Police help push new laws through legislature

The Waynesville Police Department helped craft and then usher four bills, or some version of them, through the N.C. General Assembly this year, giving law enforcement officers statewide new tools in the fight against drugs.

Legislature leading us down to new depths

op fr“Thank you sir, may I have another.”

The line by Kevin Bacon from the now-classic film “Animal House” kept popping into my head as I went down the list of what this year’s GOP-led General Assembly is doing to North Carolina. In the movie, Bacon is being hazed as part of a fraternity initiation, and every time he is hit with a paddle he asks for another painful blow. Here in the Tar Heel state, you think legislative leaders are done pushing the state toward the likes of Mississippi or South Carolina, and then something else almost ridiculous hits the news that they have passed or seriously considered passing.

WNC residents travel to Raleigh for moral Monday rally

When moral Monday protestors gathered this week in front of the legislature in Raleigh to decrying the policies of conservative lawmakers, among them were a contingent of demonstrators from Western North Carolina.

Democrats organize Waynesville protest against General Assembly’s actions

fr rallyMore than 150 protestors marched in downtown Waynesville Monday to oppose what they characterize as egregious policies by Republican state lawmakers that will take North Carolina back to the Dark Ages.

State teaching center in Cullowhee could be shuttered by budget cuts

fr nccatThe North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Jackson County had its funding slashed in half in 2011, and this year, Raleigh may finish the job.

A story of violence and race in small-town N.C.

bookMy decision to read this “docudrama” (part memoir, part history and part detective story) was prompted by my genuine wish to gain a better understanding of the history of racial conflicts and violent conformations that took place in North Carolina between the 1950s and the present.

Stopping voter fraud or just stopping voters?

fr votingA state bill mandating that voters show identification to cast a ballot has split opinions down the middle, with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other.

Bill would weaken newspapers as conduit for government oversight

Haywood County commissioners weighed the merits of saving money versus government transparency this week.

State law requires counties and towns to publish notices of meetings, public hearings and contracts going out to bid in the local newspaper of record. Newspapers charge a fee to print the notices, which add up to $20,000 to $30,000 a year for Haywood County alone.

Conservation funding on the rocks in state budget forecast

fr needmoreThe state fund that helped conserve miles of riverfront, protect thousands of acres of undeveloped mountainsides and build countless sewer and water projects in Western North Carolina is hanging on by a thread.

Bill could move legal notices from newspapers to the Internet

In several counties in Western North Carolina, a showdown between the printed word and the digital age could soon take place. A bill has passed the N.C. Senate that allows some town and county governments in the region to opt out of placing legal and public notices in the community newspapers of record and instead put them on a government website.

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