Cory Vaillancourt

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During a rare special called meeting on the morning of June 16, aldermen shaved another 1.5 cents off the proposed ad valorem tax rate but couldn’t quite meet demands from citizens to bring the budget down to a revenue-neutral level, due to long-term ramifications on the town’s emergency savings.  

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A countywide property reappraisal earlier this year generated substantial increases in property value for many homeowners, who will now have higher tax bills despite lower tax rates. Taxpayers and elected officials on two local governing boards aren’t happy about that. 

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What should have been a simple contract renewal process has turned into an all-out fiasco for the Downtown Waynesville Association, as the group continues to struggle with transparency and professionalism while submitting a contract renewal proposal riddled with errors, oversights and outdated information. 

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Perhaps the only true statement in a June 7 Down Home North Carolina email is that the fight against jail expansion in Haywood County is far from over, but given the rest of the email’s misleading content, it’s no longer clear if the nonprofit activist group has the credibility to remain part of that fight. 

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Retired Air Force Col. Moe Davis may have lost to Madison Cawthorn in last year’s General Election, but that doesn’t mean he’s done speaking out against the young conservative firebrand. 

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Right now, life seems to be about full-circle moments for Henderson County native Eric Gash, who describes himself as “a son of the soil.”

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Voters excited about the possibility of a new chapter in the Trump family’s political legacy were in for a bit of a letdown last Saturday night, but former President Donald Trump did give North Carolina Republicans something else to be excited about. 

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Following public complaints, the Waynesville Board of Aldermen voted to terminate the contract of its town attorney, Bill Cannon. 

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Former President Donald Trump made one of his first major public appearances since losing the 2020 election, returning to the battleground state of North Carolina on June 5 and dispelling any doubts about who’s really wielding power in the Republican Party. 

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Just days after a local nonprofit asked the Town of Waynesville to help fund emergency overnight stays for the unsheltered, aldermen gave them an answer.

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The Coronavirus Pandemic appears to be winding down and with it, protections designed to ameliorate the ensuing economic devastation that would have wreaked further havoc on vulnerable low-income populations. 

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Yes, your property tax rate is going down, but no, your property tax bill probably bill isn’t. Wait, what? 

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A local nonprofit group has its eyes set on funding that will be distributed to the Town of Waynesville as part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan .

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A weekend-long reunion event brought dozens of former Ghost Town in the Sky performers together to share some old memories, but it also brought together a small group of developers, investors, business owners and elected officials who are now working together to make some new ones.   

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group of concerned citizens conducting a local cleanup effort intended to address the problem of homelessness in Waynesville inadvertently exacerbated the problem when they dismantled an elaborate makeshift residence, and now the man who’s been put out on the streets with nothing but the clothes on his back is pursuing legal action against those who threw away or gave away all of his earthly belongings. 

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After almost five months in office, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-Hendersonville, has his first look into the major political questions that have arisen during his short, tumultuous tenure – namely, his approval rating among Republicans, the state of the Republican Party and their current opinion of former President Donald Trump.

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Despite being the result of a confluence of factors, the true reasons behind some abnormally high electric bills for Town of Waynesville customers still aren’t clear but should soon be — after Waynesville alderman called for an independent audit. 

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The Coronavirus Pandemic has lain bare the massive digital divide between those with reliable high-speed internet access and those without, and a number of efforts by western legislators have attempted to address the issue over the past few years.

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Citing limited drug rehabilitation options, a lack of mental health treatment facilities, an inefficient justice system and overwhelming public opposition, a number of residents have again asked the Haywood County Board of Commissioners to rethink the county’s proposed $16 million jail expansion. 

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If the newly-formed SHARE Project’s May 16 drug awareness march was any indication, the group can look forward to strong community support as it attempts to influence both the perception of and legislative agenda surrounding the nation’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis. 

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Jason Burrell, an integral part of the town of Canton’s administration for the past 12 years and town manager for the past four, has resigned.

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Last summer, the tiny Haywood County tourist town of Maggie Valley was rocked by not one but two  peaceful “Black Lives Matter” marches that quickly became heated and confrontational, while also disrupting traffic and commerce. 

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A week after Haywood County Republican Rep. Mark Pless’ municipal TDA bill came out of committee wholly rewritten to include only the town of Maggie Valley, a third version has emerged and passed the House with an additional town listed. 

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There’s not yet a lot of information about the latest economic development announcement made by Haywood County commissioners — the fourth in four weeks — but coupled with the previous three, “Project Surrey” pushes total spending commitments in the county to nearly $60 million since early April. 

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conversation between Sen. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, D-Rocky Mount, seems to indicate that Cooper will likely abandon his hard stance on Medicaid expansion and pass a budget this year. 

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A tax bill sponsored by two western Republicans that’s currently making its way through the North Carolina General Assembly has the potential to bring even more room occupancy tax money to the town of Maggie Valley, but as other municipalities across the county and the region consider asking for potential inclusion in the bill, there’s concern over implementation and administration. 

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Although the recommended budget won’t be presented for another two weeks, Haywood County Manager Bryant Morehead took the opportunity on May 3 to present commissioners with a picture of what it might look like — on the heels of a historic revaluation that saw property values increase by nearly 20 percent countywide.

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Despite more than three decades of service to Waynesville’s downtown municipal service district, the organization charged with managing it now finds itself in the fight of its political life. 

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North Carolina’s population is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse every day, but according to a report issued by Gov. Roy Cooper’s DRIVE Task Force, its educators don’t nearly reflect that diversity. 

The DRIVE report , which stands for “Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education,” was issued this past Jan. 1 after Cooper called for a task force  that was eventually convened in May 2020. 

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An iconic Waynesville landmark sold for nearly $9 million last week, but the new owner’s plans to renovate the 165-acre property, the 111-room hotel and the 27-hole golf course will also become one of the area’s most significant economic development investments — more than $25 million — once it’s completed.

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In preparing for Haywood Community College’s first post-pandemic budget, President Dr. Shelley White presented a stable operating budget but asked for substantial capital spending in line with the school’s growth.

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The Town of Canton’s property tax rate hasn’t changed in almost two decades. This year, it looks to be headed down, but residents will still see slightly higher bills as a result of a countywide property revaluation that’s on average 24 percent higher.

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A House bill proposed by Western North Carolina reps. Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, and Mark Pless, R-Haywood, includes significant changes to a judicial district that is larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

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People have been making moonshine almost since the day water started running downhill, and it seems like people have been talking about enigmatic Appalachian moonshiner Popcorn Sutton for just as long. But now, for the very first time, a full-length biography attempts to explore the conflicted life and legacy of Appalachia’s most (in)famous moonshiner. 

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Complaints from Town of Waynesville power customers about higher-than-expected electric bills prompted town officials to look into the matter, which they now say is the result of a confluence of several factors — a rate increase not being one of them. 

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It’s been almost five years since the Downtown Waynesville Association landed a multi-year contract to manage the town’s municipal service district, but with the expiration of that contract imminent, an April 27 public hearing will gather input from residents on whether the group has met expectations or if another organization should be given the chance.

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Things are going so well at two of Haywood County’s best-known industrial employers that they’re both hiring and expanding, making them eligible for the county’s economic development incentive plan. 

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When Republican Sen. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, announced  during a March 25 listening session at Southwestern Community College that he intended to file a bill addressing the health care coverage gap, he also said he hadn’t quite formulated the particulars of it because he wanted to introduce something that would pass the Republican-controlled legislature. 

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As North Carolina Republicans seek to maintain dominance across the state and in the 11th Congressional District, they’ll do so under new leadership after electing Hendersonville Republican Michele Woodhouse as their new district chair on April 10. 

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There’s been lots of speculation since very early in Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s tenure in Congress that he’d face a Republican challenger in the Primary Election, but now it appears there’s at least one person who’s willing to do it – Asheville Republican Wendy Nevarez.

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Effective immediately Canton Town Manager Jason Burrell has been suspended indefinitely without pay pending further board action, Mayor Zeb Smathers told a meeting of town employees earlier this afternoon while accompanied by Mayor Pro Temp Gail Mull.

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More than 80 percent of Smoky Mountain News readers have already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and less than 10 percent say they’ll refuse altogether, according to the results of an unscientific survey conducted by SMN from March 24 through March 31 of this year. 

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The last time Americans lived through a global pandemic, the field of employment law wasn’t nearly as developed as it is today. That’s led to an overwhelming number of unanswered questions surrounding the rights and obligations of both employers and employees when considering the massive COVID-19 vaccination effort currently underway. 

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A potentially dangerous situation at the Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton earlier today is under control.

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Emergency services workers from several jurisdictions were responding this morning to reports of a fire at Evergreen Packaging’s Canton papermill.

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With the support of a bi-partisan panel including commissioners from Macon and Graham counties as well as the head of the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority, Sen. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, announced he’d soon file a bill intended to close the health insurance coverage gap in North Carolina. 

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Filed in the General Assembly on March 15, House Bill 280  contains only 112 words, but if it gains legislative approval its impact in Western North Carolina would be huge. 

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Western North Carolina Republicans have introduced a bill in the General Assembly that would result in substantial changes to the room occupancy tax in Haywood County and the creation of a new tax for Bryson City. 

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For the very first time, the North Carolina General Assembly will consider giving the public meaningful access to personnel records that have long been hidden. 

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In another encouraging sign of progress, ownership of the land upon which Maggie Valley’s Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park sits has been transferred to developers, clearing the way for work to begin on the complex, multi-faceted redevelopment project.

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