Asheville area may attract 350-employee auto-parts plant

December 22, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Switzerland-based GF Automotive and Linamar, a Canada-based powertrain company, may build a plant with as many as 350 employees over the next several years. A Jan. 4 hearing of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners will “consider economic-development incentives” for the GF Automotive-Linamar collaboration, Wyatt said. The partnership plans to invest $42.3 million in a factory and another $174.9 million in machinery and equipment through 2023, according to public records.

Warm temps hurting NC ski industry

December 16, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort in Madison County hopes to open by Sunday following weeks of warmer-than-expected weather. The resort will lose $100,000 in revenue if it's not able to open Christmas week, says Kathy Bogdanescu, group sales coordinator. The N.C. ski season typically runs from November-March and last year contributed $197.2 million to the state's economy, according to a recent report.

Asheville City Council weighs in on I-26 route

December 11, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The Asheville City Council voted unanimously to submit a resolution to the N.C. Department of Transportation that recommends minimizing the size of the $750 million Interstate 26 project. The state's proposal calls for widening Interstate 240 from four to eight lanes in west Asheville.

Arvato shuttering Weaverville facility, 120 layoffs expected

December 9, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

With DVD and CD sales plummeting in recent years, Arvato Digital Services will close its production plant in Weaverville after 32 years in operation. The plant once employed about 1,500 people.

Resort proposal sparks debate in Rutherford County

December 9, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

A $3.7 million proposed development on Lake Lure in Rutherford County has homeowners divided. Tryon Equestrian Partners wants to add a conference center, restaurant and expanded lodge that would provide an economic boost and create 20 full-time jobs, plus seasonal ones. Opponents say the development would increase traffic and spoil the area's peaceful vibe.

Influential state senator won't run again in 2016

December 1, 2015

(The News and Observer of Raleigh)

Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican, won't run for an eighth term. He has been chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, overseeing much of the legislation considered by state lawmakers. His decision follows a similar retirement plan of Sen. Bob Rucho, a Matthews Republican. Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger praised Apodaca and called him one of his best friends.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article47142155.html#storylink=cpy

State wants a sponsor for Asheville-Salisbury bus service

December 1, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

State government hopes to lure a sponsor to fund bus service between Asheville and the passenger rail station in Salisbury. Service for a statewide rail plan is scheduled to start in 2018 under state Board of Transportation plans. Officials want to promote passenger rail as the state improves tracks between Charlotte and Raleigh. Asheville businesses see the bus service as a potential boost to tourism.

Facebook issues grants to boost STEM programs in western NC

November 30, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Facebook awarded grants totaling $72,500 to schools, a children's museum and other organizations that support STEM education programs in Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford counties. It's the fifth year the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has issued community grants to groups near its Forest City data center, which is undergoing its second expansion since opening in 2011.

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 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.