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This week's Asheville primary yielded a few surprising results, but the issues that were driving voters to the polls should come as no shock to anyone who follows city politics.  South Asheville businessman Vijay Kapoor was by far the top vote getter in the city council primary, which whittled the number of candidates from 12 to 6 for next month's general election.  Kapoor's showing is a sign the neighborhood he hails from is becoming a burgeoning force in Asheville politics according to Citizen-Times reporter Joel Burgess, who covers city government.  He says growth of Asheville was what

BPR

New York Times political columnist and frequent commentator for NPR's All Things Considered David Brooks sat down with BPR's Jeremy Loeb for a discussion about the state of our country and media during the Trump presidency.  

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Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer and Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler advanced to next month's general election in the city, but outspoken city council Cecil Bothwell fell just short in his quest for another term.  The primary whittled down the number of mayoral candidates from four to two, and city council candidates from 12 to six.  Those remaining face off in the general election, which will be held on November 7th.

Wiley Cash grew up in a solid, supportive family, attended great schools and is quick to say he is the product of a sheltered, all-American privilege.

 

So even though he sets his stories in his native North Carolina, Cash is writing as an outsider.

 

“I had to go to graduate school in Louisiana, however many decades removed from the event itself, to learn about the defining moment in my hometown’s history,” Cash said.

 

NPR.org

North Carolina is the fifth largest producer of peanuts in America, yielding in upwards of 200,000 tons every year.  Not a single one of them are actually grown in the mountains, but plenty of them make their way to the region nonetheless—where they’re often boiled into a distinctly southern snack sometimes called "Dixie Caviar". BPR News's Davin Eldridge takes a look at the history of boiled peanuts in the South, and their impact on mountain culture.

Tuesday is primary election day for the city of Asheville.  Up for election this year are the mayor's office, and three city council seats currently held Cecil Bothwell, Gwen Wisler, and Gordon Smith.  Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.  More information can be found here. 

The top two finishers in the mayoral primary and the top six in the city council primary will advance to the November 7th general election.  

Federal authorities have been tight lipped about the investigation into former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene.  She hasn't been charged with anything, but there has been a whirlwind of activity and revelations since Greene retired earlier this year after 20 years in the position.  The latest is that she awarded herself with a $241-thousand 'retention incentive' right before she retired - meaning she

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

The issue of how much partisan gerrymandering is too much is before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The court heard oral arguments Tuesday on a case out of Wisconsin challenging maps there for being too lopsided in favor of Republicans.  That case could have huge implications in North Carolina, which has a nearly identical political situation, and where a similar case is winding its way through the courts.  For the latest, BPR's Jeremy Loeb spoke with Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper. 

As of Thursday, Mission Health says its contract with Blue Cross has expired and "essentially all Mission Health physicians and facilities are now out-of-network providers with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina."

State lawmakers are heading back to Raleigh with major items up for consideration.  Republicans are pushing for a redrawing of judicial district lines that critics say would favor their party.  They also want to sweep away Democratic Governor Roy Cooper's vetoes.  Colin Campbell, editor of the Insider Government News Service, spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about session and about donations from the National Rifle Association to WNC Congressman Patrick McHenry.

BPR News

MANNA  Foodbank is partnering with several organizations in Buncombe County for a hurricane relief drive.  BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

Jarrod Perkins

Female readers of young adult fiction have lifted Stephanie Perkins onto the list of New York Times Bestsellers, an appearance on “The Today Show” and other notoriety most young authors would covet. For Perkins, that meteoric success triggered a crippling bout of depression.

 

Davin Eldridge

In the age of the internet the future of the American department store has grown increasingly uncertain.

Earlier this year, Toys "R" Us—a company with nearly 900 stores across the country— filed for bankruptcy. Kmart and Sears underwent another round of store closings—from nearly 1,600 last year, to just over 1,200 this year.

Whenever these so-called “big box” stores close, it can often stifle development in the communities they once served, and hurt the bottom line of nearby small businesses. BPR’s Davin Eldridge takes a look at the little-known phenomenon of “ghost box stores”, and how these stores impact Western North Carolina in their own small way.

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The so-called "Brunch Bill" that passed the North Carolina General Assembly means restaurants can now serve alcohol before noon on Sundays.  Local governments throughout the state quickly permitted the earlier sales under powers granted them by the state bill.  Hendersonville and Asheville quickly approved earlier sales.  To the west in the mountains of Western North Carolina, some localities have said yes to mimosas and bloody mary's before noon on Sunday - and some have not.  Smoky Mountain News reporter Corey Vaillancourt

Matt Bush BPR

Opponents of Duke Energy’s plan to raise monthly rates close to 17% packed a public hearing in Asheville Wednesday night.  The North Carolina Utilities Commission is holding a series of public hearings across the state to get ratepayer reaction to Duke’s plan.  The average bill could go up close to $18 a month if the commission approves Duke’s request.  It’s the utility’s desire to use some of that new revenue to clean up coal ash that had many in attendance angered, like Hartwell Carson of Mountain True.

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