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Pointing to the rising cost of housing, the local living wage level has also increased, the Asheville-based nonprofit Just Economics announced last month. The nonprofit, which has set a living wage standard for area employers since 2008, defines a living wage as “the amount a worker needs to make in order to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance.” Now, that amount is $12.50 an hour or $11 an hour if the employer offers health insurance. Since 2013, the living wage was $11.85 without insurance or $10.35 an hour with it.

The new living wage totals to about $26,000 a year without insurance or $22,880 with, assuming a 40-hour work week. The nonprofit considers workers who receive tips as receiving a living wage if their wage plus tips exceeds that amount.

The towns of Montreat and Weaverville, as well as Buncombe County and the city of Asheville, all use the nonprofit’s living wage standards to set the baseline for their public employees’ wages. Asheville, however, has an exception to the living wage rate that’s currently the topic of some debate.


The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is joining forces with the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – Cares to better assist veterans that come in contact with the criminal justice system.

Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry signed a memorandum of agreement with the VLC. The charitable organization is in the process of developing a facility to provide transitional housing and therapeutic services to homeless and at-risk Veterans throughout North Carolina.

This facility will be known as the Veterans Life Center.


Western North Carolina farmers are gaining much-needed support in diversifying or expanding their operations this year, helping some grow to a whole new level. WNC Agricultural Options presented 31 farm businesses a total of $168,000 in grants recently at an event at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. Six of the farm businesses received $3,000, and 25 received $6,000.

The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission is the exclusive financial supporter of WNC AgOptions, which helps farmers offset the risk of trying new ventures.

"Western North Carolina farmers are very resourceful and have proven time and time again that these grants can make a significant impact on their farming operations," said Bill Teague, Chairman of the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.


The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors announced today that it reserved $50 million to provide support for the location of an automobile manufacturing facility within the borders of North Carolina.

“The state is readying itself to win and host this type of manufacturing industry,” said Johnathan Rhyne, Chair of the Golden LEAF Board of Directors. “The Golden LEAF Board took this action to demonstrate its commitment to this emerging opportunity. An automobile manufacturer and its suppliers can create thousands of jobs and serve as a catalyst for long-term economic advancement.”

Since its inception, Golden LEAF has been committed to using the funds entrusted to it for projects with the most potential for bolstering North Carolina's longterm economy, especially in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities.


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