WNC

Every Friday we check in with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban for a look at the week in COVID-19 headlines.  Rose is visiting family in New York is week, so we connected by cell phone (pardon the occasional static).

BPR

Scaffolding is going up around the Vance Monument as the city prepares to shroud the 75-foot obelisk in Pack Square in downtown Asheville.   

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a broad health measure late Monday because it contains a provision that addresses the confidentiality of death investigation records. Opposition to the item has served as a rallying cry for demonstrators for racial justice outside the Executive Mansion for days.

Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban.  Among the topics of discussion this week:  Governor Roy Cooper's Phase-2 pause and mask mandate, the latest from the General Assembly -  including a bill addressing hospital patient visitation during the pandemic and a Medicaid package, plus a look at challenges dentists are facing as they work to re-open

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Protests in the rural towns of Western North Carolina for racial justice are growing into a movement.

 Molly Haithcock, 24 and Erykah Lasha, 22, didn’t know each other until a few weeks ago even though both went to Franklin High School. Haithcock, who identifies as a black woman, says she was sickened by the killing of George Floyd and wanted to do something - anything: 

Every Friday,  BPR's Helen Chickering talks with NC Health News founding editor Rose Hoban about the week’s coronavirus headlines and emerging issues linked to the pandemic.  This week they discuss the metrics amid the start of North Carolina’s  Phase-2 reopening and the many roles churches are playing in the coronavirus pandemic.

Abby Bishop

Across the country, counties expect to have to tighten their budgets this year because of the COVID-19 health crisis.  

The National Association of Counties estimates that by 2021 counties will have lost $144 billion dollars.  This is due to the compounded impact of funding spent fighting COVID-19 and losses in revenue such as local sales taxes.  

This is the case in Transylvania County, explains County Commissioner Page Lemmel. She says the county budget will look very different this year: 

MAHEC

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted some dentists to break into the new frontier of teledentistry – including  the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC).  BPR’s Helen Chickering caught up with a MAHEC dental resident as the program was just getting underway. 

MAHEC

What happens when a medical student and a dental resident harness 3D technology to help flatten the coronavirus curve in North Carolina?  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

MAHEC

Find the latest COVID-19 updates & info here   Along with restaurants, hotels, and many small businesses – physician practices across Western North Carolina are feeling the financial crunch from the coronavirus.  A  MAHEC  survey of 100 primary care practices finds many are being hit hard by both the shortage of  supplies  - and patients.  

April 1 brings another COVID-19 concern – rent is due.  With restrictions shuttering businesses and putting thousands out of work across Western North Carolina, non-profit organizations that provide housing  and other support services are seeing an increase in calls from residents concerned about rent and mortgage payments.

BPR News

While much of BPR's coronavirus coverage is dedicated to updates from health and government officials, we are working to reach out to the community - including local restaurants.  On Tuesday March 17, Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive order closing sit-down Service at restaurants and bars across the state– which forced many to close.  But some have been working to stay open including a sandwich shop down the street from the Blue Ridge Public Radio.  BPR's  Helen Chickering has been checking in..

BPR News

Should I get tested? Local health officials are recommending people who are not critically ill call their primary care provider, an urgent care center or local health department to be screened over the phone.   Many local providers are able to order a COVID-19 test, but health officials stress it is important to call first.

It’s important to remember facts not fear when it comes to finding out more about the coronavirus and how to filter that information.  Need an answer now?  Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162.  Sign up for updates by texting COVIDNC to 898211

For mental health resources in Western North Carolina the public is encouraged to call the  Vaya Health 24/7 Access to Care Line 800-849-6127 

Find  COVID-19 resources and the latest case count  in North Carolina here and testing information here.

(4/9 4:30 p.m.)  The number of customers permitted in retail and grocery stores will be limited to ensure social distancing starting Monday at 5 p.m. under a new executive order issued by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.  

Courtesy of North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office

Reports say that Frontier Communications will declare bankruptcy this week. Here's what that could mean for Western North Carolina: 

Frontier is one of the largest broadband providers in the region. Beyond that Frontier provides telecom services across 29 states. That’s why news that the company might file for bankruptcy is turning a lot of heads. 

Wes King is director of communications for the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure office. 

BPR News

While Presidential candidates have been grabbing most of the attention ahead of Tuesday’s primary in North Carolina, a number of organizations have been working to raise awareness about local candidates and issues.

A birthday celebration for the late legendary singer-songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone will be held this weekend in her hometown of Tryon.   The public is invited to celebrate and to share their ideas about the future of Simone’s birthplace.     BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

BPR

Climate change is a complicated topic, especially when you start to unpack the impact on human health.   In this installment of BPR's Climate City series,  Helen Chickering  introduces us to two WNC researchers who are collaborating to tackle that challenge. 

CREDIT CDC/DR. FRED MURPHY / WIKIPEDIA

North Carolina now has a  task force dedicated to help residents say safe and informed about COVID 19 – the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 1,000 in China.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

01/30/20 — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today released the final report on the public health investigation into an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in people who attended the 2019 NC Mountain State Fair at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher.   While there isn't a 'smoking gun', the report confirms earlier findings that  the outbreak was likely caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria in aerosolized water from hot tubs that were on display during the fair at the Ag Center in Fletcher.   

BPR News

Climate change is getting lots of attention on the 2020 campaign trail.   Among the popular slogans  -  "12 years to fix the climate".  It appears on signs and in speeches, but what does it really mean?   BPR’s Helen Chickering  met with the science editor  who worked on the report that launched the catch phrase.  

BPR News

Boston, Chicago, Houston and Austin will soon be a non-stop plane ride away from Asheville.  The budget airline Allegiant is adding the four cities to its service from the Asheville Regional airport

WNC Catholic Clergy Among Those 'Credibly Accused' Of Child Sexual Abuse

Dec 30, 2019
NICK DE LA CANAL / WFAE

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has named 14 former clergy members it considers "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children. The 14 clergy members all served in the diocese since 1972, when the diocese — which covers the western half of the state – formed.  The clergy members named on the list were removed from ministry years ago or died before allegations against them were made. 

December 15 is the enrollment deadline for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, which became law nearly ten years ago. BPR’s Helen Chickering checked in with Jackie Kiger at Pisgah Legal Services  to find out what people need to know as they navigate this year’s marketplace.  

BPR News

What do turkeys and hurricanes have in common?   Thanksgiving -   the holiday weekend  marks the end of the 2019 hurricane season. This year powerful slow moving storms like Dorian invigorated the conversation about the impact of climate change on hurricanes.  BPR’s Helen Chickering talked with a climate scientist based here in Asheville who has been tackling that question.

BPR News

The Department of Transportation picked the Asheville Regional Airport as the backdrop to announce major funding grants for airport hubs across the country – including a hefty sum for Asheville.  North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis(R-NC) was on hand as Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao made the grant announcement.

“The Asheville Regional Airport will receive 10 million dollars for terminal rehabilitation,” says Chao, “This makes Asheville one of 8 in the nation to receive 10 million or more in this round.”


BPR News

This week community advocates, education and business leaders from across the region are gathering in Asheville to tackle an issue that has connections to both climate change and hunger - food waste.   Some of the most creative and successful solutions are happening on college campuses.  BPR's Helen Chickering visited UNC Asheville where some small changes are making a big difference.

BPR News

In 1976, before climate change was really on the public radar, North Carolina created the State Climate Office.  Today, it is the second largest state climate office in the U.S. This summer, Kathie Dello took the helm and became the first woman to serve as North Carolina's state climatologist.  Dello was in Asheville this week and talked about her role with BPR’s Helen Chickering. 

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