Hannah McLeod

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Holiday decorations have a way of bringing joy into our lives. Whether by their pleasing aesthetic, or by the anticipation created for holiday festivities. Enjoying decorations is even more rewarding (and eco-friendly) when we can make them ourselves. Below is a list of a few wreath-making events in WNC. 

After years of working to provide public education during a pandemic without pay raises, or a state budget, public schools in North Carolina will once again operate with a state budget in place after it was signed Nov. 18 by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. 

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David Williamson was removed from his position as Planning Board Chairman for the Town of Maggie Valley following a 3-2 vote by the Board of Aldermen Tuesday, Nov. 9. 

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Pecans, and all the delicious recipes that come with them are a particularly North American affair. Pecans are native to North America and as such have been used by Native Americans for millennia — from what is today the southern United States to the river valleys of Mexico.

Municipal elections in Maggie Valley drew a record number of voters in a contest that boiled down to growth and investment in the small mountain town. 

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Tabbouleh is a delicious, fresh Lebanese salad made with parsley, mint and a little bit of bulgar. This “Harvest Tabbouleh” is a heartier, cold-weather-friendly version of the traditional Lebanese dish. It is a widely variable recipe. No pumpkin on hand? Substitute butternut squash, acorn squash or sweet potato. No bulgar? Substitute quinoa or couscous. No sliced almonds? Use any other toasted nut or seed. No craisins? Substitute finely diced apple. Top with feta cheese for added depth. 

The Macon County School Board decided last week to make masks optional for all K-12 students. The decision came on the same day that the state Department of Health and Human Services updated its guidance for North Carolina schools, no longer recommending districts require face masks for all students and staff in school. 

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John Hinton and Jim Owens have secured seats on the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen beating out incumbent Alderwoman Twinkle Patel and Planning Board Chairman Jeff Lee. Maggie Valley voters showed up in record numbers to elect the two newcomers, casting a total of 943 votes for aldermen compared to 598 in 2019 and 312 in 2017. 

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Shortbread cookies are a traditionally Scottish “biscuit.” Unlike almost any other sweet treats, they contain no leavening — no eggs, no baking soda, no baking powder, no yeast. 

Halloween. The annual opportunity to eat too much candy, dress up however you please, channel your inner witch and maybe communicate with some spirits along the way. How did this miraculous day come to be?

The eighth annual African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference will be held virtually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. The focus of this year’s event is “Reparations, Revelations and Racial Justice: The Path Forward.”

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John Hinton, a candidate for Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen, prompted an investigation by the North Carolina State Board of Elections after he admittedly sent a letter containing campaign information, along with a dollar bill to a friend whom he was asking for his vote. 

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A slew of zoning decisions in the Town of Maggie Valley have revealed deeper concerns about development and the future of Haywood County’s tourist hotspot. 

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A Maggie Valley Town Board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 12, reached capacity with nearly 100 attendants, several people listening from the hallway outside the boardroom as the board was scheduled to vote on three property zonings.

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On an unusually warm fall afternoon in the mountains, art class is taking place in the outdoor pavilion at Full Spectrum Farms in Cullowhee. Participants are using recycled magazines and newspapers, paint and markers to create mixed-media collages. 

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The Coronavirus Pandemic has been a trying experience for everyone. Quarantine, the threat of serious illness and job loss have affected millions of people in the United States. But what about those who don’t have access to basic health care? How do non-English speakers find information about COVID-19? How do people without an identification card find COVID-19 testing or vaccines? 

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Over 790,000 students ride the bus to and from school each day in North Carolina. That’s almost half of all K-12 public school students, making bus drivers a crucial part of the state’s education system.

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Performance data recently released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction shows that just 45.4% of elementary, middle and high school students passed state exams given during the 2020-21 school year and 29.6% passed college or career readiness tests. 

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Four candidates will compete for two open spaces on the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen in municipal elections this November. 

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After a long summer of half-hearted gardening, the vines around my house are starting to brown. Nights are getting longer and colder and as they do, the garden slows down its once aggressive turnout of bulging tomatoes, glossy peppers and giant squash. 

As fall rolls into the mountains, so too does the season for soups, stews and chilis. Cold weather sparks cravings for all food warm, hearty and comforting. But, while the weather is still balmy early in the season, cast iron skillet recipes are a nice way to transition into cold-weather food. One of the best things about the skillet? There is minimal clean up involved. Below are two quick and easy cast iron skillet recipes I’ve been enjoying lately. 

Maggie Valley has decided on the details for its Food Truck Pilot Program, slated for approval Oct. 4. 

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Maggie Valley has decided on the details for its Food Truck Pilot Program, slated for approval Oct. 4. At the Sept. 14 board meeting, Town Planner Kaitland Finkle presented Food Truck Pilot Program options to the board so members could decide what would work best for Maggie Valley. 

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Beginning Sept. 20, students at Central Haywood High School will return to part-time in-person learning. These students have been learning remotely since flooding from Tropical Storm Fred caused severe damage to the school building in Clyde. 

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Makeup is a part of the human experience. Almost as far back as historians and archeologists have artifacts of human existence, there is evidence of makeup. Think about little kids, coming home from school with magic marker drawings, stickers or other decorations adorning their arms or face. It seems there is a natural instinct to explore, decorate and enhance our appearance. 

Healthy skin is sold to us every day. Bottles and jars of every shape and size contain soaps, creams, oils, and tinctures that promise perfect skin. Just buy this one, new product and all your skin qualms will be quelled. But deep, deep down we all know the truth. Good skin, just like any aspect of a healthy body, starts from within. And a huge part of what is “within,” is everything we choose to eat. 

Like the rest of the world, Sylva has had to grapple with the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout. However, Sylva not only maintained a healthy, downtown business district, it has added new businesses and new elements to the downtown scene throughout the course of the pandemic. 

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Under bright blue skies filled with hot sun, Sylva hosted its inaugural Sylva Pride celebration this past Saturday. Over 500 people nestled into the small, burgeoning mountain town to celebrate and show support for the queer community. 

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In 1894, congress voted to approve Labor Day as a national holiday. The vote took place just days after the deadly Pullman Strike, in which workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives, placing workers’ rights front and center in the public’s view.

In June, Morgan Beryl took over as executive director of the Haywood County Arts Council. She has lived all over the United States and studied an array of subjects, but her love for the arts and the outdoors brought her to Haywood County. 

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Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen voted Aug. 17 to allow class A, B and C recreational vehicles in RV Planned Unit Developments. Previously, the board had discussed allowing PUD status for RV parks, only if vehicles were restricted to class A. 

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Special Liberty Project, what is it and how did it get started?

The Special Liberty Project is a nonprofit organization serving healing veterans and families of America's fallen heroes, referred to as Gold Star Families. In nature, healing is plentiful. We bring together veteran families who have experienced similar traumatic experiences, or losses, to create healing in nature. 

At an emergency meeting Saturday, the Haywood County School Board voted 5-2 to mandate masks and enact a plan that will adjust masking policy based on the weekly averages of positive COVID-19 cases. 

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Tropical Storm Fred ravaged portions of Haywood County last week, including several school properties. The school board called an emergency meeting Aug. 19 to hear reports of the flood damage. Following Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte’s recommendation, students in Haywood County returned to school on Monday, Aug. 23.

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As the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Fred recede, the full extent of the damage is becoming clear. Residents of Haywood County and beyond have rallied together to create avenues for donations and opportunities to support those in need. Countless churches, businesses and individuals are actively accepting and sorting donations. 

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The quiet calm of a bright summer morning dissipates like dew off the freshly manicured lawn upon entering Shining Rock Classical Academy. Inside, the back-to-school energy is palpable. 

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As COVID-19 cases rise, in large part due to the spread of the new Delta variant, school boards across the state are opting to mandate masks for students and staff. 

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A petition to start the school year with universal masking in Haywood County Schools has over 630 signatures. This comes after a July 27 board meeting, when the Haywood County School board voted unanimously to make masking optional for all students, staff and visitors during the 2021-22 school year. 

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Swain County Schools will start the year with a mask mandate, reversing a previous decision to make masks optional for the 2021-22 school year. 

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Like many of the most resilient and creative people on this earth, the river of Marissa Schneider’s life has meandered through the unexpected twists and turns of trauma. Somewhere along that ride though, she found cannabis. As she moved through trauma, and the painful healing that comes after, the plant became a tool. A tool used not only to help her own soul in the process of mending, but also to help others. For Schneider, cooking with cannabis is about bringing people together. It is about healing her soul, and those of the other bodies she meets along her way. 

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and transmission rates following the spread of the Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for public schools to recommend universal masking for students, staff and visitors in grades K-12. 

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Jackson County Schools will begin the 2021-22 school year with a mask mandate for all students, staff and visitors, with a plan to reassess the mandate regularly as the school year progresses. 

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Following contentious public input, and relatively little board discussion, Haywood County Schools will begin the 2021-22 school year without a mask mandate.

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Aphrodisiacs have a long and sexy history. Named for the Greek Goddess of love and beauty (associated with Venus in Roman mythology), an aphrodisiac is any food or substance that increases sexual desire, arousal, behavior, performance or pleasure. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced new health guidelines for North Carolina public schools on Wednesday. School districts should require masks indoors for all students and staff in grades K-8. In grades 9-12, students and staff who have not been vaccinated should also be required to wear masks indoors. 

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After North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced new health guidelines for North Carolina Public Schools, giving local school boards the power to issue and enforce mask mandates, Macon County School board met to discuss the issue. 

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced new health guidelines for North Carolina public schools on Wednesday. School districts should require masks indoors for all students and staff in grades K-8. In grades 9-12, students and staff who have not been vaccinated should also be required to wear masks indoors. 

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There were no women at the first modern Olympics in 1896. According to its founder Pierre de Coubertin, women were “not cut out to sustain certain shocks.” Women proved him wrong, muscling their way in to have 22 women compete at the 1900 Olympic Games. By 2012, just over 100 years later, there was at least one woman in every delegation. 

Folkmoot USA, North Carolina’s Official International Festival, returns with Folkmoot Summerfest July 22-25. The theme of this year’s festival is focused on American cultural diversity in music and dance. 

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Last week’s Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen meeting was riddled with complaints from residents of a development on Jonathan Creek Road about an alleged encampment of people in the neighborhood. 

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