Jessi Stone

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swainSwain County commissioner incumbents Steve Moon and David Monteith received the vote of confidence in the Democratic primary election.

maconIncumbent commissioner Paul Higdon and political newcomer Karl Gillespie will move on to the general election after winning the primary in Macon County. 

haywoodEven though the money isn’t yet in place, the town of Canton is considering several options for economic development incentives for businesses willing to invest in the downtown corridor.

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fr cantonWhen Canton town officials were notified that the North Carolina Department of Transportation would be repaving all of Main Street starting in May, they knew it was the right time to complete some much-needed pedestrian improvement projects in downtown.

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maconIt’s easy to spot the unstable embankments as you drive over Cowee Mountain between Macon and Jackson counties.

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fr swainlibraryThe community support behind getting a new public library in Swain County has been impressive, but the fundraising efforts have been slow-moving in the last couple of years.

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fr sherbyAfter being at the helm of Region A’s Southwestern Commission, Executive Director Ryan Sherby tendered his resignation on March 1 to the board of directors.

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coverAs people across North Carolina daydream about what they would do if they won millions from playing the lottery, they probably don’t give much thought to how the money is spent every time they buy a losing ticket. 

The North Carolina Education Lottery Commission would argue that no one is a loser when lottery revenue goes to fund education, but local school boards throughout the state might beg to differ. State lottery revenues have increased every year since it was launched in 2006, yet local school districts don’t feel like they are reaping the benefits.

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fr REACHThe staff of REACH of Macon County understands how difficult it is to leave your home, even under the most traumatic situations.

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fr bannersFranklin officials thought the controversy over banners would end when the board of aldermen passed an ordinance last year allowing them to be hung over Main Street to promote upcoming events.

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fr maggieplanMaggie Valley’s dream of having a viable downtown inched closer last week when a $7 million town center plan was unveiled.

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out frFranklin residents have taken it upon themselves to get the word out about the town’s recognition as the “Top Small Town” by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine. 

SEE ALSO: Franklin focuses on making town more walkable

Since the award was announced in November, the big question has been how to capitalize on the designation and bring more visitors to town. Because the award is given out each year, time is of the essence to spread the good word.

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out franklinFranklin has sidewalks, bike trails and a beautiful greenway to encourage residents and visitors to walk or bike around town, but those assets aren’t as valuable unless the town can find a better way to connect them.

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fr congressNorth Carolina will now have two primary elections in 2016 as lawsuits challenging the state’s districting maps continue to play out in court.

swainThe Swain County Health Department is concerned about the number of Hepatitis B cases confirmed in 2015.

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fr ncbondWith $120 million at stake, higher education leaders in Western North Carolina have taken every opportunity in the last month to educate people about the Connect N.C. Bond proposal.

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schoolsMacon County teachers recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of adding 20 minutes to their school days in an effort to get testing done before the Christmas holiday and fit in additional teacher workdays.

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swainSwain County Commissioners postponed a vote on whether to make the county recreation center a tobacco-free area after hearing feedback from a few residents.

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maconEven though all five of the candidates running for two open seats in the Macon County commissioner primary are Republicans, they all have a fairly different stance on the county’s role when it comes to spending and setting policies.

maconFormer Macon County Elections Director Kim Bishop recently had to appear before a federal judge for the second time to plead guilty to federal embezzlement charges after her first plea was rejected and her bond revoked for failing a drug test.

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votingNew voter identification laws are in effect for the 2016 elections, meaning voters should be prepared to show a valid form of photo identification at the polls during the March 15 primary election.

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fr foodtrucksThe debate over when, where and how mobile vendors should be allowed to operate within the town limits has now made its way to Waynesville.

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swainWith the help of Swain County commissioners, Mountain Discovery Charter School is about to begin a capital campaign to build a new gymnasium at the school that can also be utilized by the community at large.

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fr howardwhiteRev. Howard “Howdie” White, former rector of the Episcopal Grace Church in the Mountains in Waynesville, is being investigated in two states after being accused of sexual misconduct with minors. 

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election timeFive Swain County Democrats are heading for the March 15 primary election in hopes of securing a seat on the board of commissioners.

coverEveryone enjoys the ground-level Western North Carolina views, but drones provide a whole new perspective on things. 

SEE ALSO:
• Drone technology presents opportunities and challenges
• Drone operators navigate strict laws

With a gentle buzzing, these lightweight unmanned aircrafts are able to soar hundreds of feet into the air to capture some of the most breathtaking aerial shots of life here in the mountains. Tech-savvy entrepreneurs are starting to realize they can make a living out of capturing these images and video footage  enjoying the great outdoors themselves.

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fr drone operatorsDrone operators have found that navigating the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations is more complicated than navigating their unmanned aircrafts.

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fr dronegoodbadThough it can make certain aspects of life easier, technology often has unintended consequences.

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fr steamengineGreat Smoky Mountain Railroad officials say they will make their deadline for getting a steam engine back up and running in Bryson City.

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franklinWith a few fresh faces, the Franklin Board of Aldermen met last Saturday morning to make plans and set priorities for 2016.

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With less than two weeks to go, the Women of Waynesville (WOW) are eager with excitement to bring to Haywood County the first ever Bachelors Ball for Belles auction and fundraiser.

Bal ticket

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coverA devoted customer stood at the counter at Walker Service chatting with Clayton Cathey before picking up his truck for what may be the last time.   

“What’s this rumor I hear about you closing?” the customer asked.

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haywoodTara Keilberg, a founding board member for the Shining Rock Classical Academy, has resigned from her post as chairwoman on the board of directors to become the charter school’s new business manager.

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maconBefore it becomes a mandate from a judge, Macon County commissioners are looking to make improvements to security at the courthouse.

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fr maggieAfter interviewing seven people Monday night, the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen unanimously chose Clayton Davis to fill a two-year unexpired term on the board.

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Haywood County Schools have pulled the trigger on Saturday school, announcing that this Saturday (Jan. 30) will be a snow make-up day. School will dismiss at 12 p.m.

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Many residents in Canton and Clyde were without water overnight as a result of an 8-inch waterline break yesterday and a high demand due to the winter storm.

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haywoodIn a surprising last-minute turnout, nine Maggie Valley residents have submitted applications to be considered for a board of aldermen vacancy.

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moneyThough community college leaders aren’t allowed to take an official position on whether they support the $2 billion Connect NC Bond initiative, the proposal could mean $350 million for community colleges across the state.

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fr mccroryvisitDespite the large number of politicians that will be on the ballot March 15, Western Carolina University in Cullowhee probably has the most to gain and the most to lose during the primary election.

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coverOn March 15, North Carolina voters will be asked whether they support borrowing $2 billion to fund a backlog of infrastructure projects throughout the state.

SEE ALSO:
Bond could give higher education an influx of funds
Community colleges also stand to benefit from bond passage 

The $2 billion Connect NC Bond proposal includes funds for earmarked projects in 72 out of 100 counties for universities, community colleges, state parks, National Guard facilities, agricultural research, water and sewer upgrades and more.

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fr wildernessMacon County commissioners maintained their stance against creating more wilderness areas in the county despite The Wilderness Society’s attempt to change their minds.

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fr freeclinicDr. Frank VanMiddlesworth is on a mission to bring free medical care to the uninsured in Swain County and improve the overall health of its residents.

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The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance from the public in locating two suspects in an armed robbery that occurred at Galloway’s Convenience Store just outside the Canton city limits Friday night.

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haywoodParents of Central Elementary School students were shocked Tuesday morning when they heard the Haywood County School Board was considering closing down the longstanding Waynesville institution.

haywoodMaggie Valley is still accepting applications from potential candidates to fill a two-year unexpired term on the board of aldermen.

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fr dryfallsRescue crews recovered the body of Sean Kasey around 1:30 p.m. Sunday from the Cullasaja River after conducting a search for nearly 24 hours.

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fr floodingHeavy rains and high waters in December have resulted in more than $1 million in flood damage in Macon County.

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howellmillBarring any unexpected circumstances, Howell Mill Road should be open to vehicle traffic in a couple of weeks.

The $11.7 million North Carolina Department of Transportation project began back in May 2015 with road closures beginning in July. The original completion date was set for October 2016, but Nathan Tanner, NCDOT District 14 assistant resident engineer, said some hard work and cooperative weather helped keep the project way ahead of schedule.

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fr franklindevPlans for a brand new residential subdivision in Franklin will move forward after the town board of aldermen approved a special-use permit for Scenic Ridge Properties.

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