Jessi Stone

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Southwestern Community College is receiving $7.17 million from the Connect N.C. bond to make major infrastructure improvements to its three campuses, but none of that money will be going to SCC’s small Swain County campus.

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It’s been more than a year since the Swain County commissioners charged a newly formed ad hoc committee with tackling a longstanding controversial issue — the county’s lack of animal control.

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Members of the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors recently requested a meeting with Swain and Graham County officials to discuss the TVA’s recent decision to remove all 1,800 houseboats from its 49 lakes within the next 30 years.

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Dillon Ingle will only be the third music director in Folkmoot’s 33-year history.

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fr bikingFranklin is one step closer to outlining a plan to provide better connectivity throughout the town for pedestrians and bicyclists.

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swainSwain County residents will get to decide whether the county can levy an additional quarter-cent sales tax when they vote during the Nov. 8 general election.

coverIf a rising tide lifts all boats, it only makes sense for organizations with common goals to work together, but cooperation hasn’t always come so easy for the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority.  

SEE ALSO:
• Three seats open on Maggie Chamber board
• The value of a Maggie chamber membership

Though both entities work toward the ultimate goal of promoting local tourism, arguments have surfaced throughout the years over funding and duplicating services. 

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fr chamber officeAs three members of the Maggie Valley Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors rotate off the board next month, the business community has another opportunity to vote in new leadership.

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fr chamber membershipBusinesses in the valley have varying views on whether being a member of the Maggie Valley Area Chamber of Commerce is worth the annual dues, but Chamber Chairman Joe Moody said it’s a great value for the many benefits provided to the chamber’s 180 members.

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maconKimberly Michelle Bishop, the former director of Macon County’s Board of Elections, was recently sentenced to six months in prison for embezzling public funds.

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fr venueNearly five years ago, Taylor and Preston Gregg stood on top of Chestnut Ridge and recited their wedding vows.

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maconMacon County Emergency Management Services hopes to expand an existing health care model to better serve mental health patients in the county — and a grant from the Evergreen Foundation may help the department fund it.

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maconWith the help of matching grants funds from Macon County, TekTone Sound & Signal Manufacturing Inc. will expand operations at the county industrial park with the purchase of the former SKF facility.

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maconMacon County commissioners had some last-minute spending decisions to make before heading into the new fiscal year that started July 1. 

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fr webbrysonConsidering Bryson City didn’t even have a website until 2009, it’s no surprise that it lags behind the other municipalities’ web presence.

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fr swainwebWith the lowest population and the lowest county budget, Swain County also scored the lowest among the four-county website comparison. 

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fr webfranklinThe town of Franklin’s website is a great example of a small town going the extra mile to encourage public participation in local government.

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fr webmaconMacon County’s government website started 16 years ago with a shoestring budget.

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out frThe wilderness is where one can find peace and clarity while also finding inner strength and determination. 

That is the basis for Radical Inclusion, a new nonprofit formed by Waynesville couple Nicole Taylor and Jess Dunlap to provide an affordable summer camp experience for youth while teaching them survival skills.

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fr houseboatsHouseboat owners on Fontana Lake aren’t quite ready to give up their investments without a fight even after the Tennessee Valley Authority made the decision last month to ban all floating houses in 30 years.

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fr eclipseNick Breedlove has been brushing up on his astronomy lately — studying maps and learning the science behind the total solar eclipse that is set to occur on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

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fr whitmireThe Franklin Board of Aldermen has yet to agree on what it should do with a 13-acre tract it owns just off East Main Street, but two proposals from the public are leaning toward utilizing the green space for public recreational purposes.

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maconAfter further negotiations, Macon County Schools and the county commissioners will both have some skin in the game when it comes to making sure the schools have enough funding for the upcoming school year.

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art frNadia Dean has dedicated the last 10 years of her life to telling a story. It’s a historical account of the complex dynamics of the Cherokee War of 1776, but it’s also a story about relationships, humanity and the decisions that shaped this country. For Dean, who grew up in Haywood County and now lives in Cherokee, it was an untold story that needed telling.

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fr brysonDemocrat Rick Bryson will move on to run against U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows in the general election after narrowly winning the June 7 congressional primary.

coverThe Jackson County Branch of the NAACP will host more than a dozen like-minded Western North Carolina organizations in Sylva on June 13 for an event called “Mountain Moral Monday.” 

SEE ALSO:
• NAACP gains ground in WNC communities
• Local leader represents NAACP’s changing face

The event will include a keynote address from Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, as well as speeches from local people who have been negatively impacted by the policies being passed in Raleigh for the last several years.

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fr barberbrooksKatherine Bartel has a long list of reasons why a NAACP branch started in Haywood County a couple of years ago — and the motives go far beyond protecting only the rights of people of color.

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swainAs Swain County continues to struggle with a decrease in funding from several revenue sources, commissioners hope to pass a $17.3 million budget for 2016-17 without increasing the tax rate.

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maconMacon County commissioners have agreed to provide $30,000 toward an economic development project that promises to create 35 new jobs at an existing local business.

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fr maconschoolsMacon County Schools Superintendent Chris Baldwin came before the county commissioners last week to plead his case for additional funding in the 2016-17 budget.

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fr ghosttownAfter attempting to revamp the mountaintop amusement park for several years, Alaska Presley has decided to sell Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley.

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haywoodMaggie Valley residents and businesses won’t have to worry about paying a higher property tax rate for the next year, but they may see an increase in the fees they pay for certain services.

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fr shiningrockWhile Shining Rock Classical Academy students are already out of class enjoying their summer vacation, school leaders are busy assessing the charter’s first year and already planning for students’ return in August.

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haywoodFinding a solution to the lack of high-speed internet in rural Western North Carolina has been on the minds of economic development officials for some time now.

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fr skyrunnerIt’s hard to believe there are still developed neighborhoods in Haywood County that can’t get internet access or even landline telephone service, but it is a major problem in certain areas.

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coverMelanie Williams was fed up. She could no longer run her web design business from her Crabtree home with the slow DSL internet speed from a cable provider. 

SEE ALSO:
• Skyrunner helps rural neighborhoods get connected
• Broadband master plan in the works for Haywood

“I was working on an e-commerce website for a client and I needed to add 100 products with corresponding images but it was taking about an hour for each photo to upload,” she said. “It was becoming a huge expense because I’d have to go into town to be able to work, and I couldn’t haul all my equipment around with me.”

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WCUHow would you like to pay a mere $500 a semester to attend Western Carolina University?

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fr gorbyFor someone who has spent most of her life in Ohio, moving to the mountains of Western North Carolina has been a dream come true for Karen Gorby.

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fr demrunoffTwo Democratic candidates will face off in the June 7 election for a chance to unseat U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, in the general election and represent Western North Carolina in Washington, D.C.

fr learningcenter1Despite wild success rescuing high school dropouts and turning their lives around, the Haywood Community Learning Center is on the brink of closing if a funding quandary isn’t solved soon.

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franklinFranklin’s proposed budget prioritizes a number of long-range infrastructure projects without increasing the tax rate.

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jacksonAfter years of sitting empty, the old Drexel Furniture factory in Whittier will now enter a new phase of useful life as home to the recently formed Thomas Valley Growers, LLC.

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fr gamingraidAn undercover investigation into illegal gambling resulted in the seizure of more than 300 gaming machines from convenience stores across the state last week.

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fr TVAOpposition from local, state and federal politicians, a petition with 3,500 signatures and more than three hours’ worth of poignant testimony from the public wasn’t enough to sway the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors from imposing a 30-year sunset on all houseboats moored on TVA lakes.

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fr SRCAShining Rock Classical Academy is considering legal action against a modular building company for not being able to honor its lease agreement with the charter school.

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fr watiaA little more than a year ago it was nothing more than an open grassy field surrounded by forest, but by next month it will be an impressive, state-of-the-art YMCA summer camp.

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fr maggieAn alliance of business owners opposing Maggie Valley’s proposed town center master plan is growing stronger and becoming more organized as it tries to derail the project. 

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fr hospitality1Melanee Lester has been sorting through a 4-inch-high stack of applications on her desk for the last couple of weeks, trying to get Mast General Store fully staffed for the long tourism season ahead.

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fr houseboats2Tennessee Valley Authority officials have confirmed that its board of directors will make a decision on May 5 regarding the future of houseboats on all of its 49 lakes and reservoirs.

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pets maconAppalachian Animal Rescue was bustling with activity Monday morning. Staff members were getting the shelter back in order following an adoption event and several families searched for a furry companion to take home. 

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