Asheville

A picture of autumn trees along a roadway.
Jared Kay / exploreasheville.com

The fall foliage season begins later this month in the western part of the state.  Officials say it can run from late September until late October or early November depending on weather. 

Cat Kessler works for the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She says biologists and other experts are calling for especially vibrant colors this year.   

An image of an event from Working American in Greensboro
Carolyn Smith / Working America

Labor Day was established as a national holiday in 1894 to celebrate the achievements of American workers. What does labor in the state and nation look like today?   In 2013, North Carolina had 130,000 workers earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 or less, comprising 5.8 percent of all hourly-paid workers.

Image of Asheville police car
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

Thousands of untested rape kits are sitting in police storage throughout the country according to a new investigation by USA Today.

The kits include evidence that could be matched to attackers but some law enforcement agencies say the cost is prohibitive. Here in North Carolina, hundreds of rape kits remain untested. 

Image of Phil Jamison leading a flatfooting workshop in Virginia in 2010.
Phil Jamison

Professor, musician and flatfoot dancer Phil Jamison has journeyed into the past to tell the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia.

The Three Davids: Holt, LaMotte and Wilcox

Jul 10, 2015
Image of the Three Davids sitting together. The Three Davids are a new musical collaboration between Asheville musicians David Holt, David LaMotte and David Wilcox.
Lynne Harty

David Holt, David LaMotte and David Wilcox all knew each other as members of the Asheville music scene, but they'd never played together.

Holt and LaMotte ended up at the same airport in the summer of 2014, and some small talk led to the idea of the three of them linking up as one musical collaboration. Soon enough, The Three Davids was born.

NEW/NOW/NEXT

Jul 7, 2015
Image of MOTION dancer Jordan Moser
Parker J. Pfister

Asheville is the largest city in western North Carolina.  It is known for its scenic views, artsy culture and terrific music scene.  But one native, along with several of his friends, is hoping to also make Asheville a home for dance. Nick Kepley is an acclaimed dancer who founded MOTION Dance Theatre to bring the skills and values he learned performing around the nation home to Asheville.  This summer the theatre is hosting a three-week creative laboratory where visiting dancers and choreographers are given the time and space to create without boundaries.  

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

Duke Energy Progress says it will convert another power plant from coal to natural gas.

Duke Energy's plans for the facility at Lake Julian in Asheville are another indication that the energy giant is increasingly relying on natural gas, in part because of its falling price. 

The utility calls the transition for Asheville a "win-win:" cleaner energy and more jobs. Environmentalists say natural gas has its own negative consequences.

Photo: A graffiti painting at an intersection in Asheville
It's Tea / Flickr

State lawmakers are expected to send Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday a bill that would make graffiti vandalism a felony if performed by repeat offenders.

Under House Bill 552, which was approved unanimously by the House and is expected to get final approval from the Senate, anyone who has two or more prior convictions for graffiti vandalism or violates the law against it at least five times within two months could be charged with a felony. The offender could face up to 39 months in jail.

Book cover to Ronald Manheimer new book 'Mirrors of the Mind.'
Jorvik Press/2015

Many think of philosophers like Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Augustine as confined to dusty old anthologies and philosophy survey courses.

But retired philosophy professor Ronald Manheimer wanted to change that perspective and take readers out of philosophers' heads and into their lives. His new book, "Mirrors of the Mind: Reflecting on Philosophers' Autobiographies" (Jorvik Press/2015) delves into the lives of some of the most well-known philosophers.

    

Host Frank Stasio talks with Manheimer about how these great thinkers' lives informed their theories.

The Biltmore Company

Biltmore House is bringing Downton Abbey to Asheville with a new exhibit featuring more than 40 original costumes from the show.“Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times” traces the evolution of fashion and social norms during the early 20th century and draws a number of parallels between

James Beard Award is similar to the Academy Awards, but for the best chefs and bakers in America.
jamesbeard.org

  From bakeries and dives to fine dining and drive-ins, North Carolina restaurants consistently top foodies' "best-of" lists.  So it was no surprise to many in the Tar Heel culinary scene when the state's chefs and bakers were on the James Beard Foundation's semifinalist list. 

The Foundation announced the the semifinalists Wednesday at a news conference in Chicago. Nine North Carolinians made the list in two categories - Best Chef: Southeast and Outstanding Baker.

The case of Terry Cawthorn and Mission Hospital, in Asheville, N.C., gives a glimpse of how some hospital officials around the country have shrugged off an epidemic.

Cawthorn was a nurse at Mission for more than 20 years. Her supervisor testified under oath that she was "one of my most reliable employees."

The X-ray of nurse Tove Schuster's spine shows the metal cage and four screws her surgeon used to repair a damaged disk in her back. Terry Cawthorn underwent a similar procedure.
Daniel Zwerdling / NPR

A little-known epidemic has swept through hospitals across the country: thousands of nursing staff suffer debilitating back and arm injuries every year. 

An NPR investigation into the injuries shows most happen as a result of on-the-job incidents. Hospitals can reduce the rate of injury if administrators invest time and money into prevention and training mechanisms. 

The North Carolina School for Science and Math was a finalist for Spaces for Innovation Challenge at the Emerging Issues Forum.
Ildar Sagdejev

Innovation is thriving across the state of North Carolina and communities are becoming more intentional about providing spaces that nurture creative thinking.

Image of bookstore
Flickr/ Chris Alcoran

    

The digital age sparked a public discourse about the fate of the independent bookstore. 

Commercial giants like Barnes & Noble and Amazon loom large, but the American Booksellers Association (ABA) says the tides may be turning. They report that more than 400 new independent bookstores have popped up around the country since 2009. 

The ABA hosts its 10th winter institute in Asheville this week, featuring publishers, authors and booksellers from around the country. 

View from the hilltop at Carver Pond Apartments on Meriwether Drive in Durham, North Carolina
Ildar Sagdejev

  In North Carolina, two million families live without adequate housing. 

Pisgah View Association President Iindia Pearson and Hillcrest resident Olufemi Lewis talk to members of a new group advocating for the interests of public housing residents in Asheville, which has the largest public housing agency in Western NC.
Matt Rose/Carolina Public Press

  

Public housing residents in Asheville are raising concerns with the city's housing authority because of a recent rise in evictions. 

Growler from Front Street Brewery in Wilmington, NC.
https://www.facebook.com/FrontStreetBrewery

Craft beers are filling the shelves and taps around North Carolina. 

From the mountains to the coast, new breweries are opening. The national Brewer’s Association put the economic impact  of craft beer in the state at more than $791 million dollars in 2012. There are 110 breweries across the state and the industry supports 10,000 jobs.

North Carolina will be missing out on $51 billion from Mediciad because they chose not to expand coverage.
http://eofdreams.com/money.html

    

Lawmakers in North Carolina decided to not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

Just Economics is trying to get a living wage for working class in Western North Carolina.
http://justeconomicswnc.org/

  The Asheville nonprofit Just Economics has been pushing for local businesses to pay a living wage. 

    

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is an ordained minister and published author who uses her faith work and fiction writing to create new strategies for supporting LGBT communities in the South. 

A picture of the sun setting behind the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Ian Britton / Freefoto.com

AAA is forecasting the busiest July 4th travel weekend since 2001, in part because of a recovering economy. But with a tropical storm headed toward the Outer Banks, travelers might end up making other plans.

It's not yet clear whether Tropical Storm Arthur will make landfall in North Carolina, but Dare County is readying its hurricane action plan, just in case.

On the other side of the state, tourism is up already in Asheville this summer.

A picture of a bottle and a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Wikipedia

In less than five years the number of craft beer breweries in North Carolina has more than doubled. From Manteo to the mountains - tasting rooms, tap houses and local seasonal drafts are pouring in. Asheville now has more breweries per capita than anywhere in the country. 

Promotional trailers: Homeland, Ironman 3, Hunger Games
Showtime, Marvel Studios, Lionsgate

North Carolina could see fewer hits like Iron Man 3 or Homeland filmed in the state. That’s because tax incentives that encourage the film industry to make movies here are set to expire in January. Some lawmakers are trying to pass a measure that would give grants to the film industry to keep production companies here. But while budget negotiations are underway, time is running out to pass legislation.

Beginning Monday June 2, North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC's daily program "The State of Things" will be heard on WCQS, Western North Carolina Public Radio.

A picture of Caleb Johnson.
wn.com

The newest American Idol comes from Asheville. Caleb Johnson won Season 13 of the televised singing competition last night.

Johnson took the stage with Kiss. Together, he and the band performed a medley of "Love Gun" and "Shout it out Loud."

He beat out Jena Irene Asciutto from Michigan.

Third time was the charm for Johnson, who had been an American Idol contestant twice before. He only made it as far as the Hollywood auditions in previous seasons.

Erika
Doug Coombe / Moogfest

Erika Sherman was a preteen when she started running an early BBS or electronic Bulletin Board System from her bedroom. When she was 17, she received a drum machine and was invited to join the Detroit techno group, Ectomorph. Erika was a born technophile. Today, Erika performs primarily as a solo artist; she released her first solo album, Hexagon Cloud, last year. She also founded erika.net, a freeform internet radio station. 

Ed White performs the first U.S. spacewalk. White floats in space with astronaut suit and attached to the shuttle by a cord. Earth is in the background.
flickr.com / Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee

Scientists say in space you cannot hear a sound. But for decades, filmmakers have tried to create the sounds of space. And perhaps they’re onto something. Asheville's Moogfest is hosting a panel "Sounds of Space," that explores both artists and scientists' perspectives on what we can hear in space if we learn to listen. Charles Lindsay, a multimedia artist and the artist in residence at SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, and Eric McDougall, founder and principal of Black Ink San Francisco, are part of the panel. 

Lee Smith Explores History Through Fiction

Dec 3, 2013
Algonquin Books

  

In her latest novel, Chapel Hill author Lee Smith tells the story of Asheville's Highland Hospital, a pioneering mental institution that once housed Zelda Fitzgerald.

"Guests on Earth" (Algonquin/2013), reveals this real-life history through the prism of fiction, all while exploring the relationship between creativity and madness. Frank Stasio talks with Lee Smith about her new book.

Construction of a new aviation manufacturing facility is underway in Asheville. GE Aviation broke ground on a $ 124 million plant this week. The site will produce CMC's (ceramic matrix composite) materials, for jet engines. The CMCs replace metal and make for a more efficient engine with better combustion and less emissions.  "This material has been in development, at least in our research labs for almost years.. It's used in small scale production in rocket loaders.

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