Energy on the horizon: Debate on drilling still hypothetical, but groundwork is being laid

out frFrom the oil fields of North Dakota to the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania, the U.S. oil and gas industry is booming in a way that few would have predicted 20 years ago.

Energy extraction is now possible — and financially viable — in regions it wasn’t before. Energy deposits, primarily of gas, that were once too hard or expensive to tap are being opened up with the combined technology of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, called fracking.

Hunters upset about ‘Something Bruin’ tactics

fr somethingbruinHunters from all over the mountains came together last weekend to speak out against the tactics used by undercover wildlife officers in a multi-year investigation  — one that presumably targeted bear poachers.

McCrory to appoint Holt’s successor, but could ignore bar’s counsel

Attorneys in the seven western counties will to be called on in the coming weeks to weigh in on their top pick to fill a vacancy on the judicial bench.

Time to rejoin the “battle outside”

out naturalistThis appears especially true in the Old Home State where the (first in over 100 years) Republican triad used the 2013 session of the General Assembly to lay waste to decades of progressive environmental policy and programs that produced a state that was a leader in outdoor tourism, retirement destination, second-homes, environmental policy and protection, quality of life and — prior to 2013 — ranked number 4 on CNBC’s “America’s Top States for Business.” North Carolina has since been relegated to number 12 on CNBC’s list because of its declining “Quality of Life.”

School leaders frustrated by teacher pay raise plan

fr protestUnder normal circumstances, Mike Murray would be thrilled to pass out raises to the hard-working teachers in Jackson County.

Faculty, student representatives at WCU frustrated by Raleigh

Faculty and student representatives at Western Carolina University expressed concern last week over recent legislative actions in Raleigh. 

Lake Junaluska merger proponents preparing for round two

Supporters of the stalled merger of Lake Junaluska with the town of Waynesville hope to get it back on the docket of the N.C. General Assembly in the spring.

Education changes, woes discussed at forum

fr maconschoolsWhat was billed to be a town hall style education forum for the Macon County School System, filled with parents and teachers, was held at an almost empty Franklin High School auditorium. But, that didn’t stop the passionate message being addressed by those onstage and in the crowd. 

State reverses itself, gives Swain North Shore interest

Swain County leaders were relieved this month when the state gave them the go ahead to tap $382,000 in interest from the North Shore Road settlement trust fund.

Community help needed to save education

op frI’ve heard all the speeches and read all the legislative fantasies, and I’m still not satisfied with what I’ve heard about the state of the schools. The stories don’t match.

One question I cannot get the answer to is this: is the figure used by the state legislature for school budget before or after the reversion monies? When did the reversions start? Why? 

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