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SHOPPING FOR SHELTER TO SUPPORT LOCAL HOUSING NONPROFIT

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Next month, Firestorm Books & Coffee will partner with Community Housing Coalition (CHC) of Madison County for its inaugural “Shopping for Shelter” fundraising event. Community members are invited to support CHC’s mission to facilitate healthy, safe, and affordable housing by buying a book or other item through the bookstore’s website during the first five days of March (3/1–3/5).

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Brother Wolf Animal Rescue Offers Socially Distanced Valentine’s Day Puppygrams

valentine's day puppygram

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue has a long-standing history of offering popular Puppygrams each Valentine’s Day. This unique gift has traditionally included an in-person visit with puppies. Due to social distancing and coronavirus protocols, the organization has found a creative way to continue this much loved Valentine’s gift with a twist this year. Introducing virtual Puppygrams!

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HIGHLAND BREWING ADDS HIGH PINES IPA TO YEAR-ROUND LINEUP IN MID-FEBRUARY

North Carolina’s largest native brewer is announcing the release of High Pines IPA – an imperial IPA brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe, Centennial, and Comet hops – as the latest addition to its year-round lineup. Named with the forest and fresh scent of mountain pine in mind, the new beer will be distributed across Highland’s Southeastern distribution footprint in 12-ounce cans this February.

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Asheville Tea Company Releases Valentine’s Day Gift Boxes

Local maker brings new reasons to give love a chai.  

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SoundSpace @ Rabbit’s Now Open Inside Historic Rabbit’s Motel

A three year revitalization project taking place inside of Asheville, North Carolina’s historic Southside neighborhood has come to fruition with the opening of SoundSpace @ Rabbit’s, the city’s first public access music rehearsal facility. The studio space, which will soon include a soul food eatery and mixed medium artist amenities has taken residence inside the now-defunct Rabbit’s Motel, a Green Book site for African-American travelers which operated from the late 1940s until the turn of the 21st century. Repurposing the building to accommodate the influx of creatives who call Asheville home, co-founders Claude Coleman, Jr. (of the rock outfit Ween) and Brett Spivey hope to carry the legacy of the historic construction by providing functional practice quarters and an accessible gathering place for artists of all mediums. 

Established in 1948 by Fred “Rabbit” Simpson, Rabbit’s Motel was considered a crown jewel of Black-owned tourist courts in the segregation-era South. The inn provided lodging and dining for Black visitors, including such prominent figures as Chitlin Circuit entertainers, soul singer and performer Jackie Wilson, comedian Richard Pryor, race car driver Wendell Scott and baseball star Willie “Pops” Stargell. At the heart of Rabbit’s Motel was Lou Ella Byrd’s beloved soul food kitchen, a town favorite dining establishment which was famously known for its “pork chops the size of bibles.” Mrs. Byrd’s café operated for over half a century and was cherished by a cross-section of Asheville’s communities up to 2003. In late 2021, local chef Clarence Robinson (also known as The Flavor King) will bring his culinary chops and signature “Cooking With Comedy” flair to the SoundSpace facility. A lifelong Asheville resident and relative of Rabbit Motel’s original owner, Robinson is set to recharge the vacated kitchen space with a new soul food café that will pay homage to the accomplishments of Mrs. Byrd while informing a new vision for Western North Carolina’s rich food scene.  

In addition to providing a vital service to Asheville’s rapidly expanding music sector, SoundSpace will soon boast a series of workshops, events, and programs to foster the arts in underserved communities. Future plans include a livestream series called SoundSpace @ Rabbit’s Live which will feature Afro-centric performances broadcast directly from inside the facility, and a multi-artist mural project that will reinvigorate the building’s exterior. With equity and collaboration at the forefront, co-founders Claude Coleman, Jr. and Brett Spivey — both lifelong musicians and passionate community stakeholders — hope to establish SoundSpace as a longstanding resource that embraces a model of diversity through music, art, food, and collaboration.

For more information about SoundSpace, visit www.soundpaceavl.com. For a brief history of Asheville’s historic Southside district, see below.

For media inquiries and interview requests, contact Danielle Dror (danielle@teamvictorylap.com) at Victory Lap Publicity.

Southside: Lost Communities of Black Exceptionalism in Asheville
Rabbit’s Motel sat in the heart of Southside, a flourishing African-American neighborhood that was one of many Black communities burgeoning in Asheville, North Carolina. Southside contained a vital business district for the African-American community as much as The Block in the center of downtown, which was a nexus of Black commercialism and one of the largest Black-owned business districts in the South. The Block was adjacent to East End, home of Stephens-Lee High School, the only public African-American school in North Carolina.

Southside was a mixed district of businesses ranging from funeral homes and drive-in diners, and was an entertainment hub of hotels and bar-clubs frequented by Chitlin’ Circuit groups as well as supporting a robust local music scene of Black bands.

Municipal neglect to these communities allowed widespread blight. The practices of Urban Renewal upended these historic communities over a period of 30 years. Entire neighborhoods were dispossessed, roads were redrawn, and communities and their sense of belonging and connection were dismantled. In just the East Riverside area alone, “we lost more than 1,100 homes, six beauty parlors, five barber shops, five filling stations, fourteen grocery stores, three laundromats, eight apartment houses, seven churches, three shoe shops, two cabinet shops, two auto body shops, one hotel, five funeral homes, one hospital, and three doctor’s offices.” (Reverend Wesley Grant) During the East Riverside Redevelopment Project, an urban renewal effort targeting 425 across was completely demolished.

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Hi-Wire Brewing Announces January Beer Releases

Forget the diets and dry January promises because this month is all about dessert at Hi-Wire Brewing. Prepare to indulge in three decadent new releases featuring Wonka-inspired ingredients – S'mores Porter, Blueberry Crumble 10W-40 Imperial Stout, and Chocolate Raspberry Sour Smoothie.

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An Intergenerational Effort to Save the American Red Wolf

When the Cadettes of Girl Scout Troop 1819 were earning their Outdoor Art Badge, they had no idea they would be inspired to begin a journey to help save the critically endangered American red wolf.

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Cold Weather Stories from ABCCM

Cold weather stretches ABCCM’s urgent need for donations to help with heating assistance for elderly and families with children in Buncombe County. Every winter season with 29,797, or 11.5% of the Buncombe County population living below the poverty level there is a need to help families and individuals with heating assistance. What follows is just one of many “Cold Weather Stories.”

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Ingles Markets To Administer Covid-19 Vaccines

covid-19 vaccine

Ingles Markets, Incorporated (NASDAQ: IMKTA) has announced that the company will be partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide the administration of the coming COVID-19 vaccine. Ingles Pharmacies will receive direct allocations of COVID-19 vaccine once a vaccine is approved for its safety and efficacy and recommended for use in the United States.

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Cold Mountain Beer Release 2020

Highland Brewing Celebrates Return of Cult-Favorite Spiced Winter Ale with Festivities from November 6-14 For the past 24 years, Highland Brewing has kicked off the holiday season with a release party for Cold Mountain Spiced Winter Ale. As with many things this year, Cold Mountain 2020 will look different, including a ticketed weekend of celebration sessions and online pre-orders for the beer.

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