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:

-Demolition of the Norfolk Southern railroad roundhouse on Meadow Road has resumed. Demolition had started in November and was supposed to be finished in December, but the work stopped. Now the rest of the 90-year-old building, one of the few remaining roundhouses in the U.S., is coming down.

-The Magnetic Theatre in Asheville is soliciting material for a new project. Here are the details:

March 10-12, The Magnetic Theatre presents Asheville’s Reel Comedy: A Funny Film Extravaganza, featuring a collection of the most absurd, satirical, and hilarious short films by local filmmakers. Anyone interested in submitting a film for consideration should contact the curator, Toni Sherwood [email protected]. Deadline for submissions is February 7 (which also happens to be the deadline for submitting short plays for Brief Encounters to Lucia Del Vecchio [email protected]). Go here to submit material.


-There’s a Super Bowl bet between the WNC Nature Center and the Denver Zoo. From the Nature Center’s page on FB:

The bet is on between the WNC Nature Center and the Denver Zoo! If the Denver Broncos win Super Bowl 50, the Director of the Nature Center must proudly sport a Broncos jersey to greet visitors. If the Carolina Panthers win, the Director of the Denver Zoo must wear a Panthers jersey. Game on!

-Speaking of the WNC Nature Center, Tuesday is Ground Hog Day at the center. Go out and see what Nibbles the Groundhog predicts for the coming of spring.

-And speaking of the Super Bowl, how about a local spin on the annual Puppy Bowl? More:

Once again, Asheville Humane Society has puppies in the starting lineup for Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XII! Join us in the Game Room at Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company on Merrimon Avenue for all the fun.

Tailgate with us from 2 – 4 PM for the opportunity to adopt your very own M.V.P.(Most Valuable Puppy.) Thanks to our generous partner, each adopter at the event will receive a $20 gift card to Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co.! Puppy Bowl XII begins at 3 PM. Grab a booth, order some pizza and get ready to cheer on the cutest teams to take the field.

-Green Man Brewery is preparing to open its new 20,000-square-foot packaging facility, retail shop and roof-top beer garden. But before the public sees it, Green Man will open the space up for a private charity event on March 5 for the nonprofit organization OpenDoors of Asheville, according to a press release.

-Asheville Gymnastics on Coxe Avenue in downtown is moving to Swannanoa River Road. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Buncombe County bought the space for $975,000 last year and is planning to use it as a training office for county employees.

-Asheville NORML and other activists who favor legalizing marijuana are planning to rally on Feb. 28. The event is called “Looking for America” and it calls for protecting the environment, reforming the justice system, cutting cost of college debt and “ending ignorant laws on cannabis.” The activists plan to meet at the New Mountain at 1 p.m. on that Sunday and march to Pack Square.

-Asheville Adventure Rentals has changed its name. From the press release:


Effective immediately Asheville Adventure Rentals will conduct business as French Broad Outfitters. In an effort to more accurately describe our services as Asheville’s largest river outfitter and retail paddleshop, we feel this is an important step. With the ability to identify ourselves with the third oldest river in the world and one of Asheville’s most promeninent natural features we believe French Broad Outfitters is a natural fit.

“Since opening in 2012, AAR has taken a different course. With the increased awareness and use of the French Broad River, our retail business has become an important part of the community. To greater reflect our retail partnerships and the addition of a second location this May, we feel French Broad Outfitters increases our connection to the river and our customers.”-Brennan Splain, Co-Owner.

French Broad Outfitters is owned and operated by the same Best of WNC staff you’ve awarded 3 years in a row. Opened in 2012, AAR has always strived to offer the best gear selection, knowledgeable staff, family friendly river trips, and shuttle services for the French Broad River.

In partnership with The Smokey Mountain Adventure Center, opening this Jan 30, French Broad Outfitters will be operating it’s second rental location in the Spring at 173 Amboy Road. A smattering of offerings will be available: an inflation station for local tubers, tube and SUP rentals, last minute sundries & tubes for purchase and shuttles back to our Outfitter location on Riverside Drive, four miles downstream.


Jason Sandford

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

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  1. Barry Summers February 5, 2016

    Whoops! Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan has fired another State official over the Flint water disaster:

    “Putting the well-being of Michiganders first needs to be the top priority for all state employees,” Snyder said. “Anything less than that is unacceptable. The DEQ is working to change this culture and ensure mistakes that endanger our residents don’t occur again.”

    He must have secretly been working for the City of Flint.

  2. Henry January 31, 2016

    A railroad museum in that landmark structure could have been an Asheville destination for visitors and locals, leading into the RAD. (Google Images of roundhouse museum). It is an enormous loss of an important piece of local history AND materials and labor: imagine the cost to rebuild that structure. The railroad co. has some explaining to do, and asbestos could have been mitigated. The 1920s Craggy prison is another historic riverside landmark to watch.

    1. mountaingirl February 9, 2016

      I totally agree with you! It would be a pretty awesome way to recycle and re-use. That building was beautiful

  3. Tim Peck January 31, 2016

    Update on the water lawsuit:

    The North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to hear the City of Asheville’s appeal.

    This is good news. They must be angry.

    It seems likely that the NC Supreme Court is in agreement with the City of Asheville on these points:

    I. D. Reviewing This Case Will Allow the Court to Reinforce and Develop the “Relating to” Standard Under Article II, Section 24. —Appeal, 20.

    II. C. The New Rule Announced by the Court of Appeals Has Not Yet Been Conclusively Addressed. —Appeal, 26.

    1. Barry Summers February 1, 2016

      The State’s case depends on the pretense that transferring control of a municipal drinking water system from one govt. entity to another does not “relate” to health and sanitation. It’s just a matter of transferring ‘governance’, not anything that could effect people’s health, right?

      Wrong. Tell that to the people of Flint. The State took over under a new ’emergency manager’ law, and immediately made a series of errors (all in the name of cutting costs), that led to the poisoning of thousands of residents.

      I wouldn’t be surprised that we find out some years from now, that the NC Supreme Court took up the Asheville case specifically because of the continuing State-caused disaster in Michigan.

      Hey, crazy coincidence much?

      The day that Michigan’s new ’emergency manager’ law took effect ( just happened to be the exact same day that Rep. Tim Moffitt filed the bill to seize Asheville’s water (

      Is this a crazy old world, or what?

      1. jtroop February 1, 2016

        One correction, it appears MI’s douche-nozzle governor didn’t take over Flint’s water to save money… it may have actually cost more to do so…

        Instead, he did it to further the new GOP strategy of stripping local municipalities of their power…. sound familiar? (A.L.E.C.)

        1. Tim Peck February 2, 2016

          The Flint drinking water scandal is a colossal failure of local government control over a regional water system.

          By the way, unlike NC, MI is a home rule state.

          1. luther blissett February 2, 2016

            Home rule doesn’t mean much when the governor can appoint ’emergency managers’ to poison your city.

            Why, Mouthpiece, does the truth burn your skin?

          2. Barry Summers February 3, 2016

            Leave it to Mr. Peck to twist the facts into a pretzel and leave out the parts that don’t support his conclusion.

            The State forced Flint into this mess, dropped the ball on any number of occasions, heads have rolled at State agencies who screwed up, and Gov. Snyder apologized and accepted responsibility for the situation.Would he have done that if it wasn’t his fault?

            And as for Michigan being a ‘home rule state’, that went away with the emergency manager law, which took all authority away from a city, and puts it with a Governor-appointed dictator. With complete authority comes complete responsibility.

            But go ahead and ignore all of that and claim victory, Mr. Peck, because that’s what you do.

          3. Barry Summers February 3, 2016

            BTW, the aforementioned emergency manager who was in charge of Flint during the water switch, has resigned from being in charge of Detroit Public School system, and he’s refused to testify in front of the (GOP-run) US House Govt. Oversight Committee despite being subpoenaed. Methinks he has some responsibility he’s trying to run away from…

            The GOP Chairman of that committee has just stated that he is sending US Marshalls after him.


            But sure, it’s all Flint’s fault…

          4. Tim Peck February 5, 2016

            Good point today, Citizen-Times:

            “F to the causes behind the need for help from an army of plumbers in Flint. Problems there began when the city, so broke it had been taken into state receivership, switched from water from Detroit and began pulling it out of the Flint River as an austerity measure early in 2014.”

          5. Barry Summers February 5, 2016

            Mr. Peck’s pathetic revisionism continues…

            What really happened, from Paul Krugman:

            “What we know so far is that in 2014 the city’s emergency manager — appointed by Rick Snyder, the state’s Republican governor — decided to switch to an unsafe water source, with lead contamination and more, in order to save money. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that state officials knew that they were damaging public health, putting children in particular at risk, even as they stonewalled both residents and health experts.”

            “What we see in Flint is an all too typically American situation of (literally) poisonous interaction between ideology and race, in which small-government extremists are empowered by the sense of too many voters that good government is simply a giveaway to Those People.

            “Now what? Mr. Snyder has finally expressed some contrition, although he’s still withholding much of the information we need to fully understand what happened. And meanwhile we are, inevitably, being told that we shouldn’t make the poisoning of Flint a partisan issue.

            “But you can’t understand what happened in Flint, and what will happen in many other places if current trends continue, without understanding the ideology that made the disaster possible.”


            These people were poisoned by right-wing, ALEC, crony-capitalist, privatization-crazy boobs.

            I don’t think it was an accident that this disaster in Flint, and the attempt to seize control of Asheville’s water, started on the same day.

          6. Tom Williams February 11, 2016

            Tim Peck- Please share with us your opinion of Fracking. I mean cut and paste what you are told to say about Fracking in North Carolina. Please cite the scientific data about earthquakes and why the Republicans made it a law in North Carolina to disclose the toxic chemicals that are injected into the water table. Please inform us how this practice is safe for the people of North Carolina

  4. Big Al January 31, 2016

    A North Carolina Road Atlas that I purchased in the late 1990s or early 2000s showed a Railroad Museum at the roundhouse location.

    Was there ever anything like that there? Or was that a project that never got past a mere proposal? That would have been some attraction.

    1. jtroop February 1, 2016

      I agree, that building (at least from 100 feet away) was impressive… seems a bit of a missed opportunity to have just torn it down.

      1. Barry Summers February 1, 2016

        I regret never going down there to explore before it was gone.

        A building that huge, and in such disrepair, would have been pretty tough (and expensive) to restore for some new use. But you’re right – missed opportunity.

        1. The Real World February 1, 2016

          Gosh, I’m thirsty.

          1. Barry Summers February 2, 2016

            Non-sequitur much?

      2. jenny February 2, 2016

        I always thought it was one of the most interesting structures in the area. The big No Trespassing sign always kept me out.
        I’m just glad the railroad will still go through there..they can’t build anything else there as a tourist trap, like a brewery.


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