2014: Newsworthy award winners
 

2014: Newsworthy award winners

2014 is all but in the rearview mirror now, and all the stories reported over the last 12 months are…
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Waynesville’s electric system is a cash cow for the town, but can the good fortune continue?
 

Waynesville’s electric system is a cash cow for the town, but can the good fortune continue?

If Waynesville has a dirty little secret, it’s this: a cash cow runs through its power lines. Of course, it’s…
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Greasing the wheels: WNC residents trade petroleum for veggie oil
 

Greasing the wheels: WNC residents trade petroleum for veggie oil

There’s nothing Adam Bigelow likes better than a full tank of gas in the summertime with an open road ahead.…
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The local deal: Small businesses look for their share of holiday shoppers
 

The local deal: Small businesses look for their share of holiday shoppers

There are a few time-honored traditions on Thanksgiving. Like turkey and stuffing, or football and napping.  Or, increasingly more over…
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The bicycle puzzle: Exploring opportunities of cycling tourism
 

The bicycle puzzle: Exploring opportunities of cycling tourism

For the past few years, the Blue Ridge Breakaway has lured cyclists to Haywood for a ride through the mountains.…
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The GOP’s new normal in Raleigh — Are you for it or against it?
 

The GOP’s new normal in Raleigh — Are you for it or against it?

North Carolina has rarely seen an election where the candidates matter so little, but who wins matters so much. This…
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Cullowhee community expresses reservations about planning at public forum
 

Cullowhee community expresses reservations about planning at public forum

Up to now, the mood at many of the Cullowhee planning meetings and public forums was upbeat and positive —…
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Community rallies for three-day makeover of Hazelwood prison
 

Community rallies for three-day makeover of Hazelwood prison

It was a scene that any fan — or casual viewer — of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” would find familiar.…
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Old paper mill landfills mostly go unnoticed, un-monitored
 

Old paper mill landfills mostly go unnoticed, un-monitored

More than 200 acres of scattered tracts along the meandering Pigeon River Valley in Haywood County are quiet sentries to…
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Peeling back the layers: A closer look at proposed fracking regulations
 

Peeling back the layers: A closer look at proposed fracking regulations

Anyone who’s read a newspaper, turned on a TV or listened to chitchat in a grocery store sometime over the…
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Rooted in history, growing into the future: Dillsboro celebrates its past while working toward a better future
 

Rooted in history, growing into the future: Dillsboro celebrates its past while working toward a better future

Dillsboro sits at the crossroads of U.S. 441 and N.C. 23. Nestled between the past and future, it is a…
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The ‘Cullowhee idea’: Cullowhee institution traces evolution from a rural schoolhouse to regional powerhouse
 

The ‘Cullowhee idea’: Cullowhee institution traces evolution from a rural schoolhouse to regional powerhouse

It’s August, freshman move-in day, and Western Carolina University is welcoming a new class of freshmen to campus. It’s what…
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A concessionaire’s conundrum: Pisgah Inn owner hoping NPS contract renewal yields 10 more years of local ownership
 

A concessionaire’s conundrum: Pisgah Inn owner hoping NPS contract renewal yields 10 more years of local ownership

By mid-August, there’s already a chill in the air outside Pisgah Inn. Employees and experienced guests walk around in pants…
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Taking matters into their own hands
 

Taking matters into their own hands

It promised to be one of the most riveting nights of the year for members of the Jackson County Genealogical…
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The need to achieve: Western counties work to satisfy state law, get young readers on track
 

The need to achieve: Western counties work to satisfy state law, get young readers on track

Carson Angel is excited to show off her reading skills as she waits outside East Franklin Elementary for her mom…
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Haywood dogs go bulletproof: Group donates Kevlar vests for local police dogs
 

Haywood dogs go bulletproof: Group donates Kevlar vests for local police dogs

The four-legged officers of Haywood County are now bulletproof, thanks to a donation from the Western North Carolina Dog Fanciers…
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The road ahead: Opt-In study concludes, Corridor K debate continues
 

The road ahead: Opt-In study concludes, Corridor K debate continues

After a year-long study capping off years of debate, the verdict is in on what’s next for the controversial Corridor…
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Fireworks: the economics of the intangibles
 

Fireworks: the economics of the intangibles

This Fourth of July there will be plenty of places from which to watch a fireworks display. North Jackson County…
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One-liners and the warpath: State Republicans relax, ready for revolution at Cherokee convention
 

One-liners and the warpath: State Republicans relax, ready for revolution at Cherokee convention

Thom Tillis has a recurring daydream. The Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives and candidate for the…
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Back to the future: Preppers learn old-time skills to ready themselves for times ahead
 

Back to the future: Preppers learn old-time skills to ready themselves for times ahead

Fire, smoke, and efforts to make more of both fill the event pavilion at Haywood County Fair Grounds on a…
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Capital from the crowd: Artists, entrepreneurs go online for a financial head start
 

Capital from the crowd: Artists, entrepreneurs go online for a financial head start

A soda bottling operation. An original children’s book. A new music album. A mural downtown. Pallets and pallets of Mason…
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Graduation, and beyond
 

Graduation, and beyond

Alumni Tower is enjoying a late-semester afternoon on the Western Carolina University campus. Its clock keeps watch over students as…
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A fire that lasts: Cherokee culture grows in new museum director’s life, community
 

A fire that lasts: Cherokee culture grows in new museum director’s life, community

Give a museum director an open opportunity to tout his facility’s newest this, unique that and state-of-the-art these, and no…
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County commissioner races heat up
 

County commissioner races heat up

As the primary approaches, local candidates are making their case. Around the region, county commissioner seats are opening up and incumbents and…
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Bryson City shelter gives hurting teens a fresh start
 

Bryson City shelter gives hurting teens a fresh start

Despite the automated security system that speaks up every time a door is opened and the whiteboard grid tracking points…
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Growing a brand: New marketing plan offers the authentic
 

Growing a brand: New marketing plan offers the authentic

Lynn Collins has honed the art of eavesdropping. It began innocently enough, unavoidable even, since nothing but a cubicle separates…
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Voting from bed: WCU, Jackson County election officials hammer out a hopeful home
 

Voting from bed: WCU, Jackson County election officials hammer out a hopeful home

Walking out of the Jackson County Board of Elections offices in Sylva, Lane Perry seemed pleased. A year’s worth of…
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Macon candidate challenges reveal rift between conservative, moderate Republicans
 

Macon candidate challenges reveal rift between conservative, moderate Republicans

Dueling challenges over the legitimacy of two Macon County commissioner candidates could have had far-reaching implications for the county’s political…
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Macon hopes for home run
 

Macon hopes for home run

Macon County commissioners decided in a split vote this month to spend $3 million building a tournament-scale baseball and softball…
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Jackson and Macon poised to lose their cash cow in wake of second-home real estate crash
 

Jackson and Macon poised to lose their cash cow in wake of second-home real estate crash

When inflated real estate values in the second-home market came back down to earth, the touchdown wasn’t gentle.  It was…
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Steep slopes on the rocks: Relaxed building rules try to strike a balance
 

Steep slopes on the rocks: Relaxed building rules try to strike a balance

David Brooks grew up dirt poor. His dad farmed corn, apples and tobacco, always with a plow and mule, never…
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Reforming lives on a wing and a prayer
 

Reforming lives on a wing and a prayer

A proposal to convert a closed-down state prison into a halfway house and homeless shelter in Haywood County is gaining…
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A winter rescue: Rangers trek into frigid, snowy darkness to save hikers
 

A winter rescue: Rangers trek into frigid, snowy darkness to save hikers

By 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, the sky had long gone dark and rain was turning to snow. It was…
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2013: The year in review
 

2013: The year in review

2013 is behind us now, and all the news reported over the last 12 months is headed for the history…
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Model railroad group brings joy to children and seniors
 

Model railroad group brings joy to children and seniors

By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • SMN Correspondent Think of it as somewhere over the rainbow.  You know the place, only this…
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The Cataloochee exodus: Story of picturesque valley’s transformation captured in new film
 

The Cataloochee exodus: Story of picturesque valley’s transformation captured in new film

Raymond Caldwell was 15 years old when he hitched up a team of horses to a wagon with 30 bushels…
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Cullowhee businesses reflect on past, look ahead after WCU fire
 

Cullowhee businesses reflect on past, look ahead after WCU fire

Dark clouds hung above Cullowhee last Friday morning. And as the rain fell on the mountain community, tears slid down…
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There’s an app for that: If not, a growing number of students are learning to create one
 

There’s an app for that: If not, a growing number of students are learning to create one

Imagine you’re a college student in the summer of 2010. One of your professors offers you a job. He has…
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Human interaction can be fatal to elk
 

Human interaction can be fatal to elk

A young male elk in Cataloochee Valley was put down by park rangers last week for repeatedly rushing and taunting…
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Internal debate divides Haywood GOP
 

Internal debate divides Haywood GOP

Some mainstream Republicans in Haywood County fear their local party is being hijacked by a far-right faction with extreme views…
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Family, feuds and football
 

Family, feuds and football

Heather Brookshire is behind enemy lines.  “Everybody has been giving me a hard time all day,” she chuckled. Taking orders…
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The face of the shutdown: Local childcare centers teetering as shutdown interrupts funding
 

The face of the shutdown: Local childcare centers teetering as shutdown interrupts funding

All Nicole Smith could do last week was try to keep the doors open. Either the shutdown of the federal…
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Turned Away: Visitors, residents barred from national park
 

Turned Away: Visitors, residents barred from national park

When Joe and Dolly Parker approached the entrance of the Deep Creek campground Tuesday morning, the sign read “Office Closed.”…
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College students must jump through new hoops to vote where they go to school
 

College students must jump through new hoops to vote where they go to school

The new voter identification requirement won’t likely affect North Carolinians who have put down roots, but more transient populations including…
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Razing the sweepstakes: Police handcuffed in latest standoff with successor of video gambling
 

Razing the sweepstakes: Police handcuffed in latest standoff with successor of video gambling

Sweepstakes-style video gambling is making bold forays into the rural communities of Western North Carolina, back for yet another skirmish…
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WCU students return to new nightlife landscape this year
 

WCU students return to new nightlife landscape this year

Western Carolina University students will open their textbooks this year with a livelier Cullowhee awaiting them after the class bell…
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WNC leaders worry that region will be left behind economically
 

WNC leaders worry that region will be left behind economically

Western North Carolina business and political leaders are wondering who will go to the mat for them to attract new…
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‘Jono’ Bryant blends his taste for adventure and medical skills toward a greater good
 

‘Jono’ Bryant blends his taste for adventure and medical skills toward a greater good

It was a rather strange place to have a life-changing epiphany, but there he was, on the set of a…
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Who are we? Cherokee programs find innovative ways to keep the flame burning for future generations
 

Who are we? Cherokee programs find innovative ways to keep the flame burning for future generations

Growing up on the Isleta Pueblo reservation in New Mexico, 26-year-old Cody Grant could name off the tribes he descended…
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Financial woes catch up with Tandi Haas
 

Financial woes catch up with Tandi Haas

Amy Clifton Keely wasn’t asking for much. Being a wedding photographer, she knew how wedding days worked, and what pitfalls…
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