A pair of recently vaccinated plateau residents share why they decided to get the shot.    Highlands Cashiers Plateau COVID Vaccine Initiative photo
 

Haywood vaccinations surge, other counties lag

The number of Haywood County residents receiving a first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine jumped by 45 percent between…
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The new version of the development plan would decrease the number of residences from 726 to 581. Donated graphic
 

Cashiers crossroads developer offers last-minute plan reduction

After nearly eight hours of discussion and testimony on Monday, Jan. 25, the first day of the quasi-judicial hearing that…
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A national PAC has begun challenging lawmakers it says were “irresponsible” leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Republican Accountability Project photo
 

Bi-partisan opposition builds against Cawthorn

He hasn’t even been in office for a month, but Western North Carolina’s Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn is already starting…
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Equal Rights Amendment introduced in General Assembly
 

Equal Rights Amendment introduced in General Assembly

More than 40 years after it first took up the matter, the North Carolina General Assembly may consider finally ratifying…
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Suzanne Saucier serves as the managing attorney at the Smoky Mountains office for Legal Aid of North Carolina.
 

Pro-bono legal service requests spike during COVID

As people continue to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for pro-bono legal services has spiked, putting more demand…
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Enrollment for ACA coverage open Feb. 15 through May 15
 

Enrollment for ACA coverage open Feb. 15 through May 15

People have a new opportunity to enroll in health insurance for 2021 on HealthCare.gov, but only for a limited time.
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Franklin man pleads guilty to trafficking
 

Franklin man pleads guilty to trafficking

A Franklin man who pleaded guilty last week to trafficking in methamphetamine has been sentenced to serve 70 to 93…
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Vision Cashiers photo
 

Dog park coming to Cashiers

Cashiers will get a dog park following the Jackson County Commissioners’ unanimous vote Jan. 26 to approve a contract with…
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Pink Beds is an Asheville-based indie rock band. From left, the group consists of Logan Hall, Ryan Sargent, Aaron Aiken and Jackson Van Horn. (photo: Daniel Barlow)
 

The things I’ve Seen: Pink Beds release debut rock album

What started out as a casual jam to entertain a keg party has morphed itself into one of the most…
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Erica Waldrop. (photo: Quintin Ellison)
 

This must be the place: Ode to mighty Erica, ode to the Waldrops

Western North Carolina has lost a truly kind and beautiful soul. Erica Waldrop passed away in a tragic car accident…
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Merle Watson, David Holt and Doc Watson.
 

Blue Ridge Music Trails podcast

Listen for new episodes of “Down the Road” on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, a series highlighting…
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Greg Shuping (center) briefs media outlets during the July 2019 search for Kevin Lynch in National Park lands near The Swag. Lynch was ultimately found safe after a five-day search. Donated photo
 

Expecting the unexpected: Shuping retires after 20 years as Haywood’s emergency manager

Greg Shuping was 19 years old when he launched his emergency services career in his native Burke County. The son…
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Mike Despeaux overseeing the career fair, now being hosted virtually.
 

SCC to host two virtual job fairs

Even as the pandemic continues, employers continue to seek eager workers to fill important job roles. To help with the search,…
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Significance of iconic Rock City Barn in Bryson City
 

Significance of iconic Rock City Barn in Bryson City

Unbeknownst to many a passerby as they enter the town of Bryson City from the east, there lies a structural…
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Dr. Jeffrey Warren, Executive Director of the NC Policy Collaboratory, labels a mobile freezer unit for Winston-Salem State University.
 

Ultra-cold vaccine freezers come to UNC schools

New mobile freezers capable of capable of safely storing and transporting COVID-19 vaccine vials will soon arrive at all 15…
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WCU students research which masks work the best
 

WCU students research which masks work the best

Things like color, size, shape, prints and even bling, factor into the decision-making process. There are standard face coverings and…
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Cullowhee Valley retires controversial mascot
 

Cullowhee Valley retires controversial mascot

Cullowhee Valley School will no longer be represented by the Rebel mascot, which is personified by an old, white, confederate…
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Pancake Day in a pandemic?
 

Pancake Day in a pandemic?

That is the question the Pancake Day Team and staff at First United Methodist Church of Waynesville pondered last fall…
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Vice President Kamala Harris.
 

It is a steep hill we climb

Last Wednesday was a day women have been waiting for, working for, speaking out of turn for, making trouble for…
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Lessons learned from Larry King
 

Lessons learned from Larry King

Growing up I wasn’t a fan of Larry King. As a little girl in the 1980s, I was more concerned…
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Spend county money compassionately
 

Spend county money compassionately

To the Editor: Our Haywood county government is planning to build a new jail at a cost of over $14…
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Trump was 1000 percent correct
 

Trump was 1000 percent correct

To the Editor: Checking a track record, a review of past performance, is a good way to determine a decision…
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Thankful for dad’s vaccination process
 

Thankful for dad’s vaccination process

To the Editor: My 89-year-old dad got his first COVID vaccine this afternoon.
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Vaccination process was smooth, uplifting
 

Vaccination process was smooth, uplifting

To the Editor: Today, January 21, I received my first Covid-19 vaccine shot administered by the Haywood County Health Department…
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An earth-focused vision for the future
 

An earth-focused vision for the future

David  Suzuki is an internationally renowned geneticist and environmentalist and is the author of more than 40 books and recipient…
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Revisions proposed for state groundwater standards
 

Revisions proposed for state groundwater standards

An online public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, will take comment on proposed revisions to the N.C. Groundwater…
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Adventure with REI
 

Adventure with REI

REI in Asheville is offering a full schedule of outdoor classes and activities for the adventurous this winter. 
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The rivercane will help stabilize the soil at Rivers Edge Park, where flooding is frequent. Donated photo
 

Rivercane to help preserve Cherokee culture

Volunteers are needed to help plant rivercane at Rivers Edge Park in Clyde at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29. 
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Five-year bird survey seeks volunteers
 

Five-year bird survey seeks volunteers

Thousands of volunteer birdwatchers will mobilize this March for the first-ever N.C. Bird Atlas survey, a statewide community science survey…
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Jeffrey Delannoy photo
 

The Inauguration in pictures

Photojournalist Jeffrey Delannoy spent four days on assignment for The Smoky Mountain News in Washington, D.C. both before and after…
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Mike Taylor receives a vaccination from EMS Supervisor Toby Moore. David Profitt/JCPS photo
 

Vaccinations climb in WNC

Staff at Jackson County Public Schools looking forward to COVID-19 vaccination got a welcome surprise last week when an impromptu…
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COVID vaccine supply diverted to larger counties
 

COVID vaccine supply diverted to larger counties

Just last week, Swain and Macon county health officials lamented over a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines making it to…
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Seasonal flu cases remain low in 2020-21
 

Seasonal flu cases remain low in 2020-21

It’s always hard to predict what kind of flu season the U.S. should expect and how severe cases could be. Add…
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Swain tourism agency plans for new website
 

Swain tourism agency plans for new website

Swain County Tourism Development Authority plans to take another step toward separating itself from the Chamber of Commerce after the…
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While vertical construction has not yet started, the Catawba broke ground on the  project in July. Brittany Randolph/The Shelby Star photo
 

Governor approves Catawba gaming compact

The Catawba Nation of South Carolina cleared an important hurdle in its quest to open a casino in Kings Mountain…
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Mickey Luker.
 

Commissioners should attend meetings, Jackson board says

Jackson County Commissioners unanimously passed a policy change last week that makes it clear that sitting commissioners are expected to…
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The Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville.
 

Shuttered for almost a year, HART Theatre aims to reopen

In his over 30 years of being part of the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville, longtime Executive Director Steven…
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Cataloochee Divide Trail.
 

This must be the place: Oh California I’m coming home, oh make me feel good rock-n-roll band

It was just about a month ago when I received a text from a dear friend, a truly cosmic and…
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Local singer named international semifinalist
 

Local singer named international semifinalist

The nonprofit Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) recently announced the semifinalists in our international solo contest. 
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Jeffrey Delannoy photo
 

Getting to Madison Cawthorn: New congressman courts controversy

Madison Cawthorn, rolling himself around the Longworth House Office Building, draws attention from around every corner and down every straightaway…
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Vaccine recipients wait for the 15-minute observation period required during a clinic for first responders Jan. 15.
 

Jackson updates vaccine registration process

A new vaccine pre-registration process is in effect at the Jackson County Department of Public Health, which is currently vaccinating…
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Price named WCU’s director of economic development
 

Price named WCU’s director of economic development

Rich Price, a passionate and proud 1988 graduate of Western Carolina University, has spent the last seven years as the…
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Over 6,000 vaccines given in Haywood
 

Over 6,000 vaccines given in Haywood

Vaccinations by the numbers: Total number vaccinated in Haywood County: Over 6,000 Total vaccinated this week in drive-through events: 1,500
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FBI agents raid the Qualla Housing Authority building in February 2017. Holly Kays photo
 

No charges in Qualla Housing probe

More than three years after the cold February day when 26 FBI agents descended on the Qualla Housing Authority building…
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Workers remove what's left of the inaugural ceremonies in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Jan. 21.
 

DC dispatch: Jan. 21

It wasn’t exactly the fall of the Berlin Wall, but on Thursday, Jan. 21, workers in Washington, D.C. began disassembling…
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Revis sentenced to 87 months after assaulting officers
 

Revis sentenced to 87 months after assaulting officers

Stealing a leaf blower in Haywood County ended last week with a hefty prison sentence for an Asheville man, who…
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Architectural contract approved for Jackson pool
 

Architectural contract approved for Jackson pool

Jackson County commissioners approved five pieces of legislation during their regular meeting Jan. 19 that will allow work to begin…
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A counter-demonstrator (bottom) taunts a religious group near Washington, D.C.’s Union Station.
 

DC dispatch: Jan. 20

Ahhh, there it is! There’s the D.C. we all remember.
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Rathbone hired for state ag role
 

Rathbone hired for state ag role

Waynesville resident Kaleb Rathbone is now serving as an assistant commissioner to N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, overseeing Western N.C.…
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