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A failure by the Cashiers Chamber of Commerce and the Cashiers Travel and Tourism Authority to provide county leaders reports on how room-tax dollars are spent led this week to promises of prompt corrective action. Mark Jones, who serves in…
A work session this week on Jackson County’s room tax appears to mark the beginning of open warfare and the explosive end of a fragile truce that has existed on the board of commissioners since three newcomers were elected last…
A donut or cannoli will no longer be a hop, skip and a jump away for people in downtown Waynesville. Whitman’s Bakery closed its doors this month, ending a 66-year run as a beloved hometown bakery. Whitman’s was a mainstay…
Annie’s Naturally Bakery, the beloved coffee, bakery and gathering place in Sylva that helped launch a Main Street renaissance of sorts here when it opened more than a decade ago, will close Thursday. The closure comes as a surprise to…
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 21:10

Police wrestle bear cub into custody

A baby bear went on a romp through downtown Waynesville last week before finally being cornered and captured by police officers on a preschool playground on Main Street. The bear was first spotted on the playground of the First United…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 20:15

Chief Hicks won’t veto alcohol vote

Michell Hicks, chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will allow a controversial vote to go forward next April on whether to legalize alcohol sales on the reservation. “At this point, I just feel strongly that it’s the people…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:28

Local scout troop gifted CPR dummy

Local Boy Scout Troop 999 sponsored by Sylva First Methodist Church is focusing this year on what to do when a person suffers a heart attack. This vital training program was greatly enhanced this week when the North Carolina Automobile…
The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce will participate in the second-annual Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26. Small Business Saturday is a day for dedicating a portion of holiday shopping to local, independently owned small businesses. Small business advocate groups, public…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:26

Chief to decide on alcohol referendum

Michell Hicks, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will decide this week whether to veto tribal council’s decision to hold an alcohol referendum. In a previous interview, Hicks called the decision a difficult one that required prayer…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:25

Commissioner steps down after second DWI

Brian McClellan will resign from the Macon County Board of Commissioners following his second drunken-driving arrest in just more than two years. McClellan, a two-term Republican who served as board chairman, announced his resignation Tuesday. A replacement hasn’t been named…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:24

Cherokee plays hardball with state on casino

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has agreed to give up 8.5 percent of the gross revenue from new table games if the state will open the doors for live dealers at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort. In addition to…
N.C. Senator Jim Davis spoke about the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ contribution to Western North Carolina at a tribal council meeting in Cherokee last week. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort contributes about $375 million to the economy in Western…
Gil Crouch was working in his Bryson City business one day this summer when a regular visitor to town told Crouch that he would not be returning ever again because he was repulsed by its deteriorating look. “Quite frankly, this…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:20

Renegade houseboat meets its demise

A houseboat on Fontana Lake was dismantled and hauled off this month after the owner repeatedly failed to dispose of waste properly. For more than a year the houseboat owner dodged rules against straight piping sewage into the lake. The…
Renovating the old library on Main Street in Sylva for a new police department is on something of a hiatus until a new town board convenes. The town board will get a new member following this month’s elections. Lynda Sossoman…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:17

Jackson subdivision rules come under review

It could mark the first move in an effort to dismantle a set of strict land regulations in Jackson County that are widely considered some of the most progressive in all of Western North Carolina. Or perhaps the renewed focus…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:17

There is more than one road to Cherokee …

Jackson County wants some of the Cherokee-bound traffic diverted its way despite highway signs that indicate the way to Cherokee is through Maggie Valley. Anyone coming to Western North Carolina from Interstate 40 encounters a sign in Waynesville pointing the…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:15

Consultant talks traits for new town manager

The clock is ticking on what will be a rigorous and thorough process to replace long-time Waynesville Town Manager Lee Galloway. A series of meetings was held in Waynesville Nov. 16-17 by the firm hired to steer the town through…
A group protesting ever-earlier school starts in North Carolina has turned the heat down for now on its shining Bad Example in the state, Macon County, but that reprieve might prove temporary. Save Our Summers-NC joined forces with Highlands resident…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:11

WCU students collect winter wear for youth

The Nurses Christian Fellowship student organization at Western Carolina University is seeking donations of gloves, scarves, hats and mittens to give to youth in Jackson County. A collection box for donations is located at Room 209 of Moore Hall on…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:10

Capitol’s Christmas tree stops in Cherokee

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will make a stop in Cherokee during this year’s national tour. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is hosting the event at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds on Wednesday, Nov. 23, beginning at 10 a.m. The…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:09

Maggie awarded funds for law enforcement

The Town of Maggie Valley was awarded a $184,786 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The funding, which will be distributed during a three-year period, is the reimbursement to the town for…
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:09

Hooper House gets historic designation

The Hooper House on West Main Street in Sylva has received Jackson County’s first designation as a Local Historic Landmark. The house, which now serves as home for the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, was built in 1906. It was…
Macon County has turned to veteran lawmaker and businessman Tommy Jenkins of Franklin to head local economic development efforts. Jenkins, who previously chaired the regional economic group Advantage West and served stints in both the state House and Senate, will…
When many businesses are still cutting back or maintaining their current workforce, Sonoco Plastics announced last week that it will add 35 jobs and expand its current Waynesville operations. “Every job in today’s environment is important,” said Mark Clasby, executive…
During the past decade, Haywood County’s economy has seen some ups — but mostly downs. A presentation given at the recent Haywood County Economic Development Commission meeting offers a glimpse of how the county fared before and during the recession.…
A challenger for the mayor’s seat in Waynesville protested the election results this week, claiming residents of a new apartment complex were disenfranchised. A mapping error caused temporary confusion on Election Day over whether residents of the apartment complex were…
A brouhaha among Jackson County commissioners at a meeting last week prompted a follow-up public apology from Chairman Jack Debnam. Debnam told The Smoky Mountain News there was a time and place for such disagreements but that the county meeting…
The yippy-yappy cries of barking dogs have left Jackson County commissioners in a quandary as they face a rising tide of howls from unhappy residents. How best to balance dog owners’ rights with residents’ growls for peace? “I’m hoping that…
It’s not everyday that you can shop at the local feed and seed store for organic foods and produce, but that’s the case these days in Sylva. Last year at almost exactly this time, Deb and Randy Hooper took a…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:58

Fired up over Devil’s championship run

If you want to talk high school football in Swain County there’s plenty of options. But one of the most enjoyable is to head to Smith’s Dry Goods on Everett Street, a Bryson City mainstay since the mid 1970s, and…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:58

Maggie Park to get facelift

The Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen approved the construction drawings for a pavilion and restrooms to be located at Parham Park. Among the other amenities, walking trails and a handicap assessable deck have been installed to provide residents and visitors…
The Educational Talent Search program at Western Carolina University recently was awarded a five-year, $1.7 million grant to serve 780 students at five Western North Carolina high schools. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, WCU Educational Talent Search…
The Town of Maggie Valley approved a five-year contract for five events to be held at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds beginning in 2012. The confirmed dates are May 25-27 for the Slammin’ & Jammin’ Car & Truck Show and…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:55

WCU hosts ‘Cuts Hurt’ forum Dec. 5

A discussion titled “The Western Carolina University Cuts Hurt Education Forum: Collaborating Toward the Success of North Carolina Education” will be held on campus Monday, Dec. 5. The event, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:52

Well-known festivals may lose TDA funding

More than two dozen popular festivals in Haywood County are at risk of losing funding from the county’s tourism agency, hampering the ability of organizers to advertise and promote their events. Grant funding for festivals, typically ranging from $2,000 to…
Sylva might hear its local AM radio station WRGC back on the air — but the company involved wants a loan of $289,000 from Jackson County’s economic development fund to make it happen. Roy Burnette, the CEO of the hopefully…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:34

GOP set to pick McClellan substitute

The 36-member executive committee of the Macon County Republican Party will meet next week to nominate a replacement for county Commissioner Brian McClellan. McClellan announced that he would resign as a commissioner following his second driving-while-impaired charge in two-and-a-half years.…
Joe Bock, an Indiana resident passing through this area on his way to Florida, was on a bit of a mission one recent day in Cherokee. Bock wanted to enjoy a beer with his lunch. That desire remained unfulfilled, however…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:31

Cherokee vote on alcohol sales a go next April

Businesses in Cherokee are gearing up for a campaign aimed at convincing members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to vote ‘yes’ on a measure that could end the nearly reservation-wide moratorium on the sale of alcohol. Michell Hicks,…
After years of lobbying and months of hard negotiating, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians sealed a deal with Gov. Beverly Perdue this week to bring table games, real cards and live dealers to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort. “It…
When Brooks Robinson left his manager’s job at Domino’s Pizza to be a dealer in the fledgling casino market of Tunica, Miss., he wasted little time finding that first rung in his climb up the corporate ladder. “I had never…
Metrostat Communications, the company that pioneered the advent of high-speed Internet in Sylva, will close Dec. 30. “We’ve been through the screaming, the upset, and we’re at the point we know this is the best decision we can make,” said…
At least eight Republicans have lined up to spar with incumbent Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler for Western North Carolina’s 11th U.S. Congressional seat, but they have to knock their fellow party members out of the competition first. The controlling political…
For those who help the economically disadvantaged, the holiday season raises plenty of questions: how many people need help; will they receive enough donations; and how will they ensure every child in Western North Carolina has a present under the…
An expected rubberstamp by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to build a new auditorium and gym at Smoky Mountain High School took a brief — but wild while the ride lasted — turn this week. Commissioners have already expressed…
Jackson County’s subdivision ordinance is destined for more tweaking by the planning board. The planning board spent several months revising the county’s four-year-old subdivision ordinance before sending the recommended changes along to county commissioners for approval this week. Commissioners promptly…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:55

Radio station wants loan from Jackson County

Prospective buyers of an AM radio station in Sylva could land a $289,000 loan from the Jackson County economic development fund in exchange for creating 11 jobs. Jackson County commissioners already approved $179,000 of the loan and are poised to…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:55

Haywood Chamber holds holiday networking event

The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce will host a Holiday Open House from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 at the chamber office in Waynesville. New, current and potential new members are encouraged to attend to network with other…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:54

New Republican group formed

A new Republican women’s group in Western North Carolina also has a new name, “Smoky Mountain Republican Women.”   The group has been meeting for two months and will be a new club affiliated with the N.C. Federation of Republican…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:53

Ceremony to celebrate veterans

A candlelight service to honor soldiers and veterans who have served in the Iraq war from Swain County will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 on the square in front of the historic courthouse. The service coincides with…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:51

Shuler to face challenger in Democratic primary

Despite his limited name recognition and his significantly smaller war chest, Cecil Bothwell is confident he can outrun U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler during next May’s primary race for the 11th Congressional District’s Democratic nomination. “I would not be doing it…
A heavy-lifting helicopter flexed its muscle in Cherokee Wednesday in the ongoing expansion and construction at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel. The Sikorsky helicopter — one of the largest helicopters commercially available — performed 17 lifts to the roof. The…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:50

Discover how to give back at Dec. 8 meeting

Learn about programs and services in Macon County to help the less fortunate at the monthly League of Women Voters in Franklin at noon on Dec. 8. Gwen Taylor, public information officer for Macon County Department of Social Services, will…
An orientation session for high school students interested in taking classes at Haywood Community College will be held at 1 p.m. and again at 4 p.m. on Dec. 19 at the HCC auditorium. Dual-enrollment opportunities through the Career and College…
Macon County GOP leaders on Monday selected a Highlands landscaping company owner as their pick to fill a vacant slot on the county’s board of commissioners. James “Jimmy” Tate will replace Commissioner Brian McClellan who resigned after receiving his second…
Niche marketing and regional cooperation were the reoccurring topics of this year’s Smoky Mountain Host meeting held in Cherokee last week, an annual forum that brings together the major tourism players of the Smoky Mountain region. “Our greatest customers are…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:46

Rec Center offers new after-school program

An after-school program for sixth graders will be offered from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursday starting in January at the Waynesville Recreation Center. The first hour will be devoted to homework with assistance for students who need help.…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:44

Library opens collection for homeschoolers

The Haywood County Public Library has opened to the public a unique library collection to help meet the recreational and educational needs of children that are homeschooled. This special collection contains a variety of formats including fiction, biographies, history, language…
Running a small hotel in Western North Carolina isn’t the easiest way to make a living, particularly not in these penny-pinching times when prospective customers want a full range of amenities and a rock-bottom room price. “It is hard for…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:41

Cashiers TTA briefs county on marketing efforts

The Cashiers Travel and Tourism Authority briefed Jackson County commissioners on some of their marketing campaigns from the year, responding to calls that the agency was too insular. Mark Jones, a member of the Cashiers tourism board who is also…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:39

Do-over an option in Jackson tourism spat

It’s not too late for Jackson County leaders to go back to the drawing board on a state bill that consolidates the county’s two separate tourism agencies. Commissioners have found themselves in the hot seat over a bill that would…
Swain County High School’s football players and coaches on Monday were in a different sort of huddle than usual. Instead of planning the next play, they were picking out a design for their championship rings following Saturday’s 20-14 win over…
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:37

Local woman opens music lessons studio

Deborah Horn, from Lake Junaluska, is now teaching music lessons out of her home studio. Horn has taught music lessons since she was seventeen and recently working in the public school system. She also performs with her flute, piano and…
Laurie Oxford’s department is getting smaller; some of her former co-worker’s offices sit empty. Oxford, an assistant Spanish professor at Western Carolina University, spoke at a public forum about university cuts Monday on how multi-level reductions have affected the Arts…
At Carolina Readiness Supply in Waynesville you can buy freeze-dried macaroni and cheese by the 20-ounce can and a solar oven in which to warm it. You can get a woven bracelet in a variety of fashionable colors that converts…
Emergency agencies throughout Haywood County expect to be clocking in quicker response times soon. Fire, police and EMS divisions within the county will begin using a new Computer-Aided Dispatch and Mobile Data Information System this week, aimed at improving efficiency…
Businesses skirting Haywood County’s room tax laws should pay up or they could soon find themselves slapped with a lawsuit. The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority plans to sue six accommodation owners who have repeatedly and openly neglected to pay…
The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority board backed down from plans to cut grant funding for long-celebrated events such as Folkmoot USA, Downtown Waynesville street dances and Canton’s Labor Day Festival. The tourism board had been contemplating new grant guidelines…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 17:31

WCU announces new athletic director

After a five-week search, Western Carolina University has found its new director of athletics. Randy Eaton, former senior associate director of athletics at the University of Maryland, was announced as the new director at a press conference Wednesday. Eaton will…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:20

Haywood has low infant mortality rate

Haywood County has a lower infant mortality rate than the state as a whole, according to a report given at last week’s county commission meeting. The Haywood County Health Department updated the commissioners on the county’s child and infant deaths…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:20

Hooper House gets historic designation

The Hooper House on West Main Street in Sylva has received Jackson County’s first designation as a Local Historic Landmark. The house, which now serves as home for the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, was built in 1906. It was…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:19

Chamber hopes to regain footing with new director

After several years without a full-time promoter, the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce plans to bring back an executive director to help the valley rebound from a recession fraught with business closures. “We need that presence,” said Teresa Smith, president…
The price tag of transforming Western Carolina University’s losing football team into a winner — or anything less than a total embarrassment to Catamount fans — keeps rising, leaving students, alumni, faculty and staff at odds about whether the cost…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:16

Chancellor fields football question

SMN: The $300,000 to the football coach represents at least three professors’ salaries. Is this cost worth trying to have a winning football program? Why pump this kind of money into athletics compared to academics in this day and age…
Western Carolina University hired a new athletic director this week who will face the daunting challenge of turning the college’s losing football team around. The official announcement will be made on campus Wednesday morning with an appearance by the new…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:12

Folkmoot statue could get new home on Main Street

A whimsical sculpture that honors the Folkmoot international dance festival will find new prominence at a different spot on Main Street in Waynesville. The Waynesville Art Commission approved the relocation of the “Celebrating Folkmoot” for public safety reasons and concerns…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:10

Students will need to dig deeper to cover costs

Western Carolina University students likely will shell out an additional $399 in tuition and fees to attend school next year, an increase in dollars that some on campus said will be hard for them to come by. It’s likely to…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:10

Group prepares for Panama relief trip

A group of residents and students from Western North Carolina will embark in early March on a trip to the Central American country of Panama, donating ten days to do renovation work, provide medical assistance and distribute needed supplies to…
Rumors of an impending closing to the contrary, The Coffee Shop in Sylva is not shutting down, owner Phyllis Gibson said this week. “We’ve heard it, too,” Gibson said. “I had a woman customer come in this morning and say…
It’s 8 a.m. and the everyday regulars — Sylva’s working class Janes and Joes — are stopping by Cope’s Superette on Mill Street for packs of cigarettes, morning newspapers, soft drinks, candy and other breakfast necessities you grab when on…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:08

Free throw contest this month in Waynesville

The annual Elks National "Hoop Shoot" Free Throw Contest will take place at the Waynesville Recreation Center on Friday, Dec. 16. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. and the event will start at 6 p.m. The event is for boys…
The Jackson County-Webster Historical Society commemorated Pearl Harbor’s anniversary on Dec. 7 at its first public meeting in the renovated, historic courthouse in Sylva. “We are commemorating here an event that fundamentally transformed the history of the United States and…
When bulldozers began demolishing trees on a hillside overlooking Waynesville’s main commercial thoroughfare this summer, Byron Hickox was bombarded by a flood of inquiries from suddenly civic-minded citizens. The highly visible slope along Russ Avenue was denuded in a matter…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 20:58

WCU prepares for graduation ceremonies

Western Carolina University will honor its fall graduating class and recognize a group of graduates who received their degrees after this year’s summer school sessions, as the university holds fall commencement at 2 p.m., Dec. 17. The ceremony at the…
Bryson City Fire Department failed its state mandated insurance inspection last week for failing to respond to false alarms. The department would often be en route to a call when firefighters heard from 9-1-1 dispatchers that it was actually a…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:33

Swain courthouse slated for civic revival

After years of talk and little action, Swain County is moving forward with a long-held dream to turn its iconic, domed courthouse into a cultural history museum and visitors center. The architectural centerpiece of town, the old courthouse has been…
It’s early on a workday, and there’s a single player seated at one of the 18 machines in the two-room M&J’s sweepstakes café, located in a small strip mall on Highlands Road in Franklin. Louise Dills, who works at the…
Counties and towns in the region are sparring over a highway sign that points the way to Cherokee, each hoping to capture a share of the 3.5 million annual visitors en route to the tribe’s casino by bringing that traffic…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:28

Haywood to cash in on landfill methane

An alternative energy project to convert methane landfill gas into electricity will cost Haywood County a little extra after a wrench was thrown into the plans. The county will have to fork over an additional $45,000 and bring in a…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:28

North Carolina wins federal award for education

North Carolina will receive a $69.9 million grant award from the federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge fund to support early childhood education throughout the state.   “This award is outstanding news for our children, families and educators…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:27

Learn to swim, or learn to swim better

The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department will offer swim lessons in January, February and March. The lessons will take place at the Waynesville Recreation Center:   • January lessons: Level one swim lessons from 4-4:30 p.m., level two from 5-5:30…
When it comes to connecting farmers with students and substituting common cafeteria fare with fresh, local produce grown here in the mountains, Jackson County Schools stands at or near the forefront of Western North Carolina school systems. Jackson County has…
Few restaurants could afford to lose $1 on every meal they serve, but in Haywood County school cafeterias, that’s the reality faced every day. It costs $3.75 to fix a lunch, including the food and labor. But, the federal government…
It was only 11 a.m., and already 60 fidgeting children had streamed down the lunch line at Jonathan Valley Elementary School, eagerly eying the pans of corndogs and beans, a steady barrage that would continue in five-minute waves until, some…
A bank robbery at the N.C. State Employees Credit Union last week in Cullowhee saw a series of recent safety measures at Western Carolina University suddenly transform into the real thing. In 2007, a shooter went on a rampage at…
Randy Eaton has been selected Western Carolina University’s new athletics director and the man designated with rescuing the school’s floundering football program. He was greeted last week by a throng of Western Carolina University coaches, administrators, faculty and staff. Some…
Just one day after being named Western Carolina University’s athletics director, Randy Eaton was shopping for purple-colored clothing at the school’s gift shop. He had figured out, in a mere matter of hours, that at WCU employees are expected to…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:57

Vigil planned for troops

Honor the troops who have fought in the war in Iraq by participating in a candlelight vigil on Friday, Dec. 30 at 5:30 p.m., below the steps to the Jackson County Public Library at the Veterans Memorial Fountain. The event…