Hannah McLeod

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Just weeks after the resignation of Tuscola’s head football coach, Principal Heather Blackmon has handed in her resignation from the same Haywood County High School.

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The Town of Sylva began its budget process last week with the first workshop of the year. Staff and elected officials discussed the possibility of a coming recession, ongoing projects in the town, as well as budget needs for the coming year.

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News of Sylva Mayor Lynda Sossamon’s resignation last week left the town board with decisions to make about who would fill the void. In addition to appointing one of their own to the seat of mayor, the board will need to appoint a new member to the board to fill all six seats.

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After much discussion and community input, the Jackson County School Board has decided to keep its middle school sports situation as it is, with both school-based and district sports teams.

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The choice by Jackson County Commissioners not to move forward with a municipal grant application from the Town of Sylva has led to discussion among residents, town and county government about the value of public art, as well as how it should be funded.

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After more than 16 years of service to the Town of Sylva, Mayor Lynda Sossamon has notified town staff of her resignation.

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Without additional funding from the Rural Transformation Grant offered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the Town of Sylva plans to put the Bridge Park project temporarily on hold until it can apply for a grant through the Tourism Capital Project Fund.

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Webster Park is slated for a host of upgrades and new construction, including a pavilion, after Jackson County Commissioners approved funding for the project earlier this month.

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Whether it is routine maintenance, renovation, expansion or new construction, Macon County Schools has a long list of needed capital improvements. One of those projects is a step closer to completion after county commissioners approved a contract for architectural services earlier this month.

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Macon County is undergoing a tax reappraisal this year, and while the numbers are jarring, they won’t be a surprise to anyone who has borne witness to the rising prices of the crowded housing market in Western North Carolina since the start of the pandemic.

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In recent months Haywood County has been shaken by the suspension and eventual resignation of physical education teacher and head football coach Chris Brookshire. Now, the school system is looking ahead as it begins its search for a replacement. 

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Each year, the Jackson County Commission offers the Municipal Grant Program in which municipalities can apply for grants of up to $5,000. The grants are intended to assist Jackson municipalities with the implementation of projects that will benefit all citizens of the county. While commissioners appear poised to approve three of the four requests from Dillsboro, Webster and Village of Forest Hills at its upcoming Jan. 17 meeting, it will not consider Sylva’s application.

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The new year always comes with its slew of resolutions, intentions, goals and other optimistic planning for the coming cycle around the sun. With the clamor comes the loud chatter by those who despise the idea of the whole concept, alternatively espousing the idea that every day is an opportunity to begin anew, or that there is no need to give in to the capitalist aesthetic that is constantly bettering oneself. 

Jackson County is considering the latest round of municipal grant applications that arrived on commissioners desks this week. Among applications from Sylva, Webster, Dillsboro and Village of Forest Hills, municipalities are looking to improve residents’ experience through art, aesthetics and greater accessibility.

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Following direction from the Macon County Board of Commissioners, the Macon County Board of Education met last week to prioritize its numerous capital outlay requests.

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When Macon County Commissioners authorized LS3P Architectural Design Services to submit plans for the new Franklin High School to local and state agencies for review in October, the project seemed like an ambitious, albeit realistic dream.

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After multiple allegations of sexual harassment were made against him, Physical Education Teacher and Head Football Coach Chris Brookshire has resigned from his post at Tuscola High School in Clyde.

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Both Tuscola Principal Heather Blackmon and head football coach Chris Brookshire have been suspended from their positions at the school — though not on the same day, or even the same week. 

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The expansion of two local businesses in Jackson County, American Sewing Corporation and Innovation Brewing, will lead to the creation of 52 new jobs and over $5 million of investments in the county. 

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The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority will reopen a cycle for tourism capital projects at the start of the new year. Local businesses, nonprofits and governments can apply for funds for projects that will benefit visitors and residents alike.

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Last week, the Jackson County Planning Board reviewed plans for a major subdivision in the Qualla Township on the northern end of the county. The planning board is tasked with reviewing subdivision plans before the process can continue toward approval.

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This month, the Macon County Schools Board of Education voted to approve its 2022-23 Budget Resolution.

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Autopsy results for the June death of a man in custody at Jackson County Detention Center indicate that he died of a drug overdose and was able to engage in drug dealing activity while incarcerated.

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These rich, dark chocolate, thin mint cookies are not as heavy and filling as other holiday cookies. They serve as the perfect slice of holiday goodness for otherwise “average” December days. Each of which can, and should, be celebrated in their own little way.

On Monday evening, Dec. 5, before a room full of family and community members alike, three men took the oath of office as the newest members of the Jackson County Commission.

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Jackson County schools will once again expand its pre-K capacity at the start of the 2023-24 school year, this time with a second classroom at Smokey Mountain Elementary School in Whitter

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At a time when North Carolina faces a serious nursing shortage, Haywood Community College has invested in its nursing program with a new Health Sciences Building. Full of the latest educational technology, it will expand, enhance and modernize the nursing student experience, preparing the next generation for a career in healthcare.

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The Office of Charter Schools decided a recent dispute between Shining Rock Classical Academy and a parent is outside its jurisdiction in a decision released Monday, Dec. 5.

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As Swain County Schools digs into the 2022-23 budget, staff are planning for the largest fund balance allocation needed in recent years — over $1 million — to balance that budget. This is largely due to the discrepancy between state mandated pay increases for public school staff and state/federal funding levels.

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All students in Swain County elementary schools will receive free lunch this year with the help of a grant from the Dogwood Health Trust.

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Decisions about following through with the new Franklin High School project were always going to fall to a new board of commissioners made up of different members than those who occupied the seats when plans were first initiated.

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In a world mired with conflict and divisiveness, it can seem like there is little common ground to be found with the proverbial neighbor. But Patrick Schneider of Adamas Entertainment and Julia Freeman of REACH feel sure that if common ground is to be found anywhere, it most likely involves two of the most basic tenets of human nature — music and helping others within a community. 

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Sylva will not update the Streets and Sidewalks section of its code of ordinances to include a section on panhandling after most of the board and public spoke against such a measure during a Nov. 10 public hearing.

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The Jackson County Board of Elections held a public meeting Friday, Nov. 11, to inform the public about a misstep in the election night ballot counting process. Thanks to the audit that takes place between Election Day and canvass, the board of elections had found the mistake and accounted for it early Wednesday morning.

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This month, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners took the next steps toward capital improvement and construction projects for parks in Qualla/Whittier and Cashiers.

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With the help of the Jackson County Municipal Grant, Sylva may soon be able to implement a Sylva Art Walk. 

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For those of you who read Rumble, you may have noticed the uptick in naked women painted across the artwork that adorns the top of the newsletter each week. For those of you who don’t, well, perhaps you’re more interested now. That’s how the world works, after all. 

Lily Seymour has been asked to join the State Board of Education as a student advisor. The Haywood County student’s appointment comes after hard work on other local and state advisory boards. During a recognition at the Nov. 3 Haywood County School Board meeting, Haywood County Schools administration sang her praises.

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For the fifth time in eight years, and the second time since July, someone has died while incarcerated at the Jackson County Detention Center.

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The latest development in the Leandro v. The state of North Carolina court case came last week when the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that state officials can be ordered to transfer the funds necessary to fully fund a sound basic education to the state’s k-12 public schools.

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Ted Budd has beat Cheri Beasely to become the next senator for North Carolina. 

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In another tight race for Jackson County, Republican Doug Farmer has come out on top of the race for sheriff. 

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Stephanie Hyder Laseter and Diedre Kaye Breeden will join the Macon County School Board after winning elections for their respective districts. 

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With all precincts reporting, the race for Jackson County Commission is too close to call. Results will not be official until certified by the board of election. 

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All three incumbents in the race for Haywood County School Board will return to their seat on the board alongside one newcomer. 

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With all precincts reporting, unofficial results show Republicans R.L. Taylor and Lisa Loftis have won seats on the Swain County Board of Education. These Republican candidates beat out Democrats Jamie Fisher and incumbent Travis Hyatt. 

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When Western Carolina University Professors Katie Allen and Cyndy Caravelis approached Sylva Police Chief Chris Hatton with a proposal for a Community Care pilot program, using social work interns in the police department he was understandably skeptical. Crisis response involving a student intern seemed like a risk he was not willing to take.

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Macon County Commissioners approved a slew of capital improvement projects totaling almost $10 million during a joint meeting with the board of education Oct. 18. However, all members were not in agreement about approving the spending.

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The Macon County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education have authorized architectural firm LS3P to submit designs for the new Franklin High School to local and state agencies for review, the next step in a multi-year process toward a new facility.

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I am standing in my warm, dimly lit living room clutching a hot mug, scowling at the frostbitten ground outside, blanketed with air that has yet to feel the sun's warmth, when my black cat pounces onto the rocking chair on the porch. She jolts me out of my reverie and I spill coffee on socks that don’t match. She balances precariously on the top rung of the chair as it rocks back and forth with the sudden momentum of her scrawny body. Yellow-green eyes find me through the glass and a pointed meow reminds me of what I should have already known — she is hungry and cold. 

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