Jessi Stone/Smoky Mountain News

New Dogwood Health Trust CEO Meets WNC

Leaders representing local nonprofits and community organizations packed a conference room at Southwestern Community College. Janice Brunmit, Chair of Dogwood Health Trust introduced the new CEO Antony Chaing. Dogwood was established in February when private hospital giant HCA Healthcare bought the non-profit hospital Mission Health for $1.5 billion. The foundation is tasked with allocating profits from that sale to organizations across the 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary. Chaing says the...

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland says he was directed by President Trump to talk to Rudy Giuliani about Trump's concerns over Ukraine, bypassing normal foreign policy channels.

That "disappointed him," he says — but even as he went along, he was kept out of Trump's strategy to pressure Ukraine to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sondland says that he didn't know about it at the time and that for example, the account he received of Trump's now-famous phone call with Ukraine's president did not mention Trump's request about Biden.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his staff prepared his Republican caucus on Wednesday for the potential of becoming jurors in an impeachment trial of President Trump in the coming months.

McConnell gave the tutorial of sorts during their weekly GOP caucus luncheon, complete with a slide show and a slew of questions from Republican members.

"We intend to do our constitutional responsibility," McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters following the luncheon.

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn On Mountain Stage

1 hour ago

Banjo fandom won a dream team pairing when virtuoso banjo players Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn wed in 2009.

Scientists cannot yet predict when the next deadly earthquake will strike, but emergency response authorities in California plan to unveil the first statewide quake warning system Thursday, which marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The warnings will be issued in two ways: a cellphone app called MyShake and the more traditional wireless notification system that sends out Amber Alerts.

For the second time in seven years, Chicago Public Schools teachers will be on strike starting Thursday, walking out of class, they say, in the name of better schools.

Gathered on the stage of the union hall on Wednesday, the Chicago Teachers Union said its delegates were in full support of moving forward with a strike. Delegates had already authorized the walkout and set a date so it would have taken a reversal to cancel the strike.

A vacationing British family who crossed the U.S.-Canada border without authorization has been deported after spending nearly two weeks in federal detention, according to a lawyer for the family.

Attorneys for the family said the four adults and three children were en route back to the United Kingdom.

We are living through a period of unrelentingly mirthless headlines: An impeachment inquiry into the president's actions, an upsurge in the long-running war in Syria, climate crisis, disagreement over how to handle asylum seekers that has led to the separation of parents and children at the southern border. Readers seeking a break from that grim litany may be the only reason I can think of that an Oct.

For three decades, Kim Gordon helped shape the sound of underground music with her band Sonic Youth, whose wall-of-dissonant-sound approach was known as "no wave," in contrast to the poppier 80's "New Wave" sound. Gordon played bass and guitar, wrote and sang; she touched on topics that were rare in rock music — female desire, eating disorders, workplace sexual harassment.

Every year, millions of people visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It holds thousands of years of art history: Egyptian temples, Renaissance sculptures, iconic 20th century paintings.

Admittedly, it's a little much.

"For the public this is one of those great and magnificent spaces that can be hugely intimidating," says Christine Coulson, standing in the museum's great hall. "But for me this feels like home."

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is speaking to Congress behind closed doors on Thursday as part of the House's impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

In his prepared remarks, the former businessman says: "as we go through this process, I understand that some people may have their own specific agendas: some may want me to say things to protect the President at all costs; some may want me to provide damning facts to support the other side. But none of that matters to me. ... Simply put, I am NOT here to push an agenda. I am here to tell the truth."

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Arts & Performance

Garret K. Woodward

Noted banjo picker and Western North Carolina native Raymond Fairchild has died, following a heart attack.  He was 80. Fairchild performed at the Grand Ole’ Opry on numerous occasions and was inducted into Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2015.  Last month, Fairchild appeared in BPR’s “Exploring Southern Appalachia” series.   

Fairchild’s final arrangements haven’t yet been announced.  In addition to his storied banjo career, he and his wife Shirley ran the Maggie Valley Opry for more than 30  years.                                                      

courtesy of the artist


Judy Calabrese’s upbringing would make for a riveting memoir. There’s a cheating father and a mother who disowned her, fundamentalist Catholicism and the wherewithal as an 18-year-old to pay for and put herself into therapy.

But beyond her own journals, Calabrese found the notion of making art from her own history foreign and terrifying. She went to college to become an actress.

“I wanted to be a fiction writer, and I was terrified when people said my writing was dramatic,” she said. “People would say ‘Is this based on your life?’ and I’d say ‘Absolutely not—these are characters.’ I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on with me.”

courtesy of the artist


The rock singer and Hendersonville native Raphael Morales only recently changed his name to Beaui Roca.

He said never identified with his birth name or easily navigated what he called the minefield of gender expression that came with it. Roca articulates other points of angst in his lyrics for the local rock band Strange Avenues.

“I’m very angry about a lot of things right now,” Roca said. “The first record was very personal and a lot of that content was about me, specifically. I was writing about addiction, depression, kind of like co-dependence and fear of yourself and alcoholism.”

Courtesy of Katey Schultz


Katey Schultz went to college to study philosophy and become a memoirist. Then one day, out of nowhere, one short sentence popped into her mind.

Jet was bull tired, hound dog tired.

And that sent her down a rabbit hole, one sentence, one story at a time, into the world of fiction.

“Nonfiction is always there for me. It’s how I make sense of the world, through journaling or writing personal essays that might never leave my own desk,” Schultz said. “But fiction was enthralling because I could ask questions and imagine answers with precision and heart, so sort of combine my imagination with research, and then find the middle ground of realist literary fiction where, in some ways, the truths I was writing in fiction were truer than real life.”