Sylva denies one apartment application, approves another

Despite gusting winds and a temperature of 42 degrees at the time the three-hour meeting began — it was 37 degrees and felt like 30 by its 8 p.m. conclusion — more than 50 people bundled up to attend an outdoor hearing on the fate of two Sylva apartment projects Thursday, April 1. 

New tax values, fire protection costs drive rate discussion

With the 2021 property revaluation now complete, Jackson County’s taxable value will rise nearly 20 percent over the value established during the last valuation in 2016 and 12.1 percent over the value for the current fiscal year, the last using 2016 valuations. 

New leadership for Jackson County Schools

Jackson County Schools Board of Education has selected Dr. Dana Ayers as its new superintendent beginning June 1. 

When the job can’t stop: Trash collection picked up during the pandemic

When meetings moved to Zoom and schools shut down last March, Zach Sorrells kept on reporting to work. As a maintenance worker with the Town of Sylva, he’s responsible for jobs that simply must get done, pandemic or no — like trash collection, for instance.

HERE in Jackson plans considers homeless shelter project

For more than a decade, groups serving Jackson County’s homeless population have done so on a shoestring and a thin supply of hotel rooms, but the nonprofit currently providing homeless services says the time has come for a dedicated shelter facility. 

Jackson forecasts revenue increase

Despite the dire predictions of spring 2020, Jackson County’s budget prognosis for the 2021-2022 fiscal year is looking downright positive, commissioners learned during a Feb. 23 budget retreat. 

Riding high in Jackson: Proposed 35-mile trail system would be East Coast’s highest for bikes

A group of Western North Carolina mountain biking enthusiasts has unveiled plans to bring the highest-elevation mountain bike trail on the East Coast to Jackson County, and after receiving a thumbs up from leaders in Cherokee and Sylva last month they’ll start seeking grants to make it a reality. 

Jackson approves economic development strategy

A plan that will guide the county’s economic development strategy for the next five years received unanimous support Feb. 16 from the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

Jackson to pause vaccine registration Feb. 26

Jackson County will close its phone-based vaccine appointment registration system on Friday, Feb. 26, as the county prepares to offer the vaccine to additional groups.

Persistence pays off in rebel mascot issue

When I read that Annie McCord-Wilson was among those leading the charge to have the rebel removed as the mascot of her daughter’s elementary school — Cullowhee Valley — I almost couldn’t believe it. 

In 2002 when The Smoky Mountain News was only three years old and trying to establish itself as an information source for the region, I read a fantastic letter to the editor in the Sylva Herald. It was written by then-eighth-grader Annie McCord, and I was astonished at her maturity. Here’s an excerpt from that letter discussing the use of the rebel as a mascot:

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