Evergreen gets its green: Lawmakers approve $12 million for natural gas upgrades in Canton

In a last-minute turnaround, North Carolina lawmakers wrapped up their short session last week with passage of a bill granting Evergreen Packaging’s paper mill in Canton $12 million for natural gas upgrades.

House fails to pass $12 million in grants for Canton paper mill

fr evergreenA bill that would provide a $12 million incentive package to the Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton failed to garner enough votes from the state House.

“I did my best — that’s all I can say,” said Rep. Michelle Presnell, R-Haywood, on Tuesday afternoon. 

State budget provides raise for teachers: Critics say raise is ‘phony’

fr teacherraisesIt took nearly two months of conferencing, but a state budget bill is finally passed and signed. At the heart of that drawn-out process was education funding. Specifically, what state Republicans are hailing as the largest raise in history for North Carolina teachers.

Round three: Haywood County takes on political adversary in property value dispute

A challenger in the Haywood County commissioner race lost ground last week in a fight with the county over his property values, a three-year dispute laced with political overtones.

Denny King claims the county incorrectly pegged the value of his home and land, which in turn determines his property tax bill. King has accused the county of mass errors in a countywide property revaluation conducted in 2011, a criticism that is a cornerstone of his campaign for county commissioner.

Swain passes fracking resolution

Swain County recently passed a resolution in opposition to fracking. “Are you familiar with what fracking is?” asked Swain County Commissioner Steve Moon. “That’s why we’re opposed to it.”

After initially being overlooked, WNC gets fracking hearing

The North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission has scheduled a public hearing on fracking for Western North Carolina. The hearing is slated for Sept. 12 on the Western Carolina University campus in Cullowhee.

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

coverCarson Angel is excited to show off her reading skills as she waits outside East Franklin Elementary for her mom to pick her up. From the pile of hand-colored posters, worksheets and drawings at her feet, the 8-year-old picks out a small book made of quartered computer paper to read out loud. 

“We had to choose six animal facts and write them into sentences,” she explains. Each sentence is chockfull of everything you’d ever want to know about tigers. Carson had been a little too shy to read anything in front of her peers for the last-day-of-camp reading talent show, but one-on-one she’s all about it.  

Fracking presentation draws a crowd in Jackson

fr jaxfrackingA question-and-answer session concerning fracking drew a full crowd to a recent Jackson County Planning Board meeting. Western Carolina University Geosciences and Natural Resources Professor Cheryl Waters-Tormey was invited to lay out the basic process of hydraulic fracturing and the chances of natural gas exploration in Western North Carolina in the wake of the state legislature green-lighting the practice. 

Merger bill moves forward in Raleigh

fr lakejLake Junaluska’s bid to merge with the town of Waynesville flickered to life in the state legislature last week after languishing in political purgatory for the past year.

The Tillis-Berger-McCrory axis hoping that N.C. ain’t like Kansas

op frBy Martin A. Dyckman • Guest Columnist

Although Kansas is among the reddest of red states, its Republican governor, Sam Brownback, is in big trouble. Current polls show his Democratic challenger ahead, 47 to 41. Are pigs flying?

The reasons should strike fear into the Tillis-Berger-McCrory axis in Raleigh and encourage citizens who yearn to be rid of their reign of error.

Above all, they should inspire North Carolina’s voters.

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