Carolina Rising

Charleston Socialite Digs Her Heels Into Asheville's Fashion Scene

By Melanie McGee Bianchi

On the cusp of 2013, matchy-matchy is outmoded enough to prompt a blush. From magazine-worthy interior design to red carpets near and far, fashion today is all about the high-low mix. 

Done well, that could look like wedge sneakers paired with a tweed pencil skirt, or an Army/Navy-surplus belt cinched around a slinky cocktail dress. In retail, it translates to crème designers who, by now, are almost expected to release affordable lines in chain stores. (The latest: Narciso Rodriguez for Kohl’s, which debuts this month.)

Teased geographically, the high-low concept manifests this month when stylist/socialite Ayoka Lucas, creator and director of Charleston Fashion Week, leaves the Low Country to spend a weekend high in the mountains, making a red-carpet appearance on November 3 at Asheville’s MG Road cocktail lounge on Wall Street.

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Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:22PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

Hammer Down

Construction Veeran Doesn't Need Any Help at Home Depot

Story and Photo by Naomi Johnson

Name: Robin Clark

Age: 53

Occupation: Construction Supervisor, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

Lives in: Waynesville

Robin Clark, in her hardhat and tool belt, stands silhouetted against the sky atop the open framing of the house at Carney Place, tapping the last roof truss into place before the lunch break. She’s in her element, surrounded by the raw yellow gleam of fresh lumber and its tangy smell, the screech of circular saws and the boom of hammers. 

Clark, a Nashville native and professional carpenter for more than a quarter century, has worked on projects with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity for the last seven years, supervising their all-female Women Build projects; this summer, she signed on as a full-time Construction Supervisor for new homes, one of only three who oversee all of Habitat’s local homebuilding projects.

Seems like a lot of girls grow up without ever even getting to try operating a power tool. I know I did.

Well, I was a tomboy growing up, so I ran around with the little boys in the neighborhood. One of the boys had his father’s shop and we’d go over there and pound nails – roofing nails, ’cause they have the big head. We’d hammer those. I built a treehouse – that I promptly fell out of. I wasn’t afraid of climbing. And once I started, I wanted to prove that I could do it. 

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Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:20PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

At Attention 

Local Program Manager Engages Mounting Crises for Women Veterans

By Byron Ballard

Photo by Sherry Rambin

At 9 o’clock in the morning, the lobbies of the Charles George VA Medical Center are full of people, but the sound is oddly subdued. Staff members walk about in scrubs. Men and women—mostly middle-aged or older – carefully navigate between seating areas. Some patients seem settled in, reading the newspaper, drinking coffee, talking softly to one another. Mountain accents are prevalent in the soft talk, and the polite response of “yes, sir” is as much Southern manners as it is old military training.

A bright poster of the familiar Uncle Sam figure dominates one wall. He issues a practical demand: I Want You To Take Your Blood Pressure Medicine! 

Sharon West is the hospital’s Women Veterans Program Manager. Her office is behind Primary Care Clinic Three and across the hall from the new Women’s Health Clinic, which opened last month. 

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Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:18PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

A Write Turn

Scholastic Writers-In-Residence Program Puts a Mic on Literacy Issues

By Sherri L. McLendon

Photo by Matt Rose

In Asheville, school-aged students who struggle with literacy now have dedicated champions. Co-founded by Janet Hurley — a freelance writer who also runs True Ink, an extracurricular program for school-age writers – and Tamiko Ambrose Murray, Asheville Writers in the Schools connects working writers with young people without preference or access based on economics. 

Murray is a published short-story writer with an extensive teaching and research background. She is program coordinator for LEAF in Schools & Streets, an ambitious outreach effort associated with the wildly successful Lake Eden Arts Festival. Hurley and Murray were inspired by the National Writers in the Schools Alliance to create programming and place professional writers into Asheville’s public-school classrooms. Their talks started in 2010 and bore fruit a year later. (Boosted by professional and financial support from Asheville City Schools and its partner nonprofit, the Asheville City Schools Foundation, AWITS became its own nonprofit this month.) 

This summer, one year after the program’s initiation, three residencies were held to support student writers, including a one-week residency at Burnsville’s Centro de Enlace, involving bi-lingual students. A benchmark bilingual anthology culled from the experience, Cuentos de Enlace, was just published.

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Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:15PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments1 Comment | References4 References

Beak Here Now

Everything I need to KNow in Life I Learned From My Chickens

By Ashley English

Photo by Naomi Johnson

While many folks turn to astrology or scripture or even fortune cookies to glean tidbits of wisdom for how to best navigate the sometimes-rocky terrain of this life, I turn to my fine feathered friends. Time and time again, I’ve learned poignant, enduring life lessons from my flock of laying hens and my handsome rooster. Their antics have provided countless laughs, sudden insight, constant intrigue – and profound confusion. Mostly, though, after a visit to the birds, I gain clarity and some takeaway bit of enlightenment.

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Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:13PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments1 Comment | References6 References
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