FANS E-Newsletter
 February - March 2019
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About FANS

Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS) is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working for a strong and vibrant Swannanoa by encouraging active involvement, fostering community spirit, and honoring our unique history and natural heritage.  For more info and to find out how you can get involved, visit


FANS Board of Directors:


Andrew Belz  

Maureen Dillow

Sandy Drake 

Samantha Gallman 

Carol Groben 

Doug Lebbon

James Lytle

Dave Price - Vice Chair 

Angela Stone


We welcome and appreciate your input and ideas! You can write to us at

A Special Thank You
to Our
Newsletter Sponsor!   
Local Nonprofits Encouraged to Apply for Endowment Fund Grants 

The Black Mountain - Swannanoa Valley Endowment Fund, an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC), is accepting applications for its spring grant cycle from nonprofits serving the Swannanoa Valley. The grants will range in size from $2,500 - $10,000, and will focus on projects and programs relating to health and wellness, education, cultural and natural resources, and people in need. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2019.  

Organizations can apply online at  For more information, contact Virginia Dollar at CFWNC, 828-367-9907.
Where Are Our 
Bus Shelters?  

In the April 2018 edition of the FANS newsletter, we reported that Swannanoa was soon to get two long-awaited bus shelters ~ 
an eastbound shelter near the Swannanoa Ingles, and a westbound shelter near Riverwood Road. At that time, site preparation work, which included pouring the concrete for sidewalks and the shelter pad, was almost complete. The shelter structures were expected to be installed and ready for use by mid-June. 

But unfortunately, the vendor for the shelter structures ~ which are being funded by the County ~ defaulted on the contract. The County was forced to locate a new vendor. A backlog of orders has delayed production, but the County now expects that the vendor will ship the shelter structures some time in February. With any luck, Swannanoa bus riders will have some protection from the elements by this spring. 

Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS) will continue to advocate for additional bus shelters, along with other pedestrian and traffic safety improvements on U.S. 70. 
Swannanoa Native Launches YouTube Channel  

Brenda Parks Hughes, a Swannanoa native who still maintains Valley ties, has launched a YouTube channel geared to those who are looking for inspiration and new purpose in the second half of life. Called actTWO, the channel features real-life stories of people finding adventure, passion, and fulfillment in life's second act.

The first story features Black Mountain Vice Mayor Maggie Tuttle, who entered local politics during her recovery from breast cancer, following a 33-year career as a high school math teacher.  In an upcoming edition, actTWO will feature David Rozzell, an Owen High graduate who now lives in Old Fort. David is a Vietnam veteran who suffered from PTSD until he joined a writing program at the VA that changed his life. New videos will be posted on the first and third Fridays of each month.  

Brenda Parks Hughes, also an Owen High graduate, is launching this new venture after a successful career in broadcast journalism and feature documentary work. You can find actTWO on YouTube or at
Meals on Wheels 
Pet Food Drive 

The Meals on Wheels Pet Food Drive continues at the Swannanoa Library through the month of February.  Please bring sealed cans and bags of dog and cat food for the Meals on Wheels clients whose beloved pets deserve food, too! Small dog kibble and food for senior animals is especially needed. 

The Swannanoa Library is located at 101 West Charleston Avenue. For info, call 828-250-6486.
Free Tax Assistance at Black Mountain Library 
Federal Tax Return
Do you find yourself lost in a maze of rules and regulations when it comes time to fill out your tax forms?  Well, you have lots of company, and fortunately, help may be on the way! AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, in cooperation with the IRS, N.C. Dept. of Revenue, Council on Aging, and Buncombe County Public Libraries, is offering free tax preparation for taxpayers with low and moderate incomes, with special attention to those age 60 and older. Both Federal and N.C. State returns will be electronically filed for safe and accurate preparation and faster refunds.

This free service is available at a number of Buncombe County locations, including the Education Room at the Black Mountain Library, 105 N. Dougherty Street. Tax preparers will be on hand at the library on Thursdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. through April 11. For questions, and to find out what documentation you need to bring with you, please call the Council on Aging at 828-277-8288.
Bird-Friendly Gardening 

Join Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society president, Tom Tribble, as he discusses the current habitat threat to the birds we love, and shows us how we can help by creating bird-friendly garden spaces. This free program is best suited for adults, but all are welcome. 

The program takes place at the Swannanoa Library, 101 West Charleston Avenue, on Tuesday, February 12, at 6:30 p.m.  For info, call the library at 828-250-6486.
Tiny Tots Yoga 
This free class for caregivers and babies is geared toward crawlers and walkers up to age 2, and takes place at the Swannanoa Library on Wednesdays, February 13 and 27, at 11 a.m. Tiny Tots Yoga is  a highly active, playful class, with songs and music that integrate yoga exercise. The class offers poses that support a toddler's increased mobility and physical explorations. 

The Swannanoa Library is located at 101 West Charleston Avenue. For info, call 828-250-6486.
Dollywood Imagination Players to Perform at the Swannanoa Library 
The Dollywood Imagination Players return to the Swannanoa Library on Thursday, February 28, at 10:30 a.m., to perform Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, from the book by Patty Lovell. You and your little ones are invited to come watch this delightful children's book come to life in a 20-minute sing-along musical, with a special video appearance by Dolly Parton. This free and fun performance is for kids ages 18 months - 6 years. 

The Swannanoa Library is located at 101 West Charleston Avenue. For info, call the library at 828-250-6486.
The Amazing 
World of Plants 
Would you like to become a citizen scientist? Come to the Swannanoa Library on Thursday, March 14 at 4:00 p.m., for Intro to Botany, a free program provided by the NC Arboretum. Study specimens under a microscope, learn about the science of plants, and take a walk to examine the plants and trees in our area. Become an Eco Explorer and learn more about what grows and lives in our community! 

This program is for children ages 8 and up. The Swannanoa Library is located at 101 West Charleston Avenue. For info, call 828-250-6486.
Save the Dates for Swannanoa Sweep &  Spring Community Yard Sale 

Mark your calendars for these two upcoming Swannanoa events, sponsored by Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS):

Swannanoa Sweep Community Litter Cleanup, Saturday, April 6, at 9 a.m.

Swannanoa Community Yard Sale, Saturday, May 4, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Calling All Book Lovers! 


Come be a part of the oldest continual book discussion group in the Buncombe County library system.  The Swannanoa Library book group gathers every 4 - 6 weeks for a lively discussion of a fiction or nonfiction book selected by the group.  The next meeting is on Thursday, February 28, at 6 p.m. at the library (101 West Charleston Ave. in Grovemont) to discuss The Hidden Life of Trees  by Peter Wohlleben .

Newcomers are always welcome, so don't be shy!  For more info, call the library at 828-250-6486.
E-Newsletter Sponsor  


The FANS E-Newsletter currently reaches more than 1,200 subscribers (and many more via social media).  Sponsorships are available for as little as $25. It's a great way to promote your business and show your support for our community. To learn more about newsletter sponsorship opportunities, please write to us at or call 828-581-9848.
This newsletter is a publication of Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS).  We hope you'll find it a useful source of information about happenings in our community, news of local interest, and Swannanoa history and heritage.  Help us spread the word about all the great things that are happening in Swannanoa by .

If you have ideas for newsletter content, please click here to send us an email.  We'd love to hear from you!   

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Construction to Begin This Spring on Swannanoa Affordable Apartment Complex
At a meeting on Tuesday, February 5, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a $2.2 million loan for East Haven, a 95-unit affordable apartment complex to be constructed on U.S. 70 in Swannanoa, just west of Riverwood Road. East Haven is a project of Mountain Housing Opportunities (MHO), a local nonprofit community development group. 

The $16.8 million apartment complex  received initial funding in the form of federal tax credits and other financing in 2017. The $2.2 million from Buncombe County was the last piece of funding needed before construction could begin. With the financial hurdles now cleared, MHO expects to break ground on East Haven this spring. Residents may be moving into their apartments as early as October 2020. 

East Haven will help address a critical shortage of safe and affordable housing in our area.  The apartment complex will offer 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units in a variety of floor plans. A landscaped interior courtyard will include a playground, picnic area and garden space. The complex will also have elevators, a community room, a computer center, laundry facilities, and a fitness room.

Rents are expected to be approximately $260 - $700 per month, depending on family size and income. East Haven will be open to residents whose annual household incomes are at, or below, 60 percent of the county's median income.

MHO is committed to working with FANS and others in our community to maximize the benefits that East Haven will bring to the Swannanoa Valley, and to ensure that local residents have all the information they need in order to apply for housing. Applications are not being accepted yet, but we'll provide updates as they become available.

For more information, visit
Sheriff's Office Conducts Training in Old Community  High School Building
For a 2-week period in January and February, the old Community High School building in Swannanoa was used as a training site for Buncombe County Deputy Sheriffs. A new school is being built alongside the old building (which was once home to Swannanoa High School), making the vacant structure an ideal spot for conducting the training. The Buncombe County Sheriff's Office seized on the opportunity to use this real-world environment to train officers in de-escalation techniques, and to practice responses in a variety of different active shooter and hostile event scenarios.  

The training exercises were held during after-school hours  and did not involve any actual gunfire or other loud noises. The Sheriff's Office notified residents of the training through posts on Nextdoor and other social media sites.

The great hope, of course, is that such training will never be needed in our area. But if the unthinkable should ever occur, our Sheriff's Office is much better prepared, thanks to the training that took place at Community High School. 
The vacant Community High School building
(formerly Swannanoa High School, pictured above) was recently used to train police officers
in "active shooter" situations.
Structural Issue Delays 
Pool Opening at 
Warren Wilson College
The opening of the indoor pool at Warren Wilson College has been delayed again, this time due to a structural  issue that caused the roof to sag during December's heavy snowfall. The damage occurred just as workers were putting the finishing touches on the pool and locker rooms in preparation for a grand opening. The  College is currently working with engineers to address the roof issues, and hopes to have information soon about a possible opening date. 

When the old Warren Wilson College pool closed in 2014, its fate remained uncertain due to lack of funding for the major repairs that were needed. But the facility got a new lease on life when the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved $300,000 to renovate the pool and construct a brand new building. Additional funding was obtained from the USDA and private donors. Although the pool was expected to reopen in early 2018, a series of construction delays pushed that date back.
When the pool doors finally open to the public, it will be welcome news to local swim teams, as well as the many Swannanoa Valley residents who look forward to having a place to swim right here in our own backyard. Residents will be able to purchase monthly, six-month and annual memberships. And f or the first time, pool memberships will also include access to the Warren Wilson gym and exercise facilities.
'Power of Place' Lecture Series Brings Nationally Recognized Conservationist to Swannanoa

Warren Wilson College's "Power of Place" Lecture Series continues at 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 17, with a presentation by conservationist Jay Leutze in Myron Boon Hall, on the College campus. The lecture is entitled "Zooming Out: Our Place in the Conservation Cosmos." 

Leutze is a Trustee of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and  author of the bestselling book Stand Up that Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail. He is a spokesperson for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and is a nationally recognized advocate on behalf of public funding to help conserve special places in the Southern Appalachians.
The "Power of Place" Lecture Series is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, please visit On its website, Warren Wilson College describes the "Power of Place" as "a series of events celebrating Warren Wilson College's history, with a focus on what it means to be located physically, ecologically, and culturally within the overlapping communities and territories that make up this special place."

As an added benefit, those attending the lecture will have an opportunity to see Myron Boon Hall, the first new academic building constructed on the Warren Wilson campus in 18 years. The 15,000 square foot structure houses the College's social sciences division, as well as its renowned Masters of Fine Arts program for writers. The building, which was designed to capture the beautiful views overlooking the farm, river and valley below, includes flexible space for meetings and a large multi-use atrium. 

Myron Boon Hall, where the "Power of Place" 
Lecture will be held on February 17.
Photo courtesy of Warren Wilson College.
Groovin' on Grovemont 
Opens Season With 
First-Ever Spring Event
The 17th annual Groovin' on Grovemont concert series will kick off in 2019 with a special edition spring event featuring acclaimed singer-songwriter Michael Reno Harrell. Michael guarantees a joyful evening of songs, stories and lots of laughs. His original songs and stories have been described as "Appalachian grit and wit." He's a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival, and has toured throughout the U.S., the British Isles, and much of Europe. Michael's performance at t he spring Groovin' concert takes place in Grovemont Square, adjacent to the Swannanoa Library, on Friday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m. 

In addition to celebrating the arrival of spring (hopefully!), the concert celebrates the grand re-opening of the newly renovated Swannanoa Library basement book sale, which will happen at 5 p.m. that evening. The water issues that plagued the basement for years have been addressed, and the space has been remodeled. Come early to see the improvements and browse the thousands of used books available for purchase at incredibly low prices.

The concert is free, but donations are always welcome and encouraged. All donations benefit the Friends of the Swannanoa Library, and support the Swannanoa Library and Grovemont Park and playground. For more info, call the library at 828-250-6486.

Groovin' on Grovemont will continue, as usual, with three summer concerts in July and August. Stay tuned for details!
County Seeks Public Input on Waste Collection Services
This spring, Buncombe County will award a new contract for waste and recycling collection services. As residents of an unincorporated area of the county that will be served under this contract, Swannanoa residents have a vested interest in the outcome. Are you happy with your current waste collection options? Do you have suggestions on how this important service can be improved? Please take a moment to make your voice heard by completing a short online survey between now and February 28. 

Selecting a trash and recycling pickup provider for residents in unincorporated Buncombe County is an important decision that involves the entire community. "Providing a platform for citizen feedback is critical as we evaluate the waste and recycling collection needs in the community," notes County Solid Waste Director Dane Pedersen. "Input regarding possible collection service improvements will be essential for assessing the restructuring of certain contract parameters." 

To complete the survey, visit and click on the survey link at the top of the home page. All survey feedback will be compiled and shared with the public, the Board of Commissioners, and County staff. The Commissioners expect to vote on a new contract in May of 2019.

Swannanoa Stories 

An Unforgettable Christmas


This past December, Swannanoa resident Annie Rice responded to a Craigslist ad offering free roof shingles. The ad had been placed by Jays Roofing of Swannanoa. They had a bunch of leftover shingles stockpiled from roofing jobs, and thought someone might be able to use them.


Annie's home, which she shares with a disabled child, was badly in need of a new roof. The old roof was falling in, with a gaping hole that leaked badly. Part of her house was completely uninhabitable. Annie thought the Craigslist ad might be the answer to her prayers, but when she called the number, she learned that someone else had beaten her to it. The free shingles had already been claimed. But fortunately for Annie, that wasn't the end of the story. The owner of Jays Roofing, Jeff Hutchins, heard something in Annie's voice that day that caused him to ask her a few questions about her situation. Within a few minutes, he found himself offering to come to her home and take a look at her roof.  


When Jeff and his Project Manager, Chris Craig, saw how bad the situation was, they knew what had to be done. "I could see how genuine and nice Annie was, and that there was a real need," Jeff said. Within a few days, a crew from Jays Roofing was at work on Annie's home, completely rebuilding and replacing her roof, free of charge. They finished the job just before the big December snow arrived. "It was right before Christmas," Jeff said, "and putting a new roof on the house just seemed like it was the right thing to do." 


Editor's Note: We want to thank Annie for sharing this wonderful story with us. We hope it touched you as much as
it did us. Thank you, Jays Roofing, for seeing a need and responding to it in such a kind and generous way. Jays Roofing has been serving the Swannanoa Valley for over 20 years. They're located at 2083 U.S. Highway 70, 828-669-5629. Be sure to "Like" them on Facebook.
Please consider making a donation to help support FANS' work in the community.  Checks can be mailed to:  FANS, PO Box 697, Swannanoa, NC  28778.  Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization -- donations are tax deductible.  Every little bit helps. Thank you! 

For more info, call 828-581-9848, send us an email at or visit


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Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa  

FANS, PO Box 697, Swannanoa, NC  28778