Google teams up with Duke Energy on Rutherford solar project

November 25, 2015

(The Charlotte Observer)

Google will buy energy credits to help power its Lenoir data center from a 61-megawatt solar farm that will be built in Rutherford County. It's part of a new partnership with Duke Energy called the Green Source Rider, in which customers that use large a lot of power – such as those that operate data centers – agree to purchase renewable energy at premium rates.

Asheville leaders cope with region's growth

November 23, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

While Buncombe County's unemployment rate is among the lowest in the state – 4.3% in September – Asheville needs to add more recession-proof jobs in fields such as technology to ensure long-term stability. The Asheville metro area's population reached 442,316 in 2014, compared with 244,960 in 1969.

Report: NC ski industry attracts more visitors than Carolina Panthers

November 20, 2015

(Carolina Public Press)

The five month ski season of 2014-15 contributed almost $200 million to western N.C.'s economy, according to a new report by Boulder, Colo.-based market research firm RRC Associates. More than 650,000 people hit the slopes at the state's six ski resorts. The increase in visitors bucks a national trend of decreased ski visits.

McKibbon reveals plans for Asheville hotel project

November 20, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

McKibbon Hotel Group said it will hire up to 100 full-time workers that will be paid starting salaries that qualify as "living wages," or about $12.50 an hour without employer-provided health insurance or $11 an hour with insurance. Renovation of the 50-year-old former BB&T building is set to begin next year and will be completed in 2017.

Hundreds turn out for hearing on I-26 Connector in Asheville

November 17, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Most local residents who spoke at a public hearing Monday said the state Department of Transportation's preliminary plan for widening Interstate 240 in West Asheville was too big. About 400 people met to discuss the project, which has been under discussion since the late 1980s. Estimated project costs range from $591.7 million to $785.4 million.

Sierra Nevada, Thermo Fisher honored for environmental excellence

November 12, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Sierra Nevada Brewing and Thermo Fisher Scientific, a lab-equipment manufacturer, are the winners of the nonprofit Asheville GreenWorks Environmental Excellence Awards. Sierra Nevada was selected for its green building standards at its Mills River brewery, while Thermo Fisher recently became a zero-waste facility.

Duke Energy drops plan for western NC transmission lines

November 5, 2015

(Mountain Xpress, Asheville)

Following months of public protests, Duke Energy has reconfigured plans to replace its coal-fired power plant in western N.C., and scrapped a plan to build a 45-mile transmission line from Asheville to Campobello, S.C. The utility will replace the coal plant with two smaller natural-gas ones, eliminating the need for the new lines.

Wood-pellet plant proposal concerns Burke County residents

November 4, 2015

(The News Herald, Morganton)

A public meeting was held Tuesday to discuss a proposed wood-pellet plant in Burke County. Some residents are concerned about the plant's potential impact on the Lake James watershed.

DOT to decide in spring on Buncombe highway project

November 2, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

A draft environmental study shows an Interstate 26 Connector in Asheville would cost between $591.7 million and $785.4 million. Plans call for the initial phase of construction to begin in 2021. The 541-page study looks at several options for the project; the DOT says it will hammer out specific details in the spring.

Attorney seeks physician records at Hendersonville's Park Ridge Health

October 30, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

An attorney representing a couple who is suing Park Ridge Health has asked for documents related to doctors' salaries at the Hendersonville health care center. More than two dozen plaintiffs claim Michael Rosner, who had admitting privileges at Park Ridge, performed unnecessary and experimental surgeries.

Tryon Equestrian Center ends season, gears up for winter expansion

October 26, 2015

(Hendersonville Times-News)

Tryon International Equestrian Center will add a 200-stall barn and a sports complex over the winter, according to Sharon Decker, the former state Commerce secretary who is senior vice president for strategic initiatives. The center is the anchor for the 1,400-acre Tryon Resort, which plans to add a golf course, hotel, condominiums and a spa.

Deschutes CEO wraps up Asheville visit

October 23, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Following a two-day visit to Asheville, the president of Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery said the company may not decide on the location of its East Coast brewery until 2016. Asheville is on the short list of cities the nation's sixth-largest craft brewer is considering for the expansion, which would create at least 100 jobs.

BorgWarner seeks to fill 60 jobs in Arden

October 23, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

BorgWarner has 60 third-shift positions to fill at its Arden plant. The Michigan-based powertrain manufacturer said it is producing a new line of turbochargers for General Motors.

Millennials fuel Western NC population growth

October 21, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Census data shows millennials – not baby boomers – are the major source of population change over the last five years in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties.

Asheville approves 12-story medical tower

October 15, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville City Council approved Mission Health's site plan for a 12-story, $400 million tower that will likely be the largest construction project in the city's history. The 681,000-square-foot structure will replace the aging St. Joseph's hospital campus and will include new operating rooms and a new ER. Construction is scheduled to be completed in November 2018.

Asheville on short list for major brewery

October 14, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The president of Bend, Ore.-based Deschutes Brewery will visit with local brewers in Asheville next week. The nation's sixth-largest craft brewer is also considering Charlottesville and Roanoke in Virginia and Greenville and Charleston in South Carolina for its first East Coast facility. Deschutes says it will make its decision by year-end.

Warren Wilson to pull investments in fossil fuels

October 13, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa is the latest higher-education institution to commit to selling its shares of investments in fossil fuels. Trustees voted unanimously to divest endowment funds from fossil fuels by 2020. Warren Wilson's endowment totals nearly $55 million. Brevard College in Transylvania County announced a similar plan earlier this year (Statewide, April).

Former Asheville coffee house owners issue statement

October 7, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The former owners of Waking Life coffee shop in West Asheville released an emotional farewell statement after turning over the keys to the owners of Izzy's Coffee Den, another downtown coffee house. Waking Life was forced to close last month after its owners posted misogynistic statements online which they believed were anonymous.

Buncombe commissioners divided over land sale

October 6, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Three Buncombe County commissioners want to sell a 137-acre parcel of land the county acquired in May as a possible industrial site. Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery looked at the land in December for an East Coast brewery and distribution center that would employ about 100 people. Deschutes plans to decide by year-end where it will locate the brewery.

Asheville's emergence as a tourism-retiree community

October 5, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville and Buncombe County's evolution into a popular tourist destination and a haven for retirees has brought a mix of good and bad, including a scarcity of affordable housing.