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Opioid crisis in Buncombe termed severe
Sunday, 11 February 2018 12:07
By JOHN NORTH
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The alarming state of Buncombe County’s opioid abuse and the steps to address it was discussed by County Commissioner Ellen Frost at the Jan. 12 meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners at UNCA’s Sherrill Center.

About 50 people attended the early-morning breakfast meeting.

“Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to be a heroin addict,” Frost told the CIBO gathering. “What we found is that 86 percent of heroin starts with regular prescriptions. But opiates are different. We know that some people can be addicted from a three-day prescription — that’s eight pills.

“It started in the early ‘80s. Doctors were told by the drugmakers that opiates weren’t addictive,” Frost said.

Following intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical companies, Congress “created laws to protect those physicians so if their patients became addicted they could not be sued.”

Meanwhile, in Mexico, locals were producing black tar heroin (a black, sticky substance) and “their business model was pizza delivery. … Their aim was to please, so that if people could not get opiates, they had this other prescription for black-tar heroin, Frost said.

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Confederate monuments opposed by panelists at UNCA
Sunday, 11 February 2018 12:03
By JOHN NORTH
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A panel addressed the topic of “Confederate Monuments and Their Future”  — and was unanimous in its opposition — during a 90-minute panel discussion on Jan. 26 at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center.

The event drew a capacity turnout of more than 250 people, with a number of people being turned away to abide by fire marshall safety concerns. The event was free and everyone was welcome.

 Only a handful of African-Americans were scattered through the audience.

The panel discussion was moderated by Darin Waters, an assistant professor of history at UNCA. He also is a special assistant to the chancellor for community outreach and engagement

The four panelists included Deborah Miles, director of UNCA’s Center for Diversity Education; Sasha Mitchell, chair of the African-American Heritage Commission for Asheville and Buncombe County and creator-editor of The Color of Asheville; Sheneika Smith, newly elected member of Asheville City Council and founder of Date My City; and Dan Pierce, professor of history and NEH Distinguished Professor at UNCA and author of numberous books on Southern and Appalachian History.

Steven Nash was listed as the fifth panelist, but he did not participate in the discussion. Nash is an associate professor of history at East Tennessee State University and author of “Reconstruction’s Ragged Edge: The Politics of Postwar Life in the Southern Mountains.”


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For AVL-HVL passenger rail to profit, entertainment urged
Sunday, 11 February 2018 12:01

From Staff Reports

Train enthusiast Larry Morton continues to advocate for passenger rail between Hendersonville and Asheville, but exactly what that means continues to evolve. 

Morton has been on a crusade, making presentations to local groups to drum up interest in the idea, and he says to date he has only had positive responses.

 In order for the prospect to be fiscally viable, though, it needs a competitive edge. For instance, a commuter train could not be run because the track proposes to use does not allow passenger cars to travel faster than 30 mph. What’s more, the first run of the day would probably be too late for commuters; and the last one, too early.

Morton could not exactly offer scenic tours, either, as the track runs along the backside of commercial buildings for most of the route. 

In the latest twist, he has unveiled the idea of offering entertainment rides. The car — or cars — could be rolling diners, for example; and maybe even cabarets at night. They could also be event venues for birthdays, weddings and corporate teambuilding, Morton said.

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The Advice Goddess: February 2018
Sunday, 11 February 2018 11:53

The burden of ‘poof!’

Q: — Out of the blue, my boyfriend of two years broke up with me. Not long afterward, I saw pix on Facebook of him with some other girl. It’s been two months since our breakup, and he wants to reconcile, so whatever he got into obviously tanked. We were planning on moving in together in the spring. (Maybe he got cold feet?) I still love him, but I’m worried. Did he just break up with me to be with this girl? How do I know this won’t happen again?

 — Fighting Uncertainty

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