Hannah McLeod

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Marianna Black Library is set for a major expansion and renovation thanks to funding from several parties, including a large allotment in the state budget. 

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In a rare split vote, the Haywood County School Board approved the hiring of a new head football coach for the Pisgah Bears — Rick Brindley.

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After the last school year, Haywood County Schools held onto its seventh-place ranking in the state, out of 115 school districts, in academic performance. The school system first attained this historic high-water mark during the 2021-22 school year, prior to which it was ranked 10th. 

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With Allen Street now operational, the Town of Sylva is set to begin work on renovations to Bryson Park. But before any decisions are made about what that work will entail, the town is soliciting input from members of the public about what they would like to see at the upgraded park.

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With three new members seated following November elections, the Sylva Town Council is once again considering an update to the Streets and Sidewalks section of its code of ordinances to include a section on panhandling. 

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The Town of Franklin will be the latest municipality in North Carolina to implement a social district after the town council unanimously voted to adopt the ordinance during its first meeting of the new year. 

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The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is poised to deploy several cameras around the county with automatic license plate readers in an attempt to combat crime more efficiently. 

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The race for Board of Education in Jackson County is one step closer to being moved to November elections after county commissioners signed a resolution in support of the change. 

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There is a new director at the head of the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department, after commissioners made their selection official late last month. 

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Macon County will see a change of leadership for the coming year after the county commission unanimously voted to appoint a new member to the chairmanship. 

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After Macon County proposed several changes to the Fontana Regional Library system agreement, Jackson County commissioners are taking a look at the recommendations to determine what will work, and what won’t. 

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Despite the intention by some commissioners to make the school board race partisan in Macon County, it will remain non-partisan, in part due to an outpouring of opposition from both the public and members of the current school board. 

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The race for Jackson County Board of Education is unique in that it is decided during the Primary Election, despite being non-partisan. Now, the Jackson County Commission is considering changing the date of that race to the General Election in hopes of involving more of the electorate. 

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The Town of Franklin will move forward with a public hearing for its proposed social district, despite inaction from the county on the town’s request to include three parcels of county property. 

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Macon County Schools will follow the example of several other school districts and consider a policy on administration of Narcan. 

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One of Haywood County’s used bookstores is entering its next chapter with a change of ownership and a continuation of tradition. 

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After county commissioners considered signing a resolution in support of transitioning the Macon County Board of Education to a partisan-elected body, the school board has made clear their vehement opposition to the change. 

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Haywood County Schools recently received two grants from Dogwood Health Trust. One will benefit students at the Haywood Community Learning Center, and another will help fund mental health support services in elementary and middle grades. 

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Less than a month after Jackson County Manager Don Adams announced his resignation, commissioners have appointed an interim to fill the post. 

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Without discussion or stated reasoning, Macon County commissioners decided not to allow Franklin to use county property for its proposed social district. 

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Macon County Emergency Services Director Warren Cabe came before the Board of Commissioners this month to outline problems his department is having with staffing and interfacility transportation.

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Macon County Commissioners are divided over a resolution in support of revising the system to elect county commissioners in order to allow for two at-large members. 

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With the 10-year Fontana Regional Library agreement up for review, commissions in all three counties are considering changes to the document.

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In a public meeting that lasted more than five hours, Macon County Commissioners approved premium pay for county employees, 3-2. However, the debate was heated, and Commissioner John Shearl called for County Manager Derek Roland’s resignation. 

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After contentious debate over the decision to make the Macon County Board of Education partisan-elected, county commissioners tabled the issue to get input from school board members and the public. 

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The Sylva Town Council could have three new members, including a new mayor after vote totals become official later this week. 

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After delays due to funding and insufficient bids, Sylva is set to begin work on the Bridge Park Green Infrastructure project after accepting a bid during the Nov. 9 town councilmeeting. 

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The Haywood County School Board moved quickly to approve a new principal for Waynesville Middle School after the sudden departure of previous Principal Jennifer Reeves. 

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In order to fairly compensate non-certified employees with several years of service to the school system, Jackson County Public Schools has instituted a new local salary decompression schedule. 

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To save money after bids for the downtown public restroom project came in over budget, Sylva will move forward without installing the intended solar panels. 

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With unofficial results in, Highlands has elected one newcomer, Jeff Weller, to its Board of Commissioners.

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Unofficial votes are in, and Sylva voters have selected not only a new mayor, but two new council members as well.

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The Jackson County Board of Commissioners decided it intends to grant the loan request from Summit Charter School in the amount of $2.5 million. 

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After more than seven years as county manager, Don Adams will leave the post by the end of the year. 

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A new independent private school is set to open in Sylva by fall of 2025, with a focus on serving gifted and talented students. 

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A slew of childcare centers in the region will be closing by the end of the month, leaving the families of about 300 children with the difficult task of obtaining childcare on short notice at a time when access is limited.

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Highlands will have at least one new member on its Board of Commissioners after Election Day this November. 

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Jackson County will soon join four other North Carolina counties taking part in a pilot program that aims to support its foster care program through direct financial assistance. 

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This year, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that allows charter schools to request capital funding from their local board of commissioners.

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A disciplinary incident at Shining Rock Classical Academy last month resulted in a fractured wrist for one student. 

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The Jackson County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing over the possible consolidation of the Department of Health and Department of Social Services on Tuesday, Oct. 3. Despite receiving almost an hour of public comments from people opposed to the move, and three out of five commissioners expressing opposition, the board chose to proceed with the discussion.  

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Three seats are up for election this November on the Sylva Town Council, and six candidates are competing for those spots.

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The Jackson County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing over the possible consolidation of the Department of Health and Department of Social Services on Oct. 3. Despite receiving almost an hour of public comments from people opposed to the move, the board chose to proceed forward and will discuss the issue further during a work session this Tuesday, Oct. 10.

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When Sylva residents go to the polls, they will be choosing a mayor to lead the town through several big projects lined up on the horizon. 

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Franklin, Webster, Bryson City and the Village of Forest Hills all have multiple seats up for election this year on their town boards, and each candidate running for those seats is doing so unopposed. 

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Macon County Commissioners have adopted a master plan for the county’s recreation center and surrounding park.

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The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will likely move to consolidate the Department of Health and the Department of Social Services during its October meeting.

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The Sylva Board of Commissioners recently received a presentation on Safe Haven Boxes — a program that allows for the anonymous surrender of infants.

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With accountability data released from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, all charter schools in the Smoky Mountain News’ four-county coverage area showed an increase in the percentage of students passing state exams during the 2022-23 school year compared to 2021-22 school year. 

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