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Toxic turf issue erupts; replacement cost: $2.3M
Thursday, 07 April 2016 23:16

From Staff Reports

Amid concerns that its turf material could cause cancer, work will start this spring on replacing the artificial turf at a projected cost of $2.3 million at the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex in East Asheville.

Health concerns had been raised by activists about the artificial turf at the complex — prompting a federal investigation into the turf material. It is one of the region’s most popular sports facilities — used annually by about 5,000 children and nearly 2,000 adults.

The turf replacement would put new surfaces on the complex’s four fields. Completion is projected in November.

In addition, a $600,000 turf replacement project could possibly start this year on the city’s multi-use Memorial Field southeast of downtown.

Regarding the turf material issue, City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted 3-0 on March 29 to recommend using “crumb rubber” — tire-based rubber pellets — to replace the four aging fields at the soccer complex. The complex opened in 2005 with artificial grass on top of the black rubber pellets.

Despite fears that crumb rubber might cause cancer, the city panel’s is recommending replacing the current crumb rubber used at the fields with the same material.

A final decision on the recommendation to use crumb rubber — or another material — will be made by City Council sometime within 30 days. Sources said that council’s decision will not affect the estimated $600,000 turf replacement for the city’s Memorial Field near downtown and that a different material might be used there.

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Singer fired by Catholic Charities for being in gay marriage; sparks fly outrage
Thursday, 07 April 2016 23:14

From Staff Reports

Katrina “Kat” Williams, an Emmy Award-nominated blues singer and ex-prison officer who lives in Asheville, said recently that she was fired March 1 as a volunteer performer for a Catholic Charities fundraiser because she is a lesbian — and married to her partner.

In the aftermath, a storm of opposition to her firing has appeared in the media and on the Internet. And amid the uproar, the fundraiser was postponed.

In a blog posting, Williams noted, “I was notified by Gerry Carter (executive director of Catholic Charities in Charlotte) that per Bishop Peter Jugis (Charlotte Diocese) that my services were not needed at the Asheville Gala of Hope March 12, 2016.” She added that it is “a fundraising event I’ve performed at for the last two years.

When I asked ‘Why?’ Gerry’s silence was deafening. I asked him just to be honest with me. He stated Bishop Jurgis read an article in Verve magazine, where I said, ‘I have been married to my partner for seven years’ and for that reason the bishop will not need my services."

Williams then asserted, “I felt bad for Gerry being selected as the bearer of bad news, but I commended him on his honesty. Then I told him I could handle this type of discrimination, but I’m afraid for members of his congregation that are afraid to live their authentic lives, or the what if they came to Bishop Jurgis or his church with the question of whether they’re gay?”

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