Debating Forest Service plan at Newsmakers forum

(Mountain XPress) The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests may be our shared, public lands. But what do we do with them? How do we preserve and protect them — and for what uses? These were the questions posed at the first of Carolina Public Press’s Newsmakers series, held Thursday, Nov. 13. The lively discussion focused on the U.S. Forest Service’s draft plan for 1 million acres of public lands in Western North Carolina — and demonstrated just how passionate area residents are about the public lands that are part of the region’s great outdoors.

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Mills River fire chief presses council on affordable housing

(Hendersonville Times News) Chief Rick Livingston of the Mills River Fire Department attended Thursday’s Town Council meeting to make a plea for council members to expedite a decision on whether to create areas within the community that would accommodate higher-density, affordable housing. Mayor Larry Freeman said the town’s planning board began discussing the topic of affordable housing more than a year ago and has put in a lot of time, holding public input sessions and looking at different options. The chief said that over the last 28 months, the department has lost 14 of its volunteers, including both of his sons, largely because they cannot afford to live in Mills River.

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