Holly Kays

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The body of a Knoxville man who went missing while traveling to Charlotte was found Friday, Aug. 5, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will partner with Caesars Entertainment Inc on a $650 million casino resort in Danville, Virginia, Caesars announced today. The project will break ground this week.

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A decade of meetings, hearings, comments, debate and disagreement over the future of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests culminated in a three-day meeting marathon last week that aimed to resolve hundreds of objections over the plan’s handling of everything from old growth to drinking water.

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The Cherokee Tribal Council voted 9-3 Aug. 4 to increase the $23.5 million budget for a new hotel on the Sequoyah National Golf Course to $39 million— despite a request from Secretary of Treasury Cory Blankenship that they table the vote for next month.

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Cherokee’s Fire Mountain family of outdoor experiences is set to add a new member after the tribe announced its intention to build a pump track and bike skills park, along with 8-10 miles of trail. 

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As a harsh late afternoon sun beat down on Asheville’s city sidewalks Wednesday, July 27, a crowd of about 100 people gathered outside the Buncombe County Courthouse bearing signs with slogans like “Gas is so last century,” “Declare a climate emergency,” and “Solar is sexier.” Two of them held aloft artistic representations of a bee and polar bear, orange paper flames encircling a nearby flagpole.

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More than 300 people gathered outside the U.S. Forest Service headquarters in Asheville Monday, Aug. 1, to urge stronger protections for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest as the Forest Service finalizes the plan to guide forest management for the next two decades.

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A 7-year-old Georgia girl is dead after a tree fell on the tent where she was sleeping at Elkmont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Following a unanimous vote from the Cherokee Tribal Council July 14 , the tribe is expected to petition the federal government to change the name of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s highest mountain, Clingmans Dome, to Kuwahi — the name Cherokee people called it for generations prior to European conquest.

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The Cherokee Fair Grounds is in for a complete overhaul over the next couple of years after Tribal Council during its July 14 meeting green-lighted spending to demolish the current facilities and create a comprehensive master plan for the site.

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The state budget  Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law July 11 wasn’t the historic slam dunk for Western Carolina University that the previous budget represented, but the document contains some good news for the university. However, inflation remains a tenacious adversary.  

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The North Carolina Utilities Commission is hosting a series of hearings this summer to take public input on the draft carbon plan that Duke Energy filed May 16. Hearing opportunities include an in-person hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, at the Buncombe County Courthouse in Asheville, and virtual hearings at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, via Webex. 

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After more than three years of research and analysis, a group focused on ending wildlife-vehicle collisions in the Pigeon River Gorge has released a report outlining its recommendations for keeping them safe from traffic.

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During its July 14 meeting, the Cherokee Tribal Council will consider a resolution that calls for Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to revert to its traditional Cherokee name of Kuwahi, which means “mulberry place.”

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For the fourth time in eight years, a person has died while incarcerated at the Jackson County Detention Center.

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During their annual Tri-Council session held Thursday, June 23, the three Cherokee tribes agreed unanimously to a resolution opposing state and federal recognition of groups they say erroneously claim Cherokee identity.

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Anybody who’s been to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the last few years has seen it — overflowing parking lots, mobbed trails and narrow mountain roads lined with cars. They’re visual symptoms of a national park bursting at the seams with unprecedented levels of visitation,  hitting a highwater mark in 2021 at 14.1 million visits.

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Maggie Calhoun Bowman’s family has spent the last 17 years making peace with the fact that they will never know how she ended up dead in a rain gully, covered over with leaves and a pink coat.

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As Earth Day 2022 bloomed under one of spring’s sunniest skies yet, more than 150 people gathered on a concrete bridge spanning Hominy Creek just outside Canton to celebrate what Mayor Zeb Smathers termed a “gift of genesis” — the long-awaited opening of Chestnut Mountain Nature Park. 

Two men are being held without bond in the Jackson County Detention Center after allegedly threatening a mass shooting in a group text conversation on social media.

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The 1900s were just a few years along when a young man named Masahara Iizuka stepped on American soil for the first time. Around 26 years old, he’d arrived in California to pursue a career in engineering, having studied the subject at Meiji University back in Tokyo.

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Lauded as a “historic game-changer” for wildlife conservation in the United States, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act last week passed the House of Representatives in a 231-190 vote. 

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When Chief of Police Josh Taylor’s resignation becomes effective June 27, the Cherokee Indian Police Department’s Captain of Corrections Carla Neadeau will take the helm as interim police chief. 

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In a unanimous vote Friday, June 10, the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees selected Charlotte-based Jenkins Peer Architects to design renovation efforts at Moore Hall. 

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While nothing is certain until census day in September, transfer and full-time freshman enrollment for the upcoming fall semester at Western Carolina University appears strong and on par with pre-pandemic levels, Chancellor Kelli R. Brown told the WCU Board of Trustees June 10. 

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The N.C. House of Representatives last week condemned the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s controversial proposal to enact a parking fee with passage of a resolution  that calls on Congress to block the plan.

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Baker Perry’s family arrived in Haywood County almost by accident. They’d been living in Bolivia, where his parents operated a nonprofit today called Curamericas Global, when political problems forced them to leave. His grandparents had a house at Lake Junaluska, so not knowing where else to go, the Perry family moved in.

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After just shy of a year on the job, Cherokee Police Chief Josh Taylor announced June 13 that he would resign from the post. 

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Leadership at Unity Healing Center in Cherokee failed to properly investigate or report allegations that an employee of the federally run rehab center for Native American teens had sexually abused one of its residents in fall 2016, a newly disclosed report  concludes.

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A bear has been euthanized after it broke into a tent occupied by a family of five and their dog, injuring a 3-year-old girl and her mother.

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The return of dry conditions in Western North Carolina appears to have been temporary after massive rains last week erased all dry spots from the mountain region. 

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For years, Blue Ridge Parkway staff have been concerned that visitor behavior at Devils Courthouse, a popular overlook on the 469-mile road’s meander along the Haywood-Transylvania county line, is hurting the organisms that live there. A new volunteer program aims to combat the issue through education, one visitor at a time.

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Preston Jacobsen has been selected as the next executive director of Haywood Waterways Association following the departure of longtime leader Eric Romaniszyn in February. 

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A bipartisan bill seeking to designate the Benton MacKaye Trail as a National Scenic Trail has been introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives following a push from the Benton MacKaye Trail Association that launched last year to award the 288-mile trail that prestigious designation. 

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In 1971, Payson and Aurelia Kennedy were living a successful, stable life in Atlanta. Payson was a librarian at Georgia Tech, Aurelia a schoolteacher. They had four kids, retirement funds, and the deed to their house.

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In a narrow vote June 2, the Cherokee Tribal Council voted against a resolution to pursue purchase and removal of the aged Ela Dam  — despite a unanimous vote  Feb. 3 to have the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians lead a coalition to work toward dam removal and a unanimous vote from the Timber Committee  May 16 to recommend the purchase resolution to Council.

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bill  seeking to strike down an N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rule  that would allow limited bear hunting in three Western North Carolina bear sanctuaries has been filed in the N.C. House of Representatives.

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A new archival facility, reimagined exhibit space and a website overhaul are all on the horizon for the Museum of the Cherokee Indian as Shana Bushyhead Condill  enters her second year leading the organization.

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A five-part series exploring free speech and free expression on college campuses wrapped up last week in the University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ Committee on University Governance  with a report  on the results of a survey examining how those issues play out on UNC campuses.

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A bill seeking to strike down an N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rule allowing bear hunting in three Western North Carolina bear sanctuaries was filed in the N.C. General Assembly yesterday.

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Mark Singleton was mingling with Outdoor Industry Association colleagues at a 2004 reception in Washington, D.C., when he heard that American Whitewater  was looking for a new executive director. It was a moment of destiny. Singleton, now retiring after 18 years leading the organization, had an instant gut response to the news.

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A crack in an amphitheater canopy column at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds could lead to a complete overhaul of the community gathering site — and a two-year relocation of all events typically held there.

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In global conversations about climate change, carbon neutrality and green energy, nuclear power plays a pivotal role. It’s responsible for one-fifth of the United States’ annual electricity supply and accounts for more than half of its low-carbon energy . Duke Energy customers in North Carolina get about half their power from nuclear energy.

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The U.S. Forest Service is now requiring anybody who stays overnight in Panthertown Valley to use a bear-resistant container or place odiferous items in one of three bear lockers installed in the popular backcountry area. More bear lockers will be installed in the future. 

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Sandwiched between the flowing waters of Raven Fork and the final southern stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a new championship-caliber disc golf course  in Cherokee beckons to locals and tourists alike.

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Just three days after protesters gathered on the courthouse lawn in Waynesville to demonstrate  their support for legal abortion, a nonprofit with a different perspective on the issue that has roiled the nation since May 2 — when a leaked draft  of a U.S. Supreme Court decision showed that the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent is in danger — opened on the other side of Depot Street in downtown Waynesville.

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Haywood County Medical Director Dr. Mark Jaben is sounding the alarm that COVID-19 case counts are increasing again, and people should take precautions to avoid contracting or spreading the virus as summer begins. 

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Henry Owl was the first person of color, and the first Native American, to attend the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Now, 94 years after he first enrolled, a building has been named in his honor — on May 13, UNC’s student affairs building was officially christened  the Henry Owl Building.

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Preston Jacobsen, a man some know better as the Local Yokel Weather guy, comes by his love of meteorology honestly.

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According to public documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a decision on whether to pursue removal of the Ela Dam in Swain County is coming up in the next month or so.

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