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The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the city of Asheville, allowing it to retain control of its water system.  The decision seemingly ends a years-long struggle over the issue that pitted Republicans in the General Assembly against Democrats that run the city.  The full decision can be read here.

Katie Peralta/Charlotte Observer

An effort to repeal HB2 flamed out as NC GOP leadership failed to corral the votes necessary.  Senate Leader Phil Berger refused to consider a clean repeal of HB2, instead offering a bill that would include a 6 month moratorium on non-discrimination ordinances across the state.  That was a non-starter for Democrats, who said they had held up their end of the bargain when the Charlotte city council fully repealed its ordinance earlier Wednesday.  After 9 hours of waiting for leadership to get the votes, several parliamentary maneuvers were introduced, that ultimately failed. 

"HB2 Treated Us As Something Less Than Human"

Dec 20, 2016
Jeremy Loeb WCQS

North Carolina’s controversial House Bill Two is expected to be repealed tomorrow by the General Assembly.  The move comes after the city of Charlotte repealed a non-discrimination ordinance that initially spurred state lawmakers to pass House Bill Two.  The law makes transgender people use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate, and not the one with which they currently identify.

The U.S. real estate market has come a long way since its historic collapse in 2008. And the same can be said for real estate in North Carolina, which is seeing steady growth despite rising home prices, according to the National Association of Realtors.

This has real estate agents in the western part of the state both optimistic and a bit cautious, with the financial meltdown known as the “Great Recession” still fresh in the back of their minds. Just ask realtor John Becker, who started out in the real estate game over a decade ago.

Colin Campbell/News & Observer

There were more protests and arrests Friday as lawmakers continued their surprise additional special session to limit the powers of Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper.  On party-line votes, both chambers passed SB4, a bill that includes broad election changes.  It was quickly signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory, according to House Speaker Tim Moore.  The legislature also passed HB17, which restricts Cooper's ability to make appointments.

Full Sun Farm

As an applied environmental economist, UNCA’s Leah Mathews is interested in the value of things you can’t buy on the store shelves like scenic quality, cultural heritage and social interaction.  Much of her research focuses the local food system in Western North Carolina, looking at the benefits that residents and visitors receive from farmland, the value of social interactions at farmers markets, and the veracity of the Appalachian Grown local food label.    

Buncombe County District Attorney's Office

Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced Thursday there will be no charges filed against the Asheville police officer who shot and killed Jai Williams at the Dearview Apartments on July 2nd.  Todd Williams said  Sergeant Tyler Radford was 'justified' in shooting Jai Williams, who reportedly had been firing a rifle from his vehicle at the Pisgah View Apartments and leading police on a high speed chase prior to the shooting.  His death came as the national debate over police-involved shooting deaths of black men was reaching a fever pitch.

The Swannanoa Solstice returns Sunday to the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville for the 14th year. Host Doug Orr and multi-instrumentalist Al Petteway brought poetry and music, joining Dick Kowal to talk about the nature of this holiday tradition.

US Forest Service

The Disaster Recovery Act passed by North Carolina Lawmakers in the special session will help with wildfire relief efforts here in Western North Carolina.

Just over 25 million dollars will go to the North Carolina Forest Service for wildfire response expenses and timber restoration.  Arson is suspected in most of the fires.

NPR

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. We're happy to once again see that Asheville is a great place for public radio. Please follow the ticket link to get on the waiting list for returns. We'll post the list of Michelle's guests very soon.Thanks very much.

WCQS and NPR are proud to present Michel Martin Going There: When Your Hometown Gets Hot February 7th at Diana Wortham Theatre. 

Now more than ever, independent journalism and public radio programming is essential to our democracy! Everything you hear on WCQS is made possible by listener support. Our year-end goal of $100,000 by December 31st will keep WCQS on track to continue to bring you insightful news, well reasoned voices and amazing music when you need it most. 

A steady buzz of conversation fills the concourse at UNCA’s Sherrill Center. 

The scene is the standard long line of students in front of poster presentations during the Undergraduate Research and Community Engagement Symposium.  The conversation, however, is anything but standard.

Matt Bush WQCS

Efforts to speed up wireless internet service throughout western North Carolina are speeding up themselves, thanks to a six-city partnership.

Wifi has rapidly speed up throughout the region in the last decade, but Bill Sederburg says it’s time for the next step.  The coordinator of the West Next Generation Network says that is “gigabit” internet service.

“It means much faster downloads for video.  It means the ability for hospitals to have branch campuses (that can) access to MRI and X-ray images and stuff like that”, according to Sederburg.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities have charged two juveniles with starting an East Tennessee wildfire that killed 14 people and destroyed or damaged more than 1,700 buildings.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, local District Attorney General James Dunn and Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced charges at a news conference Wednesday.

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