Jackson County

Blue Ridge Public Radio is continuing to expand its news coverage of Western North Carolina.  After a national search, BPR has hired a full-time regional reporter that will be based in Jackson County. The station has also expanded partnership with the Smoky Mountain News.

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.

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Everywhere you turn inside Sassy Frass Consignment, your eye catches bejeweled, gleaming crosses and other Christian symbols sprinkled among t-shirts, furnishings, glass baubles and other nicknacks.

Then there are very different signs about one special chapter in the store’s history -- the charred doors left behind by a firey Molotov cocktail and the giant block letters that temporarily hung on the building’s facade, spelling out Ebbing Police Department.

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.

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

Population and job growth continue to be strong in the Asheville region, but wages are lagging far behind.  That's according to a report released by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County.  The report studied a six county area (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, Transylvania) and found the average wage per job is $44,800.  The national average is $62,100.

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.

Davin Eldridge

Local governments in the far reaches of Western North Carolina are working to lure more internet service providers to the region.  BPR’s Davin Eldridge spoke with a few homegrown providers about the growing demand for quality internet service, and why it's such a difficult area to do this kind of business in the first place.

The FBI arrested seven Cherokee residents last month following an investigation into marriage fraud, and authorities are still looking for four others they allege were involved. BPR’s Davin Eldridge has more…

Davin Eldridge

The need for safety between buyers and sellers on websites like Craigslist is essential.  But it’s not always guaranteed. One Western North Carolina town is on a quest to provide that safety.

Clean Slate Coalition

For many female inmates, having stability, or even just a place to call home upon their release, is not a sure thing. But one Western North Carolina group is working to change that—one woman at a time.  

Davin Eldridge

Calling all cat lovers: Western North Carolina is home to the newly-opened American Museum of the House Cat. 

Matt Bush WCQS

This story originally aired as part of the WCQS 2016 Election Special, which can be heard in its entirety here.

It's safe to say this has been an election year and an election cycle like no other before it.  And that is particularly true in North Carolina, which has become one of if the not the bell weather state in this election…so move over Ohio. 

ncparks.gov

    

For a few short weeks, every year, the mountains of Western North Carolina are renowned for their bright autumn leaves. The generations have brought to the region countless so-called “leaf-lookers” enthralled by their fiery shades of yellow and red come mid-October. Even this year, when area biologists are expecting fall leaves to be duller, and less-vibrant, all local economists can see on the horizon is the color of money for the mountains.

New In-Roads For WNC Public Transit

Sep 22, 2016
ashevillenc.gov

 

For millions of people across the United States, the beginning of their day starts at a bus stop.

 

Mountains Get Front Row Seat To Eclipse Next Year

Sep 6, 2016
The red lines depict the path's border--areas that will experience roughly one minute of eclipse--whereas the blue middle line depicts the center, with a duration of about two-and-a-half minutes. The path will stretch across 43.6 miles of the region.
eclipse2017.org.

Next summer, the earth will cross the shadow of the moon, creating a total solar eclipse. For the first time in nearly 40 years, its path will pass through the continental United States. The event will occur on August 21, of 2017, and promises to attract a massive audience from around the world, as the eclipse sweeps across the sky from Oregon in the Pacific Northwest, makes its way Southeast, passes through Western North Carolina, and eventually beyond the coast of South Carolina.

WNC's Burgeoning Tourism Industry

May 31, 2016
Davin Eldridge

 

On the tailgate of an old rusted red pickup truck, a bumper sticker reads, “Why is it called tourist season if we can’t shoot em’?”.  

 

The vehicle is parked alongside dozens of others in the fields of Darnell Farms, just outside of Bryson City, for its seventeenth annual Strawberry Jam farm-raising event. In the air an aroma of boiled peanuts and kettle-cooked corn mixes with the sounds of bluegrass and children playing, along the banks of the nearby Tuckasegee River.

Snow Pounding Western North Carolina

Jan 19, 2016
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Snow is continuing to fall in western North Carolina.  Forecasters are calling for as much as 14 inches in some parts of the mountains. 

Thousands are without power as snow blankets the region.  For the latest, WCQS's Jeremy Loeb spoke with Duke Energy spokesman Tom Williams, who spoke with us from his home in Fairview.  We asked him what conditions were like there.

Henderson County is under a state of emergency as snow amounts are averaging around 6 inches.  For more, WCQS's Jeremy Loeb spoke with Major Frank Stout of the Henderson County Sheriff's office.

In Their Words: Rep. Joe Sam Queen

Apr 14, 2015
blueridgeheritage.com

We’ve been hearing from area lawmakers over the past week.  Many were home last week for their version of spring break and that gave us a chance to speak with many of them.  Today we hear from Joe Sam Queen.  He’s a Democrat representing Haywood, Jackson, and Swain counties in the state House. 

Area Democrats are not backing down on their call for the state to expand Medicaid, something the Republican-led General Assembly has refused to do.   Queen says North Carolinians are already footing the bill.