Cory Vaillancourt

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It was Friday night football on a perfect fall evening under the lights in front of a capacity crowd at C.E. Weatherby Stadium in Waynesville, and as per usual, the rivalry game between the Mountaineers of Tuscola and the Pisgah Black Bears — the county clash, the “Mill versus the Hill,” whatever you want to call it — lived up to the hype. 

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Raised in humble circumstances in Woodfin, Rod Honeycutt could have ended up on a very different path were it not for the United States Army. 

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Municipal elections in Western North Carolina will be held in some jurisdictions on Tuesday, Nov. 2, but in-person early voting is now available. 

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The Town of Waynesville’s years-long attempt to address homelessness within its borders has been filled with raw emotion, whimsical theatrics and at times even elements of pure fiction, but the story’s far from over. 

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North Carolina’s known as a purple state where fierce partisan divide is the norm, but after two high-profile politicians — one a former NC-11 candidate and the other the current lieutenant governor — prompted outrage with recent vulgarities, their respective parties are stuck in a tough spot and facing difficult decisions over how to respond. 

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After emerging from the early stages of the Coronavirus Pandemic virtually unscathed, Haywood County’s lodging industry rebounded with a year that exceeded all expectations. 

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With a deadline looming and many in Western North Carolina still struggling to recover from deadly flooding this past August, officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Association want to make one thing clear: help in the form of low-interest loans is still available, but it won’t be here forever. 

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Waynesville’s historic Green Hill Cemetery has long been a centerpiece of the community, but of late it’s been at the center of controversy. After a botched cleanup prompted a closer look at management of town-owned cemeteries, restrictions on tours were implemented due to complaints of disrespectful behavior.

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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. 

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Another incident involving Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-Hendersonville, possessing a weapon where it’s prohibited drew renewed outrage from many on the left, but the failure of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office to charge Cawthorn for the offense hasn’t stopped one group from seeking alternative means by which to discipline him. 

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A scant three months ago, when candidates filed for the upcoming municipal elections, the Haywood County town of Canton was facing the usual set of local issues not much different from any other small-town Western North Carolina government. 

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As the filing period for the 2022 midterm elections draws near, moves are being made on the Republican side of the field that could impact how much competition incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-Hendersonville, will ultimately face. 

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Shawn Gaddis, chief of the Canton Police Department since March, 2018, announced his retirement today according to an email sent to The Smoky Mountain News by Canton Town Manager Nick Scheuer.

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Born at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas, Democrat Bo Hess is both a product of his upbringing and of the influence of his parents. 

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Although a majority of speakers at a Sept. 21 public hearing designed to gather input on the constitutionally-mandated redistricting process put forth generic opinions about how gerrymandering is harmful to representative democracies, drilling down into specific complaints from the five-dozen speakers reveals some very real concerns about House, Senate and congressional districts in Western North Carolina. 

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

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Riddled with dissention, defections and a lack of clear direction, Waynesville’s Task Force on Homelessness finally limped across the finish line last week, issuing final recommendations that will soon be considered by the Waynesville Board of Aldermen.

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Just five days after announcing her candidacy in the 11th Congressional District Democratic Primary, Chelsea White made another announcement.

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Progressive Haywood County organizer Chelsea White made it official during a Sept. 19 rally at the Haywood County Courthouse — she’s running for Congress. 

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If anyone thought that the political polarization of 2020 died with President Donald Trump’s election loss that year, they’d need only look to a noisy pair of competing actions in Haywood County last Sunday. 

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Haywood Pathways Center’s mission has always been to help people from all walks of life get back on their feet, but now for the first time in the organization’s six-year history, it’s taking a bold step into the world of workforce development that could also help alleviate staffing shortages in the region’s hospitality sector. 

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The seemingly endless conflict between preservation and development in Waynesville — specifically, badly needed housing — entered a new chapter as a proposal for a major subdivision in Waynesville was met with outcry by neighbors who cite sprawl, density and greed as reasons to oppose it. 

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Almost exactly one month after extreme flooding on the Pigeon River killed six, displaced hundreds and dropped mud and debris throughout downtown Canton, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis returned to check in on the progress being made as cleanup operations continue. 

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MerleFest has been the premier “traditional plus” music festival in the country for decades, launching the careers of many well-known American roots musicians. Last year, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the Wilkesboro, North Carolina, event, disappointing first-time performers — especially smaller regional acts. 

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The aftermath of deadly flooding that killed six people in the Cruso community of Haywood County on Aug. 16 saw federal, state and local governments spring into action. 

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A little over a year after she left for a town manager job in Altavista, Virginia, former Waynesville Assistant Town Manager Amie Owens has returned to the region, albeit just a little farther west. 

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More than three weeks after deadly flash flooding along the East Fork of the Pigeon River killed six and displaced hundreds, President Joe Biden announced that a major disaster exists and that federal assistance will supplement state and local efforts in the affected area.

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Waynesville’s homeless task force, now rocked by resignations and dissention, failed to meet a deadline to present recommendations to the board of aldermen and now appears adrift and rudderless without a consensus or a clear direction forward. 

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Born and raised in North Georgia, Katie Dean has taken a different path to the NC11 Democratic primary than most. 

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Western North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn is known for making controversial statements, but video footage from a recent Macon County Republican Party that showed him speaking about insurrectionists and another possible rally in Washington has the internet up in arms, and people from both parties again calling for his removal. 

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As state elected leaders toured areas of Haywood County decimated by deadly flooding that killed six people last week, local agencies were busy assessing damage and compiling reports in support of a federal disaster declaration that would bring badly needed resources. 

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Canton’s elected leaders want to ensure that the public knows the last remaining element of the Town of Canton’s 114th annual Labor Day festival — Monday’s parade — has indeed been cancelled. 

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In retrospect it’s odd that a region with such strong historical ties to Scotland doesn’t have a greater number of authentic Scottish pubs, but thanks to Scot and Makyia Blair, that’s about to change — at least in Waynesville. 

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Although Haywood County still waits for news of a federal disaster declaration that would bring much needed resources to storm-ravaged areas, some of the area’s most prominent corporate citizens aren’t waiting around to pitch in and help. 

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Huddled together in the dark atop a bunk bed in a barricaded bedroom with two dogs, four cats and her brother — all staring down at the rising floodwaters — Natasha Bright knew they were in trouble. 

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As Haywood County continues to assess damage from the Pigeon River flooding associated with excess rainfall from Tropical Storm Fred on Aug. 18, local officials are asking for help in a number of ways while noting a pair of grim milestones associated with the destruction.

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More than 30 people remain unaccounted for and search and rescue operations continue at this hour after heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Fred slammed southeastern Haywood County last night, pushing the Pigeon River up over its banks.

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A pair of undeveloped parcels at the southwest corner of Asheville Highway and Howell Mill Road have undergone a zoning change that will clear the way for more badly needed residential development. 

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Over the past few years, political action group Down Home North Carolina has made a name for itself in Western North Carolina by championing issues important to working families, but a recent spate of staff firings in the midst of a unionization drive by its employees — along with allegations of hush money — suggests Down Home doesn’t practice what it preaches when it comes to standing with workers. 

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Almost three weeks after controversially voting to start the school year with optional masks for students, the Haywood County Schools Board of Education held an emergency meeting Aug. 13 and issued a strong statement asking students to mask up – but stopped short of calling for a mask mandate.

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The Downtown Waynesville Association has been in the fight of its 36-year political life since Waynesville aldermen refused to renew the group’s contract back in June, but after a highly unusual special called meeting on Aug. 12 where the DWA narrowly avoided the death penalty, aldermen have decided to give the beleaguered organization yet another chance, putting the group on life support for 90 days. 

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It’s been nearly seven years since Haywood Pathways Center served up its first meals to the needy, after the then-prison was famously “flipped” by television renovation star Ty Pennington  into its current incarnation as a faith-based residential recovery center. Yet, the need still remains. 

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Now that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has decided to move forward with a medical cannabis initiative, the rest of North Carolina looks to the General Assembly to see if it will follow suit. 

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With a father in the Navy and a mother from Poland, Jay Carey grew up in a middle-class family in the northeast, primarily Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

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A Trump-era policy designed to protect renters impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic was allowed to expire on the last day of July by the administration of President Joe Biden, but was then quickly reinstated — with a big caveat. 

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After the Canton Board of Aldermen/women spent nearly three hours on Aug. 9 going back and forth with Haywood County Medical Director Dr. Mark Jaben over how — if at all — the town’s iconic Labor Day Festival could be held safely, a rare split vote with a tiebreaker cast by Mayor Zeb Smathers set the stage for ongoing debate.

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A meeting designed to gather public input on draft recommendations  made by the Waynesville Task Force on Homelessness scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 5, has been cancelled. 

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Congressman Madison Cawthorn attempted to bring a firearm though airport security this past February, but the freshman Western North Carolina rep insists it was a simple mistake.

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The results from an independent audit of the Town of Waynesville’s electric billing process are in and despite speculation to the contrary, audit findings show that no customer was charged for power they didn’t actually consume. 

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On the heels of “ Gungate ” and a shouting match  with a West Virginia congressman on the house floor, Western North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn has drawn a fourth Republican Primary Election challenger. 

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