western north carolina

Billy Graham's Legacy Threatened By Family Split

Nov 12, 2020

For the Rev. Franklin Graham, the scathing editorial in Christianity Today last year calling his friend Donald Trump “a leader of grossly immoral character” and urging that Trump be “removed from office” was heretical.

Jason Reed

UPDATED 12:00 p.m. - Buncombe County authorities are investigating the cause of a fire Tuesday afternoon that belched a dark plume of smoke seen for miles in Buncombe County.

NC Department Of Public Safety

North Carolina will remain in Phase 3 of coronavirus restrictions for at least three more weeks, and limitations on indoor gatherings will be lowered to 10 people from 25 as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state, Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

Other Phase 3 restrictions – such as restaurants remaining at 50% capacity and limiting large stadium gatherings to 7% of capacity – will remain in place.

The sale of Mission Health to HCA made be concluded as a financial transaction, but the details of how it was reached are few and far between.  Peter Lewis of AVL Watchdog wrote two stories last month (here and here) examining what details about how Mission reached its agreement with HCA, and whether the then non-profit health system sold for far less than it was worth.  He spoke with BPR's M

#NC11: Cawthorn Wins Big

Nov 4, 2020
Cory Vaillancourt

The race to replace Mark Meadows in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District was full of unexpected twists and turns almost from the moment it began last December. True to form, the final result was perhaps the most unexpected development - a blowout win.

The partisan divide in Western North Carolina between its most populous jurisdiction and those that surround it only grew further following Tuesday's election results.

What is the future of live performance in Asheville?  BPR's Matt Peiken checks in with local performers working in contemporary and classical music, along with managers of the venues that stage them, about how they're strategizing and meeting challenges about performing in front of in-person audiences in a socially distanced reality.  This is a condensed version of a Facebook Live broadcast from October 21st, which can be viewed here.

Dan Forest campaign

WINSTON-SALEM — An unidentified person who attended a campaign rally for Republican candidate for governor Dan Forest tested positive for COVID-19, North Carolina health officials confirmed Wednesday.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said it’s aware of one case involving a person who attended a rally for the lieutenant governor in Burnsville on Oct. 15, spokeswoman Kelly Haight Connor said. No further details were available.

Justice can vary from county to county – and voters have a say on that.  That’s message of a documentary from an Asheville-based filmmaker that debuts Wednesday evening.

Fighting For Attention

Oct 28, 2020
Cory Vaillancourt

They’ve been fighting over your attention on the internet and the television for what seems like forever now.

They’ve got their slogans and catch phrases, their soundtracks and color schemes, their gimmicks and gags, their die-hards and their haters.

Yes, professional wrestlers.

If you thought we were talking about politicians, you’re right too. The worlds of politics and professional wrestling collide, more often than you think.

#NC11: Attack By Madison Cawthorn's Schoolmates Goes Viral

Oct 23, 2020
DebateLord/Wikicommons

A scathing public letter signed by more than 150 of Madison Cawthorn’s former schoolmates at Patrick Henry College alleges that the Republican candidate engaged in “sexually predatory behavior,” vandalism and lying as a student and is unfit for congress or as a representative of the conservative Christian school.

Mission Sale: Good For WNC, Or Just HCA?

Oct 23, 2020

Years from now, the decision in 2018 by the directors of Mission Health to sell to HCA Healthcare might be seen as a brilliant strategic maneuver, one that guaranteed affordable, high-quality healthcare for future generations of western North Carolinians. This was, and still is, the position of the directors and executives who pushed the deal.

Cory Vaillancourt

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris had to cancel a planned trip to Asheville last week when two staffers tested positive for COVID-19.  On Wednesday, the California Senator made it to Western North Carolina, speaking at an event at UNC Asheville.

N.C. Department Of Public Safety / Flickr

North Carolina will stay in its current level of COVID-19 safety restrictions until at least Nov. 13. Gov. Roy Cooper announced the extension of Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan Wednesday, citing a rise in coronavirus infections.

An unexpected vacancy in one of Western North Carolina’s state house districts has two candidates scrambling for a victory that could have major consequences in the General Assembly.

A Done Deal: How Mission Health Wooed HCA

Oct 20, 2020

The news stunned Asheville and Western North Carolina, where Mission Health System Inc. was the area’s largest employer, its main healthcare provider, and a long-time source of civic pride. Seemingly out of the blue, Mission’s directors publicly announced on March 21, 2018, that they had voted to sell the 133-year-old nonprofit to HCA Healthcare, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, for an estimated $1.5 billion.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Five candidates are running for three seats on Asheville City Council in the current election.  While there are differences on a variety of issues, there is one topic the majority of candidates agree on, and it deals with changing the duties of council members.

Early voting is underway in North Carolina, as voters will decide elections at the federal, state and local levels.  There are several offices where district lines were redrawn for this election.  That includes North Carolina State Senate District 48, which still consists of all of Henderson and Transylvania Counties, but now also includes eastern Buncombe County.

BPR News Presents: 2020 Local Election Special, is a production of the Blue Ridge Public Radio news team.  It's three segments include an interview with Buncombe County elections director Corinne Duncan, and portions of two candidate forums done on the BPR Facebook page - for Asheville City Council, and for

Campaign photos/WUNC

Wednesday October 14th, incumbent Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and his Republican challenger Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest will hold their only scheduled debate ahead of the November 3rd election for Governor of North Carolina.

Pexels

Early voting in North Carolina runs from Thursday October 15th to Saturday October 31st ahead of the November 3rd general election.  

UNC Asheville

(UPDATE 7:30 p.m.) - The shelter in place order at UNC Asheville has been lifted, almost 12 hours after it went into place.  There will be an increased law enforcement presence on campus however following threats that were emailed to the school Friday morning over a Black Lives Matter mural on campus.

Cunningham's Personal Scandal Roils NC Senate Race

Oct 6, 2020

RALEIGH — A race in North Carolina critical to control of the U.S. Senate has been thrown into turmoil over allegations of personal misconduct by Democrat Cal Cunningham, a married man who had an extramarital relationship with a consultant.

Previously undisclosed text messages obtained by The Associated Press and additional interviews show that the relationship extended beyond suggestive texts to an intimate encounter as recently as July.

WNC COVID-19 Phase 3 Updates

Oct 4, 2020

Asheville Equity Advocates Resign Amid Racial Reckoning

Oct 2, 2020

The CEO of the YWCA of Asheville has quit, becoming the second Black woman in a month to leave a high-profile job with a mission of improving racial equity in the city.

Libby Kyles resigned Sept. 18, a little more than a year after being selected to run the century-old women’s organization whose primary role is racial justice.

Her departure follows the resignation of Kimberlee Archie, the city’s first  equity and inclusion manager, who left in August.

Two polls released this week show Democrat Cal Cunningham still leading incumbent Republican Thom Tillis in the closely-watched North Carolina U.S. Senate race.  They’re the first polls done since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the ensuing political battle over her replacement on the court.  

#NC11: Fact-Checking Cawthorn Attack Video

Sep 23, 2020

In the Western North Carolina congressional campaign already notable for its bare-knuckled ferocity, GOP candidate Madison Cawthorn’s latest attack video against Democrat Morris (Moe) Davis stands out: TERRORIST DEFENDER, the video proclaims in bold text and shock-inducing graphics.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

(UPDATE 10:45 p.m.) Asheville City Council Tuesday night approved a roughly 3% cut to the city police department’s budget.  The plan was crafted after council members delayed approving a full city budget after a group of Black activists sought cuts in police spending, with money being reinvested in Asheville's Black community.  

Blue Ridge Public Radio

Voice memos are a great way to share your thoughts and concerns with your community. Think of it as sending a voicemail to Blue Ridge Public Radio that can then be played as part of a special segment or a story. Hearing your stories, comments and questions inspires us and helps the radio station succeed in its mission of amplifying the voices of our Western North Carolina community. 

Here's a simple guide to recording and sending in your voice memo. You can send the memo to news@bpr.org. 

How To Record A Voice Memo

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