The X-ray of nurse Tove Schuster's spine shows the metal cage and four screws her surgeon used to repair a damaged disk in her back. Terry Cawthorn underwent a similar procedure.
Daniel Zwerdling / NPR

A little-known epidemic has swept through hospitals across the country: thousands of nursing staff suffer debilitating back and arm injuries every year. 

An NPR investigation into the injuries shows most happen as a result of on-the-job incidents. Hospitals can reduce the rate of injury if administrators invest time and money into prevention and training mechanisms. 

The North Carolina School for Science and Math was a finalist for Spaces for Innovation Challenge at the Emerging Issues Forum.
Ildar Sagdejev

Innovation is thriving across the state of North Carolina and communities are becoming more intentional about providing spaces that nurture creative thinking.

Image of bookstore
Flickr/ Chris Alcoran


The digital age sparked a public discourse about the fate of the independent bookstore. 

Commercial giants like Barnes & Noble and Amazon loom large, but the American Booksellers Association (ABA) says the tides may be turning. They report that more than 400 new independent bookstores have popped up around the country since 2009. 

The ABA hosts its 10th winter institute in Asheville this week, featuring publishers, authors and booksellers from around the country. 

View from the hilltop at Carver Pond Apartments on Meriwether Drive in Durham, North Carolina
Ildar Sagdejev

  In North Carolina, two million families live without adequate housing. 

Pisgah View Association President Iindia Pearson and Hillcrest resident Olufemi Lewis talk to members of a new group advocating for the interests of public housing residents in Asheville, which has the largest public housing agency in Western NC.
Matt Rose/Carolina Public Press


Public housing residents in Asheville are raising concerns with the city's housing authority because of a recent rise in evictions. 

Growler from Front Street Brewery in Wilmington, NC.

Craft beers are filling the shelves and taps around North Carolina. 

From the mountains to the coast, new breweries are opening. The national Brewer’s Association put the economic impact  of craft beer in the state at more than $791 million dollars in 2012. There are 110 breweries across the state and the industry supports 10,000 jobs.

North Carolina will be missing out on $51 billion from Mediciad because they chose not to expand coverage.


Lawmakers in North Carolina decided to not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

Just Economics is trying to get a living wage for working class in Western North Carolina.

  The Asheville nonprofit Just Economics has been pushing for local businesses to pay a living wage. 


Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is an ordained minister and published author who uses her faith work and fiction writing to create new strategies for supporting LGBT communities in the South. 

A picture of the sun setting behind the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Ian Britton /

AAA is forecasting the busiest July 4th travel weekend since 2001, in part because of a recovering economy. But with a tropical storm headed toward the Outer Banks, travelers might end up making other plans.

It's not yet clear whether Tropical Storm Arthur will make landfall in North Carolina, but Dare County is readying its hurricane action plan, just in case.

On the other side of the state, tourism is up already in Asheville this summer.

A picture of a bottle and a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

In less than five years the number of craft beer breweries in North Carolina has more than doubled. From Manteo to the mountains - tasting rooms, tap houses and local seasonal drafts are pouring in. Asheville now has more breweries per capita than anywhere in the country. 

Promotional trailers: Homeland, Ironman 3, Hunger Games
Showtime, Marvel Studios, Lionsgate

North Carolina could see fewer hits like Iron Man 3 or Homeland filmed in the state. That’s because tax incentives that encourage the film industry to make movies here are set to expire in January. Some lawmakers are trying to pass a measure that would give grants to the film industry to keep production companies here. But while budget negotiations are underway, time is running out to pass legislation.

Beginning Monday June 2, North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC's daily program "The State of Things" will be heard on WCQS, Western North Carolina Public Radio.

A picture of Caleb Johnson.

The newest American Idol comes from Asheville. Caleb Johnson won Season 13 of the televised singing competition last night.

Johnson took the stage with Kiss. Together, he and the band performed a medley of "Love Gun" and "Shout it out Loud."

He beat out Jena Irene Asciutto from Michigan.

Third time was the charm for Johnson, who had been an American Idol contestant twice before. He only made it as far as the Hollywood auditions in previous seasons.

Doug Coombe / Moogfest

Erika Sherman was a preteen when she started running an early BBS or electronic Bulletin Board System from her bedroom. When she was 17, she received a drum machine and was invited to join the Detroit techno group, Ectomorph. Erika was a born technophile. Today, Erika performs primarily as a solo artist; she released her first solo album, Hexagon Cloud, last year. She also founded, a freeform internet radio station. 

Ed White performs the first U.S. spacewalk. White floats in space with astronaut suit and attached to the shuttle by a cord. Earth is in the background. / Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee

Scientists say in space you cannot hear a sound. But for decades, filmmakers have tried to create the sounds of space. And perhaps they’re onto something. Asheville's Moogfest is hosting a panel "Sounds of Space," that explores both artists and scientists' perspectives on what we can hear in space if we learn to listen. Charles Lindsay, a multimedia artist and the artist in residence at SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, and Eric McDougall, founder and principal of Black Ink San Francisco, are part of the panel. 

Lee Smith Explores History Through Fiction

Dec 3, 2013
Algonquin Books


In her latest novel, Chapel Hill author Lee Smith tells the story of Asheville's Highland Hospital, a pioneering mental institution that once housed Zelda Fitzgerald.

"Guests on Earth" (Algonquin/2013), reveals this real-life history through the prism of fiction, all while exploring the relationship between creativity and madness. Frank Stasio talks with Lee Smith about her new book.

Construction of a new aviation manufacturing facility is underway in Asheville. GE Aviation broke ground on a $ 124 million plant this week. The site will produce CMC's (ceramic matrix composite) materials, for jet engines. The CMCs replace metal and make for a more efficient engine with better combustion and less emissions.  "This material has been in development, at least in our research labs for almost years.. It's used in small scale production in rocket loaders.

Town Mountain
Jason Beverly /

Last year, Town Mountain released their album Leave the Bottle.  On WNCW’s “Top 100 of 2012” list, the  Asheville-based bluegrass band's album earned the #19 spot. 

Town Mountain is playing tonight in Raleigh at The Pour House Music Hall.  The band joins Frank Stasio today in the studio to tell us about themselves and play a few songs.

Listen to their song "Come Break My Heart."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is the keynote speaker at this year's meeting of the NC Bar Association.
Stephen Masker / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is in North Carolina this week for the state Bar Association's annual meeting. 

The original deed book of slave records from Buncombe County.
Max Cooper, via

During the Great Depression, the New Deal funded a project to collect the narratives of former slaves.  Sarah Gudger came forward to give an account of her life as a slave in Buncombe County.  Her testimony was the same brutal story that is familiar to many of us.  She described a “hard life” of nothing but “work, work, work,” under the threat of abuse. 

President Obama made Asheville the first stop of a three-day trip to push economic proposals he made in his State of the Union address this week.  The president got a tour yesterday of the Linamar machine parts plant before making some remarks.  Canada-based Linamar moved to Asheville after a Volvo plant left taking hundreds of jobs with it.  The president says he'd like to see the federal government help make Linamar's example more common in cities that have been hit hard economically.

The Appalachian Trail turns 75 this week. The nearly 2,200-mile route runs from Georgia to Maine.

Steve Paradis is the Chief Operating Officer of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He says the trail serves much the same purpose today as it did when it was completed in 1937.

Steve Paradis: It was proposed as a footpath that would connect small working communities and provide an opportunity for people to essentially escape the, if you will, the rat race along the east coast and to rejuvenate their spirit and refresh their souls.

Green Restaurant Association

Asheville is known as a sort of local food-haven. Now it's leading the way in an effort to reduce the environmental impacts of restaurants. The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association is using a $258,000 grant from the North Carolina Green Business Fund to make upgrades in 18 Asheville restaurants.