Appalachia report shows progress, deficiencies

February 24, 2015

(News & Record, Greensboro)

A new report shows poverty rates in the Appalachian region have fallen by about half since 1965, when the Appalachian Regional Commission was established to help the 420 counties in the 13-state region. The study says the region still lags behind the rest of the country in several important measures.


Brevard College sheds investments in fossil fuels

February 24, 2015

(The Transylvania Times)

The Board of Trustees of Brevard College voted Friday to divest all of the school's endowments in fossil fuels and will reinvest the money into more environmentally friendly funds. The move was mostly symbolic, as only about $600,000 of the school's $25 million endowment is tied up in fossil fuels.

Opinion: JDIG program 'make or break' for Asheville-Hendersonville area

February 23, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The state's Job Development Investment Grant program, recently criticized in a report issued by the NC Justice Center, is an essential tool for both urban and rural areas to be able to compete with other states for jobs, according to Ben Teague and Andrew Tate, economic-development leaders in Buncombe and Henderson counties.

ScaleUp WNC selects first 15 companies

February 23, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

An organic-food distributor, a brewery and electric-bike manufacturer are among the first class of companies chosen by ScaleUp WNC, an initiative of the AdvantageWest economic-development partnership that will provide education and support to high-growth small businesses in western North Carolina.

Henderson County must wait on road, utility work at Seven Falls

February 17, 2015

(Hendersonville Times-News)

Since Seven Falls developer Keith Vinson was convicted in 2013 on fraud and conspiracy charges, Henderson County is left responsible for completing road and infrastructure work at the failed 1,400-acre development. Federal officials refused to reactivate permits for the work to be completed, and it will take six months to a year to secure new ones.

Dillsboro considers cash incentives to attract businesses

February 13, 2015

(The Sylva Herald)

When visitors step off of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Dillsboro, at least nine vacant storefronts are there to greet them. Town leaders are hoping to lure new businesses by offering them cash incentives.

Transylvania Regional moves birthing services to Mission Hospital

February 10, 2015

(Hendersonville Times-News)

Transylvania Regional Hospital will move its birth-center services to Mission Hospital in Asheville beginning March 5. Dr. Jamie Ramsey, one of two OB-GYNs at the Brevard hospital, said the decision was made to provide a safer birthing process, particularly for high-risk pregnancies and babies that need more specialized neonatology care.


'Downton' exhibit could be boon for Asheville tourism

February 5, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Biltmore House expects a 10% increase in visitors in February and March, thanks to a temporary exhibit featuring costumes from the PBS TV series "Downtown Abbey." Mark Hemphill, vice president of marketing for Biltmore, says the bump in attendance should translate into more tourism spending in Asheville. The exhibit will be open through May 25.

Trade group seeks to build awareness in Western NC

February 2, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Fletcher-based Outdoor Gear Builders, a trade group that comprises 24 manufacturers based in Western N.C., will hold its first demo-day March 21. Outdoor-gear companies based in Western N.C. employ about 470 people, according to the AdvantageWest economic-development organization.

No end in sight for migration to Asheville

January 30, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville's population is growing at a rate of about three people a day, and the city will gain about 3,000 new apartment units over the next two years. The metro area, which includes Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties hasn't lost population in more than four decades.

Asheville Outlets to open May 1

January 29, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville Outlets, an open-air shopping center featuring about 75 retail shops, will open May 1. A job fair will be held March 26, though some stores are already hiring for management positions.

Asheville City Council considers 477 new apartments

January 27, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville City Council could approve two apartment projects totaling 477 units at its Tuesday meeting. A group of local residents have expressed concern over the 309-unit Biltmore Apartments, which they say will cause increased traffic and will be priced too high for the Oakley and East Asheville area.

Caterpillar to close Franklin plant, lay off 150 people

January 19, 2015

(Winston-Salem Journal)

Caterpillar will close its plant in Franklin, idling 150 workers by the end of next year. Opened in the early 1990s, the Macon County plant makes seals for heavy equipment. The Peoria, Ill.-based company said it will try to help workers find jobs at other plants.

Asheville Angels makes first investment in Plum Print

January 19, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville Angels has made its first investment, totaling more than $100,000, in Plum Print, a two-year-old local business that turns children's artwork into books. The group of angel investors was formed last year to invest in startups in the Asheville area and across the Southeast.

Rutherford County's first solar farm producing on target

January 19, 2015

(The Daily Courier, Forest City)

Rutherford County's first solar farm is up and running, and Asheville-based FLS Energy, which built the farm and leases the property, is talking with local economic-development officials about building a second farm. The 15-acre solar array is projected to produce enough electricity to power 300 to 350 homes.

Small Western NC breweries grow, thrive near larger ones

January 19, 2015

(Hendersonville Times-News)

Small craft breweries in Henderson and Transylvania counties are thriving in the shadow of Asheville (known as Beer CIty USA) and larger brewers such as Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues and New Belgium. 

Leader says Asheville needs to appeal to both locals and visitors

January 16, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The president of a downtown advocacy group says Asheville needs to be more welcoming to locals, who often avoid downtown on the weekends due to crowds of tourists and parking concerns.

Mission Health addresses care deficit in Haywood County

January 15, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Mission Health says its new outpatient-care clinic in Haywood County will provide basic health care in an area that is underserved. The Asheville-based health-care system expects to serve 5,000 patients annually at the new medical-office building in Clyde, which is expected to be completed by fall.

Restaurants, art studios planned building in Asheville's River Arts District

January 13, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The architect and developer of Asheville's River Arts District project plans art studios, restaurants, a rooftop bar and other food-related businesses at the 60,000-square-foot 95 Roberts St. building. 

Biotech company to hire 65 in Asheville

January 12, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

White Labs will invest $8.1 million and hire 65 workers over five years in Asheville. The San Diego, Calif.-based biotech company makes yeast for beer and other alcoholic drinks.