The first time Matt Kirby attempted the 72-mile Georgia Death Race, he almost didn’t finish.
“I had a friend who was at the last aid station,” Kirby recalled. “She had probably pulled out every little carrot that she could to get me out of that aid station and moving again. I think I would have probably quit if it weren’t for my friend being there and pushing me so hard.”
Excitement and purple attire filled the second floor of A.K. Hinds University Center at Western Carolina University March 1 as students, administrators, faculty, staff and trustees alike gathered around a pop-up TV studio set to broadcast the good news — the launch of a massive scholarship fundraising effort, occurring simultaneously with announcement that WCU had received a $5 million scholarship gift, the largest ever in its 129-year history.
A major fundraising campaign is a significant undertaking for any nonprofit organization, but it’s especially difficult when an organization has to split its time between providing behavioral health services in seven western counties and trying to come up with enough funding to keep its programming.
Just outside of a small Western North Carolina community known as “Papertown USA” sits a dilapidated 84-year old brick schoolhouse surrounded by an even smaller, mostly African-American community known as “Gibsontown.”
“It was a very boxed-in world,” said Billy McDowell, who grew up in the neighborhood. “That world was all you knew. The internet wasn’t here, and so the only thing we had was the six and 11 o’clock news, which we never watched.”
Darby Harris is going on a bike ride Saturday, Oct. 7, but how far he’ll pedal will be a mystery until he wakes up that morning.
Harris’ ride will be fueled by donations to the Western Carolina University Biology Club, with each $10 gift buying 1 mile. And, with the planned route to the top of Mount Mitchell totaling 11,000 feet of climbing, each mile will be a hard-won victory. It’s 110 miles from WCU’s Stillwell Building to the top of the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River, meaning that the Biology Club will have to raise $1,100 to get him all the way there.
Aloha. Aristocrat. Forester. Shasta. Spartan. And of course, Airstream and Winnebago.
Once Jay Ruebel started seeing the billboard, which advertised the 28.3-mile Trailblaze Challenge hike, it seemed like he couldn’t stop seeing it.
Jay likes challenges, and he knew who he wanted to conquer this one with — his 16-year-old daughter, Gracie. Jay’s wife and other daughter both enjoy short hikes, but Gracie’s the one who’s into long excursions and multi-day treks. It’s how they hang out.
The population of folks in need of overnight housing has been increasing in Jackson County, prompting Jackson Neighbors in Need to ask commissioners for $23,400 to help them shelter higher-than-expected numbers of people through the end of March.
Town of Canton officials faced a “sink or swim” moment Jan. 3 when, in a special public hearing, they had to decide whether or not to move forward with plans to seek commercial financing for the town’s beleaguered pool project.
Canton officials may be starting to wonder if plans to replace the town’s aging public pool aren’t cursed.