State debates drug testing for aid recipients

fr drugtestingA bill that recently passed the state Senate would take social assistance away from anyone using drugs by requiring state aid recipients to take a mandatory drug test.

No good deed goes unpunished in state’s domestic violence funding formula

The domestic violence nonprofit REACH of Macon County is facing a more than $80,000 shortfall next year due partly to state budget cuts and partly to repercussions of stepping up to the plate when assault victims in neighboring Jackson County had no one else to turn to.

Libraries brace for hit: Libraries play offense over state budget cuts

coverFor years, state funding for libraries has been on the decline. But librarians in Western North Carolina are not taking this next round lying down.

In response to a recommendation by Gov. Pat McCroy to cut the state library budget by nearly 5 percent, librarians in the Fontana Regional system put out petitions in the libraries in Macon, Swain and Jackson counties.

County commissioners cry foul over state budget proposals

County commissioners across the state are protesting proposed state budget cuts and bills that they say pass the buck and put more burdens on counties.

From greenways to ball fields, state cuts could sideline local recreation wish list

Statewide parks and recreation funding is clashing with fiscal austerity in the current state budget process, in a showdown that has environmentalists and local governments bracing for the worst.

Bills would reinforce optional student prayer

Religion and public schools have never been a black and white matter anywhere in the U.S., but the shades of grey can be even more complicated in the Bible belt.

Two Waynesville sweepstake parlors charged as industry guns for a court fight

A Waynesville sweepstakes operator was charged with a criminal misdemeanor last weekend when she refused to shut down her machines, considered a form of illegal gambling under state law.

State torn on driver’s licenses for children of illegal immigrants

It’s a right of passage for teens, the Holy Grail of high school, an iconic symbol of young adulthood freedom — that tiny piece of plastic called a driver’s license.

Sweepstakes parlor closings leave some winners, some losers

fr sweepstakesCarol Anthony sat at in the back corner of a sweepstakes parlor in Maggie Valley one afternoon last week, getting her last fix of video gaming in before the next day’s ban took away what she claimed was her sole source of fun.

Our state's priorities have gone askew

op frThe swearing in of new Gov. Pat McCrory this past weekend brought to mind a conversation at a recent holiday party. I was sequestered with a few political types and several issues came up that had been covered in The Smoky Mountain News and other media outlets. Several of these discussion points are going to fall into the lap of the new governor and the General Assembly.

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