Highlands

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor announced that a Highlands Town Hall employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. All of the town hall’s employees - about 10 including the mayor - have now been tested and are awaiting results. Taylor says the employee had been working from home but had been in the office intermittently. 

 

 Taylor says that he supports the new mandatory order for masks in public. 

 

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Macon County continues to have the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases in Western North Carolina. BPR takes a deeper look at one of the county’s largest employers, which saw one of the first clusters of cases there. 

 

About 8 percent of Macon County roughly 34,000 residents have been tested for COVID-19 explains Emily Ritter, the public information officer for the county’s Public Health department.

 

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Macon County now has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 proportionately in the Blue Ridge Public Radio listening area. 

Lilly Knoepp

Macon County reported just three positive cases of COVID-19 for 12 weeks. On Friday, Macon County Public Health has announced 42 positive cases have been confirmed in the last 48 hours. This brought the total case count up to 63.

Lilly Knoepp

On Monday, the first case of COVID-19 in Western North Carolina was confirmed in a patient that is isolating in Macon County after visiting Asheville.  

 

The Macon County Health Department cannot confirm the location of the patient who tested positive for COVID-19 because of privacy regulations. Spokesperson Emily Ritter explains: 

 

Lilly Knoepp

Today is the Nantahala National Forest’s 100th birthday! The forest was established on January 29, 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson. 

Nantahala is the largest of North Carolina’s four national forests with 531,148 acres. It includes the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail, which follows the path of early naturalist William Bartram.  The highest peak in the forest is Lone Bald in Jackson County at 5,800 feet and the lowest elevation is 1,200 feet in Cherokee County along Hiwassee River.

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.

 

Matt Peiken | BPR News


The remote, Western North Carolina town of Highlands is known for its leafy mountains, tony shops and pricey living. Only 941 people claimed it as their home on the last census.

That doesn’t seem to deter some of the nation’s top young stage talent from spending their summers at Highlands Playhouse, building up their resumes and entertaining a largely senior audience with the tried and true in musical theater.

Photo courtesy of Mission Health

Highlands-Cashiers Hospital will stick with Mission through its potential sale to Hospital Corporation of America.

Mountain Towns Split On How They Will 'Do Brunch'

Oct 26, 2017
NPR.org

North Carolina’s so-called ‘Brunch Bill’ gives local governments the option of allowing alcohol sales as early as 10 a.m. on Sundays, instead of the usual time of noon.  Hendersonville and Asheville quickly adopted the law. But to the west, there’s still plenty of debate about the bill in some communities. BPR’s Davin Eldridge reports on the contentious new bill and it's status within the region--examining which side of the issue each town is now on--and how a period of only two hours each week can differ so much between them as a result.

Small towns in western North Carolina are preparing for an influx of thousands of tourists for next week's eclipse. 

Communities like Franklin, Sylva and Cashiers could get a record number of visitors when the eclipse happens next Monday.  Highlands, N.C. mayor Patrick Taylor's town is in the path of the total eclipse. He said authorities are expecting nearby Highway 441 to be jammed all day.

Phillip Price

With Waynesville Democrat Matt Coffay withdrawing from next year’s race for the Congressional seat in North Carolina’s eleventh district, the only challenger left for incumbent Republican Mark Meadows’s seat now is Nebo resident Phillip Price. BPR’s Davin Eldridge caught up with Price at a meet-and-greet in Highlands, where Price introduced himself to a non-partisan group of voters…

Climate Mayors

“Adopt, honor, and uphold”—this is what some 359 mayors from across the U.S. have pledged to do for their municipalities. It’s a commitment made by so-called “Climate Mayors” to advocate policies in keeping with the Paris climate agreement. It calls for the creation of a twenty-first century clean energy economy, reduced greenhouse emissions, investments in renewable energy and electric vehicles. BPR’s Davin Eldridge visited with two such mayors in a deeply red part of Western North Carolina…

John Kenneth Melvin

Recycling is taking on a whole new meaning in the town of Highlands, thanks to some local businesses – who have donated what they’ve taken in to an international artist whose creating his latest project in a prominent place in town.