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LOCAL BRIEFS: Young musicians, Barkyard parties, League talks fall schedule

Young musicians performing Sunday at St. John in the Wilderness include Peyton Mann, bassoon; Xavier Galloway, piano; Benjamin Stickney, piano; and Kate Tolchinski, oboe. Young musicians performing Sunday at St. John in the Wilderness include Peyton Mann, bassoon; Xavier Galloway, piano; Benjamin Stickney, piano; and Kate Tolchinski, oboe.

Accent on Youth IV kicks off concert series at St. John

The Accent on Youth IV concert will kick off the Friends of Music series at the Episcopal Church of St. John in the Wilderness at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17.
The performance, in the church Parish Hall, 1905 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock, will feature four outstanding students from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities — Peyton Mann, bassoon; Xavier Galloway, piano; Benjamin Stickney, piano; Kate Tolchinski, oboe.

The state-funded arts school, located in Greenville, gives artistically talented students the opportunity to receive professional training in one of five arts areas: Creative Writing, Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts. The high school students also receive an intense and innovative education and exploration in the humanities.

Although there is no charge for the event, donations to the Friends of Music are gladly accepted. Reservations are not required. For more information call 828-693-9783.


Humane Society invites public to Barkyard Parties

Blue Ridge Humane Society invites the public to participate in Barkyard Parties this weekend presented by Hunter Subaru. Barkyard Parties are individualized celebrations of animal rescue, adoption and animal welfare programs happening Friday, Saturday and Sunday across Henderson County.

Close to 30 businesses will host events during Barkyard Party weekend, each raising funds and awareness for Blue Ridge Humane Society. The biggest fundraiser of the year, the event plays a crucial role in Blue Ridge Humane Society’s mission of ensuring the highest quality of life for animals in Henderson County and neighboring communities.

Barkyard Parties range from pet supply donation drives to “Barkarita” parties with doggy photo booths and other family-friendly activities. Hunter Subaru and an anonymous donor will match all online donations during Barkyard weekend, up to $6,000. To see the full list of Barkyard Parties visit

League kicks off fall work Sunday

The League of Women Voters of Henderson County will kick off its fall schedule of events from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, at Flat Rock Village Hall.
Members and friends from the community are invited to attend and hear what League is doing to educate and advocate for its mission of empowering voters and defending democracy. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Civic clubs join forces to ‘Celebrate Community’

Community service took center stage this week as local Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs participated joined forces to support the Children & Family Resource Center during the second annual “Celebrate Community” initiative.

Four local civic clubs that were to collect diapers and baby wipes at their meetings this week planned to deliver the items to CFRC at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Leaders of the Four Seasons and Hendersonville Rotary Clubs selected the project to supply local families with an important but often overlooked need.

“Diapers are a basic need for babies and toddlers, and just as essential as food and shelter,” said Karolyn Killian, president of Hendersonville Rotary Club. “It’s heartbreaking to think that parents often have to choose between those necessities. We wanted to do our part to help keep the children of Henderson County healthy and safe.”

A lack of diapers can also cause problems for families trying to work or attend school, as many daycare facilities require a minimum supply of diapers to be provided in advance for each child. Unfortunately, the cost of diapers and wipes can be prohibitive for lower-income families.

The Children & Family Resource Center is especially in need of diapers sizes 4-6, pull-ups in sizes 2-3 or 4-5T, as well as individual packs of baby wipes. Providing free diapers and wipes is just one part of the agency’s Adolescent Parenting Program. Individuals who wish to contribute to this diaper drive may drop off their donations all week at the center’s office at 851 Case Street.

Alvarez wins $10,000 public health scholarship

Mills River resident Adriana Alvarez is among the first students to receive the inaugural $10,000 Johnson-Baker Scholarship for study in the UNC Asheville-UNC Gillings Master of Public Health school.

“I am pursuing a MPH with a concentration in place-based health which will allow me to further develop the skills needed to connect with different communities,” Alvarez said. “While working with various rural communities in WNC, I have learned that developing connections with community members is vital to effectively assist the community. Through fostering these connections, we were able to vaccinate over 100 individuals who would have otherwise not have had access to the Covid-19 vaccines at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With my degree, my goal is to start a non-profit clinic that provides accessible primary care for low-income populations as well as immigrant and undocumented populations.”
Alvarez earned a degree in public health at Agnes Scott College in 2020 before enrolling this year in the master of public health program.
The UNC Gillings Master of Public Health program announced the first 10 recipients of the new scholarship last week. Provided by the Mountain Area Health Education Center, the awards are named in honor of two of the program’s founders who contributed to the health of Western North Carolinians in a myriad of ways. Both died at the height of their careers.
Travis Johnson, the first director of the Asheville MPH program, was a passionate advocate for maternal, child and other public health services in underserved communities. He always sought to “do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly.” In the public health program, he wanted to “partner with local agencies to give students the opportunity to solve cases based on real-life issues in real-time.”
Melissa Baker was a community health catalyst who enhanced collaboration in caring for children with disabilities and led region-wide quality improvement initiatives in pediatrics and women’s health. She was instrumental in making sure physicians, mental health counselors, schools and law enforcement throughout Buncombe County and WNC understood both the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and how to help people with trauma build resilience skills.

Four Seasons hires innovation officer

Four Seasons announced the hiring of new Chief Innovation Officer Ryan Cannon, who brings nearly 20 years of financial management, business development and strategic experience to the role.
A graduate of Appalachian State University in finance and banking, Cannon has worked in Western North Carolina his entire career in roles ranging from commercial financial services, nonprofit leadership and health care operations.
“Ryan joins our amazing team of professionals in assuring that patients within our community have access to the highest quality of serious illness and end-of-life care,” Four Seasons President & CEO Millicent Burke-Sinclair said. “Since 1979, our focus has been on providing trusted care to anyone in need of services, regardless of their ability to pay. Ryan’s focus on service, stewardship, and strategy will strengthen our mission and our team as together we strive to co-create the best care for our community.”

“I have been continually impressed by the quality of care and exceptional culture of Four Seasons since I began volunteering in 2016,” Cannon said. “I am very proud to join Four Seasons’ staff to help further enhance and innovate the continuum of care we provide to communities across western North Carolina.”


Registration now open for AVL’s Runway 5K

Asheville Regional Airport will host its annual Runway 5K on Saturday, Oct. 7, where runners and walkers will race down Taxiway Bravo while jets take off and land on the adjacent runway. All participants must pre-register no later than 9 p.m. Sept. 26. Race registration closes Oct. 4
In partnership with Hensel Phelps, Hunter Subaru and Paradies Lagardere, the Runway 5K, raises money to support local aviation scholarships administered by both A-B Tech Department of Aviation and the Western North Carolina Pilots Association Educational Foundation.
The event will take place on the north end of the airfield, with parking in a nearby area. All participants will be shuttled to the event site, which is in a secure area near the airfield. Three food trucks offering coffee, pastries and smoothies will be at the event, as well as music, merchandise, special photo opportunities and more. To register visit