Swain schools earn ‘C’ average

Unchanged over last year, all four Swain County Schools earned a ‘C’ on their 2017-18 annual report card handed down by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. 

Close race in Swain County commission race

With six candidates running for three seats on the Swain County Board of Commissioners, it was a close call Tuesday night as election results began to roll in.

Cochran to continue as Swain sheriff

Incumbent Republican Curtis Cochran has secured his fourth term as sheriff of Swain County after facing off against Democratic challenger Rocky Sampson. 

UnitedHealthCare contract renegotiation underway at area hospitals

When retired teacher Villa Brewer went to get her mail Oct. 23, she returned with two interesting letters. One was from the N.C. State Health Plan, reminding her that Oct. 31 is the deadline to change her health insurance plan during open enrollment. The second was from Harris Regional Hospital, stating that the hospital’s current contract with UnitedHealthCare — of which Brewer is a member — will end Jan. 1 unless Harris can negotiate better reimbursement rates from the insurer. 

New generation needed to preserve North Shore cemeteries

It’s a crisp fall day in Swain County. As the sun finally peaks over the trees around lunch time, the cars fill up the parking lot at the Deep Creek Campground and visitors are ready for a day of hiking and exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Swain schools need expensive upgrades

Swain County Schools are looking at a long list of capital improvement needs to keep students safe and plan for future growth, but it won’t be possible without a more steady revenue stream to support such projects. 

Sales tax hike back on the Swain ballot

Swain County is once again trying to increase its sales tax rate a quarter of a cent with the intent of putting additional revenue toward school improvements, but the final decision will be left up to voters. 

Three seats open on Swain commission

Six candidates are campaigning for three open seats on the Swain County Board of Commissioners — four of the candidates are competing for two seat while the other two are competing to fill a two-year unexpired seat left vacant by the death of David Monteith. 

Incumbent sheriff challenged in Swain

Incumbent Republican Curtis Cochran is running for a fourth term as Swain County sheriff. While he’s never had an easy race, he said, this election cycle has been particularly brutal with mudslinging coming from all directions.

‘Ironfoot,’ the hermit of Island Park

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a September 2014 issue of The Smoky Mountain News.

I generally enjoy working in my office, which is situated off the town square in Bryson City. But I find that it’s sometimes worthwhile to get away, if only for a few minutes. Just shut down the computer, turn out the lights, lock the door, and take a walk. Get away, as they say, from it all.

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