It hasn’t been a quick or easy recovery, but Macon County real estate is back on the rise and Realtors see that trend continuing into 2017.

With the recession nearly a decade in the rearview mirror, the real estate market is once more robust in Jackson County — especially in the southern end of the county around Cashiers.

Sherry and Gary Patterson vacationed in Bryson City for the first time about 20 years ago and now they can’t get enough of it.

Did the fires hurt wildlife? 

Prescribed burning is often used as a tool to benefit wildlife by regenerating their habitat, and in the case of the slowly creeping ground fires that accounted for most of the burned area, wildlife are usually able to get out of the way as flames approach.

What started as a small group of like-minded people helping each other deal with aftermath of Election Day has now morphed into a progressive political action team with more than 400 supporters.

Land conservation groups across the region found something to celebrate this month when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an $8 million allocation for farmland conservation in Western North Carolina — a gargantuan number that the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy calls “unprecedented.”

This type of funding, allocated through the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Plan under the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, has been available in the past. But never before has the amount been so large or so specifically targeted to Western North Carolina.

“Care more, judge less,” “Love trumps hate” and “Rise up” were just a few of the battle cries heard in downtown Asheville last Saturday as an estimated 10,000 people marched to protect women’s rights.

They are the bridge.

In the bluegrass world these days, it seems there are two camps of thought and performance — neo-traditional and progressive. On one side, you have the “old school” of Larry Sparks, Doyle Lawson and those who truly adhere to the likes of Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs. On the other, are those who stretch out a little bit, where the lines between bluegrass, Americana and soul are blurred, acts likes The Steep Canyon Rangers, Greensky Bluegrass and Yonder Mountain String Band.

2016 in A&E

Each year, we here at The Smoky Mountain News showcase our “Spoof Awards.” Sometimes they’re meant in good tongue-and-cheek fun, but mostly they’re special events, people and places that we throw the spotlight onto one more time in reflection as another long and bountiful year comes to a close, a new year ready to begin.

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