Western

About 600 turn out for final fracking meeting

September 15, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

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.

Buncombe likely to provide incentives for Wicked Weed expansion

September 12, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

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.

Equestrian center brings challenges, benefits to Polk County

September 11, 2014

(Hendersonville Times-News)

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).

Asheville breweries expand to keep up with demand

September 11, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Craft beer sales are up 20% over last year, and Asheville breweries are spending millions to keep up with demand. The area's largest project is New Belgium's $175 million brewery under construction in West Asheville, which expects to hire up to 350 employees by spring 2015.

Final fracking hearing expected to draw more than 500

September 10, 2014

(The Sylva Herald)

Environmental-protection groups predict more than 500 people will attend North Carolina's final public hearing on fracking at Western Carolina University, even though legislators announced last week the state Geological Survey won't test for natural-gas deposits in Western N.C.

Asheville gets $14.6 million federal redevelopment grant

September 10, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The City of Asheville will receive $14.6 million in federal grant money to help redevelop the River Arts District and other communities.

Operator of Pisgah Inn gets 10-year contract extension

September 9, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Bruce O'Connell has won a contract to operate the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway until 2025. O'Connell made national headlines when he defiantly kept the 51-room inn open during the federal government shutdown last October. He plans upgrades to the inn's restaurant and gift shops.

Buncombe could lose hundreds of potential jobs if state doesn't act

September 8, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Buncombe County commissioners have approved local incentives for two companies that would bring a total of 450 jobs to the region, but those jobs could be in jeopardy if the state doesn't pass legislation to expand economic-development incentives.

Judge sends three to prison in 'Black Diamond' fraud case

September 5, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

A federal judge sentenced three hedge-fund managers to prison for their involvement in the "Black Diamond" Ponzi scheme (cover story, August 2012) that bilked 400 people, including many from Western N.C., out of $40 million. 

UNC Asheville waits for new chancellor to develop property

September 3, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

UNC Asheville officials say they will hold off on developing plans for 22 acres of recently acquired property near its campus until incoming Chancellor Mary Grant assumes her position in January. 

Asheville called quirkiest town in the U.S.

September 2, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine named Asheville the quirkiest town in the U.S., citing Friday-night drum circles at Pritchard Park, Vortex Doughnuts' local beer-of-the-day doughnuts and unique dining experiences.

NC Apple Festival kicks off today in Hendersonville

August 29, 2014

(Hendersonville Times-News)

Organizers hope cheaper gas prices will allow visitors to spend more at this weekend's annual Apple Festival. Festivalgoers spent more than $12 million on dining, retail and lodging in Henderson County during last year's four-day event.

Chinese lumber company could buy Stanley Furniture plant

August 28, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Tide & Times Group USA, a Chinese-owned lumber exporter with a headquarters in Charlotte, is in talks to buy part of the Graham County manufacturing plant previously occupied by Stanley Furniture (Regional Report, May). Robbinsville Mayor Steve Hooper said the company would hire 20 workers initially and could expand its workforce to 150.

Board finds contractor accountable in Boone motel deaths

August 25, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The N.C. Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating & Fire Sprinkler Contractors suspended one contractor's license for a year and filed a complaint against a second contractor for mistakes at a Boone motel that led to the deaths of three people from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2013.

Success of Cherokee casino threatened by competition

August 25, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation hopes to mimic the success of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians by building a $339 million casino in Cleveland County. More than 3 million people a year visit Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort, and the tribe has used a portion of the proceeds to build a new hospital, justice center and schools. 

Lawmakers restore funds for Evergreen Packaging

August 21, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Hours before adjourning its legislative short session on Wednesday, state lawmakers restored a $12 million incentive for Evergreen Packaging's paper mill in Canton that will help pay for new natural-gas boilers to comply with EPA regulations.

House votes against incentives for Canton paper mill

August 20, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The N.C. House defeated a bill Tuesday that included a $12 million incentive to help Evergreen Packaging replace its coal-fired boilers with new natural-gas ones at its Canton paper mill. The Environmental Protection Agency is forcing the company to replace the boilers by 2016, a project the company says will cost $50 million.

Developer hopes Asheville outlets will draw tourists

August 20, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville Outlets, under construction at the site of the former Biltmore Square Mall, will add 1,341 jobs and $33 million in local spending, according to an economic impact study commissioned by the developer. The 325,000-square-foot shopping center will open in spring 2015.

DOT to replace 11 bridges in Western NC

August 19, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The N.C. Department of Transportation will replace 11 bridges in Buncombe, Madison and Mitchell counties that, while deemed safe for use, are costly to maintain due to outdated design standards (NCTrend, August). Mooresville-based Dane Construction was awarded an $11.4 million contract to replace the bridges.

Conspirator sentenced to prison for involvement in real-estate scheme

August 15, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Andrew Quinn Hager was sentenced to eight months in prison for his involvement in the failed Seven Falls development in Henderson County. Hager pleaded guilty in March 2013 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.