Jessi Stone

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A wide-ranging forum held last week at Frog Level Brewing to discuss Haywood’s homeless population revealed deep divisions about how to treat a vulnerable and visible segment of the population.

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Incumbent Mayor Bob Scott has won his fourth term in office against challenger Barbara McRae.

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Frog Level Brewing Co. was packed to capacity Tuesday night as community members came together for some good old tavern politics.

More than 125 people showed up to hear what the candidates running for Waynesville mayor and aldermen had to say about the ongoing issues arising in the community due to homelessness and addiction. By the end of the night, the main takeaway was that none of the candidates could point to one guaranteed solution. Everyone agreed that the complicated layered issue would take a multiple pronged approach and everyone working together toward the same goals. 

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After running unopposed for his last two terms in office, Franklin Mayor Bob Scott is being challenged for his seat by fellow Town Councilmember Barbara McRae. 

Scott is seeking his fourth two-year term as the town’s mayor and served as a councilmember for 10 years before that. 

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Voters will be faced with a long list of candidates when they go to vote in the Franklin Town Council election, but they should be aware that two candidates on the ballot have dropped out of the race last minute.

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The mayor of Bryson City and two aldermen seats are up for election this year but all three seats will be uncontested.

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How can $1.5 billion transform the health and wellness of Western North Carolina communities for decades to come? That’s the question Dogwood Health Trust’s Board of Directors is currently asking itself since the new foundation was tasked with spending the proceeds from Mission Health’s sale to HCA Healthcare last year. 

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It’s been about three years since the Tennessee Valley Authority tried to remove all floating homes on its 49 lakes.

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What started as a traveling bookmobile 75 years ago has now evolved into a regional system of six library branches. Together they are striving to provide a broad range of services to their communities while defending their relevance in a changing society. 

“I think we need libraries for a lot of reasons,” said Karen Wallace, who serves as the librarian at the Franklin library and also as the director of Fontana Regional Library System. “We always try to respond to the needs in the communities. Where is the lifelong learning coming from if not from a public source like the library?”

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Getting impatient waiting for private providers or the government to help in the effort to bring high-speed internet service to its rural communities, Macon County commissioners approved funding to support two community initiated projects already underway. 

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Swain Summits is a new community health initiative launched through a partnership between Swain Community Hospital and Swain County Health Department to help people live their best lives.

In 2014, Duke LifePoint Healthcare purchased three hospitals in Western North Carolina with the promise of drastically improving rural health care services. 

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Swain County’s tourism industry recently marked a major milestone when the occupancy tax revenue from fiscal year 2018-19 exceeded $1 million for the first time. 

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Outdoor recreation continues to be a major factor in Macon County’s steady increase in visitor spending year after year. 

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All indications show Swain County has a prosperous future ahead, but county leaders are looking for community input to determine what their top priorities should be moving forward. 

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As Cherokee children joined hands with Macon County residents and led them in a traditional friendship dance in the shadow of the historic Nikwasi Mound in downtown Franklin, it became clear the vision set forth by the Nikwasi Initiative was already playing out before everyone’s eyes. 

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The North Carolina General Assembly has proposed cutting millions of dollars in mental health funding in the recommended 2019-20 budget despite ongoing efforts to fight the opioid crisis and improve these services in rural Western North Carolina. 

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A drug court could be established in Haywood County over the next couple of years if the North Carolina General Assembly passes a budget. 

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For many people the county fair conjures up images of Ferris wheels, carnival games and cotton candy, but here in Western North Carolina the annual events represent a time of year when the region’s agricultural roots get to take center stage. 

Of course there will be the beloved fair foods, carnival rides and children giggling on the Ferris wheel, but there will also be hundreds of gardeners, farmers, agricultural students and others signing up to show off their prized plants, produce and cattle.

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It’s quiet and peaceful on the hillside of Bryson City Cemetery. Overlooking the hustle and bustle of downtown, all you can hear are birds chirping and the freshly cut grass crunching underneath your feet, but if those old stones could talk they’d have some stories to tell. 

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After years of fighting with county commissioners, a judge has ordered Swain County to fund retirement benefits for Elections Director Joan Weeks.

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Gov. Roy Cooper signed the Death by Distribution Act into law earlier this month, making it easier for prosecutors to charge drug dealers with second-degree murder for selling someone a lethal dose. 

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Plans to construct a new Angel Medical Center in Franklin moved forward last week after the town planning board approved a special-use permit for the replacement hospital. 

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The Bryson City Board of Aldermen race had little interest this year with only three candidates signing up to run and none of them contested. 

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Now that the sign-up period is over, there’s a full slate of candidates running for seats on the Franklin Town Council. 

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Only two candidates have signed up to run for four open seats in the Franklin Town Council as of Tuesday afternoon. 

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After reviewing a State Bureau of Investigation probe into the January death of Melissa Middleton Rice, who at the time was in custody of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office has decided that there are no grounds to press charges in the case. 

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The Tuckasegee River Alliance is looking at possible ways to increase access to the Tuckasegee River as it runs right through downtown Bryson City. 

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The Haywood Healthcare Foundation relies on its annual Casino Night fundraising event to be able to support the many unmet healthcare needs in the community, but new legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly this year could put a stop to it. 

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The Haywood Healthcare Foundation has put nearly half a million dollars back into the community since August 2014 when Haywood Regional Medical Center was sold to Duke LifePoint.

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Franklin Mayor Bob Scott has signed up to run for re-election and so far has one challenger — current Councilmember Barbara McRae. 

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The congregation at First United Methodist Church of Waynesville isn’t changing who they are following a controversial vote taken at the denomination’s General Conference special session in February. 

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Only $80 stands between Sylva resident Carrie McBane and affordable health care coverage. If she made $80 less she would qualify for Medicaid in North Carolina, and if she made $80 more she would qualify for subsidies through the Affordable Care Act. 

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Carrie McBane of Sylva was at the end of her rope a year ago. She knew something was wrong and needed to go to a doctor but she didn’t have health insurance. 

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An industrial hemp farm will be expanding its operations into the Macon County Business Development Center after commissioners approved a lease agreement for Appalachian Growers. 

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Many have probably passed by the Triangle Club on Miller Street in Waynesville without realizing what it was, but those within the recovery community are familiar with the space and know what an impact the clubhouse has in the county. 

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The nine Job Corps CCC centers slated for closure this September, including the Oconaluftee center in Cherokee, will remain open after Congress put pressure on the Trump Administration to reverse the decision. 

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While the global market for recyclable materials can fluctuate month to month, Macon County residents are encouraged to continue utilizing the county’s recycling program.

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Swain County has had a recycling program in place since the 1990s, but a recent change over to a single-stream recycling program has increased participation among residents. 

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Recycling is great but there is more people can do if they want to keep trash out of the landfill — don’t produce as much trash.

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In an effort to save the Oconaluftee Job Corps Center from being shut down, N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, has invited state and congressional leaders to come see the center’s successes in person. 

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As public health officials continue to monitor the measles outbreak across the nation, Haywood County Schools will be taking more precautions during the next school year to ensure the outbreak doesn’t impact the student population. 

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The town of Franklin’s adopted 2019-20 budget will not include funding for local nonprofit organizations as it has in the past. 

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The property tax rate in Macon County will be increasing by half a cent after commissioners approved a 2019-20 budget that puts additional funding toward public education. 

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For more than 50 years, disadvantaged youth struggling to find their way in the world have had the chance to turn their lives around and become productive members of society because of the federal Job Corps program.

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Nearly 15 years after the North Carolina General Assembly narrowly passed a bill establishing an education lottery system, state legislators and local school districts are still arguing over how the revenue should be spent. 

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If you can’t understand why people in Swain County are distrustful of the federal government, then you are among those unfamiliar with the history of the infamous Road to Nowhere. 

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The housing bubble was finally bursting in 2008 as the Great Recession became the new reality in Western North Carolina and throughout the nation. 

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Area hospitals finally found some steady financial footing in 2014 after years of floundering, trying to keep their heads above water as providing health care to rural Appalachia became more challenging. 

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Angela Phillips painted a painfully realistic picture of what it’s been like inside her second-grade classroom at Cartoogechaye Elementary for the last few years. 

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