Matt Bush

News Director

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016.  Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C.  For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor.  Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis.  Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.

Matt has a B.A. in broadcasting from Point Park College in Pittsburgh.  His M.A. is in media entrepreneurship from American University in D.C.  In May 2017, he will graduate from the 35th class of Leadership Asheville at UNC-Asheville.

Ways to Connect

UNC-Asheville

UNC-Asheville chancellor Dr. Mary Grant will be leaving the university at the end of the current semester according to a statement from the school's board of trustees.  Grant, who has held the position since August 2014, will become the president of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston.  Grant was expected to share the news campus-wide later Wednesday.

Matt Bush BPR

Duke Energy reports around 8-thousand customers in Western North Carolina were without power at 10 Thursday morning after the remnants of Hurricane Irma passed through the region early Tuesday.  Most customers who do not have power may not get it restored until Friday evening.  A spokesperson for Duke says many of the remaining outages are spread out over a wide area and are very small, which is slowing the utility's progress.

NOAA

Hurricane Irma is tracking more to the west of Western North Carolina after making landfall in Florida this weekend.  But WNC will still see significant rainfall on Monday and Tuesday, and authorities are urging residents not to get complacent with the track of the storm.

Bookings through Airbnb skyrocketed in the past year in Buncombe County.  A study commissioned by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority showed demand for rentals through the site increased 105% in the past year.  Hotel room bookings grew only 3% during the same time.  The growth in Airbnb demand comes despite its murky legal status in Asheville.  Airbnb rentals are legal in "commercial" parts of the city, but illegal in "residential" parts.

Matt Bush BPR

Student resource officers at several Buncombe County middle and high schools will have overdose-reversal kits for the first time ever.  The kits contain Narcan, the brand name for a nasal spray administered to those who have overdosed on opioids.  The kits are being made available through collaboration between the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), Vaya Health, and the Buncombe County Sheriff's office.  

Matt Bush BPR

September will be Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery month in North Carolina.  Governor Roy Cooper signed the proclamation designating alcohol and drug addiction recovery month at Vaya Health in Asheville.  The organization helps connect people with health insurance, including for addiction and recovery, something the governor says is crucial in a state where the opioid crisis is growing.

Corey Vaillancourt Smoky Mountain News

North Carolina is home to around 100 monuments to the Confederacy.  Governor Roy Cooper says all should come down in the wake of the death of a woman who was counter protesting a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.  But a 2-year-old state law prohibits local governments from removing the monuments without state approval, keeping many of them in place for t

Lawmakers are returning to Raleigh this week to vote on new legislative district maps for next year's North Carolina General Assembly elections.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled current districts were illegally gerrymandered using race as the deciding factor in creating them.

CAROLYN KASTER / AP

President Trump addressed the nation Monday night on U.S. engagement and "the path forward" in Afghanistan and South Asia. Senior U.S. officials tell NPR that the president is expected to order about 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The decision follows months of deliberation within the Trump Administration, involving top military commanders, political advisers and even enlisted veterans of the nearly 16-year war. NPR journalists from across the newsroom are offering context and analysis about President Trump's remarks.

Matt Bush BPR

Tens of thousands took in the solar eclipse in Western North Carolina.  In the path of totality to the west of Asheville, there was heavy cloud cover and even some rain.  Those who watched in the city however caught a break.

Courtesy of Romeo Durscher/NASA

The excitement has been building for weeks and weeks. On Monday, August 21st the solar eclipse will finally be here. It will darken the skies along a path from Oregon to South Carolina. It's the first eclipse that will be seen from coast to coast in 99 years. Millions will don special glasses or watch through pinhole projectors. Eclipse enthusiasts say totality never disappoints. Follow this live updating map tracking the position of the eclipse across the United States.  Beneath the map is a live blog from NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse across the U.S.

Dennis di Cicco / Sky & Telescope

Blue Ridge Public Radio is providing live video streams on total solar eclipse day from two locations within the path of totality.  The links are below!

From our tower on Wine Springs Bald near Franklin

From our tower on Rich Mountain near Brevard

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville police arrested four people Friday morning for attempting to vandalize a Confederate marker in Pack Square downtown.  Police say protestors gathered around the Vance Monument before 8 a.m. Friday.  Several then attempted to damage the smaller marker in front of the monument that has a plaque with the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  Arrested were 27-year-old Nicole Townsend, 45-year-old Amy Cantrell, 30-year-old Hillary Brown, and 34-year-old Adrienne Sigmon.  All are from Asheville and all four face charges of Damage to Real Property.

Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

What did indigenous peoples think of eclipses?  How did they interpret and react to them?  Those are just a few of the topics that will be covered in a class at UNC-Asheville this fall inspired by Monday's total solar eclipse that will pass through Western North Carolina.  BPR's Matt Bush spoke with the two professors that will lead the class - Juan Sanchez-Martinez (modern languages & indigenous studies) and Britt Lundgren (physics).    

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