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By Todd Vinyard • Special to The Smoky Mountain News

Western Carolina University head basketball coach Larry Hunter’s team had beaten Samford 88-71 on Feb. 3 for a significant Southern Conference victory, and he had become one of only 40 other NCAA men’s basketball coaches with 700 career wins. Despite the milestone, Hunter followed his postgame routine of 46 years in coaching — finish the work of game day and prepare for the next game.

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Waynesville Police Officers responded to the SunTrust Bank in downtown on Feb. 13 when it was reported a robbery had just occurred. A suspect description was quickly broadcast to all local agencies in an effort to locate and identify the female suspect, with no immediate results.

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An audit investigating Birdtown’s disputed 2017 Tribal Council race has concluded that ballot tampering is the likely culprit, with alleged fraud concentrated in the early voting ballots. 

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A week’s worth of wintry weather in mid-January resulted in the cancellation of meetings by both the Haywood County School Board as well as public charter school Shining Rock Classical Academy, but while both entities violated open meetings laws in rescheduling those meetings without proper notice, only one of those public bodies has now admitted it and made amends for it.

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Major changes are coming to North Carolina’s Medicaid program, and the regional organizations that manage those dollars for behavioral health needs are wasting no time in getting prepared to respond. 

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Charitable giving for nonprofits and churches in Haywood County is about to become much more efficient thanks to the implementation of the Charity Tracker internet service. 

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After rumblings and rumors around town, Mission Health confirmed it is actively looking for a new location for MAMA II, the medical emergency helicopter currently stationed at Angel Medical Center in Franklin. 

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An enthusiastic friend of students. A die-hard fan of all things Catamount. An efficient administrator, effective political advocate, willing traveler and collaborative partner in meeting the needs of students, faculty, staff and the region as a whole.

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North Carolina is a huge state with tremendous climactic, economic and geographic diversity, but after a wicked bout of weird weather, including hurricanes in the mountains and blizzards on the beaches, the state’s one-size-fits all school calendar law still leaves many western counties singing the summertime blues.

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With the sign-up period now underway, candidate are throwing their names in the hat to run for various local and state offices. 

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Sticks and stones may break some bones, but according to a lawsuit filed by one local politico, the memes can sometimes hurt, too. 

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An effort to envision the future of Cashiers is now underway as work begins to create a small area plan for the unincorporated Jackson County community. 

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A controversial video gaming parlor that opened on Dellwood City Road last summer will cease operations and remove all signage by March 9, according to a consent agreement between the town of Waynesville and Nudge City owner Tami Nicholson. 

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