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Fate of Edwards' Asheville Districts Bill Uncertain

The last bill former Hendersonville Republican Tom Apodaca put forth before he retired would have split Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members. It was opposed by every other lawmaker representing the city, as well as the mayor and entire city council. In a stinging defeat for the longtime senator, it failed in its final vote in the House. Now his successor, Republican Senator Chuck Edwards, is trying again . Edwards declined requests from BPR to talk about the bill, saying in an e-mailed response he’d talk “perhaps after the bill is passed.” But WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii caught up with Edwards on the Senate floor.

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The State of Things

Vice President Mike Pence traveled to West Virginia Saturday where he met with small business owners before delivering public remarks, which included some lines about repealing Barack Obama's health care law, a day after Republicans efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act went down in flames.

"West Virginia and President Trump, we all know the truth about this failed law, that every day Obamacare survives is another day that America suffers," Pence told a crowd gathered at a Charleston construction supply company.

Some basketball viewers on Friday night were subjected to television commercials that were guilty of peddling some alternative facts.

That's because in some markets with conservative-leaning districts, commercials aired praising some Republican House members for their efforts in repealing the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

Political predictions are a dangerous business, especially this year. But it does look as though one way or another, the U.S. Senate will vote to confirm the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The open question is how much damage Democrats will do to their own long game in the process.

Even as they lick their wounds from a failed Affordable Care Act repeal effort, Republican leaders in Washington are looking ahead to the next battle — over taxes.

"I would say that we will probably start going very, very strongly for the big tax cuts and tax reform," President Trump told reporters Friday. "That will be next."

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan agreed, though he conceded that the defeat on health care was a setback.

"This does make tax reform more difficult," Ryan said. "But it does not in any way make it impossible."

The House Intelligence Committee's investigation into the Trump campaign's potential connections to Russia's election meddling isn't dead — but it's not exactly dancing a jig, either.

Matt Bush BPR

During his swing through Western North Carolina this week, Governor Roy Cooper admitted the Republican-controlled General Assembly will continue to notch plenty of political wins against him this year.  But the governor expects that not to last forever.

'Pizzagate' Gunman Pleads Guilty To Charges

Mar 24, 2017

A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Friday to charges from an armed encounter within a Washington, D.C., pizzeria that was the focus of pernicious and baseless Internet rumors.

On Dec. 4, 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch entered the Comet Ping Pong restaurant and fired an AR-15 rifle into a door. The 28-year-old man told police that he had driven from his home in Salisbury, N.C., to "self-investigate" the "pizzagate" conspiracy theory that the restaurant was the site of a child sex-abuse ring involving powerful Democrats such as Hillary Clinton.

Updated at 3:30 p.m.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has volunteered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, as turmoil within the committee continues and the future of the investigation into Russia's attempts to interfere with the election sunk deeper into doubt.

Throughout the campaign, President Trump billed himself as a master negotiator who would make the "best deals" for the American people.

First of two stories. Click here for the second.

When you turn 16 in North Carolina, you still can't vote, or drive on your own at night. You can't buy cigarettes or alcohol, or get a tattoo. But you can be charged, tried and convicted as an adult in the criminal justice system.

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Arts & Performance

The Asheville Symphony performs the finale to this week's Asheville Amadeus Festival in a Sunday afternoon concert at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. The featured soloist is violinist Midori, who will perform Mendelssohn's e minor Violin Concerto. Also on the program, Mozart's Symphony No. 35,  Stravinsky's  "Dumbarton Oaks" concerto, and Faure's Pavanne featuring the Asheville Symphony Chamber Chorus.

Saverio-Truglia

Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center (our neighbors on Broadway in downtown Asheville,) presents the 7th annual {Re}Happening Saturday, March 25th at Lake Eden in Black Mountain (the site of Black Mountain College and Camp Rockmont.) The event will feature an immersive experience created by many area artists, as well as a guest appearance by Chicago based Third Coast Percussion, an ensemble steeped in the music and aesthetic of John Cage, BMC College artist.

The Asheville Choral Society celebrates the Asheville Amadeus Festival and its own 40th anniversary with a concert Friday night, March 17th, at Asheville's Central United Methodist Church. The program will feature excerpts from Mozart's Mass in C minor as well as works from the 18th to the 21st century by Vivaldi, Stephen Paulus, Jake Runestad and Dolly Parton.

Asheville Baroque Concerts presents the finale program of this year's season on Sunday afternoon, March 19th, and 3pm at Oakley United Methodist Church. Titled "Oltremontano, from beyond the mountains," music for recorder, viola da gamba and harpsichord. Artistic director and viola da gamba player Gail Ann Schroeder talked with Dick Kowal about the music and the musicians.