Jason Sandford

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

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Here’s more of what’s going around:

-Four Asheville food service professionals have been nominated in the annual prestigious James Beard Awards. Chef Katie Button of Curate and Nightbell restaurants has been nominated in the Best Chef Southeast category, along with Chef Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani. Leah Wong Ashburn, owner of Highland Brewing, was nominated in the Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional category. And David Bauer of Farm & Sparrow Bakery and All Souls Pizza, has been nominated for Outstanding Baker.

-The Waterbird is the name of the new coffee shop/cocktail bar going into the old Rosebud Video location at 197 Charlotte Street in North Asheville. Owner Kris Kraft, an Asheville event producer, is planning to offer coffee and light bites during the day and a cocktail lounge and community meeting space by night.

-Word on the street: Larry Colemon’s Sign Shop at 821 Haywood Road in West Asheville has been sold, and word on the street is that a new recording studio is going in there.

-Xpand Fest is set for June 9. The music and arts festival on Asheville’s South Slope will have a different footprint in its second year. Banks Avenue will not be closed. Coxe Avenue from Banks Avenue on down will be closed, and Buxton Avenue will be closed, but Banks Avenue will not be closed. The Coxe Avenue stage will not block the Refinery Building.

Hot Yoga Asheville is marking its 10-year anniversary this year with owner Adi Westerman planning to celebrate with a day-long open house featuring free classes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 3. Attendees will also have an opportunity to enter in a free raffle, with many chances to win prizes including massages, yoga merchandise, gift certificates to local restaurants, businesses and more. Go to for more info.

-Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.’s chapter in Asheville, the Gamma Omega Chapter, will celebrate the organization’s 110th Founder’s Day on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. in the fellowship hall of St. James AME Church in Asheville. The group will also recognize six community members for their service to Buncombe County citizens: Dr. Larry McCallum, former assistant superintendent of Buncombe County Schools who is retired by continues to mentor African-American boys in six schools; Dr. Raymond Thertulien, a board-certified doctor in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology; Aisha Shepherd, an Asheville native employed with Buncombe County government as a social worker; Tameka Hill-Crudup, who oversees parks and recreation centers for the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department; and Dr. Charles James and Deborah “Dee” James, both professors at UNC Asheville who started the African-American Student Affairs program there. The guest speaker for the event is Dr. Denise Patterson, superintendent of Asheville City
Schools. The event is open to the public. The cost of the tickets is $20. To RSVP for this event email Marion Thompson at [email protected]

-Isis Music Hall will host a benefit show, “Lloyd’s Large Time: A Benefit for the Lloyd Johnson Foundation,” on March 29, according to a press release. Proceeds from the benefit will fund The Lloyd Johnson Foundation, a non-profit organization created after Lloyd’s death in 2017 to provide education and career advancement opportunities to grow and nurture the musical spirit of Western North Carolina. Here’s more:

The benefit brings to the Isis stage an all-star line-up led by award-winning Americana artist Jim Lauderdale. Lauderdale will share the stage with a string of artists from Sarah Burton, Si Kahn and Mark Bumgarner & Friends to The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys and other super surprise special guests.

“It’s a way for the Foundation to raise funds to continue to support and grow our vibrant music scene in Asheville and the surrounding area” said Steve Johnson, Lloyd Johnson’s son who is the co-host of MerleFest Radio Hour and currently works as the artist relations manager for Wilkes Community College/ MerleFest.

Tickets for Lloyd’s Large Time are $20 in advance and $25 day of show. All proceeds will go the Lloyd Johnson Foundation to grow and nurture the musical spirit of Western North Carolina. Visit isisasheville for more information.

Jason Sandford

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

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1 Comment

  1. Justsayin' February 19, 2018

    I think it is laughable that Leah Wong is nominated for an outstanding contribution to the beer, wine and spirts profession. She inherited a thriving business 2 years ago the her father founded and she has just released what is the most ridiculously lame re-brand in a long time. Does anyone remember the “new” Coke debacle? To think she has contributed anything ton the business is a slap in the face to anyone who has been dedicating their timed efforts to bettering the beer community in Asheville. I can think of a number of individuals who are much more deserving of recognition than Mrs. Ashburn.


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