Cory Vaillancourt

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Those who hadn’t learned through backchannels a day or two beforehand found out early on a cold mountain morning late last winter that Mark Meadows was out. 

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Less than a week after cancelling travel to Asheville and Charlotte, Democratic vice presidential nominee and California Sen. Kamala Harris is ready to try again.

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When North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper gave the order to close bars and restaurants back on March 17, that was only the beginning of a series of blows the Coronavirus Pandemic would inflict upon the state’s leisure and hospitality industry. 

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During the summer and fall of 2019, room occupancy tax data collected by Haywood County’s Tourism Development Authority suggested that the county was on track for another strong year, perhaps its best ever. 

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Longtime commissioner and current Chairman of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners Kevin Ensley is seeking re-election to his seat, as is fellow Republican Brandon Rogers. 

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Less than three weeks from Election Day, California senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will visit the North Carolina cities of Asheville and Charlotte.

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A policy adopted by the Town of Waynesville that was designed to alleviate financial hardship during the early stages of the Coronavirus Pandemic is about to end, and town officials want to be sure no one’s caught by surprise. 

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Even though it’s largely a ceremonial post, North Carolina’s lieutenant governor has an important role in state government — especially when the governor is from the other party. 

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There are few races in North Carolina this cycle that hold more consequence than that for the United States Senate seat currently occupied by Republican Thom Tillis. 

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Continuing what he called the state’s “dimmer switch” approach to reopening, Gov. Roy Cooper announced today that North Carolina will move into Phase 3 beginning on Monday, Oct. 5 at 5 p.m.

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It’s the kind of street – lined with modest, well-kept houses flying U.S. flags – where neighborhood children haphazardly cast their bicycles in piles on a playmate’s lawn to tear off and play in the woods or on a backyard Slip ‘N Slide.

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They’ve now run against each other five times in 10 years so there’s not much voters don’t know about them already, but the first question of the Blue Ridge Public Radio/Smoky Mountain News forum Sept. 24 between Democratic Rep. Joe Sam Queen and his Republican challenger Mike Clampitt took a more substantial purview of their decade-long feud.

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The work groups tasked with assessing different aspects of the Waynesville homelessness situation gave their reports on possible practical solutions for both homeless individuals and the community at large, and there was one  consensus — the pressing need for a low-barrier shelter.

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A request by the Town of Clyde to disband its police force and contract with the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office for policing services was approved by Haywood County commissioners Sept. 8.

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Shortly before Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Sept. 18 after serving on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, she dictated to her niece her final wish: that her seat not be filled until a new president was elected. 

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The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and there are plenty of ways to vote early, or vote from the comfort of one’s own home, but there are a lot of deadlines and procedural steps that voters need to be aware of, to ensure their vote counts. Here’s a quick rundown on available options and processes for voting. 

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After eight years in office, Burnsville Republican Rep. Michele Presnell will probably be better remembered for the things she didn’t do than the things she did. 

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The major party candidates seeking the NC11 congressional seat recently left vacant by former Rep. Mark Meadows spent much of the first two debates attacking each other and defending themselves against those attacks, but now that controversial tweets by one of them have resurfaced, there’s even more focus on how the current partisan discord is turning modern political discourse into a war of words that can never be won. 

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Around 30 demonstrators affiliated with a group called Sunrise North Carolina showed up to a congressional forum held by Southwestern Community College in Sylva on Sept. 9, but they weren’t there to watch — they were there to sound off against the environmental positions of Republican candidate Madison Cawthorn.

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A three-decade tradition, Waynesville’s Apple Harvest Festival, will indeed take place this year but as with all things coronavirus-related it will look very different than in any of those previous years. 

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Continuing what has thus far been an aggressive push toward economic development, Haywood County and the Town of Canton have teamed up to make a long-vacant industrial site more attractive to potential developers. 

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Quick police work coupled with private surveillance footage landed a Haywood County woman behind bars on several counts related to the partial burning of several American flags. 

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The affordable housing crisis in Western North Carolina isn’t anything new, but it is entering a dangerous new phase due to ever-increasing home values, limited supply and a red-hot real estate market that has refused to use the Coronavirus Pandemic as an excuse to cool down.

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Trends in several key coronavirus metrics are stabilizing or declining, leading North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to let up on some restrictions that have been in place for months.

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The faces of more than 2,000 overdose victims – many from North Carolina, and some from Haywood County – will be on display this coming Monday, in commemoration of International Overdose Day.

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President Donald Trump made an appearance in Mills River on Monday, touting a food program designed to reduce food insecurity and retain jobs in North Carolina’s critically important agriculture sector. 

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Even Hollywood screenwriters would be hard-pressed to craft a more quintessentially American story.

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While the big news out of the Democratic National Convention thus far may be the formal nomination of Joe Biden last night, former NC11 Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler — who held the seat before Rep. Mark Meadows — wants Western North Carolina to know that there’s big news coming tonight as well.

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Acclaimed Appalachian writer and poet Ron Rash has made a substantial impact on American literature during his three-decade career, but one of his most enduring legacies may be the influence he’s had on a whole crop of younger writers, like Jackson County author David Joy.

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The Coronavirus Pandemic may have left plans for Canton’s historic Labor Day festival up in the air, but a new idea launched by town officials Aug. 13 means things are looking up. 

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The window for the public to provide input on an important planning document is drawing to a close, but given the initial response to the Waynesville 2035 plan, there may not be much more to say. 

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Rallies expressing support for law enforcement officers and agencies are starting to become commonplace in Western North Carolina, but as the election draws near, Republican candidates are asserting more and more ownership of the “back the badge” movement. 

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Republican Madison Cawthorn and Democrat Moe Davis, candidates for the North Carolina congressional seat left vacant by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, have both agreed to appear at a two-day joint forum hosted by three of the district’s largest media outlets.

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An Aug. 13 Instagram post alleges improper behavior by North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn during a date six years ago, and although Cawthorn acknowledges the incident and that his actions were inappropriate, he says his accuser is being used by Democrats as an election-year tool.

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It’s been almost exactly 100 years since the 19th Amendment — often called the Anthony Amendment — was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920.

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When the United States Constitution was adopted in 1787, left to the states was the power to determine who should be allowed to vote in elections. While several states indeed permitted some women to vote in various elections, the right of suffrage was far from universal. 

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Although the seven-day rolling average of positive COVID-19 tests continues to trend downwards across the state of North Carolina, western counties are beginning to see huge upticks in both cases and deaths. 

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After more than two years of planning and public presentations the Town of Waynesville’s new comprehensive land use plan is ready for a vote by aldermen, but not before a final pair of public hearings.

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As the largest North Carolina town west of Asheville, Waynesville often sets the bar for how other municipal governments handle issues of governance. Although it’s among the worst in terms of gender balance in the workplace, Waynesville’s leaders are now attempting to set an example of how to deal with it. 

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From the very birth of this nation, the words “All men are created equal” never really meant all men, and it certainly didn’t mean women. 

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The Aug. 1 Black Lives Matter demonstration in Maggie Valley may have been bigger and louder than its predecessor on July 18, but it was also something else — safer.

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Some new rules will be in place for all future protest activity in Maggie Valley after the town’s board unanimously approved an ordinance meant to minimize what Mayor Mike Eveland called “chaotic and grossly confrontational encounters” that took place at a previous demonstration.

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As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to grow in both size and scope, educators across the country and the state have had to make some difficult decisions on how to proceed. When the Haywood County Schools Board of Education got their chance to weigh in on July 22, the board approved a “cautious” plan intended to slowly transition from remote-only to in-person learning over a period of weeks. 

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A rally hosted by Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland in downtown Franklin July 25 drew hundreds of law enforcement officers and spectators as well as a who’s who of Western North Carolina elected officials and candidates, all with one simple message: “We’ve got your back.”

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Despite seemingly doing everything right, a long-term care facility in Haywood County is now reporting 36 cases of COVID-19, spread among residents and staff. 

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Two congressional candidates vying to represent a district where one municipality has already passed a resolution exploring reparations for its Black community each hold radically different views on the controversial topic, and they’ve both come out swinging — foreshadowing what’s likely to be a bitter and hard-fought campaign this fall.

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In response to an adversarial demonstration that took place on July 18 and in anticipation of a repeat on Aug. 1, the Town of Maggie Valley has scheduled a special called meeting for July 30 to discuss a newly-proposed protest ordinance.

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After being temporarily relieved of his day-to-day duties on July 13 following a controversial July 10 Facebook post, Haywood County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte has been fully reinstated after an investigation by the Haywood County Schools Board of Education. 

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After more than two years of funding an economic development partnership between the Haywood and Asheville chambers of commerce that’s resulted in lots of bites but no actual catches, Haywood County commissioners approved a change in how economic development monies will be spent in the future, in hopes of finally landing “the big one.”

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Competing theories as to the nature of proposed police reform have emerged, with one being that law enforcement budgets should be cut drastically and the other being that they should be increased drastically. 

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