Caitlin Bowling

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fr belovedElla Wachacha Bird has joined the ranks of a small and revered group last week after the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council named her a “beloved woman.”

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fr nmainwaynesvilleWaynesville leaders haven’t decided whether they will back a plan to reconfigure the intersection of North Main and Walnut streets, but at least one resident thinks it would harm businesses.

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fr robertbradleyFour months after he was injured in a staged Old West gunshow, a former Ghost Town in the Sky gunfighter said he is waiting for someone to thoroughly investigate the incident, which he believes was foul play.

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For years, enrolled members and leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have called for the tribe to open a substance abuse rehabilitation center, but for some reason, the effort has never moved beyond words.

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fr cherokeeswainA man threatened to tase a young Cherokee girl at a football game last month, but it is unclear just who he was.

One thing is sure however, it wasn’t a Swain County Sheriff’s deputy.

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After getting caught up in the politics of Maggie Valley and facing felony forgery charges, Joseph Maniscalco Thursday pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges.

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Haywood County residents won’t be down a Burger King when the state Department of Transportation starts its major reconstruction of the Lowe’s interchange.

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fr terrihenryTerri Henry has been elected as the first female Tribal Council chair of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, some six years after the U.S. House of Representatives elected its first female speaker.

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Candidates for Maggie Valley aldermen stood outside the polls on Election Day — one side staying toward the right and the other standing toward the left, both with signs exclaiming “Let’s Move Maggie Forward.”

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Canton has four new aldermen.

In a close race, Carole Edwards, Ralph Hamlett, Gail Mull and Zeb Smathers won.

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fr usdaAn animal rights groups has sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hoping to force the agency to set stricter standards for bears living in enclosures. 

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fr sweepstakesDespite sweepstakes-style video gambling being outlawed in the state, they have slowly crept back in to the corners of gas stations across Western North Carolina in recent months. 

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Pisgah High School in Canton finally has the money for some much-needed renovations, which have been years in the making.  

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution allowing the county finance officer to borrow up to $1.7 million for the high school project.

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Haywood County is moving slowly towards consolidating its Department of Social Services and Health Department to save money and become more efficient. 

Last year, the N.C. General Assembly approved legislation that allows counties to combine the two departments into one Department of Human Services. Previously, only Mecklenburg and Wake counties were allowed to have consolidated health and social services departments.

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The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have reached an amicable settlement to allegations that the sheriff’s office racially profiled Latinos.

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The Sylva town board has unanimously approved a streetscape plan for N.C. 107 from the Ingles grocery store to Dillsboro.

The plan indicates where sidewalks and landscape buffers must go, according to the town’s current zoning ordinance, but also shows places were future transit stops, crosswalks and bike paths could go.

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fr corridorAs Waynesville pedestrians mosey down North Main Street toward Walnut Street on their way home or to one of the businesses along the road, they get to a point where the sidewalk ends, where they must walk on grass or through parking lots and contend with vehicular traffic to get to where they are going.

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fr chargingstationsA for-profit company will install an electric car charging station in Waynesville’s public parking lot on Montgomery Street.

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fr gop harrahsCome next June, the number of visitors to Western North Carolina will jump by at least 1,500 Republicans.

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fr jimdavisA recent poll shows that a Western North Carolina state representative has fallen out of favor with voters.

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Swain County residents have finally learned where exactly its $2 million in grants from the Golden LEAF Foundation will go — to schools, job training and infrastructure.

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fr movietheaterWhen Cherokee Phoenix Theatres on the Qualla Boundary closes on All Hallows’ Eve, it will only have two movie screens. When it reopens the following morning, as if by some magic, the number of screens will have multiplied.

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The Waynesville Board of Aldermen has waived more than $140,000 in water and sewer fees in the hopes that a Polk County developer will construct a low-income affordable housing development on Hyatt Creek Road.

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fr sweepstakesMaggie Valley has become the latest town in North Carolina to face the threat of a lawsuit regarding licensing fees charged to sweepstakes parlor owners.

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The town of Sylva has struggled this year with balancing its budget and keeping businesses filling its downtown storefronts.

Going into next year, those same problems will likely continue to challenge town leaders, and whoever is elected as mayor and to the Sylva town board this November will have to grapple with how to overcome them next year.

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fr marriagedocsAmy Leonhart and Louise Jones met 17 years ago at church.

“The best match for me was going to be a church girl,” said Jones, a 60-year-old native of Tennessee. When she met Leonhart, “It’s kind of like everybody else, things just kind of clicked.”

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fr stameyAfter navigating Haywood County through some of its toughest budget times, County Manager Marty Stamey will leave his position Jan. 1 after just three years overseeing county operations.

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Assistant Town Manager Alison Melnikova is leaving Waynesville for a new job, meaning the town is on the search for her replacement.

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fr casinoAfter just a year in business, a Cherokee-based construction management company has landed the biggest trout in town — the $110 million Cherokee County casino construction project.

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How would you spend $800 million?

Residents and opinion leaders from the seven westernmost counties and the Qualla Boundary have just completed a series of input sessions design to gather broad-based feedback to help answer just that question.

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The N.C. Department of Revenue is holding money belonging to Swain County captive, according to county officials.

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fr cantonWhile infrastructure and economic development tops each candidate’s agenda, a far more consequential matter could await those who fill the four open seats on the Canton Board of Aldermen — who will Canton’s next town manager be?

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coverAll Nicole Smith could do last week was try to keep the doors open.

Either the shutdown of the federal government would end, or North Carolina officials would tell her they don’t have the million of dollars necessary to cover childcare costs for needy infants and toddlers in the state, some of whom spend their days at her small center in Waynesville.

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The Haywood County Republican Party, siding with a two-time county commission candidate, has submitted a resolution to the county saying it should hire a professional appraisal firm to review all home values.

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The case against a Haywood County teenager charged with felony cross burning was dismissed two weeks ago.

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fr signsFor years Bryson City has battled gaudy signs, decrepit signs and too many signs, particularly along U.S. 19 coming into town. Until now, it’s never had a legal foot to stand on.

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Finances and the future of the festival grounds were front and center at a Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen candidate forum last week.

About 30 spectators showed up to hear what the candidates for aldermen had to say. Each candidate answered 11 questions posed by voters and vetted by the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event.

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fr maggiewoesAfter a week of paid suspension, Maggie Valley’s town manager and festival director are gone.

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fr adlitemTalking to kids is hard enough when life is going fine, but when their parents are going through a divorce or maybe having substance abuse problems, children can clam up. It’s Janet Thatcher’s job to gain their trust.

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Two enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians plan to sue the owners of the Cherokee Bear Zoo if they don’t make some substantial changes to their grizzly bear habitats.

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Candidates have lined up to run for the town board in Bryson City this November after two current aldermen have bowed out of public office, leaving two empty seats up for grabs in a wide-open race.

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The tourism industry in Western North Carolina is not letting the shut down of visitor facilities on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or national forests in the region darken their spirits as the mountains head into the busiest tourism time of the year.

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fr maggieThe Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen voted unanimously last week to suspend Town Manager Tim Barth and Festival Director Audrey Hagar for a week with pay after questions arose about dubious decisions made by both leading up to a country music concert at the town’s festival grounds in August.

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If you come across men in bright orange vests directing traffic around crews handling a towering power pole into the ground, steer clear and drive slow.

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art nikwasiThe saga of Nikwasi Mound in Franklin being sprayed with potent weed killer more than a year ago continues to unfold.

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Changes to the voting laws in North Carolina will have only a small effect on voter turnout, according to a Western Carolina University political analyst.

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coverThe new voter identification requirement won’t likely affect North Carolinians who have put down roots, but more transient populations including college students may find the new regulations cumbersome. 

College students in North Carolina will have to make an extra effort if they want to vote in their college town — though it won’t be an impossible feat.  

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The commercial corridor of the Canton exit off Interstate 40 has been in a vice grip for several years due to a maxed out sewer line.

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fr muralsThe clock is ticking for Canton to spend $25,000 in remaining grant money from the N.C. Rural Center.

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A Swain County deputy totaled his patrol car earlier this month after hitting a parked car while going more than 50 miles per hour.

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