"ASHEVILLE - One of the region's largest employers will now offer one of the most generous paid leave benefits, a move advocates say can boost entire households.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Nov. 18 to give county workers paid leave to care for newborn children and sick family members. The change happened as the country, state and county experience spikes in COVID-19 infections."
"ASHEVILLE - In a split vote, Buncombe government has joined Asheville City Council in passing a historic resolution apologizing for the county's role in slavery and supporting reparations for Black people who live here. The measure passed in a 4-3 party-line vote, with Democrats in favor, during county commissioners' Aug. 4 meeting." - Asheville Citizen Times
"ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Officials from Buncombe County Schools and Verner Center for Early Learning broke ground Monday on a new early learning center. The new 10 classroom facility will be on the grounds of Emma Elementary School. So far, the county has invested almost $1 million in the construction and pledged grants of an additional $900,000 over the next two years." - WLOS
"ASHEVILLE - After about an hour and a half of debate, Buncombe commissioners voted along party lines to adopt a resolution directing county staff to prioritize the expansion of COVID-19 testing in the community as they consider protocols for lifting social distancing restrictions.
The measure — approved 4-3 by the majority Democrat board during a special meeting April 16 — instructs staff to expand criteria for and seek out new methods of testing, track and interview contacts of those with the illness more rigorously, provide publicly supported isolation for those who cannot isolate at home and collaborate with other entities doing similar work." - Asheville Citizen-Times
"In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama delivered a speech that many say saved his presidential campaign. Titled "A More Perfect Union," it addressed his thoughts about how Americans experience race and racism, and about how he understands both, as the son of black and white parents with relatives of many ethnicities.
Obama gave the speech in response to the release of videotaped comments from his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in which the minister lambasted America's foreign policies and treatment of minorities, especially African-Americans. But it was also an urgent call for racial harmony. Candidate Obama emphasized that both white and black communities had valid arguments about their place in America.
On the speech's 12-year anniversary, Sam investigates whether its message holds up. He talks to Jon Favreau, host of Pod Save America and Obama's former speechwriter, about the process of writing the speech. Then, Professor Tracey Sharpley Whiting, who edited a book about the speech, talks about its impact today. Also featured is Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and principal at Black Futures Lab, discussing why Obama's words do not fully address the depth of racial discrimination. Sam also talks to his former classmate, Jasmine Beach Ferrara, who remembers watching the speech live in class with Sam." - NPR
"ASHEVILLE, NC - Too often, women are our unsung sheroes, and their contributions go unnoticed. This month we honor several amazing women and present their personal stories—focusing on the ways they have inspired, motivated, empowered, and encouraged women by advancing social equity and providing services, opportunities, and support." - The Urban News
ASHEVILLE - A ruling by North Carolina judges to redraw the state's gerrymandered legislative lines likely will mean new districts for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, a move that could change the political makeup of the body responsible for spending hundreds of millions of local taxpayer dollars each year.
Maps approved Sept. 18 by the General Assembly shift some city of Asheville precincts elsewhere and move previously elected representatives to new districts. Barring court action, the maps will become law — and will reshape commissioner districts, unless lawmakers pass a local bill that would decouple them from state lines.
ASHEVILLE - Jasmine Beach-Ferrara will try for a second term on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.
The Asheville Democrat announced Sept. 18 that she will run again in 2020, saying to Facebook followers that her time on the board has been "a tremendous honor."
"Our community deserves the very best of what local government can be and for the full resources of county government to be focused resolutely on solving problems and serving people," Beach-Ferrara said in a statement. "I've been and will continue to be a voice for reform, transparency and accountability in our county government."
One of two District 1 commissioners and the board's currently appointed vice-chair, Beach-Ferrara was first elected in 2016.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, opioid overdose deaths are down for the first time in five years.
Buncombe County leaders said the new numbers reflect that more people are seeking help, but they said the fight is far from over. Leaders said chances are you know someone.
“We are seeing that the considerable effort and resources that have been going into local response are starting to turn some of the numbers,” District 1 commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said.
Buncombe County is providing $2.2 million toward a Mountain Housing Opportunities (MHO) project that will bring much needed affordable housing to Swannanoa. The East Haven Apartments are officially under construction, and the $16.8 million initiative will add 95 affordable housing units for the County.
“This project will be one of the most significant to be developed in eastern Buncombe County over the last several decades,” exclaims County Commission Chair Brownie Newman. “Every unit counts and makes a difference; we need more projects like this that really deliver to meet the scope of the challenge we face as a community.” Affordable housing is one of six strategic priorities unanimously adopted by the Board of Commissioners.