Outdoor economy efforts continue

If the United States’ outdoor recreation industry were its own country, it would be the world’s 25th largest economy. And, while towns like Moab and Boulder and Jackson Hole might have more name recognition on a nationwide scale, Western North Carolina has everything it takes to command a large piece of that hypothetical country’s pie.

Proceeds from Mission Health sale to benefit WNC communities

How can $1.5 billion transform the health and wellness of Western North Carolina communities for decades to come? That’s the question Dogwood Health Trust’s Board of Directors is currently asking itself since the new foundation was tasked with spending the proceeds from Mission Health’s sale to HCA Healthcare last year. 

Fontana Regional reflects on 75 years

What started as a traveling bookmobile 75 years ago has now evolved into a regional system of six library branches. Together they are striving to provide a broad range of services to their communities while defending their relevance in a changing society. 

“I think we need libraries for a lot of reasons,” said Karen Wallace, who serves as the librarian at the Franklin library and also as the director of Fontana Regional Library System. “We always try to respond to the needs in the communities. Where is the lifelong learning coming from if not from a public source like the library?”

Sen. Davis to retire, endorses Rep. Corbin

A powerful voice for Western North Carolina in the North Carolina General Assembly is about to pop the kickstand on a long career in public service, but even though Franklin Republican Sen. Jim Davis has already passed the torch to his heir apparent, at least one other Republican is lining up to take a crack at his seat. 

Swain room tax revenue exceeds $1 million

Swain County’s tourism industry recently marked a major milestone when the occupancy tax revenue from fiscal year 2018-19 exceeded $1 million for the first time. 

Jackson plans for growth

Last year was a good one for the tourism industry in Jackson County, with visitor spending in 2018 increasing by 5.3 percent over 2017 numbers, according to recently released figures from the state tourism office Visit North Carolina.

Haywood’s tourism growth comes in unexpected places, times

Strong growth in winter and Haywood County’s smaller municipalities has local tourism numbers up over last year, in some cases, substantially. 

Visitor spending in Macon on the rise

Outdoor recreation continues to be a major factor in Macon County’s steady increase in visitor spending year after year. 

Right from the source: Smoky Mountain Folk Festival celebrates 50 years

Atop a hill on the western edge of downtown Waynesville, just past the invisible line where the delicious smell of down home food stops wafting from nearby Bogart’s Restaurant & Tavern, sits a picturesque century-old home. 

With a fresh cup of coffee in hand one recent sunny morning, Joe Sam Queen sat in a rocking chair on the side patio of his serene abode and reminisced about the Smoky Mountain Folk Festival. 

House bill could be helping hand for broadband

There’s probably no bigger economic development issue in rural America than access to dependable high-speed internet service. 

“One hundred percent,” said Rep. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin. “It’s the biggest issue in Western North Carolina as far as infrastructure and the economy.”

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