Jessi Stone

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In preparing the proposed budget for 2019-20, Swain County continues to hold the line on the county’s low property tax rate, but it will mean that some funding requests and county needs will have to wait another year. 

Comment

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories on Haywood County’s public charter school, Shining Rock Classical Academy. The following story includes offensive language and sexual content that may not be suitable for all readers.

Dana Pusser felt a heavy burden lifted off her shoulders last Friday after tendering her resignation and returning her professional belongings to Shining Rock Classical Academy. 

When she accepted a teaching position at the public charter school at the beginning of 2018, she saw it as an opportunity to use her experience in public and private education to help a new school develop and grow, but on Friday she was quick to say she’d never return to teaching again — not after the sexual harassment and gender discrimination she says she endured at SRCA. 

Comment

The town of Highlands is making major headway when it comes to providing broadband internet services to its rural residents, and Mayor Patrick Taylor wants the county’s financial support to keep the progress going past the town limits. 

Comment

Town of Franklin Manager Summer Woodard recently presented the town council with a proposed budget for 2019-20 that would maintain the current property tax rate and increase the cost of water and sewer for customers. 

Comment

For the first time in several years, Macon County Manager Derek Roland is proposing a small property tax increase moving into the 2019-20 budget year to support increased expenses and much-needed capital projects. 

Comment

Five Macon County residents are dropping their legal action against the town of Franklin for deeding over the sacred Nikwasi Mound property to nonprofit redevelopment entity Nikwasi Initiative. 

Comment

Golf is more than a game in Western North Carolina — the wellbeing of the popular past time can be a major indicator of how the regional economy is doing as far as real estate and tourism growth. 

The golf industry — like many others — took a major hit following the recession in 2008. Many courses went bankrupt and closed down, people couldn’t afford to play the game as often, and home building within the country clubs came to a standstill. Even in 2017, more than 200 golf courses across the nation closed as the supply and demand pendulum continues to swing its way back toward the center following 20 years of unsustainable growth. 

Comment

After months of debate, Franklin Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to transfer the deed for Nikwasi Mound over to nonprofit Nikwasi Initiative. 

Comment

A senseless tragedy. Those words are repeated over and over again in the aftermath of mass shootings in the United States.

Comment

Franklin Mayor Bob Scott hopes he can push town council and Nikwasi Initiative board members toward a compromise before a final vote is taken on whether to transfer ownership of the Nikwasi Mound. 

Comment

With a site plan approved unanimously by the Waynesville Planning Board, Haywood Habitat for Humanity is getting ready to embark on its second major affordable housing development. 

Comment

After announcing in January that Franklin-based Entegra Bank would be bought out by SmartFinancial Inc. out of Knoxville, the deal is being called off and Entegra now has plans to merge with Raleigh-based First Citizens Bank instead. 

Comment

A recent analysis of sexual assault prosecutions in North Carolina conducted by Carolina Public Press showed a shockingly low number of convictions in the western counties, but District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch says these types of cases shouldn’t be reduced down to a number. 

Comment

Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland is being sued for wrongful death after his deputy Anthony Momphard Jr. shot and killed Scott Knibbs in his home a year ago. 

Comment

Last May, more than 25,000 educators across the state took to the streets of Raleigh to march for additional public education funding, and they plan to do it again this May. 

Comment

Macon County Schools will be setting up a school-based health center at South Macon Elementary School soon thanks to a $150,000 community health grant from the state Office of Rural Health. 

Comment

Drug dealers in North Carolina could face more prison time for selling someone a deadly dose of narcotics if newly proposed legislation becomes law. 

Comment

Tensions ran high at Monday night’s Franklin Town Council meeting as the board sat before a packed room of residents there hoping to sway the town one way or another on the future of Nikwasi Mound. 

Comment

With fly-fishing tourism on the rise in Western North Carolina, a new attraction in Bryson City will bring visitors up-close and personal with up to 50 species of freshwater fish. 

A group of Macon County residents plan to file a complaint seeking an injunction to keep the town of Franklin from giving up its sole ownership of the Nikwasi Mound.

Comment

The Franklin Town Council was in agreement to move forward with plans to deed over the Nikwasi Mound to new nonprofit Nikwasi Initiative during its March 4 meeting, but controversy over who should own the historic site has once again heated up in the community.

Comment

In 24 short hours, more than 12 million people posted a personal message on social media using the #MeToo hashtag. It was one of the most powerful moments in history in the fight to end sexual violence, but the movement’s founder Tarana Burke said the moment will pass by without any real change unless supporters stay focused on the real message.

Comment

Substance abuse has had a number of unintended consequences on society from mental illness, unemployment, overcrowded jails, a backlogged court system, increased health care costs to homelessness, but one of the most devastating consequences is the separation of families. 

Comment

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will likely hold yet another vote on potential changes to its health and human services departments during a meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, at the Jackson County Administration Building in Sylva.

Comment

When Chris Slagle’s partner of 26 years died unexpectedly four years ago, he bought a fixer-upper house in Maggie Valley with plans of healing from his heartbreak while pouring everything he had into restoring the old house on Fie Top Road. 

Comment

Now that Swain County has finally received the entire $52 million from the federal government for the North Shore Road settlement agreement, county commissioners want to make sure they’re making the most of that money. 

Comment

In a historic decision, the town of Franklin voted Monday to move forward with the process of deeding the Nikwasi Mound over to Nikwasi Initiative as the nonprofit continues its work to preserve and promote the region’s important cultural sites. 

Comment

Waynesville defense lawyer Mark Melrose filed a civil lawsuit against fellow defense lawyer and Clyde Mayor Pro Tem Frank Lay in Haywood County last week claiming Lay posted false and libelous statements about him on Facebook during his campaign for Superior Court judge.

Comment

Personnel issues have been the only reason why Bryson City Aldermen have held closed meetings in 2018. 

Comment

Swain County commissioners typically hold two meetings per month, and it’s not unusual for them to have a closed session on the agenda. 

Comment

Of all the town and county governments in The Smoky Mountain News coverage area, the Franklin Town Council had the fewest closed meetings in 2018. 

Comment

A vast majority of Macon County Board of Commissioners meetings end with a closed session. In fact, commissioners spent more than 400 minutes — over seven hours — conducting business behind closed doors in 2018. 

Comment

According to an internal email leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times, Mission’s CEO Dr. Ron Paulus will be leaving his post for a position at HCA Healthcare, the for-profit health care corporation that just purchased Mission Health. 

Comment

Following HCA Healthcare’s purchase of the Mission Health System, the nonprofit foundations that have supported Mission’s hospitals for so long had the choice to dissolve or find a new mission. 

Comment

As all of Mission’s legacy foundations establish their new mission and board of directors, Dogwood Health Trust is in the process of looking for the right person to lead the new private charity foundation.  

Comment

Macon County and the town of Franklin are working on a collaborative project to create a new greenway connection on East Main Street.

Comment

The table is set — all you have to do is come sit down and be served.

Comment

It’s likely to be another tough budget year as Macon County commissioners are faced with a growing list of capital and security improvement needs, increased health care costs and stagnant property values.

Comment

On the campaign trail, Jane Hipps of Waynesville was often called the “woman from the west, for the west.”

With a true passion for the people of Western North Carolina and a commitment to being a voice for the region, she was an active member of the community, her church and a two-time candidate for WNC’s 50th District Senate seat. 

Comment

With the completion of Mission Health System’s sale of assets to HCA Healthcare, Dogwood Health Trust is now officially operating as a private, nonprofit foundation with the purpose of dramatically improving the health and wellbeing of all people and communities in Western North Carolina.

Comment

Seven years have passed since REACH of Jackson County suddenly shut down operations due to financial issues, leaving the county without a local organization to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Comment

This year marked the third annual Women’s March on Asheville — part of a national movement to rally for equal rights and social change for women. 

The first march was held less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 as tensions were high. Women were angry about Trump’s attitude and actions toward women and also feared for the erosion of their rights, safety, health and families. 

Comment

Born of the same generation but in different parts of the country, Jane Sherron De Hart and Ruth Bader Ginsburg traveled on oddly similar parallel paths. Those paths would eventually cross as De Hart’s 15 years worth of research on the Supreme Court Justice recently became the most comprehensive biography of Ginsburg’s life and law career.

Comment

It may look like marijuana and it may smell like marijuana, but it’s not marijuana. Without the THC component, the green and aromatic plant is simply hemp. It won’t get you high and it’s now legal to grow in 34 states, including North Carolina. 

Comment

Entegra Bank, which has locations throughout Western North Carolina, will soon merge with SmartFinancial, Inc., the parent company of SmartBank based in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Comment

Those who were unhappy with the original terms of the proposed sale of Mission Health to a for-profit heathcare giant got some relief last week.

Comment

More signage and stricter law enforcement could be the solution to keeping tractor trailers off Highlands Road.

Comment

On the Greek island of Ikaria, its population of 10,000 people live an average of 10 years longer than Americans, have about half the rate of heart disease, lower rates of cancer and obesity and zero cases of dementia.

Comment

For 20 years, Good Samaritan Clinic provided much needed health care services to people of Haywood County. Even though the nonprofit has now dissolved, past volunteers and board members came together last week to do one more good deed and fulfill its mission. 

Comment

Born with cerebral palsy, Jaylyn Logan’s nana Marvellia Ross knew that her granddaughter’s life would have limitations. However, a new program at the Catamount School has shown them that just about anything is possible when you push yourself and have others rooting for you.

Jaylyn amazed her teammates, her family and herself in December when she not only completed her first 5K race but even ran to the finish line. 

Comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.