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From Staff ReportsThe North Carolina Department of Transportation announced recently that it has decided to switch its backing to six travel lanes in the portion of the I-26 Connector project involving Interstate 240 through West Asheville.Over the decades, NCDOT generally has favored eights lanes for I-240 between the area west of Bowen Bridge and I-40, but the issue has been debated since discussions of the I-26 Connector began in the late 1980s. The 2.7-mile stretch of road has four travel lanes now.The change to six lanes was triggered by the results of a closer study of expected traffic, according to NCDOT engineers.Besides deciding on whether to back eight or six travel lanes, the project includes making decisions — this year...

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By JOHN NORTHjohn@AshevilleDailyPlanet.comA high-ranking official from each side shared his views on the contract standoff between Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina and Mission Health System — and sometimes threw verbal punches — on Aug. 4 during an issues forum of the Council of Independent Business Owners.In essence, the two speakers said other alternatives are available to their respective counterpart for medical care or medical insurance. About 100 people attended the meeting at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center.Their reassurances were aimed at the thousands of Western North Carolina residents with Blue Cross insurance who face worries — if the dispute is not resolved — of having to pay higher, out-of-...

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