Biotechnology sector growing in Caldwell County

December 31, 2013

(The News-Topic, Lenoir)

While manufacturing remains the dominant industry in Caldwell County, biotechnology is gaining ground as three out of four biotech firms increased their labor force there by 15% in 2013. 

Cherokee nonprofit uses gaming profits to preserve culture, promote small businesses

December 30, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The nonprofit Cherokee Preservation Foundation uses revenue from gaming profits to support culture and business efforts for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The foundation has leveraged $150 million in the past decade for a variety of projects, including helping entrepreneurs and giving the town of Cherokee a facelift.

WCU receives $500,000 Golden LEAF grant to support manufacturing programs

December 24, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Western Carolina University will receive a $500,000 Golden LEAF Foundation grant to expand its engineering programs, including advanced engineering at its main Cullowhee campus and its undergraduate program at Biltmore Park. The money will also be used to fund educational partnerships with community colleges and the purchase of 3-D printing apparatus.

Board of Elections won't hear complaint against Watauga BOE members

December 24, 2013

(The Watauga Democrat)

At a meeting last Friday, the State Board of Elections acknowledged ongoing problems with the Watauga County Board of Elections but voted 5-0 not to pursue a formal hearing of a complaint against two board members. An Oct. 8 petition from a group of local Democrats requested the removal of Republicans Bill Aceto and Luke Eggers, citing unethical actions related to changes in polling sites at Appalachian State University.

Biochemist makes brownies using Asheville craft breweries' byproduct

December 23, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

A former biochemist has opened a business which makes brownies using spent brewer's yeast, a byproduct of the beer-brewing process. Robert "Rusty" Bryant of Asheville Brew Bites says the yeast is high in protein and antioxidants. 

Haywood County paper mill concerned over $50 million EPA upgrades

December 20, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Haywood County's largest employer must spend $50 million over the next five years to meet EPA boiler regulations. Evergreen Packaging has applied for state grants to help finance the installation of new natural gas-fired boilers which would replace its current coal-fired ones.

A-B Tech business incubator will launch new biotech company

December 19, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

A new biotech company will launch its business from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College's business incubator program. F(X) Immune Co., a spin-off of a St. Louis-based Flow Applications Inc., will develop support services for biologic research.

Solar panel manufacturer to open McDowell County plant

December 18, 2013

(The McDowell News)

The Solar Connection, a solar panel manufacturing company will open a plant in Marion, investing $500,000 and creating 50 new jobs over the next three years.

Propane gas company opens research center in Asheville

December 17, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Blossman Gas will open a propane research center in Buncombe County to study the transportation fuel version of propane, which is used in 23 million vehicles worldwide. The 62-year-old company wants to increase awareness of propane as a less expensive and cleaner alternative fuel.

Shareholders approve Forest Commercial-Carolina Alliance bank merger

December 17, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Shareholders of both banks approved the merger between Asheville-based Forest Commercial Bank, and Spartanburg, S.C.-based Carolina Alliance Bank. The merger will close in April, pending regulatory approval.

Diamond Brand announces second Asheville store

December 16, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Arden-based Diamond Brand Outdoors will open an adventure boutique this summer at Asheville Aloft Hotel in downtown Asheville. The outdoor sporting-goods retailer recently announced a new store in South Asheville that could open by spring.

Western NC hospital group moves forward with Duke LifePoint deal

December 13, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

WestCare Health System took another step toward a deal which would allow Duke LifePoint Healthcare to acquire Sylva's Harris Regional Hospital and Bryson City's Swain County Hospital. The board of  the Sylva-based health-care company signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company, which is a joint venture of Duke University and LifePoint Hospitals.

Buncombe residents voice concern over residential project

December 12, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Area residents and a developer met this week to discuss a proposed project that would bring 300 homes and 50 rental units to a rural tract in eastern Buncombe County. The developer wants the land to be rezoned to include commercial uses, such as a farm-to-table restaurant. 

Sale of hospital to Duke LifePoint would boost tax revenue in Swain County

December 12, 2013

(The Smoky Mountain Times)

The potential sale of WestCare's hospital in Swain County could bring more tax revenue to the county and Bryson City. That's because MedWest Swain will likely be purchased by Duke LifePoint, which is a for-profit corporation and would be required to pay property taxes on the land and buildings. 

Shareholders approve First Citizens-Mountain 1st merger

December 11, 2013

(Hendersonville Times-News)

Shareholders of 1st Financial Services Corp. approved a merger between the Hendersonville-based bank and its subsidiary Mountain 1st Bank & Trust Co. and Raleigh-based First Citizens Bank. Mountain 1st operates 12 branches primarily in Western N.C. counties.

Warren Wilson College gets $400,000 for forestry program

December 9, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Swannanoa's Warren Wilson College received a $400,000 gift from an alumna of the school to help maintain and preserve its research forest. The money will be used to create a fellowship to support programs in sustainable forestry, forest management, science and policy.

Hindu cleric protesting Asheville Brewing beer

December 5, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

A Hindu cleric from Nevada is calling for the withdrawal of Asheville Brewing's flagship beer, Shiva IPA, saying the use of the name of the Hindu deity Shiva is inappropriate. Asheville Brewing president Mike Rangel says he has previously addressed the issue with local and regional Hindus, and has no plans to change the beer's name.

Former Marion fire chief charged with embezzlement

December 4, 2013

(The McDowell News)

A grand jury has indicted the former fire chief of the Ashford-North Cove Volunteer Fire Department under allegations he embezzled money. Thomas Dexter Swofford is accused of embezzling more than $269,000 of the fire department's funds between Jan. 2010 and July 2013.

NC Christmas tree farmers have best crop in recent years

December 2, 2013

(The Burlington Times-News)

Agriculture officials say this year's crop of Christmas trees grown in North Carolina is the best in years, in part due to the abundance of rain in the spring and early summer months.


Heritage tourism adds $2.4 billion to Western NC economy

December 2, 2013

(The Watauga Democrat)

A study commissioned by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area reports that heritage tourism contributes $2.4 billion to the regional economies of the 24-county area the organization serves. The BRNHA was formed 10 years ago to stimulate economic growth through preservation of the natural cultural resources of Western North Carolina.