Friday, March 27, 2015

Legislative Win: House and Senate Reach Agreement on Transportation Funding

The Chamber is pleased to report that the House and Senate Conference Committee on S. 20 (IRC Update/Motor Fuel Tax Changes) reached an agreement on the legislation. The new version of the bill will reduce the North Carolina gas tax on April 1, 2015 from 37.5 cents/gallon to 36 cents/gallon. The reduction in the state’s fuel tax will continue with a drop to 35 cents/gallon on January 1, 2016 and then to 34 cents/gallon on July 1, 2016.

Legislative leaders expressed a desire to not stop with S. 20 in our need to fix transportation funding in North Carolina. Leadership expressed a desire to develop a long-term funding fix for transportation before 2016.
The Chamber applauds House and Senate leadership’s ability to find compromise and fund NC’s infrastructure. The Chamber projected a $20 million reduction in transportation funding for Buncombe County if action was not taken on the bill before July 1. We will now be working to promote long-term, sustainable infrastructure funding in the months to come.

I also wanted to make everyone aware of the legislation we are tracking. Please, let us know if you have any questions or would like to see a bill included in the list.

Finally, reservations are almost gone for the WNC Chamber’s Raleigh Legislative Visit. This is a great chance to thank our WNC Delegation, hear from House and Senate Leader, learn about regional transportation projects from NC DOT, meet the leaders of NC Department of Commerce’s new Public Private Partnership, and network with business leaders from across Western North Carolina. You can register for the event by clicker here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Textile artists and 2014 Art Prize recipient Sonya Clark to speak

The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) is pleased to present From Hair to There, an artist's talk with 2014 Art Prize Recipient and Chair of the Department of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, Sonya Clark, on hair as one of the oldest art forms. The event will be held Friday, March 27, at 6 pm and is free and open to the public. 

Born in Washington D.C. of Caribbean descent, Sonya Clark is a mixed-media textile artist who incorporates human hair, hairdressing tools, and hair-braiding techniques into her sculptural objects in order to raise questions about race, culture, class, and history. 

Clark's talk will begin with the premise that hairdressing is the first textile art. Her work aims to bring out the stories held within everyday objects such as combs, cloth, and hair, ultimately creating connections between hair salons and art galleries as sites of beauty, craft, skill, improvisation, and commerce. 

"Hairdressers are my heroes. The poetry and politics of Black hair care specialists are central to my work as an artist and educator," Clark asserts, "These artists have mastered a craft impossible for me to take for granted." 

Clark's work is currently on view in the exhibition Loving After Lifetimes of All This, at CCCD's Benchspace Gallery & Workshop through May 23, 2015. Including work of over 15 artists, activists, and archives nationwide, the exhibition highlights craft practice as a form of cultural resistance within historically disadvantaged communities.


From Hair to There: Artist's Talk With Sonya Clark

Date: Friday, March 27, 2015

Time: 6:00 pm

Location: Benchspace Gallery & Workshop at The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, 67 Broadway Street, Asheville, NC

Admission: Free and open to the public. No registration required. 


This program received support from Warren Wilson College, with media sponsorship by Date My City and Authentic Communities Summit.

Loving After Lifetimes of All This was organized by Charlotte Street Foundation and curated by Charlotte Street's 2013-14 Curator in Residence, Danny OrendorffThis project receives support from the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, through the Asheville Area Arts Council.


Shoji Spa & Lodge announces facility updates

Many people like to escape to their favorite places because some things stay the same, but something new is also what they are after. A great spa retreat keeps balance with some things new and some things old.
In late February, Shoji’s lobby area underwent major renovations. They listened to their guests’ requests and added more lounge seating for even more privacy.

Day & Night Spa Passes
Starting this spring, Shoji will begin offering Day & Night Spas Passes. This will give guests the option to enjoy hot tubs all day in a communal setting rather than hourly rentals.

"Spring into Bliss" Package
Shoji’s latest package spa package, “Spring into Bliss,” is now on the menu, featuring unique and rejuvenating enhancement options in addition to an 80-minute aromatherapy massage. Choose from a Lemongrass Sake moisturizing hand treatment or a detoxifying dry skin brushing. This package includes a take home spa gift.

Shoji's accommodations are always kept updated, each one is a unique upscale retreat, but they are adding some new twists -- including free firewood, homemade organic granola & almond milk, and lots of other little surprises upon guests' arrival.

Please visit or call 828.299.0999 for reservations or for more information.

Asheville Area Habitat seeking to hire two AmeriCorp Crew Leaders

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity is searching for two (2) AmeriCorps National Construction Crew Leaders. July 1 is the end date for recruitment.

AmeriCorps National - Construction Crew Leader (2)

As a Construction Crew Leader, you are integral to building homes and better neighborhoods in our service area. You will learn skills that might include hands on construction tasks such as demolition, site prep, framing, insulation, drywall, flooring, roofing, finish carpentry and landscaping. As a member of the construction crew, you will lead small groups of volunteers, ensuring that they are well-employed while on the work sites. 

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity is looking for members who possess a sincere desire to serve others, have a passion for volunteerism and teaching/group facilitation, have strong team building skills and are comfortable leading a team. Prior experience with power tools is a plus, but not required. Members will receive a small living allowance and other benefits. 

See full position description or apply here.

For spring cleaning, give someone in our community a fresh start

Goodwill launches spring cleaning campaign to give
job seekers new beginnings.

With a particularly cold and snowy winter nearing an end, millions of Americans are gearing up for the annual de-hibernation ritual known as spring cleaning. Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina is encouraging people to think of the spring cleaning season as a time for fresh starts. By donating used clothing and household goods to Goodwill, donors will be providing a fresh start to old belongings by diverting them from landfills, and providing a fresh start to people in need of work.

Through its social enterprise model, Goodwill uses the revenue from its retail store sales to fund programs for job seekers, including youth, seniors, veterans and military families, people with disabilities, and others with specialized needs. With the economy finally showing some signs of life and perhaps heading for an upswing, it is essential that people in our own community who are out of work receive the training they need to succeed in the workplace. That is why Goodwill is asking its friends and neighbors to start spring cleaning and donate to Goodwill.

“Spring is traditionally the time of year for new beginnings,” said Goodwill® spokesperson Lorie Marrero, Certified Professional Organizer®, best-selling author of The Clutter Diet and contributing editor to Woman’s Day Magazine. “When you donate this spring, new beginnings come in threes. You get a fresh start for your de-cluttered house, your donated goods find a new home, and you help give a job seeker a fresh start of their own.”

In 2014, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina helped 32,872 people plan for new careers, improve their employability, obtain marketable job skills, and earn nationally-recognized, industry-specific credentials. In western North Carolina alone, Goodwill’s programs trained more than 6,000 people for careers in diverse sectors such as hospitality, office technology and healthcare and provided support services that helped nearly 1,200 people land jobs.

There are more than 100 Goodwill donation centers and drop off locations in northwest North Carolina, and 27 in Buncombe County alone; most are open 7 days a week. To locate a drop-off site or retail store, visit