western north carolina

From STEM To STEAM

Jan 3, 2017
Matt Bush WCQS

STEM is a well-known buzzword in education circles.  It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  It’s gained traction as schools teach more of those subjects to prepare students for the job market. The University of North Carolina-Asheville is adding ‘A’ to STEM, making it STEAM.  The ‘A’ stands for arts…

The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the city of Asheville, allowing it to retain control of its water system.  The decision seemingly ends a years-long struggle over the issue that pitted Republicans in the General Assembly against Democrats that run the city.  The full decision can be read here.

"HB2 Treated Us As Something Less Than Human"

Dec 20, 2016
Jeremy Loeb WCQS

North Carolina’s controversial House Bill Two is expected to be repealed tomorrow by the General Assembly.  The move comes after the city of Charlotte repealed a non-discrimination ordinance that initially spurred state lawmakers to pass House Bill Two.  The law makes transgender people use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate, and not the one with which they currently identify.

Matt Bush WQCS

Efforts to speed up wireless internet service throughout western North Carolina are speeding up themselves, thanks to a six-city partnership.

Wifi has rapidly speed up throughout the region in the last decade, but Bill Sederburg says it’s time for the next step.  The coordinator of the West Next Generation Network says that is “gigabit” internet service.

“It means much faster downloads for video.  It means the ability for hospitals to have branch campuses (that can) access to MRI and X-ray images and stuff like that”, according to Sederburg.

Buncombe County

Monday will be a very busy day or Buncombe County commissioners.  New commissioners, but not all of them, will be sworn-in at a meeting of the board Monday.  Two spots will likely remain open, but a second meeting of the Buncombe County Democratic party will fill of those empty seats later Monday evening.  Emily Patrick, a reporter for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the paper's Buncombe County government watchdog, stopped by the WCQS studios to give a preview of the day's events.

Fall Wildfires Impact WNC Tourism As Holidays Approach

Nov 28, 2016
Davin Eldridge

Despite some of the thickest smoke yet from Western North Carolina’s wildfires, the town of Franklin’s annual Christmas Parade went off as planned, bringing hundreds of onlookers to the downtown area. The parade proved to be a defiant show of solidarity among locals in the face of the wildfires, as well as a show of support for the hundreds of firefighters who took part in the event—proving that the spirit of the community would not be so easily broken as the holiday season kicks into high gear. “It’s a real testament to the community that, despite the environmental disasters, it can come f

Hunger Rises This Holiday Season In WNC

Nov 22, 2016
Matt Bush WCQS

As Thanksgiving dinners start to come together all across western North Carolina, the region’s largest food bank is asking residents to help those who won’t have enough to eat.  Hunger is on the rise this holiday season according to Manna Food Bank.

North Carolina Air Quality Forecast Center

Crews fighting wildfires throughout western North Carolina reported progress in containing wildfires in Clay, Swain, and Macon Counties.  But the Party Rock fire near Lake Lure and Chimney Rock continues to grow, and authorities believe that will only increase later this week.

ncwg.gov

The U.S. Forest Service says all but one of the wildfires burning in western North Carolina was caused by man-made forces.  That includes the 'suspicion of arson', but that does not mean the fires were caused on purpose.  Only further investigation will be able to confirm that.

The more than 20 wildfires burning throughout western North Carolina have been aided by severe drought conditions and continued windy, dry weather.  Rain is forecast to fall finally in the region, but not until next Wednesday morning.

North Carolina Election Results

Nov 8, 2016

Election Day Is Here - What You Need To Know

Nov 8, 2016
North Carolina Board of Elections

It's the day we've been building toward for almost two years.

Need to find your polling place?  Click here.

WCQS 2016 Election Special

Nov 4, 2016
Matt Bush WCQS

We may never see another election like 2016.  That's especially true in North Carolina.  The state could end up deciding the presidential election, but also which party ends up in the majority in the U.S. Senate.  There's also the governor's race, one of the most watched and spent on in the country this year.  After all those high profile elections, voters still must decide local races for seats in the General Assembly and County commissioners.  

The WCQS news team set out to create a snap shot of what this election has been like in western North Carolina.  Enjoy!  

Matt Bush WCQS

This story originally aired as part of the WCQS 2016 Election Special, which can be heard in its entirety here.

It's safe to say this has been an election year and an election cycle like no other before it.  And that is particularly true in North Carolina, which has become one of if the not the bell weather state in this election…so move over Ohio. 

Asheville Bonds - What Would They Pay For?

Nov 3, 2016
Matt Bush WCQS

This story first appeared as part of the WCQS 2016 Election Special which can be heard in its entirety here.

Matt Bush WCQS

Two polls released this week on the election in North Carolina showed very different results.  The Monmouth University poll released Monday showed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican counterpart Donald Trump in a virtual tie in the hotly contested battleground state of North Carolina.

geology.com

Democrat Hillary Clinton is safely ahead of Republican Donald Trump in North Carolina according to a poll released Tuesday by the New York Times and Siena University.  The results run counter to a poll released Monday by Monmouth University, which showed the race neck and neck.  Both polls were conducted between Oct 20th and the 23rd.

The crowd at this year’s Mountain Moral Monday may have been smaller than in recent years.  But it was no less enthusiastic.

In between the music and poetry readings was the main attraction – a keynote speech from Reverend Dr. William J Barber II, president of North Carolina’s NAACP.  While he touched on many topics in his more than half hour address, Barber’s call to action, repeated several times, was just four words long.

“We better vote.  Now.”

North Carolina's 11th Congressional District encompasses most of western North Carolina.  Republican Mark Meadows has represented it since 2013.  He is seeking a third term and faces Democratic challenger Rick Bryson, a Bryson City alderman who narrowly captured the party's primary this year.  They debated at Western Carolina University last month.  It was moderated by WLOS News 13's Frank Fraboni.

Burr - Neither Trump Or Clinton A Role Model

Oct 12, 2016
Matt Bush WCQS

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr says neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are role models.  But the Republican still stands behind the GOP nominee as Burr faces his own tough re-election bid.

During an informal 30-minute talk with employees at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Asheville, Burr never said Trump or Clinton’s name.  He made it clear though he thinks neither is a role model, which Burr reiterated with reporters later.

“I’m not sure I’d hold up either of them to my grandchildren and say ‘Here’s someone you can mirror’”, says Burr.

Early Voting On The Way For WNC

Oct 7, 2016
WRAL

As this year’s election season further heats up going into the fall, voters in the Tar Heel State will soon begin casting their ballots.

Early Voting begins on October 20, and by November 5, will close on the heels of a controversial year for North Carolina, after a federal court of appeals recently struck down a 2013 law which decreased the number of days early voting would be available from 17 days to 10.

Voters in Asheville this fall will decide a $74-million bond referendum.  But it will take more than one vote.  On the front side of the ballot, Asheville voters will make their choices for president, U.S. Senate, governor, and both branches of the General Assembly.  During her ‘State of the city’ address Mayor Esther Manheimer reminded voters to turn their ballots over, because their job won’t be done yet.

For the first time, bees in the United States have been placed on the endangered species list.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added to the list seven species of bee native to Hawaii

ncparks.gov

    

For a few short weeks, every year, the mountains of Western North Carolina are renowned for their bright autumn leaves. The generations have brought to the region countless so-called “leaf-lookers” enthralled by their fiery shades of yellow and red come mid-October. Even this year, when area biologists are expecting fall leaves to be duller, and less-vibrant, all local economists can see on the horizon is the color of money for the mountains.

Fuel Frenzy Fades In Mountains, Stations Impacted

Sep 27, 2016
Davin Eldridge

Once news of a ruptured gasoline pipeline in Alabama broke earlier this month, people throughout the southeastern United States immediately rushed out to their local gas stations to stock up. More than 250,000 gallons of fuel is estimated to have been leaked, and the panic that ensued from the incident caused fuel shortages at many area gas stations—and Western North Carolina was by no means immune to the shortages, nor the public’s response to it.

North Carolina is shaping up to be one of if the not the chief battleground state in this year's presidential election.  And a new poll from the New York Times only adds more credence to that.

New In-Roads For WNC Public Transit

Sep 22, 2016
ashevillenc.gov

 

For millions of people across the United States, the beginning of their day starts at a bus stop.

 

Gas Stations Seeing Shortages Across The Region

Sep 20, 2016

Gas stations across North Carolina are seeing shortages following a pipeline leak.  But Triple-A says the rupture is not necessarily the cause of that.  It’s the crush of drivers filling up that is causing stations to run out of gas says Triple-A Carolinas spokeswoman Tiffany Wright.  Her message is don’t panic – there’s enough gas to go around.

Mountains Get Front Row Seat To Eclipse Next Year

Sep 6, 2016
The red lines depict the path's border--areas that will experience roughly one minute of eclipse--whereas the blue middle line depicts the center, with a duration of about two-and-a-half minutes. The path will stretch across 43.6 miles of the region.
eclipse2017.org.

Next summer, the earth will cross the shadow of the moon, creating a total solar eclipse. For the first time in nearly 40 years, its path will pass through the continental United States. The event will occur on August 21, of 2017, and promises to attract a massive audience from around the world, as the eclipse sweeps across the sky from Oregon in the Pacific Northwest, makes its way Southeast, passes through Western North Carolina, and eventually beyond the coast of South Carolina.

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