Hannah McLeod

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After the Parents Bill of Rights passed the General Assembly in August, local boards of education are determining how to align school policies with the legislation. Swain County Schools will have to revise several of its existing policies to come under compliance with the new law. 

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Last week, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction released performance and growth data for the 2022-23 school year, and none of the four school districts in the Smoky Mountain News coverage area received a low-performing state designation. 

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Jackson residents and members of the LGBTQ+ community are calling on County Commissioner John Smith to apologize following comments he made regarding the Mx. Sylva Pride Pageant and the queer community in general. 

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In April, Sylva received the results of an in-depth botanical survey of Pinnacle Park, and now the town is in the process of creating a master plan for the property.

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After graduating its first senior class in the spring of 2022, Summit Charter School has broken ground on phase II of a high school expansion that will include a new building. 

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The third annual Sylva Pride Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at Bridge Park in downtown Sylva. 

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After months of back and forth, the Macon County School Board has approved a lease agreement for the Higdon property, purchased by the county earlier this year for use by the school system. 

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When Jason Gregory presented his new book on the history of manufacturing in Sylva at the Jackson County Public Library in August, the room was filled with residents who have a deeply personal connection to the stories Gregory wrote. 

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The Town of Sylva has reinstated misdemeanor charges for discharging a firearm or a Molotov cocktail in town limits after state legislation decriminalized all town ordinances in 2021.

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Union Academy, an alternative high school in Macon County, will henceforth be known as Bartram Academy, home of the Explorers.

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The 2023 Mx. Sylva Pride Pageant wasn’t all glitz, glamour, pomp and pageantry, as social media threats and agitated protesters warranted the involvement of law enforcement. 

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With the Fontana Regional Library agreement up for its 10-year review, Jackson, Macon and Swain county commissions are taking a look at the document. 

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The Highlands Middle School renovation project went out to bid in May, but after two rounds in which only one bid was received, commissioners rejected the bid and revisit the project at the end of the year.

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A few months ago, issues arose about the placement of certain LGBTQ+ books in the Macon County Public Library.

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Autopsy results for the October death of a man in custody at the Jackson County Detention Center confirm that he died of a drug overdose. 

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  This year the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 100 years of work and involvement in its community — fostering both economic development and future leaders.

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Now that Sylva Pipes is up and running with a temporary half-pipe, commissioners are looking at next steps for the skate community.

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After Macon County declared its intent to purchase the Higdon property earlier this year, there was some confusion  as to how the property would be used.

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A criminal charge against the Shining Rock Classical Academy parent accused of cyberstalking has been dismissed. 

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There are several outstanding variables that will affect budgets for local charter schools in the coming school year — average daily membership, the state budget and state legislation, to name a few.

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The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority has selected two projects to be funded with occupancy tax dollars — one in Sylva and one in Dillsboro. Both projects are intended to benefit both residents and tourists alike. 

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Jackson County Commissioners are set to approve two grant-funded positions aimed at substance use disorder recovery and treatment during a regular meeting this week with little controversy.

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Shining Rock Classical Academy is hitting pause on plans for expansion of its school building — now untenable due to rising interest rates — even as the school population continues to grow. 

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Jackson County Schools recently approved an agreement to undergo a master planning process that will move the school system one step closer to securing a middle school. 

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After some pushback from Commissioner John Shearl, Macon County has approved three changes to the solid waste fee structure for fiscal year 2023-24. 

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If Macon County succeeds in constructing a new high school, which could be contingent on receiving a Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund grant , the school system will consolidate Union Academy and Franklin High School into the same campus. 

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Jackson County has approved a plan to pay employees for assisting with the “unprecedented rate” of residential foster care services provided for children in the custody of the Jackson County Department of Social Services. 

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More students in Macon, Jackson and Haywood counties will receive free breakfast and lunch in the coming school year thanks to the Community Eligibility Provision and work by local school nutrition departments.

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The Haywood County School Board has approved the acquisition of a parcel of land off Ratcliff Cove Road for the construction of a facility that would consolidate several of its auxiliary services. 

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The Macon County Commission unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the Macon County School Board this month concerning the new Franklin High School.

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Jackson County has received a grant from Dogwood Health Trust to create a substance abuse recovery planning program over a two-year period. 

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Jackson County has had to rework the design for its domestic violence shelter after cost estimates came in well over the amount the county had budgeted for the project. 

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After weeks of heated discussion and back and forth over both revenue and expenditures, the Macon County Commission approved the 2023-24 budget with just a few deviations from the draft version proposed last month. It maintained the proposed tax rate that will be the lowest property tax rate in the state of North Carolina for the coming fiscal year.

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There will be legal penalties for camping on the Little Tennessee River Greenway in Macon County after the County Commission updated the ordinance that regulates use of the greenway last week.

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Skaters in Sylva finally have a place to ride in their own backyard after the opening of Sylva Pipes — a set of temporary skateboarding amenities constructed downtown.  

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Two organizations committed to helping individuals and families in the community officially opened new offices in Sylva on Thursday, June 1. Mountain Projects and Center for Domestic Peace often work in tandem to help clients, and now that work will be facilitated by connected office space.

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For the third year in a row, First United Methodist Church in Waynesville is teaming up with community partners to celebrate Juneteenth — the federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. But while the event has taken place at Lake Junaluska in past years, this year, the community is invited to celebrate on Academy Street just outside of FUMC for a day of music, games, storytelling, food and good company.

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As the weather warms and we have access to more local produce, I am craving all things fresh. With a light lemon/ dill dressing, this salad satisfies that craving completely. It works perfectly as a side dish in a larger meal, but with protein from the chickpeas and almonds, it can also serve as a light lunch or dinner on its own. Try it served over fresh greens for a hearty salad. To make vegan, just leave out the feta cheese. 

An application to use Bridge Park and Main Street for the annual Pride event has led the Town of Sylva to a larger discussion about safety and the use of town resources for events held downtown.

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Town Manager Paige Dowling officially presented the proposed 2023-24 budget to the Sylva Board of Commissioners during its May 11 meeting. Next, the public will have its opportunity for input during the 5:30 p.m. T, May 25 meeting of the town board.

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Haywood Community College has long been a foundation of education and job training in the region; the college will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2025.

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