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ARC South hosts annual Banana Open Tennis Tourney

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Men’s 4.0 Final:
(1) Michael Madden (Asheville) d. Troy Buggle (Asheville) 6-3; 6-2
-with Dottie Mattern in background.

Asheville Racquet Club South is hosting the Banana Open Tennis Tournament over two weekends, August 4th (this past weekend) and upcoming weekend of 10- 12th.

Last weekend, the singles matches started on Friday with tricky weather, but all 12 divisions continued outdoors in beautiful weather Saturday and Sunday.

Men’s Open Final: Noah Dohle (Asheville) d. Joseph Curet (Simpsonville, SC) 7-5; 6-7; 1-0

Next weekend’s doubles matches begin on Friday Aug 10th, at noon, with Men’s, Women’s, Mixed, and Seniors, totally 24 divisions in all. About 240 tennis players are signed up for the tourney from all over the region, as well as South Carolina and Tennessee, and Georgia. Mitra Sadeghian, the tournament director, was happy to report that player participation increased by roughly 30% and featured players ranging from teenagers to adults in their late 80’s!


Men’s 3.5 Consolation Final:
Ryan Bzotte (Raleigh) d. (2) Chris Dixon (Asheville) 7-6(8); 6-4

The Banana Open 22 annual tournament will be an exciting time to watch good, competitive tennis. Spectators are welcome to enjoy the newly remodeled outdoor patio; matches begin on Friday at noon, and at 9am on Saturday and Sunday.

Upcoming ARC 2018 tournaments:
Adult Fall Leaf Classic-Oct 12-15 (ARC Downtown)
Junior Fall Leaf Classic-Oct 26-28 (ARC Downtown)
Dottie Mattern is tourney referee. For more information call ARC South at 828-274-3361.

 

 

Council Adopts Ambitious Transit Plan

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By Leslee Kulba- At the last meeting of Asheville City Council, transit activists spoke about how inadequate bus service has been. Tales were told of buses running late so often, nobody would be able to keep a job if they were to rely on them. One man spoke of fast-food workers frequently sleeping in the bushes because by the time they get off work, the buses have stopped running.

The comments preceded council’s unanimous adoption of a new transit plan. Those who spoke felt their concerns had been heard and integrated into the plan as much as was feasible. Unlike other plans in recent history, the one developed by consulting firm Tindale Oliver focused less on engineering people who can afford cars into transit, and more on making transit work for those who need it.

The new plan, to be phased-in over the next few years, advocates for extending the hours transit operates until 10pm six days a week and until 8pm on Sunday, and increasing the frequency of bus trips on heavily-used routes. To make this possible in the near term, the planners called for the elimination of service on the city’s most under-utilized and unconnected routes.

Another big change is the addition of crosstown routes.

The planners had heard a lot of people saying transfers were a deterrent to ridership. The crosstown routes will allow them to sit in the same seat when going from one end of the city to another.

While those presenting the plan admitted it was ambitious, they set a target of almost doubling the number of service hours handled by city buses, requiring the city to increase its fleet from 19 to 36 buses by 2029. The expansion will also necessitate the expansion of the department’s operating and capital budgets.

The price of a new bus is expected to run around $860,000 in 2020 and increase about 15% over the next 10 years. A new garage, for storage and maintenance, would also be needed. The PowerPoint presentation prepared for the meeting recommended locating the new facility on 8-10 acres, the size of lot the same slide said was needed for a fleet of 80 vehicles.

The facility would be built between 2020 and 2022, with an estimated cost of $25,090,000; but the planners expected the city could get grants, bringing its costs down to an $18,000 local match for planning and a $10 million match for construction.

Another transit study was recommended for 2024.

On another slide from the presentation, Tindale Oliver showed the city’s transit operations and maintenance costs increasing by 2029 to $21,304,755, compared to the current year’s budget estimate of $8,165,718. Adding in staffing and new bus purchases, the budget would be between $23,671,724 and $24,016,522.

Asheville’s Transit Planning Manager Elias Mathes said if the plans prove too ambitious, the city could, for example, push back deadlines or substitute a parking lot with charging stations until financing is available for a new garage. The recommended buildouts are already incorporated into the city’s capital improvement plan; leadership just has to find a way to fund them.

City Manager Cathy Ball said staff was “eyeing” funds from Mission Health’s new Dogwood Health Trust. She thought transportation and health were linked sufficiently to justify a disbursement, the first grant cycle being in 2020. Increasing fares might be another option. Asheville’s bus fares are low compared to those of comparable cities, but demand for fare-free transit runs high in Asheville.

No mention was made of the last time the city tried going fare-free. With fares zeroed out for three months, people employed in the department were seeking out members of the press to anonymously tell horror stories of wear and tear on the buses. Some described what sounded like a three-month drunken party.

To prevent that, the planners proposed running a fare-free pilot just on weekends next summer. Mathes was concerned going fare-free could overburden the system, and he did not want people needing to get to work or doctor appointments stranded at bus stops. He said it would be a good idea to have a standby vehicle in the event a bus gets full. The cost of replacing a broken-down bus or rebuilding faith if schedules slip again could “blow up” everything else the planners envisioned.

In what sounded like a steering-committee talking point, Mayor Esther Manheimer asked Mathes about changes in transit subsidies instigated by the state legislature. Mathes wasn’t up-to-speed, so Manheimer took the lead.

She said the city’s transit subsidy had decreased $250,000 last year, as statewide transit cuts totaled $30 million. Similar decreases are expected for the near future. Manheimer said the reduction was paired as an either-or against bridge maintenance.

What’s more, there was no opportunity for opposing viewpoints to be heard, because the budget had been passed without committee hearings.

When the box is opened – remember who was in charge!

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By Carl Mumpower- Power is a drug. Like most drugs it’s also addictive, invariably linked with denial and highly toxic. In the very near future we are going to have a front-row seat to powerful people crashing into their addiction.

This outcome is not a cause for celebration. Good people don’t delight in tragedy, waste and destruction. What we do want to do is learn from the experience.

There’s lots to absorb from the drama we might be tempted to call The Wanda Green Story. In truth this this is a conspiracy tale, not a biography.

Have you noticed how so many of Buncombe’s usually collegial staff and political players have – excepting soundbites of denial – clammed up? One is reminded of a flock of chickens attempting to avoid the attention of the cook with the hatchet.

Such silence is especially uncharacteristic for the normally ready and willing public figures who have been running Buncombe County for decades. Of whom do with speak – why of course it’s the central players of the Democratic Party. You know, the folks currently being micro-managed by Asheville’s progressive-liberal-socialist movement.

When the lid comes off the investigator’s box of information, expect to see some very familiar names who’ve ridden Buncombe’s Democratic dominance into the ground. In that mix there’s a possibility of an elephant gone rogue, but the herd will reliably be donkeys dressed in blue.

Why does that matter? Because Buncombe County residents have too long naively accepted the smiling assurances and something for nothing promises of the dominant party. It’s important to remember that Democrats have been in control of County governance longer than most can remember and that power monopoly has precipitated this conspiracy of abuse.

Please also note the culpability of our mainstream media outlets. They’ve spent so much time bashing conservatives and painting happy faces on the left’s agenda that sincere investigative political reporting has all but disappeared. The power abuse signals have been visible for years and all our local daily has managed is to ignore those flags and mock those attempting to turn on the lights.

Worse, they haven’t learned. Asheville’s perpetual 7-0 progressive-liberal-socialist lock is challenged with the frequency of a solar eclipse. Balance is apparently a concern to our community’s liberal advocacy journalists only when their side is not in control.

A box of woe is about to open on some powerful people who’ve been lost in their denial. When it all goes down, will the left’s ‘anti-everything but what we want’ activists be prying off plaques honoring those who participated in the ruse?

When the truth comes out, please remember this isn’t The Wanda Green story – it’s A Donkey’s Tale…
Buncombe’s Republicans have an affordable housing problem!
For proof positive our community’s Republicans are not part of this high dollar corruption mix you can do two things – look at the plethora of run-down cars at our Executive Committee meetings and check out our bank account.

Though the new leadership team has raised a good chunk of change in an unfriendly local environment, we need that money for supporting our candidates with billboards, signage and poll workers come election day. Paying for a commercial HQ amidst Asheville’s market realities is not within our current means.

In short, we have an affordable housing problem.
It may be news that a review of the books for the past 15 years or so reveals that candidates, the RNC, NCGOP, and/or generous benefactors have carried the lion’s share of the costs of a GOP campaign headquarters. We’re not looking for help from candidates or state or national organizations – we like to carry our own water.

That said, we do need the help of local conservative-minded folks who understand the importance of a roof from which we can help our candidates distribute their materials, secure our phone bank and otherwise help elect Republicans.

We’ll do what we have to, but clearly having a place to hang our hat between next month and the election is in everyone’s best interest but our opposition’s.

We’d appreciate your help as we work to come up with a creative and realistic solution to our “affordable housing” problem. That’s how we’ve handled a parade of hurdles over the past year. We’ll do it again – with your support…

Each week the editors of The Tribune are selecting a communication from the Buncombe County Republican Party we feel will be of interest and value to our readers. You can learn more about your local Republican Party’s efforts at BuncombeGOP.org

Are City Policies Empowering Black Children?

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By Leslee Kulba- During public comment at the last Asheville City Council meeting, Steve Foster, representing the Council of Independent Business Owners (CIBO), raised concerns about the city’s recently-adopted budget. Foster self-described as having worked over 30 years as a CPA in Asheville.

CIBO first opposed the city’s resistance to increasing the size of the police force. Council had put hot-button, politically-charged issues ahead of public safety. While statistics about downtown crime are all over the board, Foster cited some that indicated year-over-year violent crime was up 90%. CIBO wanted the city to increase the police force by 10 officers. Anybody who didn’t see the point could go on a ride-along with an officer and witness firsthand how they handle routine calls, like domestic disputes.

A second issue was stormwater mitigation, a function formerly handled by the city’s Department of Public Works. When the city first announced it would be charging citizens a stormwater fee, it was marketed as only funding an educational effort. Now that the program has grown to employ 42 with a budget over $6.5 million, representing several cents on the property tax rate, Foster asked why flooding is just as bad as it had been before.

Members of CIBO also wanted the city to pay more attention to roads. The average time to lapse before a street is resurfaced in Asheville is 80 years, but the lifespan of asphalt is only 55 years. Streets need repair so badly, the city is using bond revenue to address some of the backlog; but basic budgeting teaches recurring issues should be funded with recurring revenue streams. Streets are a basic city service, and as such, they should be one of the city’s highest priorities for general-fund expenditures. Foster noted the city was going to subsidize transit with $5 million, but thought it ironic the city would pay so much to run fancy buses on dilapidated roads.

Following Foster’s remarks, Mayor Esther Manheimer noticed Patty Beaver of CIBO was handing out hard copies of his comments and said, “I would offer that some of the information was incorrect in that statement, but that’s on us to do a better job regarding our capital management program and talking to folks about the stormwater funds.”

Another speaker, Mac Swicegood, read into the record a resolution from CIBO thanking each and every officer in the Asheville Police Department for their daily commitment and sacrifice. Swicegood described law enforcement officers as, “guardians of peace and order [who] protect the weak and oppressed.” In return for their service, CIBO thought the city should give them adequate support and training.

Elizabeth Schell disagreed. She and others criticized the police force, repeating recent allegations that officers had been following members of Asheville Black Lives Matter around, reading their Facebook pages and attending their meetings in plain clothes. They said no members of their organization had communicated threats, and the officers’ stalking was a violation of their civil rights.

Rondell Lance, president of Asheville’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), noted nobody was correcting the record for false statements now being made. For one thing, police were only collecting information in the public domain. For another, there were people in the room who had threatened him personally, even as he walked to the podium. They had wished him harm and told him to watch his back. But that was “just talk,” and he wasn’t going to let it bother him.

More concerningly, the group had created chaos and a public safety hazard when they blocked traffic without a demonstration permit, and they had to be forcefully evicted when they held a sit-in at the police station. In another incident, members cut the wires to surveillance cameras, spray-painted the FOP lodge, and smashed the windows of a state-owned vehicle. Lance said the police department would be irresponsible not to monitor a group with a record like that.

Lance closed speaking in defense of Police Chief Tammy Hooper. He called attention to an effort afoot to destroy her and said people felt threatened because she was a strong female who ran a tight ship.

Taking a constructive tack, Libby Kyles asked members of council to consider renting the Stephens-Lee Center to her program, Youth Transformed for Life. Stephens-Lee was one of many community schools acquired by the city and turned into a recreation center in the desegregation era.

Speaking as a mom, a teacher, and a former child, Kyles said there is too much trauma in schools for teachers to handle alone. Kids would benefit by having a place to play and work together, a place to see role models, a place where they knew their moms would be hanging out with their teachers.

Gene Bell sweetened the deal saying 22 men had pledged to secure the building for any programs Kyles would offer.

Leicester Studio Tour celebrates 13 years

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Fine art and craft lovers to enjoy the work of 25 local and visiting artists in the beautiful mountain setting of Leicester.

For the 13th year in a row, artists in this small community will open their studios to the public for the annual Come to Leicester Studio Tour. This free, self-guided event is held every third weekend in August, with this year’s tour dates being August 18 and 19, 10am – 6pm each day.

Visitors will be able to view unique, hand-crafted work, see how it’s made first hand, and even purchase a piece that can be taken home and treasured for years to come. Leicester Tour artists are comprised of both local and visiting artists from nearby communities, and make work in a variety of media including clay, fiber, jewelry, metal, mixed media, natural materials, painting, and wood. This means all manner of fine art and craft may be found, including brooms, furniture, pottery, iron work, turned bowls, quilts, wearable art, and much more.

As they make their way along the tour stops, visitors may once again choose to participate in a raffle. Each artist has a code at their studio which guests can write on a scorecard they’ve been given, and drop off at a designated location when they have completed the tour. This year there are a number of prizes, and they are all wonderful works of art donated by some of the participating artists.

In addition to being one of the stops hosting a handful of artists, Addison Farms Vineyard will be offering wine tastings, and for those who get hungry along the way, lunch may be enjoyed at one of the food sponsors on the tour. The Burger Stop, Gossett’s Grocery and Deli (only open Saturday), and Turkey Creek Grill will all be welcoming tour visitors, and can be located on this year’s map.

Leicester artists this year include Elizabeth Albright, Wesley Angel, Frank Barbara, Valerie Berlage, Marlow Gates, Pat Gentilella, Trish Golay, Jean Hord, Cat Jarosz, Beth Hampton Jones, Matt Jones, Dort Lee, Michelle Liepold, Sandra LoCastro, Deanna Lynch, Patrick McDermott, Nirado, Mike L Robinson, Jessica Sanchez, Steve Schroeder, Kay Smith, Anita Walling, Kathleen Weir-West, Joanna White, and Brad Worden.

The Come to Leicester Studio Tour has, over the last thirteen years, proven to be an enduring tradition, enjoyed equally by the artists and the community in which they live, work, and serve. Visit www.cometoleicester.org or @ComeToLeicester on Facebook for more information about the artists and sponsors, directions for the raffle, and map.

Black Mountain Sourwood Festival (Aug. 11-12) is family friendly event

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The Event tent will also have ongoing musical bands, clogging, and dancing throughout the festival on South Sutton Street.

An amateur singing contest competition was added to the festivities in 2005. It opens the annual festival on Friday night at 7 p.m. and is open only to non-professional singers. This year for the first time it will include a children’s competition as well. Cash prizes are sponsored by Black Mountain Savings Bank and Black Mountain Alderman Larry Harris; trophies have been donated by Dart Sign and Trophy.

Just sign up to be a part of the amateur contest at the www.sourwoodfestival.com website. First place will receive $200, second place $100, and third place $50. This two-day festival promises to be fun packed.