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coverThe four-legged officers of Haywood County are now bulletproof, thanks to a donation from the Western North Carolina Dog Fanciers Association. Of the seven K9s in the county, two had been missing the Kevlar protection they’d need to stay safe in case of a skirmish involving guns or knives. Now, their handlers can rest easier knowing that their furry partners share the same protection that they have.  

“The main thing is just having the ability to provide as much protection and security to a working officer — ‘cause that’s what he is — as I have myself,” said Waynesville Officer Zachary Faulkenberry of his K9, Valor. “He’s a sworn officer just like I am, so he should have as much protection as any other officer.”

A Canton business has recently found itself in the midst of a heated parking debate. Blackbear Automotive & Transmission, located on the corner of Pisgah Drive (N.C. 110) and Johnson Street, is generating traffic concerns from the community.

Those concerns recently bubbled to the surface during a July 10 town board meeting.

Macon County commissioners voted unanimously last week to endorse a resolution stating that no new wilderness areas in Macon County would be a good thing. With the U.S. Forest Service in the midst of hashing out a new forest management plan, a document that will set the blueprint for the next 20 years, Jim Gray of the Ruffed Grouse Society brought the resolution to the commissioners’ June 8 meeting. He made the case that wilderness areas keep the Forest Service from using the full array of forest management tools available to them — namely, timber harvest. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:22

Franklin aldermen vote no to hospice grant

Hospice House of WNC suffered a setback last week when the Franklin Board of Aldermen made a split decision not to support the organization’s application for a $100,000 Department of Commerce grant. 

“It’s a worthy cause. That was not the question,” said Verlin Curtis, vice-mayor. “The problem was it looked like that their raising the money and being able to complete the project on time was not going to happen.”

fr jaxfrackingA question-and-answer session concerning fracking drew a full crowd to a recent Jackson County Planning Board meeting. Western Carolina University Geosciences and Natural Resources Professor Cheryl Waters-Tormey was invited to lay out the basic process of hydraulic fracturing and the chances of natural gas exploration in Western North Carolina in the wake of the state legislature green-lighting the practice. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:20

Jackson still mulling landslide mapping

Landslide hazard maps for the Wayehutta Creek watershed in the Cullowhee area of Jackson County were unveiled recently. The mapping is a baby step toward the much loftier goal of assessing the landslide risk for all the steep slopes in the county — a goal that is currently unfunded in Jackson.

The survey provides a topographical look at the watershed. It provides an inventory of potential slides and areas where slides have occurred.

Macon County’s project to turn the 48-acre Parker Meadows project into a tournament-level softball and baseball complex met some complications when construction turned up a Cherokee burial site. 

“You might hear rumors to that effect, so we’ll go ahead and confirm them,” County Commission Chairman Kevin Corbin said at the board’s July 8 meeting. 

fr allergiesIn light of the growing number of children with food allergies, a new policy has been adopted by Haywood County Schools to help parents navigate the scary terrain of sending a child with a life-threatening food allergy into an uncontrolled environment every day. 

fr circleshopeMonty Williams didn’t know a whole lot about the Circles of Hope program when he sat down to his first training four years ago. All he knew was that he wanted to do something to help people in poverty escape it, and the program had the full endorsement of Mountain Projects Community Action Agency Executive Director Patsy Dowling. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:11

Duke LifePoint sale to finalize by July 31

The sale of the MedWest hospital trio in Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties will be finalized by the end of July.

Duke LifePoint HealthCare, a national for-profit hospital network, will take over Aug. 1, ending a long legacy of local, independent ownership of the community hospitals.

fr cullowheedevelopmentThe latest development to throw down a stake in Cullowhee intends to build a 488-bed student housing complex on a two-lane stretch of road across from the community garden and near the Tuckasegee River.

It’s a place where students can “thrive” while enjoying “a much more robust amenity package.”