Holly Kays

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The Collett Ridge Fire south of Andrews swelled over the weekend, growing from 110 acres Nov. 3 to 2,919 acres Nov. 7 — and still 0% contained. 

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A burn ban has been issued for 14 Western North Carolina counties in the face of expanding drought following the state’s 10th-driest October since records began in 1895.

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As police shooting victim Jason Harley Kloepfer’s sprawling federal lawsuit  makes its way through court, where he’s seeking millions of dollars in damages, some attorneys are speculating that it has the potential to spur a first-of-its-kind ruling on the limits of sovereign immunity, a defense that often protects Native American tribes from lawsuits. 

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Western Carolina University has been chosen as one of four universities leading an effort to bolster research innovation in North Carolina. 

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In a sunny clearing 350 feet above U.S. 23, the choose-your-own-adventure portion of Canton’s Chestnut Mountain Nature Park  begins. 

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Eight miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Craggy Gardens is closed after multiple visitors were reported feeding and attempting to hold a young bear in recent weeks at Lane Pinnacle Overlook.

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A fire ignited by lightning Oct. 23 near Andrews has grown to 90 acres with 0% containment due to rugged terrain and limited accessibility.

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Much of the western region is now in drought, with severe drought entering the state for the first time since November 2022. This is now the third consecutive fall in which parts of Western North Carolina have reached the “severe drought” designation.

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A Whittier man could spend the rest of his life in prison after he allegedly threatened a woman at gunpoint in an attempted kidnapping at the Waterrock Knob Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where he had tracked her using social media. 

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Tribal Council has unanimously approved a resolution naming the first designated delegates to a planned Constitution Convention and expanding the list of groups to be represented there. 

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A research project aiming to understand contamination levels outside the fence line of the now-shuttered Canton paper mill is likely to draw more than a quarter-million dollars in state funding to test soil, water and air samples nearby. 

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Cherokee issues first medical ID cards; tribe continues to work on product transport plan 

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A former Tribal Council candidate is seeking $800,000 from the tribe in compensation for “physical, mental and financial despair” allegedly inflicted on her and her family in the aftermath of the 2017 election. 

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Beaverdam Creek is easy to miss. Tree-lined banks shield the small, shallow stream from view as it runs toward the Pigeon River in Canton, and until their leaves fall in winter, the trees also hide the dam blocking the creek’s flow just above the confluence. 

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In one of the first pieces of legislation of his new term, on Monday, Oct. 9, Principal Chief Michell Hicks presented Tribal Council with a resolution that would provide Qualla Enterprises an additional $19 million in funding — under certain conditions.

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When Shana Condill  stepped in as Cherokee’s new museum director, she expected questions about the museum’s name — and her instinct quickly proved correct. 

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Gary Wade grew up in Pittman Center, Tennessee, just 7 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park trailhead leading to Mt. Cammerer. But despite being a lifelong hiker, he didn’t reach the storied fire tower  at the summit until 1993, when he was in his mid 40s. 

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A final recovery plan for the red wolf, a document from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will guide recovery efforts for an imperiled native species, is now complete.

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The newly adopted state budget is good news for Western Carolina University, according to Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Mike Byers. 

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More than 700 people filled the Cherokee High School basketball arena to celebrate the inauguration of new tribal leaders Monday, Oct. 2. 

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The now-shuttered paper mill in Canton has received a new violation for exceeding permit limits on toxicity for water released from the plant, continuing a pattern established over the last two years of averaging more than one notice of violation every two months. 

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In 2015, not a single acre of conserved land dotted the landscape between the Blue Ridge Parkway surrounding Soco Gap and the town of Maggie Valley below.

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 Council considers fine, employment ban 

The Cherokee Tribal Council is considering taking formal action against a former representative who is accused of using his position to secure money and personal favors from a vendor guiding the tribe’s fledgling cannabis enterprise. 

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In a divided decision the Cherokee Tribal Council approved an ordinance amendment that will allow funding for the tribe’s cannabis business to be part of regular budget planning discussions going forward. 

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Debate about how to spend revenues from the tribe’s growing portfolio of out-of-state gambling businesses will continue into the next term after Tribal Council voted to withdraw a paired resolution and ordinance addressing the issue Sept. 25. 

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More than 600 people from across the nation converged in Cherokee last week for the fifth annual Outdoor Economy Conference, the nation’s leading economic development conference focused on outdoor recreation. 

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A week after Cherokee voters overwhelmingly voiced their support for legalizing cannabis on the Qualla Boundary, the Cherokee Police Commission spent 20 minutes of its monthly meeting discussing the potential impacts of such a change. 

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Voter turnout came in at 53.9% for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Sept. 7 election, according to numbers the Board of Elections released last week, a dip from the 57.1% turnout observed during the last chief election in 2019. 

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Buddy and Janice Cochran are used to seeing things through. 

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Cherokee looked back for its future in the Sept. 7 General Election, with an overwhelming majority of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians voters electing to oust incumbent Principal Chief Richard Sneed and bring former Chief Michell Hicks back for a fourth term, according to unofficial results.

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In a decision that received national attention, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum question endorsing legalized recreational marijuana on the Qualla Boundary for adults 21 and older.

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What was once an extremely contentious issue in Cherokee now appears to be fairly noncontroversial, as a referendum vote seeking approval for issuing mixed drink permits on the Qualla Boundary sailed through with 68.3% approval Sept. 7. 

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For the third year running, freshman enrollment has increased at Western Carolina University, a metric that university leaders hope will signal an end to multiple years of falling enrollment in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

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Cherokee looked back for its future in today’s General Election, with an overwhelming majority of voters electing to oust incumbent Principal Chief Richard Sneed and bring former Chief Michell Hicks back for a fourth term. On Tribal Council, voters brought change by replacing four incumbents with candidates who have previously served multiple terms on Council.

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Tribal officers in Cherokee County shooting say they thought victim was armed

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In 1972, Lambert Wilson’s life changed forever.

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Cherokee’s next planned bike park to give kids, new riders a place to play 

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The Cherokee Indian Fair will return Oct. 3-7 for its 111th year, but in a new location. This year’s event will be held at the old high school site, also called the Cherokee Expo Center, located at 1501 Acquoni Road. 

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A Cherokee man will serve more than seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a charge of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. 

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According to the recently released results of the National Park Service’s newest peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis, in 2022 North Carolina was yet again home to the nation’s two top parks for visitor spending — the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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This year’s race for Wolfetown/Big Y Tribal Council is an unusual one, with the two incumbents having held their seats for less than a year following a pair of special elections in December and March.

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During the General Election Sept. 7, Yellowhill voters will choose two of the four names before them to be their voice in Tribal Council for the next two years. 

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Former Wolfetown Rep. Bo Crowe pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in federal court Friday, Aug. 11, but plans to fight tribal charges stemming from the same incident at trial. 

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Cherokee’s June 1 Primary Election whittled the field of candidates for Birdtown Tribal Council down to four, and they will face off during the General Election Thursday, Sept. 7. 

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With much of the conversation taking place in closed session, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council passed a trio of resolutions Aug. 3 pertaining to the tribally owned EBCI Holdings LLC.

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Pactiv Evergreen has been issued its second notice of violation in less than a month, bringing its total since May 2021 up to 15 — more than one violation every two months, on average.

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The Cherokee Tribal Council has approved $946,000 in tribal dollars to go toward the Cannabis Control Board’s budget for the 2024 fiscal year starting in October. 

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Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail celebrates kickoff 

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As voters ponder the ballot for executive offices within the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians next month, they’ll be looking at a list of familiar names. 

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