Buncombe County

Bryan Miler/Courtesy of BPR News

Update January 5 at 10 am: Wednesday morning power was almost completly restored across the Western North Carolina mountians. Five residents in Henderson, Buncombe, Haywood, Graham and Polk Counties respectively are still in the dark, according to Duke Energy.

There is potential for another snow storm on Thursday night to Friday morning in the region, according to The Weather Channel. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The mask mandate for indoor public spaces in Buncombe County will remain in effect for the rest of the year.  The county board of commissioners Tuesday extended the measure until January 3rd, 2022.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Buncombe County commissioners voted Wednesday afternoon to reinstate a indoor mask requirement for public buildings and facilities.  The measure goes into effect immediately.

Under a Carolina-blue sky, shaded by the oaks framing Pack Square, the small crowd formed a loose, attentive circle around a man speaking and gesticulating with the fervor of a revivalist. This was David Hurley, 37, a candidate to become the Buncombe county sheriff in 2022. 

But, he told the crowd, he wouldn’t be your typical sheriff. 

Matt Bush

An indoor mask requirement will be returning in Buncombe County.  County board chair Brownie Newman said in a social media post Thursday that commissioners will vote on the measure at their next meeting this coming Tuesday.  Newman added he’s spoken with Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and the city will align its policies with the county's. 

Courtesy of Gas Buddy

Colonial Pipeline announced Thursday morning that fuel deliveries should be made by the end of the day. The pipeline restarted operations on Wednesday night after being out of service since a cyber-attack caused a shutdown.  

Sean Davis / Creative Commons


Buncombe County has officially become the first Western North Carolina community to pass a ban on discrimination in the areas of employment and housing.

Buncombe County Government Virtual Meeting

Buncombe County Commissioners will wait until later this month to vote on a non-discrimination ordinance.  It would be the first such county ordinance in Western North Carolina since local governments were allowed to pass them in December 2020.  

Buncombe County will lower capacity limits for indoor dining and gatherings at the beginning of January, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the county at greater levels.

Matt Bush

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association has shared a series of recommendations to “improve the law enforcement profession” statewide.  BPR looks at efforts around transparency: 

The association is made up of all 100 sheriffs in the state. A group of 10 started working on this report after the death of George Floyd this summer. 

“I’m excited about the whole thing to be honest,” said Miller.  

That’s Sheriff Quentin Miller of Buncombe County who represented the Western region (10th district).

Jason Reed

UPDATED 12:00 p.m. - Buncombe County authorities are investigating the cause of a fire Tuesday afternoon that belched a dark plume of smoke seen for miles in Buncombe County.

Justice can vary from county to county – and voters have a say on that.  That’s message of a documentary from an Asheville-based filmmaker that debuts Wednesday evening.

Former Buncombe County commissioner Ellen Frost plead guilty Monday morning in federal court to one charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Buncombe County commissioners Tuesday evening approved a resolution supporting reparations for the Black community in the county.  The resolution – passed on a 4-3 party line vote - does not create a commission to determine what reparations will be like the city of Asheville OK’d last month.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Buncombe County removed a memorial to Confederate soldiers that stood outside the county courthouse early Tuesday morning.  It's the second Confederate monument to be removed this month in downtown Asheville after Asheville city council and Buncombe County commissioners approved such removals last month following a week of protests calling for racial justice.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville City schools will rename Vance Elementary School in West Asheville.  Superintendent Gene Freeman made the announcement Tuesday at a board of education meeting.

Matt Bush

In a narrow 4-3 party line vote Tuesday night, Buncombe County commissioners approved a resolution to remove two Confederate monuments in downtown Asheville.  The decision came one week after Asheville City council approved the same resolution unanimously.


Buncombe County high school seniors will still graduate this weekend.  But it won’t be like they imagined. 

Courtesy of Camp Watia

Summer camps are a big part of the culture of Western North Carolina. There are over 70 camps of all types for kids of all ages at the western end of the state. Many are still deciding if they will close due to COVID-19. 

Singing songs around a campfire, canoeing, team building - these are all activities that are associated with summer camp. They are also activities that require close contact - something that isn’t possible in a social distancing world of COVID-19.  

“Capture the flag is a big activity for us that we do every Sunday.”

Buncombe County will require the wearing of face masks in most indoor public settings starting next week.  The decision comes as North Carolina enters 'Phase 2' of its reopening Friday afternoon after restrictive stay at home orders due to COVID-19.

$5M TDA Relief Bill For Small Businesses Helps Hotels, Too

May 20, 2020
Mark Barrett

When the Rev. Tami Forte Logan learned that the Buncombe County Tourist Development Authority and allies won legislative approval to offer $5 million to small businesses crushed by the pandemic, she didn’t join the chorus of congratulations.

Food Donation Chain In Near Gridlock, Manna Chief Says

May 9, 2020
Nick Peters

The main floor of Manna FoodBank’s warehouse in Asheville is a beehive of activity as scores of staff and volunteers pack, load and wrap food for distribution. Boxes, pallets, and forklifts still abound, but the vibe has changed.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Buncombe County has modified its local ‘stay home stay safe’ order so that it aligns with the new statewide order in North Carolina that allows many retail businesses to reopen Friday at 5 p.m.  

'We Proved That We Can': Pandemic Speeds Criminal Justice Reforms

May 5, 2020
Buncombe County Sheriff's Office

Coronavirus has led to dramatic changes in crime and justice in Asheville from the courtroom to the cop on the street.

Reported crimes are down, police are making fewer arrests and inmates are being sprung from jail.

Buncombe County will revise its ‘stay home stay safe’ declaration to further align with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s statewide stay at home order.  The new Buncombe County order goes into effect Friday morning May 1st at 6 a.m. 


The tourism industry for Buncombe County has brought in just 7% of what it normally would in the month of April.  That means the county has lost over $150-million dollars in visitor spending this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a figure which will only grow as stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements head into May.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

When the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes next week, lawmakers will look at a bill that would set aside $5-million in recovery funds for tourism-related businesses in Buncombe County.  

Resúmenes para la semana del 13 de Abril

Apr 14, 2020
Luis Martinez



Hasta el pasado Lunes, funcionarios de la salud de Carolina del Norte confirmaron que hay más de 4,800 casos de COVID-19, 86 personas han fallecido y 313 pacientes se encuentran hospitalizados. En el Oeste de Carolina del Norte se han confirmado cerca de 200 casos. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio


Buncombe County this week released demographic information on confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county.  The numbers showed the county isn’t seeing the disproportionate number of cases affecting African-Americans that the state has thus far.

Asheville resident Peter Landis was one of the first confirmed 'community spread' cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County.  The 71-year-old retired journalist was told on March 23rd he had tested positive, one week after he had been tested at his primary care physician's office.  Landis had not traveled in recent months, and said he was not in contact with a known confirmed case of COVID-19.  He has since recovered, and spoke with BPR's Matt Bush over the phone to discuss his symptoms of the virus, and what he wants people to know about his experience.  You can hear the whole interview above.