Ashvegas Hot Sheet: SantaCon questions, tiny bench disappears and more

Jason Sandford

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

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Ashvegas: The City You Love. The News You Want.Some of what’s going around:

Asheville Police Chief retires: The city of Asheville dropped the news about embattled Asheville Police Chief William Anderson’s impending retirement at about 4:15 on Friday afternoon. I was well into my weekend by that time. So here’s the press release:

Chief William Anderson today announced his retirement from the Asheville police department, effective December 31.

Chief Anderson retires with 37 years of public service, including 8 years serving his country in the United States Coast Guard Reserves and over 15 years as a police chief. He has been recognized as a leader in the state as a former regional director for the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police and was appointed to the State Emergency Response Commission in 2011, by Governor Beverly Perdue.

During Anderson’s tenure, the department significantly improved the operations of the evidence room and established the public housing unit which among other things continues to build strong relationships between youth and police officers. He led the department in the development of important plans aimed at community-based solutions for a safe and vibrant city. Under his watch, the department put into place a comprehensive three-year strategic operating plan designed to improve operations and communications within the force.

“The Asheville Police Department and the City of Asheville made significant strides under William Anderson’s leadership,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “He never shied away from leading his department in finding solutions to tough problems. Above all, he led the way for major change in the department.”

Implementation of the strategic operating plan designed under Anderson’s leadership will continue as the City works through the process of finding Anderson’s successor.

Mayor Esther Manheimer shared, “I am proud of the work Chief Anderson accomplished in his time with the Asheville Police Department to significantly strengthen relationships in the community and improve diversity within the department. After a career dedicated to honorable public service, I sincerely wish him all the best in retirement.”

The City of Asheville will conduct a national search for Anderson’s replacement and will announce an interim chief to lead the department before Anderson’s departure.

SantaCon questions: This website says SantaCon in Asheville is set for Saturday, Dec. 6. Anyone have any details? SantaCon is that annual gathering of roving merrymakers all dressed as – you guessed it – Santa.

They tiny bench is gone: The Asheville Urban Trail stop on Walnut Street across from Second Gear has been home to a very small bench with a sculpture piece. City officials installed the tiny bench to replace a bigger one after complaints about homeless people hanging out there. Now the tiny bench is to be replaced with a pillar.

Frugal Backpacker: Diamond Brand’s new Frugal Backpacker store had an awesome grand opening event on Friday at Westgate Shopping Center. Stop in and check it out. So nice not to have to drive all the way to LA now shop it. (LA = Lower Arden.)

Water slide event in downtown: A new festival planned in downtown Asheville for 2015 will bring a giant water slide to Coxe Avenue. Not sure if Slide the City will be the operator, but it’s the same idea.

Busker forum: The Asheville Downtown Association will hold a buskers forum on Dec. 15 at New Mountain. No time announced yet. The forum follows discussion earlier this year about possible new regulations for Asheville street musicians. Those regs were dropped, but the talks continue.

Word on the street 1: A new Hampton Inn hotel will be built at Reynolds Village in Woodfin.

Vance Monument repairs: Money is still being raised to repair and preserve Vance Monument. The monument, in the heart of downtown Asheville, is old and internal mortar is beginning to fail.

Asheville Holiday Parade: The parade is Saturday in downtown Asheville. Tons of floats and Christmasy fun.

State of Downtown: The State of Downtown Asheville luncheon is set for Jan. 15.

Arts Council grant: The Asheville Area Arts Council is asking city of Asheville and Buncombe governments for $25,000 each in taxpayer money (and they’ll raise another $25,000 on their own) to match a $75,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant that is plans to apply for. The grant would allow the arts council to complete a project that will show how big area artists have on the local economy. The work is called “asset mapping.”

Performing Art Center update: The Asheville group seeking to build a new performing arts center is exploring new proposed locations and designs. The group has been raising money for years in hopes of building a new performing arts center.

Thomas Wolfe renovations: There is an acoustic and structural evaluation of Thomas Wolfe Auditorium right now for possible renovations.

Dark side of the holidays: Why are there so many suicides during the holidays? Know the story of the child-eating Krampus? Asheville ghostbuster Joshua P. Warren will explore that and other questions regarding the darker side of the holidays during a special “Spirits of Christmas” gathering he will host through December. Cost is $20 per person. Go to for details.

Lighter side of the holidays: Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland opens at the WNC Agriculture Center in Fletcher on Nov. 26. It is billed as the one of the largest drive-through Christmas light shows in the area.

WCQS interim CEO: Barbara Sayer, the radio station’s program director, has been named interim president and CEO of the public radio station in the wake of the resignation of CEO Jody Evans, who is leaving to take a new job. The radio station’s board, which made the interim appointment, also announced it was hiring Livingston Associates as the search firm for its next CEO.

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. FDR November 17, 2014

    Why do you dislike and or hate south Asheville and the Arden/Skyland area so much.

    1. Jason Sandford November 17, 2014

      FDR, I think south Asheville is OK. I’ve spent a lot of time around south Asheville, but I’m just not cut out for the burbs.

      1. ashevillain November 18, 2014

        FYI: “LA” around these parts stands for Lower Asheville, not Lower Arden. It’s not a term that is used much anymore as most people have taken to calling that area South Asheville.

        There used to be a restaurant named LA Cafe and it was not as far south as even the northern edge of Arden. It was located approximately in the vicinity of Panera Bread, which some might consider to be Skyland but definitely not Arden.

      2. FDR November 18, 2014

        South Asheville has a lot to offer to middle class families working in the area. Good schools, restaurants, shopping. Shouldn’t Ashvegas encompass all of Asheville not just the trendy neighborhoods. Ashvegas seems to tilt towards West Asheville first, Downtown and then Weaverville.

        South Asheville is no more suburban then Montford or West Asheville except for the looks of the homes and folks living in them. The only thing I can see different is the homes in South Asheville have driveways.

        *Suburban sprawl does not include apartments, but they are very much needed since it cost so much to buy a home these days with student debt etc. I think the apartment building in Buncombe County is overkill based on bad numbers and will later be sold off as condos. I would much rather see homes being built rather then apartments but greed takes precedence.


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