Becky Johnson

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fr schandevelsteenTwo Democrats squaring off in the primary for the state House seat spanning Haywood, Madison and Yancey counties claim they’re the one who can oust N.C. Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, and restore progress in North Carolina.

election timeOver the past two weeks, The Smoky Mountain News has explored where Haywood County commissioner candidates stand on education, economic development, land-use planning, the county’s direction and partisan labels.

fr elysiniaResidents and business owners in Hazelwood have grown increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of water-and-sewer line work that has left their street torn up and blocked off since December.

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fr championChampion Credit Union donated $100,000 last week to nine local school systems in the communities it serves — including Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties.

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fr meadowbrookMeadowbrook Elementary in Canton is ending its long run as a year-round school.

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fr parentsA study conducted by Haywood County Schools justifying the closure of Central Elementary School was a sham and failed to meet state requirements for a school closure, two speakers argued before the Haywood County School Board last week.

fr ralyState Republican lawmakers were strongly chastised for penning Central Elementary School’s death warrant during a rally prior to the Haywood County School board meeting last week.

haywoodOn the right track or wrong track? That question was posed to candidates running for Haywood County commissioner and could offer insight for voters on which ones most closely align with their own views.

WCUWestern Carolina University leaders are getting ready to roll out the red carpet for the impending arrival of Margaret Spellings, the incoming president of the state’s public university system, who will be touring WCU campus on March 10.

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haywoodHaywood County commissioners deflected calls from the public this week that they should step in and help the school system out of its budget dilemma.

fr franciscoveThe controversy over a proposed gun range in a rural farming community in Haywood County has raised questions about the adverse impacts of unwanted development in rural communities given the lack of land-use protections.

fr shootingrangeA moratorium on commercial outdoor shooting ranges took effect in Haywood County this week, temporarily halting any new shooting ranges from cropping up while the county crafts regulations to govern their safety and location.

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fr economicA freewheeling discussion on how to create more jobs stumped Haywood County commissioners last week as they pondered what else the county could be doing that it’s not already.

election timeCandidates for Haywood County commissioner all agreed economic development is one of the top issues facing the county during an election forum last week, but they offered few concrete ideas for how to go about it.

fr centralParents, students and teachers of Central Elementary School in Waynesville made a desperate and impassioned final stand to save their beloved school last week, but to no avail.

fr TVsIn the days leading up to the Super Bowl, avid Panthers’ fan David Francis came up with a novel approach to quantifying local interest in the big game this year, which hit a fever pitch given a home-state team in the lineup.

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fr centralHaywood School leaders have avoided talking about what would become of the 1950s-era school building that houses Central Elementary if it closes, saying it would be premature until a final decision is made.

WCUFears that a controversial economics policy center coming to Western Carolina University will be a vehicle to advance conservative, laissez-faire market theories have been partially quelled with the creation of a rigorous and robust faculty oversight board.

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fr appealMany of the speakers at a public hearing on whether to close Central Elementary School in Waynesville urged Haywood County School board members to think outside the box and find another way to solve the budget shortfall.

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fr centralblameCentral Elementary School has become a rallying cry for advocates of public education across the state.

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fr hearingremovedA public hearing on an outdoor shooting range moratorium in Haywood County got off to a dicey start this week.

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fr shootingrangeOutdoor shooting ranges could soon be under the microscope in Haywood County.

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fr MLKstreetMembers of the African American community in Waynesville hope to rename a major street for Martin Luther King Jr., not only to honor his legacy but also to serve as symbol of acceptance and inclusion for the historically shunned black community.

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fr wcusenateWestern Carolina University Chancellor David Belcher had a heart-to-heart with university faculty last week about the controversy over a politically charged financial gift to WCU from the conservative Koch Foundation.

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fr managerThe new interim town manager of Waynesville has pledged to sustain the town’s momentum and not let it idle or backslide during the months-long transition to come.

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coverAround 300 supporters of Central Elementary School in Waynesville packed into the school cafeteria Wednesday evening and made a heart-wrenching appeal to the Haywood County School Board not to close the school.

SEE ALSO: 
‘Save Our School’ crowd marches in support of Central Elementary
Central on the chopping block: who’s to blame?
• Central supporters appeal for solution instead of closing

Dozens of children, parents and teachers spoke during the emotional public hearing.

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fr maternityA $5.5 million renovation and expansion of the New Generations Family Birthing Center at Harris Regional Hospital will soon be underway.

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fr obgynHarris Regional Hospital is a powerhouse when it comes to delivering babies in the mountains, a legacy it has pledged to maintain with the symbolic merger of the hospital’s OB doctors into a single practice under the hospital’s umbrella.

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fr managerWaynesville leaders made a pact last week to work cooperatively in choosing a new town manager, despite the rift among board members leading up to this point.

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fr franciscoveBacklash from rural residents in Haywood County who fear an indoor shooting range proposed in their midst will disrupt their traditional way of life has got the attention of Haywood County commissioners.

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fr centralThe potential closing of Central Elementary School in Waynesville due to a massive, sudden budget shortfall for Haywood County Schools has unleashed a maelstrom of emotions in the community since the news broke two weeks ago.

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fr centralprincipalsA feasibility report on the potential closure of Central Elementary School in Waynesville was released by Haywood County Schools last week.

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fr pittA Haywood County woman who has dedicated the past dozen years to a crusade against driving while impaired was honored for her relentless advocacy with The Order Long Leaf Pine award in a surprise ceremony this month.

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haywoodWaynesville leaders interviewed two potential candidates Tuesday night to serve as an interim town manager following the dismissal of Town Manager Marcy Onieal.

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fr managerWaynesville Town Manager Marcy Onieal was fired last week in a 3-2 split vote by the town board following a nearly two-hour closed-door discussion among board members.

SEE ALSO:
The full version: Alderman Jon Feichter's explanation behind his vote
The full version: Town Manager Marcy Onieal's address to the town board

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WCUA Western Carolina University professor with ties to the ultra-conservative Koch brothers political network worked behind the scenes with outside donors to devise a coordinated strategy that would influence the hiring of professors and use WCU to further conservative economic theory in society, according to a review of university email communications.

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haywoodAlert: A public meeting on the possible closure of Central Elementary School has been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday due to concerns over lingering hazardous road conditions. The new meeting time is 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

The potential closure of an elementary school in Haywood County has become a poster child for those decrying funding cuts faced by traditional public schools.

fr central2Haywood County School Board members were grave and sober Monday night as they confronted the ominous prospect of closing down one of the county’s nine public elementary schools.

schoolsA proposal to close Central Elementary School in Waynesville is only one piece of a sweeping and wide-reaching plan to close a $2.4 million budget shortfall being faced by Haywood County Schools next year, including the elimination of more than 30 staff and teachers.

haywoodWaynesville Town Manager Marcy Onieal was fired Tuesday night in a 3-2 split vote by the town board following a nearly two-hour closed-door discussion among board members.

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election artVoters in Western North Carolina have barely taken down the Christmas tree but will soon find themself in the throes of the primary election countdown.

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fr shootingrangeMembers of a tranquil farming community with deep roots in Haywood County fear their way of life will be ruined by a massive indoor shooting range and gun store proposed in their midst.

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fr franciscoveHaywood County commissioners aren’t likely to intervene in the controversy over a proposed indoor firing range and gun store coming to the Francis Farm community, despite pleas for help from the residents.

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haywoodThe plan to convert the old hospital in Haywood County into low-income apartments isn’t a done deal. It’s contingent on both historic preservation and low-income housing tax credits to make it financially viable.

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fr oldhospitalA new plan is the works to convert the abandoned old hospital in Haywood County into an affordable housing apartment complex.

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fr golftdaThe winter tourism industry in Haywood County is reeling from unseasonably warm temperatures that have shuttered Cataloochee Ski Area during what’s usually one of its busiest times of the year.

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elkAs the elk herd in Western North Carolina continues to grow, an elk-hunting season could become a possibility under a proposal being considered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

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fr mikematthewsHaywood County commissioners expressed concern this week over what they claim is poor work attendance of the county tax collector, Mike Matthews.

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election timeTwo additional Republicans joined the race for Haywood County commissioner in the final days of the candidate sign-up period that ended Monday.

fr shootingrangeJanie Higgins was crushed to learn a week before Christmas that the rolling pastures and fields her family has tilled and grazed for generations will soon be marred by the arrival of a large indoor shooting range and gun store setting up shop in their midst.

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