October 29, 2014
A Duke Energy spokesman told the Asheville City Council residents would not have enough electricity for daily activities if the company shut down its local coal-fired power plant. Earlier this month, the Sierra Club presented the Charlotte-based utility with a petition signed by local businesses asking for the plant to be closed.
October 21, 2014
Sierra Nevada has opened a tasting room for visitors who complete a 90-minute walking tour of its Mills River brewery. The Chico, Calif.-based beer maker plans to open a restaurant and music room in January. Sierra will brew about 200,000 barrels of beer annually when the brewery reaches full production.
October 20, 2014
Eighty Asheville-area businesses sent a letter to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good asking for the closure of the company's coal-fired power plant in Skyland. The letter calls the plant the "largest single source of carbon pollution in Western North Carolina" and accuses the utility of illegally polluting the French Broad River through coal-ash seepage.
Update: Coal-campaign letter bewilders some businesses
October 16, 2014
Gov. Pat McCrory helped GE Aviation celebrate the grand opening of its Asheville plant, where the company will manufacture jet-engine components. The plant will employ 52 workers as part of a 2013 commitment the company made to create 242 new jobs in North Carolina by 2018.
October 14, 2014
An improved fall foliage forecast could fill hotels in Western N.C., according to a report from Western Carolina University. More tourists are expected this year compared with 2013, when a federal government shutdown during the first 15 days of October forced campgrounds and visitor centers to close.
October 14, 2014
A Wake County Superior Court judge ordered the state Board of Elections to include at least one on-campus early voting site at Appalachian State University. The Watauga County elections board removed the long-standing voting site prior to the May primary. Opponents of the plan to remove the voting center say it makes it harder for students, who are more likely to vote Democratic, to cast ballots.
October 6, 2014
Three Western N.C. breweries earned awards at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colo., on Saturday. Black Mountain-based Pisgah Brewing, Morganton-based Fonta Flora Brewery and Asheville-based Wicked Weed Brewing each won gold medals at the world's larger beer competition. Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada, which have locations in Western N.C., won silver and bronze medals.
October 2, 2014
(The News Herald, Morganton)
BSN medical will cut 200 jobs at its Rutherford College production plant beginning at the conclusion of the first quarter of 2015. The Hamburg, Germany-based company, which makes medical bandaging and compression stockings, plans to move the jobs to an existing plant in Mexico.
October 1, 2014
The Biltmore Co. plans to begin construction by mid-October on a second hotel at Biltmore Estate. The Village Hotel next to the winery in Antler Hill Village will have 209 guest rooms and is expected to open by November 2015. The project is expected to create about 230 jobs.
September 29, 2014
Mission Health has cut 130 jobs, mostly at its main hospital in Asheville, but plans to add 147 jobs next year to accommodate growth in outpatient services. The changes are part of a reorganization that aims to cut $42 million in costs while increasing revenue by $10 million. Mission employs about 10,000 people at six hospitals and additional locations in Western N.C.
September 29, 2014
The nation's oldest privately-held wood-stove company has expanded its offerings to include patio furniture, fire pits and other outdoor furnishings. Spruce Pine-based Buck Stove, which last year laid off workers for the first time in its 40-year history, has rehired those employees and plans to hire 30 to 50 more.
September 26, 2014
North Carolina cider companies hope to ensure growth through proposed legislation that would increase the allowed alcohol volume to 8.5%. Currently, cider with an alcohol volume higher than 7% is taxed like wine, which is higher than the excise tax placed on beer. North Carolina now has 10 cider producers, supported by the craft beverage's soaring popularity.
September 25, 2014
There are 1,400 apartment units under construction in South Asheville, where the occupancy rate is 96%. It's the biggest apartment boom Buncombe County has seen in 25 years, according to one developer, who worries the area will become overbuilt.
Read more about the apartment boom in North Carolina's center cities (Statewide, June)
September 19, 2014
Thanks to the addition of its Brevard brewery − which produced 46,000 barrels of beer in 2013 − the Colorado-based company earned a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies.
September 18, 2014
Asheville-based Noble Cider will open a new 80-barrel cidery and taproom in early 2015. The craft-cider maker will move into a 9,000-square-foot building in West Asheville. The new space will allow Noble, which uses North Carolina-grown apples, to increase annual cider production from 14,000 gallons this year to at least 40,000 gallons.
September 16, 2014
Asheville could receive as much as $8.5 million in additional funds to redevelop its River Arts District. The federal government awarded the city $14.6 million for transportation improvements in the area, and the city will invest $14.6 million.
September 16, 2014
An environmental group says the N.C. Energy Coalition bused in a group of homeless men unfamiliar with the practice of hydraulic fracturing from Winston-Salem in an effort to bolster the number of fracking supporters at a public hearing in Cullowhee on Friday.
September 15, 2014
About 600 people attended the state's final public hearing on hydraulic-fracturing regulations. The majority of the speakers at the four-hour meeting in Cullowhee opposed the practice. The N.C. Geological Survey retreated from plans to collect rock samples in Western N.C. to test for potential shale-gas deposits.
September 12, 2014
Buncombe County commissioners will vote Tuesday on giving almost $75,000 in incentives to Wicked Weed Brewing for its previously announced expansion. The beer company will invest at least $6.5 million and add 75 jobs over four years as part of the agreement.
September 11, 2014
Tryon International Equestrian Center, opened July 2, is already having an impact on Polk County, which lacks enough hotels to accommodate the thousands of spectators the 1,400-acre resort expects to draw. The $100 million project, still under construction, will eventually include two hotels, an RV park and other lodging (Regional Report, August).