Jessi Stone

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fr YOfranklinThe world can be a confusing and lonely place when you don’t know where you fit in to it and you don’t have a support system. It’s hard enough being a teenager today, but the added difficulties of struggling with gender or sexuality can easily lead youth down a dangerous path.

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swainBeginning in January, Swain County residents will no longer have 24-hour access to the county’s trash and recycling convenience center. 

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fr ghosttownAlaska Presley has talked for years about her vision of having the tallest cross in the western hemisphere placed on top of her Buck Mountain property in Maggie Valley, but now it seems that plan will not come to fruition any time soon.

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fr shiningrockShining Rock Classical Academy’s continued hunt for somewhere to temporarily house the fledgling charter school come Jan. 1 has inevitably landed on the doorstep of the Folkmoot Friendship Center, a seemingly natural choice since the Folkmoot Center was originally an elementary school. 

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fr brysonmanagerWhen Josh Ward was earning his bachelor’s degree in environmental health, he never thought it would lead him to running a small town government.

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fr swcLess money and stiffer competition for grants means that Western North Carolina needs to have a solid plan in place to show the need in the region and stay competitive.

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fr swcommissionOne day they were operating out of the community center building in Sylva and the next they were moving into a singlewide trailer in Bryson City. Some years federal grant money rolled in hand over fist, and other years they fought tooth and nail for highly competitive grants for their communities. They’ve seen years of unchecked growth and years of economic stagnation.

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fr potholesAfter hearing numerous complaints about the enormous potholes plaguing the county administrative building parking lot, Swain County commissioners agreed it was time to repave it.

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Beginning Sept. 1, Swain County Sheriff’s Office will have the authority to issue citations and fines for residents who have faulty alarm and security systems. 

Swain County commissioners approved a False Alarm ordinance several months go to address the timely and costly problem of responding to vacant houses when a security alarm is set off. Sheriff Curtis Cochran told commissioners the excessive false alarms were a burden on the sheriff’s department’s limited resources. The department responded to more than 1,000 security alarm calls in 2014 and a majority of them were the result of faulty alarm systems. 

The sheriff hopes the new ordinance will encourage part-time residents to update their security systems to prevent this problem in the future. Cochran assured commissioners his deputies would use common sense when enforcing the ordinance and take into consideration the elderly who may have problems working their systems. While he said warnings would be the first step, violators could be issued a $50 fine if deputies respond to a false alarm call at their home.

Residents can appeal a citation to the county manager and commissioners. 

“About 150 letters have been sent out to people we know have these alarm systems — the same ones who have been called before,” said County Manager Kevin King.

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fr shiningrockWith only three days of school under their belts, students attending Shining Rock Classical Academy were already settling into their routine on Monday morning.

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fr maconshelterLowell Monteith, pastor of The Father’s House ministry, says the shelter has many needs right now. However, Macon County’s only homeless shelter’s most pressing need is community support.

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fr frystThere was barely room to breathe in Bryson City Town Hall on Monday night.

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fr maggieroadMaggie Valley leaders aren’t taking no for an answer after the North Carolina Department of Transportation said nothing could be done to improve safety conditions at the U.S. 19 and U.S. 276 intersection.

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coverAs the food truck fad filters into counties west of Asheville, local governments are trying to find a fair balance between encouraging entrepreneurship and protecting their brick-and-mortar food establishments.

SEE ALSO: Food trucks offer different flavors

Making mobile vendors more stationary is one way towns have chosen to deal with the new influx of culinary entrepreneurs. As long as they can find a steady flow of customers, the vendors don’t seem to miss the nomadic lifestyle food trucks are accustomed to. Some food truck vendors have hitched their wagons to craft breweries, while others have found a few reliable spots within their county.

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fr foodtruckfoodMobile vending is no longer limited to fast food staples like pizza, hamburgers and hotdogs.

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fr fryestThe Bryson City Board of Aldermen is formally asking for public input after mulling over the idea of closing Fry Street in downtown for almost a year.

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jacksonJackson County commissioners approved moving forward with the installation of the Locust Creek pedestrian bridge even though the cost is higher than expected.

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fr shiningzoningDespite resistance from surrounding landowners, Shining Rock Classical Academy is moving forward with plans to set up Haywood County’s first charter school on the corner of Raccoon Road and U.S. 276 in Waynesville.

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fr maggieboardThe mood was somber at Maggie Valley town hall last Wednesday as Alderwoman Saralyn Price called a special board meeting to order.

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maconAllowing indoor gun ranges within the Franklin town limits is still on hold as the town planning board has been asked to re-examine its recommendations to the town board.

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franklinPlans for a new gas station on the outskirts of Franklin will be moving ahead now that the town board approved a satellite annexation for the property.

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fr cornoopsA damaged corn crop and a no trespassing order from a farmer’s lawyer could thwart Shining Rock Classical Academy’s goal of finding a permanent home for the new charter school by December.

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fr shiningrockAs a public entity receiving public dollars, Shining Rock Classical Academy — Haywood County’s first charter school — is required to follow the state’s Public Records and Open Meetings laws.

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fr rickbrysonRick Bryson, a current alderman in Bryson City, has his eyes on Washington, D.C., as he plans a run to represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District.

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fr maconhealthA new program will enable a limited number of Macon County residents to seek primary medical care at the health department beginning this fall.

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fr cantonclinicWithin six months, a primary care medical clinic for Evergreen Packaging employees went from being on the chopping block to expanding its services.

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folkmoot preservingEach year international groups from all over the world travel abroad to share their traditional folk dances and songs with other cultures. 

They spend hundreds of hours researching, learning and rehearsing these songs and dances. They spend a lot of money on authentic costumes to accurately represent their heritage and they spend even more to go one tour and share their work with others.

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coverThere are two types of mayors — the ones who show up to shake hands and kiss babies and the ones who take an active role in their town to make it a better place. 

Maggie Valley Mayor Ron DeSimone certainly fell into the latter category.

SEE ALSO:
• Family and friends honor DeSimone’s memory
• DeSimone dies in construction accident
• Write-in likely to run for mayor in Maggie following tragic death

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fr desimoneyoungAs family members and friends took turns paying tribute to Ron DeSimone at his memorial mass on Tuesday, one word kept being repeated — love.

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fr desimonefuneralLast Friday started out just like many other workdays for Maggie Valley Mayor Ron DeSimone.

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haywoodThe town of Maggie Valley is small and only an average of 300 residents vote in any given election, but this year’s race for spots on the town board is shaping up to be full of competition.

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haywoodTwo new candidates have signed up to run against incumbent candidates Gail Mull and Ralph Hamlett for the Canton Board of Aldermen.

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franklinSeveral young residents have signed up to run for a seat on the Franklin Board of Aldermen while the race for mayor will be uncontested. 

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election timeThe election for the Bryson City Board of Aldermen looked like it would be a landslide for the incumbents early last week, but that had all changed by last Friday as four more people signed up to run for office.

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folkmoot buildingWith just days until the 32nd annual Folkmoot USA international dance and music festival is set to kick off, the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Hazelwood is a frenzy of activity. Construction projects are finishing up, fresh paint is drying on the walls, beds are being prepared for the performers and new Executive Director Angie Schwab is squelching fires left and right.

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folkmoot directorQ&A with new Folkmoot Executive Director Angie Schwab, who took the reins in March from former director Karen Babcock.

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fr brysonpavingWith so many roads needing to be repaved in Bryson City and so little money to do it with, the town board of aldermen has to make tough decisions and try to prioritize a short list of projects each year.

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sylvaBased on public input and survey results, it appears the overwhelming majority of folks in Sylva are opposed to creating two-way traffic in the downtown area. 

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law enforcementTwo officers with the Franklin Police Department are back on duty while the N.C. State Bureau of Investigations continues to look into a deadly shooting involving the officers.

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maconLinda McKay, owner of N.C. Mountain Made in downtown Franklin, said her business couldn’t afford to lose another summer festival, so she took it upon herself to create a new one.

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fr animalcontrolSwain County is one of only two counties in North Carolina that doesn’t have any type of animal control ordinance, but Commissioner Ben Bushyhead is hoping to change that with the help of the community.

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fr maconshootingThe North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations is conducting an investigation after a man was killed during a June 30 altercation with two Franklin police officers.

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fr ghosttownDespite aiming for a July opening, Ghost Town in the Sky will stay closed for the entire 2015 season.

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coverIlluminated neon lettering indicated full occupancy on many of the hotels in Maggie Valley during the Fourth of July weekend.

SEE ALSO: Ghost Town will remain closed for 2015

“No Vacancy” signs translate into dollar signs for accommodation owners as well as all the other businesses in the valley. Despite Ghost Town in the Sky not opening this year, Soco Road traffic was bumper to bumper, every parking lot was packed and tourists lined the sidewalks on Saturday evening waiting for the fireworks to begin.

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brysoncitySwain County Board of Commissioners approved a $14 million budget last week with little discussion or debate. 

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brysoncityTwo longtime Bryson City aldermen plan to run for another term in office, and so far only one possible name has surfaced to run for one of the two seats open in the November election.

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maconIt was clear from the 2013 election results in Franklin that voters wanted change. The 2015 Franklin election will determine whether voters want to continue in the direction the mayor and board of aldermen have been taking the town.

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fr meadowsU.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, recently paid the political price for not toeing his party line.

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haywoodAfter two years of getting a feel for Canton politics, two Canton aldermen hope to continue their work for another four years.

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fr maggieThe political dynamics in Maggie Valley have definitely changed in the last two years.

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