Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tomato Jam Café in Asheville NC

"Connection is an essential vitamin. You can't live without it." ~ Edward Hallowell

Full disclosure: I love Twitter. I use the social media tool every day to share my sunrise blog and love-labor website I have spent many hours sharing ideas and reaching people throughout the world. They call it building my brand. I call it creating meaningful connections.

Building stronger relationships, Twitter introduced me to AskAsheville and gave me this unique forum to share my love of the Asheville community.

Rebecca & Charlie, Tomato Jam Café

Twitter also introduced me to the Tomato Jam Café, a Biltmore Avenue haven serving comfort food since 2005. Via regular tweets, the folks at Tomato Jam Café post food photos, and write Haiku. They share recipes and menu items. They praise their customers. They create online buzz and audience engagement... And with their clever tweets, they created a meaningful connection with me.

One day out of curiosity, I examined their online menu and discovered they made specially-prepared pot pies. “Could you make me a veggie pot pie?” I tweeted. They tweeted back “We WILL make you a pot pie. We will even pile it high. We will make it without meat. We will make it. Eat, eat, eat!”

I was hooked. By the time I called owners Charlie Widner and Rebecca Daun to place my order, they were like old friends. Shoot, thanks to the intimacy of Twitter, they were old friends. And trust me, the mile-high pot pie they made for me yesterday—they called it “Aloha-filled Veggie Pot Pie” in honor of my Hawaiian heritage—was the most delicious, satisfying meal I’ve had in a long time.

As I write this, I am finishing off one of their carrot cupcakes and remembering that decadently sinful brownie that I ate on the car ride home. With Twitter, Charlie and Rebecca posted a photo of my pie fresh from the oven. And now with the magic of Twitter I can tweet this story with the question, “Have you tried the delicious food at Tomato Jam Café?”

(@mscator welcomes your Twitter follow and posts Asheville sunrise photos daily off her blog

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Water Conservation Tips

Can I improve my toilet rather than throwing it away?

The short answer is yes, you can. I am a big fan of minimizing the amount of waste that goes into our local landfills. There are plenty of “do it yourself tricks” out there that can be more trouble than benefit. The good news is there are simple, effective, affordable options for improving the efficiency of your existing toilet. First let’s look at a couple things to consider;

1) If your current toilet uses more than 3.5 gallons of water per flush it’s probably best to go ahead and replace the whole toilet. You will recover the cost of buying a new toilet pretty quickly by replacing that old water monger, so just get rid of it.

2) If you have a pressured assist toilet it can not be modified.

One of the easiest ways to improve the water efficiency of a toilet is by converting it to a dual flush. I know this sounds complicated but trust me, it's not. The DualFlush Pro toilet conversion kit makes this easy to do and cost’s less than $55. This kit comes with everything you need to turn your existing toilet into a Dual Flush water saver, high efficiency toilet in about thirty minutes. 

The handle incorporates a dual function; push the lever one way for ½ flush to remove liquid waste or the other way for full flush to remove solid waste.
For a typical 1.6 gallon per flush toilet the kit is pretty much set up right out of the box to provide the expected 0.8 gallon half flush and 1.6 gallon full flush. Not all toilets are created equal. Some models will require some minor adjustments to the factory settings. These adjustments are simple with the Dual Flush Pro kit.


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Vote for Asheville Architect Daryl Rantis! (*Voting Starts March 2nd)

Friends... Daryl Rantis, Asheville architect along with his trusty side kick Robert Stenhouse have entered a house design in a national design competition that requires on-line voting. The deal is that half of the points for the contest will come from public and friends like you voting for our design (just like American Idol). The house is located in Chicken Hill and if we win it will be a big deal for Asheville.

To vote, you will have to go to the following link. Then you'll have to validate your vote through your email account. Please send the link to all of your friends so that we can get the jury's attention with lots of votes and views of our design.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Traffic Stopped on I-26

Traffic is slowed to a crawl on I-26 (or 19-23, as it's known to us oldsters) at exit 24, headed toward Asheville. It looks like a pretty serious wreck; fire trucks and police are on the scene. You may want to take an alternate route until it clears up-I'll post again when traffic is moving.

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I Am Grover, I Need A Forever Home

As you can see I am as cute as they come. I am a year and a half old Beagle who loves people and life. They say I was the runt of the litter. Not sure what they mean because I may be small in size but I have a huge personality. I am what you say "a big dog in a small package".

I am sweet and loving... specially with the ladies, although I like the guys too. I love all other dogs, they are great to play with, especially when the humans are busy.

My foster family has 4 other dogs and I especially love one of the Goldens... maybe because she is cute. I told you, I like the ladies. I follow them around and take naps close by them. But from time to time I also hang with the guys. They can be cool too.

I have a big voice and let you know what's up. If you let me loose I am gonna think you want me to explore and that I love to do; but I prefer to go walking and explore with my human friends.

I don't like to be alone at all. I get quite upset about it, but that's my only flaw and I'm working on it... I'm OK as long as I have someone with me, other dogs do just fine.

Check what they say about me at

Would you be my forever family? Please :-) I will love you so. Just meet me and you'll fall in love with me. Guaranteed!

Contact the Animal Compassion Network (828) 258-4820. The name is Grover :-)


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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Catastophic Failure of Asheville Water Line?

Are sections of Asheville's 130 year old water distribution system at risk of a catastrophic failure? Although it is possible it is highly unlikely.
I have received several inquiries in response to a post from a couple weeks ago so it seems a follow up would be appropriate. The chronic water main leak that was the topic of my blog post seems to have raised some concerns about the condition of the system. The attached video is of my most recent inspection on February 19, 2010.
As reported in my initial post this leak has been reoccurring over at least a six year period that I have been aware of it. At times the leak has been significantly greater than its current rate of approximately 200,000 gallons per year. As you can see in the video it has leaked aggressively enough and long enough to have eroded away a section of the earthen bank and large root structure of a tree directly in the spray path of the leak.  

The original water system in Asheville dates from the 1880s when Asheville constructed a reservoir on Beaucatcher Mountain, collecting water from various springs and branches. Pipes were laid and unfiltered water distributed by gravity flowed down into the town. The distribution system currently consists of approximately 1600 miles of piping, 32 pumping stations and 27 reservoirs. Some sections of the system are indeed very old. The leak that I refer to is from an exposed joint in a section of 24" diameter cast iron pipe with Lead packed joints. This is one of three primary transmission lines that feed from either the North Fork or Beetree reservoir.

Although Asheville water maintenance is aware of the leak and responds quickly to reports of an increase in the flow rate, repairs typically only last than a few weeks to a couple months.
This is by no means a unique condition. The probability of water distribution infrastructure failure is a growing concern throughout the country. I can assure that this leak in the Swannanoa valley is not the only one on the Asheville system nor is it the worst leak. It is however, visible; and thereby presents a consistent reminder of the need for greater attention to a very real problem that is not typically on the minds of most people.

Asheville has an annual budget of 5.8 million dollars for water system maintenance and improvements. The budget funds are derived from taxes and fees charged to commercial and residential water customers.

This past fall I had an opportunity to visit with Mayor Bellamy while attending the grand opening celebration of the Aqua Environmental Resource Center in West Asheville. Mayor Bellamy is a strong advocate for improving water efficiency throughout the region. I look forward to working with her further in developing community awareness programs.

Repairing the leak in Swannanoa would be quite an undertaking to say the least. I'd like to think this leak will be corrected in the near future, but after six years of monitoring, it doesn't seem to be a priority. I hope it doesn't take a catastrophic failure to become one. 


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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Asheville Custom Closets and Murphy Beds - Organize Your Life

Closet organizational systems are coming more and more into style as the "green" mentality sets in and we start making better use of our space, in addition to our time and lifestyle. In Asheville North Carolina, More Space Place offers some great "systems," meaning they are re-customizable for future changes in your closet organization. You can view the video below to see some of the useful space that can be gained from customizing your closet.

More Space Place in Asheville specializes in Custom Closets and Murphy Beds. This means that they are not a "we do everything" place where it is just one of their areas of service. They put 100% into perfecting these key areas, and they do it very well. Another thing to keep in mind is the materials that are being used. Many other companies use melamine and other inferior specs while More Space place uses 3/4" furniture grade premium melamine materials and wood products. They have 2 in-house Asheville crews so if there are any questions and concerns, you can deal directly with the store, and not with subcontractors outside the company.

You can contact Amanda at More Space Place by calling 828-665-9665.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Zip Line Canopy Tour North of Asheville

New Zip Line-Canopy Tour Coming to N.C. Mountains

Navitat Canopy Adventures building course just 20 minutes from Asheville

BARNARDSVILLE, N.C. - Imagine exploring a century-old forest from high among the treetops, watching a bird fly below as you traverse a sky-bridge, or gliding across a wide valley floor - all against the backdrop of western North Carolina's beautiful mountains.

NAVITAT CANOPY ADVENTURES is combining the exhilaration of a zip line tour with the educational experience of a Costa Rican rainforest-style canopy excursion to create a new outdoor adventure just 20 minutes north of downtown Asheville, N.C. Tours begin in mid-April.

"This is going to be an experience unlike anything you'll find in this part of the country," said Ken Stamps, Managing Partner of NAVITAT CANOPY ADVENTURES. "It will be thrilling and enlightening, and will give our guests a new perspective on their natural surroundings and, hopefully, on themselves."

Designed by Bonsai Design Inc., the leading canopy tour installer in the country, the course will be comprised of artfully constructed platforms nestled in the trees and connected by a series of sky-bridges, zip lines and rappels. Guests will be escorted at all times by experienced guides as they move through the course. The design is entirely tree-based and uses no poles or other structures to support the platforms and course features. Upon completion, the course will vary in height from 2 feet to more than 200 feet off the ground, and zip lines range from 50 feet to 1,100 feet in length.

The course is situated in Moody Cove, a 240-acre tract of forestland just north of Barnardsville. The site is home to forests of hardwoods -- some more than 100 years old -- native and rare plant species, streams and mountain wildlife.
"This course site is just awesome -- its size and topography, the views it provides, and just how pristine and peaceful it is," said John Walker, NAVITAT partner and president of Bonsai Design Inc. "We're taking great care in designing all the course elements so that we're not only highlighting the land's natural beauty, but also protecting it."

Environmental stewardship is one of NAVITAT's core values. The company commissioned a complete inventory of the site's natural resources and has established a management plan for non-native invasive plant species. Designers and builders are using sustainable practices and products in the construction of the course and Welcome Center, where guests can learn about the natural history of the area.

"From the moment they arrive, our guests can expect great service and a great adventure," said Dylan Burt, Partner and General Manager of NAVITAT. "We're excited to be introducing them to an amazing canopy-tour experience, whether they're looking for that adrenaline rush or just wanting to take in nature in a whole new way."

When fully operational, NAVITAT plans to employ approximately 30 staff members. NAVITAT tours begin in mid-April, but you can make reservations now at Tours last approximately 3 ½ hours, including orientation and ground school where you learn proper zip line techniques. Cost is $85 per person for adults, and $75 per person for children ages 10-16.

NAVITAT Canopy Adventures is a member of the Association for Challenge Course Technologies (ACCT), which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute. The company adheres to and exceeds all ACCT standards for construction, operations and training.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Lydia Carrington at (828) 231-1793 or

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How Local Should U Go Asheville? Part 2

Asheville Grown Business Alliance is a grassroots organization whose mission is to support independently owned businesses in the community, to continue growing a vibrant local economy while preserving the unique character of Asheville and to educate consumers on the critical importance of thinking locally first when considering the impact of national and global chains.

Over the past few decades we, as a society, have altered our consumer behavior.  The availability of goods and services produced around the world has shifted patterns in our communities and our environment, effecting the integrity and sustainability of local economies around the world.

For instance, as a consumer oriented, capitalist society, we are learning that cheaper is not always better. When the textile mills and the furniture factories closed down close to home, the Carolinas suffered greatly. The true cost of manufacturing these items cheaply became very expensive over time. With obesity rates increasing drastically, we are learning that some of the cheapest food eventually has a very expensive price.

We are also learning from previous failed attempts at urban renewal that the revitalization of downtowns can be a very viable and appealing alternative. In addition, by finding alternative energy sources, we are expanding our options for self-reliance and lessening our dependence on unstable countries in the Middle-East. Over the past ten years, through extensive research, we are seeing that local independent businesses recycle more money back into the local economy and give greater support to a community's civic, non-profit and employment needs. They are better positioned to respond to the special needs of the community and more tied to the community's future. Buy local campaigns are all about mobilizing all communities, here and abroad, to become as strong as possible through mutual support for the goal of self-reliance. Though we are currently focused on creating a dialogue and an educational platform in the Asheville community, we have reproduced the posters to be relevant to neighboring communities like Marshall and Black Mountain and are in collaboration with Franklin on developing similar awareness in their town.

Further, we want people to know that we are not telling anyone where or where not to shop, we are educating consumers on how much of a difference it makes to shift our defaults. Sometimes we shop at a chain because it is the fist place that comes to mind, it is our default, when, however, we realize how much of a positive effect it makes if we purchase that book at a locally owned and independent bookstore or get our meal at an independent restaurant, hopefully, our default will shift. We are letting consumers know that we are voting with our dollars when we make the choice of where to spend money. Every dollar spent at a locally owned and independent establishment is a vote to keep Asheville's independent spirit growing.
Billions of our tax dollars go to subsidize big business and state and local governments do very little to support the growth of small business, however, small businesses continue to thrive and comprise the lions share of the U.S. economy. Ninety-nine percent of all firms in the United States are small businesses, but national and global corporations dominate our culture, demand the vast majority of our tax dollars through subsidies and are largely responsible for profit driven instead of community driven motives.

Knowing that each purchase you make triggers a purchase of others, simple economics suggests there would be an advantage to keeping money circulating within a defined tax region. Community economics uses the multiplier effect to reveal the more times a dollar circulates within a geographic region and the faster it is exchanged without leaving the area, more wealth and jobs that are generated.

Studies have shown that if half the population spent $50 each month in a locally owned independent business $42.6 billion in revenue would be generated. Additionally, of every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the local economy whereas if spent at a chain only $43 returns and if spent online, nothing returns. Local independent businesses, by definition, recycle more money back into the local economy and give greater support to a community's non-profit and civic needs. They are better positioned to respond to the special needs of the community and more tied to the community's future.

Finally, we would like to point out that this is about more than economics; it is about a community that is learning how to meet most of its own needs with its own resources.

We would love to continue the dialogue and welcome any ideas, suggestions or questions.

Thank you,
Franzi Charen
Asheville Grown Business Alliance

Also See Part 1

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

GPI Asheville Spa - Buy 1 Get 1 Free?!

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (February 17, 2010) - For a limited time, The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa is offering local residents the perfect opportunity to relax and leave the stress of Western North Carolina's unseasonably cold winter behind. Local residents are now eligible for a "Buy One, Get One Free" deal at Grove Park's world class, subterranean Spa.

Local residents who buy one 80 minute spa treatment will get a treatment of equal or lesser value free. The offer is good until March 15, although availability is limited. Local residents must have a coupon in order to receive the "Buy One, Get One Free" special. To print a coupon, go to, then click Locals Only. 

The Grove Park Inn Spa received a 2009 "World's Best Award" from Travel & Leisure® magazine and was voted Best for Romance in 2009 by SpaFinder. The Spa is more than 43,000 square feet in size, 20,000 of which are amenities to enjoy before and after a treatment. Amenities include mineral pools with soothing underwater music, waterfall pools, exhilarating contrast pools, a lap pool, an inhalation room, sauna, a eucalyptus-infused steam room and outdoor hot tub.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Haiti Relief Benefit at Asheville Yoga Center

I love yoga. Well, that's a given. Know what else I love?

Asheville, of course.

Back in December I posted about how local Asheville yoga teachers and studios were reaching out to the community in a most inspiring way with classes and events to raise money and awareness for those less fortunate.

True to form, Asheville Yoga Center is getting off their asanas, so to speak, and holding some pretty amazing yoga workshops to benefit relief efforts in Haiti.

Check it out!

March 12 - 14, 2010
Suggested donations $20 - 30 per class (any amounts are appreciated)
No need to register, you can just show up.
All Levels Welcome

Here's the schedule:

Friday, March 12, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Sailing into Stillness: Introduction to Meditation and Pranayama with Brooke Sullivan

Saturday, March 13, 8:30 - 10:30 am
Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga: The Primary Series with Evaa Whitley

Saturday, March 13, 1:00 - 3:00 pm
Power through Trust: A Core Awakening with Anna Ferguson, (HOT class Forrest Yoga Style)

Saturday, March 13, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
Building a Strong Foundation: Therapeutics for the Lower Body with Mado Hesselink

Sunday, March 14, 9:00 - 11:00 am
Jivamukti Workshop on Hips: Resolving the Issues in Our Tissues - A Strategy for World Peace

Sunday, March 14, 1:30 - 3:30 pm

Yoga For Two: Partner Yoga with Lia Pardy

Click here or visit for more information including descriptions of these workshops.

Asheville has such a rich yoga community full of truly amazing teachers and students alike. I recommend taking advantage of all Asheville has to offer with these fabulous yoga workshops March 12-14th and also helping our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

"Yoga teaches that we are all one, all connected, all here to guide, teach and support each other in the process of being." -Seane Corn, Inspiring yoga teacher and founder of Off the Mat, Into the World outreach project

See you in class!


Lindsay Fields is currently teaching yoga in Asheville. For more information on yoga and Lindsay including her current class schedule, please visit

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Asheville... How Local can you go?

Yes, we do support the local Asheville scene in that we shop in the retail shops and eat at the local restaurants. We have had the pleasure of meeting many great local businesses in the Asheville and Western North Carolina area. When possible (and sensible) according to desires and budgets, we shop and dine locally. We love local Asheville and WNC food, crafted products, specialty items and companies.
What is "Asheville local" is the question? I mean we can get so gung ho local that common sense and reality is not taken into thought. For example, Atlanta Bread Company is not a "local franchise," but they do employ local people and even shop locally for many of their ingredients. Sure, just like any franchise they send a certain percentage (I believe it is 7%) of THEIR PROFITS to the corporation, but why is that our business? They pay their taxes, allow local Asheville families to live on the pay they make from working there, and support their local community. Can we not buy Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, Urban Outfitters, Dunkin Donuts, or eat at Red Lobster because they are not an Asheville based homegrown business? Please! Of course we can.

Asheville... How local can you go? Let's take a local business for example: Is the building they are doing business in locally built, with local materials, and run by locally grown people? Are the building materials made "Here in Asheville?" Did we make sure that no "Out of Towners" helped build it? Is everyone that is working in the store "Born and Raised" in Asheville NC? Oh, well maybe we are not so locally independent after all?! Is the a new form of the "Good Ole Boys Club" mentality being played on to exclude others and to promote superiority? Or is it just another carefully planned sales pitch being forced upon us?

What about the local music scene in Asheville? Are we not supposed to be supportive of other musicians that come to our area to perform? Then on the same note, should other US Cities not support music artists from Asheville when they go on tour outside AVL? Should people from other areas shun any products for sale that are from the Asheville area because it is not local to them? Of course not!! If AVL people should not shop anywhere that is not "Ultra Local," then in all fairness, maybe non-AVL people should not shop the local stores? How dare these "foreigners" come in MY LOCAL Asheville shop? This place is for MY PEOPLE! Go shop on your own turf and dine among your own people! "We survive locally!!!" We sometimes think. Hahahaha... Bad idea again! We do not (and could not) live to ourselves.

When can the local Asheville flag become ridiculous? What about when a restaurant goes out of business because they cannot stay competitive and make a profit while paying 50% more to have the "ultra local" stamp of approval on them. Should they just make it all local or die? How inhuman of you to think like that! But the locally grown and farm raised food (and local craft beer) tastes so much better and may be healthier! Yes, and it does to many of us also; but there may be others who may be willing to forfeit a little "taste" to put food on the table 5 nights instead of 3. Maybe not! On the other side of the coin, some rather go out to eat one time a month instead of 3 to make sure they have the "very local best" on their plate. We as people should be able to decide for ourselves, according to our budgets and preferences, and come to a fair decision on our own. Yes, if I can pay a similiar price for a local product of about the same of better quality, then bring it. If you want to sell me something for twice the price and half the quality, then I may just tell you to keep it. When it is labeled Asheville and it is comparable, by all means BUY IT!!! But, a sensible buying decision has to be made, whether the economy is good or bad; and whether it is local or imported.

Pride in being Asheville local and homegrown is cool... sort of a nice supportive community tone. But, when that tone becomes selfish, inconsiderate of others and does not take the whole big picture into view; it could end up hurting Asheville, other good businesses, and the local peeps & families behind them.

Oh... we personally tend to eat and shop AVL Local just about ALL of the time. But so what... even that does not make us better than anyone else. There are always 2 or more sides to the story. It is just a choice we have made. Asheville... How Local Can You Really Go?

***Also See Part 2

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Asheville and the Google Fiber Optic Network

Google is asking local governments and residents to express their interest in being a part of their fiber optic network trial. This network Google is proposing will enable internet speeds at over 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today.

Asheville is hoping to become one of Google's test markets for this amazing opportunity. If you would like to support this petitioning, please visit the following links:

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Asheville Mustard - Made With Beer - by Crooked Condiments

Hello, I am Chelsea Madison, one of three owners of Crooked Condiments. We make and bottle gourmet condiments which feature local ingredients. Our office/ kitchen is in North Asheville. The 3 owners of the business area: Chelsea Madison, Nick Barr, Lee Madison.

The idea started when my boyfriend Nick and I started talking about opening a farm to table restaurant in Asheville. Having both worked in restaurants for years, we knew the risks. So we came up with the idea
of making gourmet condiments. This way we can still focus on our love of food and use local ingredients. My mom, Lee, is the business savvy one who knew the steps to take to start and maintain a successful venture.

We started production in January 2009. Lee, my mom is from Asheville and I was born and raised in Asheville. Nick moved here in 2001 and fell in love everything Asheville, including me! My favorite things about Asheville or WNC are the mountains and beauty of the landscape, and of course the vibrant culinary scene. And who doesn’t want to live in Beer City USA?

Asheville is blessed with a strong and loyal community. That is obvious with the constant push to buy local. I am proud my community shops a tailgate markets, visits local galleries, and participates in annual charity events like Dining out for Life and Dine to be Kind. We are deeply invested in the sustainability of Asheville. Not only is our business local, we use local ingredients. “Asheville” is front and centered on every label because Asheville was the real inspiration for the business.

Name 3 other businesses in Asheville or WNC that you regularly network with and why: First is Highland Brewery. When we started experimenting with recipes we knew we wanted to use local beer. Highland Gaelic Ale was our first winner. They are amazing to work with and are always willing to cross promote. Asheville Brewing Company approached us and asked us to design a product with their beer. Ninja Porter Mustard is what we created. Since then we have worked together on a number of fun projects. Greenlife Grocery has also been fantastic. We do regular tastings there, and we participate in their tailgate market.

Cucina 24 was the first restaurant in town to use our products on their menu. The chef, Brian Canipelli, is
supportive and we are always amazed to see the many creative ways he uses our products. Martha Dugger designed our labels and logo! We always get compliments on both.

The top 3 products we offer and sell are: Gaelic Ale Mustard. Ninja Porter Mustard and Apple Butter. We started with mustard because I am allergic to peppers and Nick and my mom were quite practiced in finding new ways to give me a spicy fix.

Crooked Condiments - Tastes and Tales of Asheville.
PO BOX 18002 Asheville, NC 28804

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Asheville.. 2010 TEDx Teams Need PAID Videography Help and Volunteers

TEDX is coming to Asheville North Carolina and needs volunteer help in the following areas: Stage Direction, Marketing, Writing, Publicity, Outreach to 12-18 year-olds, Social Media/Blogging, Overflow Venue Management, Technical, Speaker Selection, Performers/Product Demos/Video, House, Hospitality, Website, Accounting, New Media/Social Media, Graphic Design

Sponsored by the TED conference but independently organized by local people, TEDxAsheville returns in 2010 after rave reviews and a sold-out show last summer at the Orange Peel. And it returns with double the fun: 2010 marks the debut of TEDxNextGenerationAsheville, a new event where young people present visions, passions and ideas for the future to an audience ready to be inspired.

See the full article on The Map

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Awesome Asheville Business Videos

First of all, we at AskAsheville have created a great YouTube video channel for you to enjoy. We are proud that these videos were created in the Asheville and WNC area, and taken as a non-profit resource for your enjoyment. Check out these Asheville Videos.

Skyland Distributing Company is a major beer and wine distributor in Asheville and the Western North Carolina area. They are a great team who works with many local AVL restaurants, grocery stores, bars, and nightclubs. They work "behind the scenes" for the most part, but their work in the community is regularly seen. Check out Skyland Distributing.

More Space Place in Asheville NC is a Murphy Bed and Custom Closet solution. Getting your home and belongings organized can put your life in order and make things so much easier. The people there are great to work with, unlike others they do not claim to "do it all" when it comes to construction and remodeling, but they specialize greatly in these areas of focus. Visit Asheville Custom Closets.

Mother and Son Bistro is an Asheville restaurant and bakery that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, pasties, coffees, and wonderful desserts. You can call it a hidden gem on the Northside in the Woodfin area. They have a great menu and the staff works hard to provide nice service in a comfortable atmosphere. Visit Mother and Son.

Asheville Maid is a residential and commercial cleaning service in the Asheville North Carolina area. Katie is passionate about gaining clients in the AVL area, doing a great job of keeping their home or office in order, and making long term clients out of them. She can do standard or green cleaning, or use your personal cleaning supplies as well. See Asheville Cleaning.

Highland Brewing Company in Asheville is one of the landmark breweries in the area. They are great networkers, have a large variety of locally brewed beer, and a staff that is ready to show you what they have to offer. They just recently made a signature beer for the Grove Park Inn called the Great Gatsby Abbey Ale. Highland has a even more great plans on the horizon in the Asheville area. See Highland Brewing.

Pomodoros Cafe is an Italian and Greek restaurant in Asheville North Carolina on the East and South side of town. Their food is tremendous and the service is exceptional. Friends of ours have been "secret shoppers" there for many years and every experience was 90% or above. Tommy and his crew work hard to make your meal awesome. See them here at Pomodoros Cafe.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

NC Stage - Asheville Comedy 'True West'

Asheville, NC – North Carolina Stage Company has added five performances to the run of True West, due to strong advance sales.  The comedy opens February 17th, and now runs for four weeks, through Saturday March 13. 

Tickets went on sale Monday February 8th for the additional performances, which are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30pm and one Saturday matinee at 2:00pm 

NC Stage has been watching advance ticket sales for True West, and decided to extend the run of the show this week.  The theatre typically sells about 20%-30% of its available seats before opening night; advance sales for True West are already over 50% of capacity.  

Asheville actors Charlie Flynn-McIver and Scott Treadway play estranged brothers in Sam Shepard's acclaimed comedy True West.  This brilliant and dangerous comedy premiered in 1980 and established Sam Shepard as a master of American theatre. The play also features Lance Ball and Kay Galvin, and is directed by Angie Flynn-McIver, cofounder and Producing Director of NCSC. 

Tickets for True West are $16-$26.  Tickets for Wednesday March 10th are $20, with half the proceeds benefiting Signal FM 90.5 in Haiti. 

North Carolina Stage Company is Asheville's professional non-profit theatre, presenting a year-round season of classic and contemporary plays, plus community-centered programs like the grassroots Catalyst Series and No Shame Theatre. NC Stage's 2009-2010 Season is sponsored by Blueprints for Business, The Colorful Palate Catering, Elizabeth Keel, PLLC, Imaging Technologies, the North Carolina Arts Council, Treadshots Photography.  Onstage Playbill Sponsors are Charlotte Street Computers and Wick and Greene Jewelers. 

Tickets are available at 828-239-0263 or, as well as the Pack Place ticket counter.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Asheville Chamber partners w/ Young Professionals

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the Young Professionals of Asheville (YPA) and the Chamber have entered into a partnership to deliver the finest development opportunities for our community's future leaders. To celebrate this new relationship, the Chamber and YPA will be hosting a celebration for Asheville's young professionals on February 18, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Visitor Center at the Chamber Building.

"The partnership with the Young Professionals of Asheville is an exciting opportunity for the Chamber to provide leadership and professional development opportunities for Asheville's future leaders," said Rick Lutovsky, President of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. "Many Chambers nationwide find that young professional programs in their communities serve as a training ground for advancing these individuals into the leaders that our small businesses, corporations, and organizations need."

The YPA program is focused on business networking, personal growth, leadership development, and social interaction for individuals in the Asheville area between the ages of 21 and 40. Any young professional in the area is welcome to participate in YPA programs with discounted program rates offered to Chamber members and their employees. "Partnering with the Chamber will allow YPA to reach many more young professionals in our community and create opportunities that we would not be able to accomplish independently," said Grant Gosch, President of YPA, and Director of Business Development at First Light Solar.

The celebration on February 18 will showcase some of the many talents of Asheville's young professionals. The Colorful Palate will be providing hors d'oeuvres, Short Street Cakes will provide dessert, and Craggie Brewing Company will be providing local craft beer for the reception. For more information on the celebration please visit

Large sink hole @ Pomodoros Cafe in East Asheville

The Power Of Water!
On my way down US70 in East Asheville today I was surprised to find this rather large sink hole in the parking lot adjacent to Pomodoros Cafe. Most likely the result of a failed storm drain system under the asphalt parking lot. The hole is at least 10 feet in diameter and 8 to 10 feet deep. Appears no cars were parked at the location when the cave in occurred. I'm not certain when the sink occurred; has anyone heard of this already?

Be mindful where you park.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Do we practice what we preach?

Asheville is the largest purveyor of water in the Western North Carolina region. If you visit the City of Asheville official website you can find a lot of information about the city’s commitment to water conservation and some pretty helpful educational resources. My question is; are they practicing what they’re preaching? From a public perspective it would appear so. As you take a closer look you may begin to wonder about the sincerity of their effort. An example of what I’ve seen recently is indeed ironic. Within the past couple weeks I had visited the Asheville Water Maintenance Dept. While there I visited the bathroom facilities in the male locker room. As soon as I entered the room I heard the familiar sound of “a leak”. After spending 30 plus years in the plumbing trade I have what is called a plumber's ear; I notice audible leaks that most people wouldn't. What I found in this bathroom was antiquated to say the least.

-Every faucet had aerators that blasted out 3 gallons or more per minute
-One of the two toilets was a 3 to 5 gallon per flush water hog that had a leaking flapper therefore it was constantly running (this was the leak I heard)
-The shower-heads had not been upgraded

A toilet with a silent leak can waste as much as 7000 gallons of water per month. An audible leak can waste 25,000 gallons or more per month.

From what I have seen this is indicative of most city managed/owned buildings including schools. The city is preaching to the community about water conservation but has been very slow to upgrade there own facilities? Herein lies the problem from my perspective; It’s the “Do as I say not as I do” and the “It’s not my problem” mentality that are our biggest hurdles.

Asheville has a long history of being at the forefront of water efficiency in the region. I was first enlightened to this in a conversation with former Asheville Mayor Leni Sitnick. A couple years ago during a conversation she very proudly reminisced on some of the groundbreaking (at the time) efforts and ingenuity the City had demonstrated in the 70’s and 80’s. Recently Asheville has provided water conservation kits to its residents at no charge. Certainly on the outside Asheville seems to be “leading” the way to water efficiency.

-Have you ever seen a water leak on the street but didn’t bother to report it?
-Do you shave in the shower?
-How often do you pour the leftover pot of coffee down the drain?
-Do leave the lights on in a room when no one is there?
-Do you capture the water from the faucet or shower while you wait for the water to get hot, then use it to water plants or fill the pet bowl or flush the toilet?
-How many pairs of shoes do you own?
-Do you buy locally grown foods at your local farmers market?
-Do you buy bottled water?

It is very easy to talk about how to improve water and energy efficiency but most of us find it much more difficulty to take the action necessary to do it. Truth is the most effective means to help preserves this precious natural resource is available to everyone and best of all, it’s free. Changing our habits is the first step to creating sustainable change. If we don’t commit to changing ourselves we are not going to fix the problem.

I’d like to hear about your water conservation efforts or help you learn how to make simple changes that can make a difference.
Reply to: AquaPro


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Asheville Yoga: What's the Buzz?

Adi Westerman and Janet Horn are bringing the health benefits of yoga to the hot sweaty masses in Asheville.

They Don’t Mess Around

It’s hot. No really, really, seriously hot. I am wearing as little clothing as possible in a public place, standing about 3 feet away from another scantily clad individual with a nervous look on his face. We’re sweaty, we’re thirsty and we are secretly planning our escape. And this is yoga?

Not Your Mama’s Yoga Class
Bikram Yoga, also known as Hot Yoga, has developed quite a buzz in the global yoga community these days. Now folks here in Asheville are experiencing it for themselves. This particular branch of Hatha Yoga, or the physical form of yoga, founded by its namesake Bikram Choudhury, is performed in a room heated to around 105 degrees. A highly disciplined practice, students practice the same 26 yoga poses, 2 breathing exercises and 2 sets of each in every class.

By now you have most likely heard about the health benefits of yoga practice but perhaps not so sure about the intimidating 105 degrees? Bikram Yoga Asheville owner, Janet Horn says, “Just try it. While it’s not for everyone, the heat has many benefits." The sky high temperatures of a Bikram Yoga class not only helps to acclimate your body to heat (helpful when coping with hot flashes) and allows you to move safely and deeper into the body (great when dealing with injury) it also can be quite empowering and add quality to your life, increased self esteem leading to healthier lifestyle and eating habits according to Janet. Other reported benefits include relief from symptoms of asthma, chronic pain, high blood pressure and rosacea of the skin.

What’s Resolution Got To Do With It?
February 1st, the folks at Bikram Yoga Asheville kicked off their 60 Day Challenge where practitioners will complete 60 yoga classes in 60 days. Whew!

Want to know more? Check out this article recently featured in O, The Oprah Magazine about one woman’s 60 Day Total Life Makeover which included a Bikram 60 Day Challenge. And here is a follow up article.

More Resources
-Bikram Yoga Asheville’s website with class schedule and information for beginners.
-Here is what you can expect at your first Hot Yoga Class.
-More yoga classes in Asheville.

But don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself and I’ll see you in class!

Lindsay Fields

Lindsay Fields
is currently teaching yoga at Anytime Fitness in West Asheville and South Asheville Yoga Studio. For more information on yoga and Lindsay including her current class schedule, please visit

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

PR Pros connect for "A Sweet Success"

To get one's just desserts, public relations experts know that in 2010, the sweetness lies in connecting, not competing for success.

The Public Relations Association of Western North Carolina continues to embrace cutting edge practice and provide exceptional networking opportunities for industry executives throughout the region. As members respond to sweeping changes in information delivery and monetization, an emphasis on sharing knowledge and building trust has emerged.

This month, PRAWNC joins chocolatier Jael Rattigan of French Broad Chocolate Lounge in an after-hours event that reders traditional grip-and-grin networking passe' on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 5:30 p.m. The cost is $12; the event is open to members and guests who RSVP by February 4.

Of course, Rattigan - whose impeccable palette and handcrafted chocolates are legend - has particularly handchosen artisanal chocolates for the gathering. Guests will sample pots de creme, salted honey caramel, and coconut macaroon with a chocolate grenache kiss. Complementary locally roasted French press coffee will accompany the treats.

Guests may also order signature liquid truffle hot sipping chocolates, local draught beer, small production wines, organic loose-leaf teas, and gift chocolates at the counter.

Ingeniously, the real "bon bon" of the evening isn't semi-sweet, it's semi-structured. Unique networking activities ensure that all comers walk away with real connections to others who celebrate and appreciate all things public relations, says Rachel Miller, vice president of PRAWNC.

"After all, isn't success sweeter when it's mutual and covered in chocolate?" Find out more.

The Public Relations Association of Western North Carolina hosts "Sweet Success" at The French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Asheville, Thursday, Feb. 11, at 5:30 p.m., the cost is $12 for members and guests and includes chocolates and French Press coffee. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge is located at 10 South Lexington Ave. For more information or to RSVP by Feb. 4, contact Rachel Miller at

Sherri L. McLendon is a freelance writer, blogger, and communications consultant online at Email her directly at, or read her media blog at

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Carolina Pediatric Therapy Opens New Office

The staff of Carolina Pediatric Therapy Associates are settling into their new offices in South Asheville. The new space features more rooms for employees to conduct physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions, as well as a large gym-style room in which clients can receive services. The big room features such tools as a ball pit and swings, making therapy fun for young clients. A quiet, serene waiting room lets parents relax in comfort while their children are back with the therapist.

In addition to providing therapy in the new expanded office space, Carolina Peds continues to provide in-home therapy services as well.

The new office is located just off Hendersonville Rd. near the intersection with Long Shoals Rd., less than 15 minutes from downtown Asheville. For more information, call (828) 670-8056 or visit their website at

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