Is it spring yet?
Seems the balmy weather in January and February gave everyone early spring fever. I will certainly be ready to gather up some crocuses and drink a (local) beer in the sun as soon as the mercury climbs a few more degrees.
Any spring brings optimism, but I feel there’s a bit more hopeful anticipation built into this one. The economy is picking up. And finally, after a few tough years, the jobs picture is looking brighter. In February, the Labor Department said American employers had substantially stepped up hiring through January, bringing the unemployment rate down for five months in a row. No surprise: those economic trends affect fashion. After years of recession-era dressing—in drab colors and toned-down styles—the trends for spring and summer 2012 come in playful patterns and bright colors (see page 38). We interviewed local women and boutique owners for their take.
Other signs of optimism: Our cover girl Lucy Crown, Buncombe County’s park and greenways planner, is convinced this is the year that county government will boost greenways in a big way, building trails that connect our existing pathways (see page 34). Ultimately, people could bike or walk from, say, Asheville to Marshall, on a safe path. The Connect Buncombe plan could require millions of dollars for two main projects, but Crown is working with a “dream team” of planners and environmental advocates, she says. And, a shake-up on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners this fall could prompt a fresh look at greenways funding.
I was tickled to see 16-year-old Eleonore Karlsson working on a shoot with Asheville photographer Zaire Kacz (see Behind the Scenes, page 10), and to hear that our other photogs have been mentoring young people, too. Apparently, there’s an aspiring photographer in my family. Thanks to my youngest sister, Callie McCuan, for the photo on this page.
Does the future look bright? It does with steady job growth and a city full of ambitious young creative types. I think we should all drink to that.