Woodfin – Woodfin residents are asked to restrict their water usage. For now, car washes, lawn watering and other non-essential water use is prohibited within the town of Woodfin. Approximately 500,000 gallons of supplemental water is being purchase from the city of Asheville daily to increase water levels at a cost of roughly $3 per 1,000 gallons.
“We have essentially gone four months without rain, and we can see the even the trees are showing it by dropping the leaves already,” said Woodfin Sanitary Water and Sewer District Director Joe Martin.
The supplemental water purchase means a mandatory restriction of water for Woodfin. The mandatory restriction is considered a “Level 2” in terms of the Woodfin response plan and has a variety of water restriction for residents. Level 3 is considered an emergency restriction, set for water levels of 18 feet below and coinciding with critical levels in Asheville.Read more...
Water levels are down 13 feet, according to Martin. “When levels get down 15 to 16 feet, that’s when it gets really hard to treat,” he said at the Woodfin Sanitary Water and Sewer District Board of Trustees meeting held Monday, Sept. 20.
“We lost about 6 feet of water in a month and we’ve had zero rain,” Martin continued. Martin explained to board members how a lack of water in recent months has caught up to the treatment plant and caused the need for help from the City of Asheville.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve had to do this,” said Sarah Gassaway, chair of the board of trustees. According to Martin, 2011 was the last time Woodfin was forced to tap into the supplemental water from Asheville.
Woodfin has a contract with the city of Asheville for such occasions. According to Martin, Woodfin has a contract to purchase 2 million gallons per day if necessary. “We’ve never purchased anything remotely close to that amount of water,” Martin said.
Don Haynes asked Martin, during the Monday meeting, about the cost of water when purchasing from the City of Asheville. “It’s not cheap, but it depends on the amount we buy,” said Martin. “The more we buy, the cheaper it is, because we pay a fixed charge at the meter and just to have access to the water, plus we pay per 1,000 charges we use. The charge goes down the more we use,” Martin explained.
The board discussed some changes to the water color as a consequence of the low water levels, but recognized the alterations weren’t a safety concern.
“Our reservoir has gotten pretty low,” said Martin. “With our lake being lower, the water may have a bit of color to it, but that’s just dissolved iron,” he explained. In addition, the city of Asheville is down as well, but not at what would be considered a critical level, said Martin.
With the influx of city water, Martin explained, the water color should return to normal quickly.
“We have had a rainfall crisis this summer, definitely, the worse since I’ve been here,” said Martin. “All of our rainfall came in January through April and, in May, it started to lessen. We had virtually no rain in June and July at the treatment plant,” said Martin.
By Heather Berry
Weaverville – A Fairfield Hotel proposal from Blue Ridge Hospitality has passed the first hurdle for the construction of a four-story, 103-room hotel at 166 Weaverville Boulevard, behind McDonald’s and Bojangles. Monday’s Weaverville Zoning Board of Adjustment agreed to the plan with a few conditions, before moving to town council next week for final approval.Read more...
Conditional approval came after a public hearing on the proposal, where several Alexander Road residents questioned different aspects of the hotel, which would border property lines. A traffic study was deemed unnecessary because possible traffic provisions have already been created in recent years on Weaverville Boulevard.
“Alexander Road is a residential street, and I’ve lived there for 43 years,” said Debbie Shelton, who lives on a property bordering the proposed hotel. “I like living on a dead-end street, but I know we have had situations with that property where people cut through the fence to get to McDonald’s.” Shelton described some security problems in terms of younger people cutting through the Alexander Road fencing to get to the stores on Weaverville Boulevard and she expressed concern the situation would worsen with a hotel. “We have several elderly folks who live on our street and I am worried for them,” she added.
Board members addressed the concerns with some discussion about provisions for fencing. Conditions of approval for the hotel include a 20-foot-buffer with plantings and a well-maintained fence to divide the property from residents living on Alexander Road. The trees or shrubs must be 4-feet-tall when planted and grow to 6-feet-tall within five years. In addition, other conditions included some clarification regarding a water meter and the possibility of two roads, as opposed to a single entrance/exit.
The discussion became contentious when property owner Bernie Edwards defended his decision to sell to Blue Ridge Hospitality.
“I’ve paid taxes on this property, $16,000 per year, for 25 years,” said Edwards. “I get upset about this, but will try to stay calm,” he continued. “I’ve tried to be a good steward for this town, paid my taxes and paid them on time. These people here are fussing and quarreling about lights and things bothering them, but will they be back quarreling about their taxes when there’s no revenue coming in?”
The board closed the public hearing and voted unanimously to approve the hotel proposal with the above conditions.
FFA gives students a broader reach
By Heather Berry
NBHS – North Buncombe High School’s FFA and FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) won third place for the fair booth they co-created for the North Carolina Mountain State Fair. Students and faculty, however, want residents to check out everything FFA students are contributing for this year’s state fair. Read more...
The fair offers a glimpse into the evolution of the FFA as a way for students to improve on a variety of skillsets from organization to leadership.
“FFA has helped me with so much,” said Caleb Burnette, reporter for the North Buncombe High School FFA. “My freshman year, I was scared and to talk to people and groups. Now, it’s easy for me to get in front of a class and say what I have to say.”
“I remember Caleb as a freshman, and he was so shy, he wouldn’t talk to anyone,” said Kathy Reese, career development coordinator for special populations and instructional management through CTE (Career and Technical Education).
“The FFA is one of the most active groups when it comes to keeping things in the public eye,” said Reese. “They have a huge parent support group and alumni, along with tons of opportunities to interact and compete in other places with other FFA students all year long,” Reese continued.
Justin Gillespie is the FFA advisor for North Buncombe High School and has worked in an advisory role for the past 11 years. “The FFA’s motto refers to leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education, and I think that sums up our goals,” said Gillespie.
Some parents are pushing students to join FFA for these confidence-instilling skills. “My parents wanted me to join for the leadership,” said sophomore Ally Pack, who is a new member of the FFA. A self-described shy person, Pack said her parents hope FFA will draw her out of her shell a little. Pack has already competed at the FFA state convention with the memorization of the FFA creed. In addition, for the first time, Pack is showing her goat, “Scruff,” at the fair.
Today’s FFA programs aren’t like the programs from 20 years ago. The FFA, while still focused on promoting agriculture, emphasizes leadership, small business management, entrepreneurial skills, environmental studies and more.
“I really like the people in the FFA,” continued Burnette. “I seem to get along with the FFA kids better than other groups,” he added.
While Burnett’s family has a history of tobacco farming, he said the benefits of being an FFA member today run deeper than learning farming. “My Papaw farmed tobacco,” said Burnette. “I’m planning on attending N.C. State for agricultural engineering.”
According to Gillespie, one of FFA’s main goals is to make sure students are ready for the working world, but also appreciate of the role agriculture plays in everyone’s lives. “We want our students to be successful in any role they play, but we also want them to be aware of the importance of agriculture,” he explained.
Gillespie believes it’s important to society, not just North Buncombe High School students, to understand the source of all food and clothing. “Our food doesn’t come from a machine in the back of Ingle’s,” said Gillespie. “A lot of people don’t realize this and it’s a concern,” he added.
With advancements in technology, said Gillespie, the role of agriculture is expanding. “From agricultural engineering to plant geneticists, there are aspects of today’s agriculture that many people don’t think of as agriculture.”
FFA students from NBHS are involved a variety of state fair events including the tractor pull, animal husbandry and showmanship, cooking competitions, sewing competitions and more. According to Gillespie, more than 25 NBHS students will be involved in livestock shows throughout the fair.
For all its modern adjustments, the FFA still allows students to learn about the basics of agriculture. “This year, I’m excited about the “Moo-ternity Booth,” where you can go and see cows giving booth,” said Caleb Burnette, reporter for the North Buncombe High School FFA. “We will be in charge of that booth some of the nights of the fair.” According to Burnette, a licensed veterinarian will also be on the scene.
In addition, NBHS FFA students will work the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Products booth, helping to promote the North Carolina dairy industry.
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