Matt Bush BPR

Governor Cooper - Confederate Monuments Throughout State Should Come Down

North Carolina govenor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday evening his belief that all Confederate monuments throughout the state should come down. His announcement comes a day after protestors pulled down a statue of Confederate soldier in Durham . That happened in response to Saturday's white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed when a car was driven through counterprotestors. In a video statement posted on his official Facebook page, Cooper said "We can't...

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The State of Things

“The State of Things” covers diverse issues & topics in NC. Frank Stasio talks to authors, musicians, politicians, & citizens about subjects that matter to North Carolinians.

Polio is on the verge of being eliminated. Last year there were just over 200 cases of polio, and they occurred in just two remote parts of the world — northern Nigeria and the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border region.

A new $5.5 billion plan being pushed by the World Health Organization strives to eliminate polio entirely, phase out vaccination campaigns and secure polio vaccine stockpiles in case the virus somehow manages to re-emerge.

If the effort is successful, polio would be just the second disease in human history, after smallpox, to be eliminated by medical science.

How Close Is Doomsday?

Apr 2, 2013

How close are we to the end? How close are we to being among the last humans to ever live? Depending on who you are — your religion, politics, relative degree of pessimism or optimism — that question is bound to bring up images of some particular kind of cataclysm. It could be an all-out nuclear exchange or a climate change-driven mass extinction. But what if there was a way of answering the doomsday question in the most generic way possible.

The federal criminal complaint against New York politicians arrested after an FBI sting was a reminder of how often real-life political scandals can read like the imaginings of Hollywood screenwriters.

More than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China, according to a new analysis.

"This is the highest toll in the world and it really reflects the very high levels of air pollution that exist in China today," says Robert O'Keefe of the Health Effects Institute in Boston, who presented the findings in Beijing this week.

'Buckwild' Star Died Of Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Apr 2, 2013

We told you on Monday about the death of one of the stars of the MTV reality show Buckwild. The Kanawha County, W.Va., Sheriff's Office said there were no signs of foul play in the death of Shain Gandee, 21, his uncle David Gandee, 48, and a third, unidentified person.

An obscure tax code provision crafted for drug dealers is giving state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries a headache.

In Colorado, federal income tax rates for dispensaries can soar as high as 70 percent because of a tax code section that does not allow businesses to claim certain deductions.

The section is known as 280E, and it was originally written for illegal drug traffickers. But today it's a thorn in the side of licensed dispensary owners like Erica Freeman.

The Alawites of Syria were a poor, little-known Shiite minority until longtime dictator Hafez Assad, a member of the sect, rose to power in 1970. His son, President Bashar Assad, is now fighting to maintain that power in a country that has risen up against him. Now, even some Syrian Alawites say they are willing to denounce the regime, despite the risks.

A recent gathering in Cairo was much like other conferences hosted by the Syrian opposition — a flurry of activity in the hotel lobby, late-night conversations and lots of cigarettes.

Tuareg bands are natural rockers. These desert nomads have a history of harsh physical challenges, long separations, nostalgia and rebellion — elements that give their music gritty authenticity. There's something about their ambling, tuneful songs that fits perfectly with the bite and snarl of electric guitars.

The daughter of Florida political legend Bob Graham has announced she will run for Congress next year, taking on incumbent Republican Steve Southerland.

Gwen Graham, a lawyer and administrator in the Leon County school district, made the announcement Tuesday morning. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Congress is a dysfunctional mess," Graham wrote on her campaign website.

Could Wind Turbines Be Toxic To The Ear?

Apr 2, 2013

The U.S. is embracing wind energy, with wind turbines making up half of the new electricity added to the power grid last year. But a smattering of people who live near the turbines say they're a nuisance — and making them ill.

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Arts & Performance

Blue Ridge Public Radio continues to invest in the development of local programming and content with the hiring of Matt Peiken as the NPR station’s first Arts Producer.

Peiken, whose entire journalism career has concentrated in covering arts and culture, will produce segments for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and will develop a range of digital elements for BPR’s web and mobile platforms. He’ll also lay the groundwork for a new, weekly arts and performance showcase for BPR.

WCQS

It's a bittersweet day here at Blue Ridge Public Radio.  Thirty one years ago this month, music director Dick Kowal hit the airwaves.   Today, he hosted his last show.   While it's  impossible to capture all of the amazing accomplishments of his talented career, we do have some highlights, and a few good stories.  BPR's Helen Chickering reports.

(Dick Kowal on the air)

“It’s about 6 minutes after 9, good morning.”

If you live in Western North Carolina, chances are, you know this voice.

(Dick Kowal on the air)