News

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is set to face a second round of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He’s expected to be questioned about his views on previous Supreme Court cases, as well as a range of policy issues. Kavanaugh is also likely to be questioned about his work on Ken Starr’s independent counsel investigation of former President Bill Clinton, and his time working in the White House under former President George W. Bush.

Wikicommons

The late Sen. John McCain will be honored at an expansive ceremony at Washington's National Cathedral on Saturday. Former President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush will give remarks, along with McCain's longtime friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and several others. Three of McCain's children will give readings, and Renee Fleming will perform "Danny Boy" at the late senator's request.

The board of directors for Mission Health say a deal has been signed to sell Western North Carolina's major health system to a for-profit company, HCA Healthcare for $1.5 billion.  The deal will now be sent to the North Carolina Attorney General for final review.  According to a press release sent out Friday morning by Mission Health, the attorney general's office "will evaluate any effect the transaction could have on market competition, whether HCA Healthcare is paying a fair price for the acquisition and how proceeds resulting from the sale will continue to benefit Western North Carolina

Mark Reinstein via Getty Images

Detroit will celebrate the life of Aretha Franklin on Friday, August 31st at 10 a.m. EST. Over two dozen people -- including heads of state, a record mogul, and music legends of nearly every description -- will take the stage of the Greater Grace Temple to speak, sing and pray in honor of the gift that Franklin so readily shared with the world.

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Like many novelists, Jacqui Castle stumbled into fiction through a side door. She mixed a background in psychology, some surrounding social and political upheaval and a few encouraging friends to wind up with “The Seclusion,” her debut novel.

“For years, people have been telling me to try to write fiction, and I just kinda brushed it off,” she said. “I hadn’t really felt a drive to do that, but once I started, I haven’t stopped.”

Wikicommons/Adavyd

A memorial service for the late Sen. John McCain is being held at the North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, Ariz. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald are among those set to deliver remarks.  The service is expected to start around 1 p.m. Eastern time Thursday

Jason deBruyn WUNC

The latest numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services show for the 2017-18 school year, Buncombe County once again had the highest number of unimmunized students, who opted for a religious exemption.

On a busy Thursday morning at Asheville Children's Medical Center, Dr. Sam Kohn made the rounds. It was toward the end of summer break, so there were lots of back-to-school check-ups and vaccines on the schedule that day.

Many visits were easy, following the simple routine of parents bringing their tots in for their shots.

Canton Steelworkers Union Celebrates Labor Day

Aug 29, 2018
Cory Vaillancourt

The South’s oldest Labor Day parade takes place in the Haywood County town of Canton on Monday.  You can’t have a Labor Day parade without labor.  And for more than 50 years, the United Steelworkers Union has represented workers at the century-old paper mill through the ups and downs of global economic trends in a right to work state.  

Gerry Broome/AP Photo

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Leaders of North Carolina's flagship university were given a three-month deadline Tuesday to figure out how to preserve — and where to put — a Confederate monument torn down by protesters.

The resolution approved by the board that oversees the statewide university system doesn't indicate whether University of North Carolina leaders favor returning the statue known as "Silent Sam" to its former location in a main quad of the Chapel Hill campus. The statue was torn down during a protest a week ago.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It wasn't surprising when a panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina's congressional map, saying Republican state legislators went too far using political data to preserve GOP-held seats. But their suggested timetable to fix the problem was startling.

A report commissioned by the city of Asheville criticizes two Asheville police officers for not intervening when a then city police officer was beating and choking an unarmed black pedestrian last August. 

Wikicommons

Asheville city council meets Tuesday evening for the first time in a month, and items related the city’s police department headline the agenda.  

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal judges on Monday affirmed their earlier decision striking North Carolina's congressional districts as unconstitutional because Republicans drew them with excessive partisanship.

Acting under an order of the U.S. Supreme Court to re-examine the case, the three-judge panel ruled again in favor of election advocacy groups and Democrats who had sued to challenge the boundaries drawn in 2016.

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Puppetry doesn’t quite contain everything Lisa Sturz puts into her art. She builds elaborate sets, writes detailed narratives and, for the biography of her grandfather, she spent a year painting a 25-foot backdrop that unfolds from the scrolls of an oversized Hebrew Torah.

“As a puppeteer, I could write the scripts, I could write the music, I could sing and build the costumes and characters and perform them,” Sturz said. “It was a way of combining all those interests rather than choose between them.”

UPDATE 3:19 P.M. - RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislators have finalized two new constitutional amendments to submit to voters in November after a judicial panel's ruling keeping those questions off ballots caused them to try again.

On near party-line votes the Senate voted Monday for amendments designed to comply with the judges' decision last week. The House already approved the redone proposals last Friday as the Republican-controlled General Assembly called a special session to consider new amendments.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the North Carolina General Assembly holding a special session to address constitutional amendment referendums blocked by a court ruling (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

The North Carolina House has made quick work of two proposed revised amendments to the state constitution that would go before voters in November.

Courtesy of Mission Health

On Thursday, Mission Health announced the first board members for the Dogwood Health Trust, the foundation that would be created if Mission’s sale to for-profit company HCA  Healthcare goes through.

The majority of the members announced reside in Buncombe County, something that comes as a concern to Franklin Mayor Bob Scott and Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor.  

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Stymied by a court that ruled their ballot questions misleading, North Carolina Republican lawmakers are preparing for a special session to replace two proposed constitutional amendments that, if approved by voters, would shift key executive powers to the legislature.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger laid out a schedule Thursday whereby the General Assembly would be called in to begin Friday. The House would vote Friday on two new amendments, followed by the Senate on Monday.

Matt Bush BPR

Buncombe County commissioners are weighing whether a ‘forensic audit’ of county spending is needed following the latest indictment of former county manager Wanda Greene.  Greene, and former assistant county managers Jon Creighton and Mandy Stone, all pleaded not guilty this week to charges they accepted all-expense paid trips and other gifts from a consultant who worked for businesses that had contracts with Buncombe County.  It was the third time Greene was indicted this year by federal prosecutors for fraud and conspiracy.   County commissioners

Wikicommons/Daderot

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina historical commission decided Wednesday that three Confederate monuments will remain on the state Capitol grounds with newly added context about slavery and civil rights, weighing in less than two days after another rebel statue was torn down by protesters at the state's flagship university.

The state Historical Commission was responding to a request by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to move the 20th-Century monuments from the Capitol grounds

Matt Bush BPR

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's governor says he'll keep seeking federal aid for more than a dozen western counties damaged by flooding, landslides and mudslides in the spring.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday his office will appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency's decision to deny his request for a major disaster declaration for 13 counties.

Courtesy of Bask


Zeb Camp was studying Appalachian history and Southern literature four years ago, at UNC-Asheville, when he began writing lyrics for the Asheville band Bask.

While folk, bluegrass and the iconic singer-songwriter are the soul of our regional music scene, guitar-driven heavy music is emerging here, and Bask is at the forefront. The music is soaked in heavy guitars, but the tone and lyrical sentiments are baked in this part of the south.

Cory Vaillancourt

Complaints about the display of Confederate imagery during last year’s Canton Labor Day parade prompted a quick effort to bar the stars and bars – along with other controversial symbols – from town sanctioned events.  A year later and with the town parade right around the corner, the flag flap hasn’t gone away, and the Confederate flag still flies on a lightning rod in Canton.

Monday is the first day of classes for the fall semester at UNC-Asheville.  It also marks the beginning of Dr. Nancy Cable's tenure as the 8th chancellor at the school.  She takes over for Dr. Mary Grant, who left the school at the end of 2017.  Dr.

Courtesy of Mission Health

Mission Health says its sale to a for-profit company will come with a big payout for all six of its regional hospitals.  The foundations for each of those facilities would receive $15 million dollars each once the sale is completed.

Mission Health Board Chair Dr. John Ball says a contract with for-profit HCA Healthcare should be ready by the end of September, with the sale being completed by the end of the year. The funds will be distributed over the next 3 years. The first $5 million dollar check will come when the sale is finalized.

Thanks to everyone who voted Blue Ridge Public Radio 'Best Local Radio Station' (non-commercial) in the Mountain X Best of WNC 2018 awards!

This is the 4th year in a row a that readers voted BPR (WCQS) #1. We are thrilled to be included among the Best that WNC has to offer, and we are honored to serve the people and communities of Western North Carolina. You will hear our thanks everyday. 

UPDATE 12:00 AM Saturday - UNC-Asheville reached an agreement with the state department of insurance late Friday evening to re-open The Woods complex.  In a statement the DOI said it was satisfied that the school was addressing its concerns and supported students moving into the buildings.  

EARLIER STORY - Five new residence halls on the campus of UNC-Asheville are closed to students Friday by order of the state of department of insurance. 

Sen. Burr Facebook page

WASHINGTON (AP) — For much of the last two years, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr has been the Russia investigator who is seen but rarely heard on Capitol Hill.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, the North Carolina Republican opened up about the investigation that has now consumed 19 months of his life. He says it has been "frustrating as hell" and much more difficult than he originally envisioned. But he says the integrity of the investigation — and its importance to the institution of the Senate — is something he has labored to protect.

Cathedral of All Souls Facebook page

The Cathedral of All Souls has hired Reverend Naomi Tutu, the daughter of famed South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  The younger Tutu begins her tenure at the church in Biltmore Village this fall. 

Reverend Tutu’s work at All Souls will focus on social justice.  That’s according to the Very Reverend Todd Donatelli, the dean of the church that serves as the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.

“We realized we are a predominantly white congregation, and we need to be engaged with folks whose stories are different than ours," says Donatelli.

Courtesy of Western Carolina University

Just as it was thinking of getting out of the public utility business, Western Carolina University will instead be expanding its offerings to include improved internet service in the area around its Cullowhee campus.

 

Pages