Cory Vaillancourt

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Chief David Adams and the Waynesville Police Department will begin implementing a motorcycle program and hope to have bikes on the streets this summer, thanks to a steal of a deal from an old friend in the city of Hendersonville.

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The town that refuses to stay down made another big move toward getting back on its feet last week, selecting architects who will design replacements for municipal buildings that were damaged or destroyed during flooding in August 2021.

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Haywood County residents have always been very protective — and particular — about Waynesville’s historic Green Hill Cemetery, but at least one member of the Waynesville Cemetery Committee is looking to head off disaster before it becomes another public relations nightmare.

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When the old Downtown Waynesville Association imploded back in 2021 due to mismanagement and a general lack of enthusiasm, it left behind only a soiled legacy that unfortunately overshadowed three decades of transformative work.

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Haywood County real estate agent Lynda Bennett, a 2020 candidate for the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, will plead guilty to violating the Federal Campaign Act of 1971, according to documents filed in federal court on Jan. 27.

According to the filing, on or about Dec. 31, 2019, Bennett “on behalf of her campaign did knowingly and willfully accept a contribution made by one person, Individual A, which aggregated $25,000 in the calendar year 2019, in the name of another person.”

The complaint further identifies “Individual A” as a relative of Bennett.

Bennett, who was backed by President Donald Trump, retiring incumbent Congressman Mark Meadows and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, among others, won the first round of Republican Primary Election voting but lost in the runoff election to future congressman Madison Cawthorn.

That year, the maximum donation allowed from an individual was $2,800 per candidate, per election, meaning Bennett could have legally accepted up to $5,600 for her Primary Election and for the runoff.

Sentencing guidelines for violations of 52 USC 30122 list maximum penalties of five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

This story was first reported in Politico.

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With long-term debt rolling off the books and a number of high-dollar, high-profile projects on the horizon, Haywood County commissioners will have some tough decisions to make following a presentation by the county’s financial advisor.

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Asheville-based McGill Associates will begin work to provide emergency watershed protection in areas affected by Tropical Storm Fred after Haywood commissioners approved an $800,000 contract on Jan. 17, but at least one commissioner thinks it may not be enough.

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It may be a new year with a new county commission, but anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists are still offering the same old falsehoods about COVID vaccine.

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Republican Haywood County Commissioner Terry Ramey attempted to quell the uproar over his decade-old delinquent tax bills last week, but in doing so offered up at least two completely false assertions.

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North Carolina’s General Assembly convened last Wednesday, beginning a new session with new dynamics that will come into play as members seek to resolve a host of long-lingering issues.

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Western North Carolina voters — and legislators — often complain about the feeling of being ignored by Raleigh, but as the new session begins, Macon County’s Republican delegation is brandishing some serious clout.

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An awkward Hazelwood intersection could be scrapped ahead of planned North Carolina Department of Transportation improvements to South Main Street, as long as there’s no opposition from area business owners.

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A Waynesville resident who wants to buy a parcel from the town may or may not get their way after alderman approved the sale, but discussion surrounding the deal revealed continuing concerns over the availability of housing in the area.

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Republican Commissioner Terry Ramey should pay his taxes and stop threatening the media for reporting on the issue, according to a rare joint statement issued by the other four Republicans on the Haywood County Board of Commissioners.

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Flitting about her apartment on Vancouver Island, Melissa McDevitt had already packed her bag in preparation for the long journey from Canada’s west coast back to Haywood County. 

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It took more than four months, 62 federal counts and a lengthy period of pretrial detention in Buncombe County, but Darris Moody has finally acknowledged the legitimacy of the United States justice system — by signing a plea agreement related to the threats she sent to elected officials last summer.  

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After the implosion of the 36-year-old Downtown Waynesville Association back in 2021, much of the progress made by its successor organization has been organizational in nature and has taken place behind closed doors.

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Leaning against a wall in the basement of the train station right about midnight, they were cold and tired and broken, and it quickly became clear that they wished to go no further.

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Since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine millions of people have left the war-torn country, with millions more driven from major cities and small villages in the east by the fighting.

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Subzero temperatures over the Christmas holiday wreaked havoc with municipal water systems across the region, leaving many customers without service. But as Town of Canton employees worked overtime to repair their own lines, they quickly found the town’s reservoirs still weren’t filling up.

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The case against a Haywood County woman accused of threatening elected officials by sending phony writs from a sham court has now grown into a multistate conspiracy, according to a superseding indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office on Dec. 14.

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The highly anticipated red wave hit Western North Carolina hard on Nov. 8, with Republicans retaining several crucial legislative seats and knocking off some longtime Democratic incumbents on the local level.

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Hendersonville’s three-term Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards is moving up in the world, from Raleigh to Washington, after defeating his Democrat and Libertarian opponents in the Nov. 8 General Election.

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No matter how it all shakes out in the end, Nov. 3, 2022 will be looked upon as a historic day in Western North Carolina as regional leaders took the first few tenuous steps towards creating an enduring partnership to combat the opioid epidemic.

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Although little-known, there’s an agency within the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer that has a tremendous impact on everything from local water quality to municipal property taxes — and it got its start because of a bad situation right here in Western North Carolina, nearly 100 years ago.

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Just four years after gaining their first-ever majority on the Haywood County Board of Commissioners, Republicans succeeded in booting the last remaining Democrat, to put the commission at 5-0. 

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Private investigator, retired Army colonel, former Asheville police officer Bill Wilke will be sworn in as the first elected Republican sheriff in Haywood County since at least the early 1960s — if not ever — after a convincing victory Tuesday night.

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The state of North Carolina’s only elected tax collector and one of Haywood County's few elected Democrats will lose his seat after being defeated by his Republican challenger.

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Hendersonville’s three-term Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards is moving up in the world, from Raleigh to Washington, after defeating his Democrat and Libertarian opponents earlier this evening.

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Republican Rep. Mike Clampitt will return to the Republican majority in Raleigh after defeating Transylvania County Democrat Al Platt in today’s election.

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Haywood County Republican Mark Pless may have produced his share of controversy during his first term in the General Assembly, but he also produced results, bringing tens of millions of dollars in flood relief to Haywood County. Voters rewarded him with another term, over Democratic challenger Josh Remillard.

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Incumbent Republican Sen. Kevin Corbin, of Macon County, will go on to serve another two years in North Carolina’s General Assembly after securing yet another electoral victory in his long history of public service.

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With dozens of debunked allegations surrounding a “rigged” 2020 election still fresh on the minds of right-wing conspiracy theorists, Western North Carolina’s election administrators are welcoming unprecedented levels of scrutiny in advance of the 2022 General Election.

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The Haywood County woman charged with 59 counts of interstate threats and conspiracy to kidnap after sending threatening letters to public officials will now await her trial in jail, after admitting on Oct. 26 that she’d violated the conditions of her pretrial release.

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The life story of Hendersonville resident Marge Cullen isn’t much different than that of many other retirement-aged Americans.

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Western North Carolina’s last two Republican congressmen, Mark Meadows and Madison Cawthorn, have left behind them a combined decade-long legacy of deceit, inaction and possible criminal activity.

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A Haywood County woman arrested by the FBI on Sept. 7 for making threats to public officials is back in custody after she failed to show up for her arraignment last week on 59 counts of interstate threats and conspiracy to kidnap.

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Although it may look lopsided by the numbers, the race for North Carolina’s 118th House District could be a bit more competitive this cycle — not only because of the personalities involved in partisan political wranglings over an odd mix of local and national issues, but also because of the statewide implications of a potential Republican supermajority hanging in the balance.

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North Carolina’s 50th Senate District remains a bastion of Republican power in the west; nonpartisan mapping site davesredistricting.org puts it at more than 62% red, utilizing a composite of actual vote counts from 2016 through 2020, rather than simple voter registration totals.

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In North Carolina politics, some things change, while others stay the same. 

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A General Assembly-backed initiative to prevent opioid overdoses, provide linkages to care and stem the spread of communicable diseases through the use of syringe service programs (SSPs) is being undercut by local law enforcement officers, according to a recent report published by the Harm Reduction Journal.

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After a marathon misinformation session at an August Haywood County Commissioners meeting during which commissioners fought back against comments from the public that were not based in fact, the misinformation hasn’t stopped — and neither has county government’s fight against it.

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American Muckrakers, the North Carolina political action committee that has hounded Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Henderson) throughout his tenure, filed suit in North Carolina today against Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) for defamation and malicious prosecution, alleging the controversial congresswoman made damaging statements to radio and television host Sean Hannity and others about the PAC and one of its members.

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Voters in Graham County can now establish legal residency simply by declaring their “intent” to reside in a particular place, despite overwhelming evidence that they do not actually reside in that place, after a Sept. 28 ruling by the Graham County Board of Elections.

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A Raleigh-based hospitality corporation that wants to build a new hotel at the corner of Depot and Montgomery streets in Waynesville needs parking spaces to satisfy the town’s zoning requirements. Fortunately, they found an easy answer right down the street that will let them utilize some of the unused capacity in the county-owned parking deck on Branner Avenue.

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After first discussing the matter almost a month ago, Haywood County commissioners are now calling upon the General Assembly to allow North Carolina counties to regulate third-party syringe service programs.

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This is probably the only election story you’ll read about a county tax collector’s race in North Carolina, because Haywood is the only county in North Carolina that elects a tax collector.

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Three incumbents, along with two challengers, are all running for the Haywood County Board of Commissioners this year, and there isn’t enough room for all of them. Voters can select up to three candidates and in doing so will determine whether or not the county continues moving in the same direction or embarks on a different path.

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A Canton woman has filed a lawsuit against the Hospital Corporation of America in which she claims “egregious acts of medical and corporate negligence” during the birth of her son led to his suffering a permanent hypoxic brain injury that will allegedly leave him to deal with cerebral palsy and “associated delays and disabilities” for the rest of his life.

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A meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sept 28 by the Graham County Board of Elections to hear voter registration challenges against John and Tina Emerson will continue as scheduled, despite questions over whether the board issued proper public notice in compliance with state statues.

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