1st Annual Asheville Bellydance Festival April 15-17, 2011

Mahsati Janan & Lisa Zahiya present:
The 1st Annual
Asheville Bellydance Festival

April 15-17, 2011
Three days of fun including a hafla, gala show & workshops all day Saturday & Sunday!

Questions: Email mahsati@mahsati.com or call 828-242-7595

Friday, April 15th: Hafla & Bellydance Party!
Join us for a night of socializing, open dancing & performances. Would you like to perform? Please email us at lisa@lisazahiya.com. Location TBD.

Saturday, April 16th: Gala Show!
Join us for a night of amazing professional bellydance performances!
$12, $15 at the door, Location TBD

All workshops are $20/$25 at the door. All workshops will be held on Carolina Lane in downtown Asheville. See full workshops schedule and/or register here.

Mahsati Janan, Lisa Zahiya, SamiTe, Sparrow, Sara Beaman, Natalie Brown, Kaitlyn, Asharah, Reyna of the Rising Sun Tribe, Annie of Ancient Moon Bellydance

Tony Griffin: Paintings and Drawings – Gallery Opening in Asheville

Gallery Opening on March 11, 5:30-7:30pm
115 O’Henry Street in the Grove Arcade, Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC – The Fine Arts League of the Carolinas will host a gallery opening for the exhibit, Tony Griffin: Paintings and Drawings, in their downtown gallery located in Asheville’s Grove Arcade on March 11, 5:30 to 7:30pm. The exhibit coincides with a Charcoal Drawing workshop being taught by the artist at the Fine Arts League in the River Arts District.

Tony Griffin is a classically-trained perceptual painter. While Griffin remains faithful to the principles and ideals of his classical training, his work has developed into a looser, more confident voice – a testament not only to his skill, but to his personal vision.

While attending the American International School of Florence, Tony lived and apprenticed with fresco artist Ben Long. During this time, he received training from the atelier of Sigorina Nera Simi at the recommendation of the Italian master, Pietro Annigoni. Griffin’s early artistic training was heavily influenced by the Italian Renaissance masters – a set of artistic ideals that was enjoying another renaissance in Florence’s dynamic community of expatriate artists of the 1970’s . With a solid foundation in academic drawing, Tony briefly returned to the United States in 1974 to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts and was to permanently return later to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. The Academy offered a broader range of instruction and focused more on contemporary realist painting. Here he was able to study with the likes of Ben Kamihira, Sydney Goodman, Arthur De Costa, Seymour Remenick, and Louis Sloan.

Currently, Tony divides his time between his studio in Charlotte and his summer home in the mountains of North Carolina. 

The Fine Arts League is dedicated to teaching in the tradition of the old masters within a master/apprentice learning environment. The course schedule includes: core apprentice track classes, adult workshops, and after school youth workshops. Curriculum details are available online at www.fineartsleague.org. The school was founded in 2001 by Benjamin F Long IV, an Arthur Ross Award winner for Excellence in the Classical Tradition, a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an Art Renewal Center “Living Master”.

For more information about the Fine Arts League of the Carolinas visit: www.fineartsleague.org, or contact Sheri Kahn at (828) 252-5050, kahn@fineartsleague.org

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WNC Author Gary Stamper Needs Your Help to Win “Next Top Self-Help Author” Title

Asheville, N.C. – Nationally known men’s workshop facilitator Gary Stamper of Whittier is a finalist for the distinction of “The Next Top Self-Help Author,” a competition created by James Twyman and Robert Evans, founder of the Messenger Network. The winner receives a book contract courtesy of Conari Press.

“What good is it if the Goddess returns and there’s no Divine Masculine to hold space for her?” Stamper questions in the first sentence of this ground-breaking work of men’s spirituality, Awakening the New Masculine: The Path of the Integral Warrior.

In its pages, he offers the work as an antidote to an alternative landscape filled with publications and programs by women for women, instead offering a stand-out alternative uniquely for men stepping powerfully into 21st century life and relationships.

Stamper’s live workshops incorporate cutting edge technologies combined with ancient, shamanic altered states wisdom, initiation and ritual. Men looking for solutions to personal dilemmas arrive at a new way of being giving them access to the freedom they seek. Many cite a deeper connection in personal relationships, and increased enjoyment of their work and life as a whole. The book is based on this incredible personal work.

Gary Stamper

“When you step into the truth of who you are, speaking from your heart, everyone with whom you are in relationship will relax and trust you,” says Stamper. “We want to change the world, and we begin by changing ourselves.”

Western North Carolinians can support Stamper by visiting his My Author Page online. Watch the video, vote for the book, and follow the simple instructions to receive the first three chapters of the book *F*R*E*E* as his thanks for your support. Find out more about Gary Stamper by visiting his personal website and blog at http://www.garystamper.com/.

Sherri L. McLendon is a freelance writer in Weaverville, N.C. Find out more about her by visiting her media services website, http://www.sherrimclendon.com.

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Please say “no” to Ingles request to exceed our lighting ordinance

For those of you who live in the City of Asheville, please let the Asheville City Council know that you do not approve of an exemption to the outdoor lighting ordinance recently granted to Ingles for a new grocery store/gas station in West Asheville along Smokey Park Highway. This exemption (granted by the Planning & Zoning Commission) would allow Ingles to illuminate its gas station canopy at levels that are 4 times greater than allowed by the city’s lighting ordinance!

This decision will go up for public input before the City Council this Tuesday (Feb. 22nd) at 5:00 p.m. In 2008, the city revised it’s outdoor lighting ordinance and set more restrictive (but hardly “dark-sky”) standards for the City. Ingles wants to completely ignore these. And this not only creates light pollution but also unsafe glare and loss of night vision — a leading cause of nighttime auto accidents.

To take action:
* Email Asheville City Council at: AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov (Copy & paste the letter below into your email if you want to save time)
* Speak out at City Council’s public hearing on the Ingles conditional-zoning request on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, starting at 5 pm, fifth floor of Asheville City Hall.


Subject: Please say “no” to Ingles request to exceed our lighting ordinance

Madam Mayor and City Council members:

Earlier this month the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional zoning request for a new Ingles grocery store/gas station on Smokey Park Highway in west Asheville. Against the recommendations of the City’s Planning Department staff, the P&Z granted extraordinary exemptions to Ingles in this matter, especially in the area of outdoor lighting. Ingles will be allowed to illuminate their gas station canopy with 4 times the maximum allowed by the City’s outdoor lighting ordinance. This is unacceptable as there is no justifiable reason to have that much lighting and this exception creates an unusual precedent for other businesses to make similar requests.

Ingles’ reason for the exception request is for “visibility and safety”. Indeed Ingles would become the most “visible” gas station in Asheville. But the excessive lighting causes a loss of visibility and night vision as well as enormous glare and a risk to the safety of drivers at night. As drivers leave the gas station canopy with diminished night vision from the glaring light and enter the less illuminated highway, accidents are much more likely to occur. This is a common occurrence that everyone experiences when moving from a brightly lit location to a darker one at night. And this problem is more prevalent in the aging population.

It’s not clear why Ingles wants to light its gas station canopy beyond the generous allowance of 20 foot-candles in the Asheville ordinance — other than to increase its visibility to customers from miles around. All other gas stations in town will then want the same treatment!

Asheville’s allowance in its ordinance of 20 foot-candles for vehicular canopies comes directly from the IESNA (Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) recommendations. It is a national standard and not a dark-sky standard. Dark-Sky standards would allow less than 20FC, closer to 10FC. So 20 FC in the city’s ordinance is plenty of light, and it is the standard used by hundreds of lighting ordinances around the country. Brevard only allows 10 FC and Waynesville 15 FC for vehicular canopies. Asheville’s standards here of 20FC are not too harsh and provide plenty of light.

A quote from a study done in Vermont is clear: (page 8 of this linked .pdf file)


“Research compiled by the Chittenden County (Vermont) Regional Planning Commission on gasoline station lighting suggests that average illumination levels in excess of 10 foot-candles serve no purpose other than attracting attention to the site. The IESNA guidelines recommend an average illumination level of 20 foot-candles.”

The City must stand firm on the 20 FC standard as it is very generous and creates no hardship. Any light above this level only creates unsafe glare. The reality is that Ingles’ only reason for this request is to attract attention to its gas station and, ironically, the only “visibility and safety” that it creates is impaired visibility and a safety problem.

With P&Z granting such outrageous exceptions with no justifiable reasons, the City’s ordinances will become a sham, and many other businesses will be lining up for their chance to out-light Ingles.

Please do not allow Ingles this unsafe exception to our outdoor lighting ordinance.


(Your Name)

Small Footprints is the author of Reduce Footprints, a blog about the easy ways that we can reduce our footprint on the earth.

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Asheville Savings Bank receives Spirit of North Carolina award

ASHEVILLE – Asheville Savings Bank has been named a Spirit of North Carolina award winner for its creative commitment to supporting United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County.

The bank receives the award for it’s commitment to increasing employee giving to the United Way campaign – up 20 percent in the past two years – making it the top Financial Services Giving Company in Buncombe County. In addition, senior management participates in imaginative incentives to encourage 100 percent staff participation in the campaign, including dancing the Thriller dance, performing the hula and undertaking Survivor-style competitions.

The company embodies the message of LIVE UNITED, not only by giving, but also through advocating and volunteering in the community. Staff advocate on United Way’s behalf by holding a change drive with their customers during campaign season, creating awareness and explaining our work in the community.  They also volunteer through Day of Caring, regular Hands On Asheville-Buncombe volunteer projects, an annual backpack drive and at United Way on the board, strategic planning committees, focus area groups, leadership giving societies and other roles. Suzanne DeFerie, Asheville Savings Bank CEO, served as 2010 Campaign Cabinet Chair and is a big part of the company’s enthusiasm.

“Asheville Savings Bank has been an outstanding corporate citizen, and I am thrilled it is being recognized for its support of our community,” said David Bailey, United Way president and CEO. “We look forward to attending Asheville Savings Bank’s celebration each year. It’s always a surprise, and you never know what they are going to do next!”

The Spirit of North Carolina Awards provide statewide recognition for organizations, local government, healthcare and educational institutions and large and small businesses offering outstanding commitment and support to communities through local United Way involvement. The award will be presented by United Way of North Carolina at its annual meeting Feb. 18 in Pinehurst.

United Way mobilizes people into collective action through Giving, Advocating and Volunteering in the areas of Education, Income and Health. We believe these are the building blocks of a good life for everyone. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED!

By making results-based investments in our community, we support long-lasting, measurable change in people’s lives, right here in Asheville and Buncombe County. You can be part of the change. Join the movement at www.unitedwayabc.org.

For more information, contact:
David Bailey, President and CEO- 255-0696

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