State charges against the two teenagers arrested in connection with November’s deadly Gatlinburg fires have been dropped, but prosecution could resume with federal charges.
A Haywood County woman has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges for filing bogus unemployment claims on behalf of unsuspecting victims, a scam that bilked the government for more than $29,000 in fake unemployment benefits over a two-year period.
Cherokee’s only bail bondsman is facing federal charges for allegedly having sex with female clients in lieu of loan repayment, and for allegedly sexually abusing a teenager younger than 16.
Smaller cities and counties with smaller tax bases can’t always afford the capital expenses of their wealthier neighbors — it’s a simple fact of life for rural Appalachian governments that often have to do without the luxuries afforded to the better-off.
A variety of law enforcement agencies serve the 60,000 residents speckled about the 555 square miles of Haywood County, and although they all practice varying degrees of camera system usage, they all seem to share similar concerns about costs and benefits.
On Aug. 9, 2014, an encounter between Officer Darren Wilson and 18-year-old Michael Brown on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, left Brown dead and the entire nation in the midst of a riotous public debate over whether the shooting was a product of racism or self-defense.
As the digital revolution proceeds unabated and technology exponentially shrinks in size and cost, law enforcement agencies have more tools in and on their trunks than ever before.
The increasing use of body-worn and dash-mounted police cameras in Western North Carolina has sparked privacy concerns from citizens and cost concerns from local governments struggling to equip officers with the devices.
News spread fast last week after the Sylva Police Department removed more than 50 spikes from hiking trails at Pinnacle Park, but a drive by the trailhead two days later showed that the incident hadn’t dampened local enthusiasm for the area. Even at 1 p.m. on a Thursday, the parking area held seven cars whose owners had come to enjoy a sunny afternoon on the trail.
Sylva resident Amy Schmidt, 33, was one of them. She and her German shepherd Greta come to Pinnacle Park regularly, about three times a week, and though she’d heard about the spikes she didn’t think twice about coming back for their regular walk. But the story did give her pause.
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.