GOP legislators in Western NC say no shale-gas potential there

August 13, 2014

(The Sylva Herald)

Republican legislators in Western N.C. oppose the state's plan to collect and test rocks in the seven westernmost counties to determine shale-gas potential. Sen. Jim Davis, who co-sponsored the bill that lifted the state's ban on fracking, says it's a waste of money. 

Plastics company to add 80 jobs at Western NC plant

August 12, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Sigma Plastics Group will create 80 jobs at a printing and packaging plant in Transylvania County. The Lyndhurst, N.J.-based company, which makes polyethylene films and bags, will invest $5.5 million in renovations at the former Coats America plant in Rosman.

Hospitality, health care jump ahead of manufacturing in Buncombe County

August 11, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The health-care and hospitality industries have surged ahead of manufacturing in Buncombe County over the past two decades. The hospitality sector employed 9,709 workers in 1990; today 18,022 are employed in the industry. The number of manufacturing jobs has been cut almost in half.

Vegetable plant business to employ 125 in Henderson County

August 8, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

An international partnership of companies from the U.S., Israel and Italy will create 125 jobs at a plant-grafting business on a 42-acre site in Mills River. Tri-Hishtil will produce plants that are disease resistant without the use of genetically modified organisms, beginning with tomatoes and watermelons.

Wicked Weed expanding in Buncombe County

August 6, 2014

(Hendersonville Times-News)

Asheville-based Wicked Weed Brewing will build a new production plant in Buncombe County that will allow it to brew 50,000 barrels of beer a year. The company will invest $5 million in the 40,000-square-foot plant, which is expected to open by fall 2015.

GE Aviation has backlog of orders as Asheville plant nears completion

August 5, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Although GE Aviation has a backlog of $160 billion in orders for jet-engine parts, the company says it needs the support of the U.S. Export-Import Bank to do business in emerging markets. The company plans to hold a grand opening for its new, 170,000-square-foot Asheville plant in October.

AdvantageWest CEO to lead federal agency

August 4, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Scott Hamilton was named executive director of the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal agency that provides economic grants in rural counties across 13 states in the Appalachian Mountains. Hamilton has been CEO of AdvantageWest, a nonprofit economic-development organization serving Western N.C., since 2009.

New angel investors hope to make Asheville startups fly

August 1, 2014

(The Citizen-Times, Asheville)

The Economic Development Coalition of Asheville and Buncombe County announced plans for a startup investing group, the Asheville Angels, and the revamping of the chamber's local entrepreneurship initiative.

Heist movie turns Asheville into Charlotte

July 30, 2014

The comedy starring Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Kristen Wiig transformed the streets of Asheville, making the Buncombe County Courthouse serve Mecklenburg County. The film is based on a real-life robbery in Charlotte in 1997.

Asheville's Mission Hospital plans $42 million in cuts

July 30, 2014

(Asheville Citizen Times)

Mission Health System, Asheville's biggest employer, will cut costs by $42 million next year under a reorganization plan that could mean layoffs.

Construction and controversy at A-B Tech

July 28, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The building boom on the campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College isn't without controversy, debate and power grabs.

Wine industry thriving in NC

July 25, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

A group of wineries in Western N.C. and north Georgia will become part of an American Viticultural Area, a federal designation that allows vintners to more accurately describe the origins of their wine. Wineries across North Carolina attract 1.26 million visitors annually, and the wine industry had a $1.28 billion impact in the state in 2009. 

Moogfest to become a biennial event

July 24, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville's Moogfest music and technology festival will take a year off and return in 2016. Moog Music invested $3 million in the revamped music festival, which expanded from three to five days and added technology and innovation programs. The 2014 festival lost $1.5 million. 

Mountain BizWorks names new executive director

July 23, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Patrick Fitzsimmons has been named executive director of Mountain BizWorks. Fitzsimmons was executive director of the Western N.C. region of the American Red Cross from 2004 to 2012. The Asheville-based non-profit organization provides loans to small businesses in Western N.C.

Facebook helping Rutherford County students get free Wi-Fi

July 22, 2014

(WRAL TechWire)

Students in Rutherford County will receive free Wi-Fi access at their homes through a pilot program sponsored by Facebook, PANGAEA Internet and local governments. Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook opened a data center in Forest City in 2012.

Henderson County apple crops largely unaffected by spring storms

July 21, 2014

(Hendersonville Times-News)

Despite unseasonably cold temperatures and spring hailstorms, apple growers in Henderson County say crops suffered little damage. The annual North Carolina Apple Festival begins Aug. 29.

Fracking possible in Nantahala, Pisgah national forests

July 17, 2014

(Watauga Democrat)

The U.S. Forest Service acknowledged in a statement the potential for fracking for natural gas in the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests. North Carolina is studying potential shale-gas deposits in Western counties.

Brevard becoming hub for mountain biking

July 16, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The Brevard area, with access to trails in DuPont and Pisgah national forests, is becoming a mecca for mountain bikers. "It's a hobby that brings money to the area," says Brevard City Council member Wes Dickson.

Beer festival could be Western NC's largest ever

July 15, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America could be the biggest beer festival ever held in Western N.C. Up to 5,000 tickets will be sold, and 120 breweries will be represented at the Aug. 3 event in Mills River.

Duke LifePoint to buy MedWest Haywood hospital

July 11, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Duke LifePoint Healthcare will purchase MedWest Haywood in Clyde for $26 million. The Brentwood, Tenn.-based company plans to invest $36 million in capital improvements at the 169-bed hospital over the next 10 years. If the county approves the deal, the sale could close on July 31.