Holly Kays

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has filed a federal lawsuit over a recent decision from the U.S. Department of the Interior that would pave the way for the Catawba Indian Nation to build a casino in Cleveland County near Charlotte.   

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Jackson County saw a modest increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with the disease confirmed in 25 residents as of Monday, May 18, compared to 22 residents on Tuesday, May 12. An additional two part-time residents and 22 non-residents who saw Jackson County health providers have been diagnosed — the part-time figure has held steady for some weeks, while the non-resident category increased by two over the past week. 

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Since its arrival to the United States in the early 1930s, the fire ant has been making a slow but steady march northward from the site of its initial arrival in Mobile, Alabama, but scientists had always assumed that cold winters would at some point put a stop to the tropical invasive species’ spread. 

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Second Lady Karen Pence visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park today to celebrate implementation of the park’s next reopening phase and to highlight the important mental health benefits of time outdoors.

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The Pisgah National Forest has begun to reopen many trails and roads and partially lift restrictions for dispersed camping.

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An additional case of COVID-19 has been announced for Jackson County, putting the total number of residents diagnosed with the disease at 24. In addition, two part-time residents have been confirmed to have the disease, and Jackson County health providers have diagnosed 20 non-residents as well.

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A faculty member in Western Carolina University’s Department of Communication is seeking volunteers to participate in a research study exploring how people obtain and assess information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 will be available at the Walmart parking lot in Sylva beginning Friday, May 15.

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Visitors from 26 different states and Washington, D.C., traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last weekend after it opened for the first time since coronavirus concerns prompted a complete closure March 24. 

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Jackson County has lifted some local regulations aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 with a Superseding Declaration of a Local State of Emergency that went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 8, the same time that an executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper put North Carolina into Phase 1 of reopening. 

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Forestwide fire restrictions have been lifted in the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests, with campfires now allowed as of Wednesday, May 13.

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Jackson County has allocated $324,000 for a new program that will provide short-term, low-interest loans to small businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. 

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The Blue Ridge Parkway has reopened its southernmost 14 miles and plans to reopen additional gates this weekend once seasonal mowing and road preparations are complete. 

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Almost 60 days after closing their doors to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos will begin a gradual reopening of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River on Monday, May 18.

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Trails at the 434-acre N.C. Arboretum in Asheville will reopen on Saturday, May 9, as the campus begins Phase 1 resumed operations.

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened most trails and roads when it entered its first phase of reopening last weekend, but some areas and facilities remain closed. 

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Two people are dead following an emergency situation at Whitewater Falls in Jackson County this week — a 24-year-old man who fell into the water at the base of the falls and a 71-year-old rescue crew member who was helping to search for him.

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For the second day in a row, there has been no increase in the tally of COVID-19 cases in Jackson County.

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City Lights Café has been a fixture in Sylva since first opening its doors in 2011. Those doors are now closed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but behind them owner Bernadette Peters is working to find new ways to sustain her business even as dine-in eateries like hers are ordered closed. 

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As Harrah’s Cherokee Casino marks its seventh week of closure due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, leadership for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is planning for the tribe’s financial future in the face of evaporated casino revenues. 

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Jackson County will update its Declaration of a State of Emergency this week to lift the ban currently in place on lodging rentals of less than 30 days, commissioners decided during their meeting this evening. However, the order will contain strong guidance regarding social distancing, mask wearing and sanitation and hygiene practices.

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Eldon Jamison, longtime member of the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad died in the line of duty on Tuesday, May 5, while attempting to rescue a 24-year-old man who had fallen into the water at the base of Whitewater Falls.

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Originally slated to end May 14, the public comment period for the Nantahala and Pisgah forest plan will now extend through June 29.

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One additional COVID-19 case has been confirmed in Jackson County today.

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Jackson County reported its first coronavirus death on Monday, May 4. 

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Additional COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Jackson County today.

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Two more COVID-19 cases were announced in Jackson County today, bringing the total to 19.

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Two more COVID-19 cases were announced in Jackson County today, bringing the total to 17.

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While people nationwide are lamenting the loss of bars, restaurants, concerts, festivals and countless other aspects of community life amid the COVID-19 crisis, for many in Western North Carolina the deepest blow has been the loss of access to hundreds of thousands of acres of cherished public lands. 

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Like nearly everyone else in the country, Dr. Ben Guiney experienced a rush of dread as news of the novel coronavirus’ spread hit the headlines, but Guiney had more reason than most to worry. 

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A proposed change of plans in the Dillsboro bridge project has drawn divided opinion from the towns of Dillsboro and Sylva. 

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The number of coronavirus cases among Jackson County residents has jumped to 15, up from five April 24. 

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Continued testing by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has resulted in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Swain and Graham counties, the tribe’s Public Health and Human Services Department announced this weekend. These results mark the first positive cases in either county.

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Spring is in the air these days, but so is uncertainty as the COVID-19 crisis continues and millions of Americans are unemployed, working reduced hours or simply adjusting to life under a quarantine with no clear end in sight. 

It’s a cocktail that even has folks who have always considered themselves to be brown thumbs thinking about starting a vegetable garden. A lot of people have a lot of extra time on their hands these days, and given that every trip to the grocery store now feels like a journey to the last frontier, the idea of being able to walk outside and pick as many tomatoes as you want is certainly attractive. 

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The defendants in a lawsuit filed in response to the death of Jackson County Detention Center inmate Melissa Rice have submitted their response to the complaint against them, denying several key facts contained in the original lawsuit and asking that the case be dismissed completely. 

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The cumulative cost of environmental rehabilitation and sound abatement at the Southwestern Community College shooting range will top $1 million after the Jackson County commissioners voted 4-1 April 7 to spend $383,000 on the final stage of the project. 

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As the COVID-19 crisis roared to life in North Carolina, local governments across the state joined countless other organizations and individuals in clearing previously planned meetings from their calendars. 

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The wildly popular synchronous firefly viewing event in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been canceled this year as efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 continue.

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Tremont Institute is working through quarantine to connect people and nature using its website and social media channels.

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The Blue Ridge Parkway has announced additional closures as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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For farmers and agriculture businesses across Western North Carolina, spring is the time to plan and plant for the green season ahead, but uncertainty cultivated by the COVID-19 crisis is complicating that process, often in devastating ways. 

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Webster Enterprises has long used the production of medical supplies as a vehicle for its main mission, vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities and disadvantages. 

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During a special-called session April 9, the Cherokee Tribal Council unanimously passed a resolution designed to help small businesses operating on the Qualla Boundary survive the COVID-19 crisis. 

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Proactive testing by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has revealed community transmission of COVID-19 in Jackson County.

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Camping is no longer allowed on the Pisgah National Forest following an order enacted April 13 as part of ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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A burn ban enacted April 3 on 32 Western North Carolina counties has been lifted following heavy rainfall this weekend.

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Two full-time Jackson County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, the Jackson County Department of Public Health learned today.

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Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos announced April 1 that its COVID-19-induced closure would extend through the end of the month, and that same day Principal Chief Richard Sneed issued his own announcements about changes to compensation for tribal employees in the weeks ahead.

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The COVID-19 pandemic hit us all differently. For some of us, it blew to pieces what was otherwise a normal, pleasantly warm spring. For others, it complicated or postponed less routine endeavors like buying a house, planning a trip or earning a degree.

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Distance learning will continue through the summer at Western Carolina University, and all summer conferences are canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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