Jessi Stone

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Swain County Election Director Joan Weeks finally got a response from the county regarding a lawsuit she filed against the board of commissioners — but it was not the response she was hoping for. 

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President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls on Congress to fund the overdue remaining balance of $39.2 million owed to Swain County from the North Shore Road settlement agreement made with the federal government back in 2010. 

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The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning a $1.7 million improvement project on Monteith Gap Road in Cullowhee following passage of an endorsement resolution from the Jackson County Commissioners. 

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The mental health system in North Carolina can use all the help it can get as it struggles with cuts in state funding, an increase in the demand of services and a shortage of local rural providers.

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Ashley Welch, the first female District Attorney for the 30th Judicial District, is seeking a second term — and is so far unopposed for the seat. 

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Waynesville Police Officers responded to the SunTrust Bank in downtown on Feb. 13 when it was reported a robbery had just occurred. A suspect description was quickly broadcast to all local agencies in an effort to locate and identify the female suspect, with no immediate results.

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Major changes are coming to North Carolina’s Medicaid program, and the regional organizations that manage those dollars for behavioral health needs are wasting no time in getting prepared to respond. 

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Charitable giving for nonprofits and churches in Haywood County is about to become much more efficient thanks to the implementation of the Charity Tracker internet service. 

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After rumblings and rumors around town, Mission Health confirmed it is actively looking for a new location for MAMA II, the medical emergency helicopter currently stationed at Angel Medical Center in Franklin. 

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Franklin Town Council seemed poised to approve a new zoning designation — the River Overlay District — until a packed room of business owners presented the board with a list of concerns Monday night during a public hearing. 

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The results of a $14,000 study that assessed the best uses of the town-owned Whitmire property revealed to the Franklin Town Council what residents have been asking for all along.

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Residents are accusing the Macon County government of impeding their private property rights by proposing new requirements for landowners and contractors wanting to perform grading work, but commissioners say that was never their intention. 

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Western North Carolina residents recently made it clear they do not support Duke Energy Progress’s request for a 15 percent rate increase for its customers.

As required by law, the North Carolina Utilities Commission conducted a public hearing to gather input on the corporation’s request. More than a dozen people testified during the quasi-judicial hearing held in Franklin, and a majority of the speakers were against any increase at all.

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After months of searching for someone to replace founding School Director Ben Butler, Waynesville public charter school Shining Rock Classical Academy has made its choice.

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This story was updated Jan. 22, 2020.

Mystic Lands property owners may have prevailed in court over one issue — a paving contractual dispute — but the majority of the other claims made against developer Ami Shinitzky for fraud and financial wrongdoing were previously dismissed.

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Hannah LeAnn Nix says she’s not the same person she was a few years ago when a judge deemed her mentally incompetent and appointed her a state guardian.

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After voting down the measure just a couple of months ago, the Bryson City Board of Aldermen is now on its way to reversing its decision on the controversial Brunch Bill.

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After serving as Bryson City’s town manager for more than a year, Chad Simons will be moving on to Murphy to take on the same position.

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When longtime councilmember Billy Mashburn passed away just days before the 2017 municipal election, the Franklin Town Council was prepared to have a new face on the board.

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After months of trying to figure out the best way to address late-night partying that was disturbing residents, the Franklin Town Council unanimously passed a noise ordinance.

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Every recovering addict can recall a moment in their life when they hit their lowest point. For Jenny Green of Waynesville, that low point was December 2014. She was incarcerated in the Swannanoa Women’s Correctional Facility, suffering from excruciating physical opioid withdrawal symptoms and missing her infant daughter’s first Christmas.

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Limiting the number of prescriptions written for addictive painkillers like Percocet and Oxycontin is definitely a good start, but addiction specialists say it is just the beginning of solving the opioid epidemic in this country.

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The opioid problem has been bubbling underneath the surface for over a decade, but the issue has now reached a roaring boil as the medical community, law enforcement, families who have lost loved ones and politicians are taking action to address the problem.

Even though the research shows that medication-assisted management for opioid addiction is the most successful treatment method, the prevailing stigma associated with methadone and other opioid medications is still preventing people from seeking the help they need.

There are still plenty of children in need this Christmas in Swain County and your donation to the Swain County Family Resource Center could help.

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Angel Medical Center held a public hearing Tuesday morning regarding a new potential location for the hospital on U.S. 441, but not a single person from the public signed up to speak.

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Haywood County Sheriff’s Office detectives continue to investigate two deaths that occurred in the Fines Creek area.

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An aging membership, the inability to recruit younger members, a lack of civic engagement and a shift away from nonpartisanship are all factors the Macon County chapter of the League of Women Voters just couldn’t seem to overcome.

The nonpartisan advocacy group that has worked to encourage civic engagement in Macon County felt it had no choice but to disband after 27 years.

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While the Macon County League of Women Voters had to disband this year due to low membership and community involvement, the Asheville-Buncombe League is on the upward swing with a renewed enthusiasm from members and the community.

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On any given day, the Haywood County Detention Center is full of people suffering from substance abuse and/or mental illness — to the point where Sheriff Greg Christopher said it sometimes feels like his staff is running a mental health facility as opposed to a jail.

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The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $480,963 grant that will allow the department to hire four full-time patrol deputies to strengthen their ability to fight crime and to protect the well being of citizens in the community.

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Jean Parris of Canton has been telling anyone who will listen about the growing drug addiction problems facing Haywood County since 2011, which is when she helped form Drugs in Our Midst.

After a months’ long battle, Mission Health hospitals and its affiliates will be back in Blue Cross Blue Shield’s network as of Dec. 15.

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Franklin’s new and returning councilmembers were recently sworn into office and immediately started conducting business during the December regular meeting.

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It’s impossible to talk about the mental health system in North Carolina without also discussing substance abuse and how the opioid crisis is impacting resources within the system.

Congressmen Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, and Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, introduced the Opioid Abuse Deterrence, Research and Recovery Act last week with hopes of tackling opioid addiction at the source.

Balsam Range will be beefing up its annual Art of Music Festival next year thanks to a $35,000 grant from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority.

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Asking for help is often the hardest step in the recovery process. Even after realizing you need help, it can be difficult to identify the problem and navigate your way through the mental health system.

Despite funding cuts from the state and Vaya Health, Meridian is working hard to make sure the programs for domestic violence and sexual abuse offenders stay viable.

Haywood County native Robert Guinn leads a fairly normal life these days. He has a good attitude, a fulfilling job, a good circle of friends and loves bragging on his 14-year-old daughter.

A major fundraising campaign is a significant undertaking for any nonprofit organization, but it’s especially difficult when an organization has to split its time between providing behavioral health services in seven western counties and trying to come up with enough funding to keep its programming.

Haywood Regional Medical Center, a Duke LifePoint hospital, is doing its part to meet the growing mental health needs in the region by expanding its behavioral health unit for adults and geriatric patients.

It seems the holiday shopping season comes sooner and sooner every year. Before the turkey has even cooled people are lined up outside the big box retailers waiting for their chance to snag the best deals of the season.

If battling the crowds on Black Friday doesn’t appeal to you, or if you just can’t seem to find the perfect gift for the family members who already have everything, consider making a donation to a local charity.

Two years ago, David was a different person than he is today. At 14 years old, his moods rapidly bounced around from extreme feelings of anger to unbridled energy. He couldn’t concentrate at school and didn’t understand why he couldn’t control his emotions.

The shortcomings of America’s mental health system have once again been brought to the forefront as national news outlets report the shooters responsible for recent mass killings in Las Vegas and Texas were mentally ill.

SEE ALSO: Waynesville treatment center expands mental health services

Medical experts say there’s no real connection between individuals with mental illness and mass shootings, but the presumed link between the two reveals the real reason why the mental health system is in such dire straits — we still don’t understand enough about mental illness.

The Balsam Center in Waynesville will now be able to better meet the mental health and substance abuse needs of Haywood County residents following an extensive renovation and expansion.

The town of Franklin will be going back to the drawing board to find the best way to address complaints from frustrated residents dealing with late-night parties and nuisance noise in their neighborhoods.

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After paying for several engineering studies over the years, the town of Franklin is moving forward with a plan to try out some different parking designs on Main Street.

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Based on recommendations from a consultant, the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority voted to change the makeup of the 1 percent funding subcommittees in Maggie Valley and Waynesville.

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