed to train graduates to be more than geeks, but to be savvy about the interface of science and public policy. The lesson to be learned was it was insufficient to have a good idea, one had to overcome superstition and charismatic opposition if they wanted to see it come to fruition.

The reason I mention this is, from the onset, the CTS scare has been played out like some of the scenarios from the STS courses, replete with the post hoc ergo propter hoc death list. Certain samples of well water show ever-increasing and astoundingly high levels of trichloroethylene, even though the plant accused of contaminating the groundwater has been gone for years. Both Buncombe County and the EPA are struggling to reproduce appreciable levels of contaminants.
Candidates at Leadership Asheville (photo slideshow)

Steve Martin to perform at MerleFest

WILKESBORO, N.C. (October 28, 2009)—MerleFest 2010, presented by Lowe’s, is proud to announce that multi-talented Grammy® and Emmy® winning actor/comedian/musician Steve Martin will perform on the Watson Stage on Saturday, May 1.
“I’ve heard great things about MerleFest for years,” said Martin. “As a musician, it’s an event I’m really looking forward to playing.”

Martin is currently drawing rave reviews as he tours in support of his Rounder Records release, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, which spent multiple weeks at the top of the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums Chart. Touring with Martin are the Steep Canyon Rangers, who will perform with him at MerleFest. Together they have performed at the 20th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, The View, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Ryman Auditorium, and other venues in cities including Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, Toronto, Chicago, Denver, Santa Fe and Troy, NY. The tour will wrap up on November 9 at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Jackson County

Balsam Mountain Preserve foreclosure proceedings continued

Jackson County Clerk of Court Ann Melton agreed Wednesday (Oct. 28) to continue foreclosure proceedings between Balsam Mountain Preserve and its lender, TriLyn.

The lending company filed a foreclosure notice with Jackson County earlier this month. Based on the foreclosure filing, BMP is apparently in default on loans totaling $19.8 million. Property the lender is foreclosing on includes one 4,200-acre tract plus several smaller tracts, according to the document on file in the Jackson County Clerk of Court’s Office.

Sylva lawyer Jay Coward, who is representing the developer, introduced the motion to continue during a hearing with Melton. Because of a receivership hearing set for Friday, Oct. 30, he requested that the hearing be pushed back to Monday, Nov. 30.

“That hearing could alter our whole defense,” he said.

Macon County

Senator Burr shares his thoughts on health care, jobs, veterans issues

Asked his objections to the latest version of the health care reform bill that has passed the Senate Finance Committee and what he would like to see included in legislation, Burr commented:

"The debate in Washington up to this point has not been about health care reform, it's been about coverage expansion. If the Finance Bill had any reform in it, the savings from the reform would pay for the expansion, but it doesn't.

The objections are not with coverage expansion-I clearly do that in my bill (referenced below). The objections are with the fact that they are using new money to pay for the expansion, and that comes in the form of increased fees and taxes that will be passed on to health care beneficiaries."

Burr, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension, said he does not support a government-run health care option (public option). "The fact that you've got a government entity does not assure you competition. What assures you competition is allowing companies the flexibility to offer different types of products."

13th Annual Pumpkinfest in Franklin

Haywood County

Haywood County braces for economic impacts of prolonged I-40 closure

By all indications, the closing of Interstate 40 due to a massive rockslide will be more than just a minor headache for many.

Through traffic heading west to Tennessee will be directed to I-26 from Asheville, where cars would have to travel 130 miles to link back up with I-40 across the state line.

Though much of Haywood County will still remain accessible off I-40, it’s feasible that widespread news of the rockslide might turn off visitors to the area.

Most likely to suffer from the road closing are the restaurants, gas stations, motels and tourist-oriented businesses that rely heavily on traffic coming through I-40.

Pilot Travel Center, a truck stop in Waynesville near exit 24, was already feeling the impact of a desolate I-40 on Monday afternoon. A few trucks were scattered here and there, but the vast majority of parking spots sat empty.

Ashley Duckett, an employee at the Pilot convenience store, said business was “dead” on Sunday, the day the rockslide occurred.

“It’s usually booming,” said Linda Henry, another employee at the store, adding that business will definitely hurt without truckers stopping by to fuel up, have a meal, or take a shower.

The people who did walk into the store were only interested in one thing: directions.

“Every other person coming in here is asking how do I get to Tennessee? How do I get to Knoxville? How do I get to Gatlinburg?” said Henry.

Watauga County

Appalachian holds 8th annual entrepreneur summit Nov. 6

BOONE—People interested in owning their own business can learn from the experts at the 8th Annual Carole Moore McLeod Entrepreneur Summit Nov. 6 at Appalachian State University.

Multiple concurrent sessions run at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the Walker College of Business in Raley Hall. A keynote speech by Matthew Szulik, chairman of Red Hat and the 2008 Ernst and Young National Entrepreneur of the Year, will begin at 11 a.m. in Valborg Theatre located adjacent to Raley Hall in Chapel Wilson Hall.

The entrepreneur summit is named for Carole Moore McLeod in recognition of her gift that provides ongoing support of the program. She is a 1981 business graduate of the Walker College of Business. “There is nothing more exciting to experience the students creativity and feel their desire to start a new business,” she said.

The entrepreneur summit is free and open to the public, however seating is limited. Parking is available in the Rivers Street parking deck and shuttle service to and from Raley Hall will be provided. For a complete schedule and list of businesses participating in the event, and to register, visit For more information, contact Julia Rowland with Appalachian’s Center for Entrepreneurship at 828-262-8325 or