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UNC-Asheville


Jeb Hedgecock didn’t intend to devote his senior year at UNC-Asheville to someone else’s sculptural project. But that someone else was the acclaimed conceptual artist Mel Chin, so Hedgecock figured he might learn more by helping a master realize his vision.

“It’s a completely different thing investing yourself into something you want to into something you don’t necessarily want to but need to,” Hedgecock said.

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Trump administration announced a proposal Wednesday to shrink the habitat of the only endangered red wolves left in the wild, and to give landowners more leeway to kill any of the animals that stray onto private property.

Conservation groups call the proposal an extinction sentence that would doom the very last wild wolves.

"Wolves don't read maps," said Ben Prater, southeast program director of the non-profit Defenders of Wildlife.

Voters in North Carolina this fall will decide plenty of high stakes elections for local, state, and federal offices.  But that might only be the half of it – as several proposed amendments to the state constitution may also come before voters.

Photo: Casey Lance Brown. Background: Clinton C Brown


If you feel a rumbling in the air this week, don’t look to the weather report. Instead, check out the schedule for the Asheville Percussion Festival. To the ears of founder River Guerguerian, this festival is as much about community as it is about music.

“I look at it like there’s a kitchen, there’s 10-12 cooks, each cook brings one recipe,” he said. “You put the recipe on the table and we all work on it together.”

What's the difference between plummet and plunge? Tune in for that answer and more on an Asheville edition of Says You! Sunday afternoon from 1 to 2. 

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Controversial legislation forcing the city of Asheville to have districts for city council members could pick up the support of Buncombe County Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn if the bill is amended on the Senate floor.  An elections committee advanced SB813 this morning.  Van Duyn says the bill will be on the Senate floor on Monday.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about the latest in North Carolina politics.  This week saw a major U.S. Supreme Court "punt" on political gerrymandering, a flurry of election changes pushed by Republican state lawmakers amid a process that's drawn criticism for a lack of transparency, and the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border draws a response from local politicians. 

BPR

The Tryon birthplace of singer, song writer and Civil Rights activist Nina Simone has been named a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The nonprofit is teaming up with the four New York City artists who bought the small wooden cottage in 2017.  The organization will devise a plan to rehabilitate the house so that it might be used by future artists.

Credit Courtesy of Western Carolina University

Chancellor David Belcher passed away on Sunday, June 17, at the age of 60 after more than two-years of battling brain cancer.

 

Belcher was chancellor at Western Carolina University from 2011 until he took medical leave at the end of 2017. The native of Barnwell, South Carolina is beloved by his WCU family.

 

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Like a lot of excited, ambitious entrepreneurs, Heather Maloy put her head down and bulled forward with her plan: She wanted to create a fulltime professional ballet company in Asheville.

“With it being a summer tourist community and being very alive in the summer, it seemed like a great starting point,” she said. “But I wasn’t really thinking fully how to get past that summer point to a year-round point.”

Matt Bush BPR

30 years ago Friday, the movie Bull Durham premiered.  The film merged baseball and romantic comedy, all while showcasing the state of North Carolina.  Filming locations in the state included Durham, Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilson, Old Fort, and Asheville.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Anticipated legislation forcing the city of Asheville to have districts for city council members has been officially filed.  Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville filed the bill mandating 5 city council districts.  One council member would be elected at large.  The mayor would still be elected at large.  The move towards districts was opposed by all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County, as well as the Asheville city council and a large majority of Asheville voters in a Nov

Lilly Knoepp

  Bagpipes and the smells of Scottish food will fill the air in Franklin this weekend as part of the Taste of Scotland and Celtic Festival that celebrates the deep Scot-Irish heritage of Western North Carolina.  

 

Men in kilts, locals and visitors from far away will come together for the 21st annual Taste of Scotland and Celtic Festival Thursday to Sunday with events from a traditional Ceilidh dinner and music to food and crafts.

 

WUSF

North Carolina Republicans are proposing changes to early voting, including doing away with the popular last Saturday before the election.  The House gave final approval to the measure 61-40 Friday.  It now goes to the House.  Rollout of the proposal, Senate Bill 325, prompted an emergency meeting of the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcment.  The board's chairman Andy Penry said they had no input in the bill and received less than a day's notice of it.  The House also quickly passed HB717 with little debate, which makes a slew of changes to judicial districts statewide.

courtesy of Janet Oliver


From her earliest memories, Janet Oliver was different than every other child she knew in Batesville, Ark. Her father was a white civil rights lawyer, her mother black, and the adults around her—particularly the women in her matriarchal family—pushed her to greatness.

“The women around me said you will get a great education, you will leave Arkansas and you will have a life,” she said. “I was self-directed, I was opinionated, I was articulated and I was obedient, and I think they liked that factor far more.”

Matt Bush BPR

Following a closed session meeting Monday morning, Buncombe County commissioners announced manager Mandy Stone will retire on July 1st after just 11 months on the job.  Her decision comes after a whirlwind of actions - and responses to those actions - following the announcement of further federal charges against her immediate predecessor Wanda Greene last Tuesday.  Stone took over the position when Greene retired last June.

Rejuvenated Lake Junaluska Looks Toward Second Century

Jun 11, 2018
Cory Vaillancourt

For generations, Methodists from across the United States have converged on a small community in Haywood County that’s been a place of renewal and transformation.  But Lake Junaluska has undergone some transformation of its own over the past few years, and as the historic Christian retreat emerges from funding cuts and the Great Recession, it’s poised remain an important economic engine well into its second century.  

Join us this Saturday, June 16th at 7:30 PM for the final “Sanctuary Sessions” concert featuring Rose Cousins and Maya de Vitry.

“It's always best to turn to Rose Cousins if you have some feelings that really need to be felt.” – NPR Heavy Rotation

Join us this Saturday, June 9th at 7:30 PM for the second “Sanctuary Sessions” concert.  The headliners are Jazz Americana duo Max Hatt / Edda Glass. Glass has been praised for her “impeccable vocal command” (PopMatters) and compared to a gamut of singers from Astrud Gilberto to Billie Holliday. Her voice is “one of a kind…you cannot confuse her with another artist” (New York Theatre Guide).

Federal officials say treatment is underway to clean up contaminants at the former CTS Corporation factory in Asheville.  

Below is the news release from The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Why The Chief Pontiac Statue Is Coming Down

Jun 8, 2018
Matt Bush

Controversy has erupted in West Asheville over the removal of “Chief Pontiac” the 23-foot-tall Native American statue that looks down on the town from car dealership Harry’s On The Hill.

hia.org & Donnie Rex

Farmers and fans of Industrial Hemp are gathering across the country this week to rally support for the once illegal plant.  North Carolina is one of forty-two states that allows the crop through pilot programs or for research. 

A small farm here in the mountains was chosen to help kick off the week long national campaign. BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

On a sunny breezy morning, Just outside of Asheville, in the scenic countryside of Leicester, a crowd gathered on a farm.  They were here to celebrate a plant come.

After a season devoted to auditioning six finalists, the Asheville Symphony Orchestra has tapped Darko Butorac as its next music director. Butorac succeeds Daniel Meyer, who departed the orchestra after the end of the most recent season, his 12th in Asheville.

Butorac, 40, began his life in classical music as a cellist, but had his first chance to conduct an orchestra when he was 17. From then on, he knew he wanted a life on the podium.

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene faces 23 new charges including wire fraud, federal program fraud, and money laundering.  Those charges were announced in a federal indictment this week.  They're in addition to the fraud, conspiracy, and embezzlement charges that were already filed against her in April for allegedly misusing county-owned credit cards to purchase personal goods.  Her son Michael, also a former Buncombe County employee, was also charged in that case.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the state budget bill Wednesday for the second year in a row, blaming legislative Republicans for a spending plan he says doesn't do enough for teacher pay, school safety and the environment.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly approved last week its $23.9 billion proposal, which adjusts the second year of the two-year budget approved in 2017. Cooper had until Monday to sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

Matt Bush BPR

The French Broad River winds its way through Asheville and provides some of the most picturesque scenery in the region. It’s also a major driver of Western North Carolina’s booming tourism industry. 

So how healthy is this vital asset?  Hartwell Carson has a short answer and a long explanation to the question of how healthy is the French Broad River.  First, the short answer.  “It’s good.  It could be a lot better," says Carson.

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene faces a new round of federal charges including  money laundering and wire and federal program fraud.  Shortly after the new charges were announced Tuesday evening, Buncombe County announced it would sue Greene and her son Michael to recover money the county lost due to her alleged actions.

abeka.com

A new study put out by the League of Women Voters finds the vast majority of schools taking in students receiving vouchers are teaching a biblical worldview.  Many of those schools are using what's called the Abeka Curriculum, which teaches students the earth was created 6,000 years ago, that climate change is a hoax, and refers to media as the "liberal press," according to study author Bonnie Bechard.  She spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Matt Bush BPR

Western Carolina University is unveiling NCDataDashboard.org, an online resource that shows key economic indicators and trends for all 100 counties in North Carolina.  The site includes 12,000 unique data series according to the school, including information on employment, workforce, land, infrastructure and industry GDP.  That data is broken down county by county.  Two of those instrumental in creating the resource, WCU economics professors Angela Dills and Edward Lopez, joined BPR's Matt Bus

Matt Peiken | BPR News


It’s hard to miss Sharon Cooper on the dance floor. Her expression is almost always wide-eyed, focused and intense. Even her slowest movements carry urgency.

But then there’s Cooper, the pediatric nurse. With her young patients, she’s smiling, animated and tender.

“I’ve always been interested in it, and always very interested in the body and the way it works and muscle systems,” Cooper said of nursing.

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