Hannah McLeod

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The Town of Sylva closed Spring Street, between Mill Street and Main Street beginning May 6. The closure will last for approximately three weeks.

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“Not your first, not your last, enjoy your now, now will go fast."  — Alexi Pappas

The Jackson County Commission is faced with several requests to fund safety operations throughout the county, totaling over $1.5 million. For taxpayers, this could mean over a penny on the tax rate.

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Funding for Allen Street repairs in Sylva has seen several boosts over the last several months. These funding opportunities have allowed the town to expand the scope of the project to include repairs to Bryson Park, and to begin construction on the road this summer.

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Residents of Jackson County are tasked with selecting a new sheriff during the midterm elections this year. But first, voters must select both a Republican and Democratic nominee from a pool of primary candidates. 

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Three of five seats on the Jackson County Commission are up for grabs this year — district one, district two and commission chairman.

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The Sylva social district opened for business, just in time for last weekend’s Greening Up the Mountains festival.

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Students at Macon County Middle School returned this week from spring break with a new principal at the helm — at least temporarily. 

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Each April, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners declares Sexual Assault Awareness month. This year was no different, and Executive Director of the Center for Domestic Peace Wesley Myers attended the meeting to give a few updates about the organization’s work in Jackson County.

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Ten candidates are running for three open seats on the Jackson County Board of Education this spring. Only one incumbent is running, while two other seats will have a newcomer following the Primary Election.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina schools did not incur budget cuts due to lower student populations across the board. Now, as the pandemic takes a backseat in the daily lives of many, schools are being held to accountable for their actual per diem numbers. For Haywood County Schools, this means there is less money available.

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Haywood County Association of Educators has put forth suggested amendments to the school board policy regarding parental inspection of and objection to instructional materials.

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The Sylva Social District test period is one step closer to launch following input from a community task force.

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Though students have been enjoying the amenities of the new Health Sciences Center at Southwestern Community College since the start of this school year, SCC staff and community members gathered last week for the official grand opening of the new building.

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Students at Pisgah High School will have greater opportunities for higher education funding, after a new $1.5 million scholarship was presented at the April 4 board of education meeting. 

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During the regularly scheduled Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday, April 6, Alderman John Hinton made a motion to replace Allen Alsbrooks on the zoning board of adjustments. After less than five minutes of discussion, the motion passed, 3-2, a common vote margin in Maggie these days, with Jim Owens and Mayor Mike Eveland joining Hinton in the majority and Tammy and Phillip White voting against the removal.

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The town of Sylva will likely see several upgrades to its public spaces in the coming year if last week’s budget workshop is any indication. Several of the board’s top budget priorities include improvements to parks and other shared spaces.

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Maggie Valley is a step closer to allowing food trucks after the board of aldermen reviewed an updated working draft at this week’s agenda-setting meeting.

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There is $250,000 available for public restrooms in downtown Sylva. At the March 24 town board meeting, commissioners discussed detailed plans and cost estimates for the future project.

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Last week, Jackson County Schools held its 10th annual Snack Master Competition, after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Students created original recipes for healthy snacks and put their snack-making chops to the test in a competition with their peers. 

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Maggie Valley is one step closer to completing its unified development ordinance after Town Planner Kaitland Finkle presented a draft proposal to the town board during a workshop last week.

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Almost everyone wants the best for themselves, the people they love, the acquaintances they encounter and even the billions of people on this earth they will never meet.

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Lentils have been an important staple of human diets for millennia. Evidence of domesticated lentils have been found on the banks of the Euphrates River, in what is now northern Syria, dating back to 8000 BC.

“There is a definite and negative impact to lack of broadband in our community.”

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Throughout the pandemic, parents have had a lot to consider when it comes to the education of their children — safety from illness, mask mandates, virtual learning, limited extra-curricular activities. Now, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is creating a new Parent Advisory Commission to elevate the voices of parents in the education of their children.

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The studio space of blacksmith Rachel David is vast. Inside an enormous old hay barn there is equipment everywhere – massive hammers, a forklift, tools, wires, tables, cabinets, machinery that is incomprehensible to the non-smith layman. 

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The name pesto comes from the Genovese word pesto, meaning to pound or to crush. This refers to the traditional manner of making the sauce using a mortar and pestle. According to the sticklers, this type of preparation is important to release the full flavor potential of both basil leaves and garlic. So if you’ve got a mortar and pestle on hand, wonderful. If not, this recipe works just fine in a blender or food processor. 

In 1978, there were all of two shelters in North Carolina for survivors of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault and their children. Today there are over 100, working collaboratively to support victims of interpersonal violence and sexual assault, many of which receive funding from the money allocated through the Violence Against Women Act.

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“The motion passes, three to two,” is becoming an ever more common phrase during Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen meetings. Whether the board is discussing food trucks or property zoning, the vote is becoming predictable. Last Tuesday was no different. 

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The issue of Food Trucks has come up once again for the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen. This latest discussion may lead to a final decision about food trucks in the valley.

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“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” 

The Needs-Based Public Schools Capital Fund Grant Program was established as part of the education lottery in the 2017-18 state budget to provide more money in lottery funds for school construction in high-need counties. This year, the criteria to be eligible for these grants has expanded widely to include almost all counties in the state due to a surplus of funds. 

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Due to the flooding that ravaged the Canton, Cruso and Clyde areas in the wake of Tropical Storm Fred  last summer, Central Haywood High School was badly damaged

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Basil Green Pea Hummus is a light and refreshing take on typical hummus. It is made in the same style as traditional hummus using garlic, tahini, lemon juice and chickpeas, but the addition of basil and green peas make this version a bit lighter in texture and brighter in flavor. Next time you go to make hummus for sandwiches, veggie snacks or even a charcuterie board, give this one a try. Enjoy!

Mountain Discovery Charter School in Swain County is celebrating its 20th year serving students in Western North Carolina. The school has largely been a labor of love, a massive effort of parents and staff to provide the most well-rounded education possible to students throughout their elementary and middle school years. 

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Sweet Potato Kale Quinoa Salad pairs nicely with a protein of choice for dinner. However, the leftovers are even better used for lunches and snacks in the days to come. You can substitute several ingredients in the salad to customize it to your liking. Enjoy!

There aren’t many synagogues in Western North Carolina, just one west of Asheville. Mountain Synagogue in Franklin is a community of Jews practicing their faith in the All Saints Episcopal Church of Franklin. And as with most Jewish communities around the world, safety is top priority.

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On Sunday morning, silence falls in the Creative Thought Center, save the voice of Kim May as she leads her congregation through a meditation. This week she’s brought in a pad of sticky notes for each member containing 16 different affirmations. Members are directed to flip to one at random and ruminate on the affirmation during meditation. 

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School systems in all four counties of The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area are no longer requiring masks in schools. The slew of decisions came on the heels of updated COVID-19 guidance and new direction from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

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Effective Monday, Feb. 21, masks will be optional in Jackson County Schools. The decision was made at an emergency board meeting Thursday night and comes on the heels of updated COVID guidance and new direction from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. 

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Masks are optional for students and staff of Haywood County Schools after the school board voted last night to remove the pandemic restriction that had been in place since August 2021 following public comment heavily in favor of doing so.

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Jackson County Tourism Development Authority will open applications for its first round of tourism capital projects funds this year. This gives community stakeholders the chance to apply for money to fund projects that better the community for tourists and residents alike.

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After community members showed up in force to object to certain provisions of Sylva’s proposed updated zoning ordinance, commissioners tabled the most controversial items, including a provision regulating in-town chicken-keeping, for further discussion.

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Despite a strong public showing against the proposed social district at Sylva’s town meeting on Thursday, commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the measure.

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With budget season in full swing, Sylva commissioners have begun discussing their priorities for how to spend taxpayer dollars in the 2022-2023 fiscal year. 

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Haywood County Schools will follow new COVID protocol, referred to as “5+5 COVID Guidance,” after a presentation from the Haywood County Health Department during a special called meeting Monday night. 

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Families in Jackson and Macon counties are set to see a bump in pre-K capacity as both counties work to expand their programs in the coming months. 

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Valentine’s Day, like so many of the seemingly trivial holidays that dot our calendars, originated thousands of years ago as a Pagan celebration. Over the centuries Lupercalia, a Roman holiday, morphed into the feast day of Saint Valentine and eventually into today’s Hallmark version - Valentine’s Day. 

After a bill allowing cities and counties to create their own social districts passed through the general assembly last September, towns across the state are exploring their options. Sylva is among the latest to do so in Western North Carolina. 

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After Haywood County Schools administration pulled “Dear Martin” from a 10th grade English II class , The Smoky Mountain News caught up with author Nic Stone to get her thoughts on the issue.

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