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Members of the National Nurses United Union at Mission Hospital marched outside the building Thursday morning, asking for a solution to a staff shortage across departments. Dozens of nurses gathered including a person dressed in a death costume with a sign reading “Unsafe staffing is good for business.” Others were dressed in scrubs, coats and mask…
 
Outside of Old Fort, the Western North Carolina railroad bends around Andrews Geyser. The man-made fountain is named after the vice president of the company that owned the railroad, built in the 1870’s. Now, the thousands of laborers who did the work are finally memorialized at the site too.โดย Matt Bush
 
Whether on stage or on the page, Gina Cornejo has always brought a focus and fluidity to her identity. For now, she uses the pronouns she/her and they/them. “This is me in my own transition of, not only in this time of coming into my own voice within my work, but coming to my own very gentle identifying as queer, identifying as a queer female, even…
 
A memorial to the incarcerated laborers that built the railroad into Western North Carolina in the late 1800's will be dedicated this weekend - culminating an effort by historians and community leaders to bring attention to a crucial piece of history in the region that had long been ignored or forgotten.…
 
North Carolina lawmakers hope to have redistricting completed by the end of this month. There are plenty of proposed maps floating about right now, but Western Carolina University Dr. Chris Cooper urges people not to overreact to any of them - because the only map that matters is the final one.โดย Matt Bush
 
“Searching For Jimmy Page” isn’t merely the title of Christy Hallberg’s debut novel. It was an obsession that once compelled Hallberg to hatch a wild plan to meet the Led Zeppelin guitarist. In 2005, Hallberg learned that Page and Brian May of Queen were to judge a guitar competition in London. Hallberg flew there and worked her way backstage at th…
 
Western Carolina University is looking for feedback as the school updates its future land use plan. This year’s student population at Western Carolina University surpassed the predictions which estimated there would be just over 11,000 students in the year 2023. Mike Beyers is chief financial officer of the school. “As we work on this update we don…
 
Live music venues in and around Asheville are back to hosting shows, but it’s anything but business as usual. Amid evolving Covid-19 restrictions, venues have adopted their own safety protocols on top of local requirements and those required by the artists, affecting audiences, backstage crew and event staff. Still, behind the scenes, venue manager…
 
People in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties impacted by the flood can apply for assistance. Here's more info to sign up for one-time funds to buy food. In August, Tropical Storm Fred caused flood waters to rise across the region damaging businesses and homes. Many families continue to rebuild, from their floorboards to their pantries. Tho…
 
In their last episode , John and Marcia only scratched the surface about mental health in sports. They go deeper in this show, and they bring in an expert to help - sports social worker Natalie Graves of Chicago. (Music featured includes Steppin' In by Podington Bear)โดย Matt Bush
 
Earlier this month, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council upheld its ban on same-sex marriage . BPR looked into how widespread these bans are in Native American Tribal governments across the United States:โดย Lilly Knoepp
 
Several health departments and vaccine providers across Western North Carolina are rolling out the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot to people 65 and older and others now eligible . Buncombe , Henderson , and Haywood Jackson , Madison , and McDowell counties are among those offering the booster shot. Meantime, there are lots of questions about just who …
 
BPR is launching several new programs this Sunday including a show centered on the voices and stories of Appalachia. BPR spoke with the hosts of Inside Appalachia ahead of this weekend’s debut: Lilly Knoepp: I’m Lilly Knoepp, the regional reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. I’m here with West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s show Inside Appalachia …
 
The Nantahala Health Foundation and Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation hope to address the region’s housing crisis by helping homeowners keep their homes livable. Lori Bailey, executive director of nonprofit Nantahala Health Foundation explains their new Healthy Homes Initiative. “If you’re a family that is really struggling to get by already the…
 
Downtown Sylva has a new addition - a sculpture of Harriet Tubman. Meet the local woman behind the sculpture. The 9-ft bronze sculpture called “Journey to Freedom” sits in Bridge Park. “Looking at the sculpture, I'm like that’s not my face but those are my hands, those are my feet, that’s my body. Like I am Harriet Tubman too.” That’s Jada Bryson. …
 
There was plenty of disappointment last year when MerleFest became a casualty of the pandemic. This year, the show went on. America’s premier “traditional plus” music festival returned, once again giving undiscovered acts their chance to shine.โดย Cory Vaillancourt
 
The state legislative committee that will undertake redistricting in North Carolina made its way to the mountains Tuesday evening for its only meeting in the region. Almost 200 people showed up to the campus of Western Carolina University to listen and share comments about the redistricting process. About 50 people spoke during the public comment p…
 
A little after noon Sunday in Asheville’s Pack Square, the first sounds indicating a turning point for the Asheville Symphony Orchestra came from Alicia Chapman, an oboe player testing out a series of reeds for optimal outdoor performance. “There is a pilot light, a flame that’s inside when I play music,” Chapman said. “I was a little afraid, ‘oh m…
 
Campgrounds are a way of life in Western North Carolina – and have been long before the current camping craze which helped bring more than 12-million visitors to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park last year. BPR went to Laurel Bank Campground in Haywood County. Camping there is more than a weekend activity or a vacation. It’s life – and family.…
 
On August 17th, historic flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred devastated Western North Carolina. Haywood County was hit hardest, as six people were killed in the Cruso, Canton, and Bethel areas.โดย mbush@wcqs.org (Matt Bush)
 
A nationally-acclaimed eatery in Asheville that honors soul food and African foodways has a new chef de cuisine. The new head of the kitchen at Benne On Eagle plans to shift the restaurant’s flavors and focus.โดย Cass Herrington
 
In one sense, Christopher Paul Stelling is always ready to tour. He drives a Ford Transit van with a lofted bed in the back, and bins of albums, shirts and buttons beneath, along with a makeshift lounge behind the front seats. “I got that with 25,000 miles on it, it’s got 155,000, I got it in 2017 and I didn’t tour last year,” he said. “You kinda u…
 
Tom Godleski’s newest play sounds far different than when he first brought it to Asheville’s Magnetic Theatre . “He presented me with a very rough script. It was not written in a play format at all,” recalled Artistic Director Katie Jones. “But he had a pretty decent story and then some beautiful songs.” “They said ‘We are going to do your play, bu…
 
Taurus Lenoir remembers journaling as a 10-year-old. As an adult rapper, she rarely writes anything down before she hears a beat. Lenoir said the music inspires her words. “My sister encouraged freestyling off instrumentals, not even writing a song, just freestyling on that beat, going off the top of your head. So we would just do that for fun,” Le…
 
Oxalis is a weed-like ground cover that can quickly take over a lawn. Travis Lowe saw “Oxalis” as an apt metaphor and appropriate title for his latest stage play, about one woman’s experience with bipolar disorder. “It can have pretty flowers and it’s very hard to kill,” Lowe said. “So it can look like it’s completely dead for long periods of time …
 
Brittany Jackson and two friends launched a film festival five years ago to showcase work they made, along with short films and music videos from friends. Today, the Cat Fly Film Festival largely serves the same purpose, though that group of friends has widened, thanks in part to the festival. “When we first had the idea, we were like, ‘We’re gonna…
 
Even when he dropped out of high school at 16, hopped trains and hitchhiked his way out of Southern Indiana, the man known to friends and fans today as Cactus believed he was on a mission. “ I didn’t run away, I ran to,” Cactus said. “I always knew there was more out there and I wanted to find it as quickly as possible.” Cactus is the founding ring…
 
Indigo De Souza could be a spokeswoman for the DIY ethos. Of the more than dozen tattoos along her legs, arms and hands, several came from her own hand. “I stick and poke a lot of them, just with a needle and ink. I did this one, this one and this one,” she said, pointing around her legs. “Like this one is a drawing I did when I was little. And thi…
 
Twenty-eight years ago, Glenis Redmond was a clinical counselor for the state of South Carolina and the mother of twin toddler girls when she learned her excruciating condition had a name, Fibromyalgia. After absorbing the ramifications of her diagnosis, she recalls thinking of a prescient line of verse from the poet Lucille Clifton. “‘Everyday som…
 
Terry Roberts is like many who are certain they have a novel somewhere inside them. He’d go to work every day and carve time in the early mornings or quiet of twilight to writing he now regards as dreadful. “It was dreadful in the sense that I was struggling to find a voice, to teach myself how to write fiction,” Roberts said. “And while I think I …
 
The loading dock behind the former post office in downtown Sylva was never intended as a theatrical stage. But beyond the location, Ashlee Wasmund has created something rarely seen in rural Western North Carolina—a theater company focused on new, original, locally produced work. “I think that has always been on my bucket list,” Wasmund said. She an…
 
Tarah Singh grew up in Hendersonville, attended private school and had a supportive family of artists and entertainers with a lineage of achievement. Her mother’s stepfather was Ronald Isley , the founding lead vocalist of the Isley Brothers. “I was around all kinds of creative people that were very successful,” Singh said. “A lot of people joke ar…
 
The three women of the Smoky Mountain Sirens all had other things happening in music when they came together in 2019. They started like a lot of bands, covering other artists’ songs in local bars. “It was, like, ‘oh god,' it just felt like selling our souls for a while,” said guitarist and vocalist Aimee Jacob Oliver. But with the pandemic, Oliver,…
 
Anya Hinkle is known largely for her time in the Americana bands Tellico and Dehlia Low. She made moves about two years ago to leave the safety of a band and embark on her own. With the pandemic, those moves grew into a calling. “I really had an opportunity to perform online and work up all these solo shows because I had to,” she said. “I just had …
 
When Marjorie Dial first walked the rustic 30 acres north of Marshall that once housed East Fork Pottery, she noticed what almost everyone would—the natural beauty. But Dial is a ceramic artist who was also in a position to see something beyond beauty. She saw potential. “Artists are asked to do so much to make their work, explain their work, promo…
 
People associate the sound of a lone wooden flute as traditionally Native American. And while this sound accompanies the centerpiece video on the Visit Cherokee website promoting the Museum of the Cherokee Indian , the video’s text and visuals urge viewers to see the museum as contemporary. “One of the things we’re most excited about pursuing is lo…
 
It’s a Saturday night at the Asheville Beauty Academy—that’s a nightclub, not a salon—and host Marlene Thompson has warmed up a full house as a standup comedy duo from Chattanooga called Good Cop, Rad Cop takes the stage. Normally, a DJ would spin records here and, indeed, there will be once the evening’s comedy is over. But the reason there’s come…
 
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