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Wednesday, 06 November 2013 00:00

One shot to win money for your business plan

Ninety seconds.  It’s shorter than the average YouTube video and less time (theoretically) than it takes to brush your teeth, but if you can squeeze enough charm and tenacity and business acumen into that space, you may just be on…
Jackson County commissioners questioned the wisdom of a last-ditch effort to find more customers for the Whittier sewer system at a county meeting Monday. Commissioner also signaled reluctance to put up county money for a plan they saw as less…
A rural sewer system in Jackson County is headed toward bankruptcy unless it can drum up 200 customers in the sparsely populated Whittier area.  It’s a tough sell though, witnessed by the paltry 40 customers along the sewer line now.
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 00:00

WNC native tapped for EDC post in Jackson

Jackson County is hoping the third time’s the charm as it aims to jumpstart its floundering economic development efforts.  After years of thrashing and political setbacks, Jackson County once more has a board of economic development advisors in place and…
An animal rights groups has sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hoping to force the agency to set stricter standards for bears living in enclosures. 
Despite sweepstakes-style video gambling being outlawed in the state, they have slowly crept back in to the corners of gas stations across Western North Carolina in recent months. 
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 00:00

More students prompt new construction at Pisgah

Pisgah High School in Canton finally has the money for some much-needed renovations, which have been years in the making.   The Haywood County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution allowing the county finance officer to borrow up to…
Haywood County is moving slowly towards consolidating its Department of Social Services and Health Department to save money and become more efficient.  Last year, the N.C. General Assembly approved legislation that allows counties to combine the two departments into one…
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 00:00

New checkpoint procedures implemented in Jackson

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have reached an amicable settlement to allegations that the sheriff’s office racially profiled Latinos.
The Sylva town board has unanimously approved a streetscape plan for N.C. 107 from the Ingles grocery store to Dillsboro. The plan indicates where sidewalks and landscape buffers must go, according to the town’s current zoning ordinance, but also shows…
Vet-Fest in Waynesville will feature a poker run, live music and food on Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Haywood Square shopping center.  Live bands will play from 3 to 10 p.m., including Brian Keith & the Mile High Band, Smokerise…
As Waynesville pedestrians mosey down North Main Street toward Walnut Street on their way home or to one of the businesses along the road, they get to a point where the sidewalk ends, where they must walk on grass or…
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 00:00

Sign kitsch to be debated at Waynesville hearing

Business owners and merchants in Waynesville angling for bigger, flashier attention-grabbing devices have piloted a rewrite of the town’s sign ordinance, which will be considered by the board of aldermen this month.
Four months after he was injured in a staged Old West gunshow, a former Ghost Town in the Sky gunfighter said he is waiting for someone to thoroughly investigate the incident, which he believes was foul play.
People who live and work in Cullowhee are being invited to share their opinions on growth and planning with a task force that is trying to crystallize a collective vision for the college-centric community.
Jacob Flannick • SMN Correspondent Hundreds of high school students from across the state and beyond toured the campus of Western Carolina University last Saturday morning, trying to envision whether their next step might lead to Cullowhee in what has emerged…
For years, enrolled members and leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have called for the tribe to open a substance abuse rehabilitation center, but for some reason, the effort has never moved beyond words.
A man threatened to tase a young Cherokee girl at a football game last month, but it is unclear just who he was. One thing is sure however, it wasn’t a Swain County Sheriff’s deputy.
The Sylva town board will appoint a new leader to an empty seat on the board in coming weeks — the fourth time the town board has gone through this in as many years.
After getting caught up in the politics of Maggie Valley and facing felony forgery charges, Joseph Maniscalco Thursday pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 00:00

The Whopper survives DOT project near Clyde

Haywood County residents won’t be down a Burger King when the state Department of Transportation starts its major reconstruction of the Lowe’s interchange.
Terri Henry has been elected as the first female Tribal Council chair of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, some six years after the U.S. House of Representatives elected its first female speaker.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Library branches collecting food for holidays

All branches of the Haywood County Public Library are currently collecting food to help meet the needs of local residents through Dec. 18.  Citizens can bring their contributions to the front desk and give it to library employees.  The most-needed…
Swain County leaders were relieved this month when the state gave them the go ahead to tap $382,000 in interest from the North Shore Road settlement trust fund.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Applicants sought for Haywood boards

The Board of County Commissioners is seeking applicants to fill three vacancies on the Haywood County Agriculture Advisory Board (Farmland Preservation) and three vacancies on the Tourism Development Authority Board. The three positions on the Agriculture Advisory Board are at-large…
A plan to move the Haywood County Economic Development Commission under the umbrella of the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce is moving forward.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Human interaction can be fatal to elk

A young male elk in Cataloochee Valley was put down by park rangers last week for repeatedly rushing and taunting visitors.  A love of junk food led the elk to lose its leeriness of humans. Despite a barrage of rubber…
Waynesville leaders haven’t decided whether they will back a plan to reconfigure the intersection of North Main and Walnut streets, but at least one resident thinks it would harm businesses.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Education changes, woes discussed at forum

What was billed to be a town hall style education forum for the Macon County School System, filled with parents and teachers, was held at an almost empty Franklin High School auditorium. But, that didn’t stop the passionate message being…
Some Jackson County commissioners expressed trepidation this week over changing the way the county’s seven volunteer fire departments are funded.
Over the next few weeks, Southwestern Community College will host a pair of information sessions for anyone interested in pursuing a career in one of Western North Carolina’s fastest-growing industries. Jobs are available now in the field of table gaming,…
An investigation is underway to determine the cause of a fire that broke out Nov. 21 in the commercial strip in the center of the Western Carolina University campus and caused heavy damage to three popular businesses. No injuries were…
By Colby Dunn • Correspondent On a recent sunny afternoon, Deb Shalosky is standing in the kitchen pantry at the Fines Creek Community Center, a little autumnal sun glinting off the neatly labeled octagonal jar in her outstretched hand. 
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:02

Franklin pub crossroads for people, history

By Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent The legendary Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub, an institution and social mainstay in downtown Franklin, saw a generational changing of the guard this year after 15 years in the hands of its original founder and…
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:01

Dig Sylva, buy local

By Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent A group of merchants in Sylva rallying their fellow shopkeepers and restaurateurs in the downtown area to jump on the buy local movement as a way to strengthen their own economy from the ground up.
Maggie Valley’s interim town manager has only been on the job for a few weeks, but already has been offered the role on a more permanent basis — sort of.
Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent A nearly decade-long dream to build an inpatient hospice house for the terminally ill and their families in Franklin is closer to becoming a reality.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 14:56

The how-to of a jail break

It was a fairly simple inside job in the end, one easily borrowed from the playbook of any Hollywood jailbreak. Anita Vestal was just a novice jailer, with less than six months on the job at the Swain County jail.…
The jury trial of a Swain County jailer accused of springing a murderer from jail more than four years ago will conclude next week with a certain guilty verdict.
By Paul Clark • Correspondent In the old Imperial Hotel in Canton, Sid’s on Main is creating a little history of its own.  Sid Truesdale, who owns the restaurant with his wife Page, is honoring the building’s place in local history…
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 14:48

GroWNC presents to EDC

In an effort to promote growth and a positive impact on Western North Carolina communities, GroWNC came in front of the Haywood County Economic Development Commission to showcase their project and its goals for the region.
The Haywood County Economic Development Commission last week listened to a summary of task force reports on how it and the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce could work under the same roof to promote economic development. 
Waynesville leaders last week voted to loosen the town’s sign rules at the behest of some business owners, but stopped short of allowing giant, blow-up inflatable characters.
The jury deciding the fate of a former Swain County jailer who helped a murderer escape and then ran away with him to California began deliberating Tuesday morning (Dec. 3).
Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent Building consensus among the increasing number of residents and business owners in Cullowhee is critical to shaping the identity of the area. Growth is outpacing steps to establish a long-term plan for building and economic development,…
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:32

Reception for Jackson Librarian Dottie Brunette

Jackson County Librarian Dottie Brunette will retire at the end of the year, and the public is invited to a reception in her honor from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva.…
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:31

On a mission to fight drug abuse, help families

To Jean Parris, the drug bust in Haywood County last month wasn’t just a matter of locking up suspected drug dealers. It was about saving lives.
An undercover investigation in Haywood County targeting alleged drug dealers culminated in a sweeping roundup last month, netting 31 suspects with 114 charges in all.
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:21

Student profiles

Michael Bruce  2nd year assoc. Hometown: Waynesville Major: Web Technologies  App: Class Schedule Organizer As soon as he learned how to build a mobile application, Michael Bruce put his knowledge to work for his fellow-students. He started developing an app…
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:20

Coding for the rest of us

If the very thought of trying your hand at computer programming or writing software code is intimidating, Dr. Jonathan Wade has got an event for you.
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:19

At WCU, an app to keep students out of the rain

By Paul Clark • SMN Correspondent So, here’s the problem. It’s raining and you need to catch the CAT TRAN, one of the purple vans that shuttle students and staff around Western Carolina University.
Imagine you’re a college student in the summer of 2010. One of your professors offers you a job. He has just acquired 30 of the newest android phones. Your assignment? Just fool around with them. See what they can do.…
Ella Wachacha Bird has joined the ranks of a small and revered group last week after the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council named her a “beloved woman.”
Supporters of the stalled merger of Lake Junaluska with the town of Waynesville hope to get it back on the docket of the N.C. General Assembly in the spring.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:48

Jackson still ‘economically distressed’

Jackson County retained its status as one of the economically distressed counties in North Carolina according to just-released rankings, but county manager Chuck Wooten thinks some of the factors in that ranking are improving and others are “distorted.”
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:45

Jackson voids tax bill for Anglican Church

Leaders from Christ Anglican Church in Cashiers convinced Jackson County commissioners to waive their property tax bill for 2013 even though they applied for a tax-exempt application after the Feb. 1 deadline. Father Jim Murphy explained to commissioners that the…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:39

Jailer’s love saga comes full circle

Who knows what Anita Vestal saw in Jeffrey Miles, or why she sprang him from jail and ran away with him, or how she justified leaving her husband and four young children behind, possibly forever.
Faculty and student representatives at Western Carolina University expressed concern last week over recent legislative actions in Raleigh. 
A meeting of the Sylva Town Board took an unexpected turn last week when mayor-elect Christina Matheson announced that she would not be able to accept the office. The board then appointed outgoing Mayor Maurice Moody to continue in office…
Ghost Town in the Sky has been cited for safety violations by the North Carolina Department of Labor stemming from an injury during one of the amusement park’s theatrical gun fights. The gun fights are a signature attraction at the…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:33

Macon goes local in picking new manager

At just 28 years old, Derek Roland might be the youngest county manager Macon County has ever seen, but what he lacks in age he makes up for in passion, enthusiasm, charisma, diplomacy, confidence and smarts — all the attributes…
A new campus Master Plan endorsed Friday (Dec. 6) by the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees is designed to closely link physical facilities of the university, including future construction and renovation, to goals of its recently approved strategic plan.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:32

Fund for Haywood gives $40,000 in grants

The Fund for Haywood County has approved $40,000 in People in Need grants to local nonprofit organizations that provide critical services for economically disadvantaged people. The grants were made in partnership with The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC)…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:30

Abrahams gives sermon at Mandela funeral

Bishop Ivan Abrahams, the South African general secretary of the World Methodist Council who lives at Lake Junaluska, gave the sermon at the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:30

Cherokee elders file suit against bear zoo

Two months after sending a notice informing the Cherokee Bear Zoo of their intent to sue the roadside menagerie for violations of the Endangered Species Act, two enrolled elders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have filed a lawsuit…
The Ambassadors of Jackson County recently elected new officers: Chairman Tommy Dennison, Business Counselor with the Small Business and Technology Development Center at Western Carolina University; Vice Chairman John Hagdorn of Highlander Self Storage; and Secretary Karen Walston, the Bug…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:05

Props for WCU Professor Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper, associate professor and head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University, has been named the 2013 “Professor of the Year” in the state of North Carolina by the Carnegie Foundation for the…
For Carroll Brown, an associate professor in the hospitality and tourism program at Western Carolina University, there’s nothing like taking her classroom to the streets. For the past five years, she and her students have helped decorate the town for…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:00

Swain group makes donation to SCC Foundation

Citing a desire to maximize their donation through a federal challenge grant, representatives of the Community Services of Swain County (CSSC) recently gave $2,500 to Southwestern Community College’s Student Success Campaign. An effort to bridge the gap between scholarship need…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:00

Volunteers sought for free tax preparation

Jackson County volunteers who provide free basic tax forms preparation and counseling for individuals are looking for others to join their team.    Volunteers must be willing to assist taxpayers at least one day a week during tax season. Training will…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:59

Swain County eyes federal courthouse

The last day of federal court in Bryson City will be Dec. 31. 
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:57

No dice for Catawba’s casino bid

By Colby Dunn • Correspondent When it comes to Vegas-style gaming, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort has hedged its bets on being the only game in town … in the region … in the state … in the surrounding five-state area.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:56

Closing of Vance Hardware is an end to an era

On the first day of Vance Hardware’s going-out-of-business sale, someone bought the key machine. “I think that hurt him worse than anything,” Willetta Vance said.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:52

WCU holds commencement for graduates

The fall semester came to a close at Western Carolina University on Dec. 14 as commencement exercises were held in Ramsey Regional Activity Center to recognize the university’s newest graduating class and a group of WCU alumni who were awarded…
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

Barking up the right tree

By Paul Clark • Correspondent Harvesting poplar bark to make bark shingles is never easy, but this summer Danny Heatherly and his crew had a short season shortened even further by all the rain that fell.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

WCU to mark 125th year in 2014

When the clock strikes midnight and Dec. 31 gives way to Jan. 1, the tolling of the bell won’t symbolize the start of just another typical new year at Western Carolina University. Instead, the first day of 2014 will mark…
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

WCU receives Golden LEAF grant

Western Carolina University has received a $500,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation to help expand engineering education across Western North Carolina through a partnership with regional community colleges. The funding will support WCU’s efforts to ensure a seamless transition…
A new formula for business license fees will mean a six-fold increase in collections for the town of Waynesville this fiscal year, bringing in a projected $128,000 compared to $20,000 last year.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

Capturing success in a jar

It’s about preserving tradition — delicious tradition. “We live in a small town, and it’s wonderful when you start meeting local farmers and seeing what they’re trying to do, trying to support themselves by living off the land,” said Jessica…
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

The big screen comes to a small town

By Colby Dunn • Correspondent For residents of Highlands, the list of things to do in town, depending on the season, can be pretty short and “go to the movies” has never been on it. But the town is filmless no…
To Jenifer Bauer, the conditions couldn’t be better for a hike. It’s cold and soggy. There’s no leaves left, nothing green at all on the forest floor save the rhododendrons and mountain laurels. Even the views are dreary and gray,…
Renowned bluegrass/gospel group Balsam Range’s 4th annual “Winter Concert Series” will continue with John Driskell Hopkins at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at the historic Colonial Theatre in Canton. Hopkins is a multi-award winner and founding member of the Zac Brown…
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:00

2013: The year in review

2013 is behind us now, and all the news reported over the last 12 months is headed for the history books or perhaps a less-lofty final resting place. But lest we all forget, here’s our annual tongue-in-cheek awards, a tribute…
By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • SMN Correspondent Think of it as somewhere over the rainbow.  You know the place, only this time not in Oz, in Waynesville, on Frazier Street, behind the parking lot of Sagebrush Steakhouse, in a non-descript building…
By Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent Since she started spreading the word about the new health care law, Cynthia Solesbee has encountered many questions — and opinionated remarks — about a sweeping change affecting tens of thousands of people without insurance…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:01

Sylva librarian closes book on career

Standing on the balcony of the historic Jackson County Courthouse and Library, high above downtown Sylva, Dottie Brunette begins pointing.
Raymond Caldwell was 15 years old when he hitched up a team of horses to a wagon with 30 bushels of corn in tow, leaving the only home he and his ancestors had ever known in the idyllic Cataloochee Valley. …
Haywood County commissioners are going through the motions of selling Haywood Regional Medical Center to a national hospital chain with little in the way of pomp and circumstance.
Under normal circumstances, Mike Murray would be thrilled to pass out raises to the hard-working teachers in Jackson County.
Dark clouds hung above Cullowhee last Friday morning. And as the rain fell on the mountain community, tears slid down the face of Suzanne Stone. “I’m numb,” she said. “I rotate between crying and disbelief. It’s like losing your home.”
Maggie Valley town leaders hope to create a new tone and tenor for town meetings, with “civility” being the operative word.
The mother lode of charity operations was less than 24 hours away, and the daunting punch list should have had Johnny Strickland sweating bullets.
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:45

Putting a price on memories

By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • Correspondent For most of Yvonne Wadham’s 64 years, horses were her life, on a big scale, a 22-acre California ranch kind of scale, where she raised and showed horses, brokered high-priced horses, and taught children how…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:44

Course steady for Jackson Meals on Wheels

Jackson County’s new volunteer policy, enacted in November, is taking a bite out of the Meals on Wheels volunteer force. 
Some hunters in Western North Carolina are speaking out against the tactics used by undercover wildlife officers in a multi-year bear poaching investigation. 
By Colby Dunn • Correspondent  Since Harrah’s Cherokee Casino opened and started bringing an influx of steady cash to the Eastern Band of Cherokee, it’s been a boost to both the tribe and its more than 13,000 members. Annually, individual members…
Amid the epidemic of prescription pill abuse, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is buying a niche device more common to pharmacies than police stations — a pill counting machine.
The attractive, even swanky new liquor store in Waynesville got off to a sluggish start the first two months after popping the cork on its new location, but it had posted slight gains by the month of December. 
Southwestern Community College leaders unveiled a master plan last month outlining a major expansion of its campus in Macon County.  The campus would double in size from 20 to 40 acres. The master plan has several phases, but the first…