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Buncombe County commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Al Whitesides, and Ellen Frost are calling for extensive public safety reforms - a call that brought a sharp and quick rebuke from county sheriff Van Duncan.  

Courtesy of Brittany Jackson

A couple years ago, three Asheville women in their mid-20s bonded as production assistants on a film made in Atlanta. When the filmmakers decided to tour their film around the country, the women here had an inspiration of their own.

“So I just thought to myself, we should have them in Asheville. We should organize a screening and we should show some of our films, too, and how about other cool people from the area?” said Brittany Jackson. “Why not just make it a weekend and call it a film festival.”

Nine body camera videos were released via court order Monday that depict the beating of an unarmed black man last August and its aftermath by a then-Asheville police officer, who now faces criminal charges for the incident.

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Drive past clustered hog sheds containing thousands of animals in the country's No. 2 pork-producing state on the wrong day and the reason hundreds of North Carolina neighbors are suing in federal court is clear: it really stinks.

The question facing jurors in a federal lawsuit starting Monday is whether the open-air animal waste pits that proliferated over a generation generate intense smells, clouds of flies and noise.

Matt Bush BPR

For the second time in less than a year, a plaque in front to the Vance Monument in Pack Square in downtown Asheville that contains the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been damaged. 

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Health officials in North Carolina say the death toll from the flu for the 2017-18 season has increased its record-setting total to 342.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says 11 flu-related deaths were reported last week, and there were three deaths in previous weeks found to have resulted from the virus.

Of the 14 deaths, 13 were age 65 and older, while the other death involved someone between the age of 5 and 17.

'Bathroom Bill' Saga Lingers In Election Year

Mar 30, 2018
Matt Bush BPR

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is again an attractive location for big out-of-state corporations. The state no longer sits squarely in the crosshairs of culture wars over transgender rights. College basketball tournament games are back, after a one-year hiatus.

But the saga of the state's so-called bathroom bill hasn't been forgotten, and many Republican incumbents who passed House Bill 2 in 2016 are being targeted this election year, with the flap over the law still an issue.

WNC Greens Celebrate Ballot Access

Mar 29, 2018
Cory Vaillancourt

Voters in North Carolina are used to looking at their ballots and seeing just three letters – D for Democrat, R for Republican and L for Libertarian.  Soon, they’ll start seeing a new one – the letter G.  And local members of the Green Party couldn’t be more excited.

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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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