Here’s more of what’s going around at Ashvegas, including details about the Asheville Chamber of Commerce’s new approach to strategic planning for economic development. Here we go:

Asheville Chamber of Commerce officials have hired futurist and economist Rebecca Ryan to lead its economic development strategic planning. Kit Cramer, the chamber’s executive, says the approach will be more forward-looking, and more inclusive, that past strategic planning sessions. Ryan, a consultant who has worked with a number of major cities, uses an array of data and public input sessions to help communities spot trends and create a vision for what they want to become. The process is not public, but Kramer says that a wide variety of community voices will be heard. 

As business leaders begin the economic development strategy planning, we already know what some of the likely hot topics of discussion. Asheville’s growing lack of affordable housingpublic transportation issues and need to continued quality educational offerings are all critical to workers, and thus economic development. One issue that’s close to Cramer’s heart: the need for quality, affordable early childhood education.

Asheville is one of the top 7 cities in the U.S. where investors are taking advantage of Airbnb, according to SmartAsset.com.

An extended-stay hotel near Mission Hospital recently passed a cursory review by the Asheville Technical Review Committee. Plans call for a 7-story, 103-room hotel along Biltmore Avenue at the corner of White Fawn Drive.

Balladeer Malcolm Holcombe has a new album out. It’s called Come Hell or High Water.

Applications are open for folks who want to participate in the annual Asheville Holiday Parade, set for Nov. 17. Asheville’s Jennifer Pharr Davis, a long distance hiker, author and speaker, will be grand marshal. 

Asheville Chef Katie Button has rebranded her growing restaurant empire. It is now Katie Button Restaurants, and features a sleek new website. Button is preparing to open her third Asheville restaurant, a bagel shop called Button & Co. Bagels.

Speaking of Katie Button, celebrity Chef Jose Andres, one of the most influential chefs in the world, visited Button in Asheville a few weeks ago. Button worked for Andres during her training. Andres visit came right before Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina and South Carolina. He and his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, were immediately on the ground and serving meals to folks in need. 

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