Holly Kays

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Tremont Institute is working through quarantine to connect people and nature using its website and social media channels.

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The Blue Ridge Parkway has announced additional closures as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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For farmers and agriculture businesses across Western North Carolina, spring is the time to plan and plant for the green season ahead, but uncertainty cultivated by the COVID-19 crisis is complicating that process, often in devastating ways. 

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Webster Enterprises has long used the production of medical supplies as a vehicle for its main mission, vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities and disadvantages. 

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During a special-called session April 9, the Cherokee Tribal Council unanimously passed a resolution designed to help small businesses operating on the Qualla Boundary survive the COVID-19 crisis. 

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Proactive testing by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has revealed community transmission of COVID-19 in Jackson County.

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Camping is no longer allowed on the Pisgah National Forest following an order enacted April 13 as part of ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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A burn ban enacted April 3 on 32 Western North Carolina counties has been lifted following heavy rainfall this weekend.

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Two full-time Jackson County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, the Jackson County Department of Public Health learned today.

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Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos announced April 1 that its COVID-19-induced closure would extend through the end of the month, and that same day Principal Chief Richard Sneed issued his own announcements about changes to compensation for tribal employees in the weeks ahead.

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The COVID-19 pandemic hit us all differently. For some of us, it blew to pieces what was otherwise a normal, pleasantly warm spring. For others, it complicated or postponed less routine endeavors like buying a house, planning a trip or earning a degree.

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Distance learning will continue through the summer at Western Carolina University, and all summer conferences are canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Jason Love got interested in microplastics by way of mussels. 

A wildlife biologist by education and training, he’d long been interested in the reasons behind the decline of Southern Appalachian mussel species, and in particular that of the federally endangered Appalachian elktoe. He was interested while working in his previous position as site manager for Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, and he’s interested now in his new position as associate director of the Highlands Biological Station.

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians received notice of its first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 on Friday, March 27.

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Jackson County is now requiring anybody entering from another state or country to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, along with all household members.

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All recreation sites in the National Forests in North Carolina — including the Pisgah and Nantahala — are now temporarily shut down.

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The closure of Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resorts will extend an additional two weeks from the initial March 18 through April 1 period, the casino announced March 26. While two weeks from April 1 would put the expected reopening at April 15, a press release announcing the closure extension left the reopening plans vague. 

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The past week has seen multiple public parks and forests announce closures of outdoor areas in response to overcrowding deemed unsafe by land managers in light of coronavirus concerns.

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Principal Chief Richard Sneed has issued a March 25 curfew order on the Qualla Boundary in hopes of preventing spread of COVID-19 on Cherokee lands.

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In the last two weeks, the world has changed. From darkened downtown windows to packed-full parking lots at Ingles and Wal-Mart, the evidence is everywhere, impossible to ignore.

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The public health crisis that is COVID-19 quickly became an economic one as governments nationwide took drastic steps to slow the spread of the virus. Bars, restaurants, hotels, airlines and countless other industries have been hit hard, resulting in widespread layoffs and cut hours. 

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When the spring semester began, Western Carolina University’s residence halls were home to 4,106 students, but those students found themselves required to move out two months early as coronavirus concerns heightened on campus. 

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As of press time there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Qualla Boundary, but the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians isn’t waiting until the disease arrives to take drastic steps preventing its spread. 

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Dupont State Recreation Forest and neighboring Holmes Educational State Forest are closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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An emergency declaration issued in Jackson County today will ban gatherings of 10 or more people and mandate the closure of a long list of business types and lodging facilities, effective Wednesday, March 25.

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Coronavirus concerns have prompted a slew of operational and scheduling changes for outdoors-oriented agencies and organizations across the region. 

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In response to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, Western Carolina University will postpone all spring commencement ceremonies originally scheduled for May 8 and 9, and will announce by April 3 plans for rescheduling the events.

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Coronavirus is causing changes, cancellations and postponements across the region. Find out what’s happening in your community.

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Coronavirus is causing changes, cancellations and postponements across the region. Find out what’s happening in your county.

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority will suspend all disconnections and allow customers who were already disconnected to have their service restored without a fee.

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Operations have shifted on public lands in Western North Carolina due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Kids with a penchant for learning and exploration will have the chance to see where their curiosity takes them during ASTROcamp this summer at Smokey Mountain Elementary School. 

If all goes as planned, Canton will soon have a 448-acre park for hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor recreation activities just a mile from town limits. The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy hopes to close on the property, known as the Chestnut Mountain Tract and currently owned by Canton Motorsports LLC, within the next couple months. 

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The numbers are in for what an indoor pool might cost to build and maintain in Jackson County, and commissioners are set to vote April 7 on a resolution to move forward with a related referendum question on the November ballot. If the resolution is approved, the next step would be a public hearing, which will likely be held June 2. 

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For the first time in its 23-year history, Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos is closed. 

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians plans to sue the federal government in protest over a March 12 decision that will allow the Catawba Indian Nation to move forward with plans to build a casino in Kings Mountain. The Cherokee are claiming that the decision is flawed and that the government violated the law by not consulting the EBCI during completion of the associated Environmental Assessment. 

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Efforts to conserve the 488-acre property currently owned by Canton Motorsports got a boost when the N.C. Department of Justice awarded the project a $150,000 Environmental Enhancement Grant.

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Students at Western North Carolina’s institutions of higher learning will see impacts to their spring semester experiences as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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Sharon Taylor was in her mid-30s when she left her office gig to return to school, hoping to pursue a career that would allow her to spend more time outdoors and less time handling fluorescent-lit paperwork.

After graduating from Western Carolina University with a degree in natural resources management, Taylor found a job at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Macon County, where she worked as a research technician and enjoyed the full menu of retirement and health benefits to which she was entitled as an employee of the University of Georgia. Things were going well, and if she gave UGA the next 20 years, they’d give her a comfortable retirement. 

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Nearly three years after the state legislature passed a bill allowing local governments to approve Sunday morning alcohol sales, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has passed its own version of what’s known as the Brunch Bill. 

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Changes to the alcohol situation at Western Carolina University games are on the way for the upcoming school year, both inside and outside of stadium walls. 

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A state-level budget stalemate that’s been ongoing since July could cause real problems — and real changes — at Western Carolina University if it continues much longer. 

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The atmosphere inside the Lake Logan Conference Center was more akin to a reunion of friends than to a gathering of business associates as members of the Stakeholders Forum for the Nantahala and Pisgah Plan Revision arrived Wednesday, Feb. 26 — and perhaps there’s good reason for that. 

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From president to state auditor, the March 3 Primary Election was full of an almost overwhelming slate of federal and state offices. Here’s how North Carolinians had voted in these state and federal races as of press time 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, with 82 percent of precincts reporting:

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Susan Bogardus has won the Democratic primary in the race to represent Jackson County’s District 3 on the Board of Commissioners. Pulling 42.02 percent of the vote, she beat out opponents Cody Lewis and Brad Stillwell — who received 34.76 and 23.21 percent, respectively — for the chance to face Republican Tom Stribling in November. 

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The Millennial Apartments project overseen by Zimmer Development Corporation has racked up seven notices of violations of state standards since breaking ground on the project last summer in Cullowhee.

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Tribal Council will consider a pair of ordinances proposing changes to the tribe’s banishment laws during its March 5 meeting, and with discussions held during the Jan. 9 Tribal Council meeting and a Feb. 26 work session in the rearview, a final vote is likely. 

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Cades Cove has reopened following a two-month closure for repairs at Bote Mountain Tunnel.

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Lisa Hendy is an early riser, and when it comes to dealing with snow days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that’s a good thing. 

As chief ranger, Hendy’s responsibilities are many — but one of them is deciding when, if and for how long to close the roads when the weather gets bad. 

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Tribal Council is considering an ordinance change that would require the tribe’ various boards and committees to publicly televise or stream their meetings.

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