July 23, 2014
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.
July 22, 2014
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.
July 21, 2014
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.
July 17, 2014
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.
July 16, 2014
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.
July 15, 2014
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.
July 11, 2014
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.
July 11, 2014
Soft drinks made by Asheville-based Blue Blaze Soda Co. will be available at Western N.C. restaurants through a distribution agreement with RC Cola. Blue Blaze sodas are all-natural and do not contain high-fructose corn syrup.
July 8, 2014
UNC Asheville's Board of Trustees approved three candidates for the school's chancellor position, which will be vacated at the end of the month when Anne Ponder retires. UNC System President Tom Ross is expected to make his recommendation to the UNC Board of Governors, which could approve the new chancellor when it meets Aug.1.
July 7, 2014
Some Western N.C. apple farmers are benefiting from a boom in cider production, which has increased almost 1,000% in the past few years. Cider makers are looking to expand in North Carolina, which is the seventh-largest apple-producing state in the U.S.
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.
June 30, 2014
The migration of Tar Heels to surrounding states to secure fireworks around the Fourth of July holiday underscores the annual tax revenue lost by North Carolina, which has more restrictive laws.
June 26, 2014
A $100 million equestrian center and resort will open in Polk County this summer. Tryon Resort includes five horse rings with 500 horse stables, and future plans include a 6,000-seat outdoor stadium and additional horse rings and stables. Lodging, including a 150-room hotel that will open in 2017, will be operated by Middleburg, Va.-based Salamander Hotels & Resorts.
June 24, 2014
Asheville Regional Airport will begin the first phase of a four-year, $64 million project that includes the replacement of its 50-year-old runway. The Federal Aviation Administration will provide $6.5 million for construction of the new runway and a west-side taxiway. A groundbreaking will be held Aug. 8.
June 20, 2014
Black Mountain native Brad Daugherty will open Daugherty's American Kitchen and Drink, a seafood-heavy "casual-upscale" restaurant in south Asheville on July 16. It will be the first restaurant for the former NBA star and NASCAR analyst.
June 19, 2014
After receiving a multi-million-dollar investment earlier this year, FLS Energy will begin construction on eight solar farms in North Carolina that will produce 56 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Duke Energy will purchase electricity generated from the solar systems.
June 18, 2014
Oskar Blues Brewery will open a 145-acre farm with mountain-biking trails and music and event space about 8 miles from its Brevard brewery. The REEB Ranch also will have a bike-tour service, on-site lodging and tent camping.
June 18, 2014
(The News & Observer, Raleigh)
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has ordered Duke Energy to fix leaky pipes at coal-ash ponds at five power plants in Western N.C. The Charlotte utility has until July 17 to submit a schedule for the repairs.
June 17, 2014
(The Charlotte Observer)
Canada-based Richelieu Legwear will create 205 jobs and invest $16 million by the end of 2018 in a sock-manufacturing plant in Burke County. The company, which currently employs 60 at a plant in Hildebran, will receive up to $2.9 million in state incentives if it meets job-creation targets.
June 17, 2014
Livability.com ranked Asheville No. 4 on its list of Top Ten Foodie Cities for 2014. The website cited restaurants' use of products from local farms, the area's 18 craft breweries and James Beard-nominated chefs.