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January 2020 NEWSLETTER

The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County has merged the energies and aims of its grassroots forerunners: PWH, POW, Hendersonville Huddle and Silent Vigil for Immigration Reform.

To connect residents of Henderson County and surrounding areas to civic engagement and activities at the grassroots level.
The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County (PAHC) compassionately advocates for justice, respect, inclusion and sustainable, healthy communities for all.    

Visit our website for more photos, events, and links to like-minded groups.

Postcard Parties

This month's Postcard Parties are all at Sanctuary Brewing Company - 147 1st Ave. E, Hendersonville, NC from 4:30 to 6:00.

We get together every Friday: January 3, January 10, January 17, January 24, and January 31. This month we are partnering with El Centro and Project Dignity.

Never been to a Postcard Party? Watch a video to learn how it works.

El Centro and Progressive Alliance of Henderson County are partnering on January 17th at PAHC’s regular Friday postcard party to combine volunteer efforts and advocate for humane, welcoming and inclusive policies for Latinos in our community.

El Centro of Henderson County is a grassroots nonprofit organization whose presence and programs are focused on creating a welcoming and just community where everyone is treated with dignity, value and respect. Besides GED and Spanish/English classes, El Centro partners with churches and other organizations to address the needs of the Latino community. Donations, non-perishable food items, hygiene items, school supplies and new or gently used backpacks are most appreciated. Collections will be gathered during postcards or can be dropped off at El Centro between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM Monday to Friday.

Contact Information:  (828) 290-7134   
508 N. Grove St. Hendersonville, NC 28792

Project Dignity and the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County are partnering at Friday’s Postcard Party, January 31, 2020

Project Dignity of Western North Carolina, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  We provide feminine hygiene products to women and girls in Henderson, Buncombe, Polk, Transylvania, and Rutherford counties who might be homeless, low-income, or victims of domestic abuse.  SNAP or food stamps do not allow the purchase of non-food items, including feminine hygiene products.  Women and girls frequently miss school or work during “that time of the month” because they don’t have personal hygiene products. 

Please bring donations of feminine pads and tampons (no liners) and /or cash for this very worthwhile project.

Find us on Facebook at
Contact us at or 828 697 2565.

Informed Progressive

On Wednesday, December 11, Kelly Hollinger, manager of Foolish Dog Farm and co-founder of the Soul and Soil Project, presented on regenerative agriculture. 

Kelly indicated that current agricultural practices are a main contributor to climate change. She shared the history of agriculture and livestock management in our country and outlined how we have gone from small family farms to huge corporate farming organizations that deplete the soil of nutrients, organic material, microbes and the ability to sequester carbon.  This damage is caused by monoculture, use of massive amount of chemicals (synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides), petrochemicals and constant tilling. She further explained how detrimental CAFOS (concentrated animal feeding operations) are to our dwindling topsoil and how they contribute to greenhouse gases. 

She stated that regenerative agriculture involves farming and grazing practices that conserve and rehabilitate topsoil by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity. This approach results in both carbon drawdown (putting the carbon cycle back in balance) and improving the water cycle. Farm yields improve and the nutritional quality of our food is greatly enhanced.

For more information:

On Wednesday, January 8 from 2:00 to 3:30, at the Donaldson Event Space, (1216 6th Ave, Ste 500, Hendersonville) we will feature a screening of the documentary Power to Heal (Medicare and the Civil Rights Movement). This event will be facilitated by the Medicare for All WNC team.

Please join us on Wednesday January 22, at the Donaldson Event Space (1216 6th Avenue, Ste 500, Hendersonville) for the first evening Informed Progressive learning workshop: Defining the Progressive Movement in Henderson County. P. I. Ferguson, MSW, and Leah Ferguson, M.Ed., of On Purpose Partners, consulting, will be facilitating. We will begin with food from 5:30 to 6:00 pm, followed by the learning workshop. Tickets are free and babysitting will be available. Sign-up will begin January 2nd on

Join the progressive movement in Henderson County! Gather with other like-minded folk in understanding the current progressive movement, exploring what works with other progressive movements across the US, and co-creating our vision for our community!

Please complete the short survey that will get us started at Progressive Alliance of Henderson County Opinion Poll


Silent Vigil for Immigration Reform


This is a monthly event to promote immigration reform. We meet the 3rd Friday of every month from 4:00 to 4:30 in front of the Old Courthouse in Hendersonville. 

We have signs or bring your own.

We will next meet  on Friday, January 17th, from 4 pm to 4:30 pm in front of the Historic Courthouse.  


Get Out The Vote

The following people have donated their time and/or money to address, script and stamp postcards to registered voters in Henderson Co: Carrie Anne Blocker, Neil & Nancy Brown, Lucy Butler, Mary Ann Callen, Sheila Clendenning, Padma Dyvine, Princess Ferguson, Kim Korndorfer, Catherine Lynch, Jeannie Medlin, Randy Molton, Sissy Owen, Sukey Pratt, Lynn Romeo, Mae Schneider, Michele Skeele, Lee Stevens, and Linda Weber

We are reminding the voters of the primary on March 3. Thanks to their efforts, 1400 postcards are ready to be mailed in the next couple of weeks. Early voting begins February 12, 2020, with this important primary on March 3, 2020. 

We will next gear up in July and August to write more postcards reminding people to vote in the November 3rd election. Come on men, where are your names?  Even if you don’t like to write, please let us know that you can give money or stamps for Get Out The Vote. However, I do know many of you are very good writers, so step up please.

If you can help next summer with this important project, please contact Sissy at Let Sissy know at any time as she will make notes to follow up. We will begin to hand out postcards with addresses and scripts in late July. The aim is to mail all the postcards in mid-September before early election begins. If you can also provide the postcards stamps, it is very much appreciated; however, the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County is trying to budget to help with the cost of some of the stamps beside covering the cost of the postcards.

Area Events and News

Postcard Party Recap




Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast 

Monday, January 20, 2020 @ 8:30 am -10:30 am at Blue Ridge Community College Conference Center, E. Campus Dr., Flat Rock
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast will be held Monday, Jan. 20 at Blue Ridge Community College’s Technology Education and Development Center in the Blue Ridge Conference Hall, beginning at 8:30. The program will follow at 9:15.

This event marks the 20th year for the MLK Jr. Unity Breakfast and program in Henderson County, and the celebration’s theme is education.
The program will highlight and honor alumni and faculty of Hendersonville’s Ninth Avenue and Sixth Avenue Schools. These schools served as a beacon for the education of black Americans and as regional community centers from 1916 to 1965.
Ronnie Pepper will serve as master of ceremonies and is completing his second year as chair of the MLK Jr. Unity Breakfast Committee. As in years past, the 2020 celebration will also feature inspirational music and dance performances.

Tickets for the Jan. 20 event are $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12. Tickets are on sale at Community Foundation of Henderson County’s office, 401 N. Main St., Suite 300. Tickets will also be available at the door the day of the event. Attendees may call 828-697-6224 for more information.
Doors to the ticketed event open at 8 a.m., with breakfast provided by Bojangles.

MLK Jr. Day of Service
St. James Episcopal Church, 766 N. Main St.
Event starts at noon, Mon. 1/20, with a short ceremony, followed by repackaging rice & beans into amounts for families of four.  The event is good for all ages. In addition, people can bring cookies they bake at home which will be distributed to first responders.

Advance donations of rice and beans would be appreciated. Donations of regular rice and pinto beans should be in equal amounts, i.e. a ten pound bag of rice and a ten pound bag of pinto beans. Please drop off donations at St James after Jan. 15 and leave them in Stillwell Hall, next to the reception desk.

Asheville Events:
On Saturday, January 18, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County will celebrate its community’s 39th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, at the Crowne Plaza Resort on Resort Drive in West Asheville.  Tickets for the breakfast may be purchased for $25 each, or $15 for youth tickets. Patron tickets are available for $35, with patron's names included in the program journal.

Author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury & Healing.”

Peace March & Rally: Monday, January 20, 11:30 a.m., formerly, Berry Temple United Methodist Church 34 College Pl, Asheville. FREE and open to the public.

Candlelight Service: Monday, January 20, 6:00 p.m., Central United Methodist Church, Church Street. FREE and open to the public.

PAHC Members in the News

Catherine Lynch
Catherine Lynch is very involved in our community.  Hendersonville Lightning did a wonderful article about Catherine’s involvement with Interfaith Assistance Ministry.   Please thank her when you see her at Friday Postcard Parties or holding the Silent Vigil for Immigration Reform, for the hours she gives to help others.   We are so fortunate to have an amazing group of members who give of their time and money to address the needs of those around us.  Please ask what you can do also.

Chris Berg
Chris was recognized for coordinating the Democratic Discussion Club which is held every 2nd Wednesday at 8:30 AM.  Chris is also the Precinct chair for East Flat Rock and volunteers at the HCDP office regularly.   Thank you Chris for all you are doing on so many fronts to defend our democracy.

Chris Walters
"Special Recognition to Chris Walters for your Invaluable Service to Henderson County in The Service of Truth and Support of Democratic Values."

Chris helps on campaigns by canvassing and putting out yard signs. He researches issues and keeps people informed. He publicizes candidates and events. He promotes the values and accomplishments of the Democratic Party and emphasizes the importance of winning state and local elections.

Laura Bannister
Laura was recently recognized for her services to Henderson County including:
  • organized the first ever Pride Day in Hendersonville 
  • served as President of the charter LGBTQ Democrats of Henderson County, which received the Progress Award for being the fastest growing chapter in NC. 
  • helped to organize the Apple Festival booth and the HCDP submission in the King Apple Parade. 
  • as Event Coordinator for the Henderson County Dems, organized and publicized the Holiday Party. 
  • coordinated the monthly schedule for office volunteers at Dem HQ. 


On Tuesday, December 17th, Chris Walters and Gayle Kemp of the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County organized a rally the evening before the impeachment vote was to be held in the House of Representatives.  About 125 people braved the bitter cold to carry signs and wave at people driving by.  Overwhelmingly the honks and gestures were in support of impeaching Trump.  Several in attendance commented on the strong positive responses to our rallies versus three years ago which often had more negative responses.  Keep persisting.

287(g) RALLY

On December 10th, as reported by the Times News, members of our group "voiced opposition to the controversial 287(g) program Tuesday, standing in the rain outside the Henderson County Courthouse before a meeting about the immigration measure later in the morning." (Complete article)
By  Lee Stevens

Paul Weichselbaum

When Paul Weichselbaum moved to Hendersonville, it was only natural that he seek out a group such as the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County. He grew up in New York City in a politically aware family, and his earliest recollection of political involvement was wearing a Kennedy Johnson button in 1960. His activism came fully to life, though, when he was a teenager. He worked on the McCarthy campaign in 1968 and led anti-war efforts in high school, mobilizing his fellow students to attend demonstrations and organizing school strikes. 

At Hamilton College he majored in anthropology and went on to Syracuse University to pursue a Ph.D. While he never finished his dissertation, during this time his focus as an activist shifted to Latin American issues such as the uprising in El Salvador and the Sanctuary Movement. He spent a year in Peru before returning to the Syracuse area and settling into a career in human services, public health, and disaster preparedness with agencies such as the Department of Social Services and the Health Department (often as a minor bureaucrat). During this time, he maintained a connection to his local Democratic Party, serving as a ward member.  

Paul and his wife Elyse, a retired librarian and a weaver, have just passed the one-year anniversary of their move to Hendersonville from Syracuse, where they spent 44 years working and raising their two children. In the two years prior to the move, he was active in the Syracuse Indivisible group Central New York Solidarity. 

He first considered involvement in the Indivisible Movement in Asheville, and still attends some rallies there in Pack Square. Closer to home he started attending PAHC Postcard Parties, and has since become a suggestion sheet volunteer and chair of the new Liaison subcommittee, which met with Rep. Chuck McGrady on November 20.

When he’s not focusing on politics, Paul indulges his love of music at live performances in Asheville and operates a small business buying and selling CDs and DVDs through Amazon. [“One way or another this darkness got to give.”] Besides music, he enjoys watching sports such as soccer, Australian football, cricket, and hockey, and cooking. His creativity in the kitchen goes back years – he split cooking duties with his wife since their children were young – and may have influenced his daughter to become a chef and his son to be the primary cook in his family.

Looking forward to the New Year, he hopes to find new volunteer opportunities, perhaps making use of his fluency in Spanish by volunteering with the Latino Advocacy Coalition or the Blue Ridge Literacy Council, or assisting with local disaster preparedness efforts, which was the last part of his career.  
Activism is NOT a spectator sport!  Where/how do you see yourself helping?
Specific Areas to Assist PAHC
  1. Openers/closers for Friday Postcard Parties from 4:30-6:00 pm every Friday at Sanctuary Brewing, 147 1st Ave. E., Hendersonville. Contact Audrey Stelloh.
  2. Twitter, Instagram etc. Contact Neil Brown.
  3. Current events articles for Newsletter, FB, Website etc. Contact Nancy Brown.
  4. Informed Progressive Speaker series. Contact Lucy Butler.
  5. Rally organizing team. Contact Chris Walters.
  6. Social gatherings/service activities team. Contact Sheila Clendenning.
  7. Write Suggestion Sheet for postcards/ Research for bills pending in Congress. Contact Neil Brown.
  8. Voting committee. Contact Sissy Owen.
  9. Fundraising team. Contact Audrey Stelloh.
  10. Photographer. Contact Nancy Brown.
Some people don’t look.
Some look, but don’t see.
Some see, but don’t act.
Some people act.
. . . Anon
Leadership Group for the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County

At the beginning of 2019, four groups agreed to merge into the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County. Eleven souls stepped up and put the wheels in motion that created this active, vibrant, community-oriented organization.

We are approaching our one year anniversary. We have grown and want our members to know that there are many opportunities available. The Leadership Group meets about once a month to review policies and activities. We have agreements and disagreements, but the main agreement is that we all have to talk about what we are trying to accomplish in Henderson County. There are about half a dozen committees that meet separately, some once a month in person, and some just communicate by emails or phones.

Please step forward and let us know which committees or Leadership roles would fit into your desires for our political direction in this country. Do not be shy. We welcome your thoughts and your efforts to implement those thoughts.

Activism is not a spectator sport.

Lucy Butler, Sheila Clendenning, Chris Berg, Liz Agnello, Laura Miklowitz, Nancy Brown, Julia Luellen, Chris Walters, Neil Brown, Audrey Stelloh, Paul Weichselbaum
, and  Sissy Owen
The PAHC core leadership group (currently Liz Agnello, Chris Berg, Nancy & Neil Brown, Lucy Butler, Sheila Clendenning, Julia Luellen, Laura Miklowitz, Sissy Owen, Audrey Stelloh, Chris Walters and Paul Weichselbaum) working together diligently to strengthen our impact, has created mission and vision statements for the group.

Please speak to any of us if you can offer your ideas and time about the future of Henderson County. 
Copyright © *2019* *Progressive Alliance of Henderson County*


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Progressive Alliance of Henderson County · P.O. Box 192 · Mountain Home, NC 28758 · USA

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