Jeremy Loeb

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Donald Trump campaigned in North Carolina Friday, a state where Hillary Clinton leads but one Trump badly needs in order to win the election.  NPR's Sarah McCammon reported for All Things Considered.

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Early voting starts today in North Carolina.  Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine will try to rally supporters to the polls in Durham and Charlotte today.  Last night he was in Asheville.

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Early voting starts Thursday in North Carolina and all week we've been focusing on local and state politics.  Now we look at the hotly contested race for NC House District 115 in Buncombe County.  The race is likely to be close.  Incumbent Democrat John Ager, owner of Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, won the last election by fewer than 500 votes.  Now he faces Republican Frank Moretz, a retired anesthesiologist and co-owner of Highland Brewing Company.  Ager and Moretz both stopped by WCQS to talk about the issues.  Those full conversations are above.

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North Carolina has been a prime focus of both presidential campaigns.  The ballot this year will also include hotly contested races for Governor and US Senate.  Down-ballot races have gotten less attention, but could be just as critical.  One of those is the race for state Supreme Court.  While the race is officially non-partisan, the ideological split of the court is on the line.  Associate Justice Bob Edmunds is up for re-election, with Republicans holding a slim 4-3 majority on the court.  Edmunds is a registered Republican.

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Donald Trump’s campaign is in serious trouble.  But you wouldn’t know it from an Asheville area rally held by his running mate Mike Pence last night.  Pence’s visit came one day after the 2nd presidential debate and after a weekend of turmoil for the Republican ticket.  Trump’s campaign had already been in a difficult spot when it was rocked by the release of a previously unseen 2005 tape showing him bragging about sexual assaulting women.  The campaign has been hemorrhaging support since the tape’s release.

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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton visited Charlotte Sunday.  The stop came nearly two weeks after Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by police, which brought days of protests.  It’s a visit Clinton intended to make LAST weekend, but city officials requested candidates not come because resources were still being devoted to handling the ongoing protests.

In her gardening segment this week, Alison Arnold talks about evaluating trees for their health and risk as we get into fall.  

Jeremy Loeb: It’s the end of the growing season and some trees already show fall color while others have that end of the summer “wear and tear” look…... is this a good time to evaluate trees for overall health and maybe even risk?

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Western North Carolina saw another high profile visit of this campaign season yesterday when Chelsea Clinton visited downtown.  Clinton’s visit to Asheville was all about global warming.  And the world isn’t the only thing heating up.  So too is the presidential race, very much so in North Carolina.  The visit came one day after her mom Hillary Clinton made Raleigh her first campaign stop following Monday’s presidential debate.  Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence have made numerous stops in the state in recent weeks as well.

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As Charlotte reels in the aftermath of the shooting death of a black man by a police officer, an Asheville civil rights activist paid a visit to WCQS to offer his thoughts.  Robert Zachary last visited WCQS prior to the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma.  Zachary grew up in Anniston, Alabama and witnessed and took part in some of the major events of the civil rights movement.  Police shootings of black men and the resulting protests have hit closer to home recently, with high-profile shootings of a man in Raleigh, Asheville, and most recently in Charlotte.  In our hour-long conversat

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North Carolina Gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper paid a visit to western North Carolina on Saturday.  The Democratic Attorney General addressed dozens of Democrats at the Fairview home of state Rep. John Ager in what was billed as a "candidates meet and greet."  WCQS’s Jeremy Loeb was there and has this report.

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NC Gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper paid a visit to Fairview on Saturday.  The Democratic Attorney General addressed dozens of Democrats at the home of state Rep. John Ager in what was billed as a "candidates meet and greet."  He was scheduled to attend a fundraiser later in the day.  

Cooper started his remarks talking about public education.  "People are hungry for leaders who truly believe in public education and will do something about it instead of just talking about it."

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visited Asheville last night for the first time of this presidential campaign.  Asheville, with its liberal reputation, might seem a strange place for a Trump rally.  But as North Carolina has become one of the premier battleground states of this election, the state has seen an influx of candidates.  Both Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have made many visits to the state.  Clinton was in Charlotte just this past Thursday.  But aside from a visit from Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine several weeks ago, Asheville has seen rela

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Donald Trump is visiting Asheville today.  So is Dr. Chris Cooper, political scientist of Western Carolina University.  Cooper visited WCQS to talk about the state of the race, from the president down to the state level, with WCQS's Jeremy Loeb.  The full conversation is above. 

Democratic US Senate candidate Deborah Ross is locked in a tight battle with Republican incumbent Richard Burr.  The closeness of the race is a surprise to some analysts who predicted Burr would cruise to re-election.  Ross is visiting the Asheville area Tuesday 9/13 at the Enka Library in Candler from 4 to 5.  She spoke with WCQS's Jeremy Loeb Monday by phone on the way to Asheville.  It's the same day her campaign announced if elected Ross plans to hold community roundtables in every region of the state to hear the voices of North Carolina residents.

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An opponent of the Duke Energy plan to convert its coal-fired plant in Asheville to natural gas says the plan would be a disaster in the fight against climate change.  Dr.

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Logan Wallace is a Hillary Clinton supporter and a delegate representing western North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week.  The 22-year-old Franklin native is a lifelong Democrat who's been very active in local politics in Macon County.  Now he's attending his first presidential convention.  Wallace told me he got behind Clinton because of her experience and track record of getting things done.  He said that polls showing many voters find Clinton untrustworthy is largely a product of negative coverage by the media.  But he says once voters get a chance

Former NC Supreme Court Associate Justice and Republican Robert Orr of western North Carolina doubled down on his criticisms of Donald Trump after earlier comments angered NC GOP leaders.  In an extensive interview with WCQS, Orr called the Republican presidential nominee "dangerous" and "unqualified to be president," echoing his earlier remarks to reporters that led to him leaving the Republican National Convention early.

In her commentary this week, Alison Arnold talks about some more ways to deal with drought conditions.

A new biennial analysis from Dr.

NC Child

A new study from NC Child finds North Carolina's slowed progress in combating infant mortality could be a result of a lack of insurance for women.  One in five women across the state lack health insurance, a problem exacerbated by the so-called "Medicaid gap."  That's the coverage gap people fall into who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough for tax credits on the Affordable Care Act

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Republicans are gathering in Cleveland to formally nominate Donald Trump for President.  The Republican National Convention begins Monday with four days of made-for-television speeches and events.  Political observers are watching closely to see whether or not the GOP will coalesce around Trump or not.

After the surprise defeat of Senate Bill 897, a bill that would have divided Asheville into districts for city council elections, many were left wondering just what had happened.  I've analyzed the bill in several articles linked to below.  Several days before the bill failed, David Forbes, editor of the Asheville Blade, published an article examining the history of the effort.  We discussed that article after the bill's failure.  The interview was conducted Tuesday morning, July 5th, and before this latest

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*Updated 7/21 at 6:26pm: As the NBA had been warning NC lawmakers for months, it's announced that the All-Star Game has been pulled from Charlotte because of the controversial House Bill 2.  

The NBA has released the following statement: "The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.

Asheville Citizen-Times

Political observers and the public alike were scratching their heads after a bill that would impose districts on the city of Asheville for city council elections failed.  The bill was being pushed by a powerful state lawmaker and had sailed through two committees and the full Senate with little but Democratic resistance.  And then, on its last stop in the full House, all of that changed.  Debate seemed to persuade lawmakers at the last minute, and that is something rarely seen in politics today.  But in truth, there were probably multiple factors at play, and they had occurred not just over

In a stunning defeat, the North Carolina House voted down a bill that would have made changes to the Asheville city council.  

Senate Bill 897 was introduced by Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Henderson County over the strong objection of the entire city council and all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.   It would split Asheville into six districts drawn by the General Assembly for the purpose of electing council members.  But the bill failed by a vote of 48-58. 


In a stunning defeat, the North Carolina House voted down a bill that would have made changes to the Asheville city council.  Senate Bill 897 was introduced by Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Henderson County, over the strong objection of the entire city council and all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.  Apodaca is considered one of the most powerful lawmakers in the General Assembly.  But this bill went down by a vote of 48-58. 

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Updated 8/2 7:25 am (Associated Press): Gov. Pat McCrory decided against signing one bill sent by the legislature because money appropriated to defend House Bill 2 originated from a disaster relief fund.

The bill became law without McCrory's signature as a deadline passed Sunday night. It contained many tweaks to a larger budget measure, including $500,000 for the governor's office for legal costs of defending House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination rules for LGBTQ people

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This is WCQS News, I’m Jeremy Loeb.  A bill making changes to Asheville’s City Council has cleared another committee, this time in the House.  The House elections committee passed the measure over the strong objection of the only committee member from Asheville.  WCQS’s Jeremy Loeb reports.

At the start of the committee meeting, it was clear that this bill was not coming from Asheville.

“The chair was asked to announce to the committee that the City of Asheville through its representation to the General Assembly wanted to go on record as being opposed to this bill.”

Gary Robertson/Associated Press via

A bill dealing with a number of election matters also would clarify the Attorney General has standing to defend local laws.  The bill is not available online and WCQS has not been able to see it, but WRAL reports it reads as follows: 

"The State shall be a party whenever the validity or constitutionality of a local act of the General Assembly is the subject of an action in any court, and except as provided in G.S. 147-17, shall be represented by the Attorney General."