western north carolina

Asheville police say four people are dead and three others were injured in a shooting that occurred late Wednesday evening in West Asheville.  The suspect in the case, identified as 35-year-old Maurice Laron Garner, is among the deceased.  Police say he died from a self inflicted gunshot wound.  He was found in a vehicle not far from the residence on Hansel Avenue where the shooting took place.

Local immigration advocates say there have been more arrests by federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement across Western North Carolina.  Those come after around 15 people were detained last weekend in Buncombe and Henderson Counties.  ICE spokesman Bryan Cox says the agency makes arrests on a daily basis as part of ongoing enforcement activity.  Appearing on The State Of Things Tuesday, Cox says ICE agents target specific individuals who are in the country undocumented and have criminal record

The primary election is less than a month away on May 8th.  Western North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows is running for his fourth term.  He's seen great success in previous elections.  But five other candidates will compete against him this time around.

Sometimes, going to prison is the easy way out for those fighting addiction.  The difficult path is learning how to live.  The Buncombe County drug court program looks to teach that difficult path.

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — As teachers in multiple states protest for better pay, a new study warns that the fast-growing South region must invest more in public schools and higher education to ensure its homegrown talent shares in its economic prosperity.

Blue Ridge Public Radio and the Asheville Citizen-Times will partner on a candidate forum for Buncombe County sheriff.  The forum will take place April 16th at noon at BPR's studio.  It will be broadcast live on both the BPR and Citizen-Times Facebook pages.  BPR will also the air the forum at a later date before the May 8th primary.

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael were indicted Thursday morning on charges they both misused public funds.  Each faces conspiracy and fraud charges, while Wanda Greene faces additional embezzlement counts.  The pair are accused of using Buncombe County-owned and issued credit cards to make improper personal purchases.  Federal authorities allege Wanda and Michael Greene used those cards to buy roughly $200-thousand worth of goods over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2017.  Wanda Greene retired on June 30th of 2017.  Shortly after, federal authorities announced t

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael have been indicted on federal charges for alleged misuse of public funds.  The charges were announced Thursday morning by the office of the U.S.

Buncombe County commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Al Whitesides, and Ellen Frost are calling for extensive public safety reforms - a call that brought a sharp and quick rebuke from county sheriff Van Duncan.  

Nine body camera videos were released via court order Monday that depict the beating of an unarmed black man last August and its aftermath by a then-Asheville police officer, who now faces criminal charges for the incident.

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Drive past clustered hog sheds containing thousands of animals in the country's No. 2 pork-producing state on the wrong day and the reason hundreds of North Carolina neighbors are suing in federal court is clear: it really stinks.

The question facing jurors in a federal lawsuit starting Monday is whether the open-air animal waste pits that proliferated over a generation generate intense smells, clouds of flies and noise.

Matt Bush BPR

For the second time in less than a year, a plaque in front to the Vance Monument in Pack Square in downtown Asheville that contains the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been damaged. 

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Health officials in North Carolina say the death toll from the flu for the 2017-18 season has increased its record-setting total to 342.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says 11 flu-related deaths were reported last week, and there were three deaths in previous weeks found to have resulted from the virus.

Of the 14 deaths, 13 were age 65 and older, while the other death involved someone between the age of 5 and 17.

'Bathroom Bill' Saga Lingers In Election Year

Mar 30, 2018
Matt Bush BPR

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is again an attractive location for big out-of-state corporations. The state no longer sits squarely in the crosshairs of culture wars over transgender rights. College basketball tournament games are back, after a one-year hiatus.

But the saga of the state's so-called bathroom bill hasn't been forgotten, and many Republican incumbents who passed House Bill 2 in 2016 are being targeted this election year, with the flap over the law still an issue.

WNC Greens Celebrate Ballot Access

Mar 29, 2018
Cory Vaillancourt

Voters in North Carolina are used to looking at their ballots and seeing just three letters – D for Democrat, R for Republican and L for Libertarian.  Soon, they’ll start seeing a new one – the letter G.  And local members of the Green Party couldn’t be more excited.

Matt Bush BPR

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper says there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered about Mission Health’s proposed sale to a for-profit healthcare company.  Mission announced last week it was entering negotiations to be purchased by HCA Healthcare, a for-profit company based in Nashville that operates hospitals in 20 states and the United Kingdom.  Speaking to reporters after an event for students to learn about jobs in healthcare at Mission’s Cancer Center Tuesday morning, Governor Cooper said he hopes the sale leads to a positive outcome for Western North Carolina and t

Matt Bush BPR

The Asheville March For Our Lives took place on Saturday.  The student organized marches across the U.S. were put together following last month's shooting at a South Florida High School that killed 17 people.  The Asheville march - one of around 800 that took place - started at Pack Square, with marchers walking down one side of College Street to MLK Jr Park.  Police had blocked off that side of College Street, and the procession of marchers took 30 minutes, with the street full of people of all ages holding signs and singing chants.

Mission Health this week announced it was beginning to negotiations to be purchased HCA Healthcare, a for-profit healthcare company based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mission, which operates the majority of hospitals in Western North Carolina and is one of the region's largest employers, says the potential deal will allow the healthcare system to "preserve and expand" their "world-class quality of care within a rapidly consolidating healthcare industry."

Matt Bush BPR

Thousands are expected to march Saturday across the U.S. against gun violence as part of student-organized 'March For Our Lives'.  These marches came together following the shooting last month at a South Florida High School that killed 17 people.  The Asheville 'March For Our Lives' starts Saturday morning at 11 at Pack Square.  Students from across Western North Carolina helped put it together.  Two of the many organizers - A.C.

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.

Wikicommons

Asheville city council has decided to replace embattled city manager Gary Jackson, effective at the end of the business day Tuesday.  Jackson’s ouster after 13 years on the job was announced by mayor Esther Manheimer during a Tuesday afternoon city council meeting.  Earlier this year, Jackson announced he was retiring at the end of 2018.  But that was before the release of video footage showing a then-Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man last August.  That video, from a police body camera, only came to light because it was leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times, which publi

WCQS Becomes BPR Classic

Mar 20, 2018

Blue Ridge Public Radio is proud to announce that WCQS will now be known as BPR Classic - the same station longtime listeners love and trust, just with a new name.  

A year ago, Blue Ridge Public Radio launched WCQS’ sister station, BPR News, a 24-hour news station that complements the mix of music and news found on WCQS. Now, Blue Ridge Public Radio is strengthening the family resemblance by renaming WCQS as BPR Classic.

Ridesharing service Uber says it is not conducting pickups at Asheville Regional Airport after changes to ground transportation operation procedures at the airport.  

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hundreds of times a year across North Carolina, officials who control everything from the taxes you pay the city to the tuition required to attend public universities meet behind closed doors to conduct sensitive business on behalf of the public they serve.

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

Lack of housing and parking topped the list of concerns for local businesses in the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual 'Business Walk'.  The survey of more than 300 local businesses focused on whether those businesses saw growth in 2017, and what they felt needed to change to improve the business environment in the area.  Housing topped the list of areas where businesses wanted to see change, with 40% of respondents including it in their response.  Pa

Buncombe County DA

(UPDATE Thursday 9:40 p.m.) -  Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced in a press release late Thursday that former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman will face three criminal charges for the August beating of an unarmed black man.  Hickman and an officer in training stopped Johnnie Rush for suspected jaywalking and trespassing  late on the night of August 24th on Short Coxe Avenue.  Hickman beat, choked and shocked Rush with a stun gun.  The charges detailed Thursday night against Hickman - who resigned from the police force in January - are one count each of assault

Wikicommons

Asheville city council has called a closed session special meeting for Monday evening to discuss a video released this week showing a then-Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man last August.  The video, published by the Asheville Citizen-Times, shows officer Chris Hickman beating and shocking with a stun gun Johnnie Jermaine Rush.  Hickman had stopped Rush for suspected jaywalking and trespassing August 24th. 

Matt Bush BPR

Candidate filing for the 2018 North Carolina General Assembly elections ended this week, and both parties will field enough candidates to ensure all 170 seats will be contested this year.  It’s making Democratic Governor Roy Cooper very happ - and confident.  Cooper has been in office for 14 months, but his legislative power remains quite limited.  That’s because Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly allowing them to override any vetoes from Cooper, something they did nine times last year.  But the Governor is confident that will change next year, in par

Candidate filing for the 2018 election wrapped up Wednesday afternoon.  A flurry of late filings - mostly Republicans in Buncombe County - ensured that all of Western North Carolina's General Assembly seats will see a contested general election.  That's a step up from two years ago, when five of the seats featured unopposed general elections or only one candidate from a major party.

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