fr gtcrossMaggie Valley is in limbo over a proposed mountaintop cross after learning last week the state won’t help sort out how high the cross could legally be under the North Carolina ridge law.

Law enforcement officers in Western North Carolina have been spending too much time and money driving all across the state in search of available hospital beds.

When magistrate judges issue an involuntary committal order, an officer from that county is required by law to transport the patient to a hospital for evaluation, but the shortage of available beds for mental health patients is making the process burdensome.

fr fairclothHarold Faircloth was recently named Environmental Specialist of the Year in North Carolina after uncovering widespread lead contamination in private wells throughout Macon County.

“I had been so busy with my duties and responsibilities in my position in addition to my research and analysis of the lead in private drinking water wells that I didn’t expect anything,” he said about his award. “I feel as though I have been admitted to a special fraternity of achievers and scholars involved with environmental health.”

After wading through more than 300 legislative goals presented by more than 500 commissioners throughout the state, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners has agreed on five top priorities to present to legislators during the 2015 General Assembly.

Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, president of the NCACC, gave his fellow commissioners an update on the recent Legislative Goals Conference during the board’s retreat last week. 

op frThe Haywood County School Board narrowly voted (5 to 4, with Chairman Chuck Francis breaking a tie) to contribute money toward a lobbying effort by the N.C. School Boards Association. The decision is the right one given the current situation in Raleigh and hopefully will be money well spent.

Lobbying is a catchall phrase that often has a negative connotation. I get that. When business groups direct thousands of dollars to candidate campaigns and then try to use that support to influence legislation, things often get sleazy. We’ve all read about it happening too many times.

fr frackingThey’ve plowed through the feedback, and now the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission has in hand a revised version of rules to govern oil and gas development in North Carolina, all ready for the new legislative session.

fr sessionNorth Carolina Legislators are back in session in Raleigh this week with a full agenda, including unfinished items from last year’s short session. The local delegation is ready to tackle the budget, Medicaid, education, fracking and other local issues affecting Western North Carolina.

The Haywood County School Board was divided this week on whether to join forces with school systems around the state in a lobbying campaign to back pro-education legislation in Raleigh.

The school board ultimately voted 5-to-4 to support the political advocacy arm of the N.C School Board Association. The county will pay annual dues of $3,000 to the cause.

coverMore than 10 million people now have health care coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, and Swain County residents benefited from the new law more than any other county in North Carolina. 

According to data released by Enroll America, a nonprofit with the goal of maximizing the number of Americans enrolled in health coverage, the percentage of uninsured residents in Swain County decreased from 25 percent in 2013 to 14 percent in 2014.

op canaryBy Thomas Crowe • Guest Columnist

In case you didn't know it, right here in our midst we have a gem of an organization — an organization that has been fighting for clean air and water for all of us here in Western North Carolina since 1999.

As a founding board member, while I know that many folks have probably heard of the Canary Coalition (think “canary in the coal mine”), there are many that may not be aware of what it does to raise public consciousness about environmental issues and to influence public policy related to these issues.

Page 11 of 31
Go to top