A $4 million payment to Swain County for the so-called Road to Nowhere cash settlement may soon be freed of the bureaucratic purgatory where it’s been parked for more than two years.
Karen Wallace knows the importance of a library. “In a rural area, the library is the single greatest man-made resource offered to residents and tourists,” she said.
Swain County Superintendent Sam Pattillo is taking a new approach this year. He’s requesting that county commissioners participate in the school district’s budgetary process.
“I feel like we need to be more together in our planning process,” Pattillo told commissioners during a recent meeting during which a foundation was laid for future discussions. “The struggle and juggle is going to be between the facilities and our programs and the best way to educate our kids.”
Rocky Peebler’s wearing waders and a white T-shirt as he kneels on the shore of the Oconaluftee River. His boots are dripping from a recent foray into the river, and he’s picking through the critters wriggling across the surface of the net he and his classmates have just finished dragging through the water. It might not look like it, but Rocky is at school.
The cemetery is up a dirt road, past an old barn and its bygone basketball hoop. A tread-worn path leads up the hill, where Confederate reenactors have arrived in pickup trucks.
Swain County’s clerk of court race is an early-season affair. With no challengers looming on November’s general election horizon, the contest will be decided in next month’s primary.
The Swain clerk’s contest is also a race that offers voters a stark choice. A choice between old and new, between same and change.
The breakfast crowd in Bryson City’s Bojangles’ seems to know Dockie Brendle.
“Hello, Doc,” says a man at a nearby table. “How are you?”
The Swain County commissioners race has attracted a deep bench of Democratic candidates — nine contenders vying for the four commissioner seats and two more for commissioner chairman.
As the primary approaches, local candidates are making their case. Around the region, county commissioner seats are opening up and incumbents and challengers alike are looking for votes.
• Navigating the political stripes of the Haywood commissioners’ race
• Are Haywood commissioners big spenders, or doing the best they can?
• Macon commissioner race spending pits conservative and moderate Republicans
• Swain commissioner candidates weigh in on the issues
Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran will have an easy primary season, with no Republicans challenging his bid for a third term in office. But four Democratic challengers are fighting it out during the primary. Here’s a look at those candidates: