Arts + Entertainment

fr glenvilleA new health advisory was issued this month warning people about mercury levels in walleye fish in Lake Glenville. This is not exactly news.

“As an obligate piscivore — that is, fish that feed almost exclusively on smaller fish — this species is very prone to mercury bioaccumulation,” explained Susan Massengale, public information officer with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

coverMore than 200 acres of scattered tracts along the meandering Pigeon River Valley in Haywood County are quiet sentries to the not-so-pretty past of Canton’s century-old paper mill. 

SEE ALSO: A better wayThe good, the bad and the silver lining

Mountains of toxin-laced sludge and coal ash are buried in vast industrial dumps on the outskirts of town, hidden relics of the mill’s long papermaking presence here. The old unlined landfills leapfrog along a 2-mile section of the Pigeon River downstream of the mill.

fr landfill2The Canton paper mill has been an economic anchor in Haywood County since 1908, providing livelihoods for tens of thousands of workers over its proud and storied history.

fr landfill3The dangers of coal ash have taken center stage in North Carolina in the wake of the Dan River disaster, when a breach in a faulty Duke Energy coal ash pond near Eden unleashed a toxic slurry downstream.

fr landfillThe old Francis Farm Landfill in Waynesville has been closed for nearly 20 years, but its ghost continues to haunt Haywood County.

The county is facing an estimated $5 to $7.5 million in additional environmental cleanup costs for the old landfill, compounding the $1.2 million already shelled out over the past six years.

coverTake an evening walk through the woods this time of year, and odds are you’ll hear the grumpy quacking of a male wood frog, showing off for the ladies. The sound promises the return of warm days and growing gardens, even as icy temperatures fill the forecast. 

For Jessica Duke, this harbinger of a new season coincides with the end of an old. The Western Carolina University graduate student is wrapping up a year of study on behalf of local amphibian species like the wood frog, and what she’s found offers encouragement for animals that are up against some hard times.  

Water cents

What falls freely from the sky, rumbles, swooshes, rolls, trickles across the planet; seeps into the earth beneath our feet yet is more valuable than “Texas T,” that foul smelling icky crude that companies spend billions to produce, only to sell for mega-billions?

fr ugandanwillWhen Sydney Bridges sets out to do something, she doesn’t give up.

A 10th grader at Tuscola High School in Haywood County, Bridges is currently spearheading a fund-raising campaign to build a clear water well in Kampala, Uganda.

A comprehensive U.S. Forest Service report released last month examines how expanding populations, increased urbanization, and changing land-use patterns could impact natural resources, including water supplies, nationwide during the next 50 years.

out frTwo more lakes in the region are now under a fish consumption advisory due to mercury contamination.

Unsafe levels of mercury have been detected in fish species in Nantahala Lake in Macon County and Lake Chatuge in Clay County, leading to a consumption advisory on certain species.

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Reading Room

  • A strange mix of books crosses my desk
    A strange mix of books crosses my desk The first weeks of 2018 have seen some offbeat books shamble across my desk and into my fingers. First up is John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast, also known as Mr. Steadfast. Buchan, a Scottish novelist and politician who served as Governor General of Canada from 1935…
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