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Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

Bernard Arghiere of the Astronomy Club of Asheville has been speaking at events all across Western North Carolina ahead of the total solar eclipse that will pass through the region on August 21st.  He says the most common question he gets is when should people take off their special eclipse glasses during the event to see it.

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images via NPR.org

A bill passed by the North Carolina House of Representatives that would protect drivers who injure protesters with their car while "exercising due care" is getting renewed attention in the wake of last weekend's deadly Virginia protests.  

Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

The total solar eclipse will be here in less than a week.  Thousands will watch the eclipse within the 'path of totality' in Western North Carolina.  Bernard Arghiere is with the Astronomy Club of Asheville.  He's been speaking to groups across the region ahead of the eclipse.  He says the question most commonly asked at those meetings - when is it safe to take your eclipse glasses off when watching the eclipse?

APD

UPDATE 9:50 a.m. Tuesday - Asheville police have arrested 38-year-old Michael Patrick Faulkner and charged him with simple assault for the incident that took place Sunday evening at a demonstration in Pack Square.  The Asheville native is charged with assaulting a WLOS television reporter during a Facebook live stream.  Earlier story below -

Pisgah Legal Services

"They don't have anywhere else to turn."  Pisgah Legal Services executive director Jim Barrett was referring to the roughly 2,000 people that could lose access to their services due to cuts in the state budget.  Pisgah Legal Services is one of three aid groups across the state that will feel the impacts of the cuts.

Matt Bush BPR

Around 100 people demonstrated in Pack Square Sunday night.  They were there to honor Heather Heyer, the counter protestor who was killed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

NPR.org

As this year’s total solar eclipse draws near, it is expected to close out a record summer for tourism in the mountains. BPR’s Davin Eldridge has more…

Andrews, NC

The Town of Andrews is among the smallest towns in all of Western North Carolina.   Thanks to it being the only town in the state to fall directly in the path of this month’s solar eclipse, its population is expected to grow exponentially. BPR News's Davin Eldridge attended its latest town board meeting to find out how everyone in Andrews is preparing for the event…

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, held a town hall Monday in Flat Rock.  Here is the nearly full audio (with two edits, due to equipment) from the town hall.  

Our previous report on the town hall is here.  

Mission Health announced Thursday it wants to continue accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, but only for those who receive it through the healthcare exchange set up through the Affordable Care Act.  But the insurer rejected Mission's offer, saying it's unfair to those who have Blue Cross Blue Shield through other means, such as their jobs.

NASA TV

This week, BPR gardening expert Alison Arnold talks about the solar eclipse and the ways light affects plants.

Matt Bush BPR

The city of New Orleans earlier this year removed statues of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee.  Asheville has its own monument to a Confederate leader – Zebulon Vance, who served as North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during the post-war Reconstruction period.  The future of the prominent landmark in Pack Square - home to two other monuments honoring the Confederacy - is now under debate, as is the lack of equivalent commemoration of Asheville’s deep African-American history.

Author Steven Nash is well-versed on Zebulon Vance, and the post-Civil War period known as Reconstruction when Vance became a U.S. Senator and political powerhouse in North Carolina.  He wrote the book "Reconstruction's Ragged Edge: The Politics of Post-War Life in the Southern Mountains".

Matt Bush BPR

The Vance Monument in Pack Square is one of downtown Asheville’s most recognizable landmarks.  It honors Zebulon Vance, North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during the Reconstruction period.  It has stood for over a hundred years.  But following the removal of Confederate flags and statues in Charleston and New Orleans, the discussion over the future of the Vance Monument in Asheville is becoming unavoidable.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows met face to face with supporters and detractors during a town hall debate last night near Hendersonville that was largely dominated by health care.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb was there.

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