Eric Gash speaks at a Democratic Party Event in Haywood County iast fall.
 

Gash drops NC-11 congressional bid

 After spending nearly a year campaigning for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, Hendersonville educator Eric Gash…
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Rider Lucas Sneed
 

Cherokee man faces homicide charge

A Cherokee man is being held without bond after allegedly shooting two people outside McDonald’s in Cherokee on Friday, Feb.…
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Federal funding fuels rehab of two popular trails
 

Federal funding fuels rehab of two popular trails

Funding from the Great American Outdoors Act has allowed the U.S. Forest Service to wrap up a decade of deferred…
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Smokies document 77 new-to-park species
 

Smokies document 77 new-to-park species

Visitors armed only with a free app and love of nature have documented more than 4,000 species in the Great…
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Cable Cove Campground will not reopen in 2022
 

Cable Cove Campground will not reopen in 2022

Cable Cove Campground in the Nantahala National Forest near Robbinsville will not reopen this year due to extensive deferred maintenance…
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The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission estimates the mountain region holds 7,000 bears, with that population growing 6% annually. Warren Bielenberg photo
 

Bear hunting approved for sanctuary areas

In a unanimous vote Feb. 24, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission approved a controversial rule change  that will rename the…
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Foothills Parkway West provides access to 16 overlooks, including this view at Look Rock. NPS photo
 

Paving starts on Foothills Parkway

Funding from the Great American Outdoors Act will cover the $31 million cost to repave the 17-mile Foothills Parkway West…
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Wanda Maloney.
 

Blue Ridge Parkway nonprofits welcome new leadership

New leadership is now in place at two of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s official nonprofit partners. 
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‘Just Maria’ a good read for all ages
 

‘Just Maria’ a good read for all ages

What’s up with me? In my old age, am I regressing backwards to my teenage days? Or is Jay Hardwig’s…
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Learning to live with the mess
 

Learning to live with the mess

Maybe it was one more box of Cheez-Its left open on the table, the box surrounded by crumbs, that pushed…
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Missing: Transparency and listening skills
 

Missing: Transparency and listening skills

To the Editor: The February 10 Sylva Town Board meeting invited public comment regarding a new zoning drdinance and a…
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Don’t generalize about race issues
 

Don’t generalize about race issues

To the Editor: It’s appalling that you only include a singular view by Michael Boatwright about the current reality involving…
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Lent offers chance to abstain from meat
 

Lent offers chance to abstain from meat

To the Editor: In Western churches, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks before Easter, and provides…
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Put social districts to a referendum
 

Put social districts to a referendum

To the Editor: On Thursday night, February 10, the Sylva Board of Commissioners, on a split vote of three to…
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DOR begins mailing recovery checks
 

DOR begins mailing recovery checks

The N.C. Department of Revenue today began mailing one-time Business Recovery Grant payments to approved North Carolina businesses that applied to…
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Man dead, second injured in Cherokee shooting
 

Man dead, second injured in Cherokee shooting

One man died and another was critically injured during a shooting that occurred at 11:22 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, in…
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Rooted in home: Cherokee’s newest Beloved Woman reflects on life of service, learning and tribal identity
 

Rooted in home: Cherokee’s newest Beloved Woman reflects on life of service, learning and tribal identity

Carmaleta Littlejohn Monteith has taken countless flights to innumerable destinations during her 86 years on Earth, so she no longer…
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A labor of love: After 20 years, Petty walks away from MDCS
 

A labor of love: After 20 years, Petty walks away from MDCS

Mountain Discovery Charter School in Swain County is celebrating its 20th year serving students in Western North Carolina. The school…
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Maps set, candidates file, Cawthorn returns
 

Maps set, candidates file, Cawthorn returns

After months of back-and-forth between the General Assembly, the Wake County Superior Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court, state…
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Jackson County’s budget could fund outstanding projects from SCC’s 2016 master plan. File photo
 

Jackson begins budget talks with education capital needs

Jackson County Commissioners began the process of hammering out a budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year during a work session…
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Advisory panel offers direction for growth in Cashiers
 

Advisory panel offers direction for growth in Cashiers

After a week of research and interviews with over 100 stakeholders in Cashiers, the Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel…
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Downtown Waynesville.
 

Downtown Waynesville Advisory Committee holds first meeting

With festival season rapidly approaching and a long list of items needing attention, members of the new Downtown Waynesville Advisory…
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Jon Moore.
 

Jackson TDA hires digital media specialist

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority (JCTDA) has hired Jon Moore as its new social media and digital content specialist.
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To be held at the Smoky Mountain Event Center in Waynesville on July 30, the “Southern Rock Wood Stock” is now sold out. But, concert-goers are now accusing the promoter of misleading advertising, with many now demanding a refund.
 

Flirtin’ with disaster: Upcoming Haywood rock festival sparks controversy

Musicians, promoters and supposed sponsors are all upset about the marketing associated with an upcoming performance at the Smoky Mountain…
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The view from Room 813 in the Cambria. (photo: Garret K. Woodward)
 

This must be the place: Sipping an old fashioned like a divorcee in Vegas, I’m too young to be feeling this way

I forgot to pull down the window shade and awoke to the early morning light on Saturday. There was a…
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Press release says Cawthorn’s made his decision on where to run
 

Press release says Cawthorn’s made his decision on where to run

Rep. Madison Cawthorn drew mixed reactions when he announced on Nov. 11, 2021 that he’d run in the newly drawn…
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WCU lifts mask mandate
 

WCU lifts mask mandate

In a campuswide email sent this afternoon, Western Carolina University announced that its mask mandate will expire on Saturday, Feb.…
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The drowning occurred near Smokemont Campground. NPS photo
 

Kayaker dies on Oconaluftee

A kayaker died yesterday while paddling the Oconaluftee River near Smokemont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
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N.C. to supply 2022 Capitol Christmas tree
 

N.C. to supply 2022 Capitol Christmas tree

When Christmas 2022 rolls around, a tree from North Carolina’s national forests will adorn the U.S. Capitol building. 
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In use since 1925, Ela Dam sits above an ecologically important stretch of river. Holly Kays photo
 

Tribe leads coalition to remove Ela Dam

What started as a groundswell of outrage over a massive sediment dump  from Ela Dam in Swain County has become…
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Students advocate for increased recycling facilities at off-campus apartment complexes. Donated photo
 

Students explore recycling for apartments

Environmental science students at Western Carolina University took a look at the logistics of getting off-campus apartment complexes to offer…
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A new paved trail welcomes people with physical disabilities to experience nature. Donated photo
 

New inclusive trail open in Macon County

A new half-mile trail created to serve people with physical disabilities is now open at Mainspring Conservation Trust’s 16-acre Queen…
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Randy Scoggins and Stephanie Kyriazis.
 

Smokies fills two leadership roles

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently filled two key leadership positions — Randy Scoggins has been hired as the…
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Pancakes, with a side of ‘Craft & Culture’
 

Pancakes, with a side of ‘Craft & Culture’

Several years ago, when my children and grandchildren were gathering for a week at the beach in a house I’d…
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A grand opportunity for the USFS and partners
 

A grand opportunity for the USFS and partners

The USFS recently released the final version of the forest management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala National forests  After…
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Finding joy in the past and present
 

Finding joy in the past and present

They say nostalgia and reminiscing can do two things to the psyche: be a buffer against ailments like depression and…
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School mask decision was a mistake
 

School mask decision was a mistake

To the Editor: As parents and as a teacher and health care professional, we are troubled by the Haywood School…
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Keeping the faith: Religious diversity flourishes in the mountains
 

Keeping the faith: Religious diversity flourishes in the mountains

One need look only to the hundreds of churches in Western North Carolina to see that the people of Southern…
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Synagogue leaders sound the shofar during service. Mountain Synagogue photo
 

Mountain Synagogue: Jewish community growing in WNC

There aren’t many synagogues in Western North Carolina, just one west of Asheville. Mountain Synagogue in Franklin is a community…
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The front wall of the Creative Thought Center sanctuary is decorated with a landscape mural. Kim Walzer photo
 

The Creative Thought Center: For many, the final step on a spiritual journey

On Sunday morning, silence falls in the Creative Thought Center, save the voice of Kim May as she leads her…
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Worshippers celebrate the end of Ramadan (above) in 2017. Islamic Center members serve a meal (below). Donated photos
 

‘One brotherhood’: Asheville mosque offers rare prayer center for mountain Muslims

In the Muslim faith, corporate prayer is a pillar of the practice — and in Western North Carolina, there’s only…
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Father Anthony Perkins (above) conducts a Christmas service on Jan. 7, and later baptized Dakota Holbrook (below). Cory Vaillancourt photos
 

East meets west at the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church

In a small room tucked away in the corner of a nondescript strip mall in the heart of Waynesville, spindly…
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Haywood County Schools made masks optional on Feb. 15. HCS photo
 

WNC schools repeal mask mandates

School systems in all four counties of The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area are no longer requiring masks in schools.…
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Cooper urges mask mandate end as Omicron subsides
 

Cooper urges mask mandate end as Omicron subsides

Case numbers continue to decline in Western North Carolina and statewide as the Omicron surge subsides.
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Haywood commissioners evaluate fiscal health, budget requests
 

Haywood commissioners evaluate fiscal health, budget requests

Debt is rolling off the books and sales tax revenue is still through the roof, but because Haywood County will…
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Kitty (left) and Cody Currin stand outside their Maggie Valley motel on May 24, 2021. Jeffrey Delannoy photo
 

Some details emerge, but questions remain in Maggie Valley motel death

More than a week after an unattended death was reported at Maggie Valley’s Our Place Inn, law enforcement officials still…
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The upscale bar at The Scotsman in Waynesville. (photos: Garret K. Woodward)
 

In search of a sense of community: Highly-anticipated pub opens in Waynesville

Serendipity is a word Makyia Blair has been using a lot lately. 
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Garret, Barron Rogers and Jon Stickley.
 

This must be the place: Rock and roll is here to stay, come inside where it’s okay

It was that familiar smell that conjured a slew of memories.
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Tribal officials throw ceremonial shovelfuls of earth at a November 2020 groundbreaking ceremony on the Exit 407 property in Sevier County.
 

French theme park company in talks with EBCI for Exit 407 project

Representatives of a world-renowned French theme park company met with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council this week…
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