News

Thank you so much for supporting Blue Ridge Public Radio! It took an extra inning, but on this opening day of baseball season, that's only fitting. We met the Spring Fund Drive goal this morning - without interrupting one minute of the programs you count on. More than 1,600 listeners did their part to help us raise more than $228,000. 
 
Blue Ridge Public Radio brings you programming that enriches your life and fundraising that respects the very reason you listen. We couldn't be more proud of you - loyal and committed listeners who know how important this service is.

Matt Bush BPR

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper says there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered about Mission Health’s proposed sale to a for-profit healthcare company.  Mission announced last week it was entering negotiations to be purchased by HCA Healthcare, a for-profit company based in Nashville that operates hospitals in 20 states and the United Kingdom.  Speaking to reporters after an event for students to learn about jobs in healthcare at Mission’s Cancer Center Tuesday morning, Governor Cooper said he hopes the sale leads to a positive outcome for Western North Carolina and t

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Recently released data from Duke Energy is raising new concerns about contaminated water at the Asheville coal plant and others around the state.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb reports groundwater at the Asheville plant had levels of radioactivity 38 times the federal safety standard.

Matt Peiken | BPR News

If you’re a singer-songwriter who only needs an acoustic guitar for company, you can create and rehearse your music pretty much anywhere. But if you’re in a band, you need a place to spread out and be loud without bringing down nearby property values—or the police.

Bands in Asheville are so desperate for affordable spaces that there’s enthusiastic support—and growing financial support—behind an effort to open what would amount to just four rehearsal spaces.

Matt Bush BPR

The Asheville March For Our Lives took place on Saturday.  The student organized marches across the U.S. were put together following last month's shooting at a South Florida High School that killed 17 people.  The Asheville march - one of around 800 that took place - started at Pack Square, with marchers walking down one side of College Street to MLK Jr Park.  Police had blocked off that side of College Street, and the procession of marchers took 30 minutes, with the street full of people of all ages holding signs and singing chants.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Trump tweeted that the White House will hold a 'news conference' about the major spending bill passed by Congress on Thursday. Friday morning, Trump threatened to veto the bill, hours ahead of a midnight deadline and a possible government shutdown. 

Mission Health this week announced it was beginning to negotiations to be purchased HCA Healthcare, a for-profit healthcare company based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mission, which operates the majority of hospitals in Western North Carolina and is one of the region's largest employers, says the potential deal will allow the healthcare system to "preserve and expand" their "world-class quality of care within a rapidly consolidating healthcare industry."

Matt Bush BPR

Thousands are expected to march Saturday across the U.S. against gun violence as part of student-organized 'March For Our Lives'.  These marches came together following the shooting last month at a South Florida High School that killed 17 people.  The Asheville 'March For Our Lives' starts Saturday morning at 11 at Pack Square.  Students from across Western North Carolina helped put it together.  Two of the many organizers - A.C.

WNC Students Voice Opinions On School Safety

Mar 21, 2018
Cory Vaillancourt

Last week, students across the country walked out of classrooms to acknowledge the 17 people shot to death at Parkland, Fla.’s Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School.  Several Western North Carolina counties saw similar student activism – including Jackson and Haywood – and although weather dampened the events for some students, it didn’t dampen their desire for change.

Blue Ridge Public Radio welcomes Says You!, the public radio game show of bluff and bluster, to the Diana Wortham Theatre, June 14th. Join us for a night of whit, whimsy and colorful language. Says You! Fans will enjoy regular cast members Carolyn Faye Fox, Murray Horwitz, Barry Nolan, as well as local hall of fame punsters, for a night of ridiculous clues, verbal repartee, and bold face blunders - all at the dictionary’s expense.

Wikicommons

Asheville city council has decided to replace embattled city manager Gary Jackson, effective at the end of the business day Tuesday.  Jackson’s ouster after 13 years on the job was announced by mayor Esther Manheimer during a Tuesday afternoon city council meeting.  Earlier this year, Jackson announced he was retiring at the end of 2018.  But that was before the release of video footage showing a then-Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man last August.  That video, from a police body camera, only came to light because it was leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times, which publi

WCQS Becomes BPR Classic

Mar 20, 2018

Blue Ridge Public Radio is proud to announce that WCQS will now be known as BPR Classic - the same station longtime listeners love and trust, just with a new name.  

A year ago, Blue Ridge Public Radio launched WCQS’ sister station, BPR News, a 24-hour news station that complements the mix of music and news found on WCQS. Now, Blue Ridge Public Radio is strengthening the family resemblance by renaming WCQS as BPR Classic.

Ridesharing service Uber says it is not conducting pickups at Asheville Regional Airport after changes to ground transportation operation procedures at the airport.  

Matt Peiken | BPR News

In the 1970s and ‘80s, Jon Michael Riley made a lot of money as a corporate and commercial photographer, and his work anchored advertisements in major magazines.

“I had a client tell me one time ‘Well, we like to use you because you speak the language down here,’” Riley said. “Soon as I get to the south, my southern accent would come back.”

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES/ASHEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Leaked video of an Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man accused of jaywalking has brought renewed attention to the North Carolina law regarding the release of police body cam footage.  Lauren Horsch of NC Insider reports the Asheville incident is being cited by the law's critics as an example of its weaknesses.  She spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

MURPHY, N.C. (AP) — When Brian Hogan got a call that his wife had suffered a massive heart attack, he knew he had to get to the hospital fast. So Hogan asked his neighbor to take care of his 10-year-old daughter, then headed 60 miles east to the intensive care unit in Asheville, North Carolina.

What happened next would eventually expose a practice by a child welfare agency that illegally removed potentially hundreds of children from their homes in this poverty-stricken mountain community.

March 14 is National Pi Day, a time to celebrate the mathematical constant, 3.14 and a good excuse to eat pie.  BPR’s Helen Chickering talked with UNCA Math Professor Sam Kaplan about why the irrational number deserves its own day, why math intimidates many of us, and his work in the community - outreach that uses math as a platform to help local students sharpen their leadership skills. 

courtesy of Hannah Kaminer

Like a lot of people fresh out of college, Hannah Kaminer found herself a little lost. So she left a life and teaching job in Waco, Tex. to return where she grew up. Her parents had divorced, so without a family home awaiting her in Black Mountain, she moved in with friends in Asheville.

“I mean, I loved teaching, but without community and connections, it’s really hard to live in a place,” Kaminer said.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on school safety following the mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The committee is hearing from a Stoneman Douglas teacher as well as from the father of one of the shooting victims, Florida lawmakers and Justice Department officials. Watch the hearing live.  It's scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.  

Chelsea Beck/NPR

On President Trump's first trip to California, he is speaking to military personnel at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, north of San Diego. The visit comes a week after the Justice Department announced it was suing the state over immigration enforcement and on the day that Trump announced he was firing his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Watch his remarks live.

Wikicommons

Asheville city council is scheduled to meet twice on Tuesday, its first regularly scheduled meetings since the release of a body camera video that showed a then-city police officer beating an unarmed black man last year.  

Pexels

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hundreds of times a year across North Carolina, officials who control everything from the taxes you pay the city to the tuition required to attend public universities meet behind closed doors to conduct sensitive business on behalf of the public they serve.

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

Lack of housing and parking topped the list of concerns for local businesses in the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual 'Business Walk'.  The survey of more than 300 local businesses focused on whether those businesses saw growth in 2017, and what they felt needed to change to improve the business environment in the area.  Housing topped the list of areas where businesses wanted to see change, with 40% of respondents including it in their response.  Pa

Buncombe County DA

(UPDATE Thursday 9:40 p.m.) -  Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced in a press release late Thursday that former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman will face three criminal charges for the August beating of an unarmed black man.  Hickman and an officer in training stopped Johnnie Rush for suspected jaywalking and trespassing  late on the night of August 24th on Short Coxe Avenue.  Hickman beat, choked and shocked Rush with a stun gun.  The charges detailed Thursday night against Hickman - who resigned from the police force in January - are one count each of assault

Matt Peiken | BPR News

If Yousef Natsha had his way, Israeli immigration officials would allow his partner back into the country, and Natsha would continue capturing video and photos of Palestinians living under the gun of the Israeli Defense Forces.

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David Boraks/WFAE

A week after allowing Duke Energy a rate increase that includes charges for coal ash cleanup for about half its North Carolina consumers, state regulators on Monday began considering raising prices on an additional 2 million customers.

The state Utilities Commission opened a hearing on the company's request to charge an extra $539 million a year to customers of its Duke Energy Carolinas subsidiary in central and western North Carolina. That translates into a 14 percent increase for the typical residential customer's $104 monthly bill, a spokesman for the Charlotte company said.

Wikicommons

The city of Asheville Monday afternoon formally asked Buncombe County Superior Court to release any additional police body camera footage of the beating of Johnnie Jermaine Rush.  The unarmed black man was beaten by then Asheville police officer Chris Hickman last August as he walking through the parking lot of a closed business on Short Coxe Avenue.  Rush was initially stopped for suspected jaywalking and trespassing, but charges against him were dropped.  Hickman resigned from the force in January, shortly before a criminal investigation into his actions in the Rush beating was opened by

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