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The 56th annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition will run through March 22 at the Fine Art Museum in the Bardo Arts Center at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.  

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Jackson County Americana/folk duo Bird in Hand will perform at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Mountain Layers Brewing Company in Bryson City. 

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Trekking through fresh snowfall on the Appalachian Trail, Carolina Mountain Club volunteers and U.S. Forest Service staff installed a new bear box at Little Laurel Shelter — part of a larger CMC initiative to replace traditional bear cables with boxes at each of the 10 A.T. shelters the club maintains. 

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Applications are open to the second annual Tremont Writers Conference, slated for Oct. 23-27 at Tremont’s campus in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, through April 30. 

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Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted an application that Northbrook Carolina Hydro II LLC submitted in November seeking to relinquish its license to generate power from Ela Dam on the Oconaluftee River.

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The new Blue Ridge Parkway bridge over Interstate 26 in Asheville is now just 3 feet from connecting, but several operations and several weeks remain before the two sides will meet.

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The Benton MacKaye Trail Association is looking for volunteers to adopt six trail sections in North Carolina, taking ownership of their regular monitoring and maintenance. 

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Take a Leap Day hike to Laurel Knob at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 29, in Panthertown Valley. 

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Help keep tabs on water quality in Western North Carolina by joining the Volunteer Water Information Network. 

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Haywood County has a new recreation director with the appointment of Elizabeth “Elli” Flagg, who started her new job Feb. 19. 

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Learn to tie flies with the best during the Fly Tyers Retreat 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Maggie Valley Pavilion in Maggie Valley. 

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A slate of prescribed fires is planned through the end of May on the Cherokee National Forest in southeastern Tennessee, with some smoke impacts possible over the state line in North Carolina. 

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When filing a state tax return this year, North Carolina workers can support research and conservation management projects by donating some or all of their tax refund to the N.C. Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund. 

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The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has awarded more than $6.1 million in 30 grants, including more than $400,000 targeted toward the western counties. 

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For the first time since 2022, High Path Avian Influenza has been found in North Carolina. 

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In recognition of the outsize impact that longtime members Bill and Sharon Van Horn have had on the organization, the Nantahala Hiking Club has created a new annual award in honor of their contributions. 

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The 16th annual Hiwassee Watershed Gala will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 29, at the Charles Suber Banquet Hall at Young Harris College in Georgia. 

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A limited number of high schools will be awarded a $10,000 grant to develop a Trailblazers Outdoor Club for the upcoming school year, with applications open through March 30. 

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Rachel Paige Crowe, 33, has been sentenced to four years in federal prison, five years of probation, $5,200 in fines and at least 15 years on the sex offender registry after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy on the Qualla Boundary in 2022. 

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A Glenville man, angered by neighbors’ target practice and who, afterwards, fired four times into their residence, is now in state custody serving active prison time, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said. 

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North Carolina’s 13-day early voting period, where voters can appear at local polling places to cast their votes in person, is underway and will continue through Saturday, March 2.

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Rising Americana/outlaw country star Stephen Wilson Jr. will hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Highlander Mountain House in Highlands.

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Featuring “Asian Soundscapes” created by Min Xiao-Fen, Folkmoot USA will present “An Evening of Eastern Culture” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville. 

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A special production of “A Month of Sundays” will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16-27, 23-23 and 2 p.m. Feb. 18, 25 at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville. 

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Regional country/rock act Jon Cox will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Unplugged Pub in Bryson City. 

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The Nashville Children’s Choir’s Touring Choir will perform at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, in Memorial Chapel at the Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center. 

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park librarian/archivist Michael Aday will present his book, a collection of correspondences, “Letters From the Smokies” at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. 

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Net emissions of greenhouse gases have fallen 38% between 2005 and 2020 in North Carolina, according to the latest update of the N.C. Greenhouse Gas Inventory. 

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Nearly 300 million acres of American farmland is expected to change hands over the next 20 years, and a new program from the American Farmland Trust called “Land Transfer Navigators” aims to help farmers and landowners retire with confidence as they help new farmers access land. 

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A draft conservation plan for the federally endangered Virginia big-eared bat is out for public comment through March 1. 

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The U.S. Forest Service has completed its review of proposed renovations at the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard and determined that current environmental regulations allow the project to move forward.

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Help transform an old cattle pasture into a wildlife haven 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 24, at Tessentee Bottomland Preserve in Otto. 

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Learn how to grow plants from seed with a program slated for 9:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Haywood County Cooperative Extension Center in Waynesville. 

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“Safe and Found,” a documentary featuring the Haywood County Search and Rescue Team, is now available to stream online after its premiere Jan. 20 in Clyde. 

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Parent interest meetings for Basecamp Summer Camp in Waynesville will be held nightly at 6 p.m. Feb. 14-16 at the Waynesville Recreation Center. 

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Take an easy 5-mile hike along Lakeshore Trail at Fontana Dam Thursday, Feb. 22, with the Partners of Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness. 

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Catch a sight of migratory birds at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Lake Junaluska. 

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Justin Pilat of Tuckaseegee Fly Shop will discuss the shop, waters they fish and hosted travel trips at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at BearWaters Brewery in Waynesville. 

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Thursday, Feb. 15 marks the start of North Carolina’s 13-day early voting period, when voters can appear at local polling places to cast their votes in person through Saturday, March 2.

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Every five years, the Main Street Sylva Association’s Board of Directors creates an economic development plan, and this year, the focus is on downtown’s Mill Street. 

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A special production of “Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents” — a celebration of the Great American Songbook and iconic partnerships in jazz — with “Sing and Swing: Our American Songbook” will be performed Thursday, Feb. 29, at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. 

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Southern rock juggernaut Blackberry Smoke will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. 

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As the first showcase of the year, the “Love” exhibition will run through March 3 at the Haywood County Arts Council’s Gallery & Gifts showroom in downtown Waynesville. 

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Featuring four plays, the “Scribes on Stage” series will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Peacock Playhouse in Hayesville. 

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With a list of novels, five books of poetry and seven collections of short stories, Ron Rash has garnered a number of prestigious awards in his writing career.

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The eastern hellbender does not deserve listing under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided, but the Hickory Nut Gorge green salamander, which was first described as a unique species in 2019, warrants a status review to consider listing. 

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After completing its 70th year supporting preservation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains Association has adopted a new name. The nonprofit will now be known as Smokies Life. 

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Over the next three years, 40 sites across Western North Carolina are expected to be part of the WNC Double SNAP Network, which expands the ability of people receiving assistance from the federal SNAP program to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers markets. 

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Birders and bird lovers worldwide are encouraged to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 16-19, with several local events offered to mark the weekend. 

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For the first time since August, North Carolina is now drought-free. Some areas of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon and Dare counties remain abnormally dry, but the remaining 95 counties are now at or above normal moisture levels. 

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