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Although most of the state saw some rainfall in the past week, it was not enough to improve dry conditions, leading the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council (DMAC) to expand its severe and moderate drought classifications across the state. Now, almost all of Western North Carolina is in moderate drought status. 

“This June was the driest on record for the state and one of the warmest,” said Klaus Albertin, chair of the DMAC. “As a result, the state has quickly gone from normal in May to very, very dry. Rain during the last week slowed the rapid drying, but was not enough to improve areas. The southern Coastal Plain saw no rain for another week, resulting in expansion of severe drought in the area and introduction of extreme drought in Columbus County.”  

Groundwater and surface water reservoirs typically see higher demand for water during the summer, and the ongoing drought conditions could result in water restrictions. Some counties have updated their water conservation status on ncdrought.org. 

For areas in moderate drought, or D1, DMAC recommends water users should adhere to local water use restrictions, project water needs and available water supply for 90 days, among other recommendations. 

“The National Weather Service is forecasting rainfall of 1 to 4 inches across eastern North Carolina in the next week, so the drought conditions may ease up there,” Albertin said. “Unfortunately, damage to many crops may already be done.” 

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District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch today announced that a Haywood County jury found a defendant guilty of stalking a couple and, during one of the incidents, pointing a pistol at a deputy.

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The “An Appalachian Evening” series will continue with a performance by The Jeff Little Trio at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20, in the Lynn L. Shields Auditorium at the Stecoah Valley Center in Robbinsville. 

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The Folkmoot “Summer Fundraising Soirée” will take place from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville. 

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The Town of Sylva, Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce are proud to present the 15th season of the annual “Concerts on the Creek” music series. 

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A regional Americana/bluegrass act, Granny’s Mason Jar will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City. 

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A program on Cherokee culture will be presented at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin.

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The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible murder in the Panther Creek area of Clyde.  

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Ten years ago, the Southwestern Community College Foundation launched a bold new effort to create a fundraising event that everyone in Western North Carolina could enjoy and get behind. That first year was a challenge. 

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The Charlotte FBI division office announced that the bureau is investigating an officer-involved shooting on the Qualla Boundary that left one person dead. 

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This July, the American Red Cross continues to stress that blood and platelet donors are critically needed to support lifesaving transfusions this summer.

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The Swain County Board of Elections host an educational seminar on North Carolina’s photo ID requirement for voting. 

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The National Park Service (NPS) issued a prospectus for a concessions contract to provide lodging, food, beverage and retail services at LeConte Lodge within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

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The Highlands Biological Foundation (HBF) invites the community to the next installment of its Zahner Conservation Lecture series at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 18. 

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The Marianna Black Library in Bryson City has Fitness Classes each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Fitness is known to build strength and energy, help with focus and assist with weight loss.

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The Jackson County Coon Hunters Association will host a pair of water races this weekend. 

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Asheville rock group The Andrew Thelston Band will hit the stage at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 4, at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in the Nantahala Gorge. 

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A special production of “Footloose” will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. July 5-6, 11-13, 18-19, 25-27 and 2 p.m. July 7, 14, 20-21 and 28 at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville. 

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The popular Chamber Music Society of the Carolinas (CMSC) will perform at 4 p.m. July 14, 21 and 28 at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville. 

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The Haywood County Arts Council’s (HCAC) latest exhibit, “Textures,” will run through Sept. 1 at the HCAC gallery on Main Street in downtown Waynesville. 

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A community jam will be held from 6 -7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City. 

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The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council (DMAC) has classified all or part of 99 counties as in moderate drought or abnormally dry, with high temperatures and low precipitation driving the rapid deterioration of conditions across the state. 

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Earlier this year, members of Safe Passage, including the N.C. Department of Transportation, led a tour of wildlife crossing project sites along Interstate 40. 

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The Highlands Biological Foundation (HBF) continues its Zahner Conservation Lecture series Thursday, July 1.

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The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees will have a bit of a different look at its next meeting. 

Kathryn Greeley, chair of the board, has been appointed to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors effective immediately.

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Lake Junaluska’s Summer Worship Series has now resumed with seven visiting theologians serving as guest preachers. Summer Worship Series’ services will begin at 9 a.m. on consecutive Sundays through Aug. 11 at the Lakeside White Tent near Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced a $20 million grant from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to modernize roads and improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. 

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United States Poet Laureate Ada Limón is coming to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a special event at Oconaluftee Visitor Center on Saturday, July 20. 

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Join a network of passionate community members across the state dedicated to learning and sharing research-based information, enhancing their communities through volunteer service, and connecting people with the benefits of gardening through education and outreach by becoming an NC State Extension Master Gardener volunteer. 

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The Franklin Bird Club leads walks along the greenway on Wednesday mornings at 8 a.m. Walks start at alternating locations: Macon County Public Library, Big Bear Park and Salali Lane. 

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Join Haywood County recreation for a sunset yoga session on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

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The true location of one of the most iconic photographs of George Masa has been accurately identified. The photograph, depicting Masa on a rock outcrop with his camera and a companion, was previously believed to have been taken at Graybeard Mountain. Recent findings confirm that the actual location is Blackstack Cliffs in the Cherokee National Forest.  

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The George Masa Foundation has announced the launch of the inaugural George Masa Youth Conservation Photography Prize. This unique competition aims to inspire middle and high school students to connect with and protect our natural world through the art of photography.

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Thursday, July 4, marks the 34th running of the Firecracker 5K in Bryson City. Created in 1989 to celebrate the town’s centennial, this annual tradition has grown from 30 to 300 runners. 

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Presented by Adamas Entertainment and The Scotsman Public House, “The Great American Bash” will feature Americana/rock sensation The Brothers Gillespie and rock/soul outfit The Get Right Band on Saturday, July 6, in the parking lot of The Scotsman, located at 37 Church St. in downtown Waynesville. 

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As part of the annual “An Appalachian Evening” concert series, bluegrass icon Dale Ann Bradley will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Stecoah Valley Center in Robbinsville. 

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The 33rd annual Maggie Valley Arts & Crafts Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 6-7 at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. 

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The annual “Thunder in the Smokies” spring rally will be held June 28-30 at the Maggie Valley Fairgrounds. 

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A full year after one of the county’s largest employers — the Pactiv Evergreen paper mill, in downtown Canton — shut its doors, Canton’s governing board adopted a conservative budget for fiscal year 2024-25 that contains no property tax increase. 

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Southwestern Community College (SCC), a crucial Western North Carolina educational institute since 1964, is exploring the possibility of hosting a scanning day. This event aims to create a comprehensive digital archive of SCC’s rich history. 

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SECU Foundation recently awarded a $1.6 million grant to Vecinos for a new medical center and human services hub in Macon County.

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Nantahala Health Foundation will launch its next competitive grant opportunity on July 1 with a focus on investing in educational, healthcare and workforce programs that benefit youth and young adults, ages 5 to 24. 

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The newest members of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program recently celebrated their completion of Southwestern Community College’s program with family and friends at SCC’s Jackson Campus. 

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Large animal veterinarians in North Carolina are eligible to apply for up to $25,000 in funds to help support their large animal practice.

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 In efforts to ensure a safer July 4 holiday experience on the water, wildlife law enforcement officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) will participate in Operation Dry Water, a national campaign being observed July 4-6, developed through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). 

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The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) is announcing an increase to fees for hunting, fishing, trapping and activity licenses, permits, stamps and certifications, which will go into effect on July 1, 2024. 

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Come out to Waynesville for the Mountain View Garden Club plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon July 6 at the Haywood County Farmers’s Market by the HART theater. 

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Question: I don’t have celiac disease but was thinking of buying more gluten-free products, are they better/healthier for me? 

Contract crews for the N.C. Department of Transportation have completed major operations at two locations of Interstate 40 in the Pigeon River Gorge, allowing all four lanes to open Tuesday for the summer travel season.

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63 North Carolina community service, nonprofit, higher education and regional organizations will get a combined $30 million in grants funded by the American Rescue Plan for high-speed internet.

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