western north carolina

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s constitution still includes an unenforceable relic of the Jim Crow era — a voter literacy test. Some state lawmakers are trying, again, to do away with it.

The extension of a federal ban on evictions during the pandemic has North Carolina tenant advocates cheering. But landlords worry that more lost income will hurt their businesses.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

UPDATE 9:00 A.M. - The city of Asheville will now live stream most of city council's two-day retreat.  The live stream, which can be viewed here or on the city's YouTube channel, will begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and continue through all-day Thursday.  The team-building exercise, which was at the center of a lawsuit brought by five media organizations, will not be live-streamed.  Those wishing to watch it live must do so in-person at the Harrah's Cherokee Center Asheville.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Removal of the Vance Monument from downtown Asheville's Pack Square can move forward after a Buncombe County judge denied a motion to halt it Monday.

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Mar. 29

Mar 29, 2021
Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Do you have a question about the COVID vaccine?  We want to hear from you!  Record your question as a voice memo on your cell phone and email us at voices@bpr.org or use the "talk to us" feature on the free BPR mobile app

Looking for information about where to get vaccinated near you?  North Carolina Health News has a comprehensive listing of county vaccines sites, which will be updated often. Find it here.

Need a ride?  NCDOT and NCDHHS have distributed funding to help pay for transportation. Check with your local transit agency for more details.  You can find your agency online  NC_public_transit.pdfOpen PDF

COVID-19: Those We’ve Lost

Mar 29, 2021

They taught students in school, delivered the mail, advised Congress, and served the country in wartime and peace.

A school discipline bill in front of the North Carolina House has revived debate over school discipline, racial equity and dropout prevention.

RALEIGH — All North Carolinians who are at least 16 years old will qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine April 7, state health officials and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday. Meanwhile, essential workers not yet vaccinated can get their shot starting March 31.

After watching North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper veto House Bill 370 in 2019, state Sen. Chuck Edwards introduced legislation this session revisiting the earlier bill. It’s called Require Cooperation with ICE 2.0.

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase the amount of public money available to subsidize students in private schools. It would also authorize counties to offer up to $1,000 per pupil in local money for children in private schools.

After the killings of eight people in metro Atlanta a week ago, including six women of Asian descent, calls to expand North Carolina's hate crimes law are increasing. Legislative leaders have not been willing to consider similar proposals in recent years, and it's not clear it will be any different now.

Asheville City Council voted Tuesday evening to remove the Vance Monument from its spot in the city's main public space, taking away the 65-foot obelisk which has stood in what is now called Pack Square since 1898.

RALEIGH — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday eased several restrictions that will soon allow businesses to open at greater capacity and more people to assemble indoors and outdoors.

RALEIGH — North Carolina Senate Republicans will pitch more individual income tax reductions this spring, a key lawmaker said Monday while asserting that the state's fiscal health emerging from the pandemic and past tax cuts make such proposals possible.

Adriana has a familiar story with immigration.

“I got here, like everyone else who arrives in this country,” she said, “looking for a better opportunity and life.”

We’re not using Adriana's full name because she is not in the country legally.

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week of Mar. 22

Mar 22, 2021
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Do you have a question about the COVID vaccine?  We want to hear from you!  Record your question as a voice memo on your cell phone and email us at voices@bpr.org or use the "talk to us" feature on the free BPR mobile app

Looking for information about where to get vaccinated near you?  North Carolina Health News has a comprehensive listing of county vaccines sites, which will be updated often. Find it here.

Need a ride?  NCDOT and NCDHHS have distributed funding to help pay for transportation. Check with your local transit agency for more details.  You can find your agency online  NC_public_transit.pdfOpen PDF

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville City Council is scheduled to take a vote Tuesday on whether to remove the 65-foot Vance Monument from downtown's Pack Square.  The decision will culminate a years-long push to remove from Asheville's main public space the obelisk which is dedicated to North Carolina's Civil War Governor and U.S. Senator during Reconstruction, who fought against civil rights for Black Americans.

RALEIGH — Absentee ballots in North Carolina would have to be received by county election officials by Election Day or the primary election date to be counted in legislation filed on Thursday by state Senate Republicans.

RALEIGH — Coming off a narrow election defeat in 2020, North Carolina’s first Black woman to serve as chief justice on the state Supreme Court will soon enter the 2022 U.S. Senate race, two advisers familiar with her deliberations said Thursday.

A series of shootings in the Atlanta area that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent, has sent shockwaves through North Carolina's Asian communities. While authorities here say there's no sign of increased violence against Asians, people are concerned.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Authorities have arrested a Brevard man and charged him with leaving several incendiary devices around the city on Sunday.

Come Hell Or High Water, Asheville Is Climate "Winner"

Mar 16, 2021
NOAA

Back in 2006, when Scott Shuford was Asheville’s planning director, he reluctantly accepted a friend’s invitation to attend a meeting about the impact of climate change on local governments. 

“I didn’t see how a two-degree temperature change could affect the community,” he recalled, referring to the predicted rise in earth temperatures in years to come. “But I agreed to attend, thinking it would only be about 15 minutes. 

“After about an hour-and-a-half I came out of the meeting drenched in sweat.”

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Mar. 15

Mar 15, 2021
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Do you have a question about the COVID vaccine?  We want to hear from you!  Record your question as a voice memo on your cell phone and email us at voices@bpr.org or use the "talk to us" feature on the free BPR mobile app

Looking for information about where to get vaccinated near you?  North Carolina Health News has a comprehensive listing of county vaccines sites, which will be updated often. Find it here.

Need a ride?  NCDOT and NCDHHS have distributed funding to help pay for transportation. Check with your local transit agency for more details.  You can find your agency online  NC_public_transit.pdfOpen PDF

Almost exactly one year ago, Jamie M. got some bad news. Her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor wanted to stop meeting in person for at least two weeks because of the pandemic.

“I just remember kind of getting scared like, “Well, what am I going to do?” Jamie M. said.

Jamie had been sober for about one year after going through detox and 30-day treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs. She had been going to AA meetings every day. When the pandemic hit, she didn’t want to lose her progress.

If you get your health coverage through Medicaid, your care is about to change. On July 1, management of most of the program will be transferred to a handful of private companies. And starting Monday, 1.6 million North Carolinians can start to choose their plan.

The General Assembly mandated the transition to managed care five years ago, after large fluctuations in program costs frustrated their efforts to budget. Managed care companies will have to eat any overruns, but -- if they can save money -- they get to keep some of the funds they don’t spend

North Carolina was home to some of the most bitter fights over voting last decade.

But while states like Georgia and Arizona are now considering bills to limit absentee by mail voting, North Carolina has been completely quiet in 2021 – so far.

Photo courtesy of BCS Communication Department

 


For the first time in almost a year, some students in Buncombe County are returning to the classroom five days a week. Bringing them back requires changes across the board.  

 

Each school is different, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan.

Impolite conversations. Intimate connections. Important self-discoveries. 

Campaign For Southern Equality

Buncombe County commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara will run for the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional district in Western North Carolina next year.  Beach-Ferrara is the first Democrat to formally announce a run to unseat freshman Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn. 


The coronavirus derailed competitive sports over the past year. For many professional cyclists, it stopped them in their tracks. Scattered across the world, many had to ask tough questions about their futures in the sport. 

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