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Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:51

Haven convinces board that motel is home

In front of a crowded courtroom Tuesday, the Macon County Board of Elections voted unanimously to dismiss a challenge protesting Commissioner Ron Haven’s legitimacy as a candidate.
Dueling challenges over the legitimacy of two Macon County commissioner candidates could have had far-reaching implications for the county’s political landscape and, ultimately, the tone and tenure of the county for years to come. SEE ALSO: Haven convinces board that motel…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:45

Downtown Sylva bakery opens in April

A new bakery and bistro is coming to downtown Sylva. The Perk & Pastry Bistro will offer a wide array of pastries and baked goods, espresso drinks, breakfast, lunch and house-made gourmet grab-and-go items. The new business plans to open…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:45

Community asked for input in prison makeover

The trio of Christian ministries and advocates for the disadvantaged looking to transform the old state prison in Hazelwood into a place of renewal will look to the community to guide its next steps.  “We hope to look at the…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:43

Canton school to be reborn

William McDowell remembers when segregation was a reality in Canton. “When I was a kid we weren’t allowed to sit anywhere but the balcony at the Colonial Theatre in downtown,” he said. “You couldn’t eat in certain restaurants and there…
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

MedWest hosts community meetings

MedWest Haywood will hold another series of community meetings in April and May. Feedback collected from the community during an initial round of public meetings last spring will be shared during the upcoming events. Last year, Medwest Haywood Health System…
A proposal to loosen steep slope development rules in Jackson County is headed back to the drawing board. A large and vocal crowd opposing the rollback of mountainside protections in Jackson County packed a public hearing earlier this month. Given…
Franklin could soon get its first taste of microbrew beer. An offer to lease the old town hall building and turn it into a brewery is currently on the table.
Jackson County sheriff candidate Curtis Lambert no longer has a job with the Sylva Police Department, but he says his firing last week isn’t throwing cold water on his campaign. 
Three months after lies on a search warrant and a fabricated drug dog alert prompted a federal judge to throw out a Cherokee drug trafficking case, it appears that the officers involved are still at their jobs, with no change…
When drivers veer off the road, they’re often alerted to the error by a vicious vibration caused by an ingrained groove laid into the asphalt. That groove is known as a rumble strip.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Film crew granted access to Judaculla Rock

A film crew with the show “American Unearthed” will arrive in Jackson County this week to film an episode on Judaculla Rock, despite fears that a mockery will be made of the prehistoric rock art.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Sylva board talks downtown traffic fixes

Over the past half-century, traffic patterns in downtown Sylva have prompted a repeated cycle of complaint, remedy and return to the status quo. Now, the town is at the crest of another wave of request for change. The Sylva Board…
The Canton town board remains undecided about who will take over as town manager. The board was expected to choose between three finalists at its March 13 meeting, but two members pushed for a delay until at least the next…
After oscillating on the issue last year, Maggie Valley town leaders have now endorsed a room tax hike in Haywood County that would raise more money for tourism projects, but its chances of passing muster with the N.C. General Assembly…
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 13:39

Macon ballfield complex to break ground soon

Macon County commissioners unanimously approved the first round of bids to begin construction of a $3.8 million sports complex in Franklin. The county will pay CTech, a Franklin-based engineering company, $49,750 for site plans, geotechnical engineering and construction oversight. Commissioners…
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 13:39

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference

The Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, taking place March 27-30, will feature six leadership speakers from across the globe. The speakers will talk about the role faith communities have in combating disease, violence and poverty — often the causes of poor…
The advent of three large student apartment complexes around Western Carolina University in the past few years has prompted concern in Cullowhee over increased traffic.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 13:37

Gambling halls raided

Two video gambling halls were raided in Haywood County last week following an undercover investigation by law enforcement agencies.
Stagnating pay for North Carolina teachers is prompting some local school leaders to dig a little deeper for salary bonuses at the county level.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 13:32

On with the show

Though the process has been long, Steven Lloyd is beginning to see the fruits of his labor. “I sometimes feel like I’ve pushed a big boulder up a hill and it’ll fall backwards,” he said. “But, the momentum is still…
The Macon County Sheriff race will be short and sweet. Incumbent Sheriff Robbie Holland, a Republican, only faces one challenger, Bryan Carpenter, also a Republican. Because the two candidates are in the same party, the primary election will decide the…
Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran will have an easy primary season, with no Republicans challenging his bid for a third term in office. But four Democratic challengers are fighting it out during the primary. Here’s a look at those candidates:
With the May election primary drawing nearer and the ring chock-full of hats contending for the Jackson County sheriff seat, candidates are getting down to the nitty-gritty of how they’d handle the job. 
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 13:18

HCC’s low-impact development degree axed

Four years ago, Haywood Community College launched the first low-impact development program in North Carolina, a new degree to train students in sustainable development and design.
New controversial voting laws passed by the N.C. General Assembly last year were supposed to take effect in 2016, but the timeline will ultimately come down to lawsuits challenging their constitutionality.
Walking out of the Jackson County Board of Elections offices in Sylva, Lane Perry seemed pleased. A year’s worth of work was about to pay off.  SEE ALSO: Election laws in the ‘new’ North Carolina “At the end of the day,…
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 13:11

Franklin brewery deal moves along

Franklin is one step closer to getting its first microbrewery, which plans to set up shop in the former town hall building on Main Street. The Franklin town board voted unanimously last week to lease and possibly sell the old…
The division along Franklin’s Main Street is tough to see with the naked eye. Passersby appear oblivious to the battle lines. The lazy rhythm of downtown, its quaint storefronts and ornamental lamp posts serve up a idyllic postcard, quietly concealing…
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 12:43

Canton selects new town manager

Canton Mayor Mike Ray was happy to see it come to an end. Finally, a decision has been made. “We’ve gone through 80 applications and have worked hard to make a decision for our city, our employees and our residents,”…
Plenty of green is popping up in Bryson City, but it’s not all due to the growing season. Green wayfinding signs now scattered throughout town point to landmarks ranging from the Road to Nowhere to the Swain County Courthouse. It’s…
The Waynesville skate park became an instant rock star after its debut last fall, gaining repute as a wildly popular concrete playground for all things on wheels gliding, sliding and flying over the ramps and rails all hours of the…
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 00:00

A new paradigm

For decades, mountain tourism strategists have concocted catchy ways to state the obvious: come visit us because we are in the mountains. It was so predictable. And there were only so many ways you could say it.
Lynn Collins has honed the art of eavesdropping. It began innocently enough, unavoidable even, since nothing but a cubicle separates her from the foot traffic of downtown Waynesville.  SEE ALSO: A new paradigm But her accidental eavesdropping soon became intentional. From…
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 00:00

Stemming the sequester squeeze

The federal sequester came back to haunt Macon County last month when commissioners voted to spend $13,000 to keep the county’s housing assistance program up and running. Commissioners had given Macon Program for Progress $12,000 at the beginning of the…
When Franklin town leaders meet in April, they will be digesting a number of alternative plans for revamping the downtown gazebo, the beloved but dated focal point of the town square on Main Street. The designs and ideas for a…
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 00:00

Many moving parts to hospital sale

The sale of the hospitals in Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties to Duke LifePoint has entered the final stages but is still several weeks, and possibly even a few months away.
Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton is embarking on a $50 million natural gas conversion of its coal-fired boilers to comply with new federal air pollution limits.
After a full day of brainstorming, the Waynesville Board of Aldermen had thrown a lot of meat onto the table. Ideas, concerns and potential opportunities were written down on giant pieces of paper and tacked up on the walls, canvassing…
Western Carolina University is expected to get the go-ahead this month to place development of the Millennial Campus under the control of WCU’s endowment fund.  University officials believe the endowment fund would serve as a better vehicle to foster the…
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 00:00

Occupancy tax supporters hold out hope

A tourism tax increase in Haywood County has virtually no hope of advancing in the N.C. General Assembly this year, but some of its supporters seem reluctant to fold. Town and county leaders have implored state legislators to green light…
An ordinance designed to keep student housing from taking over the village of Forest Hills is creating an obstacle for a drug recovery program looking to start up there. Mia Boyce, director of the Christian nonprofit Kingdom Care, began her…
Fundraising for a $1.3-million shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse is underway in Macon County, with REACH of Macon County hoping to move to a new building by September 2015.  “This has been a dream from the…
Six attorneys vying for a vacant district court judge seat in the region will try to win the endorsement of the legal community this week, which could help their chances of landing the coveted spot on the bench.
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:21

Cullowhee considers development standards

Cullowhee is awash in new developments. Specifically, the community is buzzing with the construction of high-density developments aimed at housing Western Carolina University’s growing student population. 
The folks in Franklin are not yet sure what direction they may go with the revamping of the town’s gazebo on Main Street. Representatives of Venture Local Franklin presented the town board of aldermen with alternative plans for the gazebo…
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:18

Cherokee museum looks to the future

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian has been having some trouble with its exhibit light and sound system lately, but that’s not too much of a surprise. After all, that electrical system has run constantly since its installation in 1998.…
Despite the automated security system that speaks up every time a door is opened and the whiteboard grid tracking points for the shelter’s behavior management program, “institutional” is the last word that comes to mind when you enter Hawthorn Heights…
A coup within the Haywood County Republican Party was set in motion this week by a group of precinct chairs who called for the ousting of the party’s chairwoman.   A takeover of the local party by a faction of…
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:50

HCC leaders talk vision

Haywood Community College is entering phase two of a process it started last spring when trustees decided it was time to clean up the college’s mission statement and come up with some focused goals for the future. 
The path to a new fly fishing museum in Cherokee has been cleared of a final hurdle after the Cherokee Tribal Council last week upheld a contract to lease the old Tee Pee Restaurant building to the Cherokee Chamber of…
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:44

KARE helps children who are victims of abuse

The nice, open room in the KARE house in Waynesville is a welcoming space. There’s books and toys and a wash of bright colors. There’s a rug featuring dolphins, hearts and shooting stars. 
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:42

Big booms outside Clyde upsets neighbors

There have been reports of explosions in the Clyde area. People have written to Haywood County officials out of concern. The issue recently came up during a commissioners meeting.  “Basically, what they’re saying was it shook the earth, it rattled…
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:40

Franklin manager resigns

The search for a new town manager is on in Franklin after Warren Cabe submitted his resignation at the town board’s April meeting. His old job as emergency services director for Macon County came open again, and Cabe applied. He’s…
Clyde’s new police chief has only been on the job a few weeks. But Terry Troutman already had his hands full before he even got sworn in.
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:37

The bar vote is in, the appointment is nigh

The legal community in the seven western counties has thrown its support behind Attorney Tessa Sellers, from Murphy, to fill a district court judge vacancy.
The takeaway from Western Carolina University’s inaugural Tourism Works conference was pretty straightforward.  “I don’t think tourism gets enough credit for what it does for county economies, and I think it’s about time it did,” summed up Steve Morse. “In…
It’s been three months since Macon County officials unearthed $50,000 worth of embezzlement, but a return to normalcy is just beginning to crack the horizon at the Macon County Board of Elections. Hours after sending a petition requesting that the…
The Swain County commissioners race has attracted a deep bench of Democratic candidates — nine contenders vying for the four commissioner seats and two more for commissioner chairman.
There’s only one primary in the Macon County commissioners’ races, but it’s a good one to watch. It might well be a political bellwether.  “You have varying opinions on what’s best for the county,” said Macon County Commissioner Jim Tate,…
Three Haywood County commissioners running for re-election this year are standing on their track record of balanced leadership from the center of the political spectrum. The three sitting commissioners on the ballot are Democrats, but they describe themselves as moderate.
Property taxes have emerged as a top issue in the Democratic primary for Haywood County commissioner candidates. The three sitting commissioners running for re-election say the property tax platform of their challengers is a predictable one. Pledging to lower taxes…
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:18

County commissioner races heat up

As the primary approaches, local candidates are making their case. Around the region, county commissioner seats are opening up and incumbents and challengers alike are looking for votes.  • Navigating the political stripes of the Haywood commissioners’ race• Are Haywood commissioners big spenders,…
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:45

ABC merger agreed to by town and county

Jackson County and the town of Sylva agreed this month to merge the entities’ separate Alcoholic Beverage Control boards. The deal means that Jackson and Sylva will share in the overall profits generated throughout the county, including those generated at…
Nine months ago, a federal sex abuse case against Harland Squirrel, of Cherokee, ended in dismissal after the jury failed to reach a verdict. But the case hasn’t gone away. In May, Squirrel will face the charges again in tribal…
The bridge carrying eastbound Main Street traffic across the Little Tennessee River in Franklin will be close to 90 years old by the time its newly planned replacement is up and running at the end of 2017. The N.C. Department…
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:41

Jackson justice center squeezed for space

The verdict is in, and Jackson County Justice Center is a little too small. To be exact, it’s 35,807 square feet too small.  At least according to the results of a needs assessment by Heery International, the same company that…
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:36

The same, the change and ‘the machine’

Swain County’s clerk of court race is an early-season affair. With no challengers looming on November’s general election horizon, the contest will be decided in next month’s primary.  The Swain clerk’s contest is also a race that offers voters a…
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:36

Wearing it on their sleeves

When cyclists roll through Jackson County during the Tour de Cashiers May 3, some of them will be sporting new jerseys.  “This is the official bike jersey,” said Stephanie Edwards, executive director of the Cashiers Chamber of Commerce, Edwards showed…
The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority may be ready to start thinking about hiring an executive director. Board members of the still-new tourism organization are currently forming an exploratory committee to ponder the possibilities.
By Jake Flannick • Correspondent If wardrobes are a form of self-expression, then Gloria Stockton has a whimsical flair. She would say the opposite, of course. But the bright pink, polka dot smock, colorful high-top shoes and green-dyed hair in which…
A leadership upheaval within the Haywood County GOP is far from settled, but some members are calling for a reconciliation of opposing camps within the party. The internal power struggle in the local party should take a backseat to the…
The breakfast crowd in Bryson City’s Bojangles’ seems to know Dockie Brendle.  “Hello, Doc,” says a man at a nearby table. “How are you?”
Mountains and rivers shape the landscape of Western North Carolina, but when it comes to recreation programming, counties and municipalities tend to focus on facilities and league sports. Both the town of Waynesville and Jackson County, however, are working to…
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

Cullowhee’s vision

A public input session regarding the future growth in Cullowhee is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 6 at the Cullowhee Valley School Library.  The session will focus on the Cullowhee Vision Plan, which has been prepared based upon comments provided…
A controversial proposal to roll back Jackson County’s steep slope rules has become politically charged in the countdown to county commissioner elections this fall — prompting the sitting commissioners to delay their discussion of it until after November.
Folkmoot USA International Dance Festival once again saw its grant funding cut by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. The  event that brings in international folk dance and music troupes from eight to 10 countries for a 10-day extravaganza has…
It’s an unenviable task, but one Haywood County tourism leaders face every year: weighing dozens of festivals and niche marketing campaigns vying for a share of tourism promotion dollars. Deciding which festivals hold the most promise for luring coveted tourists…
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

Bridge Park is public place finalist

Whatever qualities make for an ideal public space, Sylva’s Bridge Park seems to have them. At least Sarah Graham thinks so.  “That’s exactly what everybody had in mind,” Graham said. 
The cemetery is up a dirt road, past an old barn and its bygone basketball  hoop. A tread-worn path leads up the hill, where Confederate reenactors have arrived in pickup trucks. 
By Jake Flannick • Correspondent He had gained enough wealth as a young marketing executive to fulfill almost any of his aspirations. But the very trappings of success are perhaps what led Justin Phillips, 33, to turn elsewhere for clarity.
It’s been three decades since the shooting range now operated by Southwestern Community College first opened, and the college is hoping for some money to address issues that have been mounting since then.
Not everyone was happy about the free shoes. Betty Cloer Wallace was more concerned about the “holy war.”
Give a museum director an open opportunity to tout his facility’s newest this, unique that and state-of-the-art these, and no one could blame him for taking it.    But talking with Bo Taylor wasn’t like that. Just named director in…
A life-sized bronze sculpture of three children catching tadpoles will soon have a new pad in the Frog Level district of downtown Waynesville.
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

Students get hands-on with science

Rocky Peebler’s wearing waders and a white T-shirt as he kneels on the shore of the Oconaluftee River. His boots are dripping from a recent foray into the river, and he’s picking through the critters wriggling across the surface of…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:00

Graduation, and beyond

Alumni Tower is enjoying a late-semester afternoon on the Western Carolina University campus. Its clock keeps watch over students as they hustle between exams or toss a Frisbee on the grass. A short walk from the tower, a fountain has…
Western Carolina University will hold a trio of commencement ceremonies over a two-day period – Friday and Saturday, May 9-10 – to recognize the academic achievements of what is expected to be a record-breaking spring class.
Three grants totaling $12,110 were recently awarded by The Fund for Haywood County.   The grants include: • $5,000 to Folkmoot USA to support the renovation of the kitchen and cafeteria space in the Folkmoot Friendship Center to create a…
As part of the Dillsboro Business Plan Competition, roughly a half dozen aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners transformed their ideas into business plans over the past four months while regularly attending free weekly seminars through Southwestern Community College’s…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:55

Quid pro quo, or just due?

Cashiers area property owners have long complained that they pay more than their fair share when it comes to property taxes — ponying up 60 percent of the county’s total property taxes.
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:53

The lowdown on the high end

The vibe in the Cashiers library was thick with polite tension as Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten recently stood before a roomful of curious skeptics. The undertone was summed up by an audience member about halfway through the meeting.
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:50

Enclosed pool coming to Highlands

A $1.1 million donation from residents Art and Angela Williams of the Old Edwards Inn will net the town of Highlands a retractable roof for its new swimming pool, a new floor and bleachers for the civic center gym and…
Swain County Superintendent Sam Pattillo is taking a new approach this year. He’s requesting that county commissioners participate in the school district’s budgetary process.  “I feel like we need to be more together in our planning process,” Pattillo told commissioners…
Justin Phillips narrowly avoided a stand-off with Maggie Valley town hall last week, but rest assured, he was ready to go the distance if need be. Phillips launched a new farmers market last week in a large grassy field beside…
Jackson County employees could be seeing a little extra in their paychecks next year if commissioners approve County Manager Chuck Wooten’s recommendation for the upcoming budget. Wooten’s budget proposal will include a 1.5 percent cost of living increase and 20…
More than three months after the State Bureau of Investigation started looking into $50,000 worth of embezzlement from the Macon County Board of Elections, a return to normalcy is in sight for the elections office. Kim Bishop, the county elections…
If there’s a word that precedes Ira Dove, it’s smart — really smart, very smart, even super smart. “He’s always the smartest person in the room,” said Haywood County Commissioner Mark Swanger. “He is intelligent, he is very organized, he…
It’s been over a year since North Carolina began the rollout of a new computer program called NC FAST, for North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology. The system was supposed to make it easier to process applications for social…