Cory Vaillancourt

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She’s “served” threatening letters on elected officials offering bounties for their capture, she has plans to serve more and she’s calling for the overthrow of the United States government with help from the U.S. military, but the most significant remaining questions aren’t about the radicalization of a Haywood County woman behind the phony writs — they’re about how and when law enforcement agencies will respond, if at all.

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Democratic President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan drew its fair share of cheers and jeers, but as it turns out, many of those jeering were cheering when their own six- and seven-figure PPP loans were forgiven.

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The latest round of state grants for broadband infrastructure have landed, and represent a big win for six Western North Carolina counties that have been left on the wrong side of the digital divide.

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Almost immediately after deadly flooding swamped downtown Canton for the second time in less than 20 years, town officials began talking about building back smarter. Last week, the town took a big step — two, actually — toward that goal.

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After nearly 50 years of contention and debate over what was once considered “settled law,” abortion has now become a huge issue for voters in both major political parties in the upcoming midterm elections.

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When a small group of concerned citizens turned up to the most recent Haywood County Board of Commissioners meeting, it sounded as though they were intent on ambushing commissioners with misinformation about everything from COVID-19 to county HHS board operations to needle exchange programs.

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Hours earlier, Natasha Bright had been trapped atop a bunk bed in a barricaded bedroom with her dogs, her cats and her brother, watching the floodwaters from the furious Pigeon River rising through the floorboards beneath them, but after a long, cold, wet night the waters finally receded so with an armful of children’s clothing and mud squishing between her toes, Bright headed out of Cruso on foot into the pale sunshine looking for a shower.

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More than three dozen Western North Carolina judges, elected officials and municipal employees have been “served” with a bogus judgement from an illegitimate court that offers rewards for their capture if they do not immediately satisfy the terms.

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Haywood Builders Supply, a longtime staple in the county, has been sold to Southeast Building Supply Interests — but customers aren’t likely to see too many visible changes. 

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With just over 90 days remaining until November’s General Election, Republican nominee and state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) announced last week that he’d agree to only one joint candidate appearance for the entirety of the campaign, despite attending approximately a dozen Primary Election forums earlier this year and calling out those who did not.

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An unexpected $8 million windfall from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has the potential to help community stakeholders make significant progress in the fight to bring more affordable housing to Haywood County.

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As the one-year anniversary of deadly flooding from Tropical Storm Fred approaches, Haywood County officials are still busy chasing down funding that will prevent or reduce the impact of future storms.  

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Now entering its seventh year, the process of replacing Waynesville’s outdated wastewater treatment plant has become a frustrating saga that only grows more agonizing — and expensive — the longer it continues.

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Eight sets of unusable level 3A ballistic armor are now on their way from Haywood County to Ukraine thanks to a serendipitous partnership involving law enforcement, nonprofits and elected officials from the federal to the local level.

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After reviewing applications and conducting a thorough interview process, the Town of Waynesville’s Board of Aldermen have settled on four new members of the planning board. 

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Citing precedent and historical trends, the town of Waynesville will request that Haywood County government resume its annual financial contribution to the town’s recreation budget. 

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After decades of service in law enforcement, former Highlands police chief and current Franklin Chief William “Bill” Harrell announced his retirement with a statement issued this morning.

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Sometimes, the trip isn’t  about the journey — it’s about the destination. 

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Complaints by a neighbor about sediment in a creek have resulted in two notices of violation being issued to the new owners of the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. 

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Businesses and residents affected by severe weather, wildfires and winds from March 30 through April 6 of this year are now eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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She’s only been here for three months, but Missouri native Tina Okenfuss is already looking to make a big impact on Western North Carolina’s affordable housing crisis as the new executive director of the Waynesville Housing Authority.

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Workers performing construction activities at the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club are in hot water this week after a complaint about mud in a creek drew the attention of town officials and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

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Eleven months to the day after Haywood County awoke to unprecedented flood damage along the Pigeon River resulting from torrential rains the day before, Emergency Services Officer Zack Koonce and Director Travis Donaldson told commissioners they’d secured grant funding to bolster reporting and warning systems.

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Starved for supply, realtors in the Asheville region are listing fewer homes than at this time last year as pricing continues to climb.

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In a preliminary hearing, the Graham County Board of Elections has found that there is probable cause to believe that eight people who registered to vote in the tiny municipality of Lake Santeetlah, including sitting councilmember Tina Emerson, do not actually reside at addresses they provided to elections officials.

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When the Open Door closed in Frog Level earlier this year, Long’s Chapel Pastor Chris Westmoreland promised a rebirth, looking forward to the food ministry’s next 25 years.

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Increasingly, the Town of Waynesville’s planning board has found itself at the crossroads of preservation and development as housing market pressures weigh upon the pastoral setting that drew many residents to move to Haywood County in the first place.

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A bill advanced by Rep. Mark Pless (R-Haywood) to make school board and municipal elections in Haywood County partisan has fallen short, but could eventually be revived. 

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Energized by recent Supreme Court rulings and eager to remake North Carolina in their own image, members of the N.C. House Freedom Caucus held a “rally in the Valley” last week, issuing local endorsements and looking to gain support for their forthcoming legislative agenda.

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When the snakes around here want to go somewhere they put their tails in their mouths and contort themselves into the shape of a bicycle tube and roll like a wheel until to stop they straighten out tail-first and stick themselves in a tree which then swells with venom and a man cut one down once and had lumber enough not only for his house but also a barn and a chicken coop however his wife wanted him to paint it all red and the turpentine in the paint drew out the venom from the wood and caused the lumber to shrink back to regular size and he managed to get the cows out of the barn but the chickens did not survive.

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Although the indirect benefits of the unprecedented tourism boom that’s enveloped Haywood County over the past few years are readily apparent in the form of increased sales taxes and steady work for hospitality industry professionals, locals are finally about to get something out of it besides soaring housing costs and crowded attractions.

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Both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly approved the state’s $28 billion fiscal year 2022-23 budget last week, but as Gov. Roy Cooper nears the halfway point of his final term, he’ll now have to decide whether or not to veto the proposal, which does not include what’s become his signature issue — Medicaid expansion.

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In an effort to strike a balance between development pressures and a need for growth, the Town of Canton adopted its first major comprehensive plan June 23, and will soon vote to update its subdivision and land development ordinance.

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Almost 50 years after the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion ruling was handed down by the United States Supreme Court, justices last week overturned it — throwing the issue back to the states to decide for themselves, just as they had for the previous 185 years before Roe.

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A much-needed, much-lamented bridge replacement project planned for U.S. 74 in Haywood County will be postponed, per a June 10 statement from North Carolina Department of Transportation Division 14 engineer Garrett Higdon.

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The biggest knock against North Carolina’s city- and county-based Tourism Development Authority system is that while it does collect and spend room occupancy taxes to market specific cities and counties as travel destinations — driving Western North Carolina’s tourism-based economy — it does almost nothing for residents of those destinations who have to bear the brunt of soaring housing costs due to short-term rentals, overcrowded attractions and excess demand on infrastructure like roads and water systems.

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A  bipartisan Senate bill that would address persistent outcry from Asheville residents over the negative impacts of tourism could reflect a new way of looking at the room occupancy tax revenue collected by North Carolina’s tourism development authorities.

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A long-simmering feud between city and county governments over TDA revenue will finally be settled, if a bill entered by Rep. Mike Clampitt (R-Swain) can make it through the General Assembly.

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It may look like any other rustic vacation community, but beneath the placid surface of Lake Santeetlah, division runs deep. 

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In retrospect, it’s no surprise Ken Howle ended up at a place where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body — because that’s exactly where he started.

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Haywood County is taking the first steps to establish a comprehensive greenway plan that could end up linking all the county’s municipalities with nearly all its attractions. 

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Haywood County may have found a buyer for a county-owned 22-acre plot off Jonathan Creek, as long as everything goes smoothly during the lengthy due diligence period.

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Not long ago, it was an issue so contentious that it resulted in a three-year budget stalemate, but with Republican opposition in the General Assembly softening, Medicaid expansion has a better chance than ever to become the law of the land — if a few final hurdles can be overcome.

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A bill filed by Haywood County Republican Rep. Mark Pless to make all local elections partisan didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome, but now one municipality has gone on record as formally opposing it.

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While the instances of personal heroism, professional bravery and private donations are well documented, perhaps the most incredible story to come out of last year’s flooding is reflected in the Town of Canton’s proposed budget — which does not contain a tax increase.

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An internal poll commissioned by the Democratic nominee for NC-11 just days after the May 17 Primary Election suggests the race could be tighter than district demographics suggest.

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After nearly 13 years at the helm of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, Executive Director Lynn Collins has decided to call it a career.

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In one of the most highly watched contests of the 2022 Primary Election season, voters gave their approval to six-term incumbent Sen. Ralph Hise , who will now serve his seventh term as senator of the newly-drawn 47th Senatorial District.

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Unlike elsewhere, Western North Carolina’s westernmost legislators had a relatively quiet election night on May 17. 

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Huddled in a semicircle around a blacked-out glass door in the bay of a former auto detail shop in downtown Hendersonville, a few dozen supporters and a handful of national media outlets waited anxiously for Madison Cawthorn to appear.

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