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Task force votes 11-1 to remove Vance Monument
Monday, 30 November 2020 20:12

Council, commissioners to take next step Dec. 7-8

From Staff Reports

 
The Vance Monument Task Force on Nov. 19 voted 11-1 to recommend the removal of the controversial Vance Monument, a 75-foot-tall granite obelisk located in the heart of downtown Asheville.

Prior to the vote, the task force spent 12 weeks delving into educating its members on Vance’s true history, as well as listening to public input and being open to public engagement.

The one dissenting vote was cast by Asheville attorney Ben Scales, who proposed repurposing the monument. Scales noted that he moved to Asheville 18 years ago because he was drawn to the city’s unique architecture and worked on historic preservation.

Architect Richard Sharp Smith designed the Vance Monument. Smith is billed by www.ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu as “a talented and eclectic English-born architect” who “came to Asheville in 1889 as the supervising architect of Biltmore House, established a private practice in 1895, and became one of the city’s most prolific and influential architects during the first two decades of the 20th century.”

During the Nov. 19 meeting, Deborah Miles, a co-chair of the task force, said after the vote, “In the words of John Lewis’ blessed memory, I thank you for your good trouble,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported.

Also participating in the Nov. 19 meeting were Asheville City Council members and Buncombe County commissioners.

“I know this has been an extremely difficult task,” Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer told the task force, according to News 13.

Meanwhile, Brownie Newman, chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, added, “On behalf of county commission thank you for service,” News 13 noted.

If, as expected, the task force’s recommendation is approved by Asheville’ council and Buncombe’s commissioners in separate Dec. 7-8 votes, the monument will be removed. Located in the heart of downtown Asheville, it has stood as a symbol of the city for 124 years.

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Assault case on Nesbitt closed by APD? He differs, ups reward for info to $10K
Monday, 30 November 2020 20:10
By JOHN NORTH
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The Asheville Police Department recently announced that it has closed its investigation of an assault case that led to the almost fatal injury of a long-time local conservative activist who now bills himself as — and works as — an investigative journalist for his Facebook page Skyline News.

Specifically, APD spokeswoman Christina Hallingse told the Asheville Citizen Times on Nov. 19 that the case is closed because all leads had been exhausted into a Sept. 28 assault in which Skyline News’ Chad Nesbitt was knocked unconscious and hospitalized with a brain injury while covering a protest in downtown Asheville. She also told the ACT that the case will be reopened if there is any new useful information.

Conversely, in a telephone interview Nov. 24, Nesbitt told the Daily Planet that the detective handling his case told him his case is “suspended” — not “closed.” What’s more, Nesbitt said he is boosting his reward for information leading to an arrest from $5,500 to $10,000.

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$27M in incentives OK’d for aircraft firm; ‘war profiteer’ criticism arises
Monday, 30 November 2020 20:08

From Staff Reports 

 

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 17 approved $27 million in incentives to an aerospace company that, in turn, is vowing to bring “generational change” to the local economy.

What’s more, the vote proceeded despite deep concerns from some residents over alleged links to civilian deaths in Yemen.

The incentives were awarded — through the vote — to Pratt & Whitney, a Connecticut-based aircraft engine-maker. The Buncombe funds are part of a total of $40 millon in combined state and county incentives. In addition, Biltmore Farms, a development company, donated 100 acres to P&W.

The Asheville Citizen Times reported on Nov. 19 that “23 people called in to comment during a public hearing before the vote. All but one criticized the deal, citing environmental concerns and Pratt & Whitney’s ownership by Raytheon, the world’s third-largest defense contractor whose weapons have been used against civilians, including children in the Yemini conflict, according to Amnesty International.”

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