Kevin Corbin

Lilly Knoepp

One Western North Carolina Republican wants North Carolina to expand Medicaid. 

State and local representatives – mostly Republicans - gathered at Southwestern Community College to talk about the need to “close the health coverage gap.” Sarah Thompson, executive director of the Southwestern Commission explains what that gap is:

Lilly Knoepp

Western North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties were solidly red this election.

The lone competitive General Assembly election in Western North Carolina was House District 119, which includes Jackson, Swain, and parts of Haywood County.  Republican Mike Clampitt won the seat back Tuesday.

“Well I think this win was a little bit more than the Trump Bump,” said Clampitt.

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.”

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Black Lives Matter protests across the nation have sparked rallies in support of law enforcement.

 

Hundreds turned out for the Back The Blue Rally hosted in part by Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland. 

 

“We have people here from Jackson County, Macon County, Swain County, Clay County. We have people from all over who came out here to support us,” explains Holland.

 In the crowd you hear someone yell: “Andrews.”

Lilly Knoepp

FIND THE LATEST COVID-19 CASE COUNT IN NORTH CAROLINA HERE.  FOR ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS CLICK HERE.

Cory Vaillancourt

Western North Carolina has four seats in the state senate.  Two of those will be open seats in next year’s election, including the one that represents the state’s westernmost counties.

Lilly Knoepp

North Carolina’s state budget fight is entering its second month. While Republican leaders in the General Assembly and Democratic governor Roy Cooper remain far apart on ending it, the lack of a new state budget is holding up progress on an important issue for rural parts of the state. 

 

With so much focus on how the budget standoff will play out, it’s unlikely that any more bills will be passed this session. John Coggin is the Director of Advocacy at the NC Rural Center. 

 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

North Carolina lawmakers could give the final okay to sports betting in the state as early as Monday.  A bill that would allow sports books and off-track horse betting at casinos on tribal lands cleared a key House committee Wednesday in Raleigh, and is on the agenda for a floor vote Monday evening.  The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operate the only two casinos in North Carolina.  The casinos are located in Cherokee and Murphy on the Qualla Boundary.  

The North Carolina General Assembly has been in session since January.  May 9th was 'crossover day', a self-imposed deadline that separates legislation that has support to pass from that which does not.  Bills that have not passed at least one chamber by May 9th are likely dead through the end of 2020, though there are exceptions.

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.

 

wunc.org, Michel Tronchetti

A common frustration for residents throughout the mountains of Western North Carolina is the lack of high speed internet access.   They now have a place where they can vent. BPRs Davin Eldridge has more…

Author's Note: a link to the survey is provided at the bottom of the article.

Angel Medical Center, Mapio.net

The decision to stop delivering babies at a Macon County hospital is proving to be an unpopular one in the mountains.  

Angel Medical Center in Franklin has been in the business of delivering babies for more than sixty years, but all of that is about to change come mid-summer.  Mission Health, which runs the small community hospital, announced it will be discontinuing child labor and delivery services at the facility in July.  The decision is unpopular with young people in Macon County.

Lawmaker Interview: Rep. Kevin Corbin of NC 120

Jan 29, 2017
Following nearly thirty years of serving in local government, Corbin plans to draw on his experience from that capacity while serving in Raleigh.
North Carolina General Assembly

-Rep. Kevin Corbin seeks more K-12 funding, 'Whistle-blower' protection for local cops-

With North Carolina lawmakers now back in Raleigh for this year’s long session, we’ve been talking with legislators out here in the west.

WNC Officials Seek Rural Broadband Solutions

Jan 23, 2017
NCBroadband.org, 2016

Representatives cite adequate broadband as essential to economic development

As technology advances, Basic access to broadband internet is essential to everything from economic development to education. Yet access is lacking in many areas throughout Western North Carolina, and officials like state Representative Kevin Corbin want to better connect the region.