More than 5 million pounds of litter collected this year
 

More than 5 million pounds of litter collected this year

Collections from this year’s N.C. Department of Transportation Spring Litter Sweep totaled more than 1.4 million pounds, far surpassing the…
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Cyclists pedal past full roadside parking areas. NPS photo
 

Explore Cades Cove vehicle free

Vehicle-free Wednesdays at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park begin this week, giving cyclists and pedestrians the…
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The heart and soul of public education
 

The heart and soul of public education

I got home from work yesterday after running a couple of errands. It was approaching 6 p.m. My wife, a…
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Sitting in the mess can be worth it
 

Sitting in the mess can be worth it

I’m not the traditional church-going type. “Christianity” is an antiquated, laden term of which I’m not a fan. My faith…
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Identity groups are unexplainable
 

Identity groups are unexplainable

To the Editor: Attempts to explain or absolve any identity group of voters are subject to inaccuracy.
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Canton mayor selected as ‘Outstanding Rising Leaders’
 

Canton mayor selected as ‘Outstanding Rising Leaders’

Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers was selected as one of 19 leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing…
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Urgent pipe replacement coming to U.S. 19/23
 

Urgent pipe replacement coming to U.S. 19/23

A deep pipe failure under the eastbound lanes of U.S. 19/23 between Clyde and Canton near Crawford Memorial Gardens will…
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WNC towns debate future of room occupancy tax
 

WNC towns debate future of room occupancy tax

If passed, legislation introduced by Western North Carolina Republican representatives would allow municipalities within Haywood County to levy their own…
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Downtown Waynesville.
 

Canton, Waynesville to consider room tax increases

A tax bill sponsored by two western Republicans that’s currently making its way through the North Carolina General Assembly has…
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Room tax dollars have been on the steady climb in Swain County as Bryson City has become a tourism hotspot.
 

Bryson City removed from room tax legislation

The Town of Bryson City has been removed from a piece of state legislation that would have allowed the town…
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While Sylva’s downtown sees significant tourism traffic, its city limits contain few hotels        or other lodging businesses. File photo
 

No plans for town room tax in Sylva

While Sylva’s leaders have considered the idea of a town occupancy tax a couple times over the years, so far…
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Maggie Valley may have the opportunity to levy a 2 percent occupancy tax within its town limits.
 

Maggie Valley occupancy tax on the horizon

Maggie Valley may have the opportunity to create its own Tourism Development Authority for the purpose of promoting tourism in…
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New vaccinations continue to slow
 

New vaccinations continue to slow

Vaccinations continue to slow down in the four-county area and in the state as a whole, but case counts are…
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Haywood County Manager Bryant Morehead addresses commissioners on May 3. Haywood government photo
 

Decision time coming for Haywood budget

Although the recommended budget won’t be presented for another two weeks, Haywood County Manager Bryant Morehead took the opportunity on…
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Becky Dahl, Med Surg ICU Patient Care Technician; (from left) Peggy Ramey, Operating Room RN; Leslie Vanhook, Radiology; David Franks, MD, Hospitalist and Chief of Staff; Tim Layman, Manager of Clinical Operations; Karen Gorby, CEO; Johnny Mira-Knipple, AMC Board Chair. Donated photo
 

HCA breaks ground on new Franklin hospital

HCA Healthcare officially broke ground last Friday morning on a $68 million facility to replace Angel Medical Center in Franklin.
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A biker takes a jump at a bike park similar to the one Asheville YouTuber Seth Alvo is building within Canton’s Chestnut Mountain Park. Seth Alvo photo
 

Merchant group forms in Canton

The Haywood County town of Canton hasn’t always been a major tourist destination, but with downtown revitalization well underway and…
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Transparency concerns hobble DWA contract renewal bid
 

Transparency concerns hobble DWA contract renewal bid

Despite more than three decades of service to Waynesville’s downtown municipal service district, the organization charged with managing it now…
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Haywood school board approves budget
 

Haywood school board approves budget

Haywood County Schools Local Expense Budget is set to look very similar to years past, with the COVID-19 Pandemic causing…
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Summer school aims to address learning loss
 

Summer school aims to address learning loss

As much of Western North Carolina bounces back from the devastation of COVID-19 — lower case counts, rising tourism numbers…
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Sylva moves toward tax rate increase
 

Sylva moves toward tax rate increase

During an April 29 work session, four of Sylva’s five board members signaled their approval of a draft budget totaling…
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A trouble spot that appeared last spring is more severe than the area near Bobwhite Lane, requiring closure of a portion of the road since April 2020. Holly Kays photo
 

Sylva board mulls Allen Street solution

Despite their proximity to multiple slope failures on and around Allen Street in Sylva, two trouble spots that appeared in…
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On the road again: Scranton, Pa. (photo: Garret K. Woodward)
 

This must be the place: The best things in life are truly free, singing birds and laughing bees

Woke up this morning with the thought of the impending summer, impending “state of being” for all of us slowly…
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View of HCA Mission Hospital campus, Asheville
 

Profits up at HCA, ratings down at Mission

BY PETER H. LEWIS, Asheville Watchdog HCA Healthcare, which owns and operates Mission Hospital in Asheville, reported this month that…
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Motorcyclist dies after Smokies crash
 

Motorcyclist dies after Smokies crash

A Guatemalan man died following a motorcycle crash in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Sunday, April 18. 
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Summer camp canceled at Waynesville Rec
 

Summer camp canceled at Waynesville Rec

For the second year in a row, the Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department will cancel its popular summer camp series…
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Houghton tends his summer garden, plastic lowered for the season. Donated photo
 

Transforming gardening: Book details Webster man’s design for a better, cheaper greenhouse

On cold January days, Bob and Janaye Houghton prefer to eat outside.  “If it’s 20 degrees in the sunshine, it’s…
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Land donation protects key Roan Highlands landscape
 

Land donation protects key Roan Highlands landscape

A record-setting land donation will conserve 7,500 acres in the Roan Highlands, a success that Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy Stewardship…
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Hike with Haywood
 

Hike with Haywood

A series of hikes exploring Haywood County’s many trails is in full swing, with the next one offered Monday, May…
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Throwing punches and having some fun
 

Throwing punches and having some fun

Jack Reacher must own the toughest set of knuckles on planet Earth. About halfway through the latest Reacher saga, The…
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Shelton House reopens
 

Shelton House reopens

The Shelton House will launch its 2021 season on Saturday, May 1, promising to bring more “History, Heritage and Crafts”…
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Travis Book, Anders Beck and Jon Stickley at a recent ‘Happy Hour’ performance. (photo: John A. Zara)
 

A hard life makes a good song: Travis Book of The Infamous Stringdusters

Before the shutdown of the entire music industry in March 2020 due to the pandemic, The Infamous Stringdusters were widely-regarded…
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Hayford Road. (photo: Garret K. Woodward)
 

This must be the place: Don’t look too far, right where you are, that’s where I am

Coming to a stop at the end of the off-ramp of Exit 40 along Interstate 87 last Saturday evening, I…
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I’ll take growth over stagnation any day
 

I’ll take growth over stagnation any day

While not a surprise to anyone in Western North Carolina walking around with their eyes open, new Census data released…
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Be intentional in protecting earth
 

Be intentional in protecting earth

To the Editor: Many of us in Jackson County volunteered to pick up litter recently as part of Jackson County’s…
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Lemon’s book is well worth a read
 

Lemon’s book is well worth a read

To the Editor: Whether or not you are a fan of TV anchor and journalist Don Lemon, his latest book…
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Gun rights are absolute
 

Gun rights are absolute

To the Editor: A quote that will live in infamy! On April 8, 2021, Comrade Joe Biden laid bare the…
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A report issued by the DRIVE task force says N.C.’s educators don’t sufficiently reflect classroom diversity. File photo
 

WNC behind state average in educator diversity

North Carolina has about 1.5 million public school students, and according to a report from the Department of Public Instruction,…
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In an undated photograph developed from film brought to George Dexter Sherrill’s Waynesville studio for developing in the early 1900s, an African American man leans on a school bus. Hunter Library, Western Carolina University photo
 

Integration and the disappearance of Black teachers

For Lin Forney, the end of fourth grade was the end of an era.  The year was 1963, and the…
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Committed to movement: WCU professors push for diversity in education
 

Committed to movement: WCU professors push for diversity in education

Professors at Western Carolina University are tired of just talking about the importance of diversity within the teaching industry and…
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North Carolina ‘driving’ toward more diverse corps of educators
 

North Carolina ‘driving’ toward more diverse corps of educators

North Carolina’s population is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse every day, but according to a report issued by Gov.…
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ALE conducts statewide enforcement operation
 

ALE conducts statewide enforcement operation

In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, ALE special agents concluded a statewide enforcement operation on Friday resulting in over 200…
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Fire trucks parked in the Cullowhee Volunteer Fire Department’s new station await the call. Donated photo
 

Jackson commissioners weigh fire funding

Jackson County leaders are considering adding a penny to the county’s tax rate to fund the Cullowhee Volunteer Fire Department’s…
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Developers are teeing up major improvements at the 95-year-old Waynesville Inn. Google Earth photo
 

Waynesville Inn sold, will see extensive rehab

An iconic Waynesville landmark sold for nearly $9 million last week, but the new owner’s plans to renovate the 165-acre…
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Growing pains at Haywood Community College
 

Growing pains at Haywood Community College

In preparing for Haywood Community College’s first post-pandemic budget, President Dr. Shelley White presented a stable operating budget but asked…
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Dr. Diana Messer
 

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Dr. Diana Messer, a forensic anthropology professor at Western Carolina University, is working on groundbreaking research that could drastically improve…
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Firefly lottery opens Friday
 

Firefly lottery opens Friday

The annual synchronous firefly viewing event will return to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year, but with a…
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Vaccine appointments readily available in WNC
 

Vaccine appointments readily available in WNC

Vaccination rates slowed substantially across the four-county area over the past week, and the pace will likely continue to slacken…
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Canton budget goes all-in on recreation, infrastructure
 

Canton budget goes all-in on recreation, infrastructure

The Town of Canton’s property tax rate hasn’t changed in almost two decades. This year, it looks to be headed…
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