The news of 2006

2006 was a big year for news in the mountains. From the economy to the world of politics, there’s been a lot of change. We’ve selected some of the best quotes from newsmakers in 2006 to help put the year in perspective.



“The way he voted it is obvious the interests of Haywood County taxpayers were not his top priority. There is not other way to interpret that vote.”

— Haywood Commissioner Mary Ann Enloe explaining why the board of county commissioner dismissed county manager Jack Horton. Horton, who sat on the board of an economic development non-profit, voted against a plan to transfer a business incubator from the non-profit to county ownership.

“The incubator has been a failure and been mismanaged I don’t think anyone looking at it objectively can come to any other conclusion.”

— Mark Swanger, chairman of the Haywood County commissioners, on why the business incubator should be transferred to county ownership.

“I’m a Christian and I’m strongly against that alcohol.”

— Lance Smoker, a Cherokee from Snowbird, speaking at a public hearing on whether Harrahs Casino should have permission to serve alcohol despite its ban elsewhere on the reservation.

“The student is to present SPECIFIC SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCES for BOTH SIDES of the debate.”

— Biology assignment at Franklin High School that required students to research both creation and evolution.

“It’s purely a matter of what I call waning interest. It’s hard to do the same thing over and over and generate the same excitement year after year after year.”

— Kay Waldrop, Haywood County Arts Council executive director, regarding the decision to no longer bring the Atlanta Ballet to Waynesville

“I know she’s not a virgin anymore, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to stand here and watch somebody take advantage of her like this.”

— Stop I-3 Coalition and Macon County planning board member Larry Stenger on a proposal by Georgia state representatives that would route a new highway through the county


“I’ll never forget the look in his eyes.”

— Sgt. Jonathan Phillips, a Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy, recalling a chase in which a suspect attempted to kill him using a car, and Phillips consequently was forced to fire his weapon, hitting the suspect four times.

“We hope that with this ruling the county will settle down and leave us alone.”

— Tom McClure, Jackson County Airport Authority and Economic Development Commission chairman, on a court ruling that said county commissioners broke the law when they attempted to remove him from his posts.

“My whole thesis is that you can’t understand American until you understand Appalachia.”

— Author Jeff Biggers upon the publication of his new work The United States of Appalachia.

“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a national treasure and is part of the shared natural and cultural heritage that belongs to every American.”

— Greg Kidd, associate southeast director for the National Parks Conservation Association, at a public hearing on the North Shore Road.

“We gave you the land for the dang park, now just build us a little old road along the edge of it.”

— Raleigh Grant, a supporter of the North Shore Road, arguing that people moved off their land for the park are owed a road so they can visit their old homesites.

“If you want to compete with the top players in the business you have to reinvest in a big way.”

— Ray Rose, a Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel vice president, on the need for a $254 million expansion that includes third hotel tower, new entertainment venue and overhaul of the casino floor.


“It will hurt our community. It will hurt our children. It will make our school much less safe than it is now.”

— Sybil Mann, a resident along Plott Creek Road in Waynesville, arguing against the construction of a middle-turn lane in front of Hazelwood Elementary School. DOT is moving forward with the plans.

“It’s an eyesore. Look at all this beautiful brick work and this metal thing.”

— Johnnie Roberts, a Bryson City resident, upset about a controversial metal siding building considered incongruous with the historic look of Main Street.

“You can pour water in a gallon jug, but when it reaches capacity, it will eventually overflow.”

— Jim Cinque, a Haywood County resident, on the rate of development and need for slope regulations.

“I want him to respond to this. I couldn’t sleep all weekend.”

— Heath Shuler, then a candidate running against Rep. Charles Taylor, challenging the incumbent to take a stand regarding a presidential proposal to sell off more than 9,000 acres of national forest land in Western North Carolina to fund education.

“The Regional Director’s position is inherently designed to assume additional responsibilities of an interim county librarian while maintaining the important role of regional administrator and leader. This has been demonstrated on three different occasions, once for the Jackson County Librarian and twice for the Marianna Black Library Librarian. These situations demanded a high level of stamina, endurance, motivation and commitment required of the Regional Director, and I was prepared, proactive and successful in continuing to provide high levels of quality library service in each case.”

— A statement from FRL director Gail Findlay denouncing an anticipated recommendation by the Macon County Library board that librarian Karen Wallace should take on her job after Findlay’s retirement.


“I don’t really see what that had to with him. I think it is kind of unfair.”

— Kinney Liner with Haywood Contracting on Danny Wingate at Haywood Builders Supply being pulled into a school system accounting probe due to a credit balance the school maintenance director established at the store.

“Maybe I would pose the question to you: What do want Haywood County to look like in 50 years when it is time for all the grading contractors to move west?”

— Marc Pruett, soil and erosion enforcement officer, on the need for a slope ordinance.

“The Reservation does not need that relationship now. Swain County does.”

— Ben Bushyhead, a Cherokee candidate for Swain County commissioner, suggesting that Swain County is missing the boat by not collaborating more with the tribe.

“I am convinced they use the term micromanaging to describe any decision they don’t agree with. I don’t apologize for being engaged and double-checking the facts and asking hard questions. I am not a rubber stamp and I don’t think any board should be a rubber stamp.”

— Haywood Commissioner Mark Swanger, fending off criticism of micromanaging county government and his decision to dismiss county Manager Jack Horton. A political action committee formed to defeat Swanger in the primary.

“There is no Machine telling me what to do.”

— Swain County Commissioner David Anthony, denying accusations from challengers in the primary election that the current board is controlled by the Democratic Party Machine.

“We’re going on 20 years that we’ve been talking about land use and we’ve made no progress at all.”

— Jackson County commissioner candidate Tom Massie. Massie’s pro-land use planning platform helped carry him to victory in the crowded primary elections.

“Appalachian culture won’t allow for people being told what to do.”

— Macon County commissioner candidate Ronnie Beale during a League of Women Voters forum.

“At this point I think the growth is here to stay, I’m pretty sure that it’s probably just going to get worse.”

— Macon County’s erosion control officer Josh Ward. In 2005, Macon County saw nearly 500 new building permits for single-family residential homes, and about 200 commercial building permits.


“You need to get your priorities straight or else we are going to have a whole lot of children to bury. Unless the state puts childcare at the top of their list this is going to happen again and again and again.”

— Attorney Randy Seago after defending a homeless, single mom whose son died in the car while she worked a double shift at a nursing home in Jackson County. She was found not guilty.

“There were numerous amounts of alcoholic beverage bottles, about 30 of them.”

— Bryson City Police Detective Dennis Ashe on a stash found in the ceiling of Ingles where a peeping Tom was caught spying on the women’s restroom below.

“We are not about alcohol, we are about the food.”

— Richard Long, owner of Caffe Rel in Franklin, regarding an upcoming vote on whether to allow alcohol sales in restaurants. Residents ended up voting in alcohol sales.

“After evaluating Duke’s proposal and the recommendations from resource agencies and interested parties, we considered what environmental measures would be necessary or appropriate for continued operations of the projects. Based on this analysis, we recommend licensing the East Fork, West Fork, and Bryson projects as proposed by Duke with some additional staff-recommended measures, and the surrender of the Dillsboro Project with removal of the dam and demolition of the powerhouse.”

— A statement from the 402-page Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s draft environmental assessment issued in regards to Duke Energy pursing new licenses for each of their dams along the Tuckasegee and Oconaluftee Rivers

“Overall, citizens seem fairly satisfied with the quality of life in the town of Sylva.”

— The first line in a summary of responses in a citizen satisfaction survey town officials sent out to collect information about the town’s current services and future improvements.


“You can only spend a dollar so many times.”

— Tom Halsey, a Haywood County tourism board member, on the tug of war over the best use of tourism tax dollars.

“Without zoning anyone can build anything, anytime, anywhere.”

— Brad Walker, a member of the Bryson City planning board, on a pledge by the town to finally tackle land-use planning regulations.

“The community spirit and feeling is disappearing as our land is disappearing.”

— Judy Coker, a Haywood County resident, an advocate of funding for farmland preservation.

“We can’t fill his shoes but are sure going to try. It will take all of us together to be Wade Reece.”

— Becky Ramey, the owner of Smackers, on the loss of the larger-than-life Maggie Valley community figure.

“It’s a beef I have about festivals, they have to raise their money and they become entities in and of themselves, they’re a business. They become a business and not a way to have the community gather, which is very important in a festival.”

— Janet Jacobs Greene, a festival coordinator in Franklin.

“If they want to throw them in a drawer and never look at them, we can’t stop them from doing that.”

— Geologist and engineer Rebecca Latham, a member of the N.C. Geological Survey, regarding a survey Macon County’s landslide prone areas and what local officials are going to do with the results.

“The Tuckasegee does not belong to me, it does not belong to FERC, it does not belong to any environmental group and it certainly does not belong to Duke.”

— Rady Large, who began a “Free The Tuck” bumpersticker fundraising campaign as of June was $200 in the red, to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff at a public hearing regarding Duke’s relicensing of hydroelectric dams.

“We probably need to do a better job on that.”

— Former Downtown Sylva Association present Max Browning regarding the organization’s need to spread public awareness about what it is the organization does.

“If someone wants to think I eat opossum, I don’t care. If they want to think I’m a dumb racist, that really pisses me off.”

— Author Silas House on his Kentucky Appalachian accent and what people may read into it


“These moments are quite short-lived and very precious ones in life.”

— Ted White, a bass player with Whitewater Bluegrass Company, describing a bonding moment between musicians of different nationalities jamming backstage at a Folkmoot performance.

“We decided as much as we can, we would like to go green.”

— Talitha Mes of Crabtree, who with her husband installed a $45,000, 100-foot tall windtower at their mountaintop home. They also sell their surplus power back to Progress Energy.

“As far as I know, they haven’t threatened to take their marbles and go home.”

— Byron Hickox, Waynesville town code enforcer, on Super Wal-Mart’s reaction to town codes that govern architectural design, parking lot trees, sign height and sidewalks.

“Everybody has fell in love with the mountains and they want to live here. They want their little piece of heaven. What we thought would never be developed is being developed. It’s gotten to the point we’re going to have to protect what we’ve got.”

— Jim Douthit, a former Swain County commissioner, urging the current county board to get cracking on steep slope building regulations.

“I mean be real folks.”

— Sylva town board member Harold Hensley to an audience of Downtown Sylva Association supporters worried that the town’s decision to cut funding would be the proverbial nail in the coffin for downtown. People aren’t building million dollar homes in Jackson County because of a sidewalk café, he said.

“I learned how to do a mural... I learned what a mural is.”

— Brennan Burke, 9, a participant in a new summer art camp organized by Western Carolina University’s Division of Educational Outreach.

“People are tired of people coming in here and just buying up land, and because we don’t have any land planning and we don’t have zoning, they just come up here and do whatever they take a notion to.”

— Nola Brown, a member of United Neighbors’ xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx steering committee.


“We’ve always had elections and seemed to work things out.”

— Swain County Commissioner Chairman Glenn Jones, dismissing allegations that the site used for early voting was inadequate due to handicap accessibility and its proximity to Jones’ office, who worked down the hall and within the legal distances candidates are supposed to keep from voters.

“People driving down South Main Street, they don’t want to look across there and see a sea of asphalt.”

— Waynesville Mayor Henry Foy, concerned the Super Wal-Mart won’t have enough trees in their massive parking lot.

“As you drive down the Valley you can feel the excitement. It’s in the air.”

— Alice Aumen, owner of Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley, on news Ghost Town was sold and would reopen as an amusement park by summer 2007 after five years of being down.

“We had lots of things that had to be done. They said ‘Don’t worry about it. We will settle it all up at the end.’ We were told not to be concerned about it and to go ahead and get our buildings built.”

— Superintendent Anne Garrett on how the school system double-billed the state and FEMA more than $400,000 for the same work. They had to pay back the money.

“We never said it was OK to send us the same bill you send to FEMA.”

— Chris Crew, a state flood recovery coordinator, who didn’t notice Haywood County Schools was sending the same invoices to him and a FEMA rep who worked down the hall.

“Each meeting they would say, ‘We’re going to do so and so,’ and I had to tell them you didn’t have money to do it with. You had to put back what you had. Nothing more.”

— Ted Norman, former maintenance director for Haywood County schools, alleging the school board used state flood money for projects that went beyond the scope of flood repair.

It’s cut the boat traffic here from 100 percent to 30 percent in the last four or five years. We used to own a boat and we used to ride around and fish, but after Centex bought it and all we kind of didn’t know what to think. I ain’t been back on the lake since then.”

— Ken Chastain, owner of Ken’s Grocery and Propane in Tuckasegee, referring to the area’s Bear Lake Reserve development.

“It’s like being in a town of darkness and the sun just came up.”

— Long-time Maggie Valley resident and owner of Joey’s Pancake House Brenda O’Keefe upon hearing that the closed Ghost Town theme park had sold and would be reopened in 2007.

“That’s the biggest news we’ve had in Sylva a long, long time.”

— Sylva Mayor Brenda Oliver announcing that the town had received $3.5 million from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to preserve the Fisher Creek watershed.


“There was never any intention of trying to slide something by. It was either under the assumption it would be flood damage or tied to it in some form or fashion.”

— Mike Sorrells, Haywood County school board member, defending the use of state flood money for things that went beyond the scope of flood repair.

“It is like living in a different world out here.”

— Charles Miller, a resident of Allens Creek, after the town passed a long-sought ban on the use of “jake” brakes to quiet gravel trucks on their way to and from a rock quarry located in an otherwise residential community.

“Are people coming to the region to stay in a hotel or to enjoy all the amenities the region has to offer?”

— Greg Boothroyd, president of the Downtown Waynesville Association, advocating for a more diverse mix of backgrounds on the tourism board currently dominate by lodging owners.

“I think we can do some real theater.”

— Jackson County’s community theater group the Kudzu Players director Cliff Faull regarding plans for a new theater building and what it will mean for the group.

“Edith had a pet snake sort of.”

— Sam Hale, a Western Carolina University graduate who has spent the past two years sorting through the Monteith House, once owned by sisters Edith and Edna. There was a small hole in a corner of the house where a snake came in and out. Edith would put out a platter of water for the snake to drink. The snake would come out, get a sip, and head back into the hole.

“I’ve done nothing but positive things here, I really really really have.”

— Nancy Hancock, owner of Franklin’s Mountain Glides Segway tour company. Hancock ran tours on the Macon County Greenway, however, Greenway board members took issue saying the Greenway was not designed for commercial use.


“Anything that can bring new visitors to our area is always good.”

— Joyce Dugan with Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel commending a new biodiesel shuttle bus that will run between Gatlinburg and Cherokee several times a day.

“I want my grandchildren to be able to enjoy Swain County. To do so we have to have some kind of planning. I think it is so important for the future.”

— Troy Burns, a small business owner and real estate developer in Swain County, one of 38 people who applied to serve on a planning board. After calling for applications, county commissioners postponed the creation of a planning board indefinitely.

“Where is the vision? Where is the initiative? If you don’t set some traps, you don’t catch any rabbits. If you don’t plow and sow, you can’t expect a harvest.”

— N.C. Senator-elect Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, criticizing his incumbent opponent for falling down on the job in Raleigh and representing the region poorly.

“I was told they didn’t want to cut out any projects. It would eliminate a tremendous number of votes for the bond and it wouldn’t pass.”

— John McCracken former assistant superintendent for Haywood County schools, recounting the school board’s rationale in arbitrarily slashing the architect’s estimates for a slate of school bond projects rather than seriously scaling back any projects. The bond is running about $2 million over budget due to the arbitrary reduction.


“They are jealous because they didn’t do it.”

— Bruce Green of Swain County dismissing critics of a lucrative land deal. Green, along with Bob Robinson, bought 47 acres for $500,000 and sold it to the county just a few months later for $3 million.

“I want to err on the side of being less restrictive.”

— Haywood County Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick on the passage of a watered down version of a slope ordinance based on eleventh-hour changes.

“What’s fair for one sheriff should be fair for another sheriff.”

— Jeffery Fuller, a bail bondsman in Bryson City, questioning a move by Swain County commissioners to end an off-the-books arrangement with the sheriff to provide meals for the inmates. The sheriff kept any surplus to subsidize his own salary. The deal was ended on the eve of a new sheriff taking office.

It’s kind of a wake up call.”

— Bob Wright, a Macon County Watershed Council member and president of the Cold Springs Property Owners Association, about a proposed high-rise condo project to be built just outside of Highland’s planning district. The county does not have any regulations that would prevent such a building.


“The medical staff is very distraught over the potential loss of these very fine doctors.”

— Dr. Robin Matthews, the chief of staff at Haywood Regional Medical Center, expressing the desire of most doctors in the county for the hospital board to reconsider their decision to replace a long-time group of ER doctors due to a power struggle between the doctors and hospital administrator.

“Withholding it could only have caused a little dissension. We don’t have any ordinances in place to compel them to build to any sort of standards. It seems like an injustice to hold them to standards that we don’t have.”

— Franklin town board member Verlin Curtis regarding the town’s decision to approve Wal-Mart’s request to hook on to the town’s water and sewer system without making any requests for a more sensitively designed store.

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