(Asheville Citizen-Times) A deal passed in a split vote Tuesday night doesn’t seek to recover funding spent on what Chairman Brownie Newman called “frankly, poor decisions,” but it could move officials past a longstanding dispute over how to use money that was promised to fund new construction at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and nothing more.
That’s despite the fact that Buncombe County transferred more than $15 million of the revenue to its own coffers and later used the money to pay employees, including corrupt administrators Greene and Jon Creighton, and to fund operational needs long before commissioners voted to expand the use of the tax.
Newman and commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Amanda Edwards voted against the proposal Tuesday night. Dissenting commissioners said the county should take more time to deliberate an official vote on the deal, which falls short of a $130 million plan for new construction that was pitched to voters during the 2011 referendum. They also acknowledged the handling of the tax has damaged relations between the county and A-B Tech — and the public.
(Asheville Citizen-Times) I did indeed ask Asheville Police Department spokeswoman Christina Hallingse for crime stats at Asheville Outlets going back five years, and she delivered. Keep in mind that the Outlets opened in May 2015, so the data from 2014-April 30, 2015 is for the previous tenants or unfinished property.
“Thirteen percent (220 calls) involved shoplifting, larceny and business breaking and entering, crimes consistent with major retail areas,” Hallingse said. “Of these calls for service 0.3 percent of incidents (six total incidents) are categorized as violent crimes —rape, homicide, robbery and aggravated assault.”
Hallingse also noted that Asheville Outlets is located within the Police Department’s Adam District, which encompasses West Asheville.
(Jennifer Bowman) More than $400,000 of sales tax revenue that officials said would fund only new construction at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College instead was diverted to pay county employees, including corrupt administrators Wanda Greene and Jon Creighton.
Buncombe government also began using the revenue to pay for A-B Tech operations long before county commissioners decided to expand use of the tax.
Records released to the Citizen Times show none of the nearly $16 million transferred to the county’s own coffers was spent on capital projects. That amounts to about 20 percent of all revenue generated by the tax, a pot of money that community leaders promised would fund a $130 million building plan at A-B Tech when they pitched it to county voters almost eight years ago.
(Black Mountain News) Before the 2009 release of “One Second After,” which would go on to hold a spot on “The New York Times” Best Seller list for 12 weeks on its way to selling over a million copies, few people were aware of what life might look like in the aftermath of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.
Author and Montreat College history professor and faculty fellow William Forstchen painted a detailed portrait, set in his hometown of Black Mountain, depicting the struggles modern society would face moving forward in a world devoid of electricity.
In his newest novel, “48 Hours,” Forstchen examines humanity in the hours before an eminent extinction level event.
(Carolina Journal) Enrollment at Western Carolina University is at a record high now that a low-tuition plan for select University of North Carolina schools is in effect.
WCU’s enrollment has spiked to 11,028. That’s almost 800 students more than were enrolled this time last year. Republican lawmakers link the growth to N.C. Promise, a $500 per semester tuition plan for in-state students. The plan also dropped out-of-state tuition to $2,500 a semester.
N.C. Promise became law in 2016. The cut-rate tuition applies to Elizabeth City State University and UNC Pembroke, in addition to WCU. State legislators invested $51 million in the program. Their main goal was to improve enrollment at some of North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, although only ECSU chose to participate in NC Promise.