BPR

Photo courtesy of Southwestern Community College

  There isn't just a lack of hospitals in rural Western North Carolina. There is also a need for more trained medical professionals to care for the population from doctors and nurses to CNAs.

 

This summer, Southwestern Community College secured over $20 million dollars from the federal, state and county governments for a new health sciences building.

 

Lilly Knoepp

The first piece of a project connecting historical sites of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee is complete.  When the full project is finished, a cultural corridor will run over 60 miles along the Little Tennessee River from Rabun County in Georgia to the town of Cherokee on the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina. The effort has been a long time coming.

Photo by Bear Allison (Courtesy of The Museum Of The Cherokee Indian)

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is hoping to improve attendance and inspire new artists through its newest expansion.

 

A new room at the Museum of the Cherokee won’t be full of any ancient artifacts.  Museum director Bo Taylor says, instead, it will be a gallery space for local artists.

 

Courtesy of Harris Regional Hospital

  Non-profit Mission Healthcare’s $1.5 billion dollar sale to for-profit HCA Healthcare is all but done. However, this isn’t the first for-profit healthcare system operating in Western North Carolina.

 

For-profit Duke LifePoint purchased facilities in Jackson, Haywood and Swain county four years ago. Now it’s going through its own changes.

 

Join BPR's Mike Cooper and Helen Chickering for Live@Aloft September 30th from 5 to 8 p.m. The Aloft's monthly rooftop party and concert series benefits local charitable organizations. Admission is $5, benefits BPR, and includes door prizes! The evening will be hosted by local comedian and Moth StorySLAM host Betsy Puckett and feature the music by Jesse Barry and The Jam, a cash bar, and [weather permitting] a spectacular moutnain viewe and sunset In keeping with the Aloft's pet-friendly policies, well behaved four-leggeds are are welcome. 

Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University

 Western Carolina, Elizabeth City State University, and UNC Pembroke all decreased both their instate and out-of-state tuitions through a program funded by the legislature this year.  In-state students now pay just $500 per semester under NC Promise.

Walker Golder

The greatest effect of Hurricane Florence will be felt along the coast from Bald Head Island to Topsail Beach says Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines Robert Young.

Young, who heads the Western Carolina University program in partnership with Duke, has been studying the coast on many front including helping coastal communities plan for sea level rise and hurricanes.

Becca Scott of the Southwestern Commission

  It’s no secret that there is a housing problem in Western North Carolina. Prices are booming as the demand for mountain homes outweighs the supply in all price brackets.

Representatives from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, U.S. Department of Agriculture, local nonprofits, county commissioners and many more came together to talk about how to bring more affordable housing to the area at a housing and economic development summit in Sylva, NC.

 

Courtesy of Western Carolina University

  Some locations shine in summer or winter but arguably the mountains are the best when there is a chill in the air and bright colors are on the trees.  

 

Now that summer is winding down, we can expect the leaves to start changing says Beverly Collins, a biology professor and the proclaimed autumnal soothsayer of Western Carolina University.

 

Lilly Knoepp

  As Mission Health announced its sale to HCA for $1.5 billion dollars, Western North Carolina’s other major hospital system, Duke LifePoint, is going through its own merger. For-profit Duke LifePoint is moving forward in a merger with much larger for-profit healthcare system RCCH Healthcare.

 

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.  

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.

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.

 

Courtesy of Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University classes start on Monday August 20th. The school is expecting a record number of new students in both the freshman class and overall.  This is due, in part, to the launch of the NC Promise program which lowers tuition to just $500 for in-state students. Today, Interim Chancellor Alison Morrison-Shetlar welcomed back staff and faculty at the opening assembly by reflecting on the past year, remembering former Chancellor David Belcher who passed away this summer and looking forward.

How This Small Mountain Town Got Internet Access

Aug 9, 2018
Lilly Knoepp

 It’s no secret that access to  internet in western North Carolina is a big problem. A recent study found that 73% of people in the area find that their internet access or speed does not meet their needs.

 

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.

Courtesy of Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University has been searching for a new chancellor since February. They hoped to have chosen a successor for Dr. David Belcher, who passed away last month, by the start of the 2018 fall semester.

 

Today, UNC Board of Governor’s chair Harry Smith announced that the candidate for chancellor has withdrawn from consideration.

 

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.

Blue Ridge Public Radio is proud to announce the launch of “Going Deep: Sports in the 21st Century”, a podcast that looks at some of the most pressing issues in sports and society – such as race, gender, religion, and inequality.  The hosts are the husband and wife team of John Shoop and Dr.

BPR News

The home of Tryon’s most celebrated native now has new owners. Four artists from New York recently bought the house where legendary singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone was born.  BPR news’ Helen Chickering has details.

Perched on a hill in the crook of a windy road in the town of Tryon, sits a small wooden house, three rooms, a fireplace and a porch, unremarkable expect for the plaque near the front door that designates the home as the birthplace of legendary singer songwriter Nina Simone, born Eunice Waymon, in 1933.  

Blue Ridge Public Radio

Things may sound different on our air.  But WCQS hasn’t gone anywhere.  It just now has a new parent – Blue Ridge Public Radio.   And a new sibling – BPR News.