SMN staff

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Peter Holderness Ledford has been appointed as North Carolina’s new clean energy director, Gov. Roy Cooper announced July 27.

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Julie Mayfield is stepping down as co-director of MountainTrue after serving alongside co-director Bob Wagner since 2013. Prior to that, she had worked as executive director of the organization then known as the Western North Carolina Alliance since 2008. 

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period and extending the decision deadline on its proposal to de-list the ivory-billed woodpecker after disagreement among experts as to whether the species, long thought to be extinct, may still persist. 

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The high-water warning system at the Ocoee Whitewater Center in Tennessee is working once more after incurring damage in the April 26 fire that destroyed the building. 

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Last weekend, one man died and another was seriously injured following incidents at waterfalls in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest, leading the U.S. Forest Service to issue a strong warning for those planning to venture out to one of Western North Carolina’s signature cascades. 

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An instrumental program for educating future K-12 teachers while more accurately reflecting real world demographics began its second year at Western Carolina University.

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The Maggie Valley Club & Resort, a semi-private club and resort located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, is pleased to welcome Craig Sparks as director of golf. Sparks will oversee all golf operations and golf sales for the scenic resort property.

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The Giles division of Premier Magnesia announced that it is now almost done with construction on its new expansion in the Hazelwood area.

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The Franklin Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed Brain Freeze Fun Frozen Custard.

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The  WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership  is launching a new outdoor-driven community economic development initiative, Building Outdoor Communities, spanning 25 Western North Carolina counties and the Qualla Boundary.

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Folkmoot, North Carolina’s Official International Folk Festival, returns to hosting programs and events beginning with its “Summerfest” scheduled from Thursday, July 28, to Sunday, July 31. 

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To the Editor:

Three hundred Spartans. The battle of Thermopylae, fought between the Greeks and the Persians in 480 B.C., has gone down in history as one of the most significant last stands of all time. 

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The Franklin Chamber of Commerce recently held a ribbon cutting celebration to welcome H & H Softwash to the Franklin business community.  

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A former Western Carolina University vice chancellor for advancement and external affairs who enjoyed successful careers as a community journalist and as an administrator in the University of North Carolina system is the inaugural recipient of a lifetime achievement award presented by the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed the Greenbrier area to all use due to additional road damage caused by an estimated three inches of rain occurring during the early morning hours on Thursday, July 21. Roads were further damaged by floodwaters that rose above riverbanks and also from overland waterflow from above the roadways.  

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To the Editor:

During the past several weeks, a seemingly coordinated series of increasingly vitriolic letters to the editor have appeared in The Smoky Mountain News. One specific letter, titled “Religion doesn’t belong in schools” by Ms. Cory was shocking to me, as well as to many other readers of The Smoky Mountain News. Though many of the points seemed gratuitously inflammatory, the anti-Christian remarks specifically stood out to me. 

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To the Editor: 

Over the past few weeks, a series of letters has appeared in local papers which seems to be part of a continued campaign both locally and nationally to drive Americans apart. One writer stated, “Those who do not look or believe the same have all too often seen the predictably toxic and venomous response from the evangelical right.” That is a highly partisan and frankly slanderous statement with no basis in reality. 

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed the Greenbrier area to all use due to additional road damage caused by an estimated three inches of rain occurring during the early morning hours on Thursday, July 21. Roads were further damaged by floodwaters that rose above riverbanks and also from overland waterflow from above the roadways.  

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In June, Southwestern Community College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program teamed up with Full Spectrum Farms to allow SCC students to work with the children during the farm’s kid’s camp. This doubles as a learning experience and also a day full of fun for both the students and kids.

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To the Editor:

On Tuesday, July 26, there will be a runoff election for school board in Jackson County. Early voting has already begun. 

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A makeshift clinic of folding chairs and tables, separated in clusters by curtains and canvas tents, has been set up inside a steel girder building in Clarkston, Georgia.

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Haywood Pathways Center has received $2,500 from the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation to help feed neighbors in their time of need. Haywood Pathways Center will use the gift to supplement its food supply as the organization continues to provide almost 8,000 meals per month on campus as well as through Holy Cow Food Truck.

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The Cherokee Bonfire & Storytelling will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays through Oct. 31 at the Oconaluftee Islands Park in Cherokee. 

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On Feb. 15, 2021, the Sylva Police Department became aware of an allegation of excessive force by then SPD Officer Patrick “Eli” Trantham involving an arrestee. 

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park temporarily closed roads, trails and facilities in the Greenbrier area of the park to all motorists and pedestrians due to flood damage. On Tuesday, July 12, the Porters Gap area received an estimated 8.72 inches of rain within several hours around 9 p.m. according to National Weather Service Doppler radar. This area of the park recently received approximately 5 inches of rain over the last week, resulting in already saturated soils before the storm cell produced flash flood conditions along the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River.   

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park reopened Big Creek Trail following an eight-week closure for a trail rehabilitation project. The park trail crew made much needed improvements along the entire 5.6-mile Big Creek Trail by repairing the tread surface and removing hazard trees. 

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The series “Where We Live: History, Nature, and Culture” will present a program on the Hellbender, a giant salamander found in our local streams. 

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To the Editor:

Been thinkin’ lately ‘bout M.A.G.A. What an acronym! It sounds strong.

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To the Editor:

As Sylva prepares for its school board runoff election July 26, many signs sporting crosses by one of the candidates have popped up around the local landscape.

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The Haywood County Board of County Commissioners continues to seek applicants for the Maggie Valley Planning Board and the Maggie Valley zoning board of adjustments.

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Matt Wells, mortgage sales manager at Champion Credit Union, offers advice and information when it comes to lending in today’s active real estate market. 

Two Macon County men admitted guilt last week in connection with drug-related crimes, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.  

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State assistant district attorneys in Haywood County Superior Court last week successfully prosecuted five residents for trafficking illegal drugs. Collectively, the defendants will spend a total minimum of 350 months in prison.

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The first established presence of the invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) has been confirmed in North Carolina. 

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The 2022 Master Gardener class is now forming in Haywood County, with applications accepted for a 13-week course starting Thursday, Aug. 4. 

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The most recent drought map, released Thursday, June 30, showed dry conditions blanketing the state as North Carolina’s second-driest June on record drew to a close. 

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To the Editor:

The question on the minds of many Americans, will Merrick Garland follow the endless trail of irrefutable evidence and charge Donald Trump and his co-conspirators for the crimes for which they are clearly guilty, or will he let them off the hook?

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To the Editor:

Behind the backs of local government in Haywood County, N.C. GOP Reps. Mark Pless and Mike Clampitt tried to push through Bill H998. This bill required “Boards, Charters, City Councils, Counties, County Commissioners, Educations Boards,” etc., to be partisan, i.e., show the candidates party affiliation (D or R) after their name. 

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For Haley Gaylord and Chelsea Ramsey, opening their own small business was not an early career choice. But opening the successful, eclectic and unique Soul Sisters Depot just felt right. Surrounded by family members running their own businesses, the pair started selling their items while holding full-time jobs and raising children. Going to craft shows, local markets, and hosting trunk shows kept snowballing until it only made sense to consider a brick-and-mortar storefront. 

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Vecinos, a free and charitable clinic providing bilingual primary and behavioral health care in Western North Carolina, is leading a $5.6 million effort to better serve the region’s uninsured and low-income residents by bringing multiple health and social services under one roof.

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United Christian Ministries of Jackson County held an open house on Wednesday, June 15, to formally dedicate the pantry addition and to allow local community agencies to tour the facility. The food pantry is 100% staffed by volunteers who work with two staff members, Karen Johnson (Executive Director) and Joyce Pope (Director of Outreach). 

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Earlier this month, Mountain Credit Union partnered with MANNA Food Bank to provide meals that will help end food insecurity in the 16 counties of Western North Carolina.

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The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has awarded funds for 59 new Level 2 electric vehicle charging points across 23 sites in North Carolina, with several headed to Western North Carolina. Grant recipients include:

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Outdoor Gear Builders, an outdoor industry association in Western North Carolina with more than 75 members, has hired Matt Godfrey as its next executive director. 

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ArborEvenings is back at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville, offering opportunity to spend Thursday and Friday evenings strolling the gardens through Sept. 30. 

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