Sunday, September 11, 2016

Upcoming events for the week of September 11, 2016


Above came from a Facebook post.

UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR BY DANCEWATER

09/12/16 DISCUSSION ABOUT DEATH PENALTY AT MARS HILL COLLEGE
MHU's Political Science program and the Chaplain's office is celebrating Constitution Day and continuing the discussion about the death penalty and criminal justice by having Rev. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove speak at Broyhill Chapel at Mars Hill College on Monday, September 12th at 7 PM.

09/12/16 TALK ON RACHEL CARSON’S LEGACY FOR NC AT UNCA
Robert L. Musil presents the keynote talk for Fall Greenfest 2016. Musil is president and CEO of the Rachel Carson Council, teaches about climate change and environmental politics at American University, and is the author of several books including Hope for a Heated Environment - How Americans are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future, and Rachel Carson and her Sisters - Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s Environment.In addition to her classic exposĂ© of DDT and other harmful chemicals, Carson was aware of the earliest warnings of global climate change, was deeply worried about nuclear weapons and waste, and was one of the first to expose the dangers of industrial animal production. She challenged college students of the 1960s to get involved. Now the RCC continues that legacy with a campus network concerned about climate and clean energy, nukes, and the environmental and human health hazards of industrial hog and poultry production in North Carolina.This talk is free and open to the public. Time is 6:30 PM and location is Highsmith Student Union, Grotto, at UNCA.

09/12/16 DINNER WITH PROGRESSIVES
Dinner with Progressives is a social outlet for thoughtful people in Asheville NC. The gathering includes time to eat together and then enjoy presentations which focus on solutions for a brighter future. Please join us for dinner, dessert or a beverage together tomorrow at 5:30pm at Green Sage cafe with fellow progressives. We ask that attendees purchase either dinner, a beverage and/or dessert and RSVP so we can give our friends at Green Sage a headcount.As always you are invited to give an announcement or ask for signatures on a petition.  Please give us a quick email to let us know how much time you need. We have two speakers for tomorrow, David Greenson, WNC Field Organizer with MoveOn and Darlene Azarmi, WNC organizer for Democracy NC. Darlene Azarmi, will give us important updates about the photo ID court cases, their BOE advocacy work and the upcoming training and their spread of non partisan voter registration opportunities including our partnership with buncombe county high schools Dinner is at 5:30 PM and the speaker/program is at 6 PM. Contact Cheryl at ctorengo@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP.

09/12/16 PEACE AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE EVENT
In 1965, when he was only fifteen, Robert Zachary met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during one of King's visits to Zachary's hometown in Alabama. According to Zack, “This monumental meeting set the tone for what would be my life’s work.” Today, he is a retired counselor and chaplain who runs the Healing Love Institute, where he offers lectures, consulting and chaplain services to bring people of different races together. His topic will be “Peace and Environmental Justice” in preparation for Asheville's 2016 International Day of Peace on 9/18/16. Time is 6:30 PM and location is the Parish Hall at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 337 Charlotte Street in Asheville (entrance and parking off Evelyn Alley north of church). This is sponsored by Transition Asheville, please email transitionasheville@gmail.com for more information.

09/13/16 VETERANS FOR PEACE MEETING
On the second Tuesday of each month, Western North Carolina Veterans for Peace meets to coordinate group activities and programs.Veterans For Peace is a global organization of Military Veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace by using our experiences and lifting our voices. We inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars. Our network is comprised of over 140 chapters worldwide whose work includes: educating the public, advocating for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all wars. Time is 6:30 PM and location is Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

09/13/16 BUILDING BRIDGES FALL SESSION
Registration for the 2016 fall session of Building Bridges is now open! This seminar is an introduction to the dynamics of racism and is an opportunity to explore how race has impacted our relationships, communities and institutions. Past participants are welcome. The program will be held at Rainbow Community School in West Asheville on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 PM starting on September 13th and running through November 8th. Please go to buildingbridges-ashevillenc dot org to get to the registration page and for more information. Help us spread the word by telling your friends and colleagues. We anticipate filling fast, so be sure to register early to reserve your spot. Hope to see you there! Cost is $35. Go to their webpage to see payment instructions. A celebratory pot luck supper will be held for all participants at the ninth meeting. Families are welcome to attend the potluck. You may call (828) 777-4585 for more information. This event if full, but call them if you want to be on the waiting list for next time.

09/13/16 OCCUPY WNC GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN SYLVA
Occupy WNC General Assembly will be at 7 PM at The Sneak E Squirrel Community Room at 1315 W Main Street in Sylva. The Sneak E Squirrel is on left side of Main Street past Sylva's Mark Watson Park. All are welcome. Contact Lucy at (828)743-9747 for more information.

09/13/16 SHOWING UP FOR RACIAL JUSTICE OR DO!SSCUSSION GROUP
Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a national network of groups educating and organizing white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for racial justice. Asheville SURJ hosts a weekly discussion group on risk-taking, accountability, mutual interest and how to call more white people into racial justice work. Anyone with a passion for working with white people on racial justice is welcome. This is also called the “Do!scussion Group.” Time is 10 AM and location is Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

09/13/16 BEE HOTEL RIBBON CUTTING
The Bee Hotel, a newly-constructed abode for bees and other pollinators, is a collaboration between UNC Asheville and the Asheville Design Center. It is located at the pollinator garden on University Heights just up the hill from the entrance to campus at the W.T. Weaver Boulevard  rotary. The ribbon cutting will feature refreshments and music from the UNC Asheville Bluegrass Ensemble and is free and open to the public. Time is 3:30 to 4:30 PM. 

09/13/16 MARS HILL UNIVERSITY LECTURE
Robert K. Musil, Ph.D., will present a lecture on “Rachel Carson’s Environmental Legacy for North Carolina Today” at Mars Hill University on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, at 7 PM in Broyhill Chapel at Mars Hill University. There will be a reception and book signing following the lecture. Admission is free. Musil is the president and chief executive officer of the Rachel Carson Council, a national environmental organization, and the former CEO of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is the author of Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s Environment. Laura Boggess, an instructor of biology at Mars Hill University, says Musil’s talk “will introduce students [and the general public] to Rachel Carson, a pioneer of the modern environmental movement, and to other extraordinary women environmentalists.” Musil will focus on Carson’s legacy and what actions she might encourage today’s students to take regarding key environmental issues such as climate change, nuclear weapons, and fracking. Boggess says the talk “will provide  much-needed historical context for understanding the environmental dilemmas facing North Carolina in the coming years.” For more information about the event, contact Boggess at (828) 689-1157 or lboggess@mhu.edu.

09/14/16 JUST PEACE FOR ISRAEL/PALESTINE MEETING
This meeting will be at 9:30 AM at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at 117 Montreat Road in Black Mountain. Contact Suchi at suchi1025@bellsouth.net for more information.

09/14/16 WHAT’S UP WITH WHITENESS?
This is an event by Asheville Standing Up For Racial Justice. This is an event focused on dismantling white supremacy. “Calling People In: Role Playing Conversations about Race” is the title of this workshop. For most of us, it is very challenging to respond to racist speech or action in ways that feel constructive. In this workshop, we will role play having these conversations, so we can all feel better prepared to engage in them when the opportunities arise. Time is 6:30 PM and location is Unitarian Universalist Congregation at the corner of Charlotte and Edwin Streets in north Asheville. This will downstairs. Contact David at davidgreenson@gmail.com for more information. 

09/14/16 ASHEVILLE SOCIALIST MEETING AT UNCA
Asheville socialists meet this Wednesday from 6:30 - 8:00 PM in Highsmith Student Union, Room 102 (downstairs by the game room) at UNCA. Visitor parking is near Highsmith Student Union. Proposed agenda includes racism and empire, 15 years of the war on terror, veterans for Kaepernick, capitalism, racism and the 1%. Next steps: reflecting on the campus kickoff and the Justice4Jerry panel. Contact us with any questions at Asheville Socialists at asheville.socialist@gmail.com.

09/14/16 BEEHIVE DESIGN COLLECTIVE: THE TRUE COST OF COAL
Join us for an interactive picture-based talk about Appalachia and community resistance to extreme extraction. Using the Beehive's True Cost of Coal graphic, we'll share stories of resistance from this bioregion, and talk as a group about other forms of extraction as we face them today. Bring stories; we seek stories as much as we share them. Casual workshop/group discussion- All are welcome! Time is 5 PM and location is Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

09/15/16 AUTHORS FOR ACTION READING & SIGNING WITH NANCY LOVE
Nancy Love’s book “Trendy Fascism: White Power Music and the Future of Democracy” explores the unsettling implications of white power music’s effect on violence and culture. It presents chilling case studies of white power music and, according to Professor Neil Roberts, argues that “we must confront the realities of . . . the often-disavowed transnational white supremacist communities and networks in our political present” to shift the future. Nancy is a Professor of Political Science and a Humanities Council Coordinator at Appalachian State University who is the author of Musical Democracy and the co-author of Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics, both published by SUNY Press. Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops in downtown Asheville. Call Malaprops for more information.

09/15/16 SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM AT UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH
At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by the age of 45, and almost one in three will elect to terminate a pregnancy. Most abortions are performed outside of hospitals in private clinics, but American abortion clinics are fighting to remain open as they battle the spread of state laws designed to restrict access to their services. Since 2010, 288 laws regulating abortion providers have been passed by state legislators. Reproductive rights advocates refer to these as TRAP laws, or Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers. In total, 44 states and the District of Columbia have measures subjecting abortion providers to legal restrictions not imposed on other medical professionals. Unable to comply with these far-reaching, exorbitantly expensive and medically unnecessary laws, clinics have taken their fight to the courts. “Trapped” is a documentary film that follows clinic workers and lawyers who are on the front lines of the battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women. Time is 7 PM and the location is the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville at One Edwin Place, in Asheville. There is no charge for viewing the film - Donations are welcome.

09/15/16 PUBLIC LECTURE AT UNCA
“Sustainability at Work” is a Greenfest career panel discussion. UNCA alumni and local professionals discuss their work to support environmental sustainability in a variety of career fields. Free. Held at Highsmith Union, room 221 at UNCA at noon. 

09/15/16 DOCUMENTARY ‘TRAPPED’ AT UNCA
Across the United States, clinics that provide abortions and other reproductive health services are fighting to stay open. Since 2010, 288 Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws have been passed by anti-abortion state legislatures. Unable to comply with these far-reaching and medically unnecessary measures, clinics have taken their fight to the courts. “TRAPPED” follows the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers who are on the front lines of a battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women. Join us for a free, public screening of the film on Thursday, September 15, on the UNC Asheville campus. This will be in Lipinsky Hall auditorium at 6 PM. After the film, stick around to hear from ACLU of North Carolina, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, and NARAL Pro-Choice NC as we discuss current anti-abortion laws in North Carolina and what you can do to promote pro-choice policies in your own communities. Questions? Please contact Lynne Walter, Reproductive Freedom Fellow at lwalter@acluofnc.org.

09/15/16 AUTHORS FOR ACTION EVENT 
Nancy Love’s book “Trendy Fascism: White Power Music and the Future of Democracy” explores the unsettling implications of white power music’s effect on violence and culture. It presents chilling case studies of white power music and, according to Professor Neil Roberts, argues that “we must confront the realities of . . . the often-disavowed transnational white supremacist communities and networks in our political present” to shift the future. Nancy is a Professor of Political Science and a Humanities Council Coordinator at Appalachian State University who is the author of Musical Democracy and the co-editor of Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics, both published by SUNY Press. Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops in downtown Asheville. Contact Malaprops for more information.

09/16/16 ANTI-RACISM ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP AT UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST
A weekly group focused on Standing Up For Racial Justice core values for people beginning to wake up to the impact of white supremacy on our culture and seeking a safe place to begin to talk about it. Time is 10 AM and location is 23 Edwin Place, next to Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. Contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@lainschell.com for more information.

09/16/16 ASHEVILLE TIMEBANK EVENT
Our monthly gathering is coming up. If you are a member, come and get to know your fellow members and find people to exchange with. If you are not a member yet, this is your opportunity to learn more about us and get oriented to using our software. Time is 12 PM and location is Kairos West Community Center at 742 Haywood Road in Asheville. For more information, contact (828) 552-3344 or milly@allsoulscathedral.org. 

09/17/16 HOW DO WE FIX OUR BROKEN WORLD?
We need hope, we need change, we need justice - and we have help. In this divided world Maitreya, the world teacher, is stepping forward. His mission has begun. Mastery and his group of enlightened teachers, are here to help us reverse the damage we have done to our planet and inspired us to create a new civilization based on sharing the world’s resources and justice - the way to lasting peace. Free presentations at 2 PM at Asheville Friends Meeting at 227 Edgewood Road in Asheville NC. Please call McNair at 828-398-0609 for more information. Sponsored by Share International Southeast.

09/17/16 HARD 2 RECYCLE EVENT
This will be at Madden Ace Hardware Parking Lot at 2319 U.S. 70 in Swannanoa. Time is 10 AM to 2 PM. Founded in 2011 by Rainbow Recycling, Hard 2 Recycle events are free to the public. Collections are geared to bring awareness to other modes of recycling to our area. There are four quarterly held collections to cover the four corners of the county and one central event in downtown Asheville.  Our goal is to educate, collect and divert items that would normally end up in the landfill  - i.e styrofoam, electronics, books, batteries, cooking oil and much more. Volunteers are needed to help run this event. Contact Asheville GreenWorks to volunteer at 828-232-7144 or volunteer@ashevillegreenworks.org.

09/17/16 CLEAN WATER FOR NC MEETING IN STATESVILLE
“Standing up for Safe Energy Jobs and Water Justice” - the Annual Meeting of Clean Water for NC. Saturday, September 17, 1:30 to 5:30 PM at Statesville Civic Center. Free for current members and students; $25 for new members (includes 1-year membership). Refreshments Provided. Join CWFNC for a gathering about CWFNC taking action with communities for safe water, coal ash accountability and resisting risky pipelines! Speakers will include experts, organizers and community leaders and there will be opportunities to get involved. Contact Katie at 828-251-1291 or 1-800-929-4480 or email katie@cwfnc.org for more information, including how to register.

09/17/16 BURTON STREET AGRICULTURAL FAIR
The Burton Street Agricultural Fair is organized by the Burton Street Community Association and Staff, and highlights the history and contributions of E.W. Pearson and other important community leaders. This free event includes music, art, food and children’s activities. The spirit of the Burton Street Agriculture Fair is it’s a “people’s Fair” and this year, the Burton Street Community Association will collaborate with RiverLink, Asheville Design Center, Mountain True, Asheville Greenworks and Wildlands Engineering to present information on an on-going watershed planning and restoration in Smith Mill Creek, as well as the future vision for the stream corridor adjacent to the neighborhood, as conceived by the Burton Street Community. Printed materials, staff & volunteers will be available to facilitate discussion and answer questions pertaining to watershed, greenway, and other planning initiatives. Time is noon to 6 PM and location is Burton Street Recreation Center in Asheville. This is a Facebook event.

09/17/16 NATIVE PEOPLE PROTEST BENEFIT PRESENTATION BY FIRESTORM
Firestorm Cafe & Bookstore is teaming up with Commodity Fetish Records to put on a great night of music for an excellent cause. All donations will benefit the legal defense team of the Native Peoples currently protesting the Dakota Pipeline. The acts include Paracelsus, Happy Slap, Fire Marshall Bill, Princette. Johnny Morphine's Puppet Pals, 49/Short, MARLA and Nayon Pas Peur featuring Amy Goodman. Enjoy the show, donate generously, and please respect the space. Time is 4 - 9 PM and location is Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

09/18/16 LOCAL AUTHORS SPEAK FOR PEACE
Local authors get a chance to speak about peace from their writings on Sunday, September 18th at 2 PM at The Block Off Biltmore, 39 South Market St. in Asheville.  Brunch will be available at 1 PM. Authors who will be featured at the event will be: poet DeWayne Barton, author of “Hood Huggers International: Return to Burton Street” and City Council member Cecil Bothwell, who will be reading from his book, “She Walks on Water” - a novel that that claims that religion is the principle problem facing humanity, and if we were as rational as the dolphins and whales we would never engage in war; and popular radio host of 880 The Revolution Jeff Messer, author of “Red-state, White-guy Blues”, a book that focuses on the first two years of red state rule in Raleigh; and activist Kyle Ross, author of “Taserized:  Neighborhood Walk Ends in Police Brutality”, her true story of what it's like to be tazered by police and becoming caught up in the maze of the criminal justice system through no fault of her own. Questions and answers will follow. Books will be on sale at the conclusion of the reading. This is one of the main events this year as WNC 4 Peace observes International Day of Peace (which is on 9/21/16). Contact Rachael at 828-378-0125 or rachael_bliss@yahoo.com for more information.

09/18/16 PRESENTATION ON INCOME AND WEALTH INEQUALITY
Join Dr. Shirley Browning for a presentation and discussion on “Income and Wealth Inequality: Why it Matters.” How much inequality is sustainable and appropriate for a dynamic, politically stable economy and society? The issue is how much inequality seems just, ethical, and moral. Dr. Browning’s presentation will be the Sunday, September 18th meeting of  the Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville. Time is 2 to 3:30 PM. Location is Asheville Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood Road, in Asheville. All are welcome to attend. Inequality in income and wealth leads to inequality in access to virtually everything - education, development of human capabilities, power, health care, freedom of various kinds - and this inequality can be reflected by class, race, religion, age, etc. Inequality of income and wealth has been with humanity since recorded time. Strict equality is not generally acceptable and can reduce incentives, but few people having most income/wealth is unacceptable. With extreme inequality, a sense of democracy is lost. It creates pressure for violent overthrow of government. Questions and discussion will be welcome. Refreshments will follow the presentation.

09/18/16 PEACE VIGIL RETURNS TO ALL SOULS
The Vigil Returns - Beginning Sunday, August 21, at 5 PM, the Vigil for Peace on the All Souls Cathedral grounds in Biltmore Village, will resume and continue weekly until the Nov 8 election. Sponsored by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship of WNC, it is a way of asking people to make special intercessions in their prayer and life for peace and justice in our American culture.  The tone of the current political campaign makes it obvious that we are neglecting our Baptismal vows to respect the dignity of every human being. This is a call to pray with actions as well as words.  We invite you to join us each Sunday for our thirty minute Vigil.

09/19/16 to 09/23/16 PEACE DISPLAY AT UNCA
“A Peace of My Mind” displays in Highsmith Union, Student Recreation Center, and Brown Hall  on these dates. Contact Rachel at rbrelsfo@unca.edu for more information.

09/19/16 CREATION CARE ALLIANCE BOOK STUDY
Join the Creation Care Alliance’s Chas Jansen reading the Pope’s Encyclical Laudato Si’ -- On Care for Our Common Home, one chapter at a time with discussion questions available in advance.  Six Monday evening classes will focus on climate science, creation gospel, humanity’s role, “Integral Ecology,” policy directions, and changing within.  Starting 9/19 at Jubilee! from 6 to 7:15 PM. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis asks, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” Moving beyond scientific consensus on climate change, Pope Francis invites us to recognize “the rich contribution which the religions can make towards an integral ecology and the full development of humanity.” Despite disturbing ecological news, daunting challenges presented today by technology and excessive self-centeredness, as well as growing injustices visited upon the poor analyzed in this encyclical, Francis nevertheless threads a heartening message of hope through the entire document. This will be at Jubilee! Community Church in downtown Asheville. Contact creationcare@mountaintrue.org for more information.

09/19/16 LECTURE AT UNCA
Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Collections, Interpretations, Presentations. In 2011 The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York opened its newly renovated galleries for the art of the Islamic world. The updated spaces present the rich collections in reference to new scholarship in the field. They also offer an interpretive approach that addresses the challenges of presenting the artistic heritage of Islam in post-911 New York. The talk will present the galleries, explain their philosophical approach and share perspectives on the works of art in the museum's important collection. Time is 7 PM and location is the Carmichael Humanities Lecture Hall at UNCA. 

09/21/16 DOCUMENTARY AT UNCA
The “Inside Peace” documentary follows a group of inmates doing hard time in a Texas prison as they embark on a journey of personal discovery while struggling with society’s roadblocks and dangers as they prepare to re-enter a world that has labeled them as permanent problems despite having served their sentences. Time is 8 PM and location is the Grotto in Highsmith Student Union at UNCA. Celebrate the International Day of Peace with exhibits and various activities throughout campus to promote the idea of peace regardless of individual beliefs. Free.

09/21/16 PLAY AT NC STAGE - GROUNDED
When a hotshot air-force pilot throws up on the tarmac after a flight, she realizes that she’s pregnant. After her daughter is born, she returns to the military but is told that she is no longer needed on her fighter jet. Instead, she will report to duty at Creech Air Force Base in the Nevada desert. She will be at the forefront of the latest advances in aerial combat as the operator of an Unmanned Ariel Vehicle, A Reaper, a Drone. She will smite the enemy by day and return to her family at night. And she will be challenged and changed in ways she never dreamed possible while looking out into the endless blue. The play is called “Grounded” and is written by George Brant. This play runs until October 9, 2016. More information and tickets can be obtained at 828.239.0263 and the NC Stage Box Office.

09/21/16 WHAT’S UP WITH WHITENESS?
This is an event by Asheville Standing Up For Racial Justice group. This is an event focused on dismantling white supremacy. This event is called “Accountability Through Action” and each month we will learn about a people of color led effort in Asheville, ways to support that work and take up a collection to help fund it. Potluck is at 6:30 PM, program at 7 PM. Location is Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

09/21/16 REBUILDING AFFRILACHIA - PEARSON PLAN WORKSHOP
DeWayne Barton will be offering a Pearson Plan Workshop on September 21, October 19, November 16 from 5 to 6 pm at the Burton Street Community Center, 134 Burton Street, in Asheville. Learn more about this plan for Rebuilding Affrilachia and how you can be a part of it. There is no charge for the workshop, though contributions to support the Pearson Plan will be accepted. If you'd like to be part of this, please join him; there is no pre-registration necessary. 

09/21/16 GREEN DRINKS MEETUP
Sustainability and Social Justice Meet-up at The Block Off Biltmore at 5:30 PM. Come early for community connections and green drink specials. Presentation starts at 6 PM. No further information.

09/22/16 SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM AT UUCSV IN BLACK MOUNTAIN
The Social Action Committee's September film is Brave New Films “Making A Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA.” The film tells the stories of how guns, and the billions made off of them, affect the lives of everyday Americans. It features personal stories from people across the country who have been affected by gun violence, including survivors and victims' families. The film exposes how the powerful gun companies and the NRA are resisting responsible legislation for the sake of profit - and thereby putting people in danger. The film looks into gun tragedies that include unintentional shootings, domestic violence, suicides, mass shootings and trafficking - and what we can do to put an end to this profit-driven crisis. Rebecca Williams will lead a post-film discussion. Time is 7 PM and location is Unitarian Universalist Congregation Swannanoa Valley at 500 Montreat Road in Black Mountain. Contact Suzanne at 828-581-0564 for more information.

09/22/16 HOMEWARD BOUND’S NEW DONATION CENTER
Homeward Bound is a local nonprofit to end homelessness in Western North Carolina, having moved nearly 1,500 people into homes since 2006. Coming up they’re having a ribbon cutting and open house for their new donation center. Their donation center collects gently used furniture and household items from the public, then use those goods to furnish the new homes of their clients. Come help them celebrate this addition to their services. Time is 4 to 6:30 PM and location is 549 Elk Park Drive, Unit 708. Also, if you have any gently used furniture, to donate, you can bring it to the donation center, again at 549 Elk Park Drive, Unit 708.  For more information about Homeward Bound, give them a call at 828.258.1695.

09/22/16 WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR OUR POLITICAL PARTIES?
On September 22nd at The Weinhaus, representatives of the Libertarian and Green parties along with non-partisan grassroots movements will participate in a panel forum discussion on the topic of the relevance of third parties titled “America at the Crossroads: What does the future hold for our political parties?” featuring local Asheville city councilman and former Democrat, Cecil Bothwell, former city councilman and Republican, Carl Mumpower, Libertarian candidate for NC Senate in District 49, William Meredith, NC Green Party Volunteer Coordinator, Tony Ngege, and more. Among the many problems voters face when seeking fair representation, we draw attention to these prominent issues: ballot access and zero representation. Time is 7 PM. Location is The Weinhaus at 86 Patton Avenue in Asheville. For more information, contact Nate at chair@buncombe.lpnc.org or (313) 694-9240. Join us for this free event and bring questions with you as we will open the discussion to the audience for a Q&A session! While we are not charging admission for the event, Weinhaus is kind enough to host our event for free so please support them with a purchase.

09/22/16 LECTURE AT UNCA
A Cultural Genocide: ISIS and the destruction of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East. This lecture examines the destructive acts against cultural heritage sites in the Middle East committed by ISIS since 2014 in the light of radical ideologies rooted in the puritan Salafi interpretation of Islam.This event is part of the Islamic Art week, featuring the exhibit: Ravaging the Past: Radicalism, Civil Wars, and the Destruction of World Heritage in the Middle East and Beyond, Ramsey Library Foyer, on display Monday Sept. 19-30. This event is free and open to the public. Time is 7 PM and location is Carmichael Humanities Lecture Hall at UNCA. (If you are going to this, be sure to read the article posted below abou the US government’s support for various groups in Syria. - dancewater)

09/23/16 ANTI-RACISM ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP AT UUCA
A weekly group focused on Standing Up For Racial Justice core values for people beginning to wake up to the impact of white supremacy on our culture and seeking a safe place to begin to talk about it. Time is 10 AM and location is 23 Edwin Place, next to Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. Contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@lainschell.com for more information.

09/23/16 LECTURE AT UNCA
The 2016 Election and The Future of Our Country. Speakers will be George Peery, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Mars Hill University and World Affairs Council Member, Asheley Moraguez, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UNC Asheville, and Asheville Citizen-Times political reporters Mark Barrett and Joel Burgess. Dr. Peery and Dr. Moraguez will focus on the national election, which is unique relative to past races. Mr. Barrett and Mr. Burgess will focus on North Carolina and local elections. This is an opportunity to learn more about why candidate rhetoric has become so divisive and what the predicted outcomes will be this year. What is the future for the major political parties? What are the prospects for governing in the future of the United States? This matters to anyone who cares about what our country, our state, and our community will become. Time is 11:30 AM and location is the Manheimer Room at Reuter Center at UNCA. Free and open to the public. Purchase lunch in our Reuter Café or bring your own brown bag.

09/24/16 CENTER FOR ART AND SPIRIT EVENT
This is an event to mark International Day of Peace. Spirit Collage will be in the fellowship hall. You can create peace flags – peace collages – peace rocks - materials provided; donations welcome to help cover the costs. Veterans for Peace Chapter 99 office open house on the Mimosa Street level. Peace Village display, possibly a labyrinth walk will be in the sanctuary. At 2 PM, there will be a WNC4Peace awards ceremony for Peace Makers of the Year award presentation. This will be for a poem, video, essay, and artwork on peace for area students. At 3 M, there will be Dances of Universal Peace demo and teaching by Tarana & Shem. Location is 1 School Road in Asheville. This starts at 10 AM. For more information, contact centerartspirit@gmail.com. 

09/24/16 WNC 4 PEACE ART CONTEST
WNC 4 Peace has held an art contest for school children this summer, and the winners of which will be announced Saturday, September 24, along with annual Peace Makers of the Year awards for local activists, at 2 PM at the Center for Art and Spirit at 1 School Road in Asheville. Contact Rachael at 828-378-0125 or rachael_bliss@yahoo.com for more information.

09/24/16 MOUNTAIN TRUE EVENT
Join volunteers for the first ever Pisgah Pride Day! Volunteers will be working with The Pisgah Conservancy and the Forest Service to complete projects all over Pisgah National Forest as a part of National Public Lands Day. Follow the link to sign up and for more information on this fun volunteer opportunity! Time is 8 AM to 2 PM. Contact Mary Kate Dodge at 828-258-8737 or marykate@mountaintrue.org for more information or to register.

09/25/16 ACLU BANNED BOOKS READING
The ACLU has historically championed free speech and academic freedom. The issue of book-banning crops up regularly all over the country, and this year the Western North Carolina chapter of the ACLU of NC will bring attention to it by hosting an afternoon at Malaprop’s, where area writers, artists,  musicians and booksellers  will read passages from banned books both notable and lesser-known. Please join us as we discuss the issue of freedom of speech and the freedom to read. Time is 3 PM. Call Malaprops for more information.

09/25/16 PEACE VIGIL RETURNS TO ALL SOULS
The Vigil Returns - Beginning Sunday, August 21, at 4:30 PM, the Vigil for Peace on the All Souls Cathedral grounds in Biltmore Village, will resume and continue weekly until the Nov 8 election. Sponsored by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship of WNC, it is a way of asking people to make special intercessions in their prayer and life for peace and justice in our American culture.  The tone of the current political campaign makes it obvious that we are neglecting our Baptismal vows to respect the dignity of every human being. This is a call to pray with actions as well as words.  We invite you to join us each Sunday for our thirty minute Vigil.

09/26/16 AUTHORS FOR ACTION COLORING EVENT with MAKEDA LEWIS!
Atlanta artist Makeda Lewis joins us for this unique event, when our Authors for Action series meets the adult coloring book. Makeda’s powerful new release “Avie’s Dreams: An Afro-Feminist Coloring Book” is part coloring book and part surrealist poem about protagonist Avie’s self-discovery and embrace of her identity as a young black girl. Filled with striking illustrations, it touches on themes of “feminism, death and rebirth, Afrocentricity, gender issues and power dynamics.” Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops in downtown Asheville. Call Malaprops for more information.

09/26/16 LECTURE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH
Dr. Alan Lockwood will talk about the findings in his current book, Heat Advisory.  He will discuss the health effects that we face from climate change, along with a prescription for preventing them. Dr. Lockwood is Emeritus Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo and author of “The Silent Epidemic:  Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health.” This starts at 5:15 PM with hor d’oeuvres and the presentation is at 6 PM. Location is the Collider at 1 Haywood Street, Suite 1, in downtown Asheville. Sponsor and host is The Collider. Co-sponsors are Western NC Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility (WNCPSR) and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). Access to the building: for this event is through the glass door facing Patton Avenue, a couple of steps around the corner from the ATM machine. There will be someone there to let in attendees from 5 PM to just after 6 PM. This event is free and open to the public. Contact Dot Sulock at dsulock@unca.edu for more information.

09/27/16 LECTURE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH
Dr. Alan Lockwood will talk about the findings in his current book, Heat Advisory.  He will discuss the health effects that we face from climate change, along with a prescription for preventing them. Dr. Lockwood is Emeritus Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo and author of “The Silent Epidemic:  Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health.” This is at Warren Wilson College, time not listed. Contact Dot Sulock at dsulock@unca.edu for more information.

09/28/16 LECTURE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH IN SYLVA
Dr. Alan Lockwood will talk about the findings in his current book, Heat Advisory.  He will discuss the health effects that we face from climate change, along with a prescription for preventing them. Dr. Lockwood is Emeritus Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo and author of “The Silent Epidemic:  Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health.” This is at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva in the evening. Contact Dot Sulock at dsulock@unca.edu for more information.

09/28/16 WHAT’S UP WITH WHITENESS?
This is an event by Asheville Standing Up For Racial Justice group. This is an event focused on dismantling white supremacy. This is a monthly discussion group on the book “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. This group continues on October 26, November 23, December 28, and January 25. Anyone is welcome to jump in anytime. Time is 6:30 PM and location is Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

09/29/16 LECTURE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH
Dr. Alan Lockwood will talk about the findings in his current book, Heat Advisory.  He will discuss the health effects that we face from climate change, along with a prescription for preventing them. Dr. Lockwood is Emeritus Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo and author of “The Silent Epidemic:  Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health.” This is at 12 PM at UNCA, RRO 125. Contact Dot Sulock at dsulock@unca.edu for more information.

09/29/16 GREENWORKS ROOT BALL
Asheville Greenworks  does a lot of great volunteering and cleanup events for our area, they also contribute to green education in our region through multiple school programs, they plant trees, and participate in a host of other activities. So I think it’s time for them to cut loose and reflect on all the great work they’ve done, and you can join them, for their Root Ball. Time is 6:30 to 10 PM and location is Asheville Outdoor Center at 521 Amboy Road in Asheville. Join Greenworks for a dance party by the river to celebrate, recognize, and enjoy our beautiful community. The best part, all proceeds from the event will benefit their work out cleanup and “greenup” our local urban environment. You’ll enjoy a gourmet cookout provided by Hickory Nut Gap Farms, music by LYRIC, and locally made hand crafted beverages. This is an all ages event, and anyone 18 and under is free to attend with a paying adult. Purchase your ticked today by visiting ashevillegreenworks dotorg. For more information you can also give them a call at 828.254.1776.

09/30/16 JUST PEACE FOR ISRAEL/PALESTINE MEETING
This meeting will be at 3:15 PM at Brooks-Howell Home on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville. Meet in the media room. Contact Suchi at suchi1025@bellsouth.net for more information.

09/30/16 ANTI-RACISM ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP AT UUCA
A weekly group focused on Standing Up For Racial Justice core values for people beginning to wake up to the impact of white supremacy on our culture and seeking a safe place to begin to talk about it. Time is 10 AM and location is 23 Edwin Place, next to Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. Contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@lainschell.com for more information.

10/01/16 PRIDE FESTIVAL
Local LGBTQ activists will host the annual LGBTQ Blue Ridge Pride Festival from 11 AM to 7 PM at Pack Square in downtown Asheville. “Color Our World With Pride And Love” is this year’s theme.  

10/04/16 WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL LECTURE
Dr. Donald Mayer, Professor of Business Ethics at Denver University Daniel's School of Business and St. Mary's College in California, will consider the implications and the responses to the release earlier this year of the 'Panama Papers'; and the challenges to the status quo in international finance they present. This is at 7:30 PM and location is room 102, Manheimer Room, at the Reuter Center at UNCA. Lectures are free to WAC members and students, all others $10 at the door. For more details about programs, consult the World Affairs Council website.

10/04/16 VIGIL FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS
eNOugh! Honoring the victims of domestic violence in Buncombe County and paving the way for a violence free future. Buncombe County Government invites the public to stand with us as we move towards a violence free future. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month and during this month we are honoring victims of intimate partner violence and taking action to create safety and awareness for our county through a coordinated community response which includes the creation and recent opening of the Family Justice Center. Join us as we partner with Helpmate in honoring the victims and survivors of abuse by attending the Domestic Violence Awareness Vigil and ceremonial lighting of the Family Justice Center on Tuesday, October 4 from 6:30 to 7:45 PM at 35 Woodfin Street in downtown Asheville. This free event is open to the public. Speakers, survivors, and music are a part of the lineup as well as the display of the Clothesline Project, a testimony to the stories of those impacted by violence. Partners in Buncombe County are saying eNOugh and we mean it.

10/04/16 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS VIGIL AT A B TECH
Helpmate and A-B Tech are working together to hold the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Vigil. Everyone is invited to join us in honoring the victims and survivors of abuse. There will be a special performance by Womansong, Asheville’s oldest and largest women’s community chorus. Time is 6 PM and location is the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center. This information came from the A-B Tech website.

10/05/16 SIERRA CLUB MEETING/GREEN DRINKS
This meeting will present an Environmental Legislative Update, the good the bad and the ugly by Cassie Gavin. It will cover coal ash, water quality, waste management, clean energy and recycling.  This event is free and open to the public. Time is 7 PM and location is Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 1 Edwin Place (corner of Charlotte and Edwin) in Asheville. For more information, contact Judy at judymattox@sbcglobal.net or call 828-683-2176.

10/05/16 PISGAH LEGAL SERVICES POVERTY FORUM PRESENTATION
“Ending Child Poverty Now” with Marian Wright Edelman, the President and Founder of the Children's Defense Fund, will be the topic of this Poverty Forum. Each year, Pisgah Legal Services hosts a forum to draw attention to the plight of people living in poverty in Western North Carolina. This year, our focus is on child poverty. The United States has the second highest rate of child poverty among 35 industrialized countries, despite having the largest economy in the world. A child in the United States has a 1 in 5 chance of being poor. In Pisgah Legal’s six-county WNC service region, approximately 25 percent of children live in poverty. On October 5th, we host the Forum’s keynote speaker Marian Wright Edelman, a legendary fighter for social justice in America. She is the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, a passionate advocate for the rights of children, a lawyer, an author and a civil rights leader. This will be at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium  in downtown Asheville. Time is 5:30 PM for cocktail reception, with forum starting at 7 PM. Tickets are $15 to $50 and can be obtained from Pisgah Legal. For questions, contact Betsy Ellis at 828-210-3444 or betsy@pisgahlegal.org.

10/06/16 CREATION CARE ALLIANCE GENERAL MEETING
Join the Creation Care Alliance of WNC for a general meeting as we inspire one another to good work and discuss our work empowering care for creation. We will connect with one another and explore ways to care for creation. Everyone is welcome! The meeting will be held in the First Baptist Church of Asheville at 5 Oak Street in Room MB306, which is upstairs. If you have any questions, please contact Scott Hardin-Nieri at scott@creationcarealliance.org. Time is 5:30 to 7 PM. 

10/08/16 RICHMOND HILL INVASIVE REMOVAL WORK DAY
Join us and help restore native plant communities by controlling non-native invasive plants at Richmond Hill Park. This is the City of Asheville’s only forested park and is home to many special native plant and animal species! Volunteers help to stop the spread of harmful non-native invasive species and return native species to the unique park. Time is 9 AM to 1 PM and location is Richmond Hill Park in Asheville. Contact Susan Bean 828.258.8737 x 216 or susan@mountaintrue.org for more information or to register.

10/09/16 CROP HUNGER WALK
For those planning to walk: the walk begins and ends at First Baptist in downtown Asheville.  Registration begins at 1 PM and the walk begins at 2 PM.  Distance options are 2.5 miles or 5 miles. You can decide how far to walk on Oct. 9. There will be two water/bathroom stations located at Unitarian Universalist Congregation and at Grace Covenant Presbyterian. All walkers will get a Crop-Walk T-Shirt. Our team will carry a large sign showing Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville. This is a fund raiser to help alleviate hunger in our community. There will be much more information about this in our local media. If you have any questions, please contact Martha at: marshall@ret.unca.edu.

10/10/16 to 10/13/16 DISGRACE: SEEKING GOD’S GRACE AMID THE DISGRACE OF RACISM CONFERENCE
The DISGRACE conference will be a faithful response to the embedded and structural racism in church and culture. Grounded in worship, truth-telling, confession, and collaboration, we move from disgrace toward solidarity. Together we tackle the hidden histories, unaddressed discomforts, divisions between people and communities, with a diverse community committed to journeying through these difficult but necessary and potentially life-giving conversations. When this conference ends, our true response to systemic racism begins. This will be at Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, NC. Commuter rate is $178 per person, with a daily rate of $70 per person/per day. Registration is on the Montreat Conference CenterIf you have any questions about the registration process, please email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829.

10/10/16 KNOW YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS PART ONE
Join the legal professionals from Pisgah Legal Services for an in-depth look at your rights under the law. This workshop will focus on the following: understanding the law and eviction process under NC law, affordable and subsidized housing programs, security deposit laws, stalking and cyberstalking laws, and domestic violence protections available under NC Law. Time is 11 AM and location is Ferguson Auditorium at A-B Tech. This is from A-B Tech website, no information on how to register. 

10/13/16 MOUNTAIN TRUE FALL GATHERING AND ANNUAL MEETING
Join MountainTrue staff, board members, general body members and other community members in an annual gathering to talk about the organization and meet environmental advocates in Western North Carolina. Stay tuned for more information about the Fall Gathering/Annual Meeting. Time is from 4:30 to 7:30 PM.

10/19/16 REBUILDING AFFRILACHIA - PEARSON PLAN WORKSHOP
DeWayne Barton will be offering a Pearson Plan Workshop on October 19 and November 16 from 5 to 6 pm at the Burton Street Community Center, 134 Burton Street, in Asheville. Learn more about this plan for Rebuilding Affrilachia and how you can be a part of it. There is no charge for the workshop, though contributions to support the Pearson Plan will be accepted. If you'd like to be part of this, please join him; there is no pre-registration necessary. 

10/21/16 TO 10/23/16 CHRONIC CONFERENCE IN ARDEN
This is the Carolina Human Rights OrgaNizing Conference (CHRONIC). The conference is about understanding human rights. This will happen at the Lutheridge Camp & Conference Center at 2511 Hendersonville Road in Arden. Tickets are between $105 and $255. No further information at this time.

10/24/16 THIRD MOUNTAIN MORAL MONDAY IN ASHEVILLE
Keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. William Barber, President NC-NAACP. If you would like to volunteer for this inspiring event, contact Melissa Murphy at mcoxmurphy@gmail.com. Location is Pack Square Park, Roger McGuire Green. Time is 4 to 6 PM. This is organized by Democracy NC and Asheville-Buncombe NAACP.

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ONGOING EVENTS
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TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 4:30 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument
Showing Up for Racial Justice at Firestorm Cafe and Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. 10 AM. Educating and organizing white people for racial justice. Free.
Orientation session for Asheville Timebank. 4 PM at Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Email help@ashevilletimebank.org for information and to register. 

WEDNESDAY
Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood County Courthouse in Waynesville
French Broad Riverkeeper has a paddle-n-plant to prevent sediment erosion most Wednesdays and Saturdays. Registration required at anna@mountaintrue.org. 

THURSDAY
Political Prisoners Letter Writing at Firestorm Cafe & Books at 6 PM on first Thursday of the month. Materials provided.

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville.

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard. Call 884-3435 to confirm. 
French Broad Riverkeeper has a paddle-n-plant to prevent sediment erosion most Wednesdays and Saturdays. Registration required at anna@mountaintrue.org. 

SUNDAY
Peace Vigil at All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village. This is from 5 to 5:30 PM. This vigil will last until election day 2016.

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ACTIONS AND READINGS
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FROM EARLIER THIS YEAR, PUBLISHED IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE AND LA TIMES

CIA-armed militias are shooting at Pentagon-armed ones in Syria

Nabih Bulos, W.J. Hennigan, Brian Bennett
Los Angeles Times

Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter 5-year-old civil war.

The fighting has intensified over the past two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other as they have maneuvered through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.

In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east. “Any faction that attacks us, regardless from where it gets its support, we will fight it,” said Maj. Fares Bayoush, a leader of Fursan al Haq. Rebel fighters described similar clashes in the town of Azaz, a key transit point for fighters and supplies between Aleppo and the Turkish border, and March 3 in the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsud.

The attacks come amid continued heavy fighting in Syria and illustrate the difficulty facing U.S. efforts to coordinate among dozens of armed groups that are trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad, fight the Islamic State militant group and battle one another all at the same time. “It is an enormous challenge,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who described the clashes between U.S.-supported groups as “a fairly new phenomenon. It is part of the three-dimensional chess that is the Syrian battlefield,” he said. The area in northern Syria around Aleppo, the country's second-largest city, features not only a war between the Assad government and its opponents, but also periodic battles against Islamic State militants, who control much of eastern Syria and also some territory to the northwest of the city, and long-standing tensions among the ethnic groups that inhabit the area, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen.

“This is a complicated, multisided war where our options are severely limited,” said a U.S. official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “We know we need a partner on the ground. We can't defeat ISIL without that part of the equation, so we keep trying to forge those relationships.” ISIL is an acronym for the Islamic State. President Barack Obama recently authorized a new Pentagon plan to train and arm Syrian rebel fighters, relaunching a program that was suspended in the fall after a string of embarrassing setbacks, which included recruits being ambushed and handing over much of their U.S.-issued ammunition and trucks to an al-Qaida affiliate.

Amid the setbacks, the Pentagon late last year deployed about 50 special operations forces to Kurdish-held areas in northeastern Syria to better coordinate with local militias and help ensure U.S.-backed rebel groups aren't fighting one another. But such skirmishes have become routine. Last year, the Pentagon helped create a new military coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces. The goal was to arm the group and prepare it to take territory away from Islamic State in eastern Syria and to provide information for U.S. airstrikes.

The group is dominated by Kurdish outfits known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG. A few Arab units have joined the force in order to prevent it from looking like an invading Kurdish army, and it has received airdrops of weapons and supplies and assistance from U.S. Special Forces. Gen. Joseph Votel, now commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and the incoming head of Central Command, said this month that about 80 percent of the fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces were Kurdish. The U.S. backing for a heavily Kurdish armed force has been a point of tension with the Turkish government, which has a long history of crushing Kurdish rebellions and doesn't want to see Kurdish units control more of its southern border. The CIA, meanwhile, has its own operations center inside Turkey from which it has been directing aid to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles.

While the Pentagon's actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against the Islamic State, the CIA's backing of militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government in hopes of prodding the Syrian leader to the negotiating table. At first, the two different sets of fighters were primarily operating in widely separated areas of Syria — the Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the northeastern part of the country and the CIA-backed groups further west. But, over the past several months, Russian airstrikes against anti-Assad fighters in northwestern Syria have weakened them.
That created an opening that allowed the Kurdish-led groups to expand their zone of control to the outskirts of Aleppo, bringing them into more frequent conflict with the CIA-backed outfits.

“Fighting over territory in Aleppo demonstrates how difficult it is for the U.S. to manage these really localized and, in some cases, entrenched conflicts,” said Nicholas Heras, an expert on the Syrian civil war at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington. “Preventing clashes is one of the constant topics in the joint operations room with Turkey.”

Over the course of the Syrian civil war, the town of Marea has been on the front line of the Islamic State's attempts to advance across Aleppo province toward the rest of northern Syria. On Feb. 18, the Syrian Democratic Forces attacked the town. A fighter with the Suqour Al-Jabal Brigade, a group with links to the CIA, said intelligence officers of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State know their group has clashed with the Pentagon-trained militias. “The MOM knows we fight them,” he said, referring to the joint operations center in southern Turkey, which is known as MOM from the acronym of its name in Turkish, Musterek Operasyon Merkezi. “We'll fight all who aim to divide Syria or harm its people,” said the fighter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Marea is home to many of the original Islamist fighters who took up arms against Assad during the Arab Spring in 2011. It has long been a critical way station for supplies and fighters coming from Turkey into Aleppo.

“Attempts by Syrian Democratic Forces to take Marea was a great betrayal and was viewed as a further example of a Kurdish conspiracy to force them from Arab and Turkmen lands,” Heras said. The clashes brought the U.S. and Turkish officials to “loggerheads,” he added. After diplomatic pressure from the U.S., the militia withdrew to the outskirts of the town as a sign of good faith, he said. But continued fighting among different U.S.-backed groups may be inevitable, experts on the region said. “Once they cross the border into Syria, you lose a substantial amount of control or ability to control their actions,” said Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official. “You certainly have the potential for it becoming a larger problem as people fight for territory and control of the northern border area in Aleppo.”

- W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett reported from Washington and special correspondent Nabih Bulos from Amman.
william.hennigan@latimes.com
brian.bennett@latimes.com
Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune

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Forest Service to Hold Open Houses at District Offices

The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses at district offices on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in September and October to provide the public with opportunities to talk with forest staff about local issues, district projects, and forest plan revision. The open houses will have a flexible format allowing the public to come at any time during the specified hours and talk directly with Forest staff one-on-one. District rangers and members of the forest plan revision team will be present from 3 to 6 pm on each of the following days and locations:

September 15, Nantahala Ranger District Office, 90 Sloan Rd, Franklin
September 22, Cheoah Ranger District Office, 1070 Massey Branch Rd, Robbinsville
September 27, Tusquitee Ranger District Office, 123 Woodland Dr, Murphy
October 6, Grandfather Ranger District, 109 Lawing Dr, Nebo
October 12, Pisgah Ranger District Office, 1600 Pisgah Hwy, Brevard
October 13, Appalachian Ranger District Office, 632 Manor Rd, Mars Hill

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have been revising their forest plan, a required document that provides a general framework to guide management of the forest.  As part of the process, 24 public meetings have been held in communities throughout western North Carolina.
"A successful forest plan depends on the engagement of local residents, organizations, and local governments," explains James Melonas, Deputy Forest Supervisor for National Forests in North Carolina. "We will continue to engage the public in a transparent and thoughtful manner."
Throughout the spring and summer, the Forest Service has been releasing draft plan materials on the National Forests in North Carolina website, www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision. Additional materials will be available this fall and posted to the Plan Revision Under Construction page as they become available.

"Like all parts of our forest plan, we are accepting public feedback on these initial building blocks and we expect to make changes before we complete the draft plan," said Michelle Aldridge, planning team lead. "Feedback will also help us shape our analysis. Specific feedback about desired changes, as well as information gaps is very useful at this stage.”

By fall 2016, the public will have had an opportunity for early review and input on nearly all aspects of the developing plan, and will again have an opportunity to review the plan during the formal comment period once a complete draft plan and alternative analysis are released. While there is no formal NEPA or legal comment period at this time, the Forest Service is accepting input on the building blocks at NCplanrevision@fs.fed.us with the subject line "Summer building blocks" or by mail at this address: Attn: Plan Revision Team Leader; National Forests in North Carolina; 160 Zillicoa St. Suite A; Asheville, NC 28801.

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