News

Wikicommons/Whitneybarker

 

A former assistant coach for the University of North Carolina football team says players have the power – if they choose to use it - to reverse the suspensions of 13 players for improperly selling school-issued shoes.  

Thousands of customers were without power in Asheville following a short but powerful storm that passed through the city Wednesday afternoon.  Blue Ridge Public Radio lost power around 2:50 p.m, but it was restored around 5.  At the height of the storm, more than 20-thousand Duke Energy customers were without power in the immediate Asheville area.  By 6:30 Wednesday evening, that number was down to about a thousand.  

UPDATE 10:00 PM - A statement put out by Buncombe County commissioners Tuesday evening seemed to name the contractor in the indictment as Joseph Wiseman.  The full statement reads -

AP/GETTY IMAGES

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish officials say a government delegation will travel to the United States for talks aimed at ending a rift between the NATO allies over the detention of an American pastor.

The United States last week imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers over the treatment of Andrew Brunson, the pastor of an evangelical church in Turkey who is on trial on espionage and terror-related charges.

The dispute caused the Turkish currency to dip to record lows.

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.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and other opponents of legislative Republicans filed a flurry of late-hour lawsuits Monday to block referendums on constitutional amendments and to let a Supreme Court candidate disclose his party affiliation on ballots.

The lawsuits filed in state court against GOP legislative leaders mark yet another round of litigation in the power struggle pitting Cooper and his allies against the GOP-dominated General Assembly that began when Cooper was narrowly elected governor in late 2016.

Associated Press

A leader of a secretive evangelical congregation has persuaded a magistrate to issue trespassing charges against a North Carolina state Senate candidate who brought supporters and a TV crew along to a scheduled meeting at the church.

Using science and storytelling, Shankar Vedantam of NPR’s Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.

Cory Vaillancourt

The harm caused by intravenous drug use extends far beyond the user, sometimes even to innocent bystanders, like hikers, boaters or young children on playgrounds.  But the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, along with volunteers in Haywood County, are becoming more active in efforts not so much aimed at winning the drug war, as containing it.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry held a town hall event in Asheville Wednesday.  The packed event at the Riceville Volunteer Fire Department was dominated by questions about President Trump's behavior and the Russia investigation.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb was there and videotaped the event.  

Thanks to everyone who entered Blue Ridge Public Radio's 2018 Ticket To Ride Summer Raffle! It was a near sell-out with 985 tickets sold.  The winner will be selected at random and announced on the air on August 15, 2018 during All Things Considered between 5:30 and 5:35. 

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.

Courtesy of Mission Health

As Mission Health negotiates a deal for sale with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), one of the biggest concerns for the Western North Carolina community is the closure of small rural hospitals within the system from Franklin to Spruce Pine.

Mayor of Franklin Bob Scott and Mayor of Highlands Pat Taylor have both called for greater transparency from Mission and HCA during the current due diligence process. Mission has answered that call with Facebook Live panels to share finding from Mission representatives during visits to HCA locations and meetings with HCA officials.

The first month of the fiscal year for both the city of Asheville and Buncombe County governments has passed.  Both cut arts funding in their budgets for the year, and in particular, money to the Asheville Area Arts Council (The council is a business sponsor of Blue Ridge Public Radio).  BPR's Matt Bush spoke with Jason Sandford of AshVegas about the reaction to the cuts from the arts community in Asheville.

INTERVIEW EXCERPTS -

Is Franklin N.C. The Gem Capital Of The World?

Jul 30, 2018
Lilly Knoepp

  Franklin, North Carolina is nicknamed the “Gem Capital of the World.” The small town hosts gem shows, rock shops and gem mining. How did this small town get such a big reputation?

“It’s just the luck of the shovel,” says Judy Johnson. She’s been working at Mason’s Gem Mine for 11 years. The mine which opened in 1952 is located in Burningtown just outside of Franklin. The mine sits on a natural deposit of gems and is a prime example of how the area got its name. Tourists dig their own dirt from the mountain side and then sift for gems in flumes.  

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Power bills are going up slightly for Duke Energy households in central and western North Carolina this week.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission last week ordered that new rates for Duke Energy Carolinas customers can take effect starting Wednesday.

The order means residential customers will see a tiny increase on power starting this week. The typical household will start seeing bills rise by about 84 cents a month from around $104. Residential power bills will increase an extra 1.2 percent after four years.

AFP/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spoken to his Turkish counterpart about an American pastor detained on terrorism and espionage charges.

It could be a possible indication the NATO allies are trying to ease tensions that flared this week after President Donald Trump said the U.S. would impose sanctions in retaliation. Turkey has called that a "cheap threat."

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday vetoed legislation approved by Republicans during this week's special session that alters North Carolina ballot language for constitutional referenda and a state Supreme Court race this fall.

Cooper's vetoes of the two bills were expected. His office and legislative Democrats blasted the changes as reversals on previous legislation and ways to hide the content of proposed constitutional amendments and interfere in this year's most important court election.

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.

UPDATE - FRIDAY 12:30 P.M. - Michael Greene plead guilty Friday morning in federal court in Asheville to one charge of conspiracy, related the charges that he and his mother Wanda Greene misused Buncombe County-owned credit cards for thousands of dollars of personal purchases over a 10-year period.  He faces up to five years in prison and up to a $250-thousand fine when he's sentenced at a later date.  Michael Greene has also been ordered to forfeit $11, 732.21 that prosecutors say represents the amount of "proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, from the offenses plead

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was among a bipartisan group of twenty attorneys general to urge Congress this week to do more to improve election security.  The move comes in the wake of President Trump's widely-condemned news conference in which he appeared to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence agency conclusions that Russia attacked the 2016 election.  Stein told BPR's Jeremy Loeb the president's behavior was "disgraceful."

Photo courtesy of Mission Health

Highlands-Cashiers Hospital will stick with Mission through its potential sale to Hospital Corporation of America.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina legislature returned briefly to business Tuesday so Republicans could wrest the seemingly ordinary work of adding titles to proposed constitutional amendments on November ballots out of the hands of a state panel controlled by Democrats.

Folkmoot's Cultural Exchange Goes Both Ways

Jul 23, 2018
Cory Vaillancourt

You can’t just invite several hundred foreign performers to a festival in Western North Carolina without showing them some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality.  And that’s just what many local volunteers do each year, serving as a bridge between cultures at Waynesville’s Folkmoot Festival.

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Robert Beatty was still in his 30s when he sold his tech company for millions of dollars and moved with his wife and three daughters from Michigan to 32 acres of green forest in Fletcher.

 

Beatty never had to work again, and his story could have ended there. But success in business was just one of his two life goals. Beatty set a detailed, determined plan to fulfill the second.

NC Insider

Voters in North Carolina will decide the fate of six constitutional amendments on their November ballots.  Among them is one requiring photo ID to vote, one that takes the power of commission appointments from the governor and gives it to the legislature, and one that caps the income tax rate.  Colin Campbell is editor of NC Insider.  In his latest column, he says voters will be asked to approve the amendments before knowing fully how they'll be implemented.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Lilly Knoepp

The U.S. government came through on a 75-year-old promise to Swain County when it paid the final dollars of a settlement for the so-called “Road To Nowhere” this month. However, officials say that the county won't see the additional funding until next year.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy is in the process of completing the installtion of more than 1-million so-called 'smart meters' in Buncombe County.  The meters will allow Duke to record power usage directly without having to send someone to read the meter.  A handful of customers in Buncombe County have tried to opt out of using the meters - an action that has consequences.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas spoke with those customers to see what happened to them. 

Cory Vaillancourt

Waynesville’s Folkmoot Festival is again underway.  In its 35th year, organizers say the folkdance festival has never been more relevant - or more necessary.

Helen Chickering/BPR

The Trump administration took another swipe at the Affordable Care Act recently in announcing that it's cutting funding to ACA 'navigators' 72 percent, from $36 million to $10 million.  In North Carolina, the cut is even more severe: an 85 percent cut from $3.4 million to $500,000.  That will hurt the efforts of navigators to help get people enrolled in health insurance.  Jackie Kiger is an attorney and ACA navigator with Pisgah Legal Services

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