Jessi Stone

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

Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Wade Momphard Jr. will not face any criminal charges after he shot and killed Scott Knibbs inside his home just after midnight April 30. 

Comment

As The Smoky Mountain News embarks on a yearlong investigative project to explore the rural jail crisis, we wanted to first take a look at how much incarceration is costing the taxpayers in Western North Carolina. 

Financial data was collected from the four counties in our coverage area — Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain — to analyze how much each spends annually on local detention centers and how it impacts the overall county budget. What we’ve found is that costs are rising annually and budgeting can be difficult with so many fluctuating expenses to consider. 

LifePoint Health, the parent company of three regional hospitals in Western North Carolina, recently announced its plans to merge with RCCH Healthcare Partners.

Comment

Though the sale of nonprofit Mission Health to for-profit HCA isn’t official yet, the Mission Health Board of Directors hasn’t wasted any time setting up a health care foundation that will receive proceeds from the sale. 

Comment

STAR Ranch Horse Rescue in Haywood County has had many success stories through the years, but a recent horse rescue effort has Karen Owens believing in miracles. 

Comment

Seniors packed the Macon County commissioners’ meeting July 10 to lobby the county for a new senior center. 

Comment

The Bryson City Board of Aldermen will soon revisit the controversial topic of whether to relinquish its right-of-way on Fry Street at the request of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. 

Comment

Many rural county jail populations are growing at a higher rate than urban county jails or even state prisons, according to research done by the Center on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice.

After a successful trial run, the parking pattern on Main Street in downtown Franklin will soon be changing permanently.

Comment

The Macon County Airport Authority may have hit a roadblock in the planning process for a project that will add another 1,000 feet to the runway. 

Comment

An outside prosecutor has been called in to review the State Bureau of Investigations’ report regarding an officer-involved shooting that left Scott Knibbs dead inside his Macon County home. 

Comment

Carlie Nichols has vivid memories of growing up during the Vietnam War — specifically she remembers how poorly Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned home from combat. 

“My father was in the military for 23 years and I vividly remember the way our veterans were treated when they came back from Vietnam,” she said. “I was in college and I remember saying to myself, ‘God forbid something like Vietnam ever happens again — I will not do nothing.’ Back then, there really wasn’t an avenue to do something that I felt would be positive.”

Comment

It’s a day many in Swain County didn’t think they’d ever live to see, but last Saturday county leaders were presented a check for $35.2 million for the North Shore Road settlement, ending a 70-year-old battle with the federal government.

Comment

As Royal Phillips packs up her belongings that signify the last 20 years she’s spent in Waynesville and prepares for her next chapter in Palm Springs, California, she can’t help but to feel like her life has come full circle — and what a crazy circle it has been. 

Comment

A new mental health facility in Asheville is set to open this summer to serve children and teens in Western North Carolina dealing with a mental health crisis and addiction. 

Comment

When residents gave testimony back in January adamantly opposing Duke Energy Carolinas’ rate increase request to the North Carolina Utilities Commission, many assumed their strong dissension would fall on deaf ears. 

Comment

Following plenty of public input, Macon County commissioners approved a final budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year that includes more than $1 million in additional funding for public education. 

Comment

District Attorney Ashley Welch has completed the review of the SBI investigation into the events of July 25, 2017, involving a motor vehicle accident with Trooper Hunter Hooper of the North Carolina Highway Patrol which occurred in the line of duty and resulted in the deaths of Robert Lee Nelson and Esther Matilda Nelson of Florida. 

Comment

It’s been several months since a young police K9, Kanon, died while in the possession of a Bryson City Police Department employee, but the local community and the nonprofit organization that donated the Dutch shepherd are still seeking answers to what really happened. 

Comment

If you don’t have much experience within the criminal justice system, trying to navigate the system can be frustrating.

Comment

Standing on a mountaintop ascending above 10,000 feet — an ancient farming village in the valley below and a Buddhist nunnery behind her — Julie Thorner of Bryson City couldn’t be farther away from the life she’s known in the U.S. Yet each time she returns to Tibet, it starts to feel more and more like where she’s meant to be. 

Comment

Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran has suspended a longstanding mutual aid agreement with the Bryson City Police Department, though the reasoning behind the decision isn’t all that clear.

Comment

Swain County’s proposed budget for 2018-19 will maintain the status quo without a proposed property tax increase or any major capital projects in the works. 

Comment

Macon County commissioners are considering contributing another $750,000 toward public education to prevent further drastic cuts to Macon County Schools’ 2018-19 budget. 

Comment

According to an announcement from U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Swain County will finally receive the remaining $35.2 million owed to it by the federal government. 

Comment

The Franklin Town Council unanimously approved its 2018-19 budget on Monday night, which includes a 4-cent property tax increase for its residents. 

Comment

Tempers flared at the Franklin Town Council meeting Monday night as board members tried to find a solution to a public bathroom dilemma for its summer Pickin’ on the Square series. 

Comment

Darrian Childers is quitting Boy Scouts after joining a local troop about three years ago when his family moved to Waynesville. 

The 16-year-old made his decision not long after the Boy Scouts of America announced its decision to allow girls to participate in more of its programming alongside the boys. While Childers has really enjoyed his time with the Scouts, he doesn’t think the organization is moving in the right direction. 

Comment

Outdoor recreation leaders in the region recently had the opportunity to weigh in on a newly established North Carolina Outdoor Recreation Industry Office whose aim is to help the industry and recruit more business. 

Comment

The Franklin Town Council is recommending a 4-cent property tax increase this year in order to cover its growing expenses and to avoid dipping into its fund balance. 

Comment

More than 20 school districts in the state of North Carolina had to shut down as more than 15,000 teachers traveled to Raleigh on May 16 to rally for public education. 

While none of the school systems west of Buncombe County had to take a day off, the far western counties were well represented at the rally. Many teachers that couldn’t attend still showed solidarity by wearing red shirts to school that day to represent the “RedforEd” march that ended at the Legislative Building. 

Comment

Macon County’s proposed budget for 2018-19 does not include a tax increase despite increasing costs and capital needs throughout the county. 

Comment

Between Macon County Schools and Southwestern Community College, education expenses make up 18 percent of the county’s budget. 

Comment

A second affordable apartment development is coming to Siler Road after the Franklin Town Council approved a special-use permit. 

Comment

Many farmers today understand they can’t put all their eggs in one basket. 

Comment

Darnell Farms would like to expand to offer more for families when they visit, but it needs support from the community to make it happen. 

Comment

Ten Acre Garden in Canton has created an experience for visitors. They can come pick their own seasonal berries — blackberries, blueberries, strawberries — or pick their herbs or flowers from Garth Kuver’s Genesis Gardens on the property.

Comment

Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran will remain a candidate on the November ballot after the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement upheld the decision of the Swain County Board of Elections panel in regard to a candidate challenge filed against him. 

Comment

More than 100 people gathered at the Macon County Courthouse on May 8 to rally in support of Scott Knibbs’ family, who are still grieving his unexpected and tragic death.

Comment

Macon County District 1 Commissioner Jim Tate won a third term on the board beating out Republican challenger John Shearl. 

Comment

Swain County Board of Commissioners will have a new chairman in November after a majority of voters cast their ballot for challenger Ben Bushyhead. 

Comment

We rode in silence. I glanced at the clock as we came to another stoplight. Already five minutes late, I assured Amy they couldn’t start without her. 

“Don’t worry. We’ll get there when we get there,” I said as she stared out the passenger side window. Her white lacy gown filled up the car, blocking my view of the gearshift. 

Comment

The lawyer for a Franklin resident killed by a Macon County deputy claims the shooting was not justified and that the victim was just trying to protect his family.

Comment

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for Macon County as school administration and law enforcement try to get to the bottom of a student-led suicide pact and a student-made hit list. 

Comment

Swain County commissioners recently approved a 10-year master plan for its parks and recreation programs and facilities, but it appears any major improvements will have to wait until more grant funding is available. 

Comment

As they prepare for the annual budgeting process, Swain County commissioners are considering placing a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot. 

Comment

With the 2018-19 preliminary budget in hand, Franklin Town Council will have a week to review it before the board’s May 15 budget workshop. 

Comment

The unofficial results of the May 8 Primary Election are now in with all precincts reporting.

Comment

On the surface, students in Swain County grow up worlds apart from students in New York City. 

Comment

Representatives from the revamped North Carolina Women in Municipal Government visited Maggie Valley last weekend to recruit women from the towns of Western North Carolina. 

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.