Becky Johnson

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fr narcanA life-saving antidote to reverse drug overdoses is finding widespread acceptance amid the prescription pain pill epidemic.

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fr realestateAfter years of a sluggish real estate recovery, the home market in Haywood County is on a noticeable upward swing. Houses are selling quicker, the inventory glut is finally shrinking and home prices are inching upward again. Second-home buyers and retirees are returning, and overflow from the red-hot Asheville real estate market is leading younger buyers to Haywood’s doorstep to boot.

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fr schoolboardA little-known contract crafted in 1980 will take center stage in coming months as Haywood County school officials and county leaders sort out who owes who what if the school system gets the boot from its central office location.

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fr schoolboardDSSHaywood County School officials could be ousted from their central office by early spring 2017 to make way for an affordable housing project.

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fr foodtrucksNew rules for where and how food trucks can set up shop in Waynesville attempt to balance the popular and growing food truck movement with the signature small-town character and established economy already here.

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fr schoolsaskAn innovative high school dropout program in Haywood County was rescued from the chopping block this week after county commissioners and school officials agreed to go halves on the $61,000 needed to keep it open.

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haywoodHaywood County could be turning a corner after a slow, stubborn climb out of the recession, according to some obscure tidbits of data hidden in the bowels of the county’s budget for the coming fiscal year.

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coverKyle Ledford spent years working with at-risk youth and high school dropouts in the Haywood school system. Saving kids was his calling, but it always felt like he was not playing with a full deck.

SEE ALSO:
• Dropout program in jeopardy
• Caught in life’s crosshairs, students struggle not to dropout
• Trying to put a square peg in a round hole? Kyle Ledford’s your man

“The problems these kids were having could not be addressed in and of itself by a school. We couldn’t do anything about getting them a job or providing childcare or getting them housing and clothing,” Ledford said. “I can teach kids all day long, but I can’t do anything about housing and I can’t do anything about food stamps and I can’t do anything about transportation. The school system can’t solve a societal problem. It takes the community.”

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fr bucellaThe trials of adulthood came early for Nicole Ferguson.

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fr ledfordIf there’s one thing Kyle Ledford is good at, it’s pushing boulders uphill.

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haywoodWaynesville leaders will face a big decision this budget year: whether to increase property taxes by 10 percent to pay for additional firefighters.

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fr firefightersWaynesville town leaders heard something they didn’t necessarily want to hear last week.

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haywoodBudget cuts are forcing Haywood County Schools to lay off 10 teachers and staff at the end of this school year.

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haywoodHaywood County school leaders went on record this week patently disputing the allegations in a lawsuit filed last week questioning the motives for closing Central Elementary School.

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Haywood County commissioners passed a resolution this week adding their two-cents to the debate over whether floating houseboats on Fontana Lake should stay or go.

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fr BRNHAThe tourism industry doesn’t always agree on much. They argue over the best logos and ad campaigns, whether to fund this festival or that one, and who has the best continental breakfast.

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coverIt happens like clockwork every year. As the calendar creeps toward May, the roads get crowded, lines at the grocery store get longer, and the wait for a table on Friday night mounts. Right on cue, tourist season arrives, seemingly overnight.

SEE ALSO:
• Hospitality help is hard to find
• Tourism’s future in the hands of frontline workers
• BRNHA tackles the $50,000 question of hospitality training
• Casino strategizes to keep good hires on board

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fr hospitality2It’s a conundrum the best minds in tourism have been trying to crack for decades.

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fr melroseA lawsuit was filed this week against the Haywood County School Board alleges ulterior motives were at play for closing Central Elementary School and that school officials engaged in a concerted, secretive effort to keep the impending closure of the school off the public’s radar, ultimately violating state statutes.

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pets FURJamie Powell has a special talent. She can not only tell the 100 cats living at FUR’s feline sanctuary apart, but can even remember their names — despite the revolving door of cats being continually rescued and adopted out.

pets shelterIn a perfect world, an animal shelter is just a temporary stopover for pets in search of a new owner.

pets showSeveral hundred purebred dogs converged at the Haywood County Fairgrounds last weekend to walk the proverbial red carpet in the Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association spring trials.

haywoodThe CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center stepped down suddenly last week, effective immediately.

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fr coachesBudget cuts impacting assistant coaches at the middle and high school level will likely be restored in Haywood County Schools following public outcry from the youth athletics community.

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art frTribute shows are an enigma of the musical world: two parts nostalgia, one part entertainment and a pinch of talent for good measure.

“Our goal is to hopefully have people in the audience watch the show and just lose track of what is reality and what is an illusion,” said Kurt Brown, a Vegas-based producer of several musical artist tribute shows.

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election timeN.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, is inadvertently 43 days late on his latest campaign finance reports due to a computer glitch in the state campaign finance database.

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haywoodHaywood County commissioners are once again standing by their commitment to public education, making good on a long-standing pledge to be one of the top counties in the state in local school funding.

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haywoodPreparation and planning for a $6 million renovation and expansion of the Waynesville library have been playing out behind the scenes for more than a year, laying critical groundwork in advance of a community fundraising campaign that’s about to go public.

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fr libraryHoward David Glawson was tucked in to his usual spot at the public computer bank at the Waynesville library last Monday.

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north carolinaHaywood County is the latest in steady wave of communities across the mountains to shed its long-standing political and cultural hang-ups over alcohol by allowing a countywide vote this fall on whether to legalize beer and wine sales in the county at large.

haywoodAn announcement by Haywood County commissioners last week that a vote to legalize beer and wine sales countywide will appear on the November ballot came as a surprise to the public, with the news still making the rounds.

fr haywoodalcoholBeer is good for business.

That’s the message supporters of countywide beer and wine sales in Haywood County are hoping to get across in the run-up to a ballot question in November’s election.

fr healthfairEric Messer only has one complaint about the health and wellness initiatives the town of Waynesville has been pushing with its employees. The fitness tracking bracelets passed out by the town weren’t designed with sewer plant workers in mind.

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haywoodHaywood County residents support land-use planning by a large margin, according to the results of a recent telephone survey.

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fr foodtrucksWhen David Young pulled a food truck onto the lot of Mad Anthony’s Bottle Shop & Beer Garden in downtown Waynesville this winter, he launched the first salvo in a tangled tug-of-war testing the old adage: is it better to ask for forgiveness than permission?

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fr townmanagerTown manager hopefuls wanting to run one of Western North Carolina’s largest, most progressive towns will need more than budget know-how and political savvy — they’ll need stage presence, improv skills and nerves of steel to make it past the final round.

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fr howellWaynesville leaders are weighing whether to expand the commercial footprint of Russ Avenue, an issue that has pitted neighbors against each other along the recently widened Howell Mill Road.

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haywoodRules governing where commercial outdoor shooting ranges can go in Haywood County would provide security and peace of mind for rural residents who fear the intrusion of a gun range in their midst, but shooting advocates fear the proposed regulations are too prohibitive.

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fr oldtownOld Town Bank shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale of the start-up bank headquartered in Waynesville last week, ending its nine-year run as a small independent local bank in light of the changing landscape facing financial institutions in the post-recession world.

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fr gunsgunsgunsGun supporters turned out en masse this week urging Haywood County commissioners to allow concealed guns on county property, from the historic courthouse to youth sports fields.

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election timeHaywood County Democrat Rhonda Schandevel will pose a formidable challenge in her bid for the N.C. House of Representatives this fall if her overwhelming victory among Haywood voters in the primary is any indication.

election timeThe primary for Haywood County commissioner showed clear and overwhelming support for a single front-runner from each party, and both are political newcomers.

fr fire2Despite the stereotype of volunteer firefighters as Type A alpha males, knowing your Nascar drivers and driving a pick-up truck isn’t a prerequisite for being a volunteer firefighter.

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coverLittle boys worship them. Bruce Springsteen memorialized them. The helpless count on them. 

Volunteer firefighters are a symbol of American strength and determination, pillars in their community who answer the call of duty when friends and neighbors need them most.

SEE ALSO: Desperate for recruits, volunteer firefighters hope to change the perception that their brotherhood is a boys’ club

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haywoodHaywood County commissioners will hold a public hearing next Monday on whether to give away the “old hospital” to a developer who will turn it into an affordable apartment complex.

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haywoodStudents who attend Central Elementary School in Waynesville learned this week what their new school will be come fall.

SEE ALSO: Map of new school districts

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fr visitorcenterThe primary visitor center for Haywood County will be moving this spring from downtown Waynesville to Maggie Valley.

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haywoodHaywood County commissioner candidates were asked whether they think the county should spend $3.5 million on a new animal shelter.

fr animalshelterOn paper, the case for a new, bigger Haywood County Animal Shelter is hard to justify.

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election timeRhonda Schandevel and Reese Steen

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