Henderson County

Cory Vaillancourt

While he was being renominated Monday in Charlotte for a second term in office by the Republican Party, Mills River waited for President Trump.

Much of the crowd at President Trump’s rally was made up of farmers and local politicians.  But not all of them agreed with the president.

“I’m here today representing the Town of Mills River.”

Cory Vaillancourt

On Day 1 of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, President Donald Trump traveled about two hours west to a produce packing facility in Mills River.

Masks were encouraged but not required as President Trump spoke to a few hundred at Flavor 1st Growers and Packers.

“Ladies and Gentlemen to introduce the President of the United States the co-owner of Flavor First Growers and Packers Kirby Johnson.”  

Johnson’s company is part of a USDA program for families impacted by COVID-19.

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As some schools welcome students back during the pandemic, it’s likely that the  only healthcare provider on campus- will be the school nurse. And in North Carolina more than half serve more than one school.

Cass Herrington / BPR News

Henderson County has Western North Carolina’s highest population per capita of Latinx residents.  And the County’s Health Department reports a third of COVID-19 cases are among individuals who identify as Hispanic/Latinx. That’s why the state Department of Health and Human Services has directed $100,000 to the Hendersonville-based non-profit True Ridge.

The Henderson County sheriff’s department will not enforce social distancing guidelines.  Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin says he’s “frustrated by the governor throwing a blanket over the state.” 

“The constitution wasn’t suspended just because of this pandemic," Griffin said. "We’ve got a lot of small business owners that are hurting...and these multi-trillian dollar packages that our federal government is passing is not helping at all." 

 Griffin says it should be up to individuals and local municipalities, not the state. 

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.”

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Hospitals in Western North Carolina are bracing for what’s being called a “surge” in Coronavirus cases in the coming days and weeks. 

Rest areas along both sides of Interstate 26 near the border between Buncombe and Henderson Counties will close Friday as part of the overall widening project on the road.

Cory Vaillancourt

Another county in Western North Carolina has joined the ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ movement.  Henderson County commissioners on Tuesday approved a resolution supporting gun rights.  Commissioners in Buncombe County also heard from supporters of a resolution, though no action was taken. 

Another county where this has been brought up is Haywood. 

Cass Herrington / BPR News

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials spent Tuesday in Henderson County giving an annual update on their cooperation agreement with the sheriff’s department. The hour-long presentation at the County Courthouse didn’t provide many answers. 

Cass Herrington / BPR News

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials spent Tuesday in Henderson County giving an annual update on their cooperation agreement with the sheriff’s department. The hour-long presentation at the County Courthouse didn’t provide many answers. 

timlewisnm / Flickr/Creative Commons

A new center honoring Latinx art and culture is making its way to Western North Carolina. Hendersonville-based non-profit Hola Community Arts has acquired a new space in Jackson Park for public art installations and classes.

NC DOT

Another wave of construction is coming  to I-26 in Buncombe and Henderson Counties.  The North Carolina Department of Transportation  anounced on Wednesday the project to widen nearly 17 miles of I-26 from U.S. 64 in Hendersonville to Brevard Road in Asheville is getting underway.   The expansion is part of a bigger construction project around the Brevard Road interchange.   

Plans are to widen the interstate to four lanes in each direction from Brevard Road to U.S. 25 Business. The stretch from U.S. 25 Business to U.S. 64 will be widened to three lanes each way.

Three women standing in a row outside in a parking lot, the new feeding site in the Henderson County Department of Public Health.
Elena Rivera / BPR News

The Henderson County Department of Public Health is the newest public feeding site to address issues of food insecurity for youth during the summer.

Students who regularly receive meals through school lose this access during the summer. In response, Henderson County Public Schools' Child Nutrition Department established four public feeding sites over the county that provide free lunches for youth between two and 18 years old. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program funds the summer sites.


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Hendersonville holds its first-ever Pride celebration Sat., June 15. While Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk supports the event, members of City Council and some religious groups oppose it.

Cass Herrington / BPR news

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested at least two individuals in Henderson County Wed. morning.

Cass Herrington / BPR News

As Henderson County government prepares its upcoming fiscal year budget, opponents of the Sheriff’s agreement with federal immigration authorities say their tax dollars are being misused.  

Social service agencies that work with the immigrant population say the 287(g) program with Immigration and Customs Enforcement leads to more crime and is unconstitutional.

Activists shouted chants from the steps of the historic courthouse, minutes before the regular county commissioners meeting.

Henderson County state representative Chuck McGrady will not seek re-election to his seat next year in the North Carolina General Assembly.  The Republican lawmaker announced his decision Monday via email and social media, saying after five terms it's time for him to “turn my focus back home to my friends and family.”

Cass Herrington / BPR News

 

 

Henderson County’s decision to renew an agreement with federal immigration authorities puts government officials at risk of being sued under the fourth amendment. That was the message immigrant rights advocates brought to the county commissioner’s meeting Mon.

Cass Herrington / BPR News

 

Non-profits and agencies that work with the immigrant community in Western North Carolina say they’re disappointed by the Henderson County Sheriff’s decision to renew its agreement with federal immigration authorities.  

North Carolina Sheriff's Assocation

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A Western North Carolina sheriff says he plans to continue its agreement with U.S. immigration authorities.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement / Creative Commons

 

 

Western North Carolina’s two most populous counties have differing policies when it comes to working with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The North Carolina Democratic Party is calling on Western North Carolina Republican Rep. Cody Henson to resign after a criminal summons was issued against him this week by the Transylvania County's Sheriff's Office.

Cass Herrington / BPR News

  

Last month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested nearly 300 people across North Carolina. Those arrests are still sending shockwaves throughout Western North Carolina’s Latinx community.

Local immigration advocates say there have been more arrests by federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement across Western North Carolina.  Those come after around 15 people were detained last weekend in Buncombe and Henderson Counties.  ICE spokesman Bryan Cox says the agency makes arrests on a daily basis as part of ongoing enforcement activity.  Appearing on The State Of Things Tuesday, Cox says ICE agents target specific individuals who are in the country undocumented and have criminal record

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Health officials in North Carolina say the death toll from the flu for the 2017-18 season has increased its record-setting total to 342.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says 11 flu-related deaths were reported last week, and there were three deaths in previous weeks found to have resulted from the virus.

Of the 14 deaths, 13 were age 65 and older, while the other death involved someone between the age of 5 and 17.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Election Day is Tuesday for a number of municipalities across the state.  Polls will be open from 6:30am to 7:30pm.  Smaller races are often decided by much more local, personal issues than state and national races.  That could be true in Mills River, the small town 20 minutes south of Asheville in Henderson County.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb reports an industrial factory being built across from an elementary school has become an issue in a race there involving the town’s mayor.  

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

Population and job growth continue to be strong in the Asheville region, but wages are lagging far behind.  That's according to a report released by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County.  The report studied a six county area (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, Transylvania) and found the average wage per job is $44,800.  The national average is $62,100.

****A previous version of this story only included 2016 numbers***

More Rain This Week Could Return Air Quality To Normal

Dec 7, 2016
U.S. Forest Service

More rain expected late Monday and early Tuesday could return air quality conditions in western North Carolina to normal for the first time since a rash of wildfires broke out at the beginning of November.  

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