Gunning for North Carolina

According to a March 14 list compiled by Guns & Ammo magazine, North Carolina ranks 17th in the “Best States for Gun Owners in 2013.” That’s higher than neighbors Tennessee (23) and Virginia (24) but beneath South Carolina (14) and Georgia (13). New legislation currently before the General Assembly, however, could nudge the state out of the middle of that pack.

Crowd shows up to object to Progress rate hike

At a five-hour hearing conducted by the North Carolina Utilities Commission last night, every speaker except those representing the Council of Independent Business Owners and Biltmore Farms objected to rate hikes proposed by Progress Energy. The speakers’ reasons for opposition ranged from the impact of the rate increases on the working poor to projected environmental damage. Photo by Max Cooper

Moffitt proposes ban on public female toplessnes­s

Buncombe Rep. Tim Moffitt has introduced legislation to add female toplessness to the state’s indecent exposure prohibitions. Except for breastfeeding, revealing “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, of the human female breast” would be illegal. Before last year’s Go Topless rally, Asheville City Council signed a letter condemning it and calling for state legislation. Photo by Max Cooper

Opposition to seizure of Asheville’­s water system gains statewide momentum

The local fight over the legislative push to forcibly transfer the city of Asheville’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District has helped spur a larger statewide reaction. Last week, the League of Municipalities adopted the defense of local utilities as one of its top priorities, and 40 cities and towns across North Carolina have passed resolutions against state government taking municipal infrastructure.

Election results ***UPDATED 10:24 a.m.***

Despite President Barack Obama carrying Buncombe County and winning re-election nationwide, Republicans made gains in tonight’s local elections, winning all the competitive congressional and Statehouse races, while control of the Buncombe County commissioners is possibly headed for a recount. Mark Meadows greets supporters at the Hilton on Long Shoals Road. (Photo by Bill Rhodes)

MSD board discusses potential lease of Asheville watershed property

While there was no formal action taken, the board of the Metropolitan Sewerage District has reviewed what were called “underlying assumptions” used by staff in studying the proposed merger of the Asheville water system with MSD’s operation. The option of leasing the approximately 20,000 acres of protected watershed, leaving ownership in the hands of the city, was one item on that list of eight.