Cory Vaillancourt

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This is probably the only election story you’ll read about a county tax collector’s race in North Carolina, because Haywood is the only county in North Carolina that elects a tax collector.

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Three incumbents, along with two challengers, are all running for the Haywood County Board of Commissioners this year, and there isn’t enough room for all of them. Voters can select up to three candidates and in doing so will determine whether or not the county continues moving in the same direction or embarks on a different path.

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A Canton woman has filed a lawsuit against the Hospital Corporation of America in which she claims “egregious acts of medical and corporate negligence” during the birth of her son led to his suffering a permanent hypoxic brain injury that will allegedly leave him to deal with cerebral palsy and “associated delays and disabilities” for the rest of his life.

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A meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sept 28 by the Graham County Board of Elections to hear voter registration challenges against John and Tina Emerson will continue as scheduled, despite questions over whether the board issued proper public notice in compliance with state statues.

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A Canton woman has filed a lawsuit against Hospital Corporation of America in which she claims “egregious acts of medical and corporate negligence” during the birth of her son led to his suffering a permanent hypoxic brain injury that will allegedly leave him to deal with cerebral palsy and “associated delays and disabilities” for the rest of his life.

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Earlier this year candidates for sheriff began campaigning across the region, hoping to earn the trust of voters who, in many cases, will see big changes in local law enforcement leadership.

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After nearly 10 years in office, Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher announced his retirement in Mach 2021, giving prospective candidates more than a year to contemplate their campaigns. Almost immediately, five men from two parties stepped up, seeking to replace him.

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Members of Waynesville’s Board of Aldermen responded harshly to applause from the audience after payments to a nonprofit contractor were suspended because the group didn’t furnish paperwork requested by the town after its executive director was severely injured in an alleged DWI crash.

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Haywood County was recently awarded another substantial grant to help address the affordable housing crisis, but the way the county plans to use the grant means its impact will be felt far into the future.

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The Town of Waynesville may soon start subjecting public meeting attendees to metal detectors in some form or fashion, Town Manager Rob Hites announced during a meeting on Sept. 13, saying that the town was aware of what they deemed credible threats to elected officials.

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Weeks after a hearing by the Graham County Board of Elections found probable cause to suspect that eight individuals had submitted fraudulent voter registrations in the tiny municipality of Lake Santeetlah, eagle-eyed observers noted six of the voters accused have re-registered in other locations.

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Filmed in one week in June, 2002, less than seven years before infamous moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton committed suicide to avoid another prison term, Neal Hutcheson’s documentary The Last Dam Run of Likker I’ll Ever Make has proven both an enduring insight into the world of the iconic outlaw bootlegger and a time capsule of a culture that’s quickly vanishing.

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A Haywood County woman who admitted to serving phony writs that offered bounties on public officials will face federal charges after her arrest by the FBI on Sept. 7 but will be confined to home detention for now.

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As a stark reminder of the toll that substance abuse has taken on families across the country and across Western North Carolina, a small group of Macon County residents will travel to Washington, D.C., later this month to help erect a temporary cemetery made up of hundreds upon hundreds of hand-painted tombstones.

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A Haywood County woman who admitted to sending threatening letters that offered bounties on public officials will face felony federal charges after her arrest by the FBI on Sept. 7.

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A $542,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, matched by more than $200,000 from the Dogwood Health Trust, will help fund six regional projects intended to alleviate some of the pressure in the affordable housing market.

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Two weeks after rejecting misinformation from the public about Haywood County’s non-existent syringe exchange services, commissioners began their Sept. 6 meeting with an informal conversation that suggests they’ll begin to scrutinize syringe service programs provided within the county by third-party nonprofits.

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Haywood County will administer state funds to establish an Adult Accountability and Recovery Court meant to help people experiencing substance use disorder get on the right track — and stay there. 

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She’s “served” threatening letters on elected officials offering bounties for their capture, she has plans to serve more and she’s calling for the overthrow of the United States government with help from the U.S. military, but the most significant remaining questions aren’t about the radicalization of a Haywood County woman behind the phony writs — they’re about how and when law enforcement agencies will respond, if at all.

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Democratic President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan drew its fair share of cheers and jeers, but as it turns out, many of those jeering were cheering when their own six- and seven-figure PPP loans were forgiven.

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The latest round of state grants for broadband infrastructure have landed, and represent a big win for six Western North Carolina counties that have been left on the wrong side of the digital divide.

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Almost immediately after deadly flooding swamped downtown Canton for the second time in less than 20 years, town officials began talking about building back smarter. Last week, the town took a big step — two, actually — toward that goal.

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After nearly 50 years of contention and debate over what was once considered “settled law,” abortion has now become a huge issue for voters in both major political parties in the upcoming midterm elections.

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When a small group of concerned citizens turned up to the most recent Haywood County Board of Commissioners meeting, it sounded as though they were intent on ambushing commissioners with misinformation about everything from COVID-19 to county HHS board operations to needle exchange programs.

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Hours earlier, Natasha Bright had been trapped atop a bunk bed in a barricaded bedroom with her dogs, her cats and her brother, watching the floodwaters from the furious Pigeon River rising through the floorboards beneath them, but after a long, cold, wet night the waters finally receded so with an armful of children’s clothing and mud squishing between her toes, Bright headed out of Cruso on foot into the pale sunshine looking for a shower.

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More than three dozen Western North Carolina judges, elected officials and municipal employees have been “served” with a bogus judgement from an illegitimate court that offers rewards for their capture if they do not immediately satisfy the terms.

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Haywood Builders Supply, a longtime staple in the county, has been sold to Southeast Building Supply Interests — but customers aren’t likely to see too many visible changes. 

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With just over 90 days remaining until November’s General Election, Republican nominee and state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) announced last week that he’d agree to only one joint candidate appearance for the entirety of the campaign, despite attending approximately a dozen Primary Election forums earlier this year and calling out those who did not.

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An unexpected $8 million windfall from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has the potential to help community stakeholders make significant progress in the fight to bring more affordable housing to Haywood County.

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As the one-year anniversary of deadly flooding from Tropical Storm Fred approaches, Haywood County officials are still busy chasing down funding that will prevent or reduce the impact of future storms.  

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Now entering its seventh year, the process of replacing Waynesville’s outdated wastewater treatment plant has become a frustrating saga that only grows more agonizing — and expensive — the longer it continues.

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Eight sets of unusable level 3A ballistic armor are now on their way from Haywood County to Ukraine thanks to a serendipitous partnership involving law enforcement, nonprofits and elected officials from the federal to the local level.

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After reviewing applications and conducting a thorough interview process, the Town of Waynesville’s Board of Aldermen have settled on four new members of the planning board. 

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Citing precedent and historical trends, the town of Waynesville will request that Haywood County government resume its annual financial contribution to the town’s recreation budget. 

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After decades of service in law enforcement, former Highlands police chief and current Franklin Chief William “Bill” Harrell announced his retirement with a statement issued this morning.

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Sometimes, the trip isn’t  about the journey — it’s about the destination. 

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Complaints by a neighbor about sediment in a creek have resulted in two notices of violation being issued to the new owners of the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. 

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Businesses and residents affected by severe weather, wildfires and winds from March 30 through April 6 of this year are now eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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She’s only been here for three months, but Missouri native Tina Okenfuss is already looking to make a big impact on Western North Carolina’s affordable housing crisis as the new executive director of the Waynesville Housing Authority.

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Workers performing construction activities at the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club are in hot water this week after a complaint about mud in a creek drew the attention of town officials and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

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Eleven months to the day after Haywood County awoke to unprecedented flood damage along the Pigeon River resulting from torrential rains the day before, Emergency Services Officer Zack Koonce and Director Travis Donaldson told commissioners they’d secured grant funding to bolster reporting and warning systems.

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Starved for supply, realtors in the Asheville region are listing fewer homes than at this time last year as pricing continues to climb.

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In a preliminary hearing, the Graham County Board of Elections has found that there is probable cause to believe that eight people who registered to vote in the tiny municipality of Lake Santeetlah, including sitting councilmember Tina Emerson, do not actually reside at addresses they provided to elections officials.

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When the Open Door closed in Frog Level earlier this year, Long’s Chapel Pastor Chris Westmoreland promised a rebirth, looking forward to the food ministry’s next 25 years.

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Increasingly, the Town of Waynesville’s planning board has found itself at the crossroads of preservation and development as housing market pressures weigh upon the pastoral setting that drew many residents to move to Haywood County in the first place.

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A bill advanced by Rep. Mark Pless (R-Haywood) to make school board and municipal elections in Haywood County partisan has fallen short, but could eventually be revived. 

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Energized by recent Supreme Court rulings and eager to remake North Carolina in their own image, members of the N.C. House Freedom Caucus held a “rally in the Valley” last week, issuing local endorsements and looking to gain support for their forthcoming legislative agenda.

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When the snakes around here want to go somewhere they put their tails in their mouths and contort themselves into the shape of a bicycle tube and roll like a wheel until to stop they straighten out tail-first and stick themselves in a tree which then swells with venom and a man cut one down once and had lumber enough not only for his house but also a barn and a chicken coop however his wife wanted him to paint it all red and the turpentine in the paint drew out the venom from the wood and caused the lumber to shrink back to regular size and he managed to get the cows out of the barn but the chickens did not survive.

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Although the indirect benefits of the unprecedented tourism boom that’s enveloped Haywood County over the past few years are readily apparent in the form of increased sales taxes and steady work for hospitality industry professionals, locals are finally about to get something out of it besides soaring housing costs and crowded attractions.

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Both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly approved the state’s $28 billion fiscal year 2022-23 budget last week, but as Gov. Roy Cooper nears the halfway point of his final term, he’ll now have to decide whether or not to veto the proposal, which does not include what’s become his signature issue — Medicaid expansion.

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