East meets west at the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church

In a small room tucked away in the corner of a nondescript strip mall in the heart of Waynesville, spindly wisps of smoke waft from an incense burner adorned with bells and suspended by chains from the hand of a deacon slinging it rhythmically, back and forth.

WNC schools repeal mask mandates

School systems in all four counties of The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area are no longer requiring masks in schools. The slew of decisions came on the heels of updated COVID-19 guidance and new direction from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

Missing persons cases aren’t always what they seem

Every so often — about 20 times a year — Western North Carolina’s social media networks flare up with impassioned pleas from friends and family members of a missing person, begging for any information that could help bring their loved one home. But the reasons for the disappearances, and the results of the investigations, are often as unique as the missing persons themselves.

Growing pains: region reckons with development

Western North Carolina is growing, there’s no doubt about it. And as it does, there are bound to be growing pains.

A shift for sanctuaries: Wildlife Commission considers opening new areas to bear hunting

With already record-high bear populations continuing robust growth in Western North Carolina, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is proposing a controversial measure to control them: allowing bear hunting in three bear sanctuaries where it’s currently off-limits. 

Five ways public lands won big in 2021

For Western North Carolina’s outdoor enthusiasts, a toast to 2021 means a toast to the impressive slate of conservation successes that took place on the region’s public lands this year. 

WNC African American conference to focus on reparations

The eighth annual African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference will be held virtually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. The focus of this year’s event is “Reparations, Revelations and Racial Justice: The Path Forward.”

In-person early voting for municipal elections begins next week

Municipal elections in Western North Carolina will be held in some jurisdictions on Tuesday, Nov. 2, but in-person early voting will take place beginning Thursday, Oct. 14. 

The time to act on climate change is now

By Steve Wall • Guest Columnist | The place — Canton; the time — 7 a.m.; the date — September 9, 2004. 

Mayor Pat Smathers and I walked down Park Street in disbelief. Colonial Theater, Canton Medical Office, police and city offices had all flooded with up to seven feet of water from the Pigeon River. Hurricanes Ivan and Frances hit within a week and left a grim mark on Haywood County. That was 2004.

Why WNC remains vulnerable to flooding

By Milton Ready • Guest Columnist | Psst! Have you heard that remnants of Tropical Storm Fred passed over Western North Carolina last week causing extensive power outages, flash floods, several deaths, and, yes, even tornadoes. And no, it’s not just about global warming. Now which area do you think suffers more flooding, the Outer Banks, eastern North Carolina, or the mountainous area of the French Broad River Basin? 

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