‘We’re just lucky to be alive’: Flood survivor recounts day of destruction

It’s late Friday morning. With cloudy skies above and a cool breeze swirling around her, Aubrey Ford gazes out onto what’s left of her front yard and the multiple homes on her family’s property following the raging floodwaters Tuesday night. She lights a cigarette and exhales with a sigh.

Making sense of the unimaginable: Floodwaters ravage the tightly-knit mountain community of Cruso

It’s about a mile past Jukebox Junction, down along U.S. 276 heading towards the small mountain community of Cruso, when the strong, pungent smell of mud wafts into the open truck windows and up through your nostrils.

First responders ‘Tired, frustrated, angry, fearful’

The resurgent Delta variant of COVID-19 has created a dangerous situation across the country and across the state, and now Western North Carolina’s first responders are speaking out. 

Delta surge comes to Harris

Dr. Ben Guiney wasn’t sure what he’d find when he showed up for his weekend shifts at Harris Regional Hospital last week. 

Jackson considers five additional firefighting positions

During a May 11 work session, Jackson County commissioners discussed a plan to use $400,000 from the general fund — previously allocated to the Cullowhee Volunteer Fire Department — to fund personnel and per-call pay at five other fire departments in the county. 

An ounce of prevention: Stopping emergencies before they start

For every 116,732 people visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one experiences an emergency and calls the park’s Search and Rescue Team for help. As the park’s popularity increases, so does the urgency of figuring out how to weaken that ratio. 

New tax values, fire protection costs drive rate discussion

With the 2021 property revaluation now complete, Jackson County’s taxable value will rise nearly 20 percent over the value established during the last valuation in 2016 and 12.1 percent over the value for the current fiscal year, the last using 2016 valuations. 

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 hour shifts under some of the most stressful and strenuous conditions, so she wasn’t ready for COVID-19 to put her out of commission for more than six weeks. 

Expecting the unexpected: Shuping retires after 20 years as Haywood’s emergency manager

Greg Shuping was 19 years old when he launched his emergency services career in his native Burke County. The son of a volunteer firefighter, Shuping had spent most of his life hanging around the firehouse, at least when he wasn’t busy exploring nearby Linville Gorge. 

Vaccine distribution ramps up in Jackson

As the afternoon sun sank in the wintry sky Jan. 15, a line of first responders stretched 50-deep outside the front door of the Cullowhee Recreation Center, each person waiting their turn to participate in the first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic to take place in Jackson County. 

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