News Headlines

Sherry and Gary Patterson vacationed in Bryson City for the first time about 20 years ago and now they can’t get enough of it.

Swain Community Hospital is still trying to overcome misperceptions in the community regarding its recent emergency department changes as well as the local medical services available to residents. 

Barbara Robinson can find artistic inspiration wherever she may be. 

Sometimes it’s looking out over Frye Mountain from her art studio window at home, while at other times perhaps a particular barn she spots while driving through Swain County will pique her interest. Other times it’s a vision in her head that works its way out over time.

Swain County recently spent more than $350,000 in order to better secure its trash site and cut down on sanitation department costs, but recent illegal dumping continues to be a costly and time-consuming problem.

“The smartest countries tend to be those that have acted to make teaching more prestigious and selective; directed more resources to their neediest children; enrolled most children in high-quality preschools; helped schools establish cultures of constant improvement; and applied rigorous, consistent standards across all classrooms.”  

— “What America Can Learn About Smart Schools in Other Countries,” The New York Times

2016: A Year.

The tidal wave of negative political news in 2016 was staggering in its magnitude and emotionally overwhelming. Thankfully all that is behind us. But we can’t say adios to the year’s local news until our writers and editors sift through those events and mold them into our annual tongue-in-cheek spoof awards. With apologies in advance to those who can’t take a joke, here’s our tribute to the people and events that left an indelible mark on 2016.

Harry S. Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson said upon his return to private life, “I will undoubtedly have to seek what is happily known as gainful employment, which I am glad to say does not describe holding public office.”

To serve, Haywood Commissioners leave money on the table
Carrying commissioner duties a juggling act in Jackson
Macon commissioners not there for money
Swain commissioners give little thought to salary
Cherokee council makes more than state reps, less than congressmen

While holding public office in the United States isn’t usually all pain, it is usually no gain. American culture has long held disdain for those who enrich themselves by suckling at the public teat, and a Smoky Mountain News investigation proves that — at least locally — the salary and benefits offered to county commissioners in Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties aren’t making any of them rich.

“You know, I really can’t tell you what we get paid,” Swain County Commissioner David Monteith said when asked about his commissioner salary. “I’ve never done it for that purpose. To me, serving the people in the community is the main benefit of being commissioner.”

When the wildfires were threatening structures in Swain County a couple of weeks ago, first responders had to knock on more than 200 doors to alert residents that they needed to evacuate. 

The Swain County High School marching band was noticeably absent from the annual Bryson City Christmas Parade last weekend, but they had a good reason.

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