COVID-19: Those We've Lost

By Sally Kestin | Asheville Watchdog

They taught students in school, delivered the mail, advised Congress, and served the country in wartime and peace.

One led public affairs for NASA and became the voice of launch control for Apollo space missions. Another was a composer and pianist who played in the original Mickey Mouse Orchestra.

Billy Graham’s Legacy Threatened by Family Split

By Tom Fiedler • AVLWatchdog.org | For the Rev. Franklin Graham, the scathing editorial in Christianity Today last year calling his friend Donald Trump “a leader of grossly immoral character” and urging that Trump be “removed from office” was heretical.

Mission sale: Good for WNC, or just HCA?

Smaller, less-profitable hospital nets twice the price 

By Peter H. Lewis
AVL Watchdog


Years from now, the decision in 2018 by the directors of Mission Health to sell to HCA Healthcare might be seen as a brilliant strategic maneuver, one that guaranteed affordable, high-quality healthcare for future generations of western North Carolinians. This was, and still is, the position of the directors and executives who pushed the deal.

A Done Deal: How Mission Health Wooed HCA

More than 2 years later, secrets and silence continue

By Peter H. Lewis
AVL Watchdog

The news stunned Asheville and Western North Carolina, where Mission Health System Inc. was the area’s largest employer, its main healthcare provider, and a long-time source of civic pride. Seemingly out of the blue, Mission’s directors publicly announced on March 21, 2018, that they had voted to sell the 133-year-old nonprofit to HCA Healthcare, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, for an estimated $1.5 billion.

Equity advocates resign amid racial reckoning

City director quits, cites resistance, lack of support

By Sally Kestin
AVL Watchdog

The CEO of the YWCA of Asheville has quit, becoming the second Black woman in a month to leave a high-profile job with a mission of improving racial equity in the city.

Cawthorn mingles with far-right fringe

By Sally Kestin, Tom Fiedler and Peter H. Lewis | AVL Watchdog | Conservative congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn, scheduled to speak Wednesday at the GOP national convention, traveled to Texas last month to visit a private border wall and echoed discredited child sex trafficking claims promoted by the extremist conspiracy theory movement.

Candidate’s claim creates false impression

Cawthorn rejected from Naval Academy

By Tom Fiedler

AVL Watchdog

The narrative created by Republican congressional-candidate Madison Cawthorn paints a picture of a bright, young man headed to the U.S. Naval Academy until he was severely injured in an auto crash. 

Travel industry controls state’s room tax laws

Buncombe’s share less than other NC counties, neighboring states

By Mark Barrett

AVL Watchdog

A bill that would have changed the distribution of Buncombe County’s controversial hotel tax to better benefit local government is likely dead until at least next year.

Tom Fiedler reflects on policing through unrest from another era

By Tom Fiedler

AVL Watchdog

The legendary Miami Beach police chief Rocky Pomerance was asked in an interview with People magazine why he so passionately believed in the importance of police work.  “Because,” he said, “we are the only social-service agency you can call on for help after 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.”

Downtown AVL businesses, some vandalized, show their support

By Sara Frazier

AVL Watchdog

One by one, they arrived at their downtown businesses this week to find shattered storefronts and graffiti-stained walls. The damage could not have come at a worse time, following a two-month closure from a pandemic and a sluggish reopening. But these Asheville business owners chose not to cast blame or demand justice from the vandals. They joined the cause.

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