These are old stories!
down or select a news item below...
We welcome your news items e-mail.
Asheville, NC -- Just two days after the start of spring 2004, and on the heels of a recent battle between the Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn, both eyeing inhabiting this choice morsel of land, Asheville City Council unanimously approved new design plans for Pack Square. These plans insure the area, historically used for demonstrations and community festivities will be kept commercial free (except for the vendors who serve the crowds)
The Pack Square Conservancy presented a plan that will create a magical area of lawns, waterfalls, and a large outdoor theater in the heart of downtown Asheville.The conservancy needs to raise $7.5 million for construction of the park, and an additional $2 million for future park maintenance.
The plan includes a sprawling lawn near Asheville City Hall and the Buncombe County courthouse, new roads, public restrooms( Yea!), landscaping and a new fountain near Vance Monument.
The name "City-County Plaza" would be replaced. Non-corporate donors who give $500,000 or more could name areas such as the Pack Square green or, entryways to city hall and the county courthouse. These areas could be named for deceased individuals, families or foundations that made "significant historic or cultural contributions to Western North Carolina," according to the policy draft.
Asheville resident Brad Burns had a comment on the conservancy's new plan, saying it needed design input from local experts and asked city council to form a sub- committee with local sociologists, architects, artists and citizens to evaluate the public space.
largest naked event since the dawn of the textile industry takes place, on
Saturday, June 11, 2004, as bicyclists in cities around the world ride naked through
their town making an impactful statement about world oil and petrochemical
dependency. The bare riders will be protesting involvement in Iraq,
promoting peace, civil rights and their personal sovereignty. Cities already
signed on include: Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto,
Pforzheim, Germany; Christchurch, New Zealand; Belgie, Belgium;
TX; Burlington, VT;
Angeles, San Francisco, CA;
WA. Many more locations worldwide are inquiring daily.
Last year In Asheville, some 46 riders left from the French Broad Food Co-op, 90 Biltmore Ave., at 11 AM, Saturday, ending at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. parking area (2.1 miles). http://newfrontier.com/asheville/naked
World Naked Bike Ride is organized democratically through e-mail
discussion lists distributed around the world, There is no leader, only
volunteer organizers in various cities
through coffee houses, health food shops, bike shops, and the world's counter
culture. This is a fun, family event. Everyone is invited, with or
Check out Asheville Magazine's Political Forum
Asheville, N.C.-- "Quiet on the set!" is not a phrase you think you’d hear while admiring the serene beauty of the peaks in Western North Carolina. But, more and more Hollywood producers have found that these 6000+ foot peaks provide visually spectacular backdrops for the motion picture industry.
"North Carolina has more production complexes and sound stages than any state in the nation outside of California," said Asheville resident Michael Bigham, North Carolina locations manager for Last of the Mohicans and a Hollywood scout. And Western North Carolina captured the attention of Hollywood years ago.
The first movie shot in Asheville was in the 1920s. Titled Conquest of Canaan, the movie was filmed in what is now Pack Square in downtown Asheville, and tells the story of a lawyer who makes good in a small town.
Today, Asheville is becoming the Indie Movie Capital of America...
Here are a few other examples of Hollywood films and their Asheville area film shooting locations:
Waynesville, NC - Perhaps you've seen Hemp Hill Rd in Waynesville, it was once required by law to be grown there...hemp, that is. Then came tobacco. Now we are moving on from tobacco. Jule Morrow plants, harvests and cures burley tobacco on his 100-acre farm, just like his father and grandfather did for decades. But every year, it gets harder and harder for him to make a living doing it.
Morrow said in the late 1980s and 1990s, he earned more than $36,000 a year from a 12-acre crop of tobacco. Now, because of tighter restrictions on how much tobacco farmers can grow, he said he is lucky to make $7,000 from a two-acre crop.
So, Morrow is doing what other cash-strapped tobacco farmers in Western North Carolina have done. He's growing crops such as lettuce, beets, potatoes, winter squash and Swiss chard organically. He even grows his tobacco organically.
"Farmers like me have got to diversify," said Morrow. "If they don't, I fear they're going to find something else to do, like pumping gas."
And with the help of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, more tobacco farmers like Morrow will be growing organic crops. The Madison County-based project is receiving a $347,500 grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to help 25 burley tobacco farmers learn to grow and market organic crops.
The commission is one of three trusts set up by the General Assembly to distribute money from the 1998 Tobacco Settlement. This year, the commission gave $2.9 million to 13 projects across the state that helps tobacco farmers and workers learn new skills and reach new markets.
"Some people complain that money taken from the tobacco companies is going back into the tobacco industry," said William Upchurch, executive director of the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. "But they're our neighbors, the foundation of our communities. We don't want them to be so financially distressed they can't survive."
Helping tobacco farmers like Jule Morrow grow and sell organic crops isn't easy, said Aubrey Raper, transition coordinator for the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. Farmers unfamiliar with organic crops have to learn how much to grow and then how to successfully market what they harvest. Often, they learn the hard way.
"In a perfect world, it would all go real well," said Raper, a former tobacco farmer who now primarily grows watercress. "But opportunities for things not to go well are everywhere. Sometimes farmers grow more than they can sell. Sometimes they have to plow under an entire crop."
That's why farmers like Jule Morrow join farmer-run coops like Carolina Organic Growers Inc., that help market organic crops to local restaurants, grocery stores and consumers. They also help farmers teach each other how do things, such as passing federal inspections certifying organic crops.
"I couldn't survive without Carolina Organic Growers," Morrow said. "You either have to join a coop or get out of farming."
Part of the Sustainable Agriculture Project's grant also will help promote the Mountain Tailgate Market Association, which serves about 100 farmers, including 30 tobacco farmers, from Buncombe and Madison Counties.
Next year, the project and others like it could have an even tougher time because they might not get money from the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. Executive Director William Upchurch said the General Assembly passed legislation authorizing it to take $38 million from the commission to help balance the state budget.
"We projected that we would get about $40 million next year, which would leave us with $2 million," Upchurch said. "But we may not get that much money, and we're very concerned about it."
If that happens, the Sustainable Agriculture Project will look more closely at local sources of funding, said Charlie Jackson, projects coordinator and president of the Mountain Tailgate Market Association.
"We'll do everything we can to help these farmers," said Jackson. "The prosperity of our region is built on them. If they lose their farmland, everyone suffers."
Asheville was the only place in Western North Carolina showing the film on opening day, June 25, 2004. It was the largest turnout in the history of the town's Fine Arts Theatre. Asheville Magazine publisher and editor J. Charles Banks, and his wife Dhiraja arrived at the theatre around 6 PM for the 7:30 showing and the line was almost to the end of the block. They didn't make it. All 5 shows from morning to the 12:30 AM show were sold out! Former mayor, Leni Sitnick, was first in line for the 10 PM performance waiting about 2 hours in the drizzle! The show was also a sell-out on Saturday, Sunday and Monday!
The film opened in two theaters
in New York on Wednesday, June 23 to help build even more media buzz before expanding
to a relatively modest 868 theaters two days later. (In contrast, most of
the other movies in the top five were playing in more than 2,500 theaters
"This is a testament to Michael Moore. His voice resonates across the country in what I think we can all now fairly describe as America's movie," said Tom Ortenberg, at Lions Gate Films, which backed the movie.
He said in a conference call that the film played strongly in both Democrat and Republican states, even drawing sell-out crowds in Republican strongholds like Nassau County, New York and Fayetteville, NC, home of Fort Bragg.
Lions Gate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., partnered on the
film's distribution with IFC Films, a unit of Cablevision Systems
Corp.'s Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, and Miramax co-chairmen Harvey and
Bon Weinstein. The Weinsteins bought the movie's rights with their own
money after Miramax parent Walt Disney Co. refused to let them release
it under the Miramax banner.
The movie cost about $6 million to make, according to Moore. Additionally, the distributors spent less than $10 million--a relatively modest sum--to market the movie, said Ortenberg.
Check out Asheville Magazine's
Types Migrating Here
Although the town has a population of less than 70,000 people, and the region less than 300,000, estimates show there are over 2,500 new age practitioners here, and over 50,000 people who might fall into the category, which the Stanford Research Institute calls "inner directed."
There are now 48 authorized billboards in the town. A few local and national businesses, and the sign companies are threatening suit, claiming it is unjust and will affect their business and the people's choice.
One woman, and ad executive's wife, however, told reporters that she didn't move to these majestic mountains to want to see billboards. She claimed she'd rather leave her TV home as well. Five of town's seven council members seem to agree with her. Most residents of the area seem to agree that they have been given the stewardship to keep the area green.
Here Comes the
It will be owned by the State of North Carolina who will lease the rail lines from Norfolk-Southern Railroad. Currently the closest Amtrak station is in Greenville, SC, over one hour from downtown Asheville.
The proposed rail system will have connections to all Amtrak rail lines and cities in America. Asheville now has a Greyhound bus service, and a regional airport 12 miles from town, in Arden, NC. A major airport is Greenville-Spartanburg, SC, about an hour from Asheville.
Chamber of Consciousness
And from Around the World...
New York, NY - Why is author Eric Schlosser hanging around Swedish prisons? Well, drugs, black market labor, pornography, and fast food can all be ruled out. He's already written about those subjects.
In fact, he's researching a book on the American prison system -- his third book in a self-declared trilogy. The first two were the worldwide best seller Fast Food Nation and his collection of investigative essays Reefer Madness”.
”The three books are linked in many ways. And without sounding too pretentious, I view them as a trilogy. The United States has undergone some fundamental changes in my lifetime,” says Schlosser, who is 44. ”I'm trying to offer an alternative history of the last 30 years.”
Speaking in New York recently, Schlosser said that he'd been waiting since before Fast Food Nation was published for a chance to write about the faults of the prison system, which frequently shocked him in visits he made while researching the book.
For a start, the prison population in the United States has exploded over the past 30 years, from about 250,000 in the late 1970s to the current figure of 2.1 million. That is more than any other country.
And not just any country in the world -- it's more than any country in the history of the world.
Of these prisoners, about 450,000 at most have committed violent crimes.
The other 1.6 million? ”You'll have to look at the 'war on drugs' for that answer,” he says.
People convicted of first-time, non-violent marijuana offences are frequently given longer sentences than murderers. Schlosser talks about a ”hippie biker” who was given 12 years for his first, non-violent marijuana-related crime. It is not uncommon for a murderer to get 10 years.
”It's an elaborate revolving door,” he says. ”People with drug problems go from an environment where they're exposed to drugs into prison, where they can continue to use drugs freely, and then back into an environment where they're exposed to drugs. Then if they fail one drugs test, they violate their probation order and they're thrown back in prison.”
Young black men and young white men use drugs at a similar rate, he says. But young blacks are five times more likely to be arrested, and five times more likely to be poor. ”If you can't afford rehab and a good lawyer, you'll probably go to prison.”
Three-quarters of all prisoners are African American or Latino.
There are also about 300,000 mentally ill people locked up and often poorly medicated.
Although he has never been sent to prison himself, Schlosser visited a range of them while researching the book.
”Having gone into these prisons for my reporting, I never, ever, ever want to be sent to prison for any reason, ever,” he says. ”But if I have to, I'd like it to be in Sweden.”
In one Swedish maximum security prison he visited (”the toughest of the tough”), there hadn't been a rape as long as anyone could remember.
In U.S. prisons, by comparison, one in every four prisoners is sexually assaulted each year.
Schlosser says he found in U.S. prisons a culture of sexual abuse, violence, brutality, gang and neo-Nazi recruitment.
He thinks the prison system is ineffective, misguided, over-extended and a waste of money. Alternative systems, such as drug rehab and restorative punishments, are a more effective and cheaper way to deal with many crimes.
The reason no other country in history has imprisoned more people than the modern-day United States, says Schlosser, is ”largely because no other country has been rich enough to do so.”
Each prisoner costs 18,000 to 75,000 dollars per year to keep behind bars. Altogether, the system costs U.S. taxpayers 40 billion dollars per year. ”That's more than we spend on our universities,” he adds.
In California alone, there are more prisoners than there are in France, Great Britain, Germany, Singapore and the Netherlands combined. And the prisoners are overwhelmingly poor, mentally ill, drug abusers, or non-whites.
Schlosser brought out some well-chosen, if well-worn, statistics on race in U.S. prisons. One in every four young black men is in prison, jail, on parole or on probation, he said. In Washington DC, that number is one in two.
One in eight black men in the United States have lost the right to vote because of a conviction or being in prison. ”There is no question,” says Schlosser, in an aside, ”that if they could vote, we wouldn't have this president [George W. Bush].”
The book, as yet untitled, will be published in fall 2004 or spring 2005, says a spokesman from his publisher, Houghton Mifflin. Meanwhile, high-profile black activist Angela Davis has also written a book on American prisons titled ”Are Prisons Obsolete?”
The answer to this question, as far as Schlosser is concerned, is yes.
Schlosser -- whose father Herbert Schlosser was the chairman of the NBC television network -- became famous for his book ”Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. ”
The book was a worldwide best seller and spent more than a year on the New York Times best seller list. It continues to cause controversy: Schlosser says he's awaiting a subpoena which has been issued, but not yet served, by one of the companies he mentioned in the book.
© Copyright 2003 Inter Press Service
Satanist Claims Sex Acts Part of
Smith offered no evidence or
argument at his preliminary hearing Monday. But his attorney, Myron Berman,
said before the hearing that his client claims the sex acts were part of his
religion. Police who searched Smith's home in August found in the laundry
room an altar and a box that contained a goat's skull and a child's bra and
Search for Spiritual Energy in Reiki
Holdsworth, a certified nurse practitioner and a practicing Roman Catholic, was skeptical. "The first 10 minutes, I thought, 'Oh man, I got ripped off,' " she said.
Adherents say reiki taps into a
universal life energy that surrounds people. During sessions, a therapist
lightly places hands on, or inches above, parts of a client's body to open
energy centers called chakras. Recipients often report feeling heat during the process and
a deep calm afterward.
"We are interested in change
over time" in the clients, said Gala True, Einstein's assistant director of
medical ethics, who is principal investigator for the study. "We want to see
whether reiki decreases pain, anxiety and depression and increases quality of life and spiritual
well-being for patients with advanced AIDS."
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Check out Asheville Magazine's Spiritual Forum
Clean, Free Energy: Dream or
There is a growing body of experimental
evidence that indicates anomalous excess heat and transformation of elements
are regular occurrences in cold fusion experiments. In thousands of
experiments, credible researchers have immersed rods of palladium, nickel,
and titanium in water, charged them with electricity and observed not only
the byproducts of nuclear reactions, but also have seen more energy coming
out of the reactions than it takes to create them.
Creative Conflict Resolution Goes
Attempt to Prove Life After Death
Dr. Sam Parnia, senior research fellow at the University of Southampton, and Dr. Peter Fenwick, a consultant neuropsychiatrist at Oxford University, are both highly respected researchers. Last year Parnia published a study indicating that 10 percent of clinically dead patients who were later resuscitated reported memories while they were lifeless. Evidence includes patients recognizing hospital staff they had never met but who helped during their resuscitation. Others have recalled conversations between doctors.
Near-death experiences are the most common experience and include seeing a white light, while out-of-body experiences involve serenely observing one's dead body while medics work frantically to resuscitate it. The researchers have founded a charitable trust, Horizon Research, to promote studies in the field. According to known medical science, this should be impossible, given the absence of any brain activity. In the past, the theory has been scorned by the scientific community. Even those who want to believe the truth is out there have turned skeptical.
Susan Blackmore was once the doyenne of British paranormal research. She has since retired, disillusioned, from the field. She concluded in her book about near-death experiences, Dying to Live, that there are scientific explanations for NDEs.
While skepticism remains, scientists are coming to recognize that more research is necessary. In December 2001, a Dutch neurologist, Dr. Pim van Lommel of Hospital Rijnstate in Arnhem, Netherlands, led a team that published an article in The Lancet, the United Kingdom's highly respected journal of medicine. The study showed that 18 percent of clinically dead patients, later resuscitated, recalled near-death experiences years after the event.
Another study, this one conducted in the United States by the father of near-death-experience studies, Kenneth Ring, used blind patients, resuscitated from cardiac arrest, who likewise described seeing their body while clinically dead, although slightly out of focus. The book Mindsight was inspired by this research. Fenwick and others are not positing life after death per se, merely consciousness after death.
Nevertheless, the implications are enormous. If near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences don't come from the brain, where is consciousness based? "There are two ways to view the universe," says Fenwick. "Our current world model is that everything is matter."
In other words, everything that we think of as "real" in scientific terms has a physical form that can be perceived by our senses. But this model, which philosophers call "radical materialism," cannot explain the existence of consciousness, which has no physical essence.
So how do we account for consciousness? "There's a little (unexplained) miracle, and consciousness arises," Fenwick says of the current paradigm. However, another theory proposes that the basic building block of the universe is not matter but instead consciousness itself. This is described as the "transcendent" view, a perspective shared by many of the world's religions.
"This second, transcendent, view of the universe makes it much easier to understand NDEs (near-death experiences)," says Fenwick, who believes that science will eventually replace the material view of the universe with the transcendent one. The advent of quantum mechanics, which posits that matter can simultaneously have both a physical form and a wave form is a step in that direction, he says.
So are scientific studies of the power of prayer, which suggest that subjects benefit from the prayers of others even when they aren't aware that someone is praying for them.
These studies have been interpreted by some researchers as an indication that consciousness behaves as a field, much like magnetism, which can be affected by other fields. If that's true, then it's possible one person's consciousness could affect another person's.
Now Fenwick and Parnia hope to add new near-death-experience and out-of-body-experience research to these findings. If they can raise the cash, they intend to study 100 reanimated heart-attack victims who had near-death experiences. Research has shown that 30 of them can be expected to have out-of-body experiences. Fenwick and Parnia plan to place cards above the patients' heads that can only be seen from the ceiling, where those who experience out-of-body experiences claim to watch their resuscitation.
So will this convince the skeptics? "No, nothing will, but that's OK," says Fenwick, laughing. "It's how science progresses. Any research that says you have to have a major rethink in your world model is always rejected. But it will prove that consciousness is not in the brain."
Another thing the research proves is that there's life left yet in speculating about the afterlife.
See Asheville Magazine Metaphysical Forum
Don't miss any news.
Sign up for
Send Us YOUR news! .... ...Send Us YOUR news!
Asheville Magazine, is seeking more news of interest to a conscious community. Send your news items or calendar events to Asheville Magazine via e-mail, or snail mail to PO Box 17397, Asheville, NC 28816. Voice mail: 828-254-6620. We are also seeking full and part-time sales people, reporters, artists, digital graphic designers and digital photographers, and writers.
up-to-date on Asheville