After almost 30 years, The Toy Box is closing on December 22. The Toy Box originally opened in 1987, and has been important to the North Asheville community. Why is it closing? Gary Green, The Toy Box owner, has wanted to retire and sell The Toy Box to a new owner for almost 5 years but has not been able to find a buyer. It has been hard for Mr. Green to find a buyer because toy stores around the U.S. are going out of business, such as Toys R Us. (Why are they going out of business? Online shopping?) The Toy Box was always a place that my mom and I would go to get a last minute gift on our way to a birthday party. Many people are sad to see the Toy Box close and it will be missed.
On the Mountain Xpress website, there is a short story of someone that moved to Weaverville 14 years ago. He said that Mr. Green always made them feel welcome, and he and his kids would play there for hours. He is sad that he can´t shop for his future grandkids there, but says Green´s retirement is well deserved. Another review by Thomas Graser says, ¨Best place to buy toys - period!¨
I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Green and ask him some questions! When Mr. Green decided to buy The Toy Box, he says it was because he wanted a business of is own and he thought a toy store would be a good one. Mr. Green said that one of his favorite parts of owning The Toy Box was seeing sick kids that would come to The Toy Box after their treatments. He was happy that those kids had somewhere to relieve their stress after going through a difficult time. He also told me that after 9,125 days (25 years) in the business, he plans to retire and catch up on the chores he’s been too busy to do that last 25 years such as, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, raise money for Alzeihmers disease research, and spend time with his family. “I don’t think I ever realized how much joy a child gets from being in a toy store… that’s something that I’ll cherish for a long time,” Mr. Gary Green.
Until December 22nd (when the Toy Box closes) everything in the store will be 10% to 50% off! I walked by The Toy Box the other day and saw that almost everything was gone so if you need something go soon! I wish someone would buy The Toy Box from Mr. Green and keep it the way it is! I want kids even younger than me to have the same experience that I did, because you don’t see many small stores like the Toy Box that the people there will help you find the perfect gift. I think that it is a good piece of the community and is also convenient. Although I understand Mr. Green must retire, I hope somebody new will come along and keep it as it is or even make it better.
Story by Tate Lloyd
This weekend, Western North Carolina is expecting a winter storm to arrive on Saturday evening around 7pm EST. It has been rumored that Asheville and many other counties will receive up to 22 inches of snow along with rain and sleet. Many students are anxious with excitement for the snow hoping for no school the following week.
Citizens of Asheville were given a warning to stay home and stock up on food before the storm had even reached the mountains on Thursday and Friday. The snow was long anticipated by many on Friday evening, but did not arrive until around 12 PM Saturday when a rain shower began in Asheville and continued throughout the day until a light snow began later that day. The snow on Saturday began at around 5 PM and lasted all night until 9 AM Sunday morning, when thousands of people woke up to find a winter wonderland outside of their home. The snow continued all day, some areas of Western North Carolina received up to 3 feet of snow in the first 48 hours of the storm. Asheville was expected to receive between 8-12 inches according to Citizens Times, but many woke up on Sunday to almost a foot of snow, the storm left many stuck and unable to leave their home after the storm. Those who could leave their homes took advantage of the snow and went to the local ski slopes at Cataloochee ski area in Maggie Valley, NC; only a 40 minute drive.
After the main parts of the storm hit Asheville, thousands of people had no power and were told they wouldn't have power for up to a week. On Monday December 10, snow began melting and main roads and highways were clear enough to travel short distances, Residents were still told to stay inside due to the temperatures dropping below freezing and refreezing the melted snow, creating black ice on roads and sidewalks all around the city. Many schools were also closed after the weekend, some schools were closed till Wednesday. On Wednesday December 12 the majority of the snow storm had melted and only back roads were still snowy and icy. Locals all around began to have power in their homes again between Tuesday and Wednesday, and some were able to return back to school and work. Asheville City Schools started back on Thursday, 12/13 with a 3 hour delay.
Western North Carolina and South Carolina are still working to get the areas affected back to normal after winter storm Diego came through this past weekend leaving many stuck in their homes. Some areas of North Carolina including Asheville are still under a special weather statement put out by the National weather Service . City workers have been working very hard to scrape main roads and highways and putting out snow salt on sidewalks all around cities and public areas to keep citizens in Asheville safe after the snow.
Story by Barret Bryson
On Aug. 23rd after more than 30 years of business, Kmart on Patton Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina announced its closing due to Sears chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. As you may know, Kmart is owned by Sears so it impacts them too. The filing caused the closing of 142 of their “worst-performing” stores as an attempt to stabilize their finances this year, according to The Asheville Citizen-Times. Leaving only 687 Sears and Kmart stores remaining. Due to the losses that Sears is suffering from, it also closed its Sears store in the Asheville Mall on July 2018 and the Kmart store on Tunnel Road on January 2019.
Now Kmart is coming out with sales of up to 30% off everything and other sales as well, and will attempt to sell after closing down.
Why Is Sears Bankrupt?
Sears CEO Edward S. Lampert is losing money fast. After Sears “spent $5.8 billion buying back shares from 2005 to 2010,” according to Business Insider. Not only that, but Edward also blamed the decline on “shifts in consumer spending to the rise of e-commerce, and even — at times — the weather", according to Business Insider. After 1969, which was Sears peak, Kmart had a huge impact from online shopping. Causing their sales to drop and a downfall in the past 50 years.
Kmart and Sears are not the only stores that got hit by online retailing, Toys- R-Us is an outcome of what online shopping can cause. Because of online shopping, fewer parents shopped at stores and instead they started buying off of Amazon or Ebay, which is more convenient for them. Causing Toys-R -Us to also have a downfall. That applies to Sears and other stores too.
According to City-Data, a Publix store will open as a replacement for Kmart. It will be a good addition to the community as a replacement for Kmart. Since that Kmart wasn't as good according to a comment on City-Data. Explaining how there was poor customer service and the store had an “old smell." Overall, Kmart will be missed and e-commerce will continue its path, impacting large businesses such as Sears and Toys-R-Us. Hopefully, with a new Publix, we can see new things coming our way in Asheville.
Story by Doni Palma-Roberto
On March 9th, 2018 the Citizen Times published a story about Carl Mumpower and his views on the amount of liberal indoctrination in Asheville City Schools.
As a student at Asheville Middle School, I can give a first hand account of the type of education that is provided. Based on experience, the teachers and administrators do not push their beliefs onto us students. They did not pressure us to or to not participate in Thursday's walk out, just as they did not pressure us to participate in the women's march. I feel that the fact that Mumpower is accusing the teachers of forcing their beliefs is simply not backed up by anything except a guest speaker. I am referring to the guest speaker he mentioned in his article, Asheville High School invited a guest speaker in to talk to a group of art students, this person was transgender. This is how Carl Mumpower is saying that the teachers forcing liberalism on the students.
Aside from this, Carl Mumpower is a Psychologist. It seems that his work is controversial, one review on google reads “Dr. Mumpower has been amazing. He has such great insight and I also am grateful he and I share many of the same views... That brings comfort to me with his counsel.” While another reads “Carl is very arrogant and condescending. He also forces his political beliefs on everyone he interacts with. When those political beliefs involve racism as well as transphobic and homophobic tendencies, that crosses the line. He is a mediocre psychologist at best (kindly stated) and disinterested in psychology in general; he longs to hold political office again but cannot win any elections. I wonder why? He regards his patients as mentally inferior which is interesting coming from someone who graduated from the Union Institute and University (not exactly Harvard University!). If it were possible to give 0 stars, I would!” Based on these reviews it seems that people who share the same beliefs are very supportive, while people who do not are very clear that they were not benefited from seeing him as a psychologist.
I do not think Mumpower is qualified to make the statement he did. He has no right to blame Asheville City Schools for his transphobic beliefs. In the future Asheville City Schools staff will continue to separate their political beliefs with their teaching.
Story by Olive Donochod
We all know that Asheville has some amazing restaurants and some are even on top ten places to eat internationally. Here are some of my favorite places that I have been to. I clearly haven’t been to most places in Asheville, but here are places I have been to and something about each one.
-Ganshan Station is a good place if you are an adventurous eater. The menu is limited, but the food is really good.
-China Taste has amazing food but not the best surroundings. Other than the appearance, China Taste is a great place to eat if you like greasy Chinese food.
Southern Soul Food Restaurants-
-Homegrown is a family-friendly southern place on Merrimon Ave. in North Asheville. It is a great place to eat if you are really hungry. I recommend the fried buttermilk chicken and fries.
-Mouse Café is another good southern place. I love their biscuits and they do a great job decorating. It is very cozy and has many options.
-Biscuit Head happens to be a great place if you love savory breakfast meals. They too do a good job decorating and have more than one location.
-Chai Pani is an amazing place to eat if you love classic Indian and are expecting some savory food. I personally think they serve fantastic Mango Lassis.
-Salsa’s happens to be one of my favorite restaurants in Asheville because everything tastes so fresh and natural. I haven’t tasted a dish I haven’t liked there, and an advantage is the setting is in the middle of downtown.
-White Duck Taco shop has a bunch of different dishes and each has a set of assorted flavors. I like how welcoming the inventory seems and the whole place just gives a good vibe.
-Urban Burrito has a assortment of spices and flavor. It is located in a friendly complex and gives off an expected Mexican vibe.
-Zen Sushi is exceptional place to eat if you are looking for some savory and flavorful sushi. If it’s your first time trying sushi, I recommend the salmon and avocado roll. I think the only downside of going there is, like most sushi places, it is very expensive. .
-Farmburger is a place you want to be, that is, if you aren’t vegetarian. They offer very intense burgers that have a lot of meat on them. This is the place to go if you don’t have a lot of money, but are very hungry.
-Luella's Barbecue happens to be an admirable BBQ place because all of the food is appetizing and quick. They have amazing mac-n-cheese and a great inventory with vintage furniture and posters.
-Mod pizza is one of my favorite pizza places because they have so many options. You can make you own pizza and the options include many different toppings. This is technically considered a chain restaurant, but I think that Asheville is a good place for it.
-Asheville Brewing and Pizza company strikes me as one of the best things to do on a Saturday night. They play movies on a big screen quite often and they have a clever menu. They serve more than just pizza and a bonus is, they have a really cool arcade.
-Sunny point Café’s food doesn’t just taste great, it looks great too! They do a great job of presenting while also make the food fresh. I suggest always getting desert because I have not had a bad dessert there yet.
-If you like eco-friendly, down to earth places to eat, Green Sage Café is your place. They recycle and compost most things and serve fresh and healthful foods. I really enjoy their sausage, egg and cheese sandwich.
Story By Liv Suydam
Would you consider living at the Asheville mall? With the new mall renovation, that is a possibility. The Asheville Mall is undergoing a 45 million dollar renovation. The vision for the updated mall is to upgrade it to a “first class mall” according to Citizen Times. With the changes, the mall will have features such as a six story apartment building, a new ten screen movie theater, new restaurants, and much more.
This new renovation can cause many problems, but a lot of good things could also come from it too. My journalism class had a discussion about the new changes, and here's what we came up with. Our main concern is that the employees at the mall won't be able to afford to live in apartments above the mall. We think that it would be convenient for the workers to be able to live close, but with the average income of a mall worker they wouldn't be able to pay the price for the average Asheville apartment. Another one of our concern is the traffic it will bring to Asheville; Tunnel Road is already pretty crowded. Our last concern is that if it becomes a “first class mall”, will we be able to afford shopping there?
Even though there are some cons to the new mall, there are some pros too. One of the good things coming out of this is that there are going to be more stores to shop at, and more store options. Another good thing is that it will bring more money to the city. Though this renovation can cause some problems and might be a little frustrating, many good thing can come out of it too. What do you think?
Story by Maya Fuchs
Serena Williams came to Asheville and played in the first round Fed Cup against the Netherlands at the U.S. Cellular Center over the weekend. of February 10th. This was the first official match that Serena played that her daughter, Alexis Olympia, had watched, and the first one that Williams had played in 13 months. She also played in a doubles match with her sister, Venus Williams, against Dutch pair Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs. It ended up in a 6-2, 6-3 loss for the Williams sisters. It's an incredible learning experience. “I didn't manage my time well, but I was thinking about it, in the future, how to manage it better. This is literally my first time traveling with the baby and everything. I'm going to try to do better. It was hard. It was the first time for me,“ Williams told the Washington Post on Sunday when asked about bringing her daughter to one of her matches for the first time.
Williams seemed very cool all weekend, wearing bright pink Nike and chatting with her sister any chance that she got. She also made it clear that she's going to pull herself out of her slump and win two more grand slam titles, breaking Margaret Court's record of 24. One of the reasons that Williams is caught in a slump might be the health complications that she's having. She has blood clots forming in her lungs and was sick for six months after giving birth, so she was plenty rusty going into the games over the weekend. While Williams was not technically perfect, the desire was still there. I look forward to seeing her pull herself out of her slump and regain that grand title of number one.
Story by Maddie Tate
At least 1,000 to 4,000 gallons of petroleum fuel has spilled into French Broad River in North Carolina. On a Sunday afternoon earlier this February. It started in one of the tanks in mountain energy they had one of their tanks leaking fuel there trying to find the hot spot where its leaking from in the water. They’re trying to get it contained so they can vac it out or soak it out with special pads. STAY OUT of the French Broad River until further notice; authorities say it is very dangerous.
Story by Abigael Whitney
Asheville is known for its eco friendly tendencies. Many of the people here just tend to hold the environment in a higher light. There are tons of businesses, companies, and partnerships working to teach others about sustaining our environment and being conscious members of society.
With statistics from Numbeo, it is evident that pollution levels in particular are quite low in our city. Using the Air Quality Index (AQI), a healthy quality is between 0-50. In terms of Asheville’s pollution levels, in all categories the levels range between 5.00 and 27.50, all far below even 50. The overall cleanliness and purity of Asheville was also observed with data recorded out of 100. The statistic range between 72.50 and 95.00 showing that Asheville has a very high overall purity. These positive statistics and those like them didn’t just happen on their own however. Many people and/or organizations in Asheville demonstrate environmentally healthy habits that have contributed to this.
Recycling is a large part of Asheville’s self sustaining practices. Citizens of the area are able to recycle a large array of items with recycling pickup occurring bi-weekly. The City of Asheville even has a special campaign by the name of Zero Waste AVL that actively encourages residents to send less waste to the landfill. Another example of an organization working to sustain Asheville, is Asheville GreenWorks. Since 1973, their employees and volunteers have worked to reduce the dependence on landfills.
People have worked to take on the task of having eco-friendly architecture and renovation in the Asheville area. Businesses such as Samsel Architects and Deltec Homes work to make sure their constructions are as environmentally sound as possible. These companies make their vision a reality by creating homes that have a 64% reduction in total energy use or using materials that are 83.8% derived from landfill materials.
Along with these widespread ideas, there are many smaller things that each person can take part in within their individual lifestyles. Many people in Asheville seem to demonstrate healthy lifestyles in general, so giving back to the environment is just a simple addition to someone’s day. People have the opportunity to either simply participate in acts such as recycling or they can even join project groups with missions to keep Asheville healthy.
Story by Krislynn Hawkins
Photo credit - Jeff Adkins, Livability
Do you have anything to do for valentines day? If you don’t, then here are some things you can do with your friends and love ones.
1) You can go to the Valentines dance at Asheville middle school at 4:00pm - 6:00pm on February 16, 2018. Tickets on sale in the Cougar Den for $6, or at the door for $7!
2) You can visit the Biltmore House (1 Lodge St). It is beautiful in many ways; there is a very romantic garden which is great for photo opportunities, very pretty trails to walk, and it makes you feel like you are in another time period.
3) You could go to the Chocolate Lounge (10 S Pack Square). They have amazing chocolate that is made in Asheville, plus you're supporting a local business. It feels very classy, and perfect for valentines. Also, you don't have to spend that much money!
4) Last, but definitely not least, you can go to the local business called Well Played. It is a restaurant with a combination of over 500 bored games and snacks! This place is perfect for a date if you don't wanna go somewhere super fancy, or if you just want to hangout with friends on valentines. It is located at 58 Wall St.
Story by Aiyana Childs