Asheville Citizen-Times

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

A proposed charter school in the city of Asheville cleared a major hurdle this week.  On Monday, the North Carolina Charter School Advisory Board recommended that PEAK Academy open in August of 2021.  The proposed charter school wants to focus on closing the achievement gap with African American and low-income students.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Bears have become a very big deal in Asheville.  Pictures of them at least.  As their natural habitat is being encroached on by increasing development, snapping photos of bears in the urban environment of the city has become quite popular on social media.  But pictures of a certain kind of bear have been popping up a lot in recent months.

Public Media: Building Trust in an Age of Mistrust, September 10th at 7 pm at the Wortham Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $20. Tickets may be purchased online at dwtheatre.com or by calling the Wortham Center's box office Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm at 828-257-4530.

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Earlier this decade, Buncombe County voters narrowly approved a quarter-cent sales tax hike to further fund A-B Tech.  Years later, it was revealed the revenue raised by that tax hike wasn’t totally going to the school, but was instead being used to balance the county budget. 

This week the Asheville Citizen-Times published a study showing Asheville police were disproportionately charging African-Americans with resisting arrest.  The study, which looked at the last five year, found that 35-percent of resisting arrest charges filed by Asheville police were against African-Americans.  The city's black population is only 12-percent.  The study also found a sizable number of those a

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene plead guilty last week to charges leveled against her in three separate indictments that were handed down last year.  Her plea mean all four former county employees who were charged by federal prosecutors last year have plead guilty - Greene, her son Michael, and former assistant county managers Jon Creighton and Mandy Stone.  But that doesn't mean the corruption investigation that shook county government to the core is done.  Asheville Citizen-Times reporter Jennifer Bowman broke many stories as the investigation unfolded.  She joined BPR's Matt Bush for an update on the latest news regarding the Greene scandal.

Federal authorities announced earlier this year they are investigating former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene.  No details, much less charges, have been released regarding the probe.  Greene retired after more than two decades on the job over the summer shortly before the investigation was confirmed.  It set off a chain reaction in county government.

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville isn't alone when it comes to problems with providing enough affordable housing.  Citizen-Times reporter Emily Patrick found the struggle is often greater in areas well outside of the city in Western North Carolina.

Voters in the city of Asheville could have the final say as early as this fall on whether city council seats will remain elected at-large.  A bill in the General Assembly filed by Republican senator Chuck Edwards would make the city draw up election districts for the six council seats.  Separate of that legislation, the current Asheville city council commissioned a poll to see what voters thought of a potential switch.  The conflicting results came back

House Republicans in D.C. are expected to vote tomorrow/today/Thursday on the proposed bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare.’  One Congressman who won’t be voting in favor of the measure is Mark Meadows.

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The hotel boom in Asheville thanks to ever rising number of tourists visiting the city has been well documented  (though maybe the boom is coming to an end or at the very least slowing down).  But another surge in hotel construction has been happening right to the south of Asheville.

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'Sustainability' is the big buzzword in Buncombe County government this year.  This week, county commissioners passed three measures dealing with sustainability.  They include creating a county government office focusing solely on sustainability efforts, as well as replacing of 47-thousand light fixtures at schools and a new solar energy farm near a landfill in Woodfin.

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Love has been the in the air in Buncombe County in recent years.  The marriage rate in the county has increased as the national average has fallen.  Two reasons are largely why - a marketing push showcasing Buncombe County as a wedding destination has led to a drastic rise in out of state marriages taking place here, as well as the legalization of same-sex weddings in North Carolina in 2014.

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Asheville’s tourism boom has brought a lot of attention to the region’s restaurants, bars, and craft breweries.  That attention has led to more customers.  That in turn is leading to workers at those places seeking out help in defending themselves from unruly patrons.  Asheville Citizen-Times reporter Mackensy Lunsford wrote about self-defense classes being taught to

Buncombe County

Monday will be a very busy day or Buncombe County commissioners.  New commissioners, but not all of them, will be sworn-in at a meeting of the board Monday.  Two spots will likely remain open, but a second meeting of the Buncombe County Democratic party will fill of those empty seats later Monday evening.  Emily Patrick, a reporter for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the paper's Buncombe County government watchdog, stopped by the WCQS studios to give a preview of the day's events.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Graduates of UNC Asheville will hear from a pioneering voice in local journalism during Saturday morning's commencement address.  Virgil Smith is the former publisher of the Asheville Citizen-Times, and worked at its parent Gannett Company for 24 years.  He was also a member of the UNCA Board of Trustees.  He was the first black publisher of a mainstream newspaper in North Carolina.  He's now retired and living in Atlanta.  Smith sat down with WCQS’s Jeremy Loeb in advance of his speech for a conversation that touched on his speech, diversity in the newsroom, and how the news industry adapt

A planned apartment complex in Asheville will make it easier for new teachers to find housing in a city where affordable housing can be hard to come by.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the project which will have 28 units is expected to open by early summer of 2017.