Local and State Headlines for Friday, April 20, 2018

posted by Mark Starling -

Four Dead As Asheville Mourns Shooting Victims (Asheville, NC)

The Asheville community is mourning the loss of the victims of a deadly shooting Wednesday night on Hansel Avenue.  Maurice Garner was accused of shooting seven family members before leaving the home and turning the gun on himself in his car.  Asheville Police say the mother, Erica Smith, 13-year-old Harmony Smith and 15-year-old Keithan Whitmire all died from their injuries.  Three other children were injured in the shooting as well.  Crisis teams will be at Asheville City Schools where all of the children attended.

Governor Announces School Safety Budget Proposal (Undated)

Governor Roy Cooper says money in his new school safety budget proposal should address both classroom security and youth mental health needs.  His 130-million-dollar plan was revealed at Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough yesterday.  Most of the money is earmarked for making buildings safer with physical improvements like security cameras and panic alarms.  Another big chunk is planned for hiring more counselors and social workers for North Carolina schools.  Legislators meet again on May 16th. 

No Sunday Alcohol Sales In Jackson County (Jackson County, NC)

A referendum that allows voters to decide whether alcohol can be sold by the drink on Sunday mornings will not go before Jackson County voters.  The county commission voted against the state's brunch bill, which allows communities to decide on serving between 10 a.m. and noon.  This does not apply to the town of Sylva, which has decided to let citizens vote on the item.  

Home Destroyed By Fire In West Buncombe (Buncombe County, NC)

The West Buncombe County Fire Department is investigating a blaze that destroyed a home yesterday.  Engines rushed out to Sydney Lane, where flames were already shooting through the roof shortly before noon.  The resident has reportedly moved into a nursing home and no one was there at the time of the fire.  The cause has not been determined.  

Legislature Seeking Public's Input In Drawing District Lines (Asheville, NC)

The state is looking for input from Ashevillians on the drawing of district lines for city council elections.  Legislators adopted a bill last year that required the city to draw up a map of six districts so that voters can elect city council representatives from those areas.  Asheville voters turned down the idea of going to a district system in a November referendum.  Senator Chuck Edwards, who authored the bill, says the November referendum was an attempt to avoid following state law.    

Buncombe Considering Using Private Ambulances (Asheville, NC)

Buncombe County is considering entering into a contract with a private ambulance service to help with increased call volume.  That contract would be with the company Medic, who currently responds to calls in downtown Asheville and has a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs.  An emergency services firm completed a study for the county last year that concluded there was no need for an external company at this time.

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