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Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:57

Support available for prostate patients

MedWest Health System is sponsoring “Man to Man” support group meetings for prostate cancer patients and survivors. The meetings are from 7-8 p.m. the second Monday of the month in the Annex Conference Room on the MedWest-Harris campus in Sylva.…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:57

Judo classes to start

Beginner judo classes in Waynesville start Jan. 3 through the Waynesville Kodokan Judo Club. The club practices at the Waynesville Recreation Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Children participate from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and adults…
Despite a double-digit rise in revenue this year, the Sequoyah National Golf Club in Cherokee is at least five more years away from breaking even — let alone turning a profit. “The cost of maintaining a golf course is astronomical,”…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:53

School wants to help foundation

Smokey Mountain Elementary seventh-grade students will help the Tye Blanton Foundation through their “Service to Others” project. Tye, who died after a four-and-a-half month battle in Neo-natal ICU, was the son of slain Highway Patrol Trooper Shawn Blanton and his…
Jim Pennington’s rebuilt Mustang car is a thing of beauty. Candy-apple red, spotlessly clean, sleek lines and an immaculate, original interior make for one amazing car. Toiling over the Mustang has been a labor of love for Pennington. He needs…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:17

2011 In Review

The Smoky Mountain News takes note this week of some of the newsmakers of 2011 by handing out our annual awards. Back issues of the newspaper never fail to reveal a variety of humdingers: the funny, the astonishing, the interesting,…
N.C. Rep. Phil Haire’s decision not to run for re-election after 14 years in office opens the door for a possible free-for-all of both Democratic and Republican candidates seeking the suddenly available House seat. Tuesday’s news spread like an out-of-control…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 21:53

Long-time state legislator retires

N.C. Rep. Phil Haire, D-Sylva, will retire from the state legislature this year after 14 years in office. Haire will be 76 next year and said that he realized it’s time to trade in the long drives back and forth…
The number of people applying for library cards in Jackson County has doubled since the new library opened this summer. Jackson’s striking increase in library use in part is a testament to just how low use was before. A dismally…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:11

New Sylva library top in the state

Everyone who has seen and toured Jackson County’s new public library knows that it’s beautiful, but now the state has put an official stamp on that fact. The library recently won the Outstanding Facility Award for new libraries larger than…
Donations are already rolling in for the Waynesville Art Commission’s latest public art piece, a replica of the historic Smokies’ arch over Main Street, but the group is still looking for donors. “I am real pleased with the response so…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:06

Clyde’s top cop sidelined on suspension

Clyde’s police chief has been placed on suspension, but town leaders are not saying why. Police Chief Derek Dendy is currently on a 30-day unpaid suspension, with the possibility of further action pending the outcome of a hearing in two…
The coordinators of the annual Rally in the Valley motorcycle event have strapped Maggie Valley leaders a seemingly impossible ultimatum that could leave the town in straits no matter what they decide. Rally in the Valley coordinators asked the town…
Town residents in Haywood County will almost certainly see the cost of their garbage service go up this year when the county shuts down its central trash dump. Starting in July, towns will have to haul their residents’ trash all…
With the advent of new leadership for commissioners, Macon County’s planning board could undergo a metamorphosis into what’s being dubbed a truer “advisory” role. In recent years, the planning board has been a magnet of negativity for factions on both…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 02:59

‘OccupyWNC’ a low-key, but intense affair

A loosely affiliated group of 30 some people have been quietly meeting, more or less each week, in Jackson County on the heels of an Occupy Sylva event held last October. This confederacy of the self-dubbed “99 percent” has morphed…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 02:58

Fighters rally to raise money for a good cause

A benefit to assist Western North Carolina resident Donna Smith, recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, is set for Jan. 14 at the Bird Town Recreation Center in Cherokee beginning at 7 p.m. The Palaestra Combat Sports Club, a mixed…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 02:58

New emergency services director in Macon

David Key, longtime assistant director of Macon County Emergency Services, will take over as the agency’s director. Key has held the position on an interim basis since mid-August. He has been with emergency services in that county for more than…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 02:57

DSS services continue during relocation

Haywood County residents needing aid from social services will continue to receive it as the department shifts physical locations. Employees will relocate to new offices on Friday, Jan. 6, and Monday, Jan. 9. The new building is the newly renovated,…
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 02:57

Live well with diabetes

Learn how to better manage diabetes at a two-day workshop at Angel Medical Center. The event will be held Tuesday, Jan. 17, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, in the third floor videoconference room from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Information on…
When Merrily Teasley returned for her second first day at the Balsam Mountain Inn in early September, a familiar couple was sitting on the entry room couch — a St. Louis duo who had visited the inn those years when she…
More than $2 million in mostly federal dollars will pay for repaving the runway at the Macon County Airport, likely boosting a surge of business-class jets now landing there since an extension of the runway was added last year. The…
New owners of the high-end Balsam Mountain Preserve development aren’t daunted by the choppy waters of Western North Carolina’s real estate landscape. Despite the still tepid demand for pricey second homes in the mountains, they say they have charted a…
The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority will hold two mandatory workshops this month for any organization or event organizer applying for a tourism grant. The meetings will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 10 and at 2 p.m. on…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 02:46

Bryson land-use standards up for public review

Critics of Bryson City’s land use regulations will get another opportunity to sandblast the ordinance. The town of Bryson City is inviting the public to a working meeting with the town planning board to discuss their concerns and issues with…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 02:43

Stuck in a rut: Too few jobs coming on line

Similar to other parts of the U.S., counties in Western North Carolina have been plagued with high unemployment rates and little job growth. “We have a lot still unemployed,” said Vicki Gribble, head of Haywood County’s Employment Security Commission. There…
People once again lined up at the Biltmore Square Mall in Asheville last week, but this time they weren't waiting for hours to see Santa Claus. Instead, they were looking for a belated Christmas gift — a job. The mall was…
The town of Fontana Dam can still send and receive mail via its own post office — at least for now. The U.S. Postal Service decided to delay closing or merging scores of post offices nationwide following protests from lawmakers…
Wildlife officers have charged a Cashiers man with killing a bear that he claimed was damaging his property, the second such case in Jackson County in less than a year. Jeffrey Spencer Green, 39, was charged recently with illegally shooting…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 02:28

Dogs’ anti-freeze deaths sadden families

Two dogs in the rural countryside of Upper Crabtree in Haywood County died from antifreeze poisoning last week, a tragic fate that has left the dog owners wondering whether it was an accident or malicious deed. Pat and Stone Reuning…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:27

Waynesville welcomes a new bakery

Waynesville is getting its Main Street bakery back, but not just any bakery. City Bakery, a well-known café and bakery with two locations in downtown Asheville and a successful wholesale product line, will move in to the space formerly occupied…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:26

Imperial Hotel restaurant opens

Sid’s on Main opened for business last Friday in Canton. The restaurant is housed within the Imperial Hotel, which has been slowly renovated by former Canton mayor Pat Smathers. The new locale has remained “steadily busy” since it opened, said…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:26

Maggie Valley Chamber hires executive director

Teresa Smith completed her first day as the full-time executive director of the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce Monday. Smith previously filled in as a volunteer director for four years when the chamber suspended the job of a paid director…
Calling and talking on cell phones while driving is likely to continue, at least for now, in North Carolina. But the debate still rages since the National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended a national ban on all cell phone use,…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:21

Swain ponders room tax increase

Swain County’s Tourism Development Authority will appeal to county officials for a 1 percent increase in the room tax rate. The tax on overnight lodging currently stands at 3 percent. The proposed increase would bring in at least an additional…
Swain County has now been targeted as part of a regional effort to drum up financial support for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s steam engine dreams. Dillsboro officials are leading the charge, already courting Jackson County to make loans or…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:17

Film series features ‘Women, War & Peace’

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sylva is hosting a four-week film discussion program on the recent PBS series, “Women, War & Peace,” from 6-8 p.m. on consecutive Wednesdays beginning Jan. 18. Film viewings will be followed by a directed discussion.…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:16

GOP candidate Dan Forest to appear in Macon

Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Dan Forest will be the guest speaker at a Macon County Republican Party “Meet & Greet” at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 14 at the Boiler Room in Franklin.   Republican congressional candidates (11th Congressional District) as…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:16

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, 11 January 2012 14:15

MedWest to offer smoking cessation classes

MedWest Health System is offering smoking cessation classes starting this month at three of its hospital campuses. During the seven-week Freedom From Smoking program, participants will learn in small group settings how to overcome tobacco addiction. Classes will be held…
Two well-known Democrat senators from the mountains who lost in 2010 and hoped to reclaim their seats this year faced a conundrum. Joe Sam Queen of Waynesville and John Snow of Murphy both wanted to run for the Senate again,…
Republicans aren’t the only ones who will have a reason to head to the polls in the May primary. While Republican voters sort out who their presidential nominee will be, Democrats have a race of their own to narrow down,…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:10

A bold fix for South Main Street

Maybe it’s pie in the sky, but the right ingredients could transform South Main Street into a thriving commercial district. A consultant with LaQuatra Bonci has mapped out a new look for the corridor. The plan banks on new-found aesthetic…
South Main Street is a mess. That’s the message from a consultant hired by the town of Waynesville to develop a revitalization plan for the struggling artery. The consultant spent six months studying South Main and developing a master street…
Jackson County commissioners plan this week to discuss the upcoming property revaluation, though it remains unclear whether they will postpone the process as some residents are requesting. In a revaluation, every home, lot and tract of land is assigned a…
Haywood County has offered a helping hand as towns grapple with how to cover the extra cost of hauling resident’s trash to the White Oak Landfill. Starting in July, towns will have to drive trash out to the White Oak…
Haywood Community College has hit a nearly $227,000 roadblock during the construction of it new creative arts building. The $10.2 million building — a controversial project to begin with — will tap into contingency funds for the project to pay for previously…
A lawsuit filed last week claims $17 million has been hijacked from public coffers over the past two decades by a mental health nonprofit. A regional mental health agency filed the suit in hopes of recouping the lost money, as…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:16

News in brief

The Jackson County Republican Party will hold an open house at its new office in Sylva from 3 p.m. until 5: 30 p.m. Monday, Jan 23, located at Sunrise Park Drive This office is the second GOP office opened in…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:15

Bryson federal building will be ‘occupied’

Members of Move to Amend, a grassroots coalition, will be in front of the Federal Courthouse on Main Street in Bryson City, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20 to mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:15

Teach-in on corporate influence planned

Confused about what corporate personhood is, and why it even matters? A group of Haywood County residents will hold a teach-in from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 21, in the historic courthouse in downtown Waynesville. “We want to…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:14

Players sought for football teams

Alumni football is coming to Waynesville via Gridiron Alumni, which is planning several full-contact alumni football games.   Players are needed; the first 40 on each team get to play. The team that gets 30 people registered first gains home…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:14

Edwards sentenced for Cullowhee bank robbery

Brian Anthony Edwards, a junior a Western Carolina University, was convicted of robbery and sentenced to a maximum of 21 months in a North Carolina prison on Jan. 3. Edwards, a 21-year-old Hendersonville native, pleaded guilty to “common law robbery”…
While a proposed room-tax hike in Jackson County has been sidelined at least for now, the idea of merging the county’s two tourism entities has been tapped for further study. Jackson County commissioners plan to appoint a task force to…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:04

Maggie tightens up noise ordinance, again

Maggie Valley was thrust back into controversy over its noise ordinance last week, an ongoing debate that has pitted residents against bars hosting live bands outdoors. Only four months after the previous town board made changes to the noise ordinance,…
Jackson leaders will likely pushback a countywide property revaluation from next year to 2016 following a strong recommendation by their tax man. “Truthfully, if you want this thing done and you want it done right, we don’t have an adequate…
Jackson County leaders have decided that tradition is overrated. Six months after the new Jackson County library opened, commissioners have decided whose name to put on a plaque in the foyer — a spot that until now featured a cardboard…
The construction downturn has led Haywood County to lay off its steep slope engineer, a position created during the heyday of mountainside home building. The county can no longer justify having an engineer on its payroll to oversee steep slope…
Driven by a Republican-dominated commission, Macon County’s beleaguered planning board will undergo wholesale changes that likely include member term limits and a lessened, some might argue silenced, voice in writing development ordinances. But these steps, agreed to in concept by…
Cherokee is on a mission to remodel the look of its business district, in the hope that an infusion of native-themed architecture can give new life to its outdated commercial appearance. “We want it to be pleasing to the eye…
Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians might have the chance to decide whether they want alcohol in their individual communities this spring, but Tribal Council is still trying to decide if and how it would include the option…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 13:53

The road less traveled

The question ‘which way to Cherokee?’ continues bedeviling the state transportation department, which has been caught in a tug-of-war between Jackson County and Maggie Valley over who deserves a sign pointing the “right” way to Cherokee. Maggie Valley currently holds…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:35

Job help streamlined by SCC and JobLink

Southwestern Community College and Macon County JobLink Career Center have joined forces to provide a “one-stop shop” for people looking for a job and want to enhance their career skills. The new initiative will enhance the region’s ability to develop…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:34

New accounting firm opens in Franklin

The Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce recently held a ribbon cutting for Carla L. Haire, a certified public accountant who has opened a tax and accounting firm. Haire’s business is located at 17 Smoky Mountain Drive and shares the building…
The Greater Haywood County Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual elected officials reception from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Laurel Ridge Country Club in Waynesville. This is a chamber-member exclusive event. State senators, state…
In town and county governments there are those dedicated members of the public who speak out and stand up to help hold elected officials accountable … and then there are gadflies. Marie Leatherwood, with a history of flinging wild accusations…
Gov. Beverly Perdue laid out a proposal last week to increase the state’s sales tax by three-quarters of a cent to fund education. The move would generate an estimated $850 million for the state’s public schools, community colleges and universities…
A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is suing the tribe over sewage overflows onto her property, which she says poses a health threat to her family. Linda Lambert filed a suit against the tribe in May 2011…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:27

Occupy protesters rally in Bryson City

Western North Carolina occupiers “took possession” last week of the Federal Building in Bryson City where federal court is held to protest a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that declared corporations are people. “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes…
Sylva will likely hire a private company in Texas to process daily pawnshop and second-hand dealers’ receipts instead of those tasks being handled in-house by town police. Police Chief Davis Woodard has recommended the shift to LeadsOnline, which would cost…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:25

Conrad Burrell steps down as SCC leader

Macon County resident and longtime educator Terry Bell will take over as chairman of Southwestern Community College’s Board of Trustees. He replaces Conrad Burrell, who served as the board’s chair for 11 years. “That’s a long time,” said Burrell, the…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:25

Smoky Mountain Living seeks spring photos

Smoky Mountain Living magazine prominently features images from across the southern Appalachians in each edition. Photo essays adhere to the issue’s overall theme. The next issue of Smoky Mountain Living will focus on all things green. Whether it is youth…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:24

Franklin walk benefits Cystic Fibrosis

A “Great Strides” walk will take place in Franklin, with a kickoff party and information session at 6 p.m., Feb. 3, at the Fun Factory. The walk is part of a national effort that generates funding to support lifesaving cystic…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:23

Sustainable tourism subject of seminar

A seminar on sustainable tourism is set for 2 p.m., Jan. 31, at the First Presbyterian Church in Highlands, in Coleman Hall. Alex Naar, director of outreach at the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University will lead the…
Finding a new home for the Folkmoot sculpture in downtown Waynesville has taken a new turn. The Waynesville public art commission initially proposed moving the art piece across the street — from its current spot in front of the new…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:19

Tug-of-war over Cherokee sign takes a new turn

Maggie Valley has been rallying allies in its fight to save a small but perhaps precious sliver of its struggling tourism trade: pass-thru business from travelers en route to Cherokee. A highway sign currently proclaims Maggie Valley as the proper…
A student club at Western Carolina University is defending its decision to pair a drag show featuring “kings” and “queens” from across the state with a get-out-the-vote drive aimed at defeating a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:16

Free self-defense class for women

A free self-defense and personal-safety seminar for women is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at Basulto Academy of Defense in Waynesville. Armando Basulto, who has over 30 years experience in teaching martial arts and self-defense,…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:16

Help neighbors during disasters

American Red Cross Disaster Relief Training will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 28 in Waynesville for those interested in becoming part of the Disaster Action Team serving Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. This course will…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:15

Sylva woman regional Teacher of the Year

Edith Callahan, a health science teacher at Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, was recently named Teacher of the Year for Western North Carolina. Callahan will be considered for North Carolina Teacher of the Year, along with seven other regional…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:15

Exploring the ethical issues and aging

Learn about the ethical issues faced when loved ones age at a Feb. 6, 1 p.m. workshop at Haywood Community Connections. Dr. Lisa Verges will discuss the fine art of gracefully navigating difficult issues with relatives who are getting older,…
For most boys, Superman and Batman were their heroes; for Bob Plott, his ancestors were super men. As he grew up in Haywood County, Plott would spend hours listening to his elders tell stories about the old-timers and life in…
A compromise has emerged in a fight over the historic McCoy truss bridge, one that would keep the old bridge in place for foot traffic while building a newer, bigger bridge alongside it for vehicles. But Macon residents who have…
A mentally ill man got a $22,500 settlement in a lawsuit against a Bryson City police officer who hit him multiple times with a baton and sprayed him with pepper spray. The settlement came more than three years after the…
Earl Bradley watches from the parking lot of his auto repair shop as a tractor trailer struggles for 15 minutes to align itself with Premier Chemicals’ loading dock across the street in Waynesville. Bradley has videotaped the trucks for months,…
Thursday, 02 February 2012 18:14

I-40 West expected to be open by Monday, Feb. 6

The Tennessee Department of Transportation anticipates the re-opening of Interstate 40's westbound lanes by Monday Feb. 6. TDOT has awarded an emergency contract to remove debris and unstable rock near the North Carolina border. Currently, the westbound lanes of the…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:35

‘Fight Like A Girl’ offered

Southwestern Community College will once again offer the popular Fight Like A Girl course from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 11. This module is especially effective for dealing with attacks in parking lots and garages where victims could…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:35

REACH Volunteer Training Day

REACH of Haywood will hold its annual Volunteer Training Day on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Waynesville. Anyone who would like to offer volunteer services for the nonprofit agency, especially in the area of Helpline phone volunteers, shelter helpers and office…
Sylva speeders beware: at downtown business owners’ requests, Sylva is tapping the full array of skills that newly hired downtown foot-patrol officer J.P. Gallardo brings to the job. As of last week, the retired state Highway Patrol trooper of 30…
N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, spent much of his two-hour town hall in Haywood County last week addressing the topic of education. Davis spoke to a crowd of more than 50 people in the historic courthouse in Waynesville. He didn’t…
An Asheville Democrat going up against Congressman Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, in the May primary held his first town hall meeting in Waynesville at the library last Thursday. Hoping to gather more name recognition and answer voter questions, Cecil Bothwell led…
Concerns among Jackson County doctors that Harris Regional Hospital is not thriving as it should under a partnership with Haywood Regional Medical Center has prompted a change in top leadership. Harris once more has its own CEO, and Haywood will…
Supporters of Jackson County’s revolving loan program describe the financial give-outs as a tool in the county’s economic toolbelt, a boost to deserving businesses that can’t receive critical, even lifesaving, financial help through banks. But five defaults since 1993 when…
The town of Waynesville is suing a Hendersonville contractor for negligence in the construction of its new fire station on the outskirts of downtown. In its complaint, the town alleges that Construction Logic’s work was defective and did not follow…
Teeheeheehee, yuk yuk yuk, ho ho ho, BAHAHAHA — no matter how you do it, laughter can boost your mood, lower your blood pressure and help prolong your life. “It’s spontaneous; it’s contagious; it’s incredibly powerful,” said Cindy Miles, a certified…
Giles Chemical pledged last week to do what it could to appease neighbors fed up with intrusive truck traffic on their town streets, but residents maintain the small industry has outgrown its location. Throughout the day, trucks traveling to and…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 20:12

Financial series for women planned

Mountain BizWorks will host a free, women only three-part series on increasing your financial independence. The series is sponsored by OnTrack Women’s Financial Empowerment Center, and starts Thursday, Feb. 9 from 5:30-7 p.m. at City Lights Cafe located in downtown…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 20:12

Lighten Up 4 Life seeks participants

Angel Medical Center and Macon County Public Health will kick-of Lighten Up 4 Life, a community wide weight loss challenge, at 9 a.m., Feb. 4 at Franklin High School’s Fine Arts Center The purpose of the challenge is to help…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 20:10

Local students compete in science fair at WCU

Students from across Western North Carolina will participate in the 2012 Western Regional Science Fair at Western Carolina University’s Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and Wednesday, Feb. 8. More than 600 students attend the fair each year,…