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The Swain County Department of Social Services board has agreed to meet with the Swain County commissioners to discuss whether DSS employees and officials should be suspended due to an ongoing criminal investigation of the agency. The two boards will…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:48

Local magazine calls for photography

Smoky Mountain Living magazine has issued a call for photos for its next issue, which will hit the stands in April and May. The magazine prominently features images from across the southern Appalachians in each edition. Photo essays adhere to…
For Waynesville seniors, the old armory recreation center now offers exercise for more than just the body. The new Brain Gym system, installed thanks to a grant garnered by Haywood Community Connections, will help offer a place for the town’s…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:46

MedWest to open Urgent Care Center

An Urgent Care Center will open in August at Wal-Mart Plaza in Sylva. The location of the MedWest’s new urgent care center will in a building currently occupied by Rent-A-Center. That business is scheduled to relocate May 1 and renovations…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:42

Volunteers needed for Meals on Wheels

The Haywood County Meals on Wheels program is seeking volunteers in the Fines Creek community to deliver nutritious meals to the elderly, homebound or disabled residents. Volunteers are asked to contribute approximately one hour each week starting at 10:30 a.m.…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:40

Political ill will still lingers in Jackson

The election for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners might have wrapped up last fall, but the war of words didn’t end then. Last month, newly elected Chairman Jack Debnam wrote to unseated Commissioner Tom Massie’s employer, the N.C. Department…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:36

HCC causes a stir with clear cutting

A new and long-awaited Creative Arts Building is only days away from its groundbreaking ceremony at Haywood Community College. But the tree clearing undertaken to prepare the way for the new crafts center has proven less-than-popular with some of the…
Some local thrift shop operators in Jackson County or crying foul over a nonprofit accepting donations in Sylva despite not having a store in the county. Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina has a trailer (as in the second half…
Relatives of a Cherokee child who died in January are publicly calling for the suspension of the Swain County Department of Social Services’ director and program manager, as well as other employees named in a State Bureau of Investigation probe…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:15

Budget woes force WCU to cut jobs

Western Carolina University is laying off 10 employees in April as it struggles with the projected loss of approximately $8.6 million in state funding. The 10 workers are employed in several divisions across the university. University leaders say they anticipate…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:14

Marriage and family experts offer advice

“The Thoroughly Modern Family,” a program aimed at giving advice on how to provide happy and healthy marriages and families in the 21st century, will be held from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, at Blue Ridge Books…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:11

Blood drive in Blanton’s memory

The Tye Blanton Foundation is hosting its annual blood drive from 12 to 5 p.m Sunday, March 6, at Canton Central United Methodist Church. The event is held in memory of Trooper Shawn Blanton and his son, Tye. In previous…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:08

Program on fair elections in Macon

The League of Women Voters of Macon County will hold a program Thursday, March 10, on fair elections, presented by Democracy North Carolina. The group is a non-partisan organization. Democracy NC conducts original research into such topics as big money…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:07

Downtown Waynesville readies for spring

The Downtown Waynesville Association is gearing up for spring, with new businesses and events in the works for the coming tourist season. Buffy Phillips, the association’s executive director, told Waynesville town officials that she’s positive about the year’s outlook for…
By DeeAnna Haney • SMN Intern Perched atop a Canton nursing home roof, gleaming in the sun is the newest addition to the building, bringing it to the forefront of the green initiative in North Carolina. Silver Bluff Village held…
The Swain County Department of Social Services falsified records relating to the abuse and neglect of a 15-month-old baby who later died, according to an investigation by the Swain County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation. The specific…
The following statement was issued by the Swain County Board of Commissioners after the DSS board failed to take action Tuesday night to suspend employees named in an SBI investigation: The Swain County Board of Commissioners is extremely disappointed with…
The Swain County Department of Social Services board met for three hours Tuesday night (March 8) to discuss whether employees named in an investigation should be suspended with pay pending the outcome. The board failed to come to a consensus.…
The predicament surrounding the arena began when Monroe Miller — the county’s leading critic who regularly lambasts commissioners at their meetings and via email on any and every topic — filed a complaint with the North Carolina Department of Insurance,…
The Haywood County Fairgrounds are on the way to being back in business after a scare that shuttered the covered arena for code-compliance violations. An infusion of cash by Haywood County commissioners saved the fairgrounds from cancelling upcoming events at…
Work to bring broadband to all of North Carolina — including adding missing sections of fiber in the mountains — is well under way, leaders with a state nonprofit group said. Construction on an important link from Enka to Sylva…
Mountain Projects might take control of the REACH village in Sylva, ensuring the low-income housing would remain available to area residents in need, especially victims of domestic violence. This does not mean, however, that REACH of Jackson County, an anti-domestic…
Macon County is losing an incredible amount of experience this year with the impending retirements of two employees. Between them, Wilma Anderson — assistant to the county manager/human-resources director and Evelyn Southard — finance director — have more than 60…
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:38

Red Cross offers free CPR training

Haywood and Jackson County residents can attend free CPR training from the American Red Cross. Registration is open for “CPR Saturday,” which is sponsored by MedWest Carolina’s Healthcare. The event will be held with two classes at each location March…
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:38

Small Towns program under way in Bryson

HandMade in America is working with Bryson City as a part of its Small Towns program, which assists small towns in revitalization efforts. A resource team with the nonprofit will visit Bryson City March 16 through March 18 to conduct…
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:36

Healthy Haywood kicks off fitness challenge

Healthy Haywood will kick off its annual fitness challenge beginning March 14. Registration is $10. Participants can attend a variety of fitness classes offered by local fitness centers and businesses. Participants are free to choose which classes to attend over…
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:35

MedWest expands mental health services

A mental health program at MedWest-Haywood hospital has been expanded to include the general population through a behavioral health outpatient program. The program began as a counseling and support system for active and veteran members of the military. The pilot…
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:34

Volunteer opportunity with Arc of Haywood

The Arc of Haywood will be promoting advocacy for those with development disabilities in March. This is to honor Development Disabilities Awareness Month. A United Way agency, The Arc of Haywood was founded in 1976 in Haywood County and continues…
In a we-were-really-just-kidding-around reversal, Jackson County commissioners this week decided to delay their previous decision to delay property revaluation. A draft resolution to push back the countywide appraisal from next year to 2016 was thoughtfully included by county staff in…
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:30

Second-home economy makes its mark on WNC

The second-home economy has fueled far more than construction and real estate jobs over the past decade. “If it’s someone’s second or third home, they aren’t bringing anything with them,” said Doug Worrell, the president of High Country Furniture in…
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:27

Reading between the census lines

Although population in Western North Carolina increased only by a modest amount over the past decade, home construction grew at a much higher rate, according to 2010 census data released last week. The census counts year-round residents. But much of…
Macon County isn’t exactly asking for a recount, but officials here do want to know why the county’s 2010 census numbers fell well short of what they expected — call it more of a pointed request that federal census workers…
For upwardly mobile professionals who are looking for an outdoor lifestyle, scenic mountain beauty and the company of like-minded individuals, Jackson County has proven the perfect fit. Just-released 2010 census data shows Jackson County emerging over the last decade as…
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:11

Former HRMC CEO gets $150,000 settlement

The former CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center will get $150,000 from the hospital after settling a lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully fired. David Rice was at the helm during a near meltdown of the hospital in 2008. At the…
A member of the Jackson County Smart Roads group told county commissioners on Monday (Jan. 5) that there needs to be more planning when it comes to the proposed N.C. 107 connector, a.k.a. Southern Loop. The proposed road would connect…
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 13:45

Therapists: Hard times test marriages

The national economic downturn is taking its toll on married couples dealing with financial stress, according to area marriage counselors. Dr. Helen Andrews of Waynesville said the poor economy seems to be the primary issue on her clients’ minds. Money…
Duke Energy filed a lawsuit against Jackson County and county Planning Director Linda Cable on Monday (Jan. 5) for failing to issue permits necessary for the removal of the Dillsboro dam. Duke warned the county about a month ago that…
A visitor center that would showcase the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a local heritage museum could one day occupy the Swain County historic courthouse on Everett Street if and when the senior center currently in the courthouse moves…
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 13:45

Superior Court Judge Hyatt to step down

Superior Court Judge J. Marlene Hyatt, whose district stretches across the western part of the state, will retire from her post March 1. “I am retiring as a senior resident Superior Court judge effective March 1, 2009,” Hyatt, 54, wrote…
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 13:45

Who is Ayn Rand?

In 1957, a Russian immigrant burst onto the scene with a novel and philosophy that today remains one of the most influential, and controversial, works in American culture. The book was Atlas Shrugged, and the author was Ayn Rand. Born…
For 25 years, Superior Court Judge Marlene Hyatt has often worked as much as 12 hours a day, five days a week presiding over some of the toughest legal cases in North Carolina. Her job has taken her to every…
As renovation of Haywood County’s historic courthouse drags on, the county continues to tack on tens of thousands of dollars in additional costs over and beyond the project budget. Last month, county commissioners approved an additional $45,000 in rent and…
It appears a piece of property in Nantahala had something to do with Macon County pulling out of a fight against Duke Energy over the utility’s hydroelectric dams. Macon County wants to renew a lease on the land — which…
Western Carolina University’s College of Business recently secured a $1 million donation from BB&T — but not before discerning faculty fought to loosen the strings that came with the donation. Stipulations attached to the money — namely that business students…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:33

Macon leaders struggle with budget shortfall

K-4 school on hold due to economy Due to the national economic downturn the Macon County commissioners have decided not to fund the construction of a new $15 million K-4 school at this time. County Manager Jack Horton said it…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:35

Searching for clarity after muddy disaster

It was around 1:30 a.m. on an exceptionally rainy Wednesday that Bruce and Lorraine Donin’s world came crashing down. One minute, the senior couple from Florida was enjoying a peaceful night listening to the creek rush past their three-story home.…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:37

WNC continues to captivate

There’s something about Haywood County. In recent years, the small Western North Carolina community has found itself as the setting of three nationally acclaimed novels. It started with the release of Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain in 1997. Audiences ate up…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:39

Casino job losses first since Cherokee opening

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is cutting 100 jobs because of the national economic downturn. The cuts represent about 5 percent of the casino’s approximately 1,800 employees. Harrah’s hopes to achieve the workforce reduction voluntarily, with the offer of a severance package…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:42

Franklin seeks AT town designation

Franklin’s role on the Appalachian Trail Franklin is an important town on the Appalachian Trail because it is one of the first or last towns depending on which direction you’re coming from. It is about 106 miles from the start.…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:45

Merger prospect talk of the town

While Dillsboro leaders claim the idea of merging Sylva is in its mere infancy, opinions on the issue are already swirling in the small town. Several Dillsboro residents interviewed around town last week said they are opposed to the merger.…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:49

The view from the bench

For 25 years, Superior Court Judge Marlene Hyatt has often worked as much as 12 hours a day, five days a week presiding over some of the toughest legal cases in North Carolina. Her job has taken her to every…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:53

Dillsboro quietly assessing merger with Sylva

It appears Dillsboro has launched an official study into the pros and cons of merging with neighboring Sylva, although the planning board chairwoman leading the process was unwilling to release many details. Dillsboro Planning Board Chairwoman Teresa Dowd asserted that…
A mentally ill man allegedly beat by a Bryson City policeman will not be charged with assaulting the officer involved in the incident. Jacob Grant, 25, pled guilty last week to a lesser charge of resisting arrest and obstruction of…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:55

WestCare cuts 45 jobs

The financially struggling WestCare Medical Center with hospitals in Sylva and Bryson City has eliminated 45 full-time positions, according to a statement from the hospital. Some of the cuts were achieved through attrition, but others have been laid off. WestCare…
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 15:39

Poor economy boosts military recruiting

When Brandon Lenhart of Sylva was laid off from his construction job, he looked for work for four months but didn’t have any luck. Finally, he turned to one place that is always hiring — the military. With unemployment on…
Democratic officials in Haywood County are gearing up to choose a successor to outgoing Haywood County Sheriff Tom Alexander, who will retire from his post of more than 22 years on Feb. 2. Sheriffs are usually elected to office, but…
Allegations that the Swain County Sheriff’s Department mishandled the capture of an escaped inmate earlier this month has strained the already-tense relationship between county officials and Sheriff Curtis Cochran. Jody Smallwood, 37, escaped from a holding room in the Swain…
An effort to end a six-year-long dispute between Jackson County and Duke Energy failed in a 3-2 vote Tuesday night (Jan. 20), as the county commissioners decided to move forward with the case to save the Dillsboro dam. County Commissioner…
The attorney representing Jackson County in its legal fight against Duke Energy was expected to meet with county commiseting Tuesday (Jan. 20). The meeting will fall after The Smoky Mountain News’ deadline, but be sure to check smokymountainnews.com for a…
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 16:05

Waynesville land use plan review moves forward

A comprehensive review of the town of Waynesville’s award-winning land use plan is set to begin following the town’s selection last week of a consulting company to lead the process. The board of aldermen unanimously approved a $54,000 contract with…
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 16:09

Massie questions permit hold-up

Jackson County Commissioner Tom Massie is skeptical of whether it is legal for the county to withhold permits that Duke Energy may need to tear down the Dillsboro dam. Massie also questions whether Duke actually needs the county permits to…
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 16:19

Dillsboro dam fight heads into state hearing

In the latest in Jackson County’s quest to save the Dillsboro dam from demolition, the county will get its day in court to argue the merits of a state water quality permit that makes or breaks whether the dam comes…
Canton Mayor Pat Smathers is determined to realize his dream of turning a historic house in downtown Canton into a hotel, restaurant and retail space— and he wants taxpayers to help fund it. Smathers has sat on the 129-year-old building…
It was the ultimate David and Goliath battle. North Carolina officials, fed up with coal-fired power plants pumping pollution into their state, took on the nation’s largest public power company — the Tennessee Valley Authority — and won. The landmark…
The state legislative session began in Raleigh this week with the big issue being the budget during tough economic times. The current fiscal year budget of $21.35 billion is expected to have a shortfall of $2 billion, and Gov. Beverly…
A hulking space in the strip mall along U.S. 74 in Clyde that has sat vacant since the departure of Wal-Mart could get a new tenant — the Haywood County departments of Health and Social Services. A new building to…
Five candidates vying to be the next Haywood County Sheriff appeared at a question and answer forum Saturday, Jan. 24 before a crowd of almost 100, the majority of which were members of the Haywood County Democratic Party executive committee.…
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 16:38

Cherokee covers lunch for its own

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has recently begun funding the school lunches for enrolled members of the tribe who attend school off the Qualla Boundary. The tribe has funded the lunches of those who attend school on the reservation…
An effort to end a six-year-long dispute between Jackson County and Duke Energy failed in a 3-2 vote last week, as the county commissioners decided to move forward with the case to save the Dillsboro dam. County Commissioner Tom Massie…
A controversial bill to regulate development on steep slopes to prevent landslides will be reintroduced in the state legislature this year after dying in committee last time. The bill was crafted by Rep. Ray Rapp, D-Mars Hill, who said it…
A proposed expansion to the Sylva Volunteer Fire Department building could be up in the air now that the project has come in almost $500,000 more than expected. The overruns are due to parking and drainage issues that weren’t originally…
Tom McDevitt, the former director of the Smoky Mountain Center for Mental Health who resigned amid scrutiny last fall, was barely out the door when he was tapped by the state to head up a mental health agency down east…
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 16:46

Haywood sheriff candidates

Q: Haywood County has a growing Hispanic population. How will you address language barriers in serving that population? Hollifield: Would sign deputies up for Spanish classes at the community colleges and would employ an interpreter. Suttles: Agrees that deputies should…
Where is the new library located? The new Jackson County Public Library Complex is located at 310 Keener Street in the renovated and expanded historic courthouse at the west end of Main Street in downtown Sylva. When will the new…
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 19:17

Mountain visitors guide now available

Tourists and visitors can now pick up a free copy of the 2011 NC Mountains Visitors Guide from the Jackson County Travel & Tourism Authority. The 36-page, full color guide details hiking, rafting, fly fishing and other outdoor activities in…
The economy be damned — the burgeoning restaurant scene in Sylva continues to boom, with four eating establishments in this town of just more than 2,400 people expanding, changing hands or soon opening their doors. “A hard economic time is…
A $138,000 fountain, the crowning jewel in a larger, $2.3 million construction project, is being built at Western Carolina University. This is just one of five big-ticket undertakings now under way on campus during this time of state-mandated budget cuts.…
The inaugural Golf Classic hosted by the Wesley Foundation at Western Carolina University is coming April 16 to the Lake Junaluska Golf Course. The classic will include a shotgun start at 1 p.m., and will be captain’s choice. The entry…
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 19:08

Documentary screening on school reform

A viewing of Davis Guggenheim’s film, “Waiting for Superman” will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, in the Waynesville library auditorium. A discussion will follow after the movie on the issue of school choice. The movie is a…
The Town of Waynesville is negotiating with its biggest water customer, trying to take a stronger role in the future of how — and to whom — it sells water. The Junaluska Sanitary District, which provides water to some of…
Eve Boatright isn’t prepared to openly criticize motorists speeding past her bookshop along U.S. 23/441 south of Franklin. The British transplant has a keen sense of humor, and recognizes those criticized could, in turn, question her ability to drive on…
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 19:00

Sylva bypass loses steam as priority

Sylva leaders, asked to list their top road-building priorities, did not include a controversial bypass proposed by the state Department of Transportation. Instead, town commissioners opted for less drastic measures to improve N.C. 107, a congested traffic corridor for Sylva.…
Haywood County Schools is currently without a finance director, after long-time finance officer Larry Smith stepped down amid an investigation into accounting irregularities involving one of his employees. Payroll Administrator Sheila Nix, who had been with the district for more…
All is fair in love and war, but apparently not in politics. Former state Sen. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, is suing his opponent in the last election for violating state campaign finance laws. The suit claims Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Spruce…
When the World Trade Center fell nearly 10 years ago, there was little left of its once-majestic towers but scattered bits of steel and a sorrow that blanketed the nation. Now as the site is rebuilt, that steel is being…
The health care bills rolling into the Haywood County jail for inmate care might now be slashed by up to 25 percent after the sheriff’s office contracted with a company who will ferret out discounts on the county’s behalf. Currently,…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:34

Nursing scholarships available

Scholarships for nursing students are available through the Judy Moore Memorial Scholarship Endowment, which was created as a memorial to Judy Moore, a registered nurse who was killed in a tragic accident in 1996. A resident of Macon County, Moore…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:33

Waynesville offers summer day camp

A summer day camp for rising first graders through rising fifth graders from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., June 17 to August 5, will be held at the Waynesville Recreation Center. Campers will experience activities such as field trips, special…
Southwestern Community College will hold a free job fair Thursday, March 31. The event will be from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Balsam Building and is open to the community. Local employers will be on…
Western Carolina University students are folding and selling paper cranes for $1 to support an earthquake relief fund at a table in the first-floor lobby of McKee Building. Visitors to the table can give $1 to write a message that…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:32

WCU police receive military surplus

Two portable light towers each bright enough to illuminate an area the size of a football field are the latest pieces of equipment Western Carolina University police received through the N.C. Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Support Services program. The program…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:31

Construction program offered for students

High school students interested in construction can participate in the Kimmel School Construction Training Program at Western Carolina University in July. Students will complete and earn certification in a 10 hour occupational safety and health administration course. Students will live…
Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new adoption center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 26. The ribbon cutting will take place at 11:30 a.m. followed by snacks donated by The Patio Bistro.…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:29

Campus ministry hosts golf classic

The Wesley Foundation at Western Carolina University will host its inaugural Golf Classic at Lake Junaluska Golf Course April 16 at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $200 per team of four or $50 for individuals who will be assigned…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:26

Work on hospice center progresses

Construction on a new Homestead Inpatient Hospice Center adjacent to MedWest-Haywood hospital is progressing, with a new retaining wall, framework and roof trusses now in place. The inpatient center will serve hospice patients whose families need a break from caregiving…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:26

Senior spokeswoman hosts community forum

On March 31, Swain County citizens will have two opportunities to comment on the future of Swain County. The dialog, led by N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature delegate Janice Inabinett, will center on making Swain County a livable community. There…
In the sunny, windowed front room of the Swain County Chamber of Commerce, a group of people are gathered around a table littered with maps, the light from the windows filtering through more maps and photos and wishlists that have…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:24

Enjoy the lake? Help cleanup, please

A Lake Junaluska Beautification Day is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5, and volunteers are needed to help with the cleanup. Projects planned include clearing brush, power washing signs and buildings, and more. Lake Junaluska Beautification Day will kick-off with breakfast…
Haywood County has received two grants totaling $133,650 from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center that will help create 22 jobs over the next couple of years. A grant of $88,000 will help renovate a psychiatric wing at MedWest-Haywood…