Matt Bush

News Director

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016.  Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C.  For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor.  Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis.  Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.

Matt has a B.A. in broadcasting from Point Park College in Pittsburgh.  His M.A. is in media entrepreneurship from American University in D.C.  In May 2017, he will graduate from the 35th class of Leadership Asheville at UNC-Asheville.

Ways to Connect

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville police arrested four people Friday morning for attempting to vandalize a Confederate marker in Pack Square downtown.  Police say protestors gathered around the Vance Monument before 8 a.m. Friday.  Several then attempted to damage the smaller marker in front of the monument that has a plaque with the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  Arrested were 27-year-old Nicole Townsend, 45-year-old Amy Cantrell, 30-year-old Hillary Brown, and 34-year-old Adrienne Sigmon.  All are from Asheville and all four face charges of Damage to Real Property.

Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

What did indigenous peoples think of eclipses?  How did they interpret and react to them?  Those are just a few of the topics that will be covered in a class at UNC-Asheville this fall inspired by Monday's total solar eclipse that will pass through Western North Carolina.  BPR's Matt Bush spoke with the two professors that will lead the class - Juan Sanchez-Martinez (modern languages & indigenous studies) and Britt Lundgren (physics).    

Michael Zeiler / GreatAmericanEclipse.com

Unless you're walking to your spot to watch Monday's total solar eclipse in Western North Carolina, you will be sitting in some kind of traffic.  Authorities are expecting heavy traffic just about everywhere in the region, compounded by the fact many of the rural roads in the path of totality are only two lanes.  Karen Chavez of the Asheville Citizen-Times has been reporting on all parts of the solar eclipse.  She joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio to discuss the advisories that will be in effect, and what authorities are urging motorists to do on Monday.

Paul Deans / TravelQuest International

Where will you be watching the total solar eclipse this Monday?  Hotels, campgrounds, and many viewing along the path of totality in Western North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park sold out long in advance of the eclipse.  But Karen Chavez of the Asheville Citizen-Times says don't worry if you haven't booked anything, there are still plenty of places you go to see the eclipse.

Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

Bernard Arghiere of the Astronomy Club of Asheville has been speaking at events all across Western North Carolina ahead of the total solar eclipse that will pass through the region on August 21st.  He says the most common question he gets is when should people take off their special eclipse glasses during the event to see it.

Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

The total solar eclipse will be here in less than a week.  Thousands will watch the eclipse within the 'path of totality' in Western North Carolina.  Bernard Arghiere is with the Astronomy Club of Asheville.  He's been speaking to groups across the region ahead of the eclipse.  He says the question most commonly asked at those meetings - when is it safe to take your eclipse glasses off when watching the eclipse?

APD

UPDATE 9:50 a.m. Tuesday - Asheville police have arrested 38-year-old Michael Patrick Faulkner and charged him with simple assault for the incident that took place Sunday evening at a demonstration in Pack Square.  The Asheville native is charged with assaulting a WLOS television reporter during a Facebook live stream.  Earlier story below -

Matt Bush BPR

Around 100 people demonstrated in Pack Square Sunday night.  They were there to honor Heather Heyer, the counter protestor who was killed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Mission Health announced Thursday it wants to continue accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, but only for those who receive it through the healthcare exchange set up through the Affordable Care Act.  But the insurer rejected Mission's offer, saying it's unfair to those who have Blue Cross Blue Shield through other means, such as their jobs.

Matt Bush BPR

The city of New Orleans earlier this year removed statues of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee.  Asheville has its own monument to a Confederate leader – Zebulon Vance, who served as North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during the post-war Reconstruction period.  The future of the prominent landmark in Pack Square - home to two other monuments honoring the Confederacy - is now under debate, as is the lack of equivalent commemoration of Asheville’s deep African-American history.

Author Steven Nash is well-versed on Zebulon Vance, and the post-Civil War period known as Reconstruction when Vance became a U.S. Senator and political powerhouse in North Carolina.  He wrote the book "Reconstruction's Ragged Edge: The Politics of Post-War Life in the Southern Mountains".

Matt Bush BPR

The Vance Monument in Pack Square is one of downtown Asheville’s most recognizable landmarks.  It honors Zebulon Vance, North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during the Reconstruction period.  It has stood for over a hundred years.  But following the removal of Confederate flags and statues in Charleston and New Orleans, the discussion over the future of the Vance Monument in Asheville is becoming unavoidable.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's Democratic attorney general is responding to budget cuts imposed by Republican lawmakers by laying off about 9 percent of his agency's attorneys and telling local prosecutors they'll have to take over more courtroom tasks.

Attorney General Josh Stein on Thursday described his response to legislators deciding in June to cut $10 million from his budget despite objections from police chiefs and district attorneys. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's office operations were also cut.

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