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In today’s economy, people want to stretch their dollars to the max. What if you could actually double your money? Many in Jackson County are doing just that by contributing to the new Jackson County Public Library building fund at…
A Jackson County grading company was left holding the bag on more than $200,000 in site work after the developer who hired it went bankrupt. The grading company has filed a lawsuit targeting the current property owner in hopes of…
Ghost Town in the Sky is staring down the barrel of foreclosure. BB&T has filed for foreclosure against the amusement park, which owes BB&T $9.5 million dating back to 2007. Of that amount, $6.5 million was to purchase of the…
Alternative energy has emerged as a sticking point in the debate over a proposed $10 million creative arts building at Haywood Community College. The project is in limbo as it awaits approval from county commissioners, who have expressed reservations for…
Lorin Shaw was barely 16 when he landed a job with a crew building the Blue Ridge Parkway in the late-1930s. “We were lucky to get the work because there was no work back then,” said Shaw, who was born…
Downtown Waynesville merchants hope a plan to remodel the old Strand theater as an entertainment venue, restaurant and microbrewery will return the former icon to a Main Street magnet once again. “We are excited about it. We think it is…
Lake Junaluska, a century-old retreat for Methodist clergy and their families, will remain the favored venue for a major annual conference of the United Methodist Church. The Western North Carolina Conference — a formal gathering of Methodist churches from the…
Jackie Shuler has lived in the shadow of the Waynesville rock quarry most of her life. But as blasts have grown stronger and the size of the quarry bigger, so has the list of Shuler’s complaints. “If you were home…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:48

Quarry regulations fall between the cracks

A Waynesville rock quarry where a major slide occurred last year was operating without rules governing the stability or safety of its massive walls, which tower hundreds of feet in the air. There are no state or federal engineering standards…
A packed public hearing last week over a Waynesville rock quarry pitted neighbors opposing an expansion of the mine against its workers. The Allens Creek quarry mines granite, which is used in road building and is the primary raw material…
Water pollution stemming from a Waynesville rock quarry is 100 times higher than that allowed under state standards, according to recent creek sampling by a state water quality specialist. Silt running off the Harrison Construction rock quarry into nearby Allens…
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 15:15

Home Depot site for sale — for $4 million

Home Depot is still trying to unload a 12-acre tract in Waynesville after sidelining plans for its first store west of Asheville a year and a half ago due to the economy. Home Depot had been asking $4 million for…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 19:00

Joint venture paying off for hospital group

The hospitals in Haywood, Jackson and Swain Counties can boost their bottom line by $15 million a year under their new joint venture, according to a major analysis of hospital operations conducted over the past six months. Saving money was…
With more unaffiliated candidates running for office this year, political party leaders are torn over whether to open their doors to those who won’t declare party affiliation as either Democrat or Republican. In Jackson County, three unaffiliated candidates will be…
Angel Medical Center in Franklin may soon come under the wing of Mission Hospital in Asheville. Smaller, rural hospitals are increasingly forging partnerships with larger hospitals as it becomes tougher financially to go it alone. Angel’s 15-member hospital board unanimously…
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:19

Sylva cardboard box venture collapses

Stonewall Packaging, a cardboard plant in Sylva, laid off 43 workers last week and shut down operations after coming on line just a few months earlier. Stonewall Packaging was a venture of Jackson Paper, also a cardboard plant in Sylva,…
As Al Harper watched the national recession undermine ticket sales at Ghost Town amusement park over the past two years, he faced a tough choice: pump more money into the faltering theme park or throw in the towel? Walking away…
Ghost Town in the Sky failed to make timely payments on its liability insurance policy, and as a result it lapsed just days before a massive mudslide originating from the theme park wreaked havoc on the mountainside below. Now, property…
Western Carolina University maintained its top 10 ranking on a list of leading public regional universities in the south in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guidebook released Aug. 17 For the second year in a row,…
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 12:45

Log cabin raffle to benefit mentor program

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina will raffle off a Smoky Mountain cabin to benefit its efforts to recruit, screen, train and support caring adults who want to make a difference in the life of a child. The…
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 12:45

Habitat for Humanity build day in Clyde

The Haywood County Board of Realtors is organizing a Build Day for Habitat for Humanity on Sept. 16 at Barefoot Ridge in Clyde. Realtors and others who would like to take part in the event should be ready to work…
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 12:48

Meet GOP candidates in Jackson Sept. 9

Conservative candidates running for the Jackson County commission, state legislative offices and judgeships will be speaking at a “Meet Conservative Candidates” event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Savannah Community Center in Jackson Country. The Jackson…
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 12:49

Peace conference organizer featured on UNC-TV

Haywood County resident and Lake Junaluska Peace Conference Committee Chairman Garland Young and United Methodist Bishop Ken Carder will appear on UNC TV’s “North Carolina People” with Dr. Bill Friday at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10, and at 5:30…
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 12:50

Grace Church invites applicants for grants

Grace Episcopal Church in Waynesville again will devote all the proceeds from its annual parish fair to mission outreach grants. The church invites local non-profit service agencies and organizations to submit applications by Sept. 15. Last year the church awarded…
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 12:50

Suicide risk workshop offered Sept. 10

Assessing suicide risk is the topic of a daylong professional development workshop to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at Western Carolina University. Lunch is included. “Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk” will include lectures, exercises,…
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 12:51

Sept. 11 tribute honors emergency personnel

The second annual Sept. 11 “Never Forget” tribute and candlelight memorial will honor first responders who serve every day to protect the citizens of Haywood County. The tribute begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the historic Haywood Country…
The 3rd Annual Youth Art Festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Jackson County Green Energy Park. Opportunities abound for hands-on art activities such as sidewalk chalk, mural painting, tile mosaics,…
A group of Christians paid a visit to Haywood County commissioners Monday night to urge them to pray to Jesus when opening each meeting. Commissioner Kevin Ensley, the sole commissioner who referred to Jesus during invocations, decided in late January…
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 17:50

Trash down, recycling up

The recession has been good news for landfills. Due to the economic downturn, less trash was thrown in landfills in North Carolina last year than any year in the past two decades. The biggest reduction in trash came from the…
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 17:50

The nuts and bolts of the bench

The starting salary for a judge is $109,000, but can climb much higher for judges with a long tenure thanks to cost of living raises plus a bump in pay for every five years spent on the bench. Judge Steve…
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 17:50

Judicial candidates

There are three district court judge seats up for election this year. Candidates must designate which seat they are running for. The race is non-partisan. Two candidates for each seat will advance past the May primary to the general election…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Wal-Mart no more

Haywood County commissioners are joining a burgeoning nationwide movement that is making use of abandoned Wal-Marts and foresaken strip malls in creative ways. Deserted Wal-Marts across the country have been reworked into a library, a mega-church, an indoor flea market,…
NOTE: Gracie Mayer won the Building Small Essay Contest held in conjunction with the N.C. Arboretum's Building Small exhibit and sponsored by Smoky Mountain Living. Here is her winning entry: If you’re wondering what it’s like to live in a…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Close-up of a crumbling facility

Fire code violations, compromised client confidentiality, leaking roofs, freezing pipes, lack of energy efficiency, severely limited space, windows that won’t close... The problems with the current DSS and health department facilities would take pages to list. And the issues have…
Get ready to hit the slopes and participate in meaningful worship at Lake Junaluska’s Ministries with Young People (MYP) annual THAW President’s Day Weekend, February 12 – 15, 2010. MYP at Lake Junaluska offers Christian youth ski weekends packed with…
Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in Maggie Valley will emerge from bankruptcy under a new corporate structure. One of the current owners has agreed to put up $7 million to buy the park. It’s not nearly enough to…
Republicans faced a major decision in the primary election: who is the best man to go head to head with Congressman Heath Shuler come fall? The two front-runners going into election day came from opposite sides of the conservative spectrum:…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Queen to face new challenger

After three straight match-ups with the same Republican challenger, Sen. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, will face a new opponent on the Republican side of the ticket this year. Ralph Hise, the mayor of Spruce Pine, narrowly beat out two other…
A grassroots effort to halt a mine expansion in west Waynesville jumped its first hurdle last week. Citizens have convinced a state environmental agency that there’s enough community interest over the rock quarry expansion to hold a formal public hearing…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Crowded judge field narrowed

District Court judge candidates who made it past the primary hope the race will become more digestible to voters now that the field has been narrowed down. Three judge seats are up for election in what is considered a watershed…
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 17:37

GOP hopes voter anger will help beat Shuler

Republicans hope 2010 will be their year to reclaim the congressional seat representing Western North Carolina — a seat they had long held but was wrested away in 2006 by political newcomer and football star Heath Shuler. Whoever wins the…
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 17:37

Jackson ridge law review off the table

The Jackson County planning board is no longer contemplating revisions to the county’s ban on ridge top construction. The ridge law posed logistical challenges for county staff tasked with enforcing the ordinance. But discussion over how to tweak the ridge…
It’s not often that soccer players go head-to-head with softball and baseball athletes. But whenever Haywood County decides to build a new recreation park, they may do just that. A competitive spirit creeps from the field into public meetings, as…
Western North Carolina’s mental health agency may be headed for a civil war with its partner foundation. Smoky Mountain Center, a quasi-state body that oversees mental health in the region, hopes to wrest $20 million in assets away from its…
While a hotly contested judge’s race is dominating the water cooler gossip in lawyers’ offices, the average voter likely has their work cut out for them. The choices are overwhelming: 10 candidates running for three seats. All the names on…
A conference that connects faith and the environment will be held at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center April 8 through 11. Caring for Creation, now in its fourth year, imparts a message of stewardship and responsibility for people of…
A primary owner of Ghost Town in the Sky wants to buy the amusement park out of bankruptcy. But there’s a catch. The owner would walk away from more than $5 million in debt, yet continue to own the park…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Ambitious development going nowhere

All visible signs of the grandiose megadevelopment known as Cataloochee Wilderness Resorts have vanished from public view in Haywood County. Businessmen behind the development recently vacated a Clyde office that served as their headquarters owing more than $8,000 in back…
A Cherokee archaeological site spanning from at least 6,000 years ago to the 18th century stands in the way of bridge widening project over the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County. Plans call for widening the N.C. 107 bridge over the…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

Tapping the power of the sun

Progress Energy customers can now claim a fraction of their power comes from the sun. A new solar farm is on line in Canton sporting 2,340 solar panels on four acres — generating enough electricity to power 51 homes. A…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

EPA takes aim at Canton paper mill

A water pollution permit for the Canton paper mill has come under fire by the Environmental Protection Agency. The pollution permit is up for a periodic review by the state. The EPA isn’t pleased with the standards the state has…
Marian Wright Edelman will speak at the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at Stuart Auditorium. The talk is part of the 2010 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference titled “Peace for the World’s Children” and is free.…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:41

Alzheimer’s Association opens Cherokee office

A grand opening celebration of the Alzheimer’s Association’s office and counseling center in Cherokee will take place  2:30-5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 20. The facility will be in the Health and Medical Division Building, 43 John Crowe Hill. Principal Chief…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:40

Mark the Scouts’ 100th anniversary Sept. 25

The Boy Scouts of America is celebrating 100 years of scouting with a council-wide camporee and celebration at Camp Daniel Boone in Haywood County the weekend of Sept. 25. All Scouts, leaders, families and guests are encouraged to come and…
An accountant tasked by a Superior Court judge with taking control of Moody Funeral Home in Sylva said she couldn’t fulfill the order because of a state-licensing issue, and questions about who is on the property lease. In a Sept.…
Ron Rosendahl took the time to count every single sign greeting the main road that dissects the town of Maggie Valley. He found 400 signs squeezed into less than five miles of Soco Road. According to Rosendahl, only 26 of…
Western Carolina might never be the next Silicon Valley, but experts say improving Internet access could help kick-start the region’s economy. David Hubbs, CEO of BalsamWest FiberNET, said with the manufacturing sector mostly on its way out in WNC, it’s…
A few years ago, Michael Wade was ready to hang up tin cans and have tenants at his Rabbit Ridge Apartments in Cullowhee yell messages at each other — all to avoid the daily aggravation caused by two telecom corporations.…
Retired horticulturist Clayton Davis envisions a new Maggie Valley. Instead of a tiring five-mile stretch of asphalt along Soco Road, it features a beautiful line of islands brimming with colorful flowers, trees, shrubs and decorative rocks. Like the tulips at…
After enduring months of dogged opposition over a county rule that would protect residents from nasty garbage piles on their neighbor’s property, Haywood County leaders are trying a different tack. The county has dropped the idea of a public health…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:29

Haywood Memory Walk to support Alzheimer’s care

Registration is now open for the 20th Annual Haywood County Memory Walk, which will be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 3 at Lake Junaluska. There are more than 1,630 cases of Alzheimer’s disease in Haywood County, and that number is…
“Taking Care of You: Powerful Tools for Care giving,” is a six-week series created to educate those who care for chronically ill family members. The classes will be held from 1:30 to 4 p.m. every Thursday from Sept. 30 to…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:27

Learn more about respite caregiving

Training sessions for those wishing to work as a respite caregiver will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, and those seeking a respite caregiver can attend training from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Haywood Community…
Tired of all-night parties, yards used as parking lots and  overflowing trash cans, a community near Western Carolina University is taking aim at student rental houses. The Village of Forest Hills plans to limit the number of people who can…
Call Highlands home and you live in Macon County, right? Not necessarily. Some town of Highlands residents have discovered they actually live in neighboring Jackson County — which can make matters confusing, all the way from the voting booth to…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:19

Pet first aid workshops offered

Dog and cat owners will have an opportunity to learn basic emergency first aid for their companion pets in a hands on two-hour workshop with Dr. Tami Shearer of Shearer Pet Health Hospital. Getting your sick or injured companion to…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:18

Learn about regional colleges at HCC

College Night at Haywood Community College will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, in the auditorium. Area high school students and residents will have a chance to talk with college representatives from more than 55 southeastern…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:18

Constitution readings planned

In an effort to revitalize the nation’s civic culture, veterans and schoolchildren from throughout Jackson County will gather at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 in Cashiers, Sylva and Cherokee for a public reading of the U.S. Constitution. The readings will…
An environmental group dedicated to protecting the Little Tennessee River has come out against a state proposal to widen and pave Needmore Road from one to two lanes. The Little Tennessee Watershed Association did not dismiss out-of-hand the state Department…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:11

Landslide repair below Ghost Town set to begin

Stabilization of the landslide below Ghost Town in Maggie Valley will begin in two weeks, finally bringing comfort to downslope residents who have lived below the looming threat of another slide for half a year. The slide last February scoured…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

All about tea

Editor’s Note: Since January is National Tea Month, The Smoky Mountain News talked to some of the tea connoisseurs in Western North Carolina about their love of tea and disdain for the traditional iced tea so popular in the South.…
If all goes according to plan, a new regional livestock market will open in Canton by late May to more than 3,000 happy cattle farmers from Western North Carolina. The venue will again provide a stable market to help livestock…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

Where ideology meets environmental reality

The term “off-the-grid” means living in a self-sufficient manner without the services of a public utility. Wikipedia estimates that in 2007 there were around 250,000 off-the-grid households in the U.S. that supplied their own water, electrical and sewer systems. Living…
Balsam Mountain Preserve, a mega-development in Jackson County, was sold to the highest bidder on the courthouse steps Monday (Jan. 25) in a closely followed foreclosure proceeding. TriLyn, a private equity investment firm which initiated the foreclosure, was the highest…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

How to fix a mountainside

In the first days following the rockslide on Interstate 40 last October, Jody Kuhne had the unenviable job of rappelling down the freshly scoured rock face and into a gaping chasm left in the mountainside. As the DOT’s resident expert…
With the rest of the region’s construction economy at a standstill, Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino is in the midst of a massive expansion project employing nearly 1,000 workers. “We’re kind of creating our own gravity in terms of labor…
After making the journey to Western North Carolina from China, Niu Jun discovered Bryson City was nothing like she imagined. Driving through the town of about 1,300, a confused Niu Jun asked, “Bryson City? Where’s the city?” Niu Jun, 33,…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Jackson finally folds in long feud with Duke

The seven-year battle between Jackson County commissioners and Duke Energy has come to a close. After losing a critical court battle this month, Jackson County commissioners voted 4 to 1 to give up their legal fight against Duke Energy last…
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 17:04

No road in or out

On Friday night, a mudslide thundered across Rich Cove Road in Maggie Valley, taking out a section of a guardrail and bending a drainage pipe in its path, causing water to flow alongside the road and collect at the bottom.…
The newest addition to Southwestern Community College’s Oconaluftee Institute of Cultural Arts holds a piece of Cherokee history. OICA will soon obtain a letterpress that will be used to print books in the Cherokee syllabary. “We are bringing back the…
Another rockslide struck along the already closed section of Interstate 40 over the weekend. The new slide is nothing like the earlier one, but big enough in its own right. It covered both westbound lanes just past exit 7 at…
The Waynesville Public Art Commission recently issued a Call for Artists for its fourth public art project. The proposed art will celebrate the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its historic relationship to Waynesville. For many years an arched sign…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Waynesville producer wins national award

Producer, editor and videographer John Kenyon of Waynesville has been selected to receive the Award of Excellence in the slide and multimedia programs category by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education for District III. Kenyon was cited…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Family farm builds Brasstown Beef brand

It’s a slogan even the slickest New York ad firm couldn’t top if it tried: “Real Beef. Raised Right. Around Here.” It would be equally hard to find a cattle ranch better suited to the motto than Brasstown Beef, a…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Life on the rock

Workers on the rockslide slope are laboring around the clock. There’s a day crew and a night crew, ranging from 15 to 25 men per shift. They labor for 10 hours at a stretch on the side of a steep,…
Comprehensive planning is supposed to be, well, comprehensive. But as Macon County leaders are finding out, it’s not that easy to get the public’s opinion on how its government should work for the next 20 years. After a three-month effort…
William Maney, owner of Fantasy Travel in Sylva, allegedly defrauded an elderly woman from Franklin out of $7,000 last year by stealing her credit card and using it to purchase airline tickets for other clients, according to charges filed by…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Elk delisting draws ire of protectors

“Elk don’t know how many feet a horse has.” That’s the advice Bear Claw Chris Lapp gave Jeremiah Johnson as the pair hid behind their horses while stalking elk in the eponymous Robert Redford film. Well, according to Jackson County…
The bankruptcy of one of Western Carolina University’s largest supporters will hurt the school’s fast growing construction management program. In 2005 Joe Kimmel, owner of Asheville-based Kimmel & Associates, pledged nearly $7 million over eight years to the construction management…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Haywood County poised to buy abandoned Wal-Mart

Haywood County Commissioners are expected to vote this week to buy the abandoned Wal-Mart shopping center near Lake Junaluska and retrofit the space to house the Department of Social Services. Commissioners will convene a special meeting on the issue Wednesday…
For the first time in history, the government, the military and private healthcare providers are working together to deliver the appropriate counseling resources to returning war veterans. This year, the Haywood Regional Medical Center, working with a Department of Defense…
The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently upheld a state law that bans video gambling everywhere but the casino in Cherokee. The video gambling industry challenged the ban, claiming it was unfair to outlaw the machines statewide while allowing them…
Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park received a record $385,000 from drivers sporting the special “black bear” license plate program in 2009 — the park’s 75th anniversary year. Support from North Carolinians for the Smokies’ license plates increased $46,720…
At a time when Waynesville’s appearance standards are under scrutiny for being too strict, three proposed developments cruised past the town’s Community Appearance Commission. Last week, the advisory board approved the Noland Retail Center and Holland Car Wash, both on…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Antenna users left in the lurch

Television viewers in Jackson and Macon counties who get their reception the old-fashioned way — with an antenna — have been without UNC-TV for the past month. The UNC-TV translator on Coweee Mountain malfunctioned in early December. New equipment finally…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Commissioners commit to former Wal-Mart site

After a marathon five hours of discussion on Wednesday (Jan. 13), Haywood County commissioners voted unanimously to buy the abandoned Wal-Mart shopping center near Lake Junaluska and retrofit the space to house the Department of Social Services and health department.…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Soldiers face a second battle at home

Citizen soldiers. The National Guard’s moniker evokes the best of American values and hearkens back to a Greek ideal. The citizens of a nation, its moral fiber during times of peace, should be ready to take up arms during war.…
An attorney that forged judges’ signatures was caught thanks to the sharp eyes of a law enforcement officer, a fellow attorney and a court clerk who noticed red flags. But for at least a year, fraudulent driving privileges provided to…
Year after year, Haywood County commissioners recognized the social service and health department buildings were falling apart. Yet they passed the buck, hoping the next set of fresh-faced commissioners would tackle the lingering issue. Last week, county commissioners got over…