App-alling: Trump budget gut shot to down-and-out Appalachia

Many rural Americans who voted for Donald Trump last November did so based on his promise to cut the federal deficit and rein in spending. When he announced his preliminary budget proposal March 16, however, Democrats and Republicans alike were shocked at the extent of proposed cuts to programs that serve some of the nation’s poorest rural communities.

The digital divide is still way too wide

It was just a press release, one among the dozens a week that media outlets receive and that may or may not make it into the paper, on TV, on the radio or on a website. When it came across my computer screen, though, it seemed suddenly clear to me that it was symbolic of how our economic development priorities have to change.

“Gov. Cooper recommends eight Western North Carolina projects for ARC funding,” read the headline. Looking at the eight projects revealed that of the $3 million the Appalachian Regional Commission will most likely award, $1,374,714 was for an access road to a new development in Morganton and another $873,509 was to repave a road to an existing industrial site in Rutherford County.

Commission candidates talk internet, infrastructure

Haywood County Commission candidates faced off last Thursday at a forum hosted by The Mountaineer, and while there wasn’t a lot of dissention among them, the questions they received provide insight into the needs and wants of Haywood County residents.

High-speed internet project plods along

The all-important push to bring high-speed internet to Western North Carolina generated a lot of optimism earlier this summer when the town of Waynesville and the Land of Sky Regional Council entered into an agreement with the goal of expanding high-speed internet service to the area. 

Waynesville enters agreement to expand broadband

haywoodThe lack of high-speed internet in Western North Carolina has been more than just an annoyance to Netflix binge-watchers — it’s also seen as one of the region’s largest economic development challenges.

Solving Jackson’s last-mile internet challenge will take time and money

jacksonWhen Travis Lewis was hit with a $600 charge for going over his monthly cell phone data allotment two years ago, he was taken aback to say the least.

SkyFi aims for 11 new wireless towers

jacksonJackson commissioners were put in a tough spot this month by county staff seeking special treatment for wireless internet towers that would exempt them from the typical oversight and public hearing process for erecting towers.

Broadband master plan in the works for Haywood

haywoodFinding a solution to the lack of high-speed internet in rural Western North Carolina has been on the minds of economic development officials for some time now.

Skyrunner helps rural neighborhoods get connected

fr skyrunnerIt’s hard to believe there are still developed neighborhoods in Haywood County that can’t get internet access or even landline telephone service, but it is a major problem in certain areas.

Skyrunner offers wireless solutions for rural communities

coverMelanie Williams was fed up. She could no longer run her web design business from her Crabtree home with the slow DSL internet speed from a cable provider. 

SEE ALSO:
• Skyrunner helps rural neighborhoods get connected
• Broadband master plan in the works for Haywood

“I was working on an e-commerce website for a client and I needed to add 100 products with corresponding images but it was taking about an hour for each photo to upload,” she said. “It was becoming a huge expense because I’d have to go into town to be able to work, and I couldn’t haul all my equipment around with me.”

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