eCourts launches in Western North Carolina

Members of the public interested in Western North Carolina court cases now have better access than ever to criminal and civil files. 

Moderate drought expands in WNC

Although most of the state saw some rainfall in the past week, it was not enough to improve dry conditions, leading the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council (DMAC) to expand its severe and moderate drought classifications across the state. Now, almost all of Western North Carolina is in moderate drought status. 

“This June was the driest on record for the state and one of the warmest,” said Klaus Albertin, chair of the DMAC. “As a result, the state has quickly gone from normal in May to very, very dry. Rain during the last week slowed the rapid drying, but was not enough to improve areas. The southern Coastal Plain saw no rain for another week, resulting in expansion of severe drought in the area and introduction of extreme drought in Columbus County.”  

Groundwater and surface water reservoirs typically see higher demand for water during the summer and the ongoing drought conditions could result in water restrictions. Some counties have updated their water conservation status on

For areas in moderate drought, or D1, DMAC recommends water users should adhere to local water use restrictions, project water needs and available water supply for 90 days, among other recommendations. 

“The National Weather Service is forecasting rainfall of 1 to 4 inches across eastern North Carolina in the next week, so the drought conditions may ease up there,” Albertin said. “Unfortunately, damage to many crops may already be done.” 

Swain County BOE hosts voter ID seminar

The Swain County Board of Elections host an educational seminar on North Carolina’s photo ID requirement for voting. 

N.C was crucial to independence

To the Editor:

On April 12, 1776, North Carolina was the first state to call for independence from Great Britain. Her Provincial Congress, meeting at Halifax, North Carolina, passed a resolution that has come to be known as the “Halifax Resolves.” 

EBCI to sell recreational cannabis to enrolled members

Cherokee is moving one step closer to full adult recreational cannabis use.

The newest advance will come July 4 when the Great Smoky Cannabis Company will be allowed to legally sell marijuana to adults over the age of 21 who are enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians or any other federally recognized tribe. 

Legislative infighting overshadows child care crisis

Without immediate action from the General Assembly, Pandemic-era federal grants to child care providers will run out on July 1 — plunging the state into a child care crisis that will hamper economic and workforce development, make child care more difficult to find and further burden North Carolina’s working parents already feeling the pinch from unaffordable housing and the relentless corporate greed that’s driving inflation. 

LGBT candidates look to build on last year’s successes

Hoping to build on the momentum of a successful off-year election cycle, even amid violent threats, members of Western North Carolina’s LGBTQ+ community are wary of what might happen in the General Election and are calling for the codification of rights already enjoyed by other Americans. 

This must be the place: Ode to this newspaper, ode to a quarter century

It was just about 12 years ago when I first rolled into Waynesville. After a solo 18-hour, 1,000-mile trek from my native Upstate New York to Western North Carolina, I found myself sitting in an office chair awaiting an in-person interview with Smoky Mountain News publisher/founder Scott McLeod. 

No tax increase for Macon

Macon County will be able to cover all its upcoming capital projects in the 2024-2025 fiscal year budget without a property tax increase, allowing it to maintain the lowest tax rate in North Carolina. 

School choice isn’t a conspiracy

North Carolina is becoming a national leader in expanding choice and competition in education. For some North Carolinians, this is a source of pride. For others, it’s shameful. 

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