Cory Vaillancourt

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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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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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