News

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.

Dozens of electronic music players from around the world descended on the city of Asheville, North Carolina, to participate in the second annual Continuum Conference. The conference is dedicated to exploring the possibilities of the electronic Haken Audio Continuum Fingerboard.   

Smoky Mountain News

Joey's Pancake House in Maggie Valley, which first opened in 1966, will serve it's last breakfast this coming Tuesday June 13th.  Owner Brenda O'Keefe lists many reasons for why she's closing, including her health and increasing difficulty in keeping enough employees to ensure the restaurant runs to her high standards.  Joey's is an institution in Maggie Valley, regularly seeing lines of up to 50 people waiting for a table on the weekends.

The topic of climate change just got hotter on the heels of President Trump’s decision to pull  the U.S.  from the Paris climate agreement.   Retired Navy Rear Admiral  David Titley  is an international expert on climate change and national security .  He’s giving a talk at the Collider in Asheville.

Matt Bush BPR

Bars were opening early all across the U.S. this morning to show former FBI director James Comey’s testimony to a U.S. Senate panel.  Asheville was no different.  Asheville Brewing Company’s Merrimon Avenue location includes a movie theater with its own bar, and when it opened at 10 a.m., around 30 people filed into it to watch the proceedings in D.C.  Others slowly trickled in as the political theater unfolded in the nation’s capital.  “I think there is some drama and excitement to be able to watch this with other people”, says Anne Fitten Glenn, Asheville Brewing Company’s spokesperson.

Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. On Thursday, June 8, Senators are expected to press Comey on the circumstances surrounding his dismissal as well as the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election. The White House has given conflicting messages about the reasons for Comey's firing. Sources close to Comey say the President told Comey to shut down the Russia investigation.

North Carolina officials are investigating whether Russian hackers targeted state or local elections staffers by posing as a voting software supplier.

State elections board director Kim Westbrook Strach said Tuesday the move follows a leaked classified intelligence report suggesting election-related hacking reached further into U.S. voting systems than previously known.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Add North Carolina’s Attorney General to the list of those disappointed with President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord.  During a visit to downtown Asheville Tuesday, Josh Stein expressed his disappointment with the decision, saying it puts the nation’s economic future in peril.

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville no longer has a 'Pit of Despair' but instead 68 Haywood Street.  That's the name city lawmakers gave the prominent piece of unused real estate downtown after surveying residents.  Other name suggestions included 'Site 68' and 'The Pit' (had the latter won the references from the NBC sitcom "Parks And Recreation" could have been endless).

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville is Beer City USA, with more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.  Other towns in North Carolina have become hot spots for beer, but oat sodas are getting some competition in the craft alcoholic beverage market - in the form of spirits.

Clean Slate Coalition

For many female inmates, having stability, or even just a place to call home upon their release, is not a sure thing. But one Western North Carolina group is working to change that—one woman at a time.  

BPR

Earlier this year the Asheville City Council kicked off a community garden program.  Residents can claim and garden a spot on vacant plots across the city.  It’s a green dream for one group of locals who live downtown and have been eyeing an empty lot in their front yard.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

Matt Bush BPR

The Asheville City schools have a new superintendent.  Dr. Denise Patterson was appointed by the city school board Thursday night.  She takes office on July 1st.  Patterson is currently the assistant superintendent of Hickory City schools, a post she's had since 2012.  Prior to that, she worked in both the Union County and Lincoln County school systems, and taught as an adjunct professor at Gardner-Webb and Wingate Universities.  She told reporters her first priority upon taking office is to talk and listen to staff to see what changes have already been done before making any of her own.

BBC

Reaction to President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord is drawing swift reaction.  Andrew Jones is co-director of Climate Interactive, housed at The Collider in downtown Asheville.  He spoke with BPR shortly after the election to express optimism, despite then President-elect Trump's skepticism of climate science.  Now, Jones says he's outraged and more determined than ever to do all he can to slow the climate's warming.  He spoke Friday with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

ANDREW HARNIK / AP

President Trump has announced that the U.S. will be withdrawing from the Paris accord — the historic global agreement reached by 195 countries in 2015 to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the rise in average global temperatures.

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