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Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

Duke seeks permit for new coal plant

A public hearing on whether Duke Energy should be allowed to build a new coal-fired power plant in the Shelby area will be held Tuesday, Sept. 18, in Forest City. Duke Energy must get an air pollution permit from the…
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

Voter interviews reflect close race

Interviews with Cherokee voters exiting the polling booths last week revealed just how divided the tribe is over who will be their next chief. The race was decided by just 30 votes — representing less than 1 percent of the…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Much like a band-aid on a kid’s scraped elbow, No Child Left Behind was put in place to mend an educational system many claimed was in disrepair. An increasing number of critics, however, are…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer A petition by Maggie Valley Mayor Roger McElroy to re-zone a 90-acre tract of land to allow for higher density development is being met with vehement protests from town residents.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

EDC says marketing study not worthwhile

An $18,000 marketing study conducted for Jackson County by consultants from Texas fell short of what the firm promised, according to members of the Jackson County Economic Development Commission. So the economic development commission is asking for its money back.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

What Sylva is and isn’t: you be the judge

Buxton, a consulting firm that analyzes a community’s demographics, has 60 some population classes that it uses to describe the population. The Jackson County Economic Development Commission disagrees with how the firm described the Sylva area. The analysis seems to…
A new community group dedicated to revitalizing Cullowhee will host an open house at the Cullowhee Café from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 22. “CuRvE, the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavour, is still in the initial planning stages, and now is…
A public hearing Monday on a $64 million bond for various construction projects in Macon County attracted relatively few naysayers. Voters in Macon will get to weigh in on the slate of construction projects in a countywide vote on Nov.…
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

Incumbent Hicks wins in tight Cherokee election

The election for chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians came down to a mere 30 votes last week, and apparently isn’t over yet.
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Swain to put land transfer tax on November ballot

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Swain County residents will vote November 6 on whether to enact a new tax on real estate transactions to bolster county coffers. The tax is equivalent to 0.4 percent of a real estate transaction,…
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Bond hearings planned in Macon

Macon County leaders will get their first real taste of how the public feels about a $64 million bond vote at a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, in the Macon County courthouse. Macon residents will be voting…
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Childcare center’s closing surprises community

First United Methodist Church’s Child Development Center in Waynesville suddenly closed its daycare and after-school programs two weeks ago, leaving 65 children without childcare. The preschool is still operating. The center cited the loss of both its director and assistant…
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

SCC ranks fourth among all U.S. community colleges

Southwestern Community College ranks fourth in the nation in a new listing of America’s best community colleges and was the only representative from North Carolina in the top ten. That’s according to a report in the Washington Monthly. While colleges…
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Jackson’s Green Energy Park undergoes expansion

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer The Jackson County Green Energy Park is slated to get even greener with the expansion of the Smoky Mountain Biofuels’ production facility and the addition of six greenhouses on the site.
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Fontana Lake businesses close for the season

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Two of the three boat docks on the Swain County side of Fontana Lake shut their doors before Labor Day, traditionally one of the biggest money-making weekends of the season for lake businesses.
When a workshop on proper and improper sexual behavior in preschoolers premiered at a childcare conference in the region a few years ago, more than 60 childcare workers packed the session, surprising even the organizers. The reason for the popularity…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Blue Ridge Paper Products, long one of the largest employers in Western North Carolina, is no longer — at least in name. An internal memo sent to employees Aug. 24 announced that the company’s…
By Shannan Mashburn • Intern Democrat Hayden Rogers has commanded the lead in the money race for the congressional election to take over U.S. Congressman Heath Shuler’s seat in Washington next year. Neither Rogers nor his Republican opponent Mark Meadows…
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:11

Jackson to assess potential for ABC profits

Jackson County commissioners in the coming months will weigh whether to open a liquor store in Cashiers, outside Cherokee — or both — but the road to a decision will take a lot of number crunching. Namely, Jackson County must…
The community is invited to attend a memorial butterfly release ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 9 at Angel Medical Center. The ceremony will feature music, inspirational readings and a time of prayer, followed by the release of live butterflies by…
The Town of Waynesville had a discharge of untreated wastewater from a sanitary sewer line located along N.C. 209, Crabtree Road adjacent to Richland Creek and the County fairgrounds. The spill amount is estimated at 9,000 gallons. The sanitary sewer…
A protest was held this week in front of the Haywood County historic courthouse by Confederate supporters who say their flag is being discriminated against.
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:06

Mothers unite to pray for schools

By Peggy Manning • Correspondent Every Friday morning, a small group of mothers meet in Bryson City to pray for students, teachers and school administrators. Called Moms in Prayer, the sessions last about an hour and focus on issues participants…
The view from Roger Plemens office is hard to beat. Bay windows serve up a bird’s eye view of the Nantahala mountain range, a vantage point that must have been a factor when Macon Bank chose this hilltop for its…
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 00:00

Volunteers needed for Haywood County Fair

Adult volunteers are needed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Aug. 21 to help youth register for the Haywood County Fair. If you are available to help, volunteers are asked to sign-up for three-hour shifts from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 1-3…
Republican and unaffiliated voters are invited to the grand opening of a new Republican Party office at 4 p.m. Aug. 9 at 58 D Sunrise Park, a retail complex located opposite the intersection of Highway 107 and the Asheville Highway…
Mission Health, Angel Medical Center, and the American Red Cross will offer a free Citizen CPR, hands only, class at 9 and 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18. During the 30-minute class, participants learn how to check for consciousness, call…
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 00:00

We salute you, Balsam Range

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners declared Aug. 10 as the official “Balsam Range Day” to celebrate the upcoming release of the bluegrass band’s newest record as well as its contributions to the county. “Congratulations. Very well deserved,” County Commissioner…
The advent of live dealers and table games at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is widely predicted to bring sweeping economic benefits to the region — benefits that are so far-reaching even the tiny landing strip known as the Jackson County Airport…
Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and some Franklin townspeople would like to see the Nikwasi Indian Mound back under Cherokee ownership.
The Westcare Board of Directors met for more than four hours Tuesday, Aug. 7, to discuss the future of MedWest-Harris and MedWest-Swain hospitals. The board did not take an official vote on whether to pull out of the MedWest partnership…
By Paul Clark • Contributor Implementation of a new state law that increases the amount of land that can be clear-cut in front of highway billboards will get final tweaking and a public audience this month. The N.C. Department of…
Local residents will have an opportunity to learn how to develop a website in “The One-Day Website,” a class that will be offered from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Aug. 17, by Western Carolina University’s Office of Continuing Education. The…
The principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will met with the owner of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad this week to discuss the possibility of expanding the scenic tourist railway to Cherokee. Chief Michell Hicks publicly broached…
Barbara Wells donned her fanciest scrubs last week — a cute flowered bandana and matching green top — for the grand opening of a new outpatient surgery center on the campus of MedWest-Haywood. Whether it’s a mammogram, cataract surgery, hip…
An earth-moving project that has left a large, visible hillside on Russ Avenue in Waynesville denuded, gouged and barren could continue into the indefinite future despite pressure from the state environmental agency monitoring the site to bring it to a…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

Deed faux pas gives animal shelter to airport

Jackson County accidentally gave away the county’s animal shelter to the Jackson County Airport Authority 10 years ago, and now it wants it back. The blunder was only recently discovered. The error dates back to 1998 when the county transferred…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

On being Heath Shuler

The Smoky Mountain News caught up with Rep. Heath Shuler at his home in Haywood County. Here’s what he had to say about the attention surrounding his good looks, the fast pace of life in Washington, and how his time…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

Case between McClure, Jackson County rages on

A lawsuit against Jackson County for disbanding the Jackson County Airport Authority two-and-a-half years ago is headed for another round in court. The case had advanced to the N.C. Court of Appeals, which last week ruled the lawsuit was a…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

Voter rolls in Swain get house cleaning

The Swain County Board of Elections last week purged 110 voters from its rolls who had listed their voting address as the Oconaluftee Job Corps Center, a job training and education center for at-risk youth. The voters had been students…
Families piling into rafts at the Dillsboro put-in on the Tuckasegee River last week cast a leery eye at what seemed like a scene from a ‘70s James Bond movie: three men in black wetsuits and masks moved stealthily up…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

Hospital defends timing of expansion

Haywood Regional unveiled plans for a $16.5 million expansion two weeks ago on the heels of a workforce reduction designed to stem three months of financial losses. Hospital officials realize the timing of the expansion announcement following layoffs is “sensitive,”…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

HRMC announces $16.5 million expansion

Haywood Regional Medical Center is planning a $16.5 million expansion including a surgery support wing, an endoscopy unit, a new lobby and unfinished shell space for future expansion. The expansion is being billed as a new surgery center, although it…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Heath Shuler’s time so far in the House of Representatives is shorter than his career in pro-football, but he’s already attracting more attention as a rookie member of the House than he ever did…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

Republicans to Taylor: Make up your mind

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Ever since Democrat Heath Shuler’s upset of incumbent Charles Taylor in the 2006 election, Republicans have been plotting their strategy to take back control of the 11th Congressional District. Taylor is the first choice…
Haywood County has emerged as the high bidder for 22-acre tract of land in Jonathan Creek that will become a recreation park. The county’s bid of $1,114,029.15 was not upset. For the last two months the county and a private…
After years of debate over stray animals in Macon County — namely the lack of anywhere to take them — county leaders decided last week that it’s time to build a county animal shelter. Along with the shelter will come…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

Canton bridge project to cause delays

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Construction is slated to begin immediately on a structurally deficient bridge in downtown Canton, a project the Department of Transportation says will take months and force them to re-route a major thoroughfare. The bridge…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

New TDA make-up leaves questions unanswered

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer New legislation to restructure the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority calls for a drastic overhaul of the organization while leaving much open to interpretation. The overhaul was prompted by controversy over the TDA’s budget,…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

Duke tries to get out of dredging behind dam

Duke Power does not want to dredge backlogged sediment from behind the Dillsboro dam before tearing it down despite both state and federal agencies insisting otherwise. Duke filed an appeal this week protesting a decision by the Federal Regulatory Energy…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

Muddy math plays into sediment calculations

Calculating the volume of mud that washed downstream with the collapse of a large earth dam at Balsam Mountain Preserve has emerged as a source of contention between the developer and state and federal agencies. The packed earth dam —…
Balsam Mountain Preserve is off the hook on one front: it didn’t need a permit from the state dam safety office before constructing a dam at its golf course.
Balsam Mountain Preserve has failed so far in its promise to make things right following a dam break that unleashed a wave of sediment into more than eight miles of mountain streams, according to state and federal environmental agencies. Balsam…
After visiting the Town of Waynesville’s recreation center, Michelle Green left marveling at the range and quality of activities the facility provides Haywood County residents. Swimming, racquetball, basketball courts, an indoor walking track and more — there’s simply not a…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

Swain appoints members to re-configured TDA

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer The restructuring of the Swain County TDA is well under way with a host of new board members appointed at the county commissioners’ Aug. 14 meeting. The selection of the new TDA differed from…
Jackson County leaders appear to be backing down from a lofty vision to transform U.S. 441 leading to Cherokee into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard. The planning board has spent several months rewriting commercial development guidelines for the 3.5-mile stretch of highway.…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 13:55

State senate candidates stake out positions

Verbal sparring over key campaign issues in this fall’s state senate race was lively and pointed between N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and former Democratic state Sen. John Snow at an Aug. 9 forum the Macon County League of Women…
When Tom Sigmon tells people in Charlotte that he only lives there part-time, they often ask where he spends the rest of his year. Waynesville, he responds.
A task force charged with creating guidelines for a joint Jackson County Tourism Development Authority is still struggling to figure out exactly how everything will work — and the deadline for making recommendations to the county leadership is drawing nearer. Jackson…
Many counties are seeing an increase in tourism-related spending this year, but most have still not bounced back to their pre-recession numbers. The only real way for counties to measure how many tourists are stopping in their towns is through…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:34

Team weight-loss competition starts soon

The Franklin Angel Medical Center is hosting the kick-off for its third team weight-loss competition 9 a.m. Aug. 25 in the hospital dining room. The competition is call Lighten UP 4 Life and consists of four-person teams who face-off against…
The Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Waynesville is lowering the fee to $5 to adopt cats five months or older. The promotion will run for five days starting Aug. 14. The unwanted cat population increases in the summertime, and many…
The HRMC Foundation is hosting its 21st annual Charitable Classic Golf & Gala, a two-day fundraiser Aug. 28-29 to benefit MedWest-Haywood. The tournament will kick off with the men’s golf tournaments at 8:30 a.m. at the Maggie Valley Club and…
The Haywood Community College Board of Trustees have apparently rejected five finalists in its search for a new college president and will now cast a wider net by selecting five additional candidates. In a split vote earlier this month, the…
For a little less than the cost of a cup of coffee, Haywood County is buying the small, closed-down state prison in the Hazelwood community of Waynesville. The county is buying the 128-bed minimum security prison from the state for…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:29

MedWest-Haywood to fill key slots

The county is looking to fill five open positions on MedWest-Haywood’s hospital authority board during a critical time when the MedWest system as a whole is trying to decide its future. Growing discontent among some Jackson County doctors has the…
The Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen will vote this week whether to relax restrictions on sweepstakes machines for businesses that plan to make their money mostly from the controversial mechanisms. If the ordinance passes as is, sweepstake-specific businesses can have…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:26

Low values prompt reval delay

Real estate prices have taken such a drastic plunge in Macon and Jackson counties — which once boasted the highest concentration of mega-developments catering to the high-end second home market — that county commissioners there keep postponing the countywide property…
As Macon Bank scurried to get in on the ground floor of the real estate heyday in the mountains, it unwittingly stumbled into a house of cards, and found itself caught up in a scheme akin to insider trading that…
Haywood County temporarily backed off its hard-line stance against tiny Confederate flags being stuck in the ground around the base of a memorial for Confederate soldiers on the lawn of the historic courthouse in Waynesville, but has once again started…
The former Bryson City fire chief Joey Hughes is facing criminal charges following a months-long investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation into missing funds from fire department coffers. His wife, Cylena Hughes, has also been charged in connection with…
Haywood Community College has not only expanded its search for a new president, but is now on the hunt for an interim president as well. It’s the second bump in what was initially mapped out as a smooth transition following…
Former Bryson City Fire Chief Joey Hughes and his wife, Cylena, were arrested and indicted on embezzlement, fraud, and other charges last week for allegedly purloining money from the volunteer fire department’s fundraising arm. More than $200,000 was taken over…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:57

WCU takes over off-campus shuttle service

The university’s parking and transportation services office has assumed responsibility for running an off-campus shuttle service previously provided by Jackson County Transit. “Other than the look and color of the bus, not much will change for the students and other…
Greg Snyder was perturbed when he addressed the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen in June. In March, Snyder had plunked down $4,625 to connect five new RV sites at Twinbrook Resorts to the town’s sewer system. Less than two weeks…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:52

Meet fellow Franklin entrepreneurs Aug. 23

The Macon County Economic Development Commission will host an entrepreneur networking night at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Appalachian Harvest in downtown Franklin. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required at www.maconedc.com. The…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:51

Families sought to host international students

Ayusa, an international student exchange organization, is looking to match willing families with international high school students. The program is government-regulated and brings students from more than 60 countries. All types of families are eligible to host an international student.…
Longtime alderman and Maggie Valley resident and business owner Phil Aldridge resigned from the town board last week. Aldridge was a staple around town and owned Phil’s Grocery on Soco Road — the only grocery store in the valley for…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:48

Sylva welcomes new town board member

Barbara Hamilton participated in her first Sylva Town Board meeting last week after being newly appointed to fill the vacated seat of Stacy Knotts, who resigned to move with her husband to South Carolina. Hamilton was one of three candidates…
The mayor of Sylva, Maurice Moody, was first to receive a violation notice for an allegedly illegal sweepstakes establishment in one of his rental properties along U.S. Highway 441. And Jackson County Commission Chairman Jack Debman may be next.
Ingles has unveiled plans to build a new gas station on Russ Avenue, Waynesville’s most heavily trafficked commercial corridor. It marks a slight change to previous plans, which called for a gas station along the entrance road leading to Ingles…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:43

Ingles chain to make big splash in Waynesville

Waynesville will be home to the largest Ingles grocery store in Western North Carolina following major renovations and expansion at its Russ Avenue location. Shoppers will have a larger beer and wine selection, expanded deli and prepared food counter and…
Winners of Cherokee Preservation Foundation’s 10th anniversary photo contest will be announced at a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 at Qualla Arts & Crafts. Residents living on the Qualla Boundary and the seven western counties have…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:40

Political corner

Mike Clampitt, a candidate running for the state House, is hosting “Mornings with Mike” from 7-8 a.m. every Tuesday at 58D Sunrise Park Dr. in Sylva through Oct. 30. The event features Clampitt, but other Republican candidates running for office…
It’s been more than three months since voters in Jackson County approved a countywide alcohol initiative. Yet, except for a few telltale signs, a look around Cullowhee on the doorstep of Western Carolina University wouldn’t lead anyone to believe that…
Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher gave an opening address to kick off the fall semester last week and called on members of the university community to help realize the vision articulated by the 2020 Vision: Focusing Our Future…
North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue and other dignitaries gathered at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel Tuesday to officially mark the introduction of live table games at the casino.
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:35

Canton bridge work finished ahead of schedule

Traffic headaches caused by bridge work in downtown Canton for the past nine months are now over. Detour signs were taken down Monday, marking the end of the $3.5 million project to replace the 1920s-era Park Street bridge over the…
About 20 Southern heritage supporters lined a bench of Haywood County’s historic courtroom in Waynesville Monday, a show of force county commissioners were likely prepared for as they took on the perpetually controversial issue of Confederate flags: are they a…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 00:00

WCU helps develop and market new inventions

Western Carolina University will receive a five-year grant of $642,960 to continue operation of the Center for Rapid Product Realization, which works to accelerate job creation and retention among existing businesses and emerging entrepreneurial enterprises in Western North Carolina. The…
The Catamount Pump & Go in Sylva is now offering biodiesel from the Asheville-based Blue Ridge Biofuels for use in vehicles. Blue Ridge Biofuels uses recycled, used cooking oil from area restaurants to produce the sustainable, renewable biodiesel that meets…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 00:00

Skating rink holding fundraisers for expansion

Smoky Mountain Sk8way outside Waynesville plans to add an additional 10,000 square feet to its existing facility, which will allow it to offer a much larger skating surface, a cafe, a climbing wall, a toddler area, mini-golf and a pro…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 00:00

Within REACH store opens

REACH of Haywood County has opened the Within REACH Home Store doors down from their popular Within REACH resale store on Hazelwood Avenue in Sylva. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. It features previously owned furniture,…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 00:00

Harmony House Foods to locate in Franklin

Harmony House Foods, a leading provider of dehydrated foods to backpackers, will open a new facility at the Macon County Business Development Center. Founded in 2005 in Eastern North Carolina, the company markets dehydrated meals primarily to outdoor adventurers with…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 00:00

Duke funding not guaranteed forever

While the Pigeon River Trust Fund isn’t threatened in the short term, the lucrative water quality funding stream isn’t a sure bet forever. The annual payment of $290,000 ponied up by Progress Energy — and soon by Duke post merger…
A trust fund backed by Progress Energy that has funneled more than $2 million and counting to water quality projects in Haywood County since the mid-1990s is not in jeopardy following the merger of the utility with Duke Energy.
When Dr. Janine Keever hit the online shoe stores last month to hunt for the optimal pair of white knee-high platform boots, she wasn’t trying to spice up the look of her delivery room scrubs. Instead, the retro footgear would…
Exurbanites are invading Macon County, and the rest of Appalachia for that matter. Don’t be alarmed, they’re generally docile, but the ramifications of their settlement could mark, and to an extent already have marked, a permanent change in the region’s…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 00:00

Indian health subject of lecture

A public lecture on Indian health by a leading international epidemiologist will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5 at Western Carolina University’s new Health and Human Sciences Building. Epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson will perform the lecture from England via a…