More of what’s going around:

-The North Carolina General Assembly moved closer on Tuesday to approving a bill that would force members of Asheville City Council to be elected by separate districts. Listen to Blue Ridge Public Radio’s report here. Also Tuesday, City Council held a public hearing on the issue as it moves to put the issue on the November ballot in the form of a referendum.

-Speaking of Blue Ridge Public Radio, check out my interview with News Director Matt Bush regarding City Council’s recent approval of an affordable housing project and a discussion of what “affordable” means in Asheville.

-Asheville City Council on Tuesday approved an additional $6 million for a big infrastructure project in the River Arts District after construction bids came in much higher than expected last month.

-A big tree at the intersection of Haywood Street and Patton Avenue, and in front of the Haywood Street Congregation church, appears to be dead. That makes me sad, because it’s one of downtown’s most beautiful trees in the fall.

-Hall Booth Smith, P.C. has announced the opening of an office in Asheville, at 123 Biltmore Ave. It is the firm’s 14th office in the Southeast and second in North Carolin, according to a press release. The new office will be managed by Isaac N. Northup, Jr., a native of Asheville. He’s tried more than 75 medical malpractice trials to jury verdict Partner Elizabeth McConnell and associate Adam Peoples are joining Northup in the office, according to the release.

-A Morganton man with suspected ties to the Isis terrorist organization was sentenced to life in prison during a hearing inU.S. District Court in Asheville on Tuesday. Television and newspaper journalists from around the state converged on downtown to cover the story. The News Herald reports here.

-A community garden has popped up in the so-called “pit of despair” that sits between Haywood Street and Page Avenue. It’s called Elder and Sage Community Garden.

-Some amazing swing bands and Balboa dance instructors are in Asheville this weekend. Check out the Blue Ridge Bal for details.

-If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate the July Fourth holiday, consider Asheville artist Martha Skinner’s project called Flag of US on Sunday at The Block Off Biltmore. Here are the details:

Let’s transform our American flag into a Flag of US. Join us for a participatory drawing and improvisational music event of sharing in which we break down imaginary boundaries that divide us while we create together playfully. Everyone is welcome! The performance is created in real time by the participants: those feeling marginalized and those in solidarity with the marginalized. We will meet around a large table that has been painted to represent the American flag. After eating and mingling on this flag/table, we will draw each other’s faces—and faces on top of faces—to the stop-and-go rhythm of the emerging music we create together. Flag of US is based on the game of Musical Chairs—but in this activity, no one is ever left out.

The event will take place at THE BLOCK Off Biltmore, Downtown Asheville, 39 S. Market Street (corner of Eagle and Market) on Sunday, July 2nd as part of our national day weekend celebration from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Alcoholic beverages, refreshments and vegan food will be available for purchase at a modest price. Participants are invited to bring musical instruments to share. Drawing supplies will be provided. The completed Flag of US will be on display at THE BLOCK OFF Biltmore. Sliding scale cover charge $1-$10 per person at the door or reserve now

 

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