Poor acorn crop leads to increased bear encounters

A nighttime breath of fresh air turned traumatic for 75-year-old Swannanoa resident Toni Rhegness when she spotted three bear cubs while walking her dog on leash in her front yard Sept. 18.

While Rhegness followed important bear safety rules at her own home — not leaving trash outside and keeping her dog leashed, for starters — her neighbor had left garbage cans outside for pickup the next morning, and the cubs were scavenging them for a meal. Seeing the cubs, the dog barked. Rhegness shouted to scare the bears off and picked up her dog to go inside.

NRA grants help local students learn safety

Recent efforts to enhance student safety by placing armed volunteers in the nation’s schools have resulted in predictable blowback from anti-gun activists, some of whom have claimed it’s an attempt by the National Rifle Association to indoctrinate impressionable young minds with pro-gun propaganda. 

Students talk safety: Jackson’s high school students share insights

Hours after students in schools across the nation walked out of their classrooms to protest gun violence in American schools, students leaders in Jackson County’s high schools walked into the auditorium of Smoky Mountain High School to deliver their thoughts on the topic to a gathering that included the entire Board of Education and Board of County Commissioners. 

Student threats taken seriously after Parkland shooting

The latest mass shooting on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has spurred a number of potential threats across Western North Carolina. 

SEE ALSO:
• Jackson County leaders plan to prevent Jackson County leaders plan to prevent school violence
• Swain High students walk out of class

School officials and law enforcement officers are investigating several students who’ve made comments about school shootings while others have dealt with social media threats. Not all of the student comments have been found to be a credible or eminent threat, but local law enforcement agencies have made it clear such statements will be taken seriously. 

‘On all of our minds’: Jackson County leaders plan to prevent school violence

When a teenage shooter shattered an otherwise normal day in Parkland, Florida, with gunfire and bloodshed, the ripples of fear and tragedy didn’t stop at the boundaries of the previously low-profile town. They spread throughout the country, ricocheting through the halls of far-away schools, homes and government buildings filled with folks asking themselves the same question — how can we make sure this doesn’t happen here? 

Swain High students walk out of class

Following a social media threat that led to a countywide school lockdown and an early dismissal on Thursday, Feb. 22, many students at Swain County High School staged a walkout on Friday, Feb. 23, to advocate for change. 

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