Jessi Stone

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Several parents made it clear during a recent Swain County commissioners meeting they want to have more recreational opportunities for their children.

What started as a discussion about private vendors selling concession items at the rec department during youth sporting events quickly became an airing of grievances regarding the lack of programming for residents at the rec center.

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When Bryson Senior Living, an assisted living facility in Swain County, opens in January, a major void in the community will finally be filled.

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After months of negotiations, the town of Bryson City has finally closed on a piece of property that will allow the town to properly store vehicles and maintenance equipment.

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Swain County Elections Director Joan Weeks recently informed the board of elections that she hired a lawyer and planned to file a lawsuit against the county in an effort to recoup unpaid salary and retirement benefits.

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The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority is considering a number of major changes to increase its efficiency in collecting and allocating tourism revenue dollars.

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The Franklin Town Council unanimously approved the local adoption of the brunch bill, which will allow restaurants and stores to begin selling alcohol at 10 a.m. Sundays instead of waiting until noon.

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At a Friday night football game against Murphy, the Franklin High School cheerleaders took to the field like they do before every game to display a spirit banner for their team’s players to run through.

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The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority is considering a number of changes to increase its efficiency in collecting and allocating the 4 percent room tax it’s tasked with administering, including a change to who gets to decide how the 1 percent funds are distributed amongst the five zip codes.

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Improvements may be coming to five intersections in Bryson City that would increase safety for drivers and pedestrians.

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Every year the Franklin Town Council struggles to meet the needs of the community with only $40,000 to spend on nonprofit requests.

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Macon County will receive $100,000 to be used for “community purposes” thanks to help from Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin.

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A Franklin Town Council meeting got heated as the mayor and aldermen disagreed over what steps the town should take regarding the current lease on the ABC Store.

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The U.S. Department of Interior, under the new leadership of Secretary Ryan Zinke, finally coughed up a payment to Swain County as part of the North Shore Road settlement agreement.

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As a room full of disappointed local business owners stood by, the Bryson City Board of Aldermen voted down a measure that would have extended alcohol sales on Sundays.

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When U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited Pisgah Inn last week, he unexpectedly delivered some good news for Swain County.

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U.S. Forest Service rangers got an earful from Swain County residents last week during a public hearing regarding the proposed Forest Management Plan.

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Shining Rock Classical Academy leaders want to add high school grades to their growing charter school, but they’re just not sure now is the right time.

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When you can’t find motivation to get up early to hit the gym or can’t find the self-control to avoid the fast food line for dinner, just look to Nancy Lux and Reid Hendricks.

Yoga instructors have been trying to convince people for years that the exercise has amazing benefits for everyone, but still people are apprehensive about giving it a try.

Franklin Mayor Bob Scott will help lead a new organization of North Carolina mayors dedicated to improving life in all the state’s municipalities by focusing public attention on finding solutions to critical issues.

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The Franklin Town Council recently approved a $700 expense that will allow the town’s police force to be armed with a life-saving drug Narcan.

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After three failed attempts, the Bryson City Board of Aldermen is once again applying for a Community Development Block Grant to make much-needed water and sewer improvements to its wastewater system.

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It was like watching the slowest sporting event ever. Spectators with their eyes toward the sky shouted in excitement and booed with disappointment as the clouds passed over the sun.

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Mission Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ron Paulus took to social media last week to answer questions from patients regarding the health care system’s ongoing contract battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

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Mission Health’s contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina will expire Oct. 5, leaving thousands of patients to find another in-network provider or pay more out of pocket to see a Mission provider.

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Bryson City Board of Aldermen has been discussing potential changes to alcohol regulations that could allow local businesses to sell earlier and later on Sundays.

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About 200 people gathered in front of the Haywood County Historic Courthouse Monday evening to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville as the Virginia town deals with the aftermath of a white nationalist rally that turned violent last week.

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There are still many unknowns as the historic Total Solar Eclipse approaches Aug. 21, but local governments are trying to prepare for the worst-case scenario while hoping for the best.

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Families will be able to enjoy free outdoor movies in Franklin in the next couple of months thanks to a partnership worked out with Ruby Cinemas.

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The town of Franklin has been sitting on a valuable piece of land for more than 12 years and still doesn’t have any plans for how to best utilize it.

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Adam Clawson of Bryson City spent some of his best days on the water. At 8 years old, he tied a rope around the middle of an old inner tube to fashion a canoe, and with a borrowed paddle, learned to maneuver the rapids of the Nantahala River.

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Jim Geary has been collecting toys since he was a boy in 1950. The fascination and hobby that has stuck with him throughout his life all started with a 1911 Rolls Royce model car kit.

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With all the controversy and uncertainty about the right and wrong way to do it, the town and county governments in Macon County err on the side of caution when it comes to praying at meetings.

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As Republicans in Congress attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and Mission Health threatens to cancel its contract with the largest health insurance provider in Western North Carolina, thousands of people are wondering whether they will be covered and what the cost might be.

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If Mission Health doesn’t strike a deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina by October, the health system may be pushing more Western North Carolina employers to sign up for its own health care plan — Healthy State — to keep their employees inside the Mission network.

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Swain County residents recently crowded a room to voice their dissatisfaction with the internet and cell service they are — or aren’t — receiving from Frontier Communications.

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For many Swain County residents, waiting until 2020 in hopes Frontier Communications will be able to provide them with any kind of broadband internet service is not a realistic option.

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Shining Rock Classical Academy administrators have their hands full preparing for the school’s third year, expanding to eighth grade, accommodating up to 100 more students, improving student performance and searching for property for a future high school.

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Duke’s Animal Haven off Stamey Cove Road in Waynesville has suddenly closed its animal rescue facility with little explanation.

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Haywood Regional Medical Center, a Duke LifePoint Health hospital, has completed a 17-bed expansion to its behavioral health wing on the sixth floor.

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Swain County will be receiving $577,000 in federal funding to help meet the many needs of its public school system.

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Macon County’s concerted efforts to bring better broadband capabilities to residents are moving right along.

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Moments ago, Congressman Mark Meadows' first Democratic Challenger, Matt Coffay, announced that he would be dropping out of the race due to what he calls "extenuating personal circumstances."

As first reported in the Smoky Mountain News back in April, Coffay – who announced his candidacy at a health care rally in Waynesville – became House Freedom Caucus leader and Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows’ first publicly declared challenger.

Coffay would have faced an uphill battle both financially and demographically against the powerful three-term incumbent congressman from Cashiers who recently moved to Asheville.

The full text of Coffay’s statement appears below.

Matt Coffay announced today that his campaign in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district will discontinue due to extenuating personal circumstances.

“The last few months have been an incredible journey, campaigning across western North Carolina 6-7 days a week, talking to so many of you throughout the 11th District,” Coffay said. “Unfortunately, I have had sudden personal circumstances occur that are beyond my control. After extensive deliberation with my loved ones as well as with my campaign staff, I’ve decided that I have to drop out of the race in order to address these acute personal needs.”

The Coffay campaign remains committed to progressive causes across western North Carolina. Momentum created from the course of the campaign thus far will be focused on continued efforts to sustain the movement across the district and bolster the Democratic party in North Carolina.

“I’m very proud of the incredible amount of work that we’ve been able to accomplish, the movement we’ve catalyzed, and the amount of support we’ve received — all in a relatively short amount of time,” Coffay continued. “We deserve a Congressman that represents the middle class and working families, not by someone whose interests lie with the top 1%. For this reason we wish our primary opponent, Phillip Price, and any other Democratic candidates who come forward the best of luck in the fight to defeat Mark Meadows.”

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Dave Angel hasn’t wasted any time becoming part of the Maggie Valley community and in return, they’ve welcomed Haywood County’s first distillery with open arms.

Elevated Mountain Distilling Company, located in the former Carolina Nights Dinner Theater building on Soco Road, opened Memorial Day weekend, and has had hundreds of visitors a week ever since. It is the first craft distillery to open in the counties west of Buncombe.

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Residents and visitors may soon be able to enjoy a mimosa or bloody Mary during their Sunday morning brunch.

A new law passed in the North Carolina Legislature will give restaurants and distilleries an economic boost by allowing them to sell more of their own product.

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Court-appointed lawyers are the crux of the U.S justice system because it is their duty to ensure every U.S. citizen is granted their constitutional right to a fair trial, but many lawyers in Western North Carolina are concerned a new pilot program implemented by the state could threaten that right.

Macon is one of six counties across the state that is being included in a pilot program in which court-appointed lawyers are compensated using a flat-fee schedule instead of an hourly rate. According to data from the Indigent Defense Office of North Carolina, indigent defense costs increased 168 percent between 1989 and 1999 while caseloads increased by 90 percent. Capital defense costs rose 338 percent during the same time period.

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Macon County Commissioners hope a newly established Fire Task Force will be able to create more consistency among the county’s 11 fire districts.

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A legislative majority of House and Senate members have reached a state budget agreement, one that is providing nearly $700 million more in public education spending over the next two years — but not everyone is happy with where that funding is going.

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Richard Miller may have received the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce for 2017, but he’s been a driving force behind economic development in Waynesville for more than 30 years.

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