Cory Vaillancourt

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The aftermath of deadly flooding that killed six people in the Cruso community of Haywood County on Aug. 16 saw federal, state and local governments spring into action. 

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A little over a year after she left for a town manager job in Altavista, Virginia, former Waynesville Assistant Town Manager Amie Owens has returned to the region, albeit just a little farther west. 

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More than three weeks after deadly flash flooding along the East Fork of the Pigeon River killed six and displaced hundreds, President Joe Biden announced that a major disaster exists and that federal assistance will supplement state and local efforts in the affected area.

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Waynesville’s homeless task force, now rocked by resignations and dissention, failed to meet a deadline to present recommendations to the board of aldermen and now appears adrift and rudderless without a consensus or a clear direction forward. 

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Born and raised in North Georgia, Katie Dean has taken a different path to the NC11 Democratic primary than most. 

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Western North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn is known for making controversial statements, but video footage from a recent Macon County Republican Party that showed him speaking about insurrectionists and another possible rally in Washington has the internet up in arms, and people from both parties again calling for his removal. 

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As state elected leaders toured areas of Haywood County decimated by deadly flooding that killed six people last week, local agencies were busy assessing damage and compiling reports in support of a federal disaster declaration that would bring badly needed resources. 

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Canton’s elected leaders want to ensure that the public knows the last remaining element of the Town of Canton’s 114th annual Labor Day festival — Monday’s parade — has indeed been cancelled. 

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In retrospect it’s odd that a region with such strong historical ties to Scotland doesn’t have a greater number of authentic Scottish pubs, but thanks to Scot and Makyia Blair, that’s about to change — at least in Waynesville. 

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Although Haywood County still waits for news of a federal disaster declaration that would bring much needed resources to storm-ravaged areas, some of the area’s most prominent corporate citizens aren’t waiting around to pitch in and help. 

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Huddled together in the dark atop a bunk bed in a barricaded bedroom with two dogs, four cats and her brother — all staring down at the rising floodwaters — Natasha Bright knew they were in trouble. 

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As Haywood County continues to assess damage from the Pigeon River flooding associated with excess rainfall from Tropical Storm Fred on Aug. 18, local officials are asking for help in a number of ways while noting a pair of grim milestones associated with the destruction.

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More than 30 people remain unaccounted for and search and rescue operations continue at this hour after heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Fred slammed southeastern Haywood County last night, pushing the Pigeon River up over its banks.

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A pair of undeveloped parcels at the southwest corner of Asheville Highway and Howell Mill Road have undergone a zoning change that will clear the way for more badly needed residential development. 

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Over the past few years, political action group Down Home North Carolina has made a name for itself in Western North Carolina by championing issues important to working families, but a recent spate of staff firings in the midst of a unionization drive by its employees — along with allegations of hush money — suggests Down Home doesn’t practice what it preaches when it comes to standing with workers. 

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Almost three weeks after controversially voting to start the school year with optional masks for students, the Haywood County Schools Board of Education held an emergency meeting Aug. 13 and issued a strong statement asking students to mask up – but stopped short of calling for a mask mandate.

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The Downtown Waynesville Association has been in the fight of its 36-year political life since Waynesville aldermen refused to renew the group’s contract back in June, but after a highly unusual special called meeting on Aug. 12 where the DWA narrowly avoided the death penalty, aldermen have decided to give the beleaguered organization yet another chance, putting the group on life support for 90 days. 

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It’s been nearly seven years since Haywood Pathways Center served up its first meals to the needy, after the then-prison was famously “flipped” by television renovation star Ty Pennington  into its current incarnation as a faith-based residential recovery center. Yet, the need still remains. 

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Now that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has decided to move forward with a medical cannabis initiative, the rest of North Carolina looks to the General Assembly to see if it will follow suit. 

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With a father in the Navy and a mother from Poland, Jay Carey grew up in a middle-class family in the northeast, primarily Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

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A Trump-era policy designed to protect renters impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic was allowed to expire on the last day of July by the administration of President Joe Biden, but was then quickly reinstated — with a big caveat. 

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After the Canton Board of Aldermen/women spent nearly three hours on Aug. 9 going back and forth with Haywood County Medical Director Dr. Mark Jaben over how — if at all — the town’s iconic Labor Day Festival could be held safely, a rare split vote with a tiebreaker cast by Mayor Zeb Smathers set the stage for ongoing debate.

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A meeting designed to gather public input on draft recommendations  made by the Waynesville Task Force on Homelessness scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 5, has been cancelled. 

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Congressman Madison Cawthorn attempted to bring a firearm though airport security this past February, but the freshman Western North Carolina rep insists it was a simple mistake.

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The results from an independent audit of the Town of Waynesville’s electric billing process are in and despite speculation to the contrary, audit findings show that no customer was charged for power they didn’t actually consume. 

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On the heels of “ Gungate ” and a shouting match  with a West Virginia congressman on the house floor, Western North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn has drawn a fourth Republican Primary Election challenger. 

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Congressman Madison Cawthorn attempted to bring a firearm though airport security this past February, but the freshman Western North Carolina rep insists it was a simple mistake.

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All six Democratic congressional candidates in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District will appear at a candidate forum in Marshall on July 29, but one’s prepared to stake out some turf with a position paper on a subject he knows all too well.

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Slowly meandering through Haywood County’s tranquil farmlands, the winding two-lane mountain road rises and falls as behind each bend it reveals rustic panoramas dotted with far-off homesteads. 

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With the U.S. Senate under razor-thin Democratic control and a rare open seat in North Carolina, candidates on both sides of the aisle are already gearing up for what will likely be a brutal primary season. Although much of the action thus far has been on the Republican side, Democrats are ramping up their efforts — even in deep-red Western North Carolina. 

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Millions in opioid settlement money is coming to the state, to most counties and even to some municipalities.

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If you think it’s hard to sum up what, exactly, Hillbilly Jam  is, you’re not alone. 

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Known mostly to the current generation as a political pundit and frequent television/radio/newspaper commentator, Karl Rove has roots in Republican advocacy that predate the Nixon administration. 

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With some demolition work currently underway and a membership drive event held on July 12, the new owners of The Waynesville Inn and Golf Club are eager to present the project to the public as soon as possible. 

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A controversial bridge replacement project that would have snarled Haywood County traffic for up to four years will likely get a redesign that results in a dramatically expedited timeline. 

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More than 18 months after its creation and just over 12 months since its first meeting, Waynesville’s Task Force on Homelessness finally has some answers on the status of homelessness in Haywood County, and the steps they’d like to take to address it. 

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UPDATE: Shortly after this story was published, Batchelor declared his intent to enter the NCGOP NC11 Primary Election field. 

He’d been on duty since 5 p.m. and it was already shaping up to be a busy night, but as Eric Batchelor sat in his patrol car writing up reports around 2 a.m. on July 28, 2020, he got another call about a disturbance. 

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For much of the 20th Century, small-town life in Western North Carolina revolved around the large-scale industrial enterprises that had sprung up across some of the most rural settlements in the state. 

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As the second Republican to enter the 2022 Congressional Primary field, Bruce O’Connell is certainly looking at a David versus Goliath scenario, but that’s OK — he’s used to it. 

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Editor’s note: Bob Scott, longtime mayor of Franklin, announced today that he wouldn’t seek a fifth term in November. What follows is Scott’s statement, in its entirety.

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You’ve seen the signs, on marquees and placards, up and down streets in towns across Western North Carolina — Now hiring! Competitive pay! Start today! 

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Some employers are having trouble attracting or retaining qualified employees, but those businesses could likely learn a thing or two from one Haywood County employer that isn’t facing that problem. 

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As Haywood County looks to put the Coronavirus Pandemic squarely in its rear-view mirror, a North Carolina Department of Transportation bridge replacement project smack dab in the center of the county could end up causing a colossal multi-year traffic jam with far-reaching financial implications. 

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Over the last two weeks, the most significant set of antitrust laws since the early 1900s were proposed in Congress, but these aren’t your granddaddy’s antitrust laws — instead of targeting expansive Industrial Age monopolies like railroads and oil companies, these five separate bills all take aim at the largest online platforms of the Information Age. 

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A public-private partnership between Haywood County and local internet service provider Skyrunner will soon result in broadband service for more than 300 locations in some of the county’s most underserved areas. 

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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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