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Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:27

Handpicked appointments fill Jackson boards

It’s not the strength of your resume — it’s who your friends are. 
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:25

Cullowhee: meet your makers

Jackson County Commissioners have begun naming a task force that will shepherd Cullowhee along the way to becoming a bonafide  planning district, complete with tailored development guidelines to ensure compatible growth. 
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:24

Macon board plows into floodplain rules

The Macon County planning board signaled its intent this month to loosen rules on development in floodplains. 
Business owner Marion Jones claims to sit on Sylva’s Main Street watching traffic more than any other person in town. 
A new event center in Waynesville could be just the beginning of the vitalization of Wall Street, said Wells Greeley, owner of Wells Funeral Homes and Cremation Services. 
Bryson City’s library has storied yet humble beginnings — born from a suitcase of books toted around town by a lady named Marianna Black in the 1930s. 
The clock was ticking. There were just two days to go for mayor candidates to step up to the plate in the small village of Forest Hills — and still no takers.
Persistent vandals have pushed Sylva decision-makers to ramp up the town’s surveillance program.   Coming soon to two Sylva parks are several new security cameras. Both Bryson and Poteet parks have suffered a rash of vandalism, from smashed bathroom sinks…
The recently signed state budget bill will fund the hiring of 19 toxicology analysts for a new western crime lab, expanding available evidence testing in Western North Carolina. 
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:12

Specialty license plates rescued

Colorful specialty license plates have been spared the gallows thanks to a bill passed in the final hours of the General Assembly last week. 
A Ghost Town in the Sky gunfighter wounded during a staged fight has new hope of being compensated for his injury after all, despite initially being told he wouldn’t.
A candidate for Maggie Valley alderman was indicted this month on eight felony charges, including forgery.  The July 19 indictment alleges that Joe Maniscalco forged documents and knowingly tried to pass them off as valid records in an attempt to…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Rural Center cut may negatively affect WNC

A recent government audit of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center has divided much of the state. 
Western North Carolina business and political leaders are wondering who will go to the mat for them to attract new and expanding businesses now that the N.C. General Assembly has severed ties with two important rural economic development entities.  “Who…
The Canton Board of Aldermen is still accepting applications for the open town manager position. “We’ve interviewed some that we like. We’ve got some good applications, but we still wanted to continue looking,” said Canton Alderman Ed Underwood. “It is…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Fumes kill one, hospitalize a dozen in Macon

An incident at a farm facility in Macon County last week left one worker dead and caused the hospitalization of more than a dozen people.
Town board members said no to expanding Sylva’s zoning laws to be more inclusive for churches downtown, citing a desire to reserve the center of the city for commerce, nightlife and retail.
The $20.6 billion biennial budget recently approved by the N.C. General Assembly includes more than $1.4 million for expansion of Western Carolina University’s undergraduate engineering program to Biltmore Park. State appropriations include $698,962 for engineering program start-up costs and laboratory…
Representatives from the firms assisting Western Carolina University in drafting a comprehensive master plan that will guide campus development and improvements in the years ahead will return from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Jackson County Public Library…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Bryson City readies itself for kayaking worlds

Batten down the hatches, the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships are coming. “This event shows how this tiny town can come together and work together,” said Joe Rowland. “Everybody involved has invested a lot of time and energy into…
A decade-long saga in deciding the fate of Duke Energy’s former dam near Dillsboro is drawing to a close as the company prepares to hand the site and surrounding land over to local officials.
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Patrol car laptops should aid Jackson deputies

It’s not quite Robocop, but the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is getting a law enforcement boost thanks to technology.
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Donated clothes help kids fit in

Sylvia Russell remembers how crucial it was to wear the “right” clothes to school, how the “right” outfit could win the acceptance of peers.
Following a nine-month undercover investigation, six people were charged with conducting illegal activities, including selling moonshine and gambling, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Waynesville.
To lend a helping hand in Jackson County, a willingness to volunteer may not be enough.
Abandoned, dilapidated and sometimes forgotten burial places are likely to get better care now that Macon County commissioners have decided to form a cemetery board.
St. John the Evanglist Church in Waynesville will host a special seminar from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Featured speakers include Rev. John Rausch, the director of…
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:24

Blurred boundary leads to permit, tax problems

Whether you live in Macon County or Jackson County may depend on which one you ask.
The town of Canton is not out of the woods yet in its fight to keep Camp Hope, a public recreation area in Cruso.
The building sector in Jackson County has continued its upward swing in 2013.
North Carolina is reverting back to paper ballots, forcing Haywood, Jackson and 29 other counties in the state to purchase completely new voting equipment by 2018.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:18

No bailout for Lake Junaluska

Lake Junaluska community leaders gave residents a first look at how its service fees will increase since its merger with Waynesville was thwarted, at least temporarily.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:16

The tricky terrain of Native American labels

Diamond Brown has perfected the art of bait and switch. He hooks his unsuspecting subjects with an eye-catching spread of indigenous tools — arrows and adzes, bone awls and baskets, pelts and pestles.
In addition to food, shelter and medical care, access to a phone is one of life’s bare necessities — at least according to the American federal government.
One man’s mission to bring to light an obesity epidemic in Macon County has offended many in the community, prompted threats from some and even prompting a response from the sheriff.
Back to school essentials have always been a familiar list of pens, pencils, fresh notebooks, new sneakers and a calculator, but a changes in the state law might be adding one more thing to that list: a gun and carry…
Western Carolina University students will open their textbooks this year with a livelier Cullowhee awaiting them after the class bell rings, one with more dining options, hangout spots and beer on tap.  ALSO: WCU program teaches women football tacticsALSO: New law to…
Female fans of Western Carolina University athletics know three things — which player the quarterback is, when a touchdown is scored and, more importantly, how to tailgate.
A public hearing on the future of Haywood Regional Medical Center will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at the MedWest-Haywood Health & Fitness Center on the hospital campus.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 12:55

Regional DOT chief demoted to new position

The regional head of the N.C. Depart-ment of Transportation has been demoted after nine years at the helm of road building decisions in the mountain’s far western counties.
Raising children is rewarding, but stay-at-home moms and dads need something for themselves.
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 13:14

Swain leaders go to Washington, D.C.

The recent three-day trip to Washington, D.C., marks the fourth time Swain County representatives have visited the capital during the last couple years.
The outlook for Swain County doesn’t look any better this year than it did the last three years in its quest to make good on the government’s stale promise of a cash settlement.
Pending changes to Waynesville’s sign laws could pave the way for sidewalk sandwich boards downtown, but they aren’t legal yet.
It’s not quite little Las Vegas, yet, but new sign laws in Sylva are clearing the way for a brighter, blinkier town.
Jackson County commissioners took the director of the Jackson County Department on Aging to task this week over why Meals On Wheels still has such a large waiting list.
One of life’s great unsolved mysteries will soon be settled thanks to an official survey of the murky border between Jackson and Macon counties.
Jackson County commissioners signaled support this week to change the way volunteer fire departments are funded, although the plan is not without its critics.
An old closed-down elementary school in the rural Cowee community in Macon County will soon reclaim its role as a community focal point and gathering place.
The chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians wants the town of Franklin to relinquish ownership of the historic Nikwasi Mound, but town leaders may not let it go.
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 12:58

Rally to bring King’s dream to Sylva

The Moral Monday protests that started  in Raleigh and made national headlines are now making the rounds in North Carolina with a stop scheduled in Sylva next Wednesday, Aug. 28.
Waynesville officials will hold a public hearing next week on an ordinance that would pave the way for street performers, known colloquially as “buskers,” to play in the town’s public spaces in hopes of making a buck or two from…
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:11

Better signals may mean uglier views

The Jackson County Planning Board is delving into a review of cell tower regulations and discussing changes that could ultimately allow for taller towers on mountaintops and ridges.
A communications tower in Macon County is expected to bring better wireless phone coverage to a remote region but has environmentalists concerned over its visibility from the Appalachian Trail.
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:08

Greenway starts taking shape in Jackson

Construction could start in September on a paved 1.2-mile section of greenway along the Tucksegee River in Cullowhee.
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 01:58

Sweepstakes: never say die

Despite a statewide ban on video sweepstakes machines, the video gambling industry is taking advantage of yet another apparent loophole to introduce the machines back into Western North Carolina, apparently emboldened after local district court judges have dismissed a series…
A group of veterans in Haywood County lodged a formal complaint claiming that the hiring process of the county’s veterans service officer was discriminatory.
Jackson County commissioners turned down a start-up Internet provider asking for a $1 million economic development loan to bring high-speed internet to rural areas.
Jackson County has extended the application deadline for a new economic development director after the first round failed to attract a large pool of applicants from Western North Carolina.
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 01:54

Donation centers open for Coats for Kids

The Coats for Kids clothing drive in Jackson County is accepting donations of clothing and shoes starting Sept. 1. Drop-off sites will be at the Cullowhee United Methodist Church, Walmart, Sylva First Presbyterian Church, Pathways thrift store, The Sylva Herald…
The Appalachian Women’s Museum finally has a home to call its own. Dillsboro town council members agreed Monday to lease a section of the historic Monteith farmstead to the organization, whose members have sought a brick and mortar place to…
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, sporting an Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians button, hosted a town hall meeting last Thursday in Cherokee that he said was the “most vocal” he has held in the district.
When Rodney and Lorraine Conard took the keys to the shuttered Strand movie theater two years ago, the hulking shell was like a blank canvas full of promise — a tad dusty, worn and tattered, but it was loved once…
There’s only one feasible option for what to do with the abandon Haywood Department of Social Services building: turn it into apartments.
Preliminary sitework on a new Cherokee Indian Hospital could start as early as December. The hospital has entered contract negotiations with a construction management company that would oversee construction of a new hospital, estimated to run between $50 to $65…
Maintaining high-quality doctors in Haywood County emerged as a common theme in a public hearing last week on the future of MedWest-Haywood.
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 13:20

Southwestern excels in performance report

Southwestern Community College exceeded the North Carolina Community College System’s mean in seven of the eight measures used to gauge annual performance — one of only three community colleges statewide to rank that well in the state’s “Performance Measures for…
Drake Software, a national leader in professional tax preparation software headquartered in Franklin, is expanding their call center in Hayesville and will hire about 50 new customer service representatives to man it. A new 10,000-square-foot facility will be constructed in…
Haywood Community College is strengthening ties to the community through industry training with the arrival of a new Industry Training Coordinator Doug Burchfield. After 19 years at Borg Warner, Burchfield understands the industrial workplace and will draw on this knowledge…
Ellen Walker has a passion for giving dolls new life and sending them on to their next home. For the past two and a half years, she’s put her that passion to work raising money for the Harris Regional Hospital…
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 13:18

All lanes of I-40 reopened after slide

All lanes of Interstate 40 West in Haywood County have reopened following a rockslide that occurred Monday evening, Aug. 19. Initial reports from county emergency workers claimed that all four lanes of Interstate 40 at Exit 7 (Harmon’s Den) in…
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 13:18

Stand up for N.C. educators

A “Stand Up for Education” rally will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, on the front lawn of the Haywood County historic courthouse. The event will express appreciation for teachers, support for public education and dissatisfaction with recent…
Passion, love, hate and violence — are all very human. But the best way of understanding these and other human attributes might not be by studying humans at all. The animals around us, says Western Carolina University Psychology Professor Harold…
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington, D.C., political activists in Western North Carolina celebrated a dream of their own.
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:55

Clyde police chief suspended for unknown reasons

Clyde Police Chief Gerard Ball was suspended last Friday for five days without pay until the town board was able to meet and further discuss his employment status.  The Clyde town board will hold a specially-scheduled meeting Wednesday, Sept. 4,…
With September’s tropical storm season gearing up, residents living downstream of large Duke Energy dams in Western North Carolina may spend the fall on high alert, wondering when and if Duke will open the flood gates to release pent-up water…
Sweepstakes-style video gambling is making bold forays into the rural communities of Western North Carolina, back for yet another skirmish in the decade-long war against the betting devices.  State lawmakers have tried to ban them. Police have tried to bust…
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:47

Waynesville theater closes suddenly

Smoky Mountain Cinemas in Waynesville shut its doors last week, leaving Haywood County residents with no full-sized movie theater playing current releases on a local screen. “We have put forth every effort to keep operating the theater. Unfortunately we were…
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:46

Busking becomes Waynesville

Waynesville leaders as expected lifted a de facto ban on street performers last week, opening the door for musicians to play on the sidewalks of town as long as they get a permit first. “We have already received our first…
Waynesville police discovered a homemade pipe bomb in the bed of a pickup truck in the early hours of the morning Sunday.
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:44

WCU record enrollment, open house

Western Carolina University announced an enrollment milestone this week — enrollment for the fall semester topped the 10,000 mark for the first time in school history. University officials said the record-breaking enrollment was due in large part to a 5…
When it comes to a high-speed chase, law enforcement must constantly ask the question: is it worth it? A 23-year-old Franklin man took police on a chase through Macon County in August reaching speeds of nearly 125 miles per hour.…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:30

Clyde police chief suspended, but keeps job

Clyde Police Chief Gerard Ball won’t return to work until Oct. 5 after the Clyde Board of Aldermen decided to suspend him without pay. Following a three-hour discussion, the town board voted unanimously last Wednesday (Sept. 4) to suspend Ball…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:34

Waynesville to invest in tennis courts

Waynesville plans to repair the six cracked and aging tennis courts in its recreation park, as long as the local tennis community chips in. The town board authorized the Waynesville Park and Recreation Department to spend about $50,000 to resurface…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:34

New restrooms in store for Waynesville playground

The town of Waynesville will soon put in temporary restrooms next to the popular children’s playground on Marshall Street. They will be a step up from the status quo of two lone portable potties plunked down at the edge of…
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians held tribal council elections last Thursday (Sept. 5). All 12 seats on tribal council were up election, with two seats representing each of the reservation’s six communities. All the sitting council members ran for…
Highlands-Cashiers Hospital is expected to come under the umbrella of Mission Health in coming months. The Highlands-Cashiers Hospital is current a stand-alone, independent hospital, but has been engaged in talks with Mission for a year about entering an affiliation. Highlands-Cashiers…
A proposal to charge youth sports clubs and outside groups rental fees to use school property is being studied by the Haywood County School Board.
As the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen called its monthly meeting to order, it was the last item on the list that had town hall overflowing — a call for a hearing to consider the mayor’s alleged misconduct.
Two Maggie Valley aldermen recently indicated that they have a laundry list of grievances against the town’s mayor, but there is one complaint that stands out among the rest.
A new traveling exhibit is using technology to teach people about traditional Cherokee culture.
Forest Hills residents and town leaders overwhelmingly opposed purchasing a 60-acre abandoned golf course in the middle of their community at a public hearing last week.
Skateboarders from across Western North Carolina have streamed into Waynesville during the past week to try out the town’s newly opened $400,000 skate park.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:35

Sewer credits: a commodity market in Cashiers

To relieve sewer gridlock in the Cashiers area, the Tuckasegee Water and Sewer Authority may change its rules to let developers swap, transfer and even sell unused sewer capacity.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:37

Changes on table for TDA grant funding

People seeking funds from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority spend hours filling out grant applications, and all the tourism agency gets for the applicant’s trouble is paper skyscrapers.
Despite fears that the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center would meet its maker after losing its state funding, the center’s board of directors decided to persevere, albeit in a diminished capacity.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:41

Getting a handle on cutlery

Kristi Culpepper knows knives.  Browsing the wide selection of specialized hunting, hobby and kitchen cutlery at Old School Knife Works on U.S. 441 in Otto, Culpepper is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the tradition, history and modern…
In what he characterized as simply starting the discussion, Jackson County Commission Chairman Jack Debnam broached the idea of changing how voters elect county commissioners.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:33

Deserted factory to morph into agriculture venture

An abandoned, county-owned furniture factory in Whittier could transform into a center for agritourism in Jackson County, or it could become something entirely different.