Smokies to reopen for five days

October 16, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

North Carolina and Tennessee are contributing money to reopen the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for five days during the busy fall tourism period. The park, closed since the partial government shutdown began over two weeks ago, will be open today through Sunday. North Carolina's $75,000 share will come from tourism advertising dollars.

Appalachian Regional home health programs sold to Atlanta company

October 15, 2013

(The Watauga Democrat)

Atlanta-based Gentiva Health Services Inc. has purchased Boone-based Appalachian Regional Healthcare System's home health and community care programs. According to a spokesman from ARHS, the programs serve 230 to 250 clients in six Western counties. 

Economic impact of Smokies shutdown is $33 million

October 14, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

An economist from Western Carolina University estimates the 10 North Carolina and eight Tennessee counties located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lost more than $33 million in visitor spending during the first 10 days of the partial federal government shutdown.

Commerce will honor Rural Center grant for Blowing Rock medical center

October 14, 2013

(The Watauga Democrat)

An official from the N.C. Department of Commerce has confirmed that Blowing Rock will receive a grant originally promised by the now defunded N.C. Rural Center to pay for water and sewer infrastructure for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System's new post-acute care center there.

Asheville area inn reopens despite closure of national parks

October 11, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The Pisgah Inn in Waynesville reached an agreement this week with the U.S. Department of the Interior which allowed it to reopen for the rest of its planned fall season. The Blue Ridge Parkway business is privately owned and operated, but the land and building itself are owned by the federal government, which made the inn close its doors last week as part of the partial government shutdown.

Asheville, Durham credit unions complete merger

October 11, 2013

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville's United Services Credit Union has merged with Durham-based Self-Help Credit Union. United Services, originally formed by a group of Mission Hospital employees, had nearly 11,000 members before the merger. Self-Help had $583 million in assets and over 40,000 members. 

Local Democrats call for removal of two Watauga elections board members

October 10, 2013

(The Watauga Democrat)

Three Watuaga County Democrats have filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections asking for removal of the president and secretary of the local Board of Elections based on recent actions they claim are unethical.  The elections board received national attention this past summer for its decision to remove polls from the campus of Appalachian State University, a decision they later overturned.

Trial to begin for Asheville land developer accused of fraud

October 7, 2013

(The Burlington Times-News)

Jury selection is expected to begin today in the federal trial of an Asheville land developer accused of fraud. Keith Vinson is accused of having false borrowers take out loans they did not plan to repay to buy lots in a proposed Henderson County golf course development. Ten co-defendants have already pleaded guilty in the case.

Pisgah Inn complies with Park Service, will close during shutdown

October 4, 2013

(The Asheville Citizen-Times)

According to a posting on its Facebook page, the Pisgah Inn in Waynesville planned to shut down Thursday evening after the federal government failed to reach a resolution for a third straight day. The inn, which is on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, initially planned to stay open despite orders from the National Park Service to close during the shutdown.

Waynesville's Pisgah Inn takes a stand against government shutdown

October 3, 2013

(The Asheville Citizen-Times)

The operator of Waynesville's Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway has decided to disregard orders from the National Park Service and plans to keep the hotel open during the government shutdown. The building and land where the Asheville-area inn sits are owned by the federal government. 

Government shutdown may close Blue Ridge Parkway on eve of leaf season

September 27, 2013

(The Asheville Citizen-Times)

Hundreds of workers in Western North Carolina could be out of work as soon as Tuesday if federal government leaders can not reach a compromise to avoid shutdown next week. All government employees considered nonessential, which would include those in the tourism industry, would not work or get paid during a government shutdown. 

Two plead guilty to conspiracy in Seven Falls case

September 24, 2013

(The Citizen-Times, Asheville)

Two real estate investors charged with conspiracy in the bankrupt Seven Falls development case pleaded guilty last week in the U.S. District Court in Asheville. Avery Ted Cashion III and Raymond Chapman Jr. were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States for their involvement in an elaborate scheme to obtain $23 million to forestall the failure of the luxury development in Henderson County.

State elections board approves moving Boone polling site

September 20, 2013

(The Watuaga Democrat)

The executive director of the State Board of Elections gave approval to move the Boone 2 precinct polling place from the Appalachian State University Student Union to on-campus nightclub Legends. The Watauga County Board of Elections had previously planned to remove the polling place from the university altogether, but reversed its decision several weeks later.

Mountain 1st shareholders lose out in First Citizens merger

September 17, 2013

(The Times-News, Hendersonville)

Common stockholders of Hendersonville-based Mountain 1st Bank will receive only about 38 cents per share in the bank's merger with Raleigh's First Citizens Bank after $8 million is paid to the U.S. Treasury for the bank's TARP reimbursement.

Weaverville fiber mill connects farmers, artists

September 16, 2013

(The Asheville Citizen-Times)

Echoview Fiber Mill wants to reinvigorate Western North Carolina's textile industry by providing a place for area farmers to connect with regional artists who want to use local fibers. The "mini-mill" processes wool, mohair, angora, alpaca and other fibers.

Record rainfall hurts High Country recreation, construction industries

September 11, 2013

(The Watauga Democrat)

Outdoor attractions including area river outfitters and Grandfather Mountain and events such as the Highland Games have seen decreased attendance due to cloudy conditions and heavy rainfall this past summer. The construction industry, which already works a short season in higher elevations, has also experienced delays.

Earth Fare to close distribution warehouse

September 10, 2013

(The Citizen-Times, Asheville)

Organic supermarket chain Earth Fare will close a distribution warehouse in Fletcher, leaving 25 workers without jobs. The company says it will use third-party distribution providers to accomodate its rapid growth. The Asheville-based company has 31 stores in the Southeast and Midwest.

Haywood Community College wants to get more women into manufacturing

September 6, 2013

(Citizen-Times, Asheville)

Haywood Community College has a $193,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, and school officials plan to use the money to get more women into the advanced manufacturing field. The school is creating a dual enrollment program with Haywood County schools where high school students can earn credits toward a degree in machining or electronic engineering.

Watauga BOE withdraws plan to combine Boone precincts

September 5, 2013

(Watauga Democrat)

The Watauga County Board of Elections voted unanimously to withdraw an earlier plan to consolidate three Boone precincts that would have eliminated a polling site at Appalachian State University. The board decided to keep the on-campus polling place, but will move it from the Student Union to an on-campus nightclub. 

Watauga BOA to reconsider consolidation of Boone precincts

September 3, 2013

(The Watauga Democrat)

After several weeks of state and national media attention for its decision to remove a polling site from the campus of Appalachian State University, the Watauga County Board of Elections will meet on Wednesday with plans to withdraw the resolution, which would have combined three Boone precincts into one.