western north carolina

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.

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.

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

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.  

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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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.

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.

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.   

Corey Vaillancourt Smoky Mountain News

Passenger rail service in Western North Carolina has been almost non-existent for more than 40 years.  There's still freight rail service throughout the region, and in the coming years we could see passenger service comeback, even in small forms.  Smoky Mountain News reporter Cory Vaillancourt has been looking at how rail service might return to the region.  He discussed the latest on the

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.

Pexels

The so-called "Brunch Bill" that passed the North Carolina General Assembly means restaurants can now serve alcohol before noon on Sundays.  Local governments throughout the state quickly permitted the earlier sales under powers granted them by the state bill.  Hendersonville and Asheville quickly approved earlier sales.  To the west in the mountains of Western North Carolina, some localities have said yes to mimosas and bloody mary's before noon on Sunday - and some have not.  Smoky Mountain News reporter Corey Vaillancourt

Matt Bush BPR

Opponents of Duke Energy’s plan to raise monthly rates close to 17% packed a public hearing in Asheville Wednesday night.  The North Carolina Utilities Commission is holding a series of public hearings across the state to get ratepayer reaction to Duke’s plan.  The average bill could go up close to $18 a month if the commission approves Duke’s request.  It’s the utility’s desire to use some of that new revenue to clean up coal ash that had many in attendance angered, like Hartwell Carson of Mountain True.

Thursday October 5th is the 'termination date' for the contract between Mission Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina.  If no agreement between the two is reached by then, customers of North Carolina's largest insurer will find themselves 'out of network' for non-emergency visits at facilities operated by Western North Carolina's largest healthcare provider.  This would affect hundreds of thousands of people in the region, meaning they would either have to pay more for non-emergency visits, or switch insurers and/or doctors.  There has been little movement between both sides sin

The North Carolina Utilities Commission will hold a public hearing tomorrow evening in Asheville where residents can weigh in on Duke Energy’s request to raise rates almost 17%.  If approved, the average Duke ratepayer would see their bill rise close to $18 per month.  The Utilities Commission, which has the final say on whether the rate hike takes effect, is holding public hearings across the state.  Wednesday’s in Asheville is the only one scheduled for Western North Carolina.  It starts at 7 pm in courtroom 1A of the Buncombe County Courthouse.  Opponents of the raise are also

AP

SPINDALE, North Carolina (AP) — Former members of an evangelical North Carolina church say their leader coerced congregants into filing false unemployment claims after the faltering economy threatened weekly tithes from church-affiliated companies. The members say company owners who were leaders in the Word of Faith Fellowship church would file unemployment claims on employees' behalf, but that the employees would continue working.

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