Attorneys in the seven western counties will to be called on in the coming weeks to weigh in on their top pick to fill a vacancy on the judicial bench.

out naturalistThis appears especially true in the Old Home State where the (first in over 100 years) Republican triad used the 2013 session of the General Assembly to lay waste to decades of progressive environmental policy and programs that produced a state that was a leader in outdoor tourism, retirement destination, second-homes, environmental policy and protection, quality of life and — prior to 2013 — ranked number 4 on CNBC’s “America’s Top States for Business.” North Carolina has since been relegated to number 12 on CNBC’s list because of its declining “Quality of Life.”

fr protestUnder normal circumstances, Mike Murray would be thrilled to pass out raises to the hard-working teachers in Jackson County.

Faculty and student representatives at Western Carolina University expressed concern last week over recent legislative actions in Raleigh. 

Supporters of the stalled merger of Lake Junaluska with the town of Waynesville hope to get it back on the docket of the N.C. General Assembly in the spring.

Swain County leaders were relieved this month when the state gave them the go ahead to tap $382,000 in interest from the North Shore Road settlement trust fund.

fr maconschoolsWhat was billed to be a town hall style education forum for the Macon County School System, filled with parents and teachers, was held at an almost empty Franklin High School auditorium. But, that didn’t stop the passionate message being addressed by those onstage and in the crowd. 

op frI’ve heard all the speeches and read all the legislative fantasies, and I’m still not satisfied with what I’ve heard about the state of the schools. The stories don’t match.

One question I cannot get the answer to is this: is the figure used by the state legislature for school budget before or after the reversion monies? When did the reversions start? Why? 

fr sweepstakesDespite sweepstakes-style video gambling being outlawed in the state, they have slowly crept back in to the corners of gas stations across Western North Carolina in recent months. 

op frI am writing this in my classroom on a Friday evening in the hours of quiet before the kickoff for our homecoming ball game. My students are all gone for the weekend, but it is still early enough that my classroom remains lit by the clear autumn sunshine. I look out at 28 desks that hold the adult sized bodies of the 63 students I teach in senior English: 24 in first period, 25 in fourth period, and 14 in AP English Literature. In my first- and fourth-period classes, the place is pretty packed when everyone is present, so I am grateful I do not as of yet have the full allotment of 29 students that N.C. law allows. My county is fighting hard to keep class size within reason and to maintain teaching staff, although current legislation is telling us that staff reduction is only a matter of time.

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