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Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Asheville City Council member Vijay Kapoor was critical of the North Carolina legislature for moving towards forcing districts on the city of Asheville.  Speaking with BPR's Jeremy Loeb, the councilman of south Asheville said his election shows that voters from anywhere in the city are fully capable of being represented on council under the current system.  And he added that voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of districts in a voter referendum.

Courtesy of Andrew Finn Magill

Andrew Finn Magill had no choice. From his bloodline to his name, Irish heritage stamped Magill’s identity.

His parents played traditional Irish music in the home. He ditched Suzuki method violin practice to play Irish music. And he went to Ireland twice to compete in the all-Ireland violin championships. As a kid, he would take part in the jam sessions at Asheville’s Jack of the Wood, and his father, Jim, founded the Swannanoa Gathering.

Governor Roy Cooper wrapped up a 2-day tour of Western North Carolina Tuesday.  His visit was designed to put a light on many issues affecting the region.  And no issue may be affecting Western North Carolina more than opioid abuse.

Up until about three years ago, David Dick had been abusing opiates for 35 years. After a workplace accident left him barely alive and badly injured, the subsequent opiate prescriptions left him hooked.   “It’s just the constant prescribing of opioids, left me with nothing else on my mind,” said Dick.

Early voting is underway in North Carolina for the May 8th primary.  The early voting period runs until May 5th, and voters can find early voting locations by visiting their respective county's election boards website.  Federal, state, and local offices are all on the ballot this year.  One person who isn't is president Donald Trump.  But Western Carolina University political science professor Dr.

Chelsea Beck/NPR

President Trump is hosting French President Emmanuel Macron for a state visit this week. The two leaders are holding a news conference ahead of Tuesday night's state dinner. Watch their remarks live.  The press conference is scheduled to start around 11:45 Tuesday morning.

Matt Bush BPR

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper toured Western North Carolina Monday, and at his first stop he touted his latest budget proposal regarding school safety.  The governor says it would help with a problem that has been disrupting schools in the region the past two months. 

Matt Peiken | BPR News

As you went about your sunny Saturday in Western North Carolina, you might have been unaware tens of thousands across the country celebrated a holiday of sorts. Scores of people traveled across town and, in some cases, across mountain ranges to browse, mingle and find platters of gold in Asheville during the ninth annual Record Store Day.

Matt Bush BPR

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper and his cabinet will meet Monday in Asheville, while also holding several events throughout the day in Western North Carolina.  The governor's office said in a press release the events, which include two stops on Tuesday as well, will focus on issues important to the region.

NPR

Every heart in public radio is heavy this week after the loss one its most beloved figures. Carl Kasell, veteran newscaster and scorekeeper emeritus for Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, died at the age of 84, due to complications of Alzheimer's Disease.

(Photo: North Carolina General Assembly, Information Systems Division) via Asheville Citizen-Times

The General Assembly is seeking input on drawing districts for Asheville City Council members.  There’s now a form on the legislative website that lets residents weigh in on criteria for the maps.  The idea is controversial.  It was put forward by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville over the objections of all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.  Asheville voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea in a local referendum after the legislature passed Edward’s bill.

Asheville police say four people are dead and three others were injured in a shooting that occurred late Wednesday evening in West Asheville.  The suspect in the case, identified as 35-year-old Maurice Laron Garner, is among the deceased.  Police say he died from a self inflicted gunshot wound.  He was found in a vehicle not far from the residence on Hansel Avenue where the shooting took place.

Nathan Rivers Chesky

Like most young singer-songwriters committed to their craft, Asheville’s Carly Taich has carved a line in the ground between her youth and adulthood. That line is her debut album, “Reverie.”

Taich sees “Reverie” as a breakup album, of sorts. Several songs are a goodbye to the bands and music Taich made before moving to Asheville four years ago. Taich and her band perform April 21 at Ambrose West in Asheville.

Chelsea Beck/NPR

President Trump hosts a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Abe today -- scheduled for 6:00 pm Eastern time. The Prime Minister is meeting with the President and playing golf at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Among the points of discussion will be negotiations between the United States and North Korea and the recent visit to North Korea by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Matt Bush

Early voting begins Thursday for the May primaries.  Among the races on the ballot this year is Buncombe County district attorney.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb interviewed both candidates running for the office.

Associated Press

North Carolina's highest court is deciding whether a clean-energy advocacy group illegally sold solar power to a church as part of its plan to undercut the monopoly of the state's electric utilities.

Local immigration advocates say there have been more arrests by federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement across Western North Carolina.  Those come after around 15 people were detained last weekend in Buncombe and Henderson Counties.  ICE spokesman Bryan Cox says the agency makes arrests on a daily basis as part of ongoing enforcement activity.  Appearing on The State Of Things Tuesday, Cox says ICE agents target specific individuals who are in the country undocumented and have criminal record

Courtesy of Brenda Lilly

Brenda Lilly went to college to become an actress and moved to Hollywood with her dreams set on sitcoms. She eventually found her way in television as a writer — no easy feat in a town and industry built on patriarchy — and in the early 2000s she co-created the family television drama “State of Grace.”

So why did Lilly, a fifth-generation Asheville native, move back home to the mountains?

Jim Warren, Associated Press

North Carolina's highest court is taking up a case that could force new competition on the state's electricity monopolies.

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday will consider the Utilities Commission's decision to fine clean-energy advocacy group NC WARN for putting solar panels on a Greensboro church's rooftop and then charging it below-market rates for power.

The commission told NC WARN that it was producing electricity illegally and fined the group $60,000. The group said it was acting privately and appealed to the high court.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Duke Energy Corp. will pay a $156,000 penalty for polluting ground and surface waters with potentially toxic coal-ash waste around three power plants, an amount one critic compared Friday to a couple of days salary for the company's CEO.

The penalty is less than a slap on the wrist for the country's No. 2 electricity company, which generated $23 billion in revenue and reported paying CEO Lynn Good $21.4 million last year, the Sierra Club's David Rogers said.

Buncombe County Schools

At the first-ever Student Opioid Summit,  high school students across Buncombe County, Asheville City Schools and Madison County Schools spent the day learning about the drugs, everything from how the opioids affect the brain to how casual use can lead to addiction.    In the afternoon, the students held brainstorming sessions and were encouraged to come up with action plans to implement at school in an effort to increase awareness and promote prevention.  The inaugural summit took place at the Biltmore Park Campus at Western Carolina University.

The primary election is less than a month away on May 8th.  Western North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows is running for his fourth term.  He's seen great success in previous elections.  But five other candidates will compete against him this time around.

The State of Things is broadcasting from Blue Ridge Public Radio April 12 and 13. While Frank Stasio and the rest of the SOT staff are in town, they want to hear from YOU! BPR is hosting an informal meet-up at Hi-Wire Brewing's Big Top location on April 12 from 5 to 7. 

Guests will have a chance to ask questions of Frank, the SOT producers, and the BPR News Team and let them know what issues are important to them. So join us for a pint and some great conversation!

Sometimes, going to prison is the easy way out for those fighting addiction.  The difficult path is learning how to live.  The Buncombe County drug court program looks to teach that difficult path.

Pexels

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — As teachers in multiple states protest for better pay, a new study warns that the fast-growing South region must invest more in public schools and higher education to ensure its homegrown talent shares in its economic prosperity.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on Capitol Hill to answer questions about protecting user data. The Tuesday hearing held by the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees follows news that the data-mining and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users. The firm is accused of using that information to target Facebook users with political advertising in 2016.

Matt Peiken | BPR News

An estimated 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness in a given year. And while downtown Asheville is the public face of our region’s homelessness, there’s an artistic effort at Blue Ridge Community College, in Hendersonville, to spotlight rural homelessness.

Blue Ridge Public Radio and the Asheville Citizen-Times will partner on a candidate forum for Buncombe County sheriff.  The forum will take place April 16th at noon at BPR's studio.  It will be broadcast live on both the BPR and Citizen-Times Facebook pages.  BPR will also the air the forum at a later date before the May 8th primary.

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael were indicted Thursday morning on charges they both misused public funds.  Each faces conspiracy and fraud charges, while Wanda Greene faces additional embezzlement counts.  The pair are accused of using Buncombe County-owned and issued credit cards to make improper personal purchases.  Federal authorities allege Wanda and Michael Greene used those cards to buy roughly $200-thousand worth of goods over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2017.  Wanda Greene retired on June 30th of 2017.  Shortly after, federal authorities announced t

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Festival season is upon Western North Carolina, but the quirkiest of our festivals is already behind us. The eighth annual “(Re)Happening,” on the grounds of the former Black Mountain College, drew hundreds March 31 to listen, touch, explore and experience.

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael have been indicted on federal charges for alleged misuse of public funds.  The charges were announced Thursday morning by the office of the U.S.

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