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The Blue Ridge Republic is the name of a group of survivor communities discovered in the Blue Ridge Mountains region of former North Carolina by World Census and Reclamation Bureau scouts in 2009. Like many survivor states in the former United States, Blue Ridge was known of regionally, but not to the outside world until the WCRB ramped up its exploration of North America.
The capital is Asheville, a community of 74,000 people that served as a regional relief center right after Doomsday, and for years was thought by locals to be the largest community not just in the region, but in the entire world. The government of Asheville has long had good relations with neighboring East Tennessee, Georgia and Republic of Piedmont.
More recently government leaders have softened their stance on membership in the East American Alliance. A few Blue Ridge citizens, backed financially by the Committee to Restore the United States of America, have advocated union with the United States government in western North America claiming to be the continuation of the pre-DD U.S.
The League of Nations insists that whatever entity ultimately controls the area, do so as the former United States governed the area pre-Doomsday, respecting the "traditional American values of liberty and justice".
Blue Ridge is developing close ties with Outer Banks, a republic located on the Atlantic Ocean shore of eastern former North Carolina. Blue Ridge also has been aiding several small villages and farms that have developed throughout North Carolina over the past three decades, specifically Elizabeth City and the Inner Banks.
Frantic announcements on network television were the first sign in the Asheville region of the impending nuclear attack on the United States, on the evening of September 25, 1983. Electric power flickered, and went out, and then flashes were seen off in the distance in all directions. In the mountains, locals went to confirm their suspicions of a nuclear attack, including an astronomy student from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. The student took his telescope and pointed it in the direction of one of the flashes, and in the distance saw something bone-chilling - a small, distant, but unmistakable mushroom cloud. He took several pictures, then hiked back down into the city, showing his film to photographers from the Asheville Citizen newspaper.
The city became a haven for people in the region looking for shelter, with refugees pouring in from throughout western and central North Carolina, swelling the region's population to an estimated 400,000, more than twice its normal size.
With scouts and refugees confirming the destruction of major North Carolina cities such as Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem, as well as major state military bases, and no contact from the federal government or any other state having come since Doomsday, Asheville leaders decided they were for all practical purposes alone.
Locals received a significant morale boost when it was learned that the Rev. Billy Graham - a major American cultural and religious figure - was at his home in nearby Montreat on Sept. 25. Graham, while mourning the loss of some of his children who were in presumably attacked areas, gave a series of sermons throughout Asheville and Montreat in the fall of 1983, both preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ that he traditionally had in his crusades, as well as an urging for everyone who heard him to persevere in the face of the crisis and to look to God for hope. Graham reportedly resisted every opportunity given him to run for political office and attain political power, instead opting to serve as a spiritual advisor for Asheville's political leaders (as he had for U.S. Presidents) and to continue his ministry in some fashion.
On May 8, 1984, Asheville declared itself a sovereign state, still a part of the U.S. but for all practical purposes independent politically and in every other conceivable way. Asheville leaders met with leaders of surrounding towns and villages, leading to the formation of a union with the seat of political, police and economic power (such as it was) in Asheville proper.
With refugees having dwindled to a trickle by 1985, and older citizens and many refugees having died of radiation-related causes, the population went down to less than 200,000. Leaders decided to encourage a baby boom and even discussed making it unlawful for women who could have children not to be pregnant. That proposal was not necessary, as couples eagerly had as many children as they could; the "baby boom" that lasted from 1989 to 1997 is credited for producing up to 30 percent of the present Blue Ridge population. With the situation in and around Asheville secure and settled, leaders decided to send out parties in all directions to explore the region and see who else had survived.
"First contact" with anyone outside the region post-Doomsday came March 21, 1986, as patrolmen exploring the abandoned town of Ravensford met explorers from Knoxville traveling into town by horseback on U.S. 441. Some of the Knoxville explorers went back to Asheville; the people were overjoyed to hear that Knoxville - which had the Oak Ridge National Laboratory outside city limits - and other eastern Tennessee towns had survived.
In April 1985, scouts from Johnson City, Tennessee were spotted going south on Interstate 26, northeast of Mars Hill, North Carolina. Another group of Asheville scouts returned in September with a large group of refugees - 9,417 - from Charlotte and Hickory who had taken refuge outside Pisgah National Forest. A group going south returned in October with news of a large survivor community based in Greenville, South Carolina. An expedition into Nantahala National Forest met survivors who wished to be left alone (though a few survivors ended up going to Asheville). The border between North Carolina and the fledgling republic of Tennessee came under increasing attack from snipers and guerrillas in 1985; Tennessee state patrolmen and National Guardsmen, and the North Carolina National Guard stopped a group in October from launching an attack on the town of Mars Hill. Asheville officials thought it was the end of the threat; they couldn't have been more wrong.
On May 5, 1986, the Tennessee state government was effectively overthrown with the assassination of Governor Randy Tyree, almost all of his cabinet and the legislature, as well as most government officials.
While the new regime wrote up plans to invade North Carolina and occupy Asheville, its threat to Blue Ridge was limited only to the rogue agents working on the new government behalf along the Tennessee/North Carolina border.
The Tennessee regime soon found itself embroiled in a war with resistance forces headquartered in Seiverville and Morristown; that conflict, along with a lack of resources and manpower necessary to fight a two-front war, kept the rogue government from posing a serious threat to the Asheville region. The lone exception was an attack by Knoxville-supplied survivalists on a group of families near Lake Junaluska on March 12, 1987; 33 people eventually died either in the early morning attack or from injuries suffered in the attack. The survivalists were defeated by the National Guard outside Clyde on April 18.
Asheville threw its full support behind the Tennessee resistance, sending food, medicine and other supplies to aid Tennessee troops in the ongoing war. Asheville recommended Tennessee use the services of two Vietnam War veterans who had retired to North Carolina - Captain Christopher Crews and Lieutenant Robert G. Morgan - and both proved valuable to helping the resistance form a war strategy to defeat the rogues.
Asheville officials oversaw the signing of the Treaty of Morristown in Morristown, Tennessee, in 1989 between the resistance forces and the defeated rogues. When it was determined that Knoxville was so devastated by years of fighting that it could not soon be re-populated, Asheville sent aid to the new government of Tennessee to re-establish its capital in Morristown. Asheville signed a 20-year trade and mutual defense pact with Morristown on October 9, 1989 (which was extended another 25 years on October 16, 2009).
In 1993, Asheville fought a brief war with the newly declared "Confederate Empire of America", which amounted to an occupation of the town of Mount Airy, North Carolina and various "safe houses" heading into Martinsville, Virginia. Three skirmishes with the Confederate fighters left one Asheville soldier dead, and while the "Empire" posed no real threat, Asheville decided to end the threat once and for all. Troops were sent into Mount Airy on March 19 to liberate the town; fighting lasted over the next week, with the Confederate forces surrendering formally on the 23rd and the last holdouts surrendering at 11:03 a.m. on the 26th.
First contact with Piedmont
With peace in the region, Asheville decided to begin formally exploring the remainder of the Carolinas, not knowing that it was days away from a historic contact.
Having nationalized several private planes and helicopters, Mayor Brian Buchanan authorized the Asheville Army to begin limited flyovers of the area around Traveler's Rest, in South Carolina. It had been known for years that there was a government based out of Greenville, and local residents had traded with local residents from nearby Hendersonville since after Doomsday. The flyovers were the first step towards some sort of formal contact.
On March 30, Army scouts saw a Cessna twin engine plane flying north towards Henderson and Buncombe counties. Through telegraph lines that had recently been set up for government and military use, the Army got two of its planes in the air early enough out of Asheville Municipal Airport to intercept the unknown plane before it could get to the airport - if not Asheville itself.
The Asheville planes - bearing the seal of the Buncombe County government, as did all other military and government aircraft - were retrofitted with a series of guns on each wing, individually loaded, but triggered by the pilot. While they would be no match for an F-16, they could hold their own against similar aircraft, like the twin-engine Cessna heading toward them.
As the Cessna approached Asheville Municipal Airport, the Asheville planes converged alongside one another in front of the Cessna, then banked into a descent towards the airport. The Cessna followed the two planes and landed at the airport.
The Cessna's passengers - Piedmont Lieutenant Governor Knox White and pilot Rick Shaw - were escorted by Asheville Army officers into the terminal. Fifty minutes later, Mayor Buchanan arrived and welcomed White to Asheville.
White and Shaw talked for four hours about their respective "states" and histories since Doomsday in a private meeting. That evening Buchanan accompanied Lieutenant Markus Shaw aboard an Asheville craft and flew back with Knox's Cessna into Greenville. In June, a series of meetings were held in Hendersonville in which the governments of both Piedmont and Asheville expanded on the informal trade agreements that had been going on for a decade between that town and rural residents of Piedmont.
Exploration of the southeastern U.S.
The discovery of Piedmont spurred Asheville's leaders to explore beyond the known borders of western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and the Piedmont region of South Carolina, to see else might be out there.
In the college town of Blacksburg, Virginia, explorers discovered that the state of Virginia had gone with Doomsday and had been replaced by a militaristic government based out of West Virginia. Asheville officials were stunned to hear stories of Blacksburg citizens, even children, wearing Army-style uniforms and seeing pictures and photographs of a "President-General Thompson". Despite locals' insistence that the military-style society was benign, explorers were said to be wary of what they thought was a fascist state.
A separate group of explorers journeyed south into former Georgia. One group discovered and documented the ruins of the college town of Athens and, following up on several barely legible signs posted throughout the town, discovered another survivor state centered around the town of Rome. There, the explorers discovered that Rome was part of a political alliance of regional southern states that modeled themselves after aspects of the U.S. and the Confederate States of America. In fact, the nation had called itself the Confederate States "without the racism of the old CSA and the intrusion of the old U.S. government into private life". While grateful that they were dealing with a group of moderate and racially accepting people than the Confederate stereotype suggested, the Blue Ridge explorers were disturbed that World War III produced any revival of the Confederacy.
The Rome explorers were told of the other Confederate states stretching all the way into Arkansas, and of former President Jimmy Carter being alive in southern Georgia, as well as rumors of other survivors in Kentucky and Florida. Trips to each region were deemed impractical at that time by the Rome government, and the Blue Ridge explorers agreed Rome would be as far as they went.
Reports from both expeditions led Asheville to adopt a policy of "cautious engagement" with the Virginian Republic, and to further cement military and defense agreements with Piedmont and East Tennessee. Blue Ridge also agreed to send representatives to Rome; the government voted to reject any offers of membership from the CSA.
The establishment of Blue Ridge
By 1996, everyone in western North Carolina, along with the East Tennessee and Piedmont governments, had accepted Asheville's city government as the region's governing authority. Talk began to turn towards formalizing Asheville's authority over the rest of North Carolina (many had continued to call the region North Carolina, though that state government ceased to exist on Doomsday).
A proposal to call the new formalized state Blue Ridge - reflecting the Blue Ridge Mountains - began to prevail over the North Carolina proposal. On October 18, 1998, 79 percent of voters chose to rename the region the Republic of Blue Ridge. A constitutional convention was held at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, with 79 signers onto a constitution based on those of the United States and of North Carolina; included was a somewhat controversial provision for the Asheville mayor - then Leni Sitnick - to be elevated to the position of governor, with formal elections slated to begin in 2001. Proponents argued that the young nation needed to have stability from the beginning.
The Sitnick administration
Sitnick had enough respect and popularity amongst Asheville citizens and those in government to be successful in the position, and rural residents in turn respected Asheville's leadership enough to accept Sitnick.
Sitnick's administration was marked by competent governing from a liberal perspective. Her politics made rural, more conservative residents uncomfortable, but were more tolerated and accepted in urban Asheville, the college town of Brevard and the two biggest towns of Waynesboro and Hendersonville.
Her administration did not get off to a promising start, as seen in Blue Ridge's first contact with Mexico in 1999.
The appearance of a Mexican Air Force jet over Asheville drew everyone's attention and caused much confusion; rumors of the survival of Cuba, and the USSR, led several of Sitnick's advisors to believe the plane could be Soviet in origin. Sitnick ordered the plane to be taken down if possible (a decision she later admitted as one of the hastiest and unrational she ever made). Blue Ridge's Piper planes were no match for the Mexican jet plane, which attempted to signal peaceful intentions to the BRAF pilots. After reaching the Asheville airport tower, MAF Captain Miguel Montroy - who was born and raised as a child outside Tucson, Arizona - landed his jet and willingly turned himself over to Blue Ridge authorities...but not before radioing MAF support at its provisional base at the airport in former Elkin.
More jets flew over Asheville the next day, and Sitnick's advisors began convincing her that this was the prelude to a Soviet/Cuban invasion. It took the willful landing of a MAF helicopter at the airport - and for MAF Captain Robert Hall (who grew up in Hickory and was on holiday in Monterrey, Mexico on Doomsday) to willingly surrender himself to authorities, and to subsequently be positively identified by his aunt and uncle - to get Blue Ridge military, and then its civilian leaders, to believe the Mexicans that they were, in fact, from Mexico and not Cubans and Soviets preparing to invade America.
Mexico did send an ambassador - Captain Hall, given leave to perform his duties as a representative of his adopted country and of its American refugee community - to Asheville in the spring of 2000.
Republicans pounced on the controversial series of events, accusing the Democrats of bungling first contact with a potentially important and helpful ally, and began grooming Asheville attorney Charles Worley to challenge Sitnick for her gubernatorial seat. Throughout 2001, Sitnick appealed not just to her domestic record but her smoothing over of things with Hall and other Mexican officials, and that benefits of having Mexico as an ally hadn't yet manifested themselves not because of her administration's incompetency, but simply because such things took time.
Her undoing, however, had nothing to do with Mexico, and everything to do with a tragic event that took place in neighboring Piedmont.
The gubernatorial campaign of 2001
Early in the campaign, Sitnick held a narrow lead over Worley. But then the Republicans took advantage of local discontent over the Greenville, RoP tragedy of January 1, 2001 (in which terrorists destroyed the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, killing over 4,000) to gain the upper hand in the gubernatorial race.
The tragedy was linked to the rogue state of Toccoa; despite the relatively few Toccoan refugees in the country, conservatives played up fears over a similar attack in Asheville or elsewhere.
Sitnick thought that Republican proposals would have the effect of lessening civil liberties and fought the General Assembly throughout the spring and summer. Her personal intervention in issuing a special pardon for a Toccoan refugee arrested by Blue Ridge Department of Investigation (BRDI) officials on suspicion of terrorist activities led to the man's controversial release (he had been charged with numerous minor crimes since entering Blue Ridge four years before).
When the refugee went rogue and assaulted a young Brevard mother in August, the Republicans seized their opportunity to take control of the governor's race. "Attack ads" in the Asheville Citizen-Times consistently and persistently painted Sitnick as a liberal soft on crime and terrorism, and Worley as a no-nonsense, conservative family man willing to do "what it takes to protect" the country from "terror".
Worley was also able to use the issue to gain the upper hand on Sitnick in debates across the country from August through October of 2001. Despite polls in the final week showing 60 percent of voters supporting Worley, Sitnick was confident her team was "setting the issues straight" and that she would win the November election.
Voters disagreed, as Worley won with 56 percent of the vote.
The Worley administration
Worley presided over Blue Ridge's first formal contact with delegates from other American survivor states other than Piedmont and East Tennessee, meeting with West Texas President Mike Conaway; Louisiana governor Walter Comeaux; and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, mayor Charles White in Lafayette in 2002.
Worley continued to push the General Assembly for increased security measures. Some of the proposals alarmed moderates and liberals, who made their concerns known. Worley responded at a Bitville Forest diner in 2003 that "they should have voted for her (Sitnick, in 2001), not for me."
After Worley refused to press neighboring Piedmont to fully reopen its borders, citing unspecified "security concerns", Blue Ridge's business community came into conflict with the Worley Administration and the Republicans and began to throw its support behind the Democratic Party. With Blue Ridge not facing many of the same concerns that Piedmont was, and neighboring East Tennessee dealing with similar issues in ways that did not infringe on civil liberties, public sentiment began to shift away from the conservatives.
The Gubernatorial race of 2005
Terry Bellamy, an African-American female, was one of the primary advocates of rolling back civil restrictions and grew in popularity amongst the public. She would eventually become the Democratic candidate for governor in 2005, running against an incumbent in Worley whom many experts felt would win a second term in office.
Meanwhile, more proposed restrictions by conservative legislators on civil liberties in the name of protecting the people met fierce resistance from moderates and liberals in the General Assembly.
In the fall of 2005, several key conservatives switched to the moderate/liberal faction, allowing it to craft its own proposals rolling back many of Worley's initiatives. Three passed the House and Senate and were all vetoed by Worley. Part of Bellamy's campaign platform was that she would sign those bills into law if elected, and voters responded.In November 2005, Blue Ridge elected its first African-American governor when Bellamy won with 58 percent of the vote.
The Bellamy administrations
During her first term, she worked with law enforcement, military leaders and the BRDI, and with majority Democratic and minority Republican leaders, to draft legislation that would protect the country against terrorist threats without infringing on civil liberties (using East Tennessee law as partial inspiration). That, and other initiatives she sponsored, helped Bellamy win reelection to a second term in 2009. In 2009, after League of Nations scouts entered the Asheville region, Bellamy formally welcomed them and gave them a key to the city. The event was treated by citizens and government alike as one of the region's biggest events in its post-Doomsday history, linking the region to the rest of the world. Ashevillians were overjoyed to hear that civilization had continued in the rest of the world, and looked forward to what the future might bring.
A failed move for a regional superstate
As the Dixie Alliance became more prominent in the region, politicians in East Tennessee, Blue Ridge and Piedmont debated amongst themselves whether to form their own political/military alliance in response or request to join the Dixie Alliance. Both Morristown and Blue Ridge rejected Dixie Alliance membership when offered in 2009, but conservative leaders in both nations made it clear they wanted to leave open the possibility of joining the alliance in the future.
A referendum on a formal union between Blue Ridge and East Tennessee was proposed in 2008 and set for a vote in March 2010, but was scuttled after a series of media polls of Blue Ridge and East Tennessee voters indicated only 12 percent support for a united Blue Ridge/East Tennessee "super state/super nation".
Blue Ridge officials met with officials from the town of Elizabeth City, located in eastern North Carolina, in late 2009 and again in June 2010. While political union was impractical due to the distance between the two regions and the current situation of the land between them, Blue Ridge officials did pledge to send aid and assistance to the region as often as possible. That pledge resulted in ongoing airplane shipments of medicine, food, clothing and building materials for Elizabeth City residents, supplemented by similar shipments from East Tennessee, Georgia and Piedmont into Outer Banks.
Alliance of Appalachian States
The Alliance of Appalachian States, proposed by Piedmont in the early 1990s, finally went beyond the talk stage after leaders of the three states agreed to discuss the union at a summit meeting in Rome, Georgia in August 2010. The leaders also agreed to strengthen relations with the Dixie Alliance states. Some critics saw it as a response to a growing movement throughout the former southeastern United States to resurrect the Confederate States of America entity that began in the region after Doomsday and failed by the late 1990s.
Exploration of North Carolina
On August 25, Blue Ridge Governor Terry Bellamy announced several details from scouting expeditions throughout former North Carolina. She announced that Blue Ridge is seeking closer ties with the Outer Banks, and that talks did indeed involve developing a port in the Outer Banks region to be used by it, Blue Ridge, Piedmont, East Tennessee, Virginia and other area nations.
Bellamy also gave reports from several scouting expeditions into North Carolina over the past 18 months, finding no sizeable survivor communities on the scale of Asheville, Rome (Georgia) or Greenville (Piedmont), but did discover several small villages, each numbering in the hundreds, fed by nearby family farms, and scattered all across the former state in places near sources of water and away from blast sites. The largest concentration is in towns located around Lake Norman.
Bellamy also said that scouts traveled into the area of former Charlotte after hearing rumors from central NC residents of its survival. It was confirmed that blasts likely occurred over downtown as well as three sites west of the city. Bellamy referred to it as "an urban legend that, sadly, is just that."
A Blue Ridge University team is preparing to join military explorers in scouting out the land for a potential highway connecting Asheville with the Elizabeth City and Outer Banks regions, to route through northern North Carolina (a connecting road would be built from Greenville, Piedmont). The highway would provide a permanent connection between the two regions to move goods back and forth. The biggest dangers to such a route are avoiding blast sites and radiation, and what types of people might be living in the targeted region...whether they are people to provide aid to, or bandits and robbers to be avoided.
A Blue Ridge military flyover on September 13, 2010 confirmed survivor communities existing in the towns of Greenville and Kannapolis; the Kannapolis flyover reportedly drew a large, impromptu crowd of people along the town's main strip. On September 14, Blue Ridge Governor Terry Bellamy said plans to make formal contact with both towns were being worked on and that the League of Nations would be involved in the process.
The American Spring
Though numerous polls had shown large voter preference for closer ties with other regional states, including the East American Alliance, a small group of citizens were galvanized upon learning of the existence of a group in Australia known as the Committee to Restart the United States of America. These citizens finally made contact with CRUSA representatives through the Australian embassy in January 2011; by mid-March, a CRUSA branch had been established in downtown Asheville.
The Blue Ridge CRUSA began speaking to national media, appearing on radio talk shows, holding rallies in Asheville and Brevard (which were sparsely attended) and passing out literature across Asheville to promote their cause. It initially advocated a "super union" of southern survivor states into a new United States; when news of the claims of the western United States provisional government (based in Torrington, Wyoming) being the continuation of the pre-DD U.S. reached Blue Ridge, the CRUSA's policy shifted to formal union with that government. In its literature and in media interviews, the Blue Ridge CRUSA began referring to Blue Ridge as "Asheville" or "western North Carolina" and calling for "the Asheville government" to "properly rejoin the United States." Though spokespersons for Governor Bellamy and various assemblypersons had no public comment beyond the CRUSA reps exercising their freedom of speech, privately they were said to be interested in the local CRUSA branch's actions and as to whether the main CRUSA in Australia or Torrington were behind their efforts.
Revelations of financial support from expatriate Americans living in Brisbane and Jervis Bay, Australia, took Torrington off the hook and have led Governor Bellamy to possibly her next major issue: what to about the CRUSA, and the issues of free speech and protection of the integrity of the state it raises.
Government and politics
The nation's governmental structure was influenced mainly by that of the former state of North Carolina. The governor is the head of state, and along with the lieutenant governor and nine department heads forms the Council of State (nine other department heads fill out the state cabinet). The General Assembly consists of two houses: a Senate (currently consisting of 24 members) and a House of Representatives (consisting of 60 members). The highest court of the land is the Blue Ridge Supreme Court, numbering seven justices.
The Piedmont Dollar is the primary currency, with ongoing consideration to tie it to the Mexican peso to further facilitate the region's re-entry into the international market.
The Blue Ridge government and business sector is especially insistent on reentering the international trade market, but is careful not to antagonize those in Piedmont who are more reluctant to do so.
Barter is used informally among citizens, though the Piedmont Dollar has been used more for purchasing of goods in the past decade.
The current population is estimated by Blue Ridge officials and the League of Nations to be 407,000.
The population for the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area in 1982, the last available year for population statistics from the former United States, was 180,612.
In Asheville, most citizens tend to be either moderate, mainline Protestants or so-called Blue Ridge Baptists (a denomination that is a conservative, evangelical successor to the Southern Baptist Convention). Together they make up an estimated 80 percent of Asheville city and suburban residents. The remaining 20 percent includes Roman Catholics; Methodists; charismatics; Anglicans; other Christian denominations and sects; a small Jewish population; and an even smaller atheist/agnostic population, including 50 adherents of a "secular belief" called Humanism based at Blue Ridge University.
Outside Asheville, Blue Ridge is overwhelmingly conservative, Protestant Christian. Blue Ridge Baptist churches abound, as do Independent Baptist, Pentecostal and charismatic churches.
Asheville Christians tend to be more active on the political scene, the conservatives following the inspiration of Virginia pastor Jerry Falwell, a prominent conservative Christian voice in U.S. politics before Doomsday. Mainline Christians organized in response to the conservative movement. Though they have their disagreements, both sides tend to agree and work together more than they do not.
The Reverend Billy Graham, a well-known Christian figure throughout the United States, was credited in helping build that spirit of "commonality" between the two sides, encouraging both to work together and not to split the young nation into factionalism. Graham is one of the most highly regarded and respected persons not just in Blue Ridge but the entire region.
Music, especially following Doomsday, has played a key role in helping maintain the morale of the survivors of Doomsday to push and overcome the disaster. While a majority of the world's artists were killed on Doomsday or the following chaos, a few managed to arise in Blue Ridge. The most notable being Eric Church, who was 6 at the time of Doomsday, and his family evacuated from the town of Granite Falls to Asheville.
The University of Blue Ridge (known as the University of North Carolina at Asheville pre-Doomsday) is one of the top universities in the former southeastern United States, with 2,000 students from Blue Ridge, East Tennessee, Piedmont, the Virginian Republic, Georgia (Rome), Delmarva and Alabama. UBR offers bachelors and masters degrees in numerous fields, and is also one of Asheville's top employers.
Brevard College, in Brevard, has 500 students.
The Department of Education oversees the public school system. Every child is required to attend school through age 16, though allowances are made for rural students who help work family farms.
There had been no professional nor collegiate competitions in Blue Ridge as understood pre-Doomsday. That changed in the fall of 2010, when Blue Ridge University (BRU) - the former University of North Carolina at Asheville - began competition in the newly organized Southeastern Conference. Its football team beat non-conference opponent Brevard College 52-10 on September 4 in Asheville. Blue Ridge plays in the SEC's Division I, Brevard in the SEC's Division II.
The Asheville Tourists are a baseball team that began play in the independent Southern League in 2011.
There are numerous organized amateur parks and church softball, baseball, touch football, soccer, and basketball leagues, primarily in and around Asheville proper.
The largest organized competition is the Blue Ridge High School Athletic Association (BRHSAA), which sponsors competition amongst 20 public and private schools in baseball; boys and girls basketball; boys and girls cross country; football; boys and girls golf; coed soccer; boys and girls track and field; and wrestling. BRHSAA schools compete against their counterparts from East Tennessee, Piedmont, Georgia (Rome), Virginian Republic and Delmarva.
The Citizen-Times, formed as a result of a merger between the morning Asheville Citizen and the afternoon Asheville Times in late 1983, is the nation's newspaper of record. It publishes on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Until recent months, the Citizen-Times was the main venue for news and information in the region, although various newsletters and newspapers intended to compete with the Citizen-Times and/or provide a voice for alternate viewpoints have come and gone over the years.
The EMP burst on Doomsday effectively shut down radio and television communications, as well as telephone service. Limited telephone service was restored by 1995; the telegraph made a major comeback of sorts, as well.
In late 2009, with help from the League of Nations and engineers from Mexico and the East Caribbean Federation, work on reconstruction of television and radio transmitters and studios began. Work on fully restoring telephone service is well under way and is anticipated to be complete by September 2010.
The area's first post-Doomsday radio stations - featuring a mix of local programming and programming via satellite from RTE in the Celtic Alliance and League of Nations radio - began in late June 2010, on 570 AM and 88.1 FM. There currently are six radio stations, five FM and one AM, operating in Blue Ridge:
570 AM (Blue Ridge Public Radio, owned and operated by the Blue Ridge government; carries local, regional and international news, sports, talk shows, interviews, comedies, dramas and religious programming)
88.1 FM (Blue Ridge Public Radio owned and operated; carries a mixture of classical, bluegrass, gospel, jazz, blues and American standards)
93.1 FM - privately-owned station carrying pre-Doomsday rock music
95.5 FM - Blue Ridge University Radio (classical/talk/public speaking programs in the day, music produced by and popular with university students at night)
99.7 FM - Country 98 (pre- and post-Doomsday country music, from America, Australia and Mexico)
107.1 - privately owned station operated by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; carries religious programming and music
Television service began in November 2010, with Blue Ridge Public Television debuting on Channel 4 in Asheville and Channel 13 in Brevard.
Production of radios and televisions for the region, at a plant east of Morristown, began in February 2010.
The main airport in Blue Ridge is Asheville Regional Airport. Minor airports can be found across the country, such as Hendersonville-Winkler Airport or Avery County Airport - Morrison Airport. Air travel in Blue Ridge is primarily by small mono-planes, and is commonly used by government officials.
In 2009, a group of entrepreneurs, with the backing of the Virginian and Kentucky governments, began to restore a rail line, that when finished, will connect Blue Ridge to Kentucky, Virginia, East Tennessee, and Piedmont.
Blue Ridge is primarily served by Interstate 26 and Interstate 40. Interstate 26 cuts through eastern Blue Ridge and connects the Blue Ridge cities of Asheville, Hendersonville, and Columbus to the East Tennessee cities of Kingsport and the Piedmont city of Spartanburg. Interstate 40 runs from the eastern part of former North Carolina and serves Blue Ridge through Asheville.
Blue Ridge is not a member of the League of Nations, although it has status as a LoN protectorate. Asheville is one of the LoN headquarters in the former American Southeast.
Blue Ridge has had partnerships with East Tennessee and Piedmont dating back to the late 1980s, and formal relations with West Texas, Louisiana, Hattiesburg, Natchez, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the East Caribbean Federation since the early 2000s. In more recent years it has begun receiving representatives from, and sending representatives to, Portland; the Virginian Republic; Vermont; Superior; Lincoln; Canada; Kentucky; and the ANZC.