Category: Community


c161c546-7783-4ddb-a447-650937707ce7-missionrally_08052020_031(Asheville Citizen-Times)  Kate McGee had worked all night — from 6:45 p.m. to 7:15 a.m.  at Mission Hospital in a Copestone behavioral health unit on the St. Joseph’s campus. She got off the morning of Aug. 5 knowing she had to be back that night for the same shift, but instead of going home to bed, she headed to the corner of Biltmore Avenue and Hospital Drive to join dozens of other registered nurses from Mission Hospital in protest. “This is too important to not show up,” she said.

The RNs were doubling down on a call for more staff and other patient safety measures as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge. Mission Health — which operates Mission Hospital along with five other hospitals in Western North Carolina and numerous clinics — has hit record numbers repeatedly for inpatients with COVID-19 over the past month.

Administrators have made assurances that the system has adequate resources and staffing. But Mission Hospital RNs delivered a letter to hospital administration July 10 calling for an increase to staffing to manage a situation they said had become dangerous. The letter said the conditions at the hospital were “such that patient care is suffering” and demanded that Mission hire more full- and part-time RNs and support staff. The nurses said they did not feel as though their requests were adequately addressed. So, they gathered on a public sidewalk outside the Asheville hospital to make that known.

Read the complete report by Mackenzie Wicker HERE>

c23797fd-5c72-401d-8dfa-ba2b59c38db9-ingles_01(Asheville Citizen-Times) The Centers for Disease Control says face coverings “are a critical tool” against the spread of COVID-19. But to mask or not has become a politically charged question. Most visibly, this powder-keg debate is happening in one of the few places where the public still congregates, the grocery store.

A wave of stores are promising to enforce state and countywide mandates that require customers to wear face coverings, but with media largely shut out and little to no government checks in place, accountability for those policies is virtually impossible.

The Citizen Times asked to observe customer and employee mask compliance at local grocery stores. Almost all refused. Though all of the stores the Citizen Times contacted say they require masks to shop, only the French Broad Food Co-Op said it would allow a reporter to verify the claims.

Read the full story by Mackensy Lunsford, and how local grocery stores responded HERE.

dafce346-37f2-4437-b2d5-8c7ea2675208-protests_night2_005(Asheville Citizen-Times) A Confederate monument memorializing Zebulon Baird Vance towers 65 feet over Park Square in downtown Asheville.

The Buncombe County native it honors was North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War, a slave owner and a documented racist. For years, people have debated whether a tribute to him should hold such a prominent place in Asheville. Several ideas have been floated, ranging from providing historic contextualization at the monument to outright removal.

In response to widespread demonstrations and calls for racial justice, Confederate monuments are once again coming down in the South — both toppled by crowds and removed by officials’ design — in places like in Birmingham, Alabama; and Richmond, Virginia.

Read the full story by Mackenzie Wicker HERE>

30a6a0f4-fbdc-4ba1-9281-504a0504ecf5-medium16x9_snoenforcement.transfer_frame_0(WLOS News 13)  Two local sheriffs have joined several others across the state in saying they will not enforce Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay home order.

The Polk County Sheriff Timothy L. Wright said while deputies have the responsibility to respond to complaints, they will not be charging any individual, business or religious organization that violates the order.

Graham County Sheriff Joseph W. Jones also said he will not enforce the order, saying in part, “This is an effort to help some of our folks to recover and give our citizens an opportunity to go eat inside while sitting with family, friends and/or coworkers.”

Read the full report HERE>

 

hannah_randall_manna_asheville_2020-768x554-1(Ashevegas)  The main floor of Manna FoodBank’s warehouse in Asheville is a beehive of activity as scores of staff and volunteers pack, load and wrap food for distribution. Boxes, pallets, and forklifts still abound, but the vibe has changed.

In her office, Manna CEO Hannah Randall shifts in her chair. The data points she sees on her computer screen are staggering. The pandemic has amplified the scope of poverty and hunger in Western North Carolina like nothing before.

The data is also forcing a stark realization that both sourcing and logistics must be reimagined on the fly. Randall estimates that to meet the spike in demand for Asheville and Buncombe County in coming months, Manna will need to distribute at least 508,968 pounds of food each month representing more than 424,140 meals.

Read the full report HERE>