Come Hell or High Water, Asheville Is Climate 'Winner'

By Tom Fiedler | Asheville Watchdog — Back in 2006, when Scott Shuford was Asheville’s planning director, he reluctantly accepted a…
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Palmer pleads guilty to murder

Thomas “Tommy” Glenn Palmer, 38, recently admitted in a Jackson County courtroom he shot and killed his stepfather, Tim Norris,…
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Sports betting opens March 18 at Harrah's

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ new sports betting venue is set to open following a ribbon-cutting ceremony tomorrow at…
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One year later: COVID-19 killed 189 in the four-county area

When life as we knew it slammed to a sudden stop in mid-March of 2020, the novel coronavirus from Wuhan…
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Living Through A Pandemic — Year One

Think back to 2019. Back when things were normal. Back when masks were only for Halloween, or for bank robbers.…
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When the job can’t stop: Trash collection picked up during the pandemic

When meetings moved to Zoom and schools shut down last March, Zach Sorrells kept on reporting to work. As a…
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‘My place in life’: Nursing student finds peace in COVID-19 response

For Malcom Skinner, the pandemic was not a pause, but rather a call to action.  “I’ve been trained up to…
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Using humor, finding purpose during a pandemic

Many people in the high-risk category for COVID-19 began isolating themselves at home last March to wait out the pandemic,…
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Embracing solitude: Retiree finds peace in yearlong quarantine

In the pre-pandemic world, life was a constant swirl of activity for Lynn Jones and her husband. 
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School through a screen: Cherokee immersion teacher navigates pandemic

Katlin Roberts was making coronavirus contingency plans before most people in the United States had even really heard of COVID-19.…
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Unusual COVID case wreaks havoc on Macon EMT

It’s not easy to slow Wendy Barker down. She’s been an EMT for 15 years. She’s used to working 24…
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Silver Bluff administrator looks back on 2020

Lisa Leatherwood, Administrator at Silver Bluff Village, has had a unique perspective of the mayhem that is the COVID-19 pandemic…
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Affordable housing coming to Howell Mill Road

After the results of a Town of Waynesville Planning Board meeting on March 16, Haywood County will now move into…
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Maggie Valley considers waterfall park proposal

Maggie Valley will soon decide whether or not to develop a waterfall park on a property it has had in…
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Gun control bills prove divisive

A pair of gun control bills passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week and are now heading for the Senate.…
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Haywood vaccine clinic moves to Lambeth Inn

Key Updates:  Haywood County’s Mass Vaccination clinic will move this week to a new temporary location at the Lambuth Inn at…
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WCU to resume nearly normal operations this fall

Western Carolina University is planning for a fall semester that will be “close to normal,” given current COVID-19 trends and…
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Jackson names new school superintendent

Jackson County Schools Board of Education has selected Dr. Dana Ayers as its new superintendent. 
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Ground breaks on HCC Health Sciences Building

Haywood Community College recently held a Groundbreaking Ceremony on campus for the Health Sciences Education Building. During the ceremony, those…
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HCA/Mission monitor to hold webinar

Gibbins Advisors is scheduling an informational online meeting open to all communities in Western North Carolina served by Mission Health.…
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Another Democrat begins campaign for Madison Cawthorn’s seat

Army veteran and 2020 state House candidate Josh Remillard, of Mills River, has officially entered the race for North Carolina’s…
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Summer Camp Guide

While summer camps were on hiatus during the height of the pandemic in 2020, many camps in Western North Carolina…
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HERE in Jackson plans considers homeless shelter project

For more than a decade, groups serving Jackson County’s homeless population have done so on a shoestring and a thin…
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WCU women create local branch of University Women

The American Association of University Women was founded by a group of female college graduates in 1881 to advocate for…
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Vaccine availability increases

Macon County became the first county in The Smoky Mountain News’ four-county coverage area to break the 20 percent mark…
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Tough decisions in store for Waynesville budget

As the town of Waynesville digs into the budget process for the 2021-22 fiscal year, aldermen are again considering ways…
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Feichter pushes for affordable housing in Waynesville

Waynesville Alderman Jon Feichter says that he’s proud of the concrete steps previous town boards took to address the affordable…
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Jackson forecasts revenue increase

Despite the dire predictions of spring 2020, Jackson County’s budget prognosis for the 2021-2022 fiscal year is looking downright positive,…
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Maggie Valley begins budget talks

Maggie Valley town officials are cautiously optimistic about the coming budget year after preliminary reports show the pandemic did not…
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Macon moves forward with middle school renovations

At the 11th hour, Macon County Commissioners called a special meeting to discuss whether to move forward with an $8…
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Under Attack, Cawthorn Moves (Farther) Right

By Peter H. Lewis, Asheville Watchdog | Since Madison Cawthorn took office two months ago, vowing to represent everyone in his…
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Repaving Coming to Three Western Highways

SYLVA – N.C. Department of Transportation officials recently awarded three contracts to resurface highways in Cherokee, Jackson and Henderson counties.
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DA Welch presented with patches of comfort

Quilters at Sassy Stitches in Franklin recently presented patches of comfort to District Attorney Ashley Welch, who is undergoing treatment…
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Jackson opens online vaccine registration

A new online portal now allows people to schedule themselves for COVID-19 vaccine appointments through the Jackson County Department of…
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Harrah's Donates to Swain County Fund

The Swain County United Gift Fund is pleased to announce a donation of $2,000 from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. This…
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Barbara McRae leaves lasting legacy in Macon County

Vice Mayor of Franklin Barbara McRae passed away Tuesday night after a long and valiant battle against cancer.
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Buncombe Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara wants Madison Cawthorn’s seat

Some people will say a gay woman who’s a Christian minister just can’t get elected in the South.
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COVID cases plunge as vaccine availability increases

Coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations are falling sharply around the region as vaccine coverage improves, providing a longed-for surge of…
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Pandemic exposes fragile childcare system

On average, it costs parents $9,480 a year for infant childcare in North Carolina, which is $2,126 more than they’ll…
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Jackson approves economic development strategy

A plan that will guide the county’s economic development strategy for the next five years received unanimous support Feb. 16…
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AT&T boosts network speeds for Cherokee

AT&T customers and FirstNet subscribers in Cherokee got a big boost in wireless connectivity. AT&T added a new cell tower…
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SMN brings home 26 N.C. Press Awards

The Smoky Mountain News team won 26 editorial awards in the 2020 North Carolina Press Association News and Editorial Contest. 
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Jackson man to serve 18 months for EBCI embezzlement

A Jackson County man who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $95,000 from an enterprise of the Eastern Band of…
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Cawthorn defends proxy vote from CPAC

As if last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) wasn’t controversial enough — the stage resembled a rune with Nazi…
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Health care foundation won’t remove anti-vax, anti-mask trustee

Despite calls to do so, a nonprofit health care foundation charged with managing more than $13 million of Haywood County…
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Major increase in property values coming for Haywood

Although the results of Haywood County’s comprehensive revaluation process haven’t yet been mailed out, county administrators and elected officials want…
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Hillbilly Jammers get high on the mountain

Attendees of this year’s Hillbilly Winter Jam kicked off the annual fest with a special treat — a private visit…
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Plans for Ghost Town property begin to emerge

There is perhaps no parcel of land in Haywood County that generates as much interest as the one that’s home…
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Five more COVID deaths recorded in Haywood

Haywood County Health and Human Services has received notice of five more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number now to…
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Rep. Cawthorn Tours Western Counties

NC-11 Congressional Rep. Madison Cawthorn spent last week engaging with his constituents in the western reaches of the district.
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