This Week in the Swannanoa Valley

LEAF Festival spring theme is announced

The LEAF Festival will celebrate its 42nd festival by bringing its spring festival theme, “World Fusion with Cuban Spice,” to Lake Eden in Black Mountain May 12-15.

Early bird discount tickets have been on sale since Jan. 1 at or 828-68-MUSIC.

Kids under 10 are admitted free with an adult.

Attendance at LEAF Festival provides a family-friendly weekend experience infused with music and arts and supports the long-term vision of the organization.

Healing arts, earth skills, local brews, high-quality cuisine, lakeside activities, poetry slam, fiddle contest, contra dancing, kids village and camping create the LEAF experience for families and friends from all over the world.

A-B Tech opens occupational therapy assistant training

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College will open the application process for its newest program, Occupational Therapy Assistant on Monday, Feb. 1 and will accept an initial cohort of 20 students for fall 2016.

Interested applicants need to be admitted to A-B Tech, attend student orientation, submit documentation and meet with an advisor by 5 p.m. March 4 in order to be considered. Applicants will be required to take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). For more, about applying for the program, visit

Occupational therapy assistant is one of the nation’s fastest growing professions. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the demand for them will increase 40 percent by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The nationwide median pay is $52,300 per year.

Montessori School holds info meeting

Swannanoa Valley Montessori School is hosting an informational session at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28 to tell people about the benefits of an authentic Montessori education for the kindergarten and elementary years.

The school is at 130 Center Ave., Black Mountain. Contact it at 669-8571 and

Prostate cancer support groups meets

Us TOO of WNC, a prostate cancer support forum for men, caregivers and family members, will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2 at First Baptist Church of Asheville, 5 Oak St. At this month’s meeting, time will be utilized for open discussion. There is no fee to attend. For more, call 828-273-7698.

Arts Center offers new clay class

If you’ve always been curious about the process of working with clay, consider taking Charles Freeland’s Beginners Clay class from 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays starting Feb. 20. Perfect for busy professionals who can’t spare weeknight hours, the class takes place in the Clay Studio behind the Black Mountain Center for the Arts at 225 W. State St. The cost for this six-week session is $185 and includes a lab fee for 25 pounds of clay, glazing and firing and all the open studio time you need.

Freeland is a the Clay Studio manager and holds an MFA in ceramics. Part of Sally Jones Pottery in Montreat for 10 years, he works at the Squeaky Wheel in Asheville’s River Arts District and produces his own ceramics in his studio.

For more, call 669-0930 or visit

Dynamic duo takes bridge club win

A four-table Howell rotation was used by the Max Woodcock Bridge Club on Jan 19. Strong play won of Myra and Peter Schoen first place, resulting in a 56 percent win. Liz and Hubert Ream had a second-place finish, with 54 percent. John Gilbert and Walt Tolley ended up in third at 51 percent (not as high as last time but still pretty good for a couple of old guys). Definitely a tight game, but lots of fun.

The club plays every Tuesday starting at 6:30 p.m. To join in, contact Walt Tolley at 669-4563.

YMCA offers balance program for older residents

The YMCA of Western North Carolina is helping to improve the health and well-being of older adults in Buncombe, Henderson, and McDowell counties through Moving for Better Balance.

Moving for Better Balance is an evidence-based falls prevention program recognized as effective by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Moving for Better Balance is a 12-week, 24-session program that uses the principles and movements of Tai Chi to help older adults get stronger, improve their balance, and increase their confidence in doing everyday activities.

To learn more, call 210-5040. Information is at

Gospel groups leads service in Swannanoa

Emmaus Road Gospel Quartet from Dalton, Georgia will lead worship at the First Baptist Church in Swannanoa at the traditional worship service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.

This male quartet has had the opportunity to travel and share its music across the United States. The young quartet sings many traditional Southern gospel songs, including “He Touched Me” and “I’ll Fly Away,” as well as the chart-topping originals “Jesus Is the Rock” and “I Got My Healing Today.”

All are invited to worship with the church. A love offering will be received. For more, contact 686-5123 or