Jessi Stone

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Fontana Lake looks more like a narrow river running through a canyon right now as drought conditions persist across the region.

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About 58 percent of voters in Swain County voted against increasing the sales tax from 6.75 percent to 7 percent.

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Republican incumbent Paul Higdon will keep his District 3 seat on the Macon County Commission while Republican Karl Gillespie claimed the District 2 seat. 

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Republican challenger Kenneth Parton was the top vote-getter in the Swain County Commissioners’ race and was able to unseat longtime Democratic incumbent Steve Moon. 

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Incumbent Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, will continue to represent the 11th District of North Carolina after defeating Democratic challenger Rick Bryson. 

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Houseboat owners on Fontana Lake may get to keep their floating homes after all if legislation passes to exempt Fontana from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s decision to remove 1,800 structures from its lakes. 

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Several Swain County administrative offices could be relocating to the federal building in downtown Bryson City if the county is approved for a historic monument designation through the National Park Service.

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In the last five years Macon County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 627 calls where guns were involved, and 137 of those have occurred in just the last 10 months.

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Some of Western North Carolina’s greatest historical assets are in cemeteries. 

They serve as the final resting place to founding families, Civil War soldiers, decorated military officers, Pulitzer Prize winners, and other historic figures that helped shape this region over two centuries. Maintaining these cemeteries — some of which date back to the early 1800s — is becoming a bigger burden for the few who still see the value in preserving a part of the past.

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Robert Edward Branning of Canton — the escaped inmate who was shot on Main Street in downtown Waynesville two weeks ago — has now been charged with multiple felonies.

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Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews, 36, was arrested Wednesday night after failing to appear in court Oct. 20 to face charges for driving without a license and insurance.

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Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows and his challenger Rick Bryson have opposing views on the success of Meadows’ two terms in office and how North Carolina’s 11th District is being represented.

In this year’s commissioner election, Swain County residents will have to decide whether they are happy with the work done by the two incumbents running for re-election or if they want to give two newcomers a chance to make a change.

Macon County residents will more than likely recognize the names of the four commissioner candidates who will appear on their Nov. 8 ballots.

Sarah Miller has a glowing personality and limitless energy when it comes to pursuing her passion.

Amanda James Shaw never expected she’d be back in her hometown of Franklin running the family business, especially a power tool business.

It may be mostly men tending to the crops these days at Darnell Farms, but it’s Afton Roberts who has turned the farm into a thriving agri-tourism business in Swain County. 

Two small animal shelters in Western North Carolina have made national news this week as they’ve opened up their facilities to 11 dogs rescued from an illegal backyard dog meat farm in South Korea.

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The Tennessee Valley Authority leadership fielded some tough questions from members of Congress last week in Washington, D.C., during a Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing. 

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Last month Macon County commissioners said they wanted a second opinion on the remaining lifespan of the first responder training center at its Southwestern Community College campus.

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Every election cycle, the Macon County League of Women Voters aims to educate its community about local and state candidates and the issues impacting the region by hosting political forums.

Fourteen Macon County charities are vying for a piece of Franklin’s $40,000 nonprofit funding pool, but not all organizations will walk away with their full request. 

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U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, introduced a bill last week to halt the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plan to ban floating homes on all of its 49 lakes.

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As outdoor recreation tourism continues to climb upward in Macon County, community stakeholders are trying to do a better job of tracking their visitor feedback and providing better services. 

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It’s been almost a year since Cornerstone Assisted Living in Bryson City was closed down and more than 30 senior citizens had to be relocated to assisted living facilities outside of Swain County.

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Swain County commissioners are considering possible locations for a law enforcement gun range after Sheriff Curtis Cochran explained the inconvenience of having to rely on the availability of ranges in other counties.

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It’s a great time to be a Libertarian, according to Brian Irving, the party’s North Carolina chairman.

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While the Tennessee Valley Authority seems unwilling to reconsider its decision to sunset all lake houseboats within 30 years, houseboat owners on TVA’s reservoirs aren’t giving up yet.

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With the purchase of 8 acres in Bryson City, Swain County will now have an outdoor event area to host county fairs, kids carnivals and more. 

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The clock is ticking to get a new library constructed in Swain County before the land donation reverts back to the owner, but the fundraising committee says it can’t move forward without some kind of commitment from county commissioners.

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Shining Rock Classical Academy leaders were hoping students would start classes this year at a new campus on Dellwood Road, but a delay in getting the modular classrooms installed forced them to change the plan. 

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It’s been about five months since Swain County filed a lawsuit against the federal government for $38.2 million, and commissioners are still waiting for a response. 

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About five years ago, Suzanne Cianciulli and her son were living in a rundown mobile home rental while she tried to make ends meet working a retail job.

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Passersby probably don’t give a second thought to seeing news houses being built on the hillside when traveling up Jonathan Creek Road, but the development has quite a story to tell.

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Mountain Projects’ self-build housing program is all about helping those who are willing to help themselves.

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Macon County Public Library in Franklin will be cutting its hours of operations to combat a budget deficit.

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After exceeding expectations for more than three years without a merit raise, Macon County commissioners approved an $18,000 salary increase for County Manager Derek Roland. 

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In the last year, Macon County teacher John deVille has asked county commissioners several times to pass a resolution asking the North Carolina General Assembly to restore public education funding to 2008 levels.

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Following a May 5 decision by the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors to ban all houseboats on Fontana Lake after 30 years, TVA promised to spend the next six months talking to stakeholders in an effort to mitigate the negative economic impact.

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As a yoga instructor and a massage therapist, Candra Smith knows that staying healthy requires a sound mind and body, which is why her business — Maggie Valley Wellness Center — provides services for both. 

Franklin Health & Fitness has invested a lot in its community, and in return, the community has been able to invest in its health. 

The Nantahala Racing Club is all about ensuring future generations have a love and appreciation for whitewater recreation, and a new grant will allow the nonprofit to fulfill that mission for youth living on the Qualla Boundary.

After operating in Waynesville for the past four years, BearWaters Brewing will be making a big move to downtown Canton.

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The town of Maggie Valley has been working on cleaning up the U.S. 19 corridor for more than a year, but it needs to beef up its enforcement ordinance to make further progress. 

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The Macon Aero Modelers Club members are looking forward to showing off their flying skills to the public this weekend during their annual National Model Aviation Day.

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Many rumors were put to rest Monday night as Ingles Market representatives laid out the plan for its newest grocery store in Franklin.

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Even though Londa Bohl had the summer off from teaching in Swain County, she spent most of her vacation learning the ins and outs of telecommunication laws in North Carolina.

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Following the Little Tennessee River miles away from modern civilization in Franklin — past the pavement and subdivisions and through the grassy pastures that line the Cowee Valley — a large piece of Cherokee history remains.

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While most people come to Macon County in the summer for a relaxing mountain vacation, Kathryn Sampeck makes the trip down south with a more important mission in mind.

SEE ALSO: Mounds hold key to understanding Cherokee history

With a wide-rimmed straw hat to shield her face from the beaming sun and a pair of worn-in brown leather boots she’s owned for at least 20 years, Sampeck returned again this summer to walk among sacred Cherokee land along the Little Tennessee River banks.

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Beginning Sept. 1, Swain County residents will notice some big changes when they go to drop off their trash and recycling at the convenience center. 

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