All posts in the local category

White Car Involved in Hit and Run with Erwin Middle School Bus

Published January 20, 2016 by April Fox

Update: The alleged driver in the hit and run has been arrested

Local friends, especially around the Leicester and Erwin Hills area, be on the lookout for a white car with recent significant damage to the front passenger side. This morning around 9:45, a school bus was hit at the corner of Erwin Hills and Mount Carmel, near Erwin Middle. I only saw the car for a second, but it was definitely white, and possibly a late ’80s- late ’90s model, I think with 4 doors. It left a pretty good chunk of the front end in the road as it was leaving the scene, including its passenger side headlight. The right front quarter panel was in pretty bad shape as well. The car was traveling on Mount Carmel Road, away from the direction of Ingles and New Leicester Highway.
The rear bumper of the bus was damaged slightly, but according to the school, everyone on board is fine and students were back on track to get home shortly after the accident happened.

If you happen to know the fine specimen who thought it was cool to hit a school bus full of little kids and then take off, please let the police or Erwin Middle School know. The number for Erwin Middle is 828-232-4264.

Mountain of Words Write-A-Thon for Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community

Published November 2, 2015 by April Fox

Hi friends, a couple years ago, I participated in the first Mountain of Words write-a-thon for Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community. I’m very excited to have been asked to participate again this year. Here’s how it works: people sponsor me in any amount they choose (really, any little bit helps) and in return, I promise to get off my butt and work on that novel I’ve been putting off forever. All of the money raised by the sponsorships goes directly to AWITSC, an organization that links writers with children and their families and helps kids learn to love the written word, and to use their words to empower themselves.

As some of you may have guessed, reading what I often post here, I tend to use my words as a way to process things I’m dealing with, to let things out without losing my mind, and to share a little bit of myself with others who might need to feel less alone in what they’re going through. I think that’s a skill that’s so incredibly important for kids to learn, especially with all the challenges they face these days. This past summer, I had the chance to work with an awesome group of middle school students. One was a young lady who was a typical pre-teen (smarter and funnier than average, maybe), but had been through some things that many of her peers had not experienced. Over the course of a couple weeks, I watched her recognize her own strength as she wrote out some of things she had been feeling, but hadn’t found a way to process. Every day at work, I get to help a smart, sweet little boy discover the power of words, and to learn to love even the basics of language through word play and silliness (Mad Libs, seriously, they should be part of every language arts curriculum from first grade right up through high school). AWITSC does even more to help kids learn the power and joy of words, and I hope you’ll consider sponsoring me or sharing this post with others who might do so, so that they can continue. It’s just so incredibly important.

I don’t see a penny of this money. It all goes to AWITSC to help fund their programs. You can find out more by visiting ashevillewritersintheschools.org.

If you’d like to help, please click the link below and sponsor me for the generous amount you feel comfortable in giving—all donations are tax-deductible. I’ll be writing as much as I can for AWITSC between now and November 15. If you can’t contribute financially (I get it, I’m broke too), please share this post with others who might be interested. I promise this is the one and only time I’ll bug you here about it. If you’d like to write a check, please make it out to Asheville Writers in the Schools, mail to 347 Kenilworth Road, Asheville, NC 28805, and put my name in the memo line. Thanks, all. ❤

http://www.mountainofwords.org/april-fox.html  <—- there’s the link. 🙂

Dog Injured in Hit and Run on Leicester Highway 

Published September 30, 2015 by April Fox

I just spent the better part of an hour on the side of the road, along with four other people, trying to keep a dog safe and figure out how to best help him after he was hit by a car and injured. 

This is not one of those obnoxious “Look at this good deed that I did, I’m so sad that the rest of the world isn’t as nice as I am” posts. This is one of those “What the fuck kind of heartless asshole hits a dog and then leaves him lying on the side of the road” posts. This is a large dog, a hound. He has a badly injured front leg, injuries to his mouth, and possibly damage to his spine or internal organs. He was hit hard. The impact wasn’t like when you accidentally run over a snake because you thought it was a twig. This shit was deliberate and if you’re the one who hit him, you’re a deplorable human being. 

The dog was struck on Leicester Highway (US Hwy 63) between the intersection with Meadows Town Road and the Madison County line. He is a full-grown dog, primarily black, with tan markings and some grey in his beard. He has on a tag showing that he was vaccinated at Caldwell Animal Hospital; vets at the hospital said the dog belongs to a Don or Dawn Watkins but that person could not be reached. 

If you know the owner of this dog, please have them contact Buncombe County Animal Services. He has been taken to a vet and hopefully soon I’ll hear an update from one of the wonderful ladies who took him. 

*I feel like I need to clarify that I really didn’t do much to help this dog. Two other ladies were on the scene when I got there, and were already making phone calls to get him help. A man arrived later and lifted the dog into the back of a vehicle and offered to help make arrangements for vet care. Another woman stopped and helped keep him calm, and considered giving him a good home if the owners aren’t found. All I did was give him a blanket to lie on, help keep him out of the road, pet him and say “Good dog, you’re such a good dog,” about a million times. The others there did much more than I did. Thank you Karen, Marilyn, Kevin and Patty. ❤


Asheville’s Helpmate Hosts a Vigil to Help End Domestic Violence

Published September 28, 2015 by April Fox

A portion of the royalties from my latest book, Spine, will be used to benefit Helpmate, a local non-profit organization that helps women and their children who are in, escaping, and recovering from domestic violence situations. 
There’s a popular myth that women stay because they love their abusers and think they’ll change. That is certainly true in some cases, but in many, the things that keep women there are far less romantic: fear, threats, financial limitations, a belief that there are no other options. Helpmate works to educate women and the general public about ways to escape dangerous situations, and provides direct links to resources that help ensure the physical and emotional safety of people affected by domestic violence. 
I’m asking my friends and family to please help spread awareness about Helpmate’s annual domestic violence vigil, this Thursday October 1, in downtown Asheville. Please feel free to copy and paste this message along with your post. 
Thank you, loves. 

UnderDog Bikes in Roanoke, VA

Published April 19, 2015 by April Fox

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I took Thing One (so named because he arrived on the scene two minutes before his brother, Thing Two, and I don’t use their real names on here) up to Roanoke, VA for a quick overnight trip. It can be tough to find things to do with Thing One; he has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and some low muscle tone, along with vestibular and motor skills difficulties, so while he is able to do the same things most everyone else can, social situations are tough, he gets tired fairly quickly, and he can’t do things like amusement park rides or riding a bike. 

You can imagine, then, how excited we were to come across UnderDog Bikes in downtown Roanoke. Not only do they fix and sell bikes, they also rent them out–including giant, adult-sized Big Wheels. Yes, Big Wheels, exactly like you used to ride when you were a fearless little kid, tearing up the neighborhood on your three-wheeled, low-slung, BadassMobile, only bigger and built of sturdier materials. Beloved and I were hit with a wave of giddy childhood nostalgia, but I was even more excited about the fact that this was something Thing One could do. The bikes sit very low to the ground and have a wide rear wheel base, so I knew he would feel safe and secure, unlike when he’s tried to ride a regular two-wheeled bike. We knew we could ride the Big Wheels down a quiet greenway that runs along the river, so he wouldn’t be in the middle of the downtown noise, and wouldn’t have to interact much with strangers. This sounded like the perfect outing for us, and it turned out even better than we expected. 


 We were greeted at the door by the resident UnderDog, a sweet and friendly pup who escorted us inside the shop. The owner of the shop, Christopher Heslin, was the perfect balance of helpful, knowledgeable, and laid-back as he went over the pricing (super-reasonable), safety information, and recommended routes. It’s clear that he knows his stuff, and genuinely wants to help people have fun on wheels. 


 We rented the Big Wheels for an hour, and had a blast riding up and down the greenway. It winds through a pretty residential area and past a small park with a playground, and the waters of the adjacent river are absolutely beautiful. The greenway is flat and paved, making for a ride that can be as easy or as challenging as you want to make it. We alternated between lazy pedaling and speeding up the path, and the grin on Thing One’s face as he passed us, hair flying in the wind, was about the most awesome thing I’ve seen in a long time. 


UnderDog Bikes doesn’t market themselves a service for kids with ASD, but for older kids with vestibular issues who want to have fun outdoors, it’s a spectacular place to go. Actually, for anyone who wants to relive those carefree days of childhood for an afternoon, it’s a spectacular place to go. We can’t wait to go back.

UnderDog Bikes is located at 1113 Piedmont St. SE in Roanoke, Virginia. They’re open 10 AM to 7 PM Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM Saturday and Sunday, and closed on Tuesdays. Give them a call at 540-204-4276 or visit their web site for more information, and be sure to show them some love over on their Facebook page.


Asheville Family Desperate to Find Missing Dog-Reward Offered

Published March 9, 2015 by April Fox

MaxA few months ago, my family and I moved out to the country–and when I say country, I mean way out, the kind of place where directions include phrases like “go past the tractor crossing sign” and “look for the donkey on the right.” It’s quiet and serene, the kind of place where people live spread out, with plenty of room for their families to grow and their dogs to run. Unfortunately, someone in my community has lost a member of his family: Chris Herron’s beloved cinnamon husky, Max, disappeared from his home on Meadows Town Road in Leicester, northwest of Asheville. Max hasn’t been seen since January 22, and since then, his family has put up billboards, signs, and hundreds of flyers in hopes of finding him.

max3Facebook has been flooded with pictures of the missing dog, and countless people have shared photos of dogs who looked like Max, but sadly weren’t him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such dedication from a family looking for their missing pet, and so even though I don’t know them, I said I’d try and help get the word out.

Max is less than two years old and weighs 65 pounds. He has a cinnamon-colored coat, his eyes are two different colors, and his face has distinctive white markings. Chances are, Max is still near home, but his family fears he may have been taken by people who want to use him in dog fights. This area is known for its beautiful scenery, and it’s possible too that some unsuspecting passer-through thought Max was a stray and decided to take the beautiful dog home, wherever that may be. Max could be a mile away from his home in Leicester, or halfway across the country. Wherever you are, please take a look at these photos or visit Max’s web site for more information. And especially if you’re local, please share this post. Max’s family misses him terribly, and they just want him home. There is a $1000 reward offered for Max’s return. If you’ve seen him, please call 828-242-5469. Thanks, friends.


Story Time for Miscreants and Malcontents

Published September 12, 2014 by April Fox

So, this is happening. If you’re local, come check it out.

I always have to include a disclaimer: I’m very very uncomfortable doing readings, so if I don’t seem super cheerful and outgoing afterward, I promise it’s not personal. I’ll be happy to see you. Really.



Haylee Ledford Abducted from Asheville, NC: Update: FOUND

Published September 8, 2014 by April Fox

missing haylee

UPDATE: Haylee Ledford has been found and returned to her family in NC. Pierce faces federal charges in the case.

On September 6, 2014, 13-year-old Haylee Ledford was abducted from Leicester, NC, just outside Asheville. A felony warrant has been issued for 22-year-old Jacob Thomas Pierce of Golden, Colorado in connection with her disappearance. Police believe the child and her abductor may be traveling toward Colorado in a white Honda Accord with Colorado plates. A full description of Haylee, her abductor Jacob Thomas Pierce, and the car can be found below.

This child lives in my area, and her family and the community are very concerned for her safety. Please, take a look at the photos of Haylee Ledford and Jacob Pierce, and alert authorities if you’ve seen them. You can reach the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department at (828) 250-4503. Please share this information on your social networks as well, so we can get this little girl home to her family. I have a daughter Haylee’s age and the thought of her being out there with some guy in his twenties turns my stomach. Let’s bring Haylee home.

Haylee Ledford is believed to have been abducted from near Asheville, NC.

Haylee Ledford is believed to have been abducted from near Asheville, NC.

haylee ledford

You can follow the search for Haylee on the Facebook page dedicated to finding her.

Coffee and Books

Published May 28, 2014 by April Fox

Hello local friends, just wanted to let you know that my last book, Object Permanence, is now for sale at the awesome Allgood Coffee in Weaverville, NC, just north of Asheville. It’s hard for me to do any kind of self-promotion, so going in and talking to them about it was a pretty huge step. I’m glad I did, though. It’s kind of exciting.


Steampunk and Space Rock and Shakespeare, Oh My.

Published May 2, 2013 by April Fox

So remember last year, when my brilliant sidekick took over George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and, with the help of his esteemed cohorts in Silver Machine, wrote a trippy new soundtrack for it? He’s at it again, this time taking on sound design duties for a local steampunk version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Even if you’re not big on Shakespeare, you should try and see this one. It’s not quite the long, drawn-out affair Hamlet usually is, and it feels like it goes even more quickly than it does, thanks in part to the expert acting, direction and of course, the incredible music and sound effects. Moog Music generously donated equipment to ensure that the sound for this production is top-notch, and you will not be disappointed. Anthony Dorion and Chris Tanfield are there each night, using their face-melting synth and theremin skills to add another dimension to the music that Dorion recorded and compiled for the production. Local artists Mary SparksLee StanfordMatthew Westerman and Max Melner are all featured in the score, and if you’ve heard any of these talented musicians play, you know you’re in for something beyond good. For more information or to read my thoughts about the play itself, check out the article I posted on Ask Asheville. The play runs now through Saturday, May 4.


Anthony Dorion in his downtown studio, working on sound design for Hamlet


Anthony Dorion and Chris Tanfield getting ready to work their magic before a production of Hamlet

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