Kyle Perrotti

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Heated speculation lit up social media the night of Oct. 3. The rumor: The 2022 County Clash wouldn’t take place at Tuscola’s C.E. Weatherby Stadium as planned, but rather at the Bethel Middle School football field.

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The Town of Maggie Valley is encouraging residents to participate in developing its upcoming land-use plan. 

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To be a sheriff in North Carolina is to be the most powerful elected official in a county.

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An officer who risked her own safety to save the lives of others was hailed as a hero last week as she received honors from both the Maggie Valley Police Department and the region’s representatives in Raleigh.

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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that John Shearl ran unopposed in his party's primary, which is not accurate. Shearl defeated fellow Republican Don Willis with 58.6% of the vote in the primary.

Macon County has three commission seats up for grabs this year, and with so many large capital projects and other challenges down the line, the outcome of the races for those seats may determine how and when resources are provided to complete those projects and meet those challenges.

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The issues facing Swain County are similar to those in other Western North Carolina communities — an affordable housing shortage, a boom in short term rentals, a laundry list of large projects that need to be tackled — but its geography, demographics and economic makeup differ from many of its neighbors, given its relatively sparse population and the amount of federal land within its borders.

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Haywood County Regional Medical Center CEO Greg Caples has informed hospital staff that he is stepping down.

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Will White can prepare you to survive just about any situation.

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A Haywood County man confirmed on the record in Superior Court that he killed his girlfriend’s 9-month-old daughter.

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Just two weeks after a lawsuit was filed to dissolve Ghost Town in the Sky, LLC — the company that claims to be developing the former amusement park — attorneys representing the party wishing to keep it intact has filed to move the case to the state’s business court.

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Ben Wilson recently got around to looking at footage from security cameras at his home captured the day he watched the bloated East Fork of the Pigeon River shoot through his house as he clung to a tree.

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Exactly one year after a flash flood killed six people and wreaked havoc in Haywood County, BearWaters Brewing Company is hosting an event to honor the lives lost while also celebrating the strength the community showed amid the disaster. 

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The foreclosure auction to see who will get the property that’s housed Elevated Mountain Distilling Company since 2016 has ended with Kenneth Wells of Key West, Florida coming away with the top bid of $630,000.

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Amid a tough time for law enforcement when stories about good officers leaving the profession dominate headlines, the Waynesville Police Department is losing one of its most experienced and respected officers. But while many leave law enforcement due to burnout or poor workplace culture, Lt. Tyler Trantham’s exit is different — it’s a matter of faith.

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A feud brewing between Rep. Mike Clampitt (R-Swain) and the governments of Swain County and Bryson City reached a new level over the last couple of weeks as officials balked at Clampitt’s plea for the two entities to consolidate their emergency services.

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The conversation around police reform has cooled down slightly over the last year, but that doesn’t mean law enforcement agencies around the state aren’t quietly implementing new policies — policies that came on the heels of the movement that gained steam after George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020.

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The United States Supreme Court shocked the world during its last term, issuing several rulings that had most conservatives cheering and liberals mournful over what they claim is a politicized judiciary.

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As towns and counties across Western North Carolina grow and attract more visitors, the services provided by those places must grow, as well. 

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As Pisgah Legal Services continues to grow and better serve its clientele, a key challenge has simply been getting word of its ability to help low-income households out to the public.

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The foreclosure auction for Maggie Valley’s beloved Elevated Mountain Distillery kicked off on May 24, and although it could have been over quickly if there was no interest, it’s still ongoing with three bidders intent on one-upping each other. 

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As summer officially begins and people gather for holiday celebrations, the American Red Cross reminds communities that patients are counting now on the generosity of blood and platelet donors, especially around the Fourth of July. 

The Red Cross sees about a 21% decline in blood and platelet donations during holiday weeks, including Independence Day. When blood donations drop, so does the blood supply, making it extremely challenging to ensure blood is available when hospitals need it.  

By scheduling and keeping appointments in July, donors can help provide for those in immediate need of lifesaving care. To schedule an appointment to donate, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1.800.RED.CROSS (1.800.733.2767).  

As a thank-you for helping, all those who come to give June 30-July 10 will receive an exclusive Red Cross recycled cotton tote bag, while supplies last.  

Upcoming blood donation opportunities July 1-15: 

Buncombe

Arden

7/8/2022: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Lowe's 2201 Arden, 19 McKenna Road

Asheville

7/1/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/1/2022: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Asheville Outlets, 800 Brevard Rd

7/2/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/3/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:15 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/4/2022: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/5/2022: 9:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/6/2022: 11:45 a.m. - 6:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/8/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/9/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/10/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:15 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/11/2022: 12:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/12/2022: 9:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/13/2022: 11:45 a.m. - 6:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/15/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/15/2022: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Mt Herman Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway Street

7/16/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/17/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:15 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/18/2022: 12:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/19/2022: 9:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/20/2022: 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., MAHEC - Biltmore Campus, 121 Hendersonville Road

7/20/2022: 11:45 a.m. - 6:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

7/22/2022: 7:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Asheville Blood Donation Center, 100 Edgewood Road

Black Mountain

7/5/2022: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Black Mountain YMCA, 25 Jane Jacobs Rd.

7/8/2022: 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., First Baptist Church of Black Mountain, 130 Montreat Rd

7/14/2022: 1:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, 117 Montreat Road

Candler

7/2/2022: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Enka Fire Dept, 85 Pisgah Highway

7/20/2022: 3 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Hominy Baptist Church - The Ministry Center, 135 Candler School Road

Fairview

7/22/2022: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Fairview Fire Department, 1586 Charlotte Highway

Swannanoa

7/15/2022: 2 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., One Focus Church, 372 Bee Tree Rd

7/16/2022: 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Harley Davidson of Asheville, 20 Patton Cove Road

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Cherokee

Andrews

7/11/2022: 1:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., Andrews United Methodist Church, 101 Chestnut Street

Marble

7/6/2022: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Marble Springs Baptist Church, 80 Marble Springs Church Rd.

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Clay

Hayesville

7/6/2022: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Clay Co. Community Services Bldg, 25 Riverside Circle

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Graham

Robbinsville

7/22/2022: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Graham County Department of Public Health, 191 P and J Road

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Haywood

Canton

7/11/2022: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Center Pigeon Fire Dept., 2412 Pisgah Drive, Highway 110

7/15/2022: 2 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Morning Star United Methodist Church, 2535 Dutch Cove Road

7/21/2022: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Canton First Baptist Church, 74 Academy St.

Clyde

7/9/2022: 7:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Crabtree United Methodist Church, 5405 Crabtree Road

Lake Junaluska

7/21/2022: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Junaluska Fire Department, 90 Old Clyde Rd

Maggie Valley

7/5/2022: 1:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., Maggie Valley United Methodist Church, 4192 Soco Rd

Waynesville

7/13/2022: 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Senior Resource Center, 81 Elmwood Way

7/18/2022: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Apply4Medical2Day, 1523 S. Main Street

7/19/2022: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m., Long's Chapel UMC, 133 Old Clyde Rd.

7/20/2022: 1 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., First Baptist Church Waynesville, 100 S. Main Street

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Henderson

Hendersonville

7/5/2022: 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Henderson County Offices, 211 1st Avenue East

7/18/2022: 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Henderson County Offices, 211 1st Avenue East

7/21/2022: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Henderson County Offices, 211 1st Avenue East

Mills River

7/22/2022: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mills River Town Hall, 124 Town Center Dr

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Macon

Franklin

7/20/2022: 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Food Lion Franklin, 245 Macon Plaza Drive

7/22/2022: 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Lowe's 0717 Franklin, 161 Franklin Plaza, Georgia Highway

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Swain

Cherokee

7/7/2022: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Yellow Hill Community Center, 1416 Acquoni Rd

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Transylvania

Brevard

7/13/2022: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., First Baptist Church, 122 Gaston St.

Pisgah Forest

7/1/2022: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Anchor baptist Church, 3232 Hendersonville Hwy.

Health insights for donors 

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.    

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.  

Blood drive safety 

The Red Cross follows a high standard of safety and infection control. The Red Cross will continue to socially distance wherever possible at blood drives, donation centers and facilities. While donors are no longer required to wear a face mask, individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask for any reason. The Red Cross will also adhere to more stringent face mask requirements per state and/or local guidance, or at the request of blood drive sponsors. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at a drive.  

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

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The Quin Theater shut its doors in April, but thanks to two veterans of the industry, it will find new life as Catamount Cinemas.

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Mountain Projects had much to celebrate last week. 

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Vecinos, a free and charitable clinic providing bilingual primary and behavioral health care in Western North Carolina, is leading a $5.6 million effort to better serve the region’s uninsured and low-income residents by bringing multiple health and social services under one roof.

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Short term rentals have existed in resort towns for decades, but as Airbnb and similar services have made them more popular around the country, Highlands has moved to ban most new STRs, leaving the community divided on what’s become a critical issue. 

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A man currently in jail on charges of kidnapping and assault may soon be charged with murder if search warrants related to the case are any indication.

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The building housing Elevated Mountain Distilling Company, a fixture in Maggie Valley for over five years, is facing foreclosure and the bids have already started pouring in as interested parties jockey to see who will end up with the property.

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The path for Democrats to win back rural voters who once aligned with the party decades ago isn’t smooth; it’s a dirt road, long and windy. But as tough as that route is to navigate, Canyon Woodward may have the roadmap.

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A State of Emergency has been declared in Haywood County due to ongoing risk of flash flooding. 

The proclamation was implemented May 26 at 3:20 p.m. and released publicly about an hour later and notes that a flash flood warning has been issued that, as of 4:40 p.m., will be in effect until 8 p.m. May 26.

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The voters of Macon County have spoken, and three of the seven Republicans — John Shearl, Danny Antoine and Gary Shields — will advance to November’s General Election for the three open seats on the Macon County Board of Commissioners. 

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Haywood Electric Membership Corporation installed its first-ever solar array to power its own headquarters’ operations, and its likely not the company’s last foray into that arena.

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A recount has been called in the Macon County Sheriff’s race after Election day totals indicated Dereck Jones lost to Brent Holbrooks by just 54 votes — putting Jones within the 1% threshold required to do so.

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When I came back to The Smoky Mountain News after six months away from journalism, one of my first trips was to the Haywood County Courthouse. 

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Some catastrophes happen in the blink of an eye, while others develop so slowly they’re imperceptible, like a crack in a levee propagating below the waterline.

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Among all the primary races decided Tuesday, some of the most important in Western North Carolina were to determine which Sheriff candidates would represent their party in November’s General Election. And in Macon County, Tuesday’s winner is now the automatic winner since all the candidates were also Republicans.

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Following last Tuesday’s Primary Election, two Swain County Republicans will advance to November’s General Election. 

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The voters of Macon County have spoken, and two of the seven Republicans running — Danny Antoine and Gary Shields — will advance to November’s General Election. Another, John Shearl, won’t have to wait until November to learn his fate as no Democrats are running for that seat.

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When President Donald Trump appointed conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court, there was an outcry among pro-choice activists afraid Roe v. Wade — the 1973 case that protects a woman’s right to an abortion — would be overturned.

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As more states have pledged their commitment to reducing carbon emissions over the last decade, North Carolina has begun to follow suit.

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The clerk of court is a humble albeit crucial office, an elected position filled by someone willing to ensure the county courthouse runs smoothly and without logistical issues. This year, Macon County Clerk Victor Perry will retire, meaning a new person will be tasked with bringing the office into a new age of technology.  

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Several problems and opportunities await Macon County’s next board of commissioners.

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Among the sheriffs retiring in Western North Carolina who will leave big shoes to fill is Macon County’s Robert Holland, who has served in that position for almost two decades.

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As increasing child abuse rates continue to plague many homes in Haywood County, a recent red herring took hold on social media, leading the Waynesville Police Department and Haywood County Sheriff’s Office to investigate an alleged human trafficking ring that doesn’t seem to exist.

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Swain County’s Board of Commissioners will have two new members this year, at least one of whom will emerge from the upcoming Republican Primary Election. 

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At the end of every dictator’s reign, every time a warlord has been held to account, its due to the work of people who seek justice without pause or fatigue.

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The Clyde Fire Department’ assistant chief and his wife have been charged with embezzling money from the department. 

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A recent poll commissioned by the N.C. Values Coalition found that most prospective Republican primary voters know who they’ll likely cast a ballot for in the U.S. Senate race, with most in favor of either Ted Budd (32%) or Pat McCrory (29%) and only 25% saying they’re undecided. 

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A fire that began Monday afternoon on Sheepback Mountain in Maggie Valley and initially spread quickly was 100% contained as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5. 

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A fire that began on Sheepback Mountain in Maggie Valley Monday afternoon has grown to 50-75 acres as of 8:40 p.m.

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Atop a hill on the western edge of Bryson City, Sossamon Airfield has sat mostly unused for quite some time, but that may change over the next few years.

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