Hannah McLeod

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With the beginning of the school year right around the corner, school systems across North Carolina are struggling to fill a wide range of positions. Schools in the western part of the state are no different, and every school system in The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area has several positions still open. 

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The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority created its own Tourism Capital Project Fund  this year. However, when the deadline came around for the first cycle of funding on Aug. 1, no applications had been submitted.

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Jackson County Public Schools has more than doubled its preschool capacity prior to the start of the new school year thanks to donations from the Dogwood Health Trust and the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation.

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The first class to graduate from the current Franklin High School did so in 1952. Back then, there were fewer buildings and less developed grounds, but 70 years later, much of the high school remains largely the same.

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The Town of Sylva updated its zoning ordinance earlier this year but left the short-term rental ordinance as it was written with the plan to hammer it out at a later date. 

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An inclinometer on the prefab slope above Bryson Park shows that some movement has occurred since it was installed more than 60 days ago, indicating a need for repair. 

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Jackson County has approved an architectural contract and laid out a timeline for the construction of its domestic violence shelter, acting on a plan that has been several years in the making. 

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Substitute teachers in Macon County can expect a raise in the coming school year after a vote by the Macon County Board of Education. The board will discuss a plan for bus driver pay next month.

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Abigail Clayton won the runoff for Jackson County School Boards of Education and will remain in her seat representing district two for the next four years.

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The fact that it was after midnight, two members of our party had been traveling for most of the day and one had to begin her travels at 4:30 the next morning did nothing to stop us from ascending the mountain on the banks of the Adige River to the church that overlooks Verona. That’s just what it’s like to travel with Loretta — and all the women in my family — full of heedless wonder. 

Julie Fox Jones’ family has been in Cullowhee for at least 100 years, probably even longer. Naturally, as a kid growing up here, all she wanted to do was leave. Get out of town. What she didn’t expect was that once she’d made it out, all she would think about was how to get home. 

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In this day and age of Amazon, Kindles, big box bookstores, streaming services and social media that fight for more of our attention everyday, local, independent bookstores are in constant competition with these heavy hitters. And yet, those like Blue Ridge Books seem to weather it all. So what’s the secret?

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Jackson County Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce have created the N.C. 107 Business Relocation Grant program for businesses that are forced to move due to the N.C. 107 expansion project.

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The Maggie Valley Festival Grounds are continuing to grow after the town purchased a tract of land connected to the grounds last week.

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On Tuesday night, the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen accepted a grant from North Carolina Emergency Management to repair the levee of its wastewater treatment plant.

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Candidates have filed and the races are set for school board elections this November.

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In this day and age of Amazon, Kindles, big box bookstores, streaming services and social media that fight for more of our attention everyday; local, independent bookstores are in constant competition with these heavy hitters. And yet, those like Blue Ridge Books seem resilient to it all. What’s the secret?

Julie Fox Jones’ family has been in Cullowhee for at least 100 years, probably even longer. Naturally, as a kid growing up here, all she wanted to do was leave. Get out of town. What she didn’t expect was that once she’d made it out, all she would think about was how to get home. 

Disparate parks and recreation regulations in Maggie Valley will be codified under one ordinance if the board of aldermen accepts staff recommendation. 

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After passing in Congress, President Biden signed the Keep the Kids Fed Act  on June 23, partially extending school meal flexibilities just days before they were set to expire.

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Mark Sutton will continue in his role as principal of Macon County Middle School after taking the position late last school year when previous principal, Dr. Kevin Bailey, resigned from the post. 

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Two weeks in Italy eating pasta for one, if not two meals per day did not dampen my craving for the food. If anything, it increased the fervor for creating delicious, elemental pasta dishes using (mostly) healthy, whole ingredients. 

This summer, the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority is in the process of accepting applications for its first round of Tourism Capital Project funds. The TCPF gives community stakeholders the chance to apply for money made from room tax dollars in the county to fund projects that better the community for tourists and residents alike.

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Brit Klepac gave birth two-and-a-half years ago. Throughout her pregnancy, she was mentally and physically healthy, but almost immediately after bringing her child into the world, she started experiencing severe anxiety. 

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On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas were told of their freedom — two months after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, and over two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed.

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For the tenth year in a row, people will gather in towns across Western North Carolina on the evening of June 15 to raise awareness about elder abuse.

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For the first time in its 45-year history, the Haywood County Arts Council is celebrating Pride month with its ‘Living with Pride’ exhibit, a collaboration with Waynesville’s own Curatory Gallery. 

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Wayne “Wayner” Dickert may not have started paddling until he was 18 years old, but that didn’t stop him from competing at the sport’s highest level when he made it to the 1996 Olympics. For Dickert, NOC was an important part of that success.

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Sylva residents and visitors to the town can expect to see a new public restroom at the old railroad depot downtown, if discussions with the railroad go as planned.

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After years of effort and several failed attempts by multiple town boards, Maggie Valley has successfully passed its Unified Development Ordinance.

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Last Thursday evening, June 2, residents of Jackson County gathered at Sylva First United Methodist Church to discuss the issue of homelessness and solutions that are best suited to the needs of the county.

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Voters in Jackson County will return to the polls July 26 to determine the winner of a runoff election for Jackson County Schools Board of Education.

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With increasing call volume, fewer volunteers and an expected continuation of growth in town, Sylva’s all-volunteer fire department is in need of paid personnel.

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In 2011, Nikki White and Michelle Briggs sat on a porch drinking wine, envisioning an organization by women, for the women and children of Waynesville. They conceived of a team of ladies that would assist the organizations and nonprofits on the ground, already doing the work to aid women and children in the community. Ten years later, Women of Waynesville has not only provided massive support to those existing organizations, it has also created its own philanthropy projects.

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After three abnormal school years due to the Coronavirus Pandemic that included free breakfast and lunch for all public-school students, schools across North Carolina are returning to the paid model of nutrition services. Now, a confluence of factors has necessitated a sharp increase in school meal costs.

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Jackson County residents can expect to see a two-cent tax increase in the coming fiscal year, rising from $0.36 to $0.38, if commissioners accept the proposed FY 2022-23 budget. Much of the revenue from that tax increase will go toward the construction of a new swimming pool .  

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If the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen accepts the proposed FY 2022-23 budget, taxes will remain at $0.40 for the upcoming year without change. With this rate, the town will continue to have the lowest property tax rate of any municipality in Haywood County.

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This election cycle there were 10 candidates running for three seats on the Jackson County Schools Board of Education. Of those, Lisa Buchanan, Kim Moore and Lynn Dillard came out on top and will join the board this July. Though this is a non-partisan race, it is decided during the primary election.

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Republican Doug Farmer and Democrat Rick Buchanan will compete to hold the office of Sheriff in Jackson County this fall after winning their respective primary races. Both men have an extensive background in law enforcement.

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Nathan Clark, longtime town manager of Maggie Valley, is set to leave his post in the coming months. 

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After the Maggie Valley Town Board of Aldermen removed a zoning board member with little discussion, two residents spoke during public comment at the May 10 board of aldermen meeting accusing the board of mishandling these types of situations. During this meeting, the board also accepted changes to the bylaws of the planning board that could address some of these issues.

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The Sylva Board of Commissioners is one step closer to accepting its budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year. However, the town is still awaiting a decision by the county regarding the Sylva Fire Department and its request for paid personnel.

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Several Sylva residents came out Thursday night to express their opposition to the closure of Spring Street to construct public bathrooms.

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Three seats are up for grabs this November on the Jackson County Commission — Commission Chairman, District One and District Two. The three incumbents, all Democrats, are running for reelection uncontested.

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This election cycle there were 10 candidates running for three seats on the Jackson County Schools Board of Education. The only incumbent in the race was Abigail Clayton, who currently serves on the board representing District Two. Though this is a non-partisan race, it is decided during the primary election.

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After months of contentious back and forth over the subject of food trucks, an ordinance allowing the mobile vendors in Maggie Valley not only passed — it passed unanimously.

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I made this dessert for Mother’s Day last weekend and it was a big hit. The cake is not overly sweet but is full of flavor and pairs well with the light, tangy mascarpone frosting. Sans frosting, it would serve as a nice sweetbread for breakfast or brunch. But, if you’ve never had mascarpone frosting, it is a magical delicacy you don’t want to miss out on. Enjoy!

Community support is emerging for a skatepark in Sylva. In the meantime, will the town purchase a temporary half-pipe? This is the latest idea from Sylva Commissioners to be considered for inclusion in the FY 2022-23 budget.

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Not long after pulling off the busy NC 107 onto the small, single-lane road leading to Equinox Ranch, leafy green trees form a tunnel over a narrow street.

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Since Johnny and Paulene Maney opened the doors to the Quin Theater in 1978, it has been a community staple and the home to many memories made. When the final credits rolled on April 26, it marked the end of an era not just for the Maney family, but for all of Sylva. 

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