Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 RiverBusiness and CriticaLink Award winners announced

Each year the RiverLink Board of Directors honors non-board members who serve as examples of exceptional volunteerism, providing RiverLink with goods and/or services that have made a significant difference in RiverLink's successful programming.  

The board is proud to honor the following volunteers for their long-standing contributions that have helped make the French Broad River watershed a better destination where everyone is invited to live, work and play:

2012 CriticaLink Award Winners

Margie Eblen - Margie served as chair of RiverLink for two terms.  During her tenure as a board member for six years, Margie chaired the events committee and helped spearhead RiverLink's strategic planning process which culminated in RiverLink becoming a land trust focused on protection of the riparian buffer and steep slopes - the most critical areas for preserving water quality throughout the watershed.  The strategic plan also adopted as a goal the establishment of a River Commission comprised of a variety of interested parties including city, county, chamber and landowners as critical to the commissions' success. The commission is in operation today and has two RiverLink appointees.

Dr. Robert Quayle - Rob is a retired scientist from the National Climatic Data Center bureau in Asheville.  He has lent his considerable expertise, time and talents to help establish and maintain a soil moisture index for RiverLink's phytoremediation at Karen Cragnolin Park.  Often you will find Rob walking the site checking rain gauges or testing the battery operated irrigation system.  He prepares graphs and charts on daily rain fall, compares them to annual rain fall  and then measures soil moisture at the site to determine whether we should increase or decrease irrigation.  

Terry and Russ Robertson - In June 2011, RiverLink acquired a property at the base of the Pearson Bridge. In our due diligence, the survey reflected that about one-third of the building was on the Robertson's property.  The Robertson family donated an easement to RiverLink of the property under the building which enabled us to proceed with the acquisition.  Without their support and donation RiverLink would not have purchased the building and therefore would not have been able to convert an old tire store into an outdoor recreation and retail service offering commercial livery along the French Broad River. 

Mary Ann Willingham  The Willinghams have been members and donors to RiverLink since 2002.  Their most recent donation was over 5 acres of riverfront property along the French Broad River that has been in Mary Ann's family since her father purchased the property to enjoy the clean mountain air and treat his tuberculosis.  The family established a large farm and gave away whatever they could not consume to neighbors and friends.  This donation provides green open space in a rapidly developing area.   This property is also one of several new RiverLink river overnight camping sites along the French Broad River.   This camp site like our other sights is free and will not require a reservation, based on the Appalachian Trail model.  The only way to access this overnight camping site is by boat, and despite its location next to an interstate highway offers a welcome respite for river lovers seeking to explore the French Broad.

Rod & Bess Baird   Rod and Bess can often be seen riding their bikes around town or enjoying an afternoon on the river.  For the past several years they have helped provide an on-water safety patrol dynamic duo for The Anything That Floats Boat Parade - helping to ensure that these handmade crafts remain afloat.  Rod is also past President of Trout Unlimited and is an avid fisherman.  Rod has served on the RiverLink board of directors for several years often arriving to board and committee meetings on his bike.  Rod also served as one of two RiverLink representatives on the Riverfront River Design Committee which reviews new projects in the riverfront area.  Although by city statuete the review is mandatory compliance with suggestions and recommendations from the committee is voluntary, yet Rob would take extra care to visit every project and share his vast knowledge with applicants.  Rob also successfully completed RiverLink's Muddy Water Watch training and can spot an erosion problem with and experts eye.

Previous CritaLink award winners include: Jean Webb,  Wilma Dykeman, Marylyn Seyler, Peggy & Jim Brazell, Art Streppa, Lee Towery,  Sally Rhoades,  Walt Damtoft, Jane Mathews, Bob Bowles, Kate Mathews, Doug Wilson and a host of other notables.

2012 RiverBusiness Award Winners

Each year the RiverLink board also honors river friendly businesses that have made a difference in  the  quality of life for  our  region and the French Broad River watershed:

Montford Neighborhood Association   The RiverLink Board of Directors is pleased to honor The Montford Neighborhood Association for raising and donating $12,000 to RiverLink towards our $60,000 goal to help implement the greenway at the former Health Adventure Site.  This group of homeowners and businesses have banded together to make not just their neighborhood better but the entire greenway linkage better from the downtown to the river and the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay. The greenway will help establish another vital link in the system as well as improve an eyesore in an otherwise beautiful area, while raising property values and improving the quality of life for our entire community.

The Asheville Brewers Alliance
The RiverLink Board of Director is proud to honor the Asheville Brewers Alliance and its members for making the greater Asheville area a destination for craft beer. ABA members include:

The ABA established Asheville as "Beer City USA" through their creativity, entrepreneurship, hard work, sophisticated brewing and dedication to excellence of product.  The reputation and products of the greater Asheville brewing community were instrumental in gaining this national reputation and recognition for our region.  Their combined efforts and impact was also instrumental in attracting Sierra Nevada (second-largest craft brewer in the nation) and New Belgium Brewing (third-largest) to our region.  Our local brewers welcomed and partner where possible with these larger companies in an effort to make the beer scene even bigger and better for everyone. Since over 90% of their product is water, our brewing industry partners are collectively and individually the best advocates for clean water and the very best example of the economic impact that protection of our natural resources -- water in particular -- can bring to our region.

Self- Help Credit Union
The RiverLink Board of Directors is pleased to honor the Self-Help Credit Union as a lender in the emerging riverfront areas. The Board recognizes that access to capital, particularly in an emerging area, is a critical first step to sustainable development.  Self-Help participated in the construction loan from SunTrust to do the affordable housing development at the Glen Rock Project.  SunTrust was paid off by a package of financing that was just on the housing part.  Self-Help was the sole lender on the commercial part-the Glen Rock Commercial building, which offers affordable commercial space in the river district.  This project led to additional development in the River Arts District like the Pink Dog Studios, a RiverBusiness 2011 award winner.  Self-Help also invested in an early 2002 loan in the historic but then largely unknown Chicken Hill neighborhood. That project didn't work out, Self-Help didn't lose any money but they demonstrated the willingness to invest and did invest in a project in a part of the urban riverfront neighborhood called "Chicken Hill"   that was virtually unknown in 2002

Sundance Power Systems & FLS Energy
The RiverLink Board of Directors is pleased to honor Sundance Power Systems & FLS Energy as alternative energy leaders for our region.  Developing affordable alternative energy sources to add to the existing basket of energy alternatives is an ongoing goal of every town, city and nation. These two local companies have demonstrated their entrepreneurship and risk-taking by establishing successful solar power companies that have help fuel WNC as a destination for sustainability, alternative energy production and creativity.  The employees at FLS donate regularly to RiverLink as part of their community support and outreach program. In addition FLS has had two river locations for its business including its most recent move to the River Arts District. This past summer Sundance Power Systems took a leap of faith with RiverLink to provide solar power for our five-night concert series, RiverMUSIC.  In order to volunteer and help sponsor RiverMusic Sundance purchased backup generators and had operators and staff at each concert to ensure that the systems worked. .

PSNC Energy
The RiverLink Board of Directors is pleased to honor PSNC Energy for its donation of a historic building in the heart of the River Arts District to be used as a much-needed public restrooms and central information center.  PSNC Energy undertook several structural studies of the building as well as environmental cleanup prior to offering to donate the building for public use and benefit.  PSNC took special pride in the brick building that once housed its administrative offices, and was commonly referred to as the "Gas Works Building."  Built in 1910, one of the unique features of the building is that it sits on piers that allow a stream to flow just under it right into the French Broad River.  It is a one-story building with a gabled roof with peaked parapet end walls and pilaster corners with projecting capstones.  The Gas Works Building was identified as a historic structure in the 1987 historic building inventory undertaken by RiverLink in cooperation with the local chapter of the American Institute of Architect before holding its first charette in 1989. It was later included in the list of industrial historic buildings that form the riverfront industrial historic district.

Celebrated Aquila Theatre in back-to-back performances at Diana Wortham Theatre Feb 1 and 2

New York and London based Aquila Theatre presents back-to-back performances of Edmund Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, 8:00 p.m. Friday, February 1 and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, 8:00 p.m. Saturday, February 2 at Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place in downtown Asheville. 

Aquila Theatre is one of the foremost producers of touring theater and is widely renowned for bringing a thoroughly modern sensibility to great classics throughout the United States and abroad. The company delights audiences with innovative takes and clever staging of strong scripts. Over the past several Mainstage Series seasons, Asheville audiences have come to know and anticipate the annual repertory offering of this creative company on the intimate stage of the Diana Wortham Theatre. Managing Director John Ellis notes the appeal of the “two plays in two days” weekend: “Many audience members attend both Aquila performances for the rare opportunity to see the same actors perform different characters, sometimes very opposite in nature, on successive evenings.”

On February 1, Aquila presents Edmund Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, one of the most famous romantic adventures in world literature. Cyrano is an excellent French soldier and swordsman who is besotted with the beautiful and alluring Roxanne, yet because of his famously huge nose he feels he can never truly win her heart and keeps his love a secret. Beautifully funny, poignant and often heart wrenching, Cyrano de Bergerac promises to be a wonderful evening of live theatre of the highest caliber.

On February 2, Aquila breathes new life into one of Shakespeare’s most challenging comedies, The Taming of the Shrew, telling the story of the timeless battle of the sexes. Bianca Minola, the beautiful daughter of a lord, is eligible for marriage but cannot be courted until her elder sister, Katherina, finds a husband. With its inventive style and versatile cast, Aquila breathes fresh life into one of Shakespeare’s most challenging yet enduring comedies.

Intersections Pre-show Discussions: For insight and increased enjoyment of the plays, ticket holders can attend free pre-performance discussions in The Forum at Pack Place at 7:00 p.m. before each performance.

In addition to its evening performance, Aquila Theatre presents the full-length production of The Taming of the Shrew as part of the 2012/2013 Matinee Series for Students and Families on Monday, February 4, 2013. Performances in the Matinee Series for Students and families are open to school groups, homeschoolers, community groups, and families. The matinee performance of The Taming of the Shrew is sold out.

Aquila Theatre’s performances of Cyrano de Bergerac and The Taming of the Shrew are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. The performances are made possible by Performance Sponsors Maureen & Frank Hantke, and by Mainstage Theatre Series Sponsors First Citizens Bank and Ward and Smith, P.A., with additional support from Media Sponsors WCQS 88.1FM and WNC magazine.

RiverLink seeks education intern for spring semester

RiverLink is seeking an education intern to assist with the K-12 Watershed Education Program, providing education of river system restoration and preservation through hands-on experiences in the classroom and to the general public.  The internship will consist of attending and leading educational lessons and activities open to all students in the French Broad Watershed.

Programs include Kids in the Creek macroinvertebrate sampling  
and many other fun, hands-on lessons.

The intern will be responsible for contributing at least 8 hours a week to the program in the spring.  Academic credit is possible for those interested. 

Applicants should be recent college graduates or those working towards a degree in the natural sciences. Experience in environmental education, public speaking, event planning, fundraising is preferred. 

For more information, visit and see our education intern description.  Interested applicants please send a cover letter, resume, availability, and references to:

Nikki Bauman
RiverLink Education Coordinator
828-252-8474 x 18      

Friday, December 21, 2012

Administrative Assistant position available at Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking an Administrative Assistant to serve as assistant to the Vice President of Group Sales & Services in the Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

Primary functions involve planning, coordinating and administering a variety of clerical support and administrative functions primarily for the group sales and services department. This position also provides supplemental administrative assistance as needed for key program areas within the Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (CVB) Executive Office and the Marketing and PR department. 

For more information, please contact Jonna Reiff at

Thursday, December 20, 2012 offers promotion of evening events with a special app

As a new member of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, supports local businesses hosting evening programs and activities.  They are more than a website advertising things to do in Asheville and the surrounding area.   

Are you looking for a new effective way to advertise?  Same old ads aren’t working?  Want to be involved in the newest easiest way to reach more people personally? has the answer -- the My Night Out App for smart phones.  What better way to reach people personally than to have your promotions available to them immediately in the palm of their hand 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. This new national marketing tool is tailored to the Asheville area, to the businesses and consumers in our local community. 

For more information, contact Jeremy Boone, at (828) 506-7194 or Kelly Boone at (828) 400-3305, or