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Nearly 200 countries are wrapping up the annual United Nations Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany this week. Notably absent is the United States. This summer, President Trump declared he is pulling the U.S. out of the landmark Paris Climate Accord, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and holds countries accountable for limiting the rise in global temperatures.   But the move hasn’t stopped hundreds of climate scientists and researchers from participating, including Western Carolina University’s Rob Young, a geologist who directs The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines.  Young spoke with BPR’s Helen Chickering shortly after he returned from Bonn.

CULLOWHEE -- Picture in your mind a traditional Cherokee Indian basket. You can see its shape, the bands of bundled pine needles or rivercane wicker, the painted patterns drawn from tribal imagery.

 

But when you these baskets, do you reflect on treaty violations, the appropriation of Native names and imagery or forced removal from ancestral homelands?

Just over a month after Mission Health’s contract with Blue Cross expired, the two organizations have gone back to the negotiating  table.  A Blue Cross spokesman confirmed by email that talks are underway, saying, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mission Health have entered into discussions regarding a future network participation agreement and will refrain from public comment until those talks are completed.”

Matt Bush BPR

Buncombe County is suing five manufacturers and three wholesale distributors of opioids, as the number of overdoses in the county on those drugs has sharply risen again this year.  It’s an approach other governments at all levels across the U.S. have tried.

Matt Bush BPR

The highest level of women’s professional tennis is coming to Asheville early next year. 

National Trust for Historic Preservation

A House GOP tax plan working its way through Congress would have a huge impact on Asheville with the elimination of the federal historic tax credit.  Of all North Carolina municipalities, only Durham had more projects benefit from the credit between 2002 and 2016, according to the D.C. based National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

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Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer got a resounding vote of confidence earlier this month, winning re-election with more than 80% of the vote.  She stopped by BPR to speak with Jeremy Loeb about the election results and to look forward to her second four-year term.  She also discussed possible actions the city might take in response to a legislative effort to force districts for council members, something Asheville voters overwhelmingly rejected.

globalchange.gov

If you suffer from allergies, you may have noticed you sneezed a little longer this fall.  But you may not have linked that extra sneezing to global warming.  Scientists and Public Health officials met in Asheville last week for a workshop on the climate health connection.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

wunc.org, Michel Tronchetti

A common frustration for residents throughout the mountains of Western North Carolina is the lack of high speed internet access.   They now have a place where they can vent. BPRs Davin Eldridge has more…

Author's Note: a link to the survey is provided at the bottom of the article.

This week's election in Asheville will produce the most ethnically diverse city council in its history.  Vijay Kapoor, Sheneika Smith, and incumbent vice mayor Gwen Wisler were all elected to city council.  Kapoor is the first Asian-American ever elected to the body (he and Pratik Bhakta, who lost in this year's primary election, were the first Asian-American candidates ever for Asheville city council).  Smith's election means for the first time in 26 years, there will be two African-Americans on city council.  Citizen-Times reporter

Waynesville has more galleries per capita than Asheville. BPR Arts & Culture Producer Matt Peiken captured a view from Waynesville's Main Street, meeting artists and gallery owners along the city's monthly visual arts showcase "Art After Dark."

Wikicommons

The sponsor of the bill that mandated Asheville draw districts for future city council elections says ‘it isn’t optional’ for the city to follow the law – even though Asheville residents rejected districts by a 3 to 1 margin in this week’s election.  Henderson County Republican Chuck Edwards district includes parts of South Asheville – a supposedly more politically moderate and conservative part of Asheville that rarely has been represented on city council, whose six members are currently elected at-large.  The bill Edwards sponsored which his colleagues in the General Assembly OK’d earlie

Meg Kelly NPR

Voters in Virginia and New Jersey are choosing new governors. Both races began with an emphasis on statewide issues such as property taxes and education policy. Now, in the closing weeks of the campaigns, both have morphed into the latest test of President Trump's influence down the ballot. We're updating election results as they come in.

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Incumbent Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer breezed to an easy re-election, while Vijay Kapoor, Sheneika Smith, and incumbent Gwen Wisler won city council seats.  Meanwhile, three-quarters of those who voted in Asheville said no to creating city council districts, even though a state law passed earlier this year by the Republican-dominated General Assembly mandated the Democratically-controlled city do so for the 2019 election.  

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

On the first anniversary of President Trump’s election, NPR is looking back at his victory speech. NPR reporters across the newsroom have annotated his election night remarks, providing context and analysis to his policy promises and noting who among the people he thanked are still in the inner circle a year later.

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In John Hall’s classroom at ArtSpace Charter School, in Swannanoa, there’s an equation stamped in dark capital letters high up one green wall: Vision + perseverance = impact.

Hall teaches social studies, not math, so perhaps that’s why he’s found this equation elusive in his own life. He’s pursued some things and persevered in others. They just haven’t always aligned.

Funny Business In The Mountains Sees Growth

Nov 6, 2017
NPR.org

As long as there’s a stage, there’s really no telling where a comic can be found—even in areas like Western North Carolina—where local talent has flourishes, and local business captures part of a $300 million industry. BPR'S Davin Eldridge takes a look at the comedy scene of the mountains. 

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Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Gerrymandering, where one party draws political maps that skew in their favor, is an issue that’s playing out in courts across the country.  Few regions have been impacted more heavily than Western North Carolina.  In Asheville, activists staged a creative event Saturday to draw attention to how our Congressional maps are drawn.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb was there.

Davin Eldridge

The opioid epidemic is unavoidable – even on Halloween in Western North Carolina.  BPR’s Davin Eldridge reports on a 'spooky' holiday decoration that some parents think went too far in calling attention to the problem.


Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Election Day is Tuesday for a number of municipalities across the state.  Polls will be open from 6:30am to 7:30pm.  Smaller races are often decided by much more local, personal issues than state and national races.  That could be true in Mills River, the small town 20 minutes south of Asheville in Henderson County.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb reports an industrial factory being built across from an elementary school has become an issue in a race there involving the town’s mayor.  

By many measures, including his own, David Hopes is a successful poet and playwright. He’s certainly an influential one, at least to those who have studied with him over the years at UNC-Asheville.

But by other measures, including his own, Hopes hasn’t achieved the notoriety one might expect of someone with so many works published and produced.

Open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act begins today amid continued uncertainty over the fate of the health care law.  Here in Western North Carolina, the recent split between Blue Cross and Mission Health adds another layer of confusion and stress for consumers.  

Warren Wilson College

The president of Warren Wilson College says a plan to offer free tuition starting next year to incoming students from North Carolina is part of a push to diversify the student body on campus.  Dr.

In “Rapture, Blister, Burn” at NC Stage, Rebecca Morris stars as a strong, independent woman quick to stand her ground. In many respects, she’s the woman Morris wishes to be.

“So in the rehearsal process, there was a lot of drawing that out (of me),” Morris said. “Your personal power or potency, standing on my own two feet and speaking my mind, whether I think people are going to agree with me or not, is very difficult for me to do.”

BPR Tech

Blue Ridge Public Radio and the Asheville Citizen-Times partnered on a forum with the six candidates for the November 7th general election for Asheville city council.  It was recorded in the BPR studios on October 23rd.  All six candidates participated - Dee Williams, Kim Roney, Rich Lee, Vijay Kapoor, Gwen Wisler, and Sheneika Smith.  The topic of the forum was discrimination, and questions for the candidates related to issues around that.  Voters will elect three of the candidates to city council.

Mountain Towns Split On How They Will 'Do Brunch'

Oct 26, 2017
NPR.org

North Carolina’s so-called ‘Brunch Bill’ gives local governments the option of allowing alcohol sales as early as 10 a.m. on Sundays, instead of the usual time of noon.  Hendersonville and Asheville quickly adopted the law. But to the west, there’s still plenty of debate about the bill in some communities. BPR’s Davin Eldridge reports on the contentious new bill and it's status within the region--examining which side of the issue each town is now on--and how a period of only two hours each week can differ so much between them as a result.

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Saturday October 28 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, says there are drop-off locations all over.

"And it's just a place where you can go and drop off your unwanted and unused leftover prescriptions because they're just too dangerous to leave around."   

Matt Bush BPR

Of all the options for the future of the Vance Monument in Pack Square, putting it and its namesake into context might be the most difficult to imagine.  Not because it isn’t a viable solution, but because it’s such a broad yet vague idea.   A trip to Zebulon Vance’s birthplace north of Asheville shows what 'contextualizing' the monument could look like.   

BPR News

The open enrollment period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is just around the corner, and uncertainty about costs, subsidies and what policies will actually cover is still growing.  Adding to the anxiety for consumers in Western North Carolina, the only insurer on the exchange is still at odds with the region’s largest health care provider.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports

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