Ashvegas Hot Sheet: Busker forum Tuesday, Ethiopian restaurant taking reservations, more

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Some of what’s going around:busker_forum_2014

-Busker forum: There’s a big forum on Tuesday to talk about potential changes to the city of Asheville’s policies regarding the regulation of street musicians. Here’s the press release:

The Asheville Downtown Association, in partnership with the Asheville Busker’s Collective, will host a forum on busking (or street/sidewalk entertainment) on Tuesday, December 16 beginning at 5:30 pm at New Mountain Asheville, located at 38 N. French Broad Avenue.

The forum will feature presentations on busking as well as a question and answer session and time for comments. Potential changes to busking policies recently came before the City’s Public Safety Committee. As a result, the Asheville Downtown Association has been meeting with the Asheville Busker’s Collective to discuss the proposed changes.

The goal of the forum is to bring together stakeholders including business owners, residents and the busking community to discuss potential policies to ensure that all those who may be affected have a voice and an opportunity to provide feedback.

The Asheville Downtown Association would like to collect as many questions for the Q&A in advance as possible, so that presenters can be prepared and similar questions combined. Contact Meghan Rogers to submit a question or for more information.

-City of Asheville is hiring: The city of Asheville is looking for a director of planning and urban design.

-Building Bridges hosts dialogue on race relations: This organization has been doing the hard work for years. Here’s the press release:

The Board members of Building Bridges of Asheville believe that authentic conversation on race relations is critical for the Asheville community, particularly at this time. We encourage people of all backgrounds to come together to share life stories, to learn, to heal and to be empowered.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Authentic dialogue in the sense of hearing a different life experience than yours in a safe and compassionate venue is the work of Building Bridges of Asheville. It is in this manner that our communities can heal through hearing and being in relationship with one another.

Therefore, Building Bridges holds dialogue twice a year for nine weeks on anti-racism and race relations in Asheville. Business people, teachers, students, police officers, members of the Sheriff’s Department and others from all walks of life meet weekly to explore the difficult issue of racism, to listen to different points of view and to grow.

We invite you to register for our next session beginning Jan. 26, 2015 at MAHEC. To find out more information, please visit our website at or call at 828 777-4585.

-Addissae taking reservations: Addissae, Asheville’s new Ethiopian restaurant, is now taking reservations. From a Dec. 13 post on Addissae’s page on FB:

Another fun private double birthday party. We’re now ready to take reservations starting Tues next week to a limited number of guests. Give a call to Neeraj at 828-707-6563 between 10-5.chipotle_dec15_2014_2

-Chipotle opens on Saturday: The new Hendersonville Road Chipotle in South Asheville opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday, according to a sign in the window.

-Health blog: My friend Nadia has a new blog up,, and a new blog post talking about what health means to her. Check it out.

-Travel blog: My friend Mandy has a new blog up,, and she’s got her first couple of posts about talking about her love of life on the road. Check it.

-Interim Asheville Police Department chief: The city of Asheville dropped this press release late Friday afternoon:

The city of Asheville announced today that retired Santa Cruz, CA Police Chief Steve Belcher will serve as interim police chief for the Asheville Police Department while the city moves forward with a national search for Chief William Anderson’s successor. Chief Anderson announced his retirement in November following more than 37 years of public service. Belcher will begin as interim chief effective January 19, 2015.

Belcher’s law enforcement career spans 40 years, and he has served in the role of Interim Chief of Police for the City of Capitola, the City of East Palo Alto, the City of Marina, The City of Soledad, and the City of Bell, all in California.

“Interim Chief Belcher brings the depth and breadth of experience needed to lead the department forward,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “He has a proven track record of building support for immediate, positive change.”

In his role of Interim Chief, Belcher will lead the daily operations of the department while working closely with the Matrix Consulting Group, which is currently conducting an organizational assessment of the police department. Small group efforts aimed at engaging all department personnel in moving the strategic operating plan forward will continue as the national search for a new chief progresses.

“As a chief and an interim chief, my approach and philosophy is fairly simple,” Belcher said. “Treat people decently, listen to what they have to say, formulate a plan and receive buy-in, be clear on expectations and hold people accountable.”

Between Chief Anderson’s departure and the arrival of Belcher on January 19, Deputy Chief Wade Wood will serve as acting Chief.

An RFP for a professional and comprehensive selection process was released in November with the target start date for a new chief set for June 1, 2015. Information about the recruitment and selection process for Asheville Police Chief is available on the City’s website at

-Teacher launches crowd-funding campaign for unique school program: Keith “Zog” Aitken is asking the public for $10,000 to help him fund something he’s calling TerraSchool at Owen Middle School in Swannanoa. Here’s the first part of his pitch. Click over to the TerraSchool pitch on IndieGoGo to read more and see the video:

My name is Keith “Zog” Aitken. I am a keeper of the trees, educator, planter, and community organizer striving to change the way we view and teach environmental education. In 2013 I began a journey to incorporate natural learning environments on school grounds, TerraSchool. At TerraSchool we believe in keeping it simple, affordable and educational. Plant a seed, grow food. Plant a seedling, grow a forest. Plant an idea, grow a mind.

In 2003 a question (seed) from an elementary educator began this dream. “Can we develop a nature center, here, on the school grounds?” I remember thinking, absolutely!

TerraSchool’s goal is to bring the classroom outside by integrating Food, Forests, and Fun in school curriculums. Our first project, developing an interpretive disc golf course on acreage owned by Owen Middle School in Swannanoa, NC. The course is a jumping off point to other unique natural areas and restoration projects developed by the students. Projects under development include restoring the American Chestnut, enhancing a beaver habitat, accessing wetlands, establishing a Monarch butterfly food plot and bringing back native river cane to supply Cherokee basket makers.

-Photographer seeks funding for Honduras doc: Here’s the note from Brian Olson, who just opened Lush Works gallery on Battery Park Avenue in downtown Asheville. I don’t see the Kickstarter link yet, but here’s the promotional video for Olson’s Honduras doc. More:

My name is Brian Olson and I own the Lush Works gallery. I just wanted to let you know I am launching a large Kickstarter campaign Friday for nearly $200,000. I am filming a feature length documentary in Honduras. Within the documentary, I am blending an ex-gang member, a former politician, and a farmer to work together to orchestrate change in Honduras. We are attempting to provide one of our communities with an ambulance, the ex-gang member with marching band instruments, and are importing their coffee to pump cash back into a village. I am returning for 40 days of filming over Christmas.

-Getting in the holiday spirit: Just a reminder that this is a great holiday performance:

The word is out about the Montford Park Players’ production of A Christmas Carol and the word is “magical!” We only have 8 performances left and we don’t want you to miss this one – Thursday, Dec. 18 through Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 7:30 pm with 2:30 pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday! Get your tickets now at Montford Park Players Christmas Carol or call the box office at 828-254-5146.  Season ticket and pass holders should call the box office to get your tickets.

-Weekend news: Just a reminder that although I may not be posting much here on weekends, I’m often following the news and posting it on the Ashevegas Twitter page. Thanks y’all!

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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  1. RedHotPoker December 16, 2014

    Funny that AVL picked a po-po ‘chief’ (isn’t that a racist term?) from SANTA CRUZ, CA! Very appropriate as Santa Cruz, Capitola, etc are similar lieberal enclaves on the left coast!

    The good news is they picked somebody from OUTSIDE NC, which is amazing within itself…

    Does CITY have a job for his wife too?

    1. Barry Summers December 16, 2014

      Again with the insults.

      Does CITY have a job for his wife too?

      Read the article. It says he’s only here for four months.

    2. chris December 16, 2014

      Listen up, a douchebag has something to say!


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