-Another downtown restaurant bites the dust: Macchialina, a new Italian restaurant planned for the ground floor of the Windsor Hotel on Broadway in Asheville, is not happening. Restaurant owners said as recently as a few weeks ago that everything was on track and that they were planning to open later this year. Not so. The deal is off, and Desirant, a gallery planning to open a small space in the Windsor, is now taking over the entire space. Look for a gallery, clothing and a cappucino bar.
-UNCA Board of Trustees: The UNC Asheville Board of Trustees met Thursday. The meeting was the first for the university’s new chancellor, Mary Grant. I attended the morning session of the meeting, during which trustees met with a group of students who urged changes on two fronts. First, the students noted that there are no buildings on campus named for a person of color, and they asked that trustees consider naming a structure after Francine Delany, the university’s first black graduate and a community leader in her day. The students also asked trustees to consider removing endowment funds that are invested in fossil fuels. They noted that other colleges and universities are doing the same – Brevard College became the first in the Southeast and the first in North Carolina to pledge to divest by 2018.
-Wildfires: A large wildfire in Black Mountain has burned about 800 acres the past couple of days, including a mobile home. Nobody was injured, and no cause of the fire has been determined. A separate fire Wednesday burned about 10 acres in Leicester along Hookers Gap Road, not far from the property of Robert Jason Owens, who has been charged with murdering a former Food Network celebrity chef, her unborn child and her husband. A few days after Owens’ arrest, a structure on his property burned under suspicious circumstances. No cause has been determined in either of the Leicester fires.
-The Lord’s Acre: The Lord’s Acre, a Fairview nonprofit that brings people together to grow organic food, has had its tax-exempt status revoked for failure to file required IRS paperwork for the past three years. I recently exchanged emails with the organizers, who say that the issue is with the IRS and its computer files, and that the Lord’s Acre has resubmitted its Form 990s and that reinstatement should be coming soon. This is a long way of reminding readers to do a checking before you starting handing out cash. Guidestar is an excellent resource that allows you to check up your favorite nonprofit. As of today, The Lord’s Acre was still listed as having its tax exempt status revoked.
-Old North on the move: Old North, the men’s clothing shop featuring
salvage selvedge denim and fine clothes and shoes for men on Lexington Avenue, has moved to the corner of Lexington Avenue and Walnut (the former location of Second Gear). Old North has expanded its offerings to include women’s clothing. Check them out. Meantime, Asheville artist Alena Hennessy is planning to open a gallery, Rosewater, in the former Old North location.
-Speed dating: There is speed dating in Asheville.
-Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation: From a press release:
Each year, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation collaborates with Blue Ridge Parkway staff to identify high priority projects in need of immediate attention to protect the environment and wildlife, prevent deterioration of historic buildings, and improve visitor enjoyment and safety. For 2015, we have identified more than $600,000 in crucial projects and programs, ranging from wildlife research to historic preservation. For instance, without repairs to the crumbling walkways, picnic tables, and fire pits at the Doughton Park Picnic Area (milepost 240). The Foundation will fund the revamp of the area to keep this popular spot open to the public.
-May Day rally: A May Day rally is set for May 1 at the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. The rally celebrates worker’s rights and marks International Workers Rights day.