Jessi Stone

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The term alderman is defined as a member of a city legislative body, but it literally translates as “old man” in old English.

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Republican lawmakers in Raleigh have introduced several bills to make more local elections a partisan affair, and local leaders aren’t happy about it.

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Rep. Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, has introduced House Bill 260 in an effort to help Swain County recoup millions of dollars the federal government owes to the county for never rebuilding North Shore Road from Bryson City to Tennessee.

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Every year before budget time, the Franklin Board of Aldermen likes to get together and figure out what the town’s priorities should be for the coming year.

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Consolidated Metco, a designer and manufacturer of commercial vehicle truck components, has announced that it will close its Bryson City plant permanently by Feb. 1, 2018.

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Newly elected Rep. Mike Clampitt was asked some tough questions during his first constituent meeting in Haywood County last Friday, and the crowd was not satisfied with his answers — or lack thereof.

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State Transportation officials will host a public meeting Thursday, Feb. 23, on upgrading N.C. 107 through Sylva.

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Macon County commissioners heard impassioned cries for help last week from families that have lost loved ones to addiction.

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After a successful campaign to keep houseboats on Fontana Lake, floating homeowner Erik Sneed is now campaigning for a presidential appointment to the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors.

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When Kevin Corbin decided to run for state representative, one of his main goals was to secure adequate funding allocations for K-12 schools.

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Macon County elementary schools are near, at or over capacity, and administrators can only shuffle students around so much before a more long-term solution will be needed.

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Franklin’s town board has been hearing different proposals for improving Main Street’s parking and appearance — and the latest proposal included turning it into a one-lane thoroughfare.

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A proposed comprehensive plan to improve Franklin’s pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure includes more than 20 recommended projects to fix the town’s sidewalks, increase connections to the greenway and make downtown more navigable for visitors and residents alike.

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It hasn’t been a quick or easy recovery, but Macon County real estate is back on the rise and Realtors see that trend continuing into 2017.

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Shining Rock Classical Academy will be able to construct an outdoor classroom on its campus this year thanks to a $10,000 grant from Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina — the state’s leading parental school choice advocacy organization.

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Swain Community Hospital is still trying to overcome misperceptions in the community regarding its recent emergency department changes as well as the local medical services available to residents. 

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What started as a small group of like-minded people helping each other deal with aftermath of Election Day has now morphed into a progressive political action team with more than 400 supporters.

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Until last year, the old house languishing on Academy Street on Bryson City United Methodist Church’s property was seen as a nuisance.

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“Care more, judge less,” “Love trumps hate” and “Rise up” were just a few of the battle cries heard in downtown Asheville last Saturday as an estimated 10,000 people marched to protect women’s rights.

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After listening to the concerns of property managers in its service area, the Junaluska Sanitary District board has decided to look for other ways to cut down on revenue losses.

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Verizon Wireless has approached Haywood County commissioners once again about installing a new cell tower near Lake Junaluska to improve service for customers, but this time they feel certain it will be built.

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Unseasonably warm weather and the drought have combined to temporarily close Cataloochee Ski Area.

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Sanitation workers in Macon County are worried about dangerous items that could be lurking in the household trash bags being hauled to the landfill.

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Many Bryson City business owners were caught off guard last week when they noticed massive holes all along Everett Street where large shade trees used to be planted. 

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Barbara Robinson can find artistic inspiration wherever she may be. 

Sometimes it’s looking out over Frye Mountain from her art studio window at home, while at other times perhaps a particular barn she spots while driving through Swain County will pique her interest. Other times it’s a vision in her head that works its way out over time.

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Swain County recently spent more than $350,000 in order to better secure its trash site and cut down on sanitation department costs, but recent illegal dumping continues to be a costly and time-consuming problem.

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The planned repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act doesn’t seem to be impacting the numbers of people in Western North Carolina signing up for coverage.

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With the last Macon County Airport runway extension project barely in the rearview, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has approved another $4.5 million airport project to make the runway even longer. 

The last expansion project in 2011 extended the runway from 4,400 feet to 5,000 feet for safety reasons — the same reason why local officials say the runway now needs to be expanded to 6,000 feet. 

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Overgrown brush, rotting floors, collapsing roofs, vermin and asbestos.

Dealing with deteriorating structures isn’t a new issue for the town of Franklin, but the slow legal process has the town board wondering if there is a more efficient way to handle the growing problem.

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Bryson City Bicycles will use a $20,000 grant to expand its online presence and to provide a fleet of bicycles for Swain County High School.

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

 – Margaret Mead 

It’s my favorite quote. I remind myself of it every time I’m feeling helpless or hopeless about the state of the world in which we live.

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The local dive bar in a small town usually gets a bad rap, but Mickey’s Pub in Bryson City tries to redeem itself every Christmas by giving back to the community.

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Crabtree General Store & Coffee Vault in Franklin has recently transformed into a Christmas headquarters.

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More than 350 families received an early Christmas present last week when President Obama signed a bill into law that will allow them to keep their floating homes on Fontana Lake.

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Waynesville Police Department’s Special Response Team recently returned home from the SWAT Round-Up International competition in Orlando with multiple awards.

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Franklin Chamber of Commerce staff and members are excited about taking a vacant building and turning it into their new home. 

Currently cramped in the same 2,400-square-foot building on Palmer Street the chamber has occupied since 1969, the staff is now envisioning what it will do with the 8,000 square feet of space at the new location at 98 Hyatt Road.

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Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale was pouring concrete on a job site when he was contacted about this story.

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“You know, I really can’t tell you what we get paid,” Swain County Commissioner David Monteith said when asked about his commissioner salary. “I’ve never done it for that purpose. To me, serving the people in the community is the main benefit of being commissioner.”

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When the wildfires were threatening structures in Swain County a couple of weeks ago, first responders had to knock on more than 200 doors to alert residents that they needed to evacuate. 

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Last September, the town of Bryson City hired Highlands’ town planner Josh Ward to serve as it’s new town manager, but as of Jan. 3, Ward is returning to Highlands to replace retiring Town Manager Bob Frye.

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Several Haywood County landlords are questioning the legality of a new policy adopted by the Junaluska Sanitary District that will require them to co-sign on their tenants’ water service agreement.

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The Swain County High School marching band was noticeably absent from the annual Bryson City Christmas Parade last weekend, but they had a good reason.

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Maggie Valley Area Chamber of Commerce is responding to criticism in the community by restructuring its membership options for businesses.

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A Franklin man is facing federal arson charges after admitting to setting fire to two separate areas in Macon County about a month ago.

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With an unexpected increase in sales tax revenue, Macon County commissioners voted in favor of paying off a $5 million loan early for the Parker Meadows Sports Complex project.

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Southwestern Community College is asking Macon County commissioners to pitch in 40 percent of the cost to construct a new training facility for first responders — much more than the 25 percent match the county was anticipating.

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The Franklin Chamber of Commerce is looking for financial support from the community to purchase new office space.

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Swain Community Hospital has announced plans to change how it operates its Emergency Department, but administrators say the hospital will continue to provide the same level of 24-hour emergency care to patients.

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Even though both parties appeared confident about their candidates moving into Election Day, there were a lot of white knuckles and nail biting as results started to pour in across North Carolina last Tuesday night.

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The severe drought plaguing Western North Carolina has taken its toll on the local water supply, and residents are being asked to conserve what they can. 

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