Today’s round of questions, my smart-aleck replies and the real answers:

Question: A couple of Sundays ago I was in downtown Asheville around the Pack Square area. It was around noon, and I had dropped my wife off at a shop to go in and pick something up while I circled the block. I was on Biltmore Avenue traveling north. I caught the red light at Patton and Biltmore, and while waiting for the pedestrians to cross, there, right in the middle of the pack, just strolling along, was a young man, probably in his 20s, buck naked! Not a stitch on, not even shoes. Just a wry smile on his face. And surprisingly, not much of a commotion or too many stares from the crowd in the area. Wow, kinda blew me away, that in broad daylight, on a Sunday, in downtown Asheville, a naked man could be strolling along, with no apparent effort to stop or cover him up. It seemed to be no big deal. 

Then, later as I circled the block, still waiting on the wife, I encountered him again, further south on Biltmore, still strolling just as happy as a lark down the sidewalk near the Orange Peel. My question is whether Asheville has public nudity laws and if so, have the police taken a hands-off stance?  ‘Cause in my two brief encounters with the strolling man, there were no signs of any activity to stop him or cover him up. Just curious.

My answer: Three things: Thank you for NOT sending in a photo with this question. Secondly, let’s hope for all parties involved APD does in fact take a hands off approach to these kinds of infractions. Thirdly, I salute the man’s wry smile in what must have been some serious shrinkage-inducing weather.

Real answer: North Carolina does indeed have a state statute regarding indecent exposure (GS 14-909.9, if you’d like to look it up), according to Asheville Police Department spokesperson Samantha Booth.

“This chargeable offense, depending upon the element, could be a Class 2 Misdemeanor or Class H Felony,” Booth said. “What your reader witnessed appears to fall under element (a): ‘Unless the conduct is punishable under subsection (a1) of this section, any person who shall willfully expose the private parts of his or her person in any public place and in the presence of any other person or persons, except for those places designated for a public purpose where the same sex exposure is incidental to a permitted activity, or aids or abets in any such act, or who procures another to perform such act; or any person, who as owner, manager, lessee, director, promoter or agent, or in any other capacity knowingly hires, leases or permits the land, building, or premises of which he is owner, lessee or tenant, or over which he has control, to be used for purposes of any such act, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.’”

Incidentally, these incidents are on the rise, and yes I fully acknowledge that’s a terrible word choice.

“In order for an officer to charge an individual for this offense, the applicable element has to be met in the statute, which we do enforce,” Booth said. “APD has responded to 295 calls for service with the nature code of ‘indecent exposure’ year to date in 2022.”

That’s an increase of 88 incidents over last year, Booth noted.

You go, Asheville!

Question: Do you know any more about the Allegiant flight diversion from Asheville Regional Airport on Dec. 8? There are conflicting stories offered by the airline and the airport. The former says crosswinds prevented landing, but the airport insists the landing strip was open and available. This is concerning; especially conflicting stories. What really happened? This deserves investigation in my opinion. Should we avoid Allegiant, or not trust AVL airport?

My answer: As a journalist, the standard default regarding trust is, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” In a nutshell, if you start out not trusting anyone, life tends to be kinder.

Real answer: While I was hoping for a good “he said/she said” throwdown, or in this case maybe a “she said/she said,” alas, both sides agree.

“There are no conflicting stories regarding the weather diversion of flight 263 Dec. 8,” Sonya Padgett, with Allegiant media relations, said via email. “The AVL airfield was open and operational. In fact, our pilot attempted to land. However, the weather created unsafe conditions and the landing had to be aborted.”

Pilots ultimately make the call on weather-related landings.

Asheville Regional Airport spokesperson Tina Kinsey offered a similar explanation, noting first, “There are no conflicting stories.

“The runway was open and operational,” Kinsey said. “Weather issues, such as crosswinds, can occur at any time. Pilots make ultimate decisions regarding flight operations, and may choose to divert to other airports due to challenging weather conditions.”

In this case, Padgett said, that’s exactly what came into play.

“The decision to divert to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) was made out of an abundance of caution, and with the safety of passengers and crew members in mind,” Padgett said. “Flight crews are constantly making safety decisions based on real-time conditions, and this weather diversion is an example of that.”

Padgett also said Allegiant is sorry for the inconvenience.

“As a gesture of good faith, we provided $250 in compensation to passengers,” Padgett said.


Got a question? Send it to John Boyle at  jboyle@avlwatchdog.org or (828) 337-0941.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *