Jessi Stone

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While everyone with families takes advantage of the summer months off from school by getting out of town for a while, I prefer to spend the summer months right here in Western North Carolina. 

County Manager Derek Roland was tasked with delivering a flat budget for the 2021-22 budget year, but after countless hours of heated discussions, Macon County Commissioners approved increasing property taxes with a narrow majority. 

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Some of us were there to get out of the house. Some of us were there to escape our grief. Some of us were there to strengthen our aging bodies. Some of us were there to get away from our husbands. Some of us were there to let go of stress and control. Some of us were called by a higher power to be there. 

All of us were meant to be there. 

The amount of time Legal Aid lawyers spend on helping clients with housing issues doubled during the pandemic.

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Dogwood Health Trust recently invested in affordable housing initiatives in Haywood and Jackson counties by awarding a $872,671 grant to Mountain Projects.

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Swain County will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. June 10 to give residents an opportunity to comment on the 2021-22 proposed county budget. 

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May 29 is National College Savings Plan Day, and the NC 529 Plan through the College Foundation of North Carolina is celebrating with a new giveaway to promote saving for education and planning for the future.

There is so much I love about Brandi Carlile I don’t even know where to begin, but at the moment I am in love with her memoir released last month, “Broken Horses.”

Helping Hands of Haywood is a new nonprofit that is making a tremendous difference in the community by reaching out to help those most in need. For Mental Health Awareness Month, Director Nicole Kott shares more about the organization's mission and how experiencing homelessness impacts people's mental health.

Plans to construct a new Franklin High School are back on the table as Macon County commissioners weigh the costs — financially and politically. 

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A packed room of Macon County residents pleaded with county commissioners during a May 13 meeting to provide the school system with more funding for arts education. 

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After passing a resolution at its May 13 meeting, Swain County will be asking its state representatives to introduce legislation that would allow the county to levy an additional 2 percent room tax.

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Because it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, Rumble reached out to someone who deals with behavioral health issues in Western North Carolina. Becca Swanger, the Jackson County Director for Meridian Behavioral Health Services, took the time to answer some questions about how people are coping with mental health during the pandemic.

The Franklin Town Council board room was standing room only last week as several local teenagers expressed their desire for a skatepark to be developed somewhere within the town limits. 

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There are so many ways to celebrate Mother's Day in Western North Carolina, whether you take her out for a meal, sign her up for a spa day or take her out on a date! Here are just a few highlighted special events going on across the region to make the day extra special. 

The Town of Bryson City has been removed from a piece of state legislation that would have allowed the town to levy its own occupancy tax and establish its own tourism development governing board.

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HCA Healthcare officially broke ground last Friday morning on a $68 million facility to replace Angel Medical Center in Franklin.

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I’ve spent many years wondering about how to stay motivated — personally and professionally. I’ve read a ton of books and listened to a shit ton of podcasts about it. I’ve worked with a life coach and I’ve gone to therapy. I’ve researched and asked other inspirational women around me. So now I’m going to pass on what I’ve learned to all of you to save you the time.

A group of women across several local and statewide organizations came together during the pandemic last summer to make sure people’s needs were being met during such a difficult time. Now the group has organized its third Community Resource Fair, which is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. May 5 at the First United Methodist Church in Waynesville.

Professors at Western Carolina University are tired of just talking about the importance of diversity within the teaching industry and are committed to turning all the talk into meaningful movement forward. 

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Since I started hiking in late 2019, I have a new appreciation for the land in which we occupy here in Western North Carolina. 

Dr. Diana Messer, a forensic anthropology professor at Western Carolina University, is working on groundbreaking research that could drastically improve the methods used to estimate the timeframe of a child’s injury, which is essential evidence needed to identify and prosecute child abuse cases. 

Franklin Town Manager Summer Woodard recently submitted her resignation letter after accepting a position as the town manager of Reidsville. 

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Habitat for Humanity of Haywood County plays a major part in helping people toward financial freedom, and many of these people are women — single moms, with kids, taking care of their parents, trying to get back on their feet. It’s a beautiful transition to watch unfold because when women are able to find a secure and affordable home, more possibilities unfold in their lives. 

Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Jamye Sheppard has a true passion for helping others help themselves and recently took the time to talk to Rumble about a new exciting fundraising opportunity for women in the community. The Ladies Level Up campaign to raise $60,000 to build a Habitat home in Waynesville is a testament to how women from all walks of life can come together to make a big difference in the lives of other women. So far, the campaign has raised $30,000 and is well on its way to reaching the $60,000 goal.

The public had a lot of questions during an April 7 virtual meeting regarding Mission Health’s services and operations since being bought by for-profit HCA Healthcare in 2019. Unfortunately, Gibbins Advisors — the independent monitor hired to ensure HCA fulfills its contractual obligations — couldn’t provide them with many answers.

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 Tenisea Higgins, the president of the Haywood County Chapter of Autism Society of North Carolina, took the time to talk to rumble about her personal story with raising a daughter on the Autism spectrum and how she helped start the local chapter to support other families. Be sure to support the organization on April 27 during the Shop & Dine event. Read more about it below.

April 11 is National Pet Day, and I will take any opportunity to share my adorable dogs with the world.

Barbara McRae loved history — learning about it, sharing it with others and making it herself. 

The long-time community organizer lost a long battle with cancer on March 2, but the projects she set in motion in Macon County will live on for generations to come, including the Macon County Women’s History Trail and the Nikwasi Initiative, both of which were created to preserve parts of Appalachian history that have gone untold for generations. 

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When my mom told me she wanted to rent a beach house somewhere for a week just for her, me and my younger sibling Leilah, I was pretty excited about the opportunity for a relaxing getaway with my favorite gingers. 

Dietician and nutritionist Jennie Boothroyd of Canton recently took time to answer some burning questions women have about nutrition and dieting. 

With warmer weather and some COVID-19 restrictions lifting in North Carolina, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside this spring in your own backyard to enjoy the fresh mountain air, fresh flowers and local food. Here are some top picks to keep you busy through the season.

In 2019, registered nurses were listed as the third most in-demand job in the U.S., and even though enrollment in nursing programs is also on the rise, it’s not keeping pace with the market demand.

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My friend wants to start the keto diet to lose weight. I asked her, “Why would you want to try such a restrictive diet when you’re just getting started?” Her answer was like nails on a chalkboard to my ears, but it also broke my heart because I know it’s what so many women say to themselves: 

Well, I finally found a plant I literally can’t kill. 

Many people in the high-risk category for COVID-19 began isolating themselves at home last March to wait out the pandemic, but not Virginia Wall. 

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It’s not easy to slow Wendy Barker down. She’s been an EMT for 15 years. She’s used to working 24 hour shifts under some of the most stressful and strenuous conditions, so she wasn’t ready for COVID-19 to put her out of commission for more than six weeks. 

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Anyone that knows me well knows I have a weird obsession about all things Irish. Like many others with Scot-Irish heritage in this region, I’ve always felt a pull to the celtic traditions, music and history. 

Kids will be able to return to YMCA’s Camp Watia in Swain County this summer after taking a year off during the height of the pandemic in 2020. 

At the 11th hour, Macon County Commissioners called a special meeting to discuss whether to move forward with an $8 million renovation project at Macon Middle School or to take a step back and reevaluate the county’s school infrastructure needs. 

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On average, it costs parents $9,480 a year for infant childcare in North Carolina, which is $2,126 more than they’ll pay for in-state tuition to a four-year N.C. university. 

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In a somewhat dismissive tone, you’ve probably heard someone use the word “woo” in describing beliefs or practices that aren’t necessarily accepted or supported in the mainstream realms of religion or science.

I've known Lori Randall since 2004 when we met at Gainesville College in Georgia and worked on the student newspaper together. She's just as bubbly and hilarious as she is insightful and intelligent. I was so proud when she mailed me her first published book in 2012 — Online Reputation Management for Dummies. With her extensive knowledge about online marketing, I was surprised to find her interest has shifted to astrology in recent years so I was curious to catch up with her and ask her some pressing questions about the ancient art that is often scoffed at in today's society. 

As we highlight some resources for small businesses at Haywood Community College this week, we also wanted to highlight a local small business success story that began with help from the Small Business Center at HCC. Waynesville Soda Jerks are a shining example of taking a passion and turning it into a sustainable and growing business. Co-owner Megan Brown took time to share her story with Rumble.

How many pauses do you take throughout your day? Do you pause before deciding what to eat for breakfast? Do you pause to plan out your day before you get to the office or start your shift? Do you pause before you respond to a rude email from a client? Do you take a pause after work to deeply exhale the day's stress before you go home to your family?

Nikwasi Initiative, the nonprofit that took over ownership of the Nikwasi Mound in Franklin two years ago, recently announced some new projects planned for the adjacent properties. 

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Having a long and happy relationship is about so much more than planning a romantic night out for Valentine’s Day.

Despite dire predictions of how local governments would be financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Macon County has fared well so far. Still, County Manager Derek Roland recently ensured commissioners that he’d continue to manage the budget conservatively moving into the 2021-22 fiscal year. 

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The Whitmire property on East Main Street in Franklin could soon become a public disc golf course.

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When Macon County Commissioners met on Jan. 12, health department staff was having a difficult time meeting the demands of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but the county departments have since come together in a joint effort to streamline their processes for vaccinations and testing. 

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I’m not really into football. I’m more into the food and the company on Superbowl Sunday. 

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