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Help keep WNC’s hiking trails in shape by joining on of the Carolina Mountain Club’s many ongoing maintenance crews. 

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A new project in Waynesville involving the Richland Creek Greenway and new park property across Richland Creek in front of the Waynesville Recreation Center is in the planning stages, and public input is needed. 

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During its business meeting Feb. 25, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reviewed proposed rule changes and accepted 40 of them. 

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Newfound Gap Road has been designated an All-American Road, joining the Blue Ridge Parkway in claiming a designation that recognizes it as one of the country’s most scenic roads. 

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Haywood County Health and Human Services have received notice of another COVID-19 death, bringing the total number now to 94.

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The Jackson County Department of Public Health (JCDPH) has transitioned to a new online scheduling portal, https://myspot.nc.gov/. To make an appointment through this online portal, follow these steps:

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Macon County has identified an additional rabies positive raccoon, bring the total of rabies positive wildlife detected in Macon County to seven since December 2020.

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By Tom Fiedler | Asheville Watchdog — Back in 2006, when Scott Shuford was Asheville’s planning director, he reluctantly accepted a friend’s invitation to attend a meeting about the impact of climate change on local governments. 

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Thomas “Tommy” Glenn Palmer, 38, recently admitted in a Jackson County courtroom he shot and killed his stepfather, Tim Norris, in February 2016, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.

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By Lilly Knoepp — Growing up in Franklin, Barbara McRae was everywhere. It felt like she has always been in the community. As long as I can remember, her columns with that distinctive headshot in the Franklin Press educated me about the often-overlooked facets of the county. “Backyard Naturalist” and “Know Your County” always grabbed me with new facts about a local plant or a story that I had never heard about the history of in Macon County. 

When a registered nurse and an engineer combine passion with determination, beautiful things happen. Kyle Holman and Athena Garcia-Holman moved to Western North Carolina from Kansas City on January 1, 2017. It was a new year and a new beginning for this couple who traveled with their dog and young daughter halfway across the country in search of self-sustaining farmland.

Let’s take a look at one of the top protein performers in the dairy section.

A concerning number of goldfinch and pine siskin birds have been reported dead across the state over the past few weeks, and preliminary results from carcass testing point to salmonellosis, a common bacterial disease linked to birdfeeders.

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Invasive zebra mussels have been found in commercially available aquatic moss balls in North Carolina, and consumers who have purchased any such balls in the past month are urged to properly destroy them and clean their aquariums.

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A new flower species has been found in a South Carolina county bordering the Western North Carolina mountains, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

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By Case Brown • Guest Columnist | The on-and-off again investment deals for the embattled Ghost Town amusement park are familiar to anyone who reads these pages. Multiple meandering deals and their abrupt course corrections feel remarkably like the Black Widow ride that used to jerkily sling mountain ilk around to the soothing sounds of raging death metal picked by the latest pimpled carnie operator.

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To the Editor:

In last week’s edition of The Smoky Mountain News the editor gave us his thoughts of the bill in Congress to address childhood poverty by giving middle-income and low-income families $300 or $250 per child per month (until the child reaches 18 years of age in the original plan).

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To the Editor:

In the recent election Joe Biden received a majority of 7.1 million popular votes and 74 Electoral College votes. With this overwhelming number of votes, he could have lost the election if his opponent had received 270 of the 538 total electoral votes. With only a 65,000-vote swing from the 7.1 million majority this could have happened. Five times in history presidential candidates have won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College.

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Key Updates:  Haywood County’s Mass Vaccination clinic will move this week to a new temporary location at the Lambuth Inn at Lake Junaluska due to a scheduling conflict at the Smoky Mountain Event Center. A separate press release on this change will be forthcoming. As always, this clinic is only for those with an appointment.

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Haywood Community College recently held a Groundbreaking Ceremony on campus for the Health Sciences Education Building. During the ceremony, those in attendance heard remarks from HCC Board of Trustees Chair George Marshall, HCC President Dr. Shelley White, Haywood Healthcare Foundation Chair Anthony Sutton and Haywood County Board of Commissioners Chair Kevin Ensley.

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Gibbins Advisors is scheduling an informational online meeting open to all communities in Western North Carolina served by Mission Health. The webinar will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7.

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 I love the flavor of mint, but I’m not a fan of food coloring. Today’s recipe offers the amazing taste of a traditional shamrock shake without the unnecessary green color. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up next week, this is a festive and healthy-ish treat for everyone in the family! 

By Megan McLeod Trawick

The 2021 ozone season began March 1, signaling the resumption of daily air quality forecasts across North Carolina. 

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After 10 years running the WNC Regional Livestock Market, John Queen is retiring from the job, and the WNC Communities Board of Directors announced that Doctors Steven and Melissa Matthews, a veterinarian group that currently operates the Cleveland County Agriculture Livestock Exchange in Shelby, will take his place. 

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A 175-acre prescribed burn is planned for this week along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Wears Valley to the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, on the Tennessee side of the park. 

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A partnership between the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and Brevard-based Black Folks Camp Too is expected to encourage outdoor participation and engagement with diverse communities.

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The “Spirit of the Smokies” certificate program is starting up again, offered by the University of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain Field School for adults who love the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and desire a deeper connection to this landscape. This will be the field school’s 44th season.

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To the Editor:

I am so sick of hearing this argument that we’re “changing” or “erasing” history by changing statues or county namesakes. The history of the Civil War and the history of how we treated Native Americans in this country will always be the same, because the past is the past. However, we can choose which parts of history we want to honor. Statues, memorials, and namesakes are created to honor people or events. Should we have statues honoring people who fought for a cause that, at its core, was over slavery? Should we have our county be named after a man who forced people off the land they’d inhabited for thousands of years so that white people could live there? 

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To the Editor:

The other day a friend of mine made this remark: “I never want to hear Trump supporters mention morality (as in the Moral Majority) again. They have bowed down to his steady stream of lies as though the rest of us merely have to accept lying as a way of life in America.”

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To the Editor:

I’m writing to express my outrage regarding Madison Cawthorn’s bogus attempt to defend his proxy vote when the House of Representatives voted on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. His first offense was trying to project blame on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,claiming she purposely changed the floor schedule knowing that he and about 10 other Republican members were scheduled to speak on Friday at CPAC in Orlando. Speaker Pelosi is a master vote counter and it’s not uncommon for her to modify the floor schedule if there’s an issue that needs further attention before calling for a vote.  She knew how Cawthorn and his CPAC comrades were going to vote, so she had no need to work around them. 

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To the Editor:

Voting records show that North Carolina and Haywood County had the largest voter turnout ever in the last election. That’s great, because our democracy depends on citizens voting. And that’ whey it’s important to understand the proposed voting rights act that is heading to the U.S. Senate for consideration. It was created from well-established voting practices, from both red and blue states. 

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While summer camps were on hiatus during the height of the pandemic in 2020, many camps in Western North Carolina are reopening for summer 2021 with COVID-19 protocols in place. Parents will need to plan now to reserve a spot at some of the more popular week-long camps.

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The Natti Love Joys will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 20, at Lazy Hiker Brewing in Franklin.

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There will be a wide array of new and ongoing art classes offered in the coming weeks and months at the Uptown Gallery in downtown Franklin. 

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Question: What are some beverage suggestions for someone who has pre-diabetes or is trying to watch their carbohydrates/added sugar?

By Peter H. Lewis, Asheville Watchdog | Since Madison Cawthorn took office two months ago, vowing to represent everyone in his Western North Carolina district, not just those who voted for him, nearly all of his votes in Congress on substantial issues have been against proposals supported by Democrats, an analysis of his record by Asheville Watchdog found. 

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SYLVA – N.C. Department of Transportation officials recently awarded three contracts to resurface highways in Cherokee, Jackson and Henderson counties.

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Quilters at Sassy Stitches in Franklin recently presented patches of comfort to District Attorney Ashley Welch, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

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A new online portal now allows people to schedule themselves for COVID-19 vaccine appointments through the Jackson County Department of Public Health.

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The Swain County United Gift Fund is pleased to announce a donation of $2,000 from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. This donation will be applied to the organization's 2021 campaign to raise funds for participating nonprofits in Swain County.

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Vice Mayor of Franklin Barbara McRae passed away Tuesday night after a long and valiant battle against cancer.

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International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality. 

By Daley Hooten - 

Quarantine has taken an emotional toll on all of us. Some more than others, but we have all been affected by it. I’m getting to a period where it feels like I’m living the same day over and over and over again. Get up, go to virtual school, eat, do homework, eat again, sleep, repeat. To be honest, I’m going a bit crazy. 

As a nation we are still doing a really poor job at eating our vegetables. Many of us don't even eat one serving a day! What's stopping us? 

The U.S. Forest Service wants public input on a proposal to build 42 miles of new trails near Old Fort in McDowell County. 

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With the pandemic still very much in effect as thru-hiker season comes around once more, trail season in Franklin will look a good bit different than normal. 

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Cades Cove Loop Road will be fully closed for three weeks in September to allow crews to resurface the popular roadway, which is used by more than 2 million visitors each year. 

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