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President Trump will address a joint session of Congress for the first time on Tuesday evening at the Capitol, around 9:00 PM Eastern Time. The address comes a day after Trump gave an outline of his budget plan for Congress, which would increase defense spending and make cuts to domestic programs. Following tradition, House Speaker Paul Ryan invited the president to make the speech to lay out his agenda in the early days of his new administration.

Haywood County's tax collector position is unique - it's the only tax collector office in North Carolina that is still elected.  Similar positions in the state's other 99 counties are appointed.  Whether that will remain the same is at the heart of a battle between the current holder of that office - Republican Mike Matthews - and Democrats who hold the majority of Haywood County commissioner seats.

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SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — From all over the world, they flocked to this tiny town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lured by promises of inner peace and eternal life. What many found instead: years of terror — waged in the name of the Lord.

Congregants of the Word of Faith Fellowship were regularly punched, smacked, choked, slammed to the floor or thrown through walls in a violent form of deliverance meant to "purify" sinners by beating out devils, 43 former members told The Associated Press in separate, exclusive interviews.

Congress was in recess last week, meaning some but not all members were holding town hall meetings with constituents back home.  Members of Western North Carolina's congressional delegation were NOT holding such meetings however.  So residents of Clay and Cherokee Counties held their own.

It was standing room only at the Clay County courthouse in Hayesville, as more than a hundred locals turned out for a town hall meeting on the Affordable Care Act— known as “Obamacare” to many—and what is to become of it.

Tornado Detectives

Feb 23, 2017
UNC Asheville Chris Godfrey

Tornadoes aren’t common here western North Carolina, but they are in the southeast and when they strike, they tend to be deadlier and more destructive than in other parts of the country.    

A research team at  UNC Asheville is working to figure out why southeastern storms are so lethal by retracing the footprints of twisters the way detectives investigate a crime scene. 

WCQS's Helen Chickering reports. 

                     

It was just minutes into the NFC championship game.

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This week, WCQS gardening expert Alison Arnold talks about the dramatic swings in temperature and what gardeners should do about it.

A bill that would make elections for superior and district court judges in North Carolina partisan again has cleared the state house of representatives.

Asheville Finalizes Changes To Pritchard Park

Feb 22, 2017
City of Asheville

The Asheville city council has finally decided on changes for Pritchard Park in downtown.  They include fencing, meaning that portions of one of the city's iconic spaces will be sealed off.

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Asheville’s restaurant scene is one of the big reasons why the city’s national profile continues to rise.  African-American restauranteurs, chefs, and cooks will be honored at an event Wednesday afternoon showcasing the role Asheville’s black population has in the industry.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

With lawmakers back in Raleigh for their long session, we’re taking the time to speak to the members from out here in the west.  Today, Brian Turner, a Democrat of Buncombe County.  Turner represents District 116 in the House of Representatives.

Death on the Menu

Feb 14, 2017
Death Cafe

Death, it’s a  subject that is often hard to think about, let alone talk about.   A movement, called The Death Café is working to change the dialogue around the inevitable event.   It’s a social gathering of sorts that started in Europe in 2011, spread quickly to the U.S. including Western North Carolina. WCQS’s Helen Chickering attended a recent Death Cafe at UNC-Asheville.

The wildly popular Moth StorySLAMs will continue in Asheville throughout 2017. The StorySLAM is a monthly competition, where the stage is open to any and all with a story to tell on the evening's theme. The schedule and themes [as posted] are listed below.

Jim Morrill/Charlotte Observer

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday introduced an HB2 repeal he framed as a compromise.  Cooper, along with Democratic party leaders Sen. Dan Blue and Rep. Darren Jackson, said the bill would address the concerns of all parties.

connect.dc.gov

The need for stronger internet service in the Western North Carolina mountains has one national advocacy group pushing local governments in the region to take lead.

Chris Mitchell is the director of community broadband internet initiatives at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance—a D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on policy and advises local governments in matters of autonomy. He says rural municipalities are increasingly lacking in the realm of broadband internet connectivity.

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Love has been the in the air in Buncombe County in recent years.  The marriage rate in the county has increased as the national average has fallen.  Two reasons are largely why - a marketing push showcasing Buncombe County as a wedding destination has led to a drastic rise in out of state marriages taking place here, as well as the legalization of same-sex weddings in North Carolina in 2014.

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