Hannah McLeod

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As part of its public art initiative, Sylva will host a large, interactive cat sculpture in Bridge Park this fall and winter, after which the Sylva Art + Design Committee will find a more permanent home for the feline.

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In the face of a housing shortage and increased competition for employees, the Town of Sylva has updated its policy that allows police officers a take-home vehicle. The board also decided that in the future, updates to this policy would not have to come before the board but would be an administrative decision made within the police department. 

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Amaya Hicks, Swain County High School senior and captain of the women’s cross country, basketball, indoor and outdoor track teams, came before the Swain County Board of Education on Sept. 12 with a unique, albeit impressive problem. She and her peers had won so many state championships over the last several seasons that the teams were having trouble raising enough money for the state championship rings. 

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As a plant-predominant eater, lentils are a staple of my diet. With protein and carbohydrates, plus plenty of vegetables, this bulgur lentil salad is perfect for weekday lunches. It is also particularly appropriate for fall because it can be eaten warm when the weather is brisk, or cold on the days when summer weather lingers in the air. The creaminess of greek yogurt or feta cheese is a great topping for the dish. 

With the impending retirement of Jackson County Sheriff Chip Hall, two candidates will compete for the seat this fall in the General Election. While their careers and background vary greatly, both men have vast experience in law enforcement.

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The Jackson County Commission has three seats on the ballot this fall. In addition to commission chairman, districts one and two are up for election. Democratic incumbents Gayle Woody and Boyce Deitz are challenged by newcomers Todd Bryson and John Smith respectively.  

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This election season, there are three seats up for grabs on the Jackson County Commission, all held by Democrats, all of whom are seeking reelection. One of those seats is the commission chair. Voters will have the opportunity to choose between a candidate with ample experience as chairman and a newcomer to the field.

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The Jackson County Commission allocated just over $60,000 of American Rescue Plan funds to AWAKE Children’s Advocacy Center for the organization to finish renovation of its current building.

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Just over a month after Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte announced his impending retirement, the Haywood County School Board has chosen to forgo a search process in favor of its established succession plan and selected its new superintendent — Dr. Trevor Putnam.

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When the Town of Sylva instituted its social district earlier this year, it planned to revisit the ordinance six months later to determine how things were going. That six-month mark came up last week and the town board decided not only to keep the ordinance in place, but also extend the social district’s operating hours.

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New state testing results reveal that schools in Western North Carolina are in the process of a mixed recovery from COVID-era learning disruptions, something state officials say may take years.

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Over the next month, the Town of Sylva will be constructing a temporary skatepark in the lot behind Motion Makers, the result of work by both the town and a grassroots group of Jackson residents.

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Bus drivers in Macon County will receive a retention bonus totaling $500 this year as part of the school system’s effort to recruit and retain those vital employees. Like many school systems in the region, Macon County Schools is facing a shortage of drivers.

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New short-term rentals in Sylva will only be allowed as an accessory use to an existing dwelling, not the only residence on a lot, after the board unanimously voted to approve a revised ordinance on the issue last week. The move is part of an effort to address affordable housing, a problem plaguing many communities in the region.

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Over the last eight months, three board members have either resigned or been removed from the Shining Rock Classical Academy Board of Directors, two of whom had issues with school leadership. During that time, no replacement board members have been added.

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Jackson County will receive more than $3 million as part of an opioid settlement. The timeline for collecting that money, 18 installments over 18 years, makes meaningful use and allocation complicated. 

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This time of year is arguably the best for fresh produce. Gardens and farmers markets are overflowing with tomatoes, squash and zucchini, leafy greens and spicy peppers. With the heat hitting its peak in mid-august, it’s also a great time to create fresh, light, easy meals with all of that produce. Late summer meals have the good fortune of being assembled, rather than baked, cooked or boiled. The right amalgam of flavors can create a satisfying meal out of all fresh ingredients. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 17, 2021, the second day of the school year, Haywood County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte announced that school would be closed the following day. “Early and extensive flooding from Tropical Storm Fred” had damaged several roads used for bus routes, and there was uncertainty about scheduled food deliveries to the school system. It would be an optional workday for teachers, not a remote learning day for students.

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Each year, hundreds of comedians from across the country compete for the chance to perform at the nationally acclaimed Asheville Comedy Festival, and each year just over 50 are chosen. This year, the lone local chosen to perform is Marlene Thompson. 

With the beginning of the school year right around the corner, school systems across North Carolina are struggling to fill a wide range of positions. Schools in the western part of the state are no different, and every school system in The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area has several positions still open. 

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The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority created its own Tourism Capital Project Fund  this year. However, when the deadline came around for the first cycle of funding on Aug. 1, no applications had been submitted.

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Jackson County Public Schools has more than doubled its preschool capacity prior to the start of the new school year thanks to donations from the Dogwood Health Trust and the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation.

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The first class to graduate from the current Franklin High School did so in 1952. Back then, there were fewer buildings and less developed grounds, but 70 years later, much of the high school remains largely the same.

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The Town of Sylva updated its zoning ordinance earlier this year but left the short-term rental ordinance as it was written with the plan to hammer it out at a later date. 

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An inclinometer on the prefab slope above Bryson Park shows that some movement has occurred since it was installed more than 60 days ago, indicating a need for repair. 

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Jackson County has approved an architectural contract and laid out a timeline for the construction of its domestic violence shelter, acting on a plan that has been several years in the making. 

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Substitute teachers in Macon County can expect a raise in the coming school year after a vote by the Macon County Board of Education. The board will discuss a plan for bus driver pay next month.

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Abigail Clayton won the runoff for Jackson County School Boards of Education and will remain in her seat representing district two for the next four years.

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The fact that it was after midnight, two members of our party had been traveling for most of the day and one had to begin her travels at 4:30 the next morning did nothing to stop us from ascending the mountain on the banks of the Adige River to the church that overlooks Verona. That’s just what it’s like to travel with Loretta — and all the women in my family — full of heedless wonder. 

Julie Fox Jones’ family has been in Cullowhee for at least 100 years, probably even longer. Naturally, as a kid growing up here, all she wanted to do was leave. Get out of town. What she didn’t expect was that once she’d made it out, all she would think about was how to get home. 

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In this day and age of Amazon, Kindles, big box bookstores, streaming services and social media that fight for more of our attention everyday, local, independent bookstores are in constant competition with these heavy hitters. And yet, those like Blue Ridge Books seem to weather it all. So what’s the secret?

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Jackson County Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce have created the N.C. 107 Business Relocation Grant program for businesses that are forced to move due to the N.C. 107 expansion project.

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The Maggie Valley Festival Grounds are continuing to grow after the town purchased a tract of land connected to the grounds last week.

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On Tuesday night, the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen accepted a grant from North Carolina Emergency Management to repair the levee of its wastewater treatment plant.

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Candidates have filed and the races are set for school board elections this November.

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In this day and age of Amazon, Kindles, big box bookstores, streaming services and social media that fight for more of our attention everyday; local, independent bookstores are in constant competition with these heavy hitters. And yet, those like Blue Ridge Books seem resilient to it all. What’s the secret?

Julie Fox Jones’ family has been in Cullowhee for at least 100 years, probably even longer. Naturally, as a kid growing up here, all she wanted to do was leave. Get out of town. What she didn’t expect was that once she’d made it out, all she would think about was how to get home. 

Disparate parks and recreation regulations in Maggie Valley will be codified under one ordinance if the board of aldermen accepts staff recommendation. 

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After passing in Congress, President Biden signed the Keep the Kids Fed Act  on June 23, partially extending school meal flexibilities just days before they were set to expire.

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Mark Sutton will continue in his role as principal of Macon County Middle School after taking the position late last school year when previous principal, Dr. Kevin Bailey, resigned from the post. 

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Two weeks in Italy eating pasta for one, if not two meals per day did not dampen my craving for the food. If anything, it increased the fervor for creating delicious, elemental pasta dishes using (mostly) healthy, whole ingredients. 

This summer, the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority is in the process of accepting applications for its first round of Tourism Capital Project funds. The TCPF gives community stakeholders the chance to apply for money made from room tax dollars in the county to fund projects that better the community for tourists and residents alike.

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Brit Klepac gave birth two-and-a-half years ago. Throughout her pregnancy, she was mentally and physically healthy, but almost immediately after bringing her child into the world, she started experiencing severe anxiety. 

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On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas were told of their freedom — two months after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, and over two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed.

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For the tenth year in a row, people will gather in towns across Western North Carolina on the evening of June 15 to raise awareness about elder abuse.

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For the first time in its 45-year history, the Haywood County Arts Council is celebrating Pride month with its ‘Living with Pride’ exhibit, a collaboration with Waynesville’s own Curatory Gallery. 

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Wayne “Wayner” Dickert may not have started paddling until he was 18 years old, but that didn’t stop him from competing at the sport’s highest level when he made it to the 1996 Olympics. For Dickert, NOC was an important part of that success.

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Sylva residents and visitors to the town can expect to see a new public restroom at the old railroad depot downtown, if discussions with the railroad go as planned.

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After years of effort and several failed attempts by multiple town boards, Maggie Valley has successfully passed its Unified Development Ordinance.

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Last Thursday evening, June 2, residents of Jackson County gathered at Sylva First United Methodist Church to discuss the issue of homelessness and solutions that are best suited to the needs of the county.

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