This Week in the Swannanoa Valley

Blood drives to be held in area

Busy holiday schedules has reduced the American Red Cross’ blood supply. Donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The next area blood drives will be:

  • 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at Asheville Christian Academy, 74 Riverwood Road
  • 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 29 at Black Mountain Fire Department, 106 Montreat Road
  • 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 30 at First Baptist Church Swannanoa, 503 Park St.

Next Writers at Home

reading set for Jan. 24

Faculty members in UNC Asheville's Great Smokies Writing Program will read from their works when the Writers at Home series resumes at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24 at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café at 55 Haywood St., Asheville. The event is free and open to all.

Tina Barr, Kenneth Chamlee, Brian Lee Knopp, Vicki Lane, Megan Shepherd, Katherine Soniat, Eric Steineger and Molly Walling will present their recent works in fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. Tommy Hays, novelist and program executive director, will host.

All presenters are teaching GSWP classes this spring semester (course registration is now open). The workshops, which begin in late January, are designed for writers of all levels seeking to practice and improve their craft under the eye of professional writers. For more about the Writers at Home series and the Great Smokies Writing Program, call the program at 250.2353 or visit

Buddhist nun to give her first talk at Cloud Cottage

The pace of busy living pulls people in many directions and causes anxiety and stress. For simple techniques that can lead to great happiness, Cloud Cottage in Black Mountain is hosting Mahayana Buddhist nun Venerable Drolje Karuna from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27 for a talk, “A Happy Life Starts with a Happy Mind.” No matter one's spiritual beliefs or background, all are welcome. Cloud Cottage is at 219 Old Toll Circle.

Drolje led meditation classes for several years before receiving two ordinations in the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. A Black Mountain resident, she leads weekly meditations and Dharma sharing at 664 Mountain Cove Road. This is her first talk at Cloud Cottage. Contact her at or 951-834-5744.

Cloud Cottage meditations, study and Dharma sharing in the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh are held from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Cloud Cottage is making an effort to bring in teachers from all the various Buddhist schools. It can be reached via and 669-6000.

Warren Wilson College to screen Martin Luther King films

Warren Wilson College’s Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Office continues two weeks of public events to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with the showing of two films this week.

At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 in Canon Lounge, there will be a screening of “Selma,” a film directed by Ava DuVernay that chronicles the 1965 march through Alabama that King led to demand equal voting rights. The action and brutal violence inflicted on marchers drew the nation’s attention, which helped bring about the passage and signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29 in Canon Lounge, there will be a screening of “Brother Outsider.” A key adviser to King, Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the civil rights movement. But his openness about his sexuality forced him to remain in the background.

Linus Project quiltmakers meet again at Lakeview Center

Linus Project is a group of sewers and nonsewers who enjoy making quilts and other items for children and adults at Mission Hospital and in the community. Local participants will meet from 1-3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 on the lower level of the Lakeview Center at Lake Tomahawk in Black Mountain. They will be cutting and stuffing pillows, as well as pinning quilts. No experience is necessary, and there is no charge. Fabric has been donated, and experienced quilters are available to teach and help out. A sewing machine is not needed; however, projects can be taken home to be finished. Call Sara Hill at 664-0974 for more.

Calling all poets - Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition opens

Entries are being accepted for the annual Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition sponsored by the historic Lanier Library in Tryon.

The competition is open to adult and high school poets from North and South Carolina. Keith Flynn, an award-winning poet and founder and editor of the Asheville Poetry Review, will judge this year’s entries and present prizes at a ceremony at the library on April 23. Prizes of $500, $250 and $100 for adult winners and $100, $75 and $50 for high school students will be awarded. Deadline for entry submission is March 1. For more, including entry forms and a link for online submissions, visit

Montreat book club to discuss Kline’s “Orphan Train”

The Montreat College Community Book Club will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 in the L. Nelson Bell Library archives room. The book to be discussed is “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline. The discussion leader is Kay Salmon. Everyone is invited.

Seniors meet to thank local legislators for Lakeview Center

The Lakeview Center for Active Aging is joining hundreds of seniors from senior centers across North Carolina to mail Valentines to state legislators. The Valentine includes a “thank you” for funding senior centers, along with a personal statement of “what their senior center means to them.”

Federal, state and local funding is vital to centers’ ongoing programs and allows seniors to participate in free or low-cost activities. Those wishing to write Valentines will be writing and mailing them upstairs at the Lakeview Center, 401 Laurel Circle Drive, Black Mountain from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8. Valentines and needed supplies will be provided. Seniors will write only a personal thank you note to their legislator; the center will address and mail the Valentines.

For more, contact Cyndy Kirkland @ Cyndy.Kirkland@townofblack or call 669-8610.