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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…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:39

REACH aims for new shelter

For nearly a year, REACH of Macon County has been helping domestic abuse victims in Jackson County. The group has handled more than 400 cases in Jackson since last July.  “To be honest with you, we feel like that number…
Haywood County commissioners decided this week to install an irrigation system for the lawn of the historic courthouse to ensure the downtown Waynesville icon lives up to its landmark status.
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:49

Dog survives shot, Canton man charged

A Haywood County terrier is earning points for toughness after surviving a gunshot to the face.  “The dog is alive and expected to recover,” said Heidi Warren, public information officer for the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department. 
It was a pretty normal Wednesday morning was for most students at Tuscola High School last week, but as the school day went on word leaked out that one second-period biology class had involved threats, a call to the Haywood…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:41

WCU athletic professor gets top honor

James Scifers, professor of athletic training at Western Carolina University, received the North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association Educator of the Year Award for 2014. The award is North Carolina’s most prestigious honor for teaching in the athletic training profession, said…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:40

Downtown Waynesville a model of success

Downtown Waynesville was recently recognized as a model of success at the annual NC Main Street Conference this year, titled Main Street: Two Billion Reasons to Celebrate.  Of the more than 100 officially designated Main Street Communities in the state,…
About 200 Swain County students recently got an up-close look at emerging technologies at a manufacturing expo at the Swain Regional Business Education and Training Center. They were able to check out robotics, computer programming, a 3-D printer and other…
A telecommunications outage hit the Waynesville area last Thursday evening, knocking out cell phones, TV, Internet and even landlines for thousands of residents. “One by one, across the county people are realizing on their own that they have no cellular…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:34

Grid failure sparks shooting, car chase

A man shot up the outside of a Verizon Wireless store in Waynesville last week following a town wide outage of both Verizon service and Charter Cable. The dual outages cut off communication with the outside world for thousands of…
Kingdom Care Ministries, a faith-based recovery home for women that had been looking to locate in the village of Forest Hills, is searching for another place to settle. In mid-March, the organization had applied for a conditional use permit for…
With two of four incumbents losing their seats during the primary election, there will soon be some new blood on the Swain County Board of Commissioners. That sounds about right to Ben Bushyhead. “I think if you stay in office…
Jane Hipps was quickly anointed front-runner status in the Democratic primary for N.C. Senate — from the day she entered the race, in fact — but the victory she pulled out was the epitome of a clean sweep.
Karen Wallace knows the importance of a library. “In a rural area, the library is the single greatest man-made resource offered to residents and tourists,” she said.
Public outcry over a proposal to weaken steep slope rules in Jackson County has led to the creation of an online planning portal so the public can follow along, virtually, with what the planning board is up to. The groundswell…
A single primary wasn’t enough to clear out the crowded field of candidates for the sheriff’s seat in Jackson County. Though Deputy Sheriff Chip Hall carried 42 percent of the vote in a field of six Democratic candidates, the three…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:19

Cullowhee plan inches toward finish line

Don Kostelec stood in front of a flip pad in the cafeteria of Cullowhee Valley Elementary School. He asked for it all. Hold nothing back.
A soda bottling operation. An original children’s book. A new music album. A mural downtown. Pallets and pallets of Mason jars, and fresh jam to fill them.  They’re all good things, but they all require money to become reality. And…
When summer school starts up at South Macon Elementary this year, a pair of horses will be standing in a round pen outside, waiting for their first playmates. The equines will be helping Macon TRACS, a nonprofit dedicated to providing…
Hospitals in North Carolina face a catch-22 of the worst kind: the $600 million kind, the kind they have no control over, the kind that involves politics. Hospitals in North Carolina are seeing a financial hit they can ill-afford after…
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are standing by their controversial decision last year to deny Medicaid expansion to 500,000 low-income people who otherwise lacked health coverage. Some Democrats in the General Assembly are pushing to revisit Medicaid expansion, however. The…
Southwestern Community College is gearing up for some soil testing following a meeting with Robin Proctor, environmental chemist with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, on Tuesday. SCC had taken the initiative to call the meeting as…
Vandalism is apparently still a problem in Sylva public parks.It’s a problem that cost the town about ten grand last year to install four security cameras as a deterrent. But it wasn’t enough to do the trick, so town leaders…
Local school leaders and educators are celebrating last week’s court ruling declaring a 2013 law that doles out a small raise for 25 percent of the state’s teachers — no more and no less — unconstitutional. 
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:58

Voucher program still in play

School vouchers are back on the table for the 2014-15 school year following a ruling in the North Carolina Supreme Court last week. In March, N.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood issued a preliminary injunction against the Opportunity Scholarship Program,…
North Carolina legislators have returned to Raleigh for the General Assembly’s short session. In the weeks ahead, lawmakers will wrestle with Medicaid, coal ash and a $445 million budget shortfall.  
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:54

Local NAACP chapters elect officers

Both the Haywood and Jackson county chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have elected officers.  Haywood’s NAACP chapter elected officers in March. Chuck Dickson, a local attorney, was elected as president. The chapter also elected…
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:53

Macon considers $50K for REACH

REACH of Macon County won’t find out for another month or so whether its application for a $909,000 grant toward a new building gets approved, but the shelter for victims of domestic abuse is optimistic about the outcome. Already, REACH…
Jackson County Librarian Tracy Fitzmaurice recently pitched her first proposal for library funding before county commissioners. She asked for a bit of a jump in the their financial commitment. 
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:51

Feature film to shoot in Haywood

Three Haywood County towns will be used as filming sites for an upcoming feature movie. The film — a Catalyst Pictures project called “Chasing Grace” — is a faith-based thriller.
Fire, smoke, and efforts to make more of both fill the event pavilion at Haywood County Fair Grounds on a chilly May morning that feels more like early March. The Dutch oven class gathers around a fire in the right…
The mostly vacant Tuckaseigee Mills factory in Jackson County will soon become a warehouse and shipping site for ConMet, a company that makes dashboards, consoles and custom-molded cab interiors for 18-wheelers.
A $4 million payment to Swain County for the so-called Road to Nowhere cash settlement may soon be freed of the bureaucratic purgatory where it’s been parked for more than two years.
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:43

Cracking the room-tax nut

Critics of tourism-related economic development in Haywood County have joined forces with a conservative think tank from Raleigh to question the underlying premise of county travel and tourism agencies — namely, should they exist? “Is that legitimate? Is that a…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:41

NCCAT searches for salvation in Raleigh

The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching is sweating out the legislative short session. Gov. Pat McCrory didn’t include any funding for the Cullowhee-based center in his proposed budget, and unless legislators carve out a place in the…
Plans are moving forward to convert the old state prison in Hazelwood to a resource center for the hurting, homeless and recently incarcerated. The trio of Christian ministries teaming up to make that happen are already thinking about how they’re…
For George Thompson, the struggle to understand how a supposedly good God could be so unfair began with his birth. He came into the world just a week after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943, a tragedy in which 14,000…
The North Carolina GOP generally holds its annual conventions in places like Raleigh or Greensboro. This year, state Republicans will be traveling to Cherokee for the affair.  The state Republican convention will be held in Cherokee June 6-8. It’s an…
Union employees at Evergreen Packaging’s Canton and Waynesville factories are currently engaged in contract negotiations.
From animal shelters to free clinics to food banks, nonprofit organizations of all stripes make a yearly knock on county commissioners doors, hoping to be included in the upcoming budget. But as the recession marches on, those knocks are becoming…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:32

Flat budget recommended for Macon schools

As this year’s budget talks kicked off, Macon County Schools presented its petition for a $500,000 funding increase to pay for teacher raises and insurance increases, but County Manager Derek Roland’s proposed budget doesn’t include any of those extra dollars.…
Haywood County Schools may have a tough choice to make in coming weeks: add additional teachers or give existing teachers a half-percent raise? The Haywood School Board hoped to do both in the coming year, but likely won’t have enough…
Haywood County Schools will see a slight budget increase from county commissioners next year, although it will fall far short of what school officials asked for. The school system will get an extra $280,000 from the county — about a…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:27

Grant recipients announced in Haywood

The first grants from the Mib and Phil Medford Endowment Fund, established by their family last July, have been announced by The Fund for Haywood County. The Medford endowment supports beautification, streetscape improvements and other public amenities in Waynesville.  …
Thirty campus leaders from Western Carolina University crisscrossed the mountains of Western North Carolina for a weeklong tour May 12-16 to learn more about the region that the university serves and to help strengthen relationships between WCU and its surrounding…
Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and Ghost Town in the Sky still appears much as the name implies. The closed gift shop and ticket windows sit watch over an empty parking lot. 
The Smoky Mountain News recently got a sneak peek of the new Swain County Heritage Museum and Visitor’s Center. Leading the tour was David Monteith, who’s been a driving force and visionary behind the museum since its inception.
The new Swain County Heritage Museum slated to open in downtown Bryson City this weekend not only honors Swain County’s history, but the sizeable visitor center housed inside also pays homage to Swain’s future.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:05

July 4 Fireworks fizzle in north Jackson

The northern portion of Jackson County will go without fireworks again this Fourth of July. Last year’s display in Dillsboro was rescheduled for December due to rain, but it appears future fireworks have been scuttled due to funding.
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 12:34

2014 Primary Election results

The primary election was held Tuesday, May 6, in counties throughout North Carolina. Here are the results from the local races in our coverage area of Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties.
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00

Results of zip code study revealed Sept. 28

Results of a much anticipated zip code study conducted in Waynesville will be shared at a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, at the Waynesville town hall.
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00

Tourism task force rolls up its sleeves

A task force charged with inspecting the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority is attempting to reshape the county’s approach to tourism promotion.
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00

Swain sheriff challenger wants a turn at the helm

When word of a shooting in Whittier roused Swain County Sheriff Bob Ogle from his house last Thursday night, he arrived at a complex crime scene.
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00

Archeologist to visit proposed quarry site

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Tuckasegee residents are hoping that the proximity of an ancient Cherokee village to the site of a proposed rock quarry will help coax state officials not to issue a permit to the quarry’s operators.
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00

Candidates share similar views on immigration

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series on campaign issues in the 11th District Congressional race between Republican Congressman Charles Taylor and Democratic challenger Health Shuler. Voters looking to the topic of…
Wednesday, 13 September 2006 00:00

Duke convinces Dillsboro to ‘retract’ letter

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Dillsboro Mayor Jean Hartbarger has retracted a letter that could have led to a legal squabble with Duke Power. Hartbarger had signed a letter requesting that the N.C. Division of Water Quality hold a…
Wednesday, 13 September 2006 00:00

Taylor vs. Shuler: In the hot seat

By Michael Beadle Editor’s note: From today until the election on Nov. 7, The Smoky Mountain News will run a series of articles on issues we have asked Rep. Charles Taylor and challenger Heath Shuler to address. As U.S. Rep.…
Wednesday, 13 September 2006 00:00

The war in Iraq: local residents speak out

By Michael Beadle When it comes to the war in Iraq, Americans are divided on what should be done, but a majority of Haywood County residents recently interviewed in a random sampling say the U.S. should stay in Iraq until…
Wednesday, 13 September 2006 00:00

Slate of events focuses on Hispanic Heritage

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The third annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration in Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties will kick off with a Mexican Independence Day celebration held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, in the…
Controversy over the handling of flood repairs by Haywood County Schools two years ago have been the subject of media attention over the past two weeks. This week, school board members were asked to weigh in and share their thoughts…
Wednesday, 13 September 2006 00:00

Town quells Allens Creek ‘jake’ brake problem

Residents along Allens Creek in Waynesville are cheering a long-sought ban on the use of “jake” brakes by gravel trucks on their way to and from a rock quarry located in their otherwise residential community. “It is like living in…
When North Carolina Republicans arrive at Harrah’s in Cherokee the first week of June for their annual convention, they will likely leave the din of discontent far behind. The rallies — the restless and the rowdies — and the realities…
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:00

Rep. Presnell sponsors de-annexation bill

It’s only eight lines long, but a de-annexation bill Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, has filed with the General Assembly’s Government Committee is drawing ire from some and cheers from others. The bill would remove a 3.4-acre property owned by Joe…
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:00

Macon County tightens retirement benefits

In its quest to cut the fat ahead of the looming county revaluation, Macon County is turning to its retirement policies. Commissioners recently voted unanimously on a pair of personnel policy changes that will tighten up post-retirement health benefits for…
The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority is still in the early stages of determining whether to hire an executive director. A committee has been formed and legwork is being completed.
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:00

Drexel site master plan in the works

The former Drexel manufacturing plant site in Whittier is a step closer to its future. Jackson County was recently awarded a $10,000 grant, which will be put toward the preparation of a master plan for the site. 
Economy of scale tends to lean toward effectiveness of action, and that’s a fact that three environmental advocacy organizations in Western North Carolina plan to take advantage of over the coming year. By January 2015, the Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance, Western…
On a muddy Friday afternoon they gathered at Kituwah Mound, the Mother Town.   Preparing for the journey. Offering up prayers for the sendoff. 
A rash of medical complications hit inmates in the Haywood County jail over the past year, socking the county with a $100,000 cost overrun. Blame lies in part with a handful of big ticket procedures — a major stroke, heart…
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:00

Craigslist alligator finds a home

A young alligator is on its way to a new life after the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission discovered it being sold illegally through a Craigslist ad in Clyde. After confiscating the reptile, the NCWRC had to find somewhere to put…
Natural gas drilling is one step closer to becoming reality after the North Carolina General Assembly delivered a newly ratified bill to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk on Friday, May 30.
Wednesday, 06 September 2006 00:00

Camp’s name officially attached to WCU building

A Western Carolina University building now bears the name of a beloved community leader in public education as the WCU board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution renaming the University Outreach Center as the Cordelia Camp Building.
Recent soil and water testing in the former Francis Orchard in Haywood County have not revealed levels of contamination high enough to initiate a cleanup operation. However, state and local health officials are encouraging residents of the Tanwoods and Orchard…
Ted Norman, former maintenance director of Haywood County Schools, claims he was the target of whistle-blower retaliation by the school system after repeatedly raising ethical concerns over the school’s handling of state and federal flood repair money.
Wednesday, 06 September 2006 00:00

Kudzu players to build theater

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer On a conference table covered with blueprints perches a small paper model of a building. The paper model represents the future for the Kudzu Players, Jackson County’s community theater group.
Wednesday, 06 September 2006 00:00

Quarry opponents urge state to deny permit

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer About 200 concerned citizens packed into a Jackson County courtroom to show their opposition to a proposed rock quarry to be located in the Tuckasegee community. State mining specialists from the N.C. Department of…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Shoes stained with red clay mud and covered with sweat and bits of hay from a morning spent cleaning out the shed on the back of the Monteith property, Sam Hale leads a one…
Wednesday, 06 September 2006 00:00

Scams targeting elderly a growing problem

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Assistant Attorney General David Kirkman hits the play button on a small stereo and turns up the volume. A recording of two voices fills the room at the Jackson County Department of Social Services…
Wednesday, 06 September 2006 00:00

Study credits park for tourist spending

According to a recently-released National Park Service study, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not only the nation’s most visited national park, it also tops the 388 national park units in visitor spending.
Haywood County schools must pay back more than $300,000 in state flood repair grants after double-billing both the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the same work.
Wednesday, 30 August 2006 00:00

Franklin VA clinic to open in April 2007

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer A new outpatient clinic designed to serve 3,200 area veterans will open in Franklin in spring 2007, Department of Veterans Affairs officials said Thursday, Aug. 24.
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

Quarry opponents speak out at public hearing

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer   About two hundred concerned citizens packed into a Jackson County courtroom Tuesday night to show their opposition to a proposed rock quarry to be located in the Tuckasegee community.
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

SCC students help with Parkway film

When Bentley Robison enrolled in the Surveying Technology program at Southwestern Community College, he never imagined he would become an actor in a film. But this summer he and three of his classmates, his instructor, his boss and another employee…
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

Wal-Mart rolls out unique design

The controversy over a proposed Super Wal-Mart complex in Waynesville took a turn at a town planning board meeting this week when developers presented a design for the store’s façade that by all accounts was the nicest looking Super Wal-Mart…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Town aldermen are moving ahead with plans to vote the Allen’s Branch community into Sylva’s planning jurisdiction.
By Michael Beadle To some, it was a crucial military campaign early in the Revolutionary War, an unprecedented patriot force that crushed a potential British ally and paved the way for American independence and inevitable white settlements in Western North…
When Todd Berrong, a former gun fighter at Ghost Town amusement park, walked through the gate of his old stomping grounds this week, he saw a circle of six men dressed in cowboy hats and boots, gun holsters slung around…
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

Quarry opponents get county support

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The grassroots group United Neighbors of Tuckasegee celebrated another victory in the battle to keep a rock quarry from locating in its community when county commissioners passed a resolution Thursday night (Aug. 17) imploring…
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

From military campaign to political campaign

If politics makes strange bedfellows, then surely Rutherford Trace offers some curious pillow talk in the legislative halls of Raleigh and Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

Grant allows Sylva to conserve Fisher Creek

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The Town of Sylva has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to purchase a conservation easement to protect its 1,088-acre Fisher Creek watershed.
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

Cotton selected as Haywood manager

David B. Cotton of Seven Lakes has been named Haywood County manager
As the new owners of Ghost Town in the Sky pondered whether the dated mountaintop amusement park was a good business venture, one of their first questions was how many visitors they could feasibly expect to attract.
Wednesday, 16 August 2006 00:00

Sylva set to expand planning district

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Sylva Town Board members are expected to move forward with plans to make the Allen’s Branch community part of the town’s extra territorial jurisdiction Thursday, Aug. 17. However, several local residents are pushing for…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer About half way between Sylva and Cashiers on N.C. 107, between Jackson County’s Caney Fork and Glenville communities, is the small but busy Tuckasegee.
Wednesday, 16 August 2006 00:00

Loan obtained for Waynesville fire station

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., has helped Waynesville obtain a loan of $2 million to construct its new fire station.
Wednesday, 16 August 2006 00:00

Ghost Town comes to life

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Once more, for the last time — Ghost Town has sold. The announcement came Tuesday morning as regional economic developers unveiled plans for the Maggie Valley theme park to reopen in May 2007. Hank…
Wednesday, 16 August 2006 00:00

Community appeals to Jackson commissioners

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Members of a grassroots citizens group rallying against a proposal to build a rock quarry in the Tuckasegee community of Jackson County will appear before county commissioners Thursday, Aug. 17, to plead their case…
Wednesday, 16 August 2006 00:00

Blue Ridge shows profit

By Michael Beadle Profits are up for Blue Ridge Paper Products nearly two years after devastating floods washed through the Canton paper mill, causing $7 million in damages and temporarily shutting down production.