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A new website uses GIS, aerial imagery and field work data to create a landslide mapping tool that provides critical hazard data for North Carolina communities. 

Conservation leaders from Asheville and Brevard were among the 16 people and organizations to earn recognition during the N.C. Wildlife Federation’s 57th annual Governor’s Conservation Awards. 

The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina celebrated a pair of conservation achievements in recent months that together protect more than 650 acres of land in Rutherford and Caldwell counties. 

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The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s annual farm tour will return for 2021, from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 18-19 offering a chance to check out guided tours, demonstrations and hands-on activities at approximately 20 family farms in Haywood, Buncombe and Henderson counties. 

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Learn about salamanders and the important but often unseen ways they connect ecosystems during a virtual lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 29. 

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The Highlands Biological Foundation will hold its biggest fundraiser of the year with its annual summer soiree, 6 p.m. through dark Monday, Aug. 2, atop Satulah Mountain in Highlands. 

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Take a hike on Big Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park starting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 28. 

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To the Editor:

As a former Public Health Director in his district with over 30 years of public health experience, I’m appalled at Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s recent misleading statements made in an interview by the Right Side Broadcasting Network at CPAC and aired on NBC nightly news Friday, July 9, as part of their COVID story. His lack of understanding regarding public health science is obvious the more he speaks.

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To the Editor:

The letter by Ms. Subic “Stop the checks, get to work” in the July 14 issue of The Smoky Mountain News starkly illustrates the importance of an informed citizenry in a robust democracy. Although rambling — and including apparently self-bemusing racial comments — apparently her intent was to argue that unemployment benefits, particularly the $300 supplement, were a key factor in firms’ current challenges in filling vacant positions.

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To the Editor:

As I read the letter about unemployment insurance in last week’s edition of The Smoky Mountain News (“Stop the checks, get to work”), I recognized a tone that has come to dominate and pollute our civic discourse. The letter had all the elements of our current malaise. It was nasty and brutish. It was selfish and self-centered, devoid of charity. It was ignorant of fact or reason. It fed on bile and grievance, displaying both cruelty and accusation that serve less as observation than confession.

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While there aren’t any state or federal elections being held this year, there are a number of municipal governing board elections that will draw the attention of voters in November – especially across Western North Carolina — and now that the filing period has closed, the fields are set. 

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Presented by Adamas Entertainment, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Graham Sharp (of Steep Canyon Rangers) will perform on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Nantahala Brewing in Sylva. 

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In an effort to preserve and perpetuate the heritage arts and lore of the Great Smoky Mountains and greater Southern Appalachia, the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center has now come to fruition at the Meadowlark Motel in Maggie Valley. 

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The Feline Urgent Rescue (FUR) will host the “Wet Your Whiskers” fundraiser and wine tasting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at the Wells Event Center in Waynesville. 

A showcase of art by Gosia Babcock will be on display in the Meeting Room through the end of August at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin. Visit to take a closer look, but call ahead to make sure the Meeting Room is open to the public when you plan to visit. 828.524.3600.

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Rumble Team | Summer is for adventure, for getting outside, exploring and having fun. But, the rainy afternoons come. So to do the days when its time to take a break, time to relax on the couch after a long day full of summer energy. These are some of the best summer movies for those very instances. 

A reunion for families who have continuously operated a farm for 100 years or more is coming up this fall at the N.C. State Fair, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture’s Century Farm Program is looking for farms to join the program. 

Jennie Stowers has been elected as the new president of the Highlands Biological Foundation Board after Julia Grumbles wrapped up 10 years of leadership in the position. 

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A lineup of family-friendly activities in Haywood County will encourage people to be active watershed citizens during Creek Week 2021, coming July 24-30. 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is taking input on a forthcoming management plan for the Laurel Falls Trail, with public comment accepted through Aug. 7 with a virtual public meeting planned for 5 p.m. Thursday, July 22. 

A showcase of art by famed Jackson County author/storyteller Gary Carden will be on display through the end of August at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin. A special reception for the works will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, July 16, in the Living Room of the library. 828.524.3600.

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To the Editor:

In response to the article, “Where Are the Workers?” Well, you can thank your President Biden for that.

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Through a one-time program, Southwestern Community College will not charge tuition or fees to students for the 2021-22 academic year.

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Haywood Community College is holding Peak Week July 12 through July 16. 

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As workers apply the last few coats of paint and other finishing touches this summer, Southwestern Community College officials are making sure everything’s ready to open at their new Health Sciences Center to students this fall on the Jackson Campus.

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Due to continually strengthening populations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to downlist the smooth coneflower from an endangered species to a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. 

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Hunters harvested a record 3,748 black bears in North Carolina last year, an 8% increase over the previous season. 

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This year’s North Carolina turkey hunting season yielded the second-highest harvest on record, second only to the record-breaking 2020 harvest — but harvest in the mountain region were down compared to the three-year average.

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A public hearing on proposed revisions to state regulations on surface water quality standards and classifications will be held online at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, with written comments accepted through Tuesday, Aug. 3.

The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Brevard is offering a full slate of classes this month, ranging from on-the-water fly fishing tutorials to stream snorkeling. 

Registration is now open for Grandfather Mountain Photography Weekend, slated for the weekend of Aug. 14-15 at Grandfather Mountain in Linville.  

A third track is now available within Western Carolina University’s Professional Outdoor Industry Certificate. 

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By Casey Quarterman • Guest Columnist | For six years I have been working as a Wilderness Ranger in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. I devote my time, blood, sweat and energy into keeping wild places as wild and natural as possible. 

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Tuckaseegee Fly Shop will expand into Haywood County starting Aug. 1, with plans to open a retail shop and guide service based at 110 Depot Street in Waynesville. 

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Southwestern NC HOME Consortium is one step closer to receiving annual allocation to bring more affordable housing to the region.

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An economic development venture previously referred to as “Project Duck Call” has been revealed to be a new call center for Drake Software LLC.

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District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said a Haywood County man will serve the maximum sentence possible in prison after entering Alford pleas Friday in Macon County Superior Court to a DWI crash that left two dead.

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The filing period for candidates seeking municipal governing board seats in November began at noon on Friday, July 2, with several challengers and incumbents already declaring their candidacies. 

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A stage production of “S’Wonderful: The Music and Life of George Gershwin” will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. July 9-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 and at 2 p.m. July 11, 18, 25 and Aug. 1 at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville. 

Registration is now open for the Lake Logan Multisport Festival, which will return for the 15th year Aug. 7-8 at Lake Logan in Haywood County. 

A recently released report from the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center and the N.C. PIRG Education Fund highlights the serious threat that toxic Superfund waste sites pose when the lay in the paths of hurricanes and tropical storms. 

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Two people are dead following a June 22 collision between a motorcycle and a passenger van in the Balsam area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now conducting five-year status reviews for 37 species, two of which can be found in North Carolina. 

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Celebrate Independence Day along with the grand opening of Equinox Ranch in Cullowhee with a celebration starting at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 4.

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A new shuttle service for Cades Cove will start up July 7, continuing 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Wednesday through Sept. 1. 

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