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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.
The National Guard’s 211th Military Police Company based in Haywood County is deploying to Afghanistan.
The creation of a monolithic blueprint that will lead the seven western counties into a new economy is under way, but the team of researchers behind it is calling for community input to ensure the vision being crafted is the…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:31

Haywood acts to secure Mauney Cove trash site

Haywood County has secured the first right of refusal on the 1.4-acre tract where the Mauney Cove trash and recycling collection site is located near the intersection of U.S. 276 and U.S. 19. The county currently leases the site for…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:31

Construction climate warming up again in Haywood

Building permits are trending upwards in Haywood County thanks to an increase in single-family home construction. The majority of new permits are for mid-range homes less than 4,000 square feet and below $500,000 in value, according to Bruce Crawford, director…
The Macon Aero Modelers Club members are not afraid to fly much of anything. Large, wooden aircraft churning through the sky, small, light planes twisting and turning at 10, 15, 20 Gs — if it’s got wings, it’s their forte. 
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:27

Macon County ponies up for airport upgrades, again

The Macon County Commission last week narrowly approved funding for upgrades and an expansion of the runway at the county airport.
Maggie Valley residents and leaders are questioning how and why town taxpayers ended up footing the bill for a Country music concert at the festival grounds last month — and whether the town will end up holding the bag for…
Thousands of uninsured Western North Carolina residents will soon benefit from the Affordable Care Act, despite most people still being confused over what health insurance reform truly entails, according local health experts.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:21

Swain County fights for its just due

Swain County Manager Kevin King made another trip up to Washington, D.C. last week, though this time the visit was not strictly for Swain County’s benefit. The National Association of County Commissioners paid for King and 24 other county leaders…
U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows was appointed as one of the country’ two representatives to the United Nation’s General Assembly last week.
Five full-time doctors practicing at Swain County Medical Center have left during the past year. The departures account for half the doctors in the county, who not only staff the emergency room but also take care of patients staying in…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:15

Bryson City: just what the doctor ordered

As Dr. Randall Castor stared down the final weeks of his residency, it was clear those long, grueling years of medical training were about to pay off.
During rehearsal for her church’s band one Monday night, Paula McElroy called home to check on her 82-year-old husband who suffers from dementia. No answer.
A manufacturing plant that makes parts for big-rig cab interiors has broken ground on a $5.9 million expansion in Canton with plans to add 140 jobs at the factory by 2015. 
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:27

Every good slogan needs a logo

The Jackson County tourism industry adopted a new logo last week to go with their new slogan: “Play On.”
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:25

Sylva’s beloved Lulu’s under new ownership

The new owners of the iconic Lulu’s on Main restaurant in downtown Sylva are dedicated to keeping around the diner’s favorite menu items, but they’re also looking forward to adding some of their own.
Nicole Dexter and Chip Owen might be the only brewmasters in Western North Carolina who left Asheville — the Mecca of microbreweries — in the rearview mirror when looking for a good spot to make craft beer. But the two…
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:22

Sweepstakes to cops: your move

A woman charged with illegally operating sweepstakes-style video gambling machines got off in court this week after prosecutors dismissed the charges.
An indoor swimming pool, a river park in Dillsboro and more greenways emerged as top priorities in a 10-year master recreation plan created by the Jackson County’s Recreation and Parks Department.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:17

Replacing power poles a never-ending job

If you come across men in bright orange vests directing traffic around crews handling a towering power pole into the ground, steer clear and drive slow.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:16

Macon on the prowl for a new county manager

Macon County closed the application window last week and will soon begin paring down applicants in search of its next county manager.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:14

Franklin unable to shake Nikwasi Mound missteps

The saga of Nikwasi Mound in Franklin being sprayed with potent weed killer more than a year ago continues to unfold.
Western North Carolina’s educational institutions must re-emphasize the importance of mathematical skills at all levels — from basic addition and subtraction to advanced statistics, analysis and predictive modeling — if mountain students are to succeed in the modern workforce.
Changes to the voting laws in North Carolina will have only a small effect on voter turnout, according to a Western Carolina University political analyst.
The new voter identification requirement won’t likely affect North Carolinians who have put down roots, but more transient populations including college students may find the new regulations cumbersome.  College students in North Carolina will have to make an extra effort…
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:07

WCU makes big strides in freshmen retention rate

They made it a top priority, but Western Carolina University administrators were still a bit surprised when they learned they succeeded in raising the freshmen retention rate by a significant margin.
After a surge in the freshmen retention rate at Western Carolina University, school administrators are trying to get a feel for why fewer students jumped ship this year than any other year in recent history.
The commercial corridor of the Canton exit off Interstate 40 has been in a vice grip for several years due to a maxed out sewer line.
The clock is ticking for Canton to spend $25,000 in remaining grant money from the N.C. Rural Center.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:01

Swain deputies rack up 13 wrecks in three years

A Swain County deputy totaled his patrol car earlier this month after hitting a parked car while going more than 50 miles per hour.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:45

Business calendar

• Western Carolina University will host information sessions on a new part-time MBA program starting in January and held in Cherokee. Sessions will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Sept. 12 in the hotel ballroom at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino…
The Haywood County Republican Party, siding with a two-time county commission candidate, has submitted a resolution to the county saying it should hire a professional appraisal firm to review all home values.
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:17

Case against alleged cross burner dismissed

The case against a Haywood County teenager charged with felony cross burning was dismissed two weeks ago.
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:15

Bryson wants to get rid of unsightly signs

For years Bryson City has battled gaudy signs, decrepit signs and too many signs, particularly along U.S. 19 coming into town. Until now, it’s never had a legal foot to stand on.
Where heavy-handed fines fail, the Jackson County Health Department is pushing a program to urge negligent drivers to put their child passengers in car seats.
Haywood County will pay more than it anticipated on state-mandated renovations to its jail annex. The county will pay $91,314 to the Monroe-based State Building Group for upgrades to the jail annex. Renovations include setting up a secure fence to…
Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties all reported an increase in lodging tax revenue last fiscal year, compared to the prior year, though in some cases the hike is due to tax increases rather than an increase in travelers.
After a week of paid suspension, Maggie Valley’s town manager and festival director are gone.
Talking to kids is hard enough when life is going fine, but when their parents are going through a divorce or maybe having substance abuse problems, children can clam up. It’s Janet Thatcher’s job to gain their trust.
The future of Jackson County’s Green Energy Park may depend on county commissioners doubling down.
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 16:17

Cherokee Bear Zoo in legal crosshairs

Two enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians plan to sue the owners of the Cherokee Bear Zoo if they don’t make some substantial changes to their grizzly bear habitats.
Waynesville Alderman Gary Caldwell was the man of the hour, or perhaps the man of the decade, during the official ribbon cutting of the Waynesville Skate Park last Friday.
A Swain County High School junior varsity football player was suspended from school for 10 days and kicked off the team for racially derogatory comments made to a member of the Cherokee JV football team.
The impasse at the federal level will touch all areas of operation at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway, closing picnic areas, campgrounds, bathrooms, visitor centers and historic sites.
The tourism industry in Western North Carolina is not letting the shut down of visitor facilities on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or national forests in the region darken their spirits as the mountains head…
When Joe and Dolly Parker approached the entrance of the Deep Creek campground Tuesday morning, the sign read “Office Closed.” “We can’t believe this,” Dolly said. A retired couple from Key Largo, Fla., the Parkers spend upwards of five months…
The Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen voted unanimously last week to suspend Town Manager Tim Barth and Festival Director Audrey Hagar for a week with pay after questions arose about dubious decisions made by both leading up to a country…
Assistant Town Manager Alison Melnikova is leaving Waynesville for a new job, meaning the town is on the search for her replacement.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:06

Breaking Bread Café opens in Haywood

A new artisan café and restaurant has opened to fanfare in Bethel, only a short drive from downtown Waynesville and Canton. Rather than using meats from a deli, Breaking Bread Café cooks their own ham, turkey and roast beef to…
Tyler McKinnish, a Haywood County student on his way to being a doctor, credits Haywood Early College with giving him a good start on the road to higher education. McKinnish only graduated from high school in 2010, but is already…
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:06

SCC kicks off scholarship fundraiser

Southwestern Community College Foundation has launched a “Student Success Campaign” that aims to raise more than $1 million for scholarships by fall 2014. “Last year, 225 students filled out applications and were deserving of financial assistance,” said SCC President Don…
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:05

Radiography program a family affair for Maneys

When Brittany Maney was 14, her fall from a Hayesville Middle School cheerleading pyramid caused a lot of pain, fear and a rushed trip to the hospital in Murphy. That medical emergency had a far more positive outcome, though. A…
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:03

Cherokee-led firm gets going on new casino

After just a year in business, a Cherokee-based construction management company has landed the biggest trout in town — the $110 million Cherokee County casino construction project.
How would you spend $800 million? Residents and opinion leaders from the seven westernmost counties and the Qualla Boundary have just completed a series of input sessions design to gather broad-based feedback to help answer just that question.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:01

Child rescued from Whittier hotel dies

A four-year-old child found injured and abused in Qualla Motel in Whittier last week has died. Deputies arrived at the Qualla Motel just after 7 a.m. Oct. 11 after first responders and EMS arrived on scene and noted the injuries…
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:00

Pedestrian fatality involves Cherokee officer

A Cherokee Indian Police Department officer hit two pedestrians, killing one, while on patrol Wednesday night. The incident occurred on the U.S. 441 bypass at about 8:40 p.m. While on patrol, Officer Cody McKinney turned on a vehicle with only…
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:00

Swain County marching band heading to D.C.

Swain High School’s Marching Maroon Devils have officially been accepted to march in the National Independence Day Parade on July 4, 2014 in Washington D.C Marching bands that attend must be nominated and go through an application process once the…
The N.C. Department of Revenue is holding money belonging to Swain County captive, according to county officials.
All Nicole Smith could do last week was try to keep the doors open. Either the shutdown of the federal government would end, or North Carolina officials would tell her they don’t have the million of dollars necessary to cover…
Giant blow-up gorillas, bouquets of balloons, plastic banners strung from awnings or poles and billowing fabric figures piped full of air — these previously banned forms of attention-grabbing signage could soon be gracing Waynesville’s businesses under a proposed slate of…
Schools are bracing for a precipitous drop in student test scores coming down the pike next month — the result of a new, more rigorous curriculum and testing standards implemented statewide last year.
The race for N.C. House of Representatives between two well-known and prominent Waynesville Democrats, Danny Davis and Joe Sam Queen, came down to the wire Tuesday night. Queen emerged as the top vote getter by only 12 votes. But, Davis…
Mark Meadows and Hayden Rogers came out on top last night in a Congressional election that at the beginning of the day boasted a full slate of 11 candidates. The field of eight Republicans and three Democrats vying to represent…
Jackson voters approved alcohol sales in Tuesday’s election by a comfortable margin, making it only the third county in Western North Carolina to permit the sale of booze county wide. Most counties are dry, with alcohol sales only allowed inside…
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:27

Greene wins Jackson commissioner seat

Jackson County has a new county commissioner. Vicki Greene, a longtime community planner and retired assistant director of the Southwestern Development Commission, clinched the Democratic nomination, which makes her a shoe-in for the Board of Commissioners as there is no…
As predicted, North Carolina voters ushered in a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in Tuesday’s primary election, joining a flood of states to pass constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage in recent years. Missouri was the first in…
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 19:51

Haywood Republicans must narrow their slate

Like a game of musical chairs, three Republican candidates for county commissioners are circling Haywood County and hoping they can secure one of the two places on the November election ballot. Only two of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners…
One thing is for certain. Whichever of two Democrats Jackson County voters pick in the May 8 primary will be bringing a lot of governmental experience to the table in their bid for a seat on the Board of Commissioners.…
Three of the five seats on the Macon County Board of Commissioners are up for election this year, and all have a primary race that needs deciding for either one party or the other. Democrats will be asked to narrow…
If you believe in polls then North Carolina voters are likely to pass a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriages. But, opponents to such an amendment haven’t given up the fight yet and in fact cite other polls showing exact…
The race for a congressman to represent the mountains in Washington is crowded with candidates, making the political waters murky for the everyday voter. In an attempt to differentiate the 11 candidates — eight Republicans and three Democrats — more…
Three Republican candidates are attempting to set themselves apart in the hope of winning the May primary and going head-to-head with N.C. Rep. Ray Rapp for his seat in the state House. After three uncontested elections, Rapp will now face…
Two well-known Waynesville Democrats running against each other for a shot at representing mountain people in Raleigh so far are playing fair and keeping the race clean. But their similar platforms, progressive rhetoric and measured campaigns mean voters deciding between…
George Frizzell, head of special collections at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library, is the 2013 recipient of the Thornton W. Mitchell Service Award for outstanding service to the archival profession in North Carolina. A native of Jackson County, Frizzell is…
Western Carolina University’s state-of-the-art Health and Human Sciences Building, which opened in fall 2012, has won two awards for its architectural design.
An uptick in building permits in Jackson County has prompted the county to hire an additional office clerk to keep up with the load. A decline in building permits in the wake of the housing bust had led to a…
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 00:00

Court system in Jackson angling for more space

An expansion of Jackson County’s court facilities could be in the cards, pending a $30,000 analysis of what some in the legal system have dubbed a space shortage. The county has hired an architectural firm to study space needs of…
Developers of a large college student housing complex in Cullowhee got an OK from the Jackson County Planning Board to deviate from engineering rules on man-made slopes. 
Jackson County commissioners may start broadcasting their meetings, bringing to the masses the nitty gritty of local government — tax collection reports, committee appointments, budget shuffling of low-level line items, and the not-to-be missed community proclamations, like the one in…
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 00:00

Family, feuds and football

Heather Brookshire is behind enemy lines.  “Everybody has been giving me a hard time all day,” she chuckled. Taking orders and running around DuVall’s Restaurant in Waynesville last Friday morning, Brookshire is sporting a bright red and white shirt with…
Amy Leonhart and Louise Jones met 17 years ago at church. “The best match for me was going to be a church girl,” said Jones, a 60-year-old native of Tennessee. When she met Leonhart, “It’s kind of like everybody else,…
After navigating Haywood County through some of its toughest budget times, County Manager Marty Stamey will leave his position Jan. 1 after just three years overseeing county operations.
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:53

HCC receives $20,000 grant

Haywood Community College recently received a $20,000 matching grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership (BRNHAP) to develop and implement an Appalachian Heritage Arts Music Program at the college. Music Heritage is identified as one of the core…
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:53

Murder charges filed in child’s death

Eric Davis, 23, was indicted on one charge of first-degree murder and two charges of felony child abuse Monday. He is currently being held without bond. Davis’ 4-year-old daughter was found injured and abuse in the Qualla Motel in Whittier…
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:46

Input sought on Cullowhee’s future

The Jackson County Planning Department will host a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at Cullowhee Valley School to gather input from residents about the future development of the area. Jackson County Planner Gerald Green said the department is seeking…
A for-profit company will install an electric car charging station in Waynesville’s public parking lot on Montgomery Street.
Come next June, the number of visitors to Western North Carolina will jump by at least 1,500 Republicans.
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:39

Sen. Davis unworried about low poll numbers

A recent poll shows that a Western North Carolina state representative has fallen out of favor with voters.
Swain County residents have finally learned where exactly its $2 million in grants from the Golden LEAF Foundation will go — to schools, job training and infrastructure.
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:32

Soul searching time for the GOP

When N.C. GOP Director Todd Poole emailed a list of state job openings — some 300 vacant positions in all — to dozens of Republican operatives asking them to spread the word to party friendlies, some political fallout was to…
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:27

Internal debate divides Haywood GOP

Some mainstream Republicans in Haywood County fear their local party is being hijacked by a far-right faction with extreme views on what limited government should look like.  The ascension of what some deem the radical right into leadership positions on…
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:26

Cherokee theater expands to six screens

When Cherokee Phoenix Theatres on the Qualla Boundary closes on All Hallows’ Eve, it will only have two movie screens. When it reopens the following morning, as if by some magic, the number of screens will have multiplied.
The Waynesville Board of Aldermen has waived more than $140,000 in water and sewer fees in the hopes that a Polk County developer will construct a low-income affordable housing development on Hyatt Creek Road.
Maggie Valley has become the latest town in North Carolina to face the threat of a lawsuit regarding licensing fees charged to sweepstakes parlor owners.