BPR News Extended

Public Schools First NC

The North Carolina legislature is adjourned until May.  Or are they?  BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper talk about the latest in North Carolina politics, from a loaded class-size bill critics call a "poison pill" to a stand-off over Gen-X, the latest in the neverending gerrymandering saga, and the 2018 midterms.  

BEN GRAUMANN, EQUALITY NC

A column last year in the News & Observer of Raleigh declared "North Carolina is no longer classified as a democracy."  The article went viral and prompted a range of heated reactions, even death threats.  The writer, Andrew Reynolds, a professor of political science at UNC Chapel Hill, recently updated us to say things had only gotten worse.  He joined BPR's Jeremy Loeb and WUNC's Jeff Tiberii to discuss.  

UNC-Asheville

Dan Pierce is UNC-Asheville's National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Humanities.  He's written several books on the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Pierce attributes his love of the park to first passing through it on Highway 441 when his family moved to Asheville from Arkansas in the 1950's.  His book Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain Community, will be the subject of a

UNC-Asheville

UNC-Asheville's winter graduation ceremony will be held Friday on campus.  It will be the last event for chancellor Dr. Mary Grant, who earlier this year announced she would be leaving the school to become the president of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

The Washington Post published an article this week looking at North Carolina's moves on taxes in recent years for clues to how the GOP tax plan making its way through Congress could impact the country.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb was joined by WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii and Western Carolina Univeristy political scientist Chris Cooper for a discussion of North Carolina's example with regards to taxes.

YouTube

Senate Republicans in Congress could vote on their version of tax reform as soon as this week.  If the Senate bill passes, it would need to be reconciled with the House version and then voted on again.  There are still a number of Senate Republicans who have expressed reservations.  They can only lose two votes for the bill to still pass without any Democratic support.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb discusses its impact in Western North Carolina with NC State University economist Dr. Michael Walden.

WRAL

North Carolina’s Republican-dominated General Assembly has made a number of changes to the way judges are elected in the state, with many more proposals under current consideration.  They include making races partisan and changes to district lines and term lengths, even eliminating some vacancies and proposals to do away with elections for judges altogether.  Former state Supreme Court justice Robert Orr, a Republican, is no fan of the changes.  He spoke with BPR’s Jeremy Loeb about the proposals and about the state of the Republican party under President Donald Trump.

ashvegas.com

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.

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.

Facebook

There’s been a big change atop one of North Carolina’s most prominent civil rights organization.  The influential leader of the North Carolina NAACP, Rev. William Barber II is stepping down to lead a national effort focused on the rights of the poor.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb spoke with the man elected to take his place, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman.  This is their full conversation.

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.  

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. 

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Waynesville Democrat Joe Sam Queen lost the most closely-contested state legislative race in 2016.  Fewer than 300 votes separated him and Bryson City Republican Mike Clampitt.  Now Queen says he'll try to win back his seat from Clampitt in 2018.  It will be the fourth contest between the two in the 118th district, which includes Jackson, Swain, and Haywood Counties.  Queen won the first two before losing in 2018.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about why he's running again.

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).    

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Democratic Representative Brian Turner of Buncombe County stopped by our studios in late July for a chat with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.  They covered his amendment to the Asheville districts bill, the overall redistricting process underway in the General Assembly now, a renewable energy bill signed by Governor Roy Cooper, and much more.  

Pisgah Legal Services

"They don't have anywhere else to turn."  Pisgah Legal Services executive director Jim Barrett was referring to the roughly 2,000 people that could lose access to their services due to cuts in the state budget.  Pisgah Legal Services is one of three aid groups across the state that will feel the impacts of the cuts.

This week on the WUNCPolitics Podcast, a conversation with Jeremy Loeb, Morning Edition Host and reporter at Blue Ridge Public Radio.

Jeremy joins Jeff on this politics podcast to discuss redistricting, the powerful U.S. House members from Western North Carolina, craft beer, and what he misses most about WUNC - where he used to work.

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".

Jeff Tiberii/WUNC

Legislators are heading back to Raleigh Thursday for a special session, but it's unclear exactly what's on the agenda.  Veto overrides were originally cited as the main reason.  Now those appear to be off the table for the moment as not enough lawmakers are expected to be in attendance.  Instead, they could consider bills not taken up in the long session.  Hanging over it all is a tight deadline for correcting illegal legislative maps, and the potential for surprises.  WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about what's in store.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

With lawmakers home from Raleigh, Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper stopped by for one of our regular chats taking the temperature of politics in Raleigh and Washington.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Jon Ostendorff/Asheville Citizen-Times

2 1/2 years on the job, Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams stopped by for a one-on-one conversaton with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Speaking to BPR a day after the legislature passed a bill forcing districts for Asheville city council members, mayor Esther Manheimer said there is a legal strategy in place to deal with them.  Manheimer said the issue would need to be discussed at the next council meeting on July 25th.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

A bill requiring the city of Asheville to adopt districts for the purpose of electing council members is one step closer to passage after picking up the key support of Rep. Brian Turner (D-Buncombe).  The bill put forward by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville got support not only from Turner but from at least one Republican who opposed a similar bill from his predecessor, Senator Tom Apodoca, also of Hendersonville.  But Turner told BPR he would be unlikely to support the bill if an amendment he plans to introduce is not adopted.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

A needle exchange program in Asheville has been running out of supplies on a monthly basis for over a year.  That's according to Michael Harney, co-founder of the Needle Exchange Program of Asheville.  Harney says the group goes through about 60,000 needles a month but can't keep up with the demand for clean needles.  The program operated for years before the exchanges were legalized as a way to ensure those addicted to drugs don't share needles and spread blood-borne diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B and C, which are on the rise in North Carolina.  

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville is Beer City USA, with more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.  Other towns in North Carolina have become hot spots for beer, but oat sodas are getting some competition in the craft alcoholic beverage market - in the form of spirits.

Twitter

Details of the North Carolina House budget have emerged as lawmakers try for quicker passage of a completed 2 year spending plan.  WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii joined me from WUNC's Durham studio to talk about how the budget differs from the Senate version, and for the latest in North Carolina politics.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper is a frequent guest of Blue Ridge Public Radio.  In his most recent visit, Cooper spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Matt Bush about the latest in state politics.  The conversation touched on the recently-passed Senate budget, a big Supreme Court punt on voter ID, the brewing (pun intended) legal battle involving craft beer, possible campaign finance mischief, Senator Richard Burr's role in the national spotlight, and some high-profile resignations for the progressive left in North Carolina.  

Wikimedia Commons

This was "crossover week" at the North Carolina legislature, a busy time for lawmakers (and journalists).  It's a self-imposed deadline, when a majority of the bills put forth by lawmakers must pass at least one chamber or be considered dead for the remainder of the session.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb spoke with WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii, who's been putting in the long hours in Raleigh.    They spoke on Friday, the day after crossover deadline.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

With lawmakers back in Raleigh, we’re speaking with some of those members from out here in the west.  Today, John Ager, a Democrat of Buncombe County.  Ager is a farmer out of Fairview serving his second term in the North Carolina House.  This is the full interview intended for use on the BPR News Smartphone App.  See the full post here.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Vijay Kapoor is a resident of south Asheville and an announced candidate for city council.  He's opposed to a bill filed by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville to force Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members.  This is the full interview intended for use on the BPR mobile app.

Pages