Holly Kays

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will establish a medical marijuana program on tribal lands even as the drug remains illegal in the state of North Carolina, following a divided vote on Thursday, Aug. 5. 

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With case numbers surging and fall semester beginning, local colleges and universities are reinstituting indoor masking requirements that had been lifted for the summer months. 

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Sylva may soon be home to the first certified forest therapy trail in North Carolina following the town board’s unanimous vote to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Mark Ellison, a certified nature and forest therapy guide who lives in Jackson County. 

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On Thursday, Sept. 2, Cherokee voters will select the next Tribal Council, three School Board representatives and answers to three alcohol-related referendum questions.

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The Cherokee Tribal Council today approved a 42-page ordinance that will establish a system to support legalized medical marijuana on the Qualla Boundary.

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After twice refusing  to grant the legislation a perfunctory first reading, during its Aug. 5 meeting the Cherokee Tribal Council allowed an ordinance seeking to legalize same-sex marriage on the Qualla Boundary to be read into the record for consideration at its Sept. 9 meeting. 

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With case numbers surging, Western Carolina University has announced that it will ask members of the campus community to report their vaccination status and require masks in all indoor public spaces.

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With his 90th birthday now approaching, John Edwards is retiring from his two-decade-long role organizing one of the region’s largest annual celebrations of mountain wildlife — but he hopes a successor will pick up the mantle. 

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Dr. Ben Guiney wasn’t sure what he’d find when he showed up for his weekend shifts at Harris Regional Hospital last week. 

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After a mass migration from boardrooms to cyberspace last spring, one by one Western North Carolina’s public bodies have transitioned back to in-person meetings — with the exception of Sylva’s town board. 

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For the first time in six years, Jackson County will have a new vendor providing meals at its jail and senior center after commissioners voted unanimously July 20 to award the contract to Georgia-based Skillet Kitchen

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Bryson City Olympian Evy Leibfarth will leave Tokyo without a medal, but the 17-year-old is already setting her sights on the 2024 games in Paris. 

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The indoor mask mandate is back on the Qualla Boundary following a July 29 executive order from Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Richard Sneed.

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As visitor use in the already-crowded  Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues to climb, for the first time ever the park will try out paid trailhead reservations as a potential answer to overcrowding. 

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On a perfectly sunny and gloriously cool July morning, Tucker Worley starts up the John Deere golf cart and takes off down the gravel road. 

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Bryson City Olympian Evy Leibfarth , 17, came up short in her quest for an Olympic kayaking medal but will have another shot at the podium in Tokyo when she races in the first-ever Olympic women’s canoe slalom. 

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Throughout her 20-year museum career, Shana Bushyhead Condill had wondered what it might be like to work on the Qualla Boundary, at The Museum of the Cherokee Indian . But when she first saw the Cherokee One Feather ad calling for applicants to the director’s position, she hesitated. 

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Bryson City Olympian Evy Leibfarth, 17, will advance to the semifinal women’s kayak slalom competition following her performance in the qualifying rounds Sunday, July 25.

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In a virtual public meeting this evening, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials unveiled a pilot plan to manage congestion at Laurel Falls Trail.

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For millions of years, ash trees have grown tall and strong across the landscape today known as the United States — but for now, keeping them alive requires regular treatment with expensive chemicals and $2,000 worth of specialized equipment. 

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New coronavirus cases were down to nearly nothing in Western North Carolina by the close of June, but in the past three weeks seven-day totals have multiplied in the four-county area. 

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Jackson County will spend $7 million to convert four public school campuses to a single-point-of-entry system after commissioners voted  unanimously July 20 to fund the project from sales tax proceeds. 

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Two Canton man and one Asheville man are being held on six-figure bonds after the Jackson County deputies arrested them on drug trafficking charges.

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A former state representative from Matthews and a retired charitable trust director from Winston-Salem will replace former Principal Chief Joyce Dugan and Highlands construction company owner John Lupoli on the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees.

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On May 21, 2000, a beloved Sevier County elementary school teacher named Glenda Ann Bradley took a walk on the Little River Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with her ex-husband Ralph Hill. Both Hill and Bradley, 50, were experienced hikers, so when Hill went off-trail to fish, Bradley did some solo hiking while she waited for him. 

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Now carrying double the vacancies it had in the summer of 2019, Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos is feeling the effects of a labor shortage  that’s challenging businesses nationwide — but the situation has improved significantly in recent months.   

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Cherokee voters will decide whether to loosen alcohol regulations on the Qualla Boundary this September by answering three referendum questions Tribal Council approved Wednesday, July 7

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After a 45-minute off-air discussion  July 8, the Cherokee Tribal Council approved a $275 million master plan to expand the Valley River Casino in Murphy. 

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For the second month in a row , the first item on Tribal Council’s agenda  was an ordinance to legalize same-sex marriage on the Qualla Boundary, and for the second month in a row, members voted July 8 to deny the legislation even the perfunctory first reading necessary to place it on a future agenda for debate and a vote. 

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Following an explosion of use at Max Patch, the U.S. Forest Service is prohibiting camping and fires on the iconic site, among other new restrictions now in effect for the next two years. 

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While prominently displayed “now hiring” signs and sign-on bonuses attest to the difficulty many employers now face in staffing their operations, outdoor businesses have been largely exempt from the summer’s labor crisis — just as they were from the faltering consumer demand that rattled many industries this time last year.

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University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans toured institutional improvements at Western Carolina University July 1, marking his first visit to campus since the UNC Board of Governors elected him to the position in June 2020. 

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With the state’s biennial budget process  now nearing its conclusion, Western Carolina University employees are hopeful that they could soon see their first permanent raise in three years. 

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Bernadette Peters, owner of City Lights Café, has been hired to lead economic development efforts in downtown Sylva. 

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There are now too few ginseng plants in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests to allow for sustainable harvesting, leading the U.S. Forest Service to announce that it will not issue any harvesting permits this year. 

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Following an explosion of use and impact at Max Patch, the U.S. Forest Service is prohibiting camping and fires on the iconic site, among other new restrictions now in effect.

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At 10 a.m. Friday, June 25, the parking lot above the Jackson County Early College was nothing but a mundane expanse of asphalt on the upper campus of Southwestern Community College, all but deserted for summer break. 

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Since Gov. Roy Cooper lifted the mask mandate on May 14, indoor gatherings have returned and face coverings have nearly disappeared from public spaces, while daily case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths have continued to plummet. 

 

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The Sylva Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with the Pinnacle Park Foundation during its June 24 meeting aimed at moving along key conservation and recreation projects on the town-owned forest. 

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On Friday, June 4, three longtime trustees said goodbye to seats they’d held on the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees since July 2013. 

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Facing an estimated price tag of $1.5 million to fix persistent landslide issues on Allen Street, the Town of Sylva is asking the State to take on half the cost. 

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Just shy of a year after it passed a resolution demanding the relocation of Sylva’s Confederate statue, the Sylva Town Board has passed a new resolution, this one rebuking the Jackson County Board of Commissioners’ response to its original request. 

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A temporary ban on tents and soft-sided campers at Mount Pisgah Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway has been extended through Thursday, July 1.

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In February, Sylva’s town board gave its enthusiastic support to a plan that would bring 35 miles of multi-use trail to 2,000 acres of forest owned by the town and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. But during their most recent meeting , members heard from a biologist who urged them to slow down before approving any construction. 

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The first students moved into The Husk at Western Carolina University last August, but nearly a year later the companies responsible for developing, designing and building the environmentally disastrous  Millennial Campus student housing development are embroiled in a complex lawsuit that has left at least one local subcontractor facing a six-figure deficit until the situation resolves. 

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After 16 years and one week on the job, Mike Fitzgerald is officially retired from Dillsboro’s town board— but not from his place as owner of the only remaining shoe repair shop in North Carolina's seven western counties. 

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The 200-acre piece of land that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is developing along Interstate 40 in Sevier County will be soon be home to the world’ largest convenience store. 

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A bear has been euthanized and a backcountry site closed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after a 16-year-old girl was attacked and injured while sleeping in her hammock near her family around 12:30 a.m. Friday, June 18.

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A temporary ban on tents and soft-sided campers at Mount Pisgah Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway has been extended through Thursday, July 1, due to ongoing bear activity. 

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ArborEvenings is back at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville, offering opportunity to spend Thursday and Friday evenings strolling through the gardens through Oct. 1.

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