USFS

Bold Black Bears Prompt Food Storage Rule Proposal

An increase in bear encounters has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to consider clamping down on food storage rules for campers in parts of Western North Carolina. BPR's Helen Chickering has details. Hanging food from a tree is apparently no longer enough to keep away the black bears that live around two popular Western North Carolina camping spots Panthertown Valley , just outside of Cashiers in Jackson County and the portion of the Appalachian Trail that travels through North Carolina “They...

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The State of Things

“The State of Things” covers diverse issues & topics in NC. Frank Stasio talks to authors, musicians, politicians, & citizens about subjects that matter to North Carolinians.

As students arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the start of the new school year on Wednesday, they found a tall new fence surrounding the perimeter, banners draped along the exterior willing them to be "#MSDStrong," and a fresh coat of burgundy paint in the hallways.

Each in its own way was an attempt to mark the setting as a place of learning and reassure its occupants of a fortified safety within its walls.

At a news conference held on the school lawn, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie called it a "bittersweet day."

The Colorado baker who won a Supreme Court case over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is suing state officials, alleging religious discrimination over his refusal to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.

Attorneys for Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., said Wednesday that the state is "continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs."

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in this year's midterm elections. Her future may depend on how closely she can align herself with President Trump without angering members of her own party.

Heitkamp must walk that fine line because she's campaigning in a state that went for Trump by more than 35 points in 2016. That pressure was on display this week after she became one of the first Democrats to meet privately with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET

More than 300 news publications across the country are joining together to defend the role of a free press and denounce President Trump's ongoing attacks on the news media in coordinated editorials publishing Thursday, according to a tally by The Boston Globe.

The winner for Blue Ridge Public Radio's 2018 Ticket to Ride Summer Raffle was drawn at 5:34, live on-air in the Blue Ridge Public Radio studios. The winner is Michael Carlebach of Asheville! Congratulations! 

Michael will choose between an VW Tiguan and an Audi A3 from Harmony motors. We'll post more pictures when he claims his prize. 

 Thanks to everyone who entered the raffle. Only one person could win, but you are all winners to us. Raffle purchases support the programming you rely on everyday. 

Updated at 5:54 p.m. ET

President Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become an outspoken critic of the president.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the move on Wednesday following an earlier discussion about pulling the clearance held by Brennan and a group of other targets.

USFS

An increase in bear encounters has prompted  the U.S. Forest Service to consider clamping down on food storage rules for campers in parts of Western North Carolina. BPR's Helen Chickering has details. 

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has temporarily lost some Twitter privileges over breaking the site's rules against abusive behavior. Last week, the company was a notable exception after a wave of other major tech companies banned Jones and his main channels.

The penalties to Alex Jones' personal account, @RealAlexJones, are for one week. The Twitter page for his website Infowars posted screenshots of the notice that Twitter apparently sent Jones.

Courtesy of Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University classes start on Monday August 20th. The school is expecting a record number of new students in both the freshman class and overall.  This is due, in part, to the launch of the NC Promise program which lowers tuition to just $500 for in-state students. Today, Interim Chancellor Alison Morrison-Shetlar welcomed back staff and faculty at the opening assembly by reflecting on the past year, remembering former Chancellor David Belcher who passed away this summer and looking forward.

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Arts & Performance

Courtesy of Jeanie Linders

Jeanie Linders has inspired a lot of people to think they, too, can create or copy a hit stage show and change their own lives forever.

“My show has been knocked off 14 times by other people,” she said. “There’s ‘Weight Watchers: The Musical,’ ‘Assisted Living: The Musical,’ all written by guys that think it’s different. Because the show was a cash cow.”

The 'Human Stories' Of David Joy

Aug 7, 2018
Garret K. Woodward

Author David Joy has been gaining recognition for a pair of critically acclaimed novels, both set in rural Appalachia.  With a third on the way, Joy has also been gaining national and international recognition as an essayist on Southern culture.

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Most people associate the Brevard Music Center with summer classical concerts featuring world-class performers in an open-air auditorium. Away from the spotlight, about 400 teens and twentysomethings come from around the country to spend most of their summer studying classical performance at Brevard Music Center.

“I’m totally illiterate when it comes to pop culture, because my head is in classical music,” said Myles McKnight, an 18-year-old violinist from Hendersonville.

Matt Peiken | BPR News


The remote, Western North Carolina town of Highlands is known for its leafy mountains, tony shops and pricey living. Only 941 people claimed it as their home on the last census.

That doesn’t seem to deter some of the nation’s top young stage talent from spending their summers at Highlands Playhouse, building up their resumes and entertaining a largely senior audience with the tried and true in musical theater.