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As part of its transformation to an upscale club and resort, the new Maggie Valley Club is in the midst of a $6 million clubhouse renovation and redesign.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer With a quick trip on Main Street in downtown Sylva, it’s easy enough to see the small town as a quaint collection of professional offices, locally owned restaurants, galleries, clothing and specialty shops. Each…
The Haywood County center of the NC Cooperative Extension Service has received a $15,000 grant from the Pigeon River Fund. This project will promote understanding of storm water issues and implement at least 10 residential rain pockets, a storm water…
Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

Appearance commission holds its own

“You can do better.” That was the message last week from Waynesville town leaders to developers of a Super Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Staples complex being considered in the former Dayco site in west Waynesville. The developers are seeking a…
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 00:00

Pathways gives awards to mark signing of ADA

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Pathways for the Future Center for Independent Living and the Jackson County Department on Aging held the 1st Annual Mountain Community Access Awards Presentation Friday, July 21.
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 00:00

Neighbors surprised by Dayco development

Brenda Fowler’s customers usually keep her posted of the latest news and gossip when they stop in at her produce stand on South Main Street in Waynesville. But word of a big-box development sporting Home Depot and Super Wal-Mart coming…
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 00:00

Champion and Blue Ridge Paper timeline

1893 — The town of Pigeon River is reincorporated by the N.C. General Assembly as Canton, N.C.
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 00:00

Franklin OK’s alcohol sales

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The Franklin Board of Elections went to work Tuesday morning (Aug. 1) to certify results of a referendum in which voters passed beer and liquor sales, opening the door for local businesses to begin…
The Swain County Board of Commissioners heard concerns from a county election board member last week over the adequacy of the county’s early voting station.
Labor Day festivities start early this year in Canton. In commemoration of its 100th Labor Day celebration — believed to be one of the oldest, continual celebrations of its kind in the country — the Town of Canton has pulled…
By Patrick Willis • Guest Writer Just more than 100 years ago, Canton welcomed a man from Ohio who would change the town’s history forever. In early 1905, an industrialist named Peter G. Thomson decided to visit Western North Carolina…
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 00:00

150 show up to oppose Tuckasegee quarry

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Opposition to a proposed rock quarry near the intersection of N.C. 107 and N.C. 281 in Jackson County has prompted state officials to take an unusual step by calling for a public hearing on…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The 2006 Folkmoot USA international dance festival marks an important first for new executive director Jamye Cooper. This year will be the first year that she has organized the festival from start to finish,…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer A group of Jackson County residents has banded together in protest of a proposed rock crushing operation and quarry to be located in the Tuckasegee community on N.C. 281. County planning official, however, say…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer In an effort to heal wounded relationships in the downtown Sylva community, local residents and leaders are uniting to develop an underused area of downtown into an attractive, accessible and functional public park.
A proposed big box development featuring a Home Depot and Super Wal-Mart as anchor stores would bring a $45 million investment to the town of Waynesville, according to Haywood County Economic Development Director Mark Clasby.
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 00:00

FERC ruling favors Duke’s proposals

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final decision on Duke Power’s relicensing applications for its Western North Carolina hydropower plants heavily favors the proposals developed by the utility in a multi-year stakeholder process.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Franklin voters cast their ballots Tuesday on a referendum on whether to allow malt beverage and mixed drink sales. The ballot separated the two alcoholic beverages, with voters casting a vote “for” or “against”…
Cedarwood Development is no stranger to big box developments like the one the company is proposing in Waynesville. The company is not new to demands for better looking big box stores either, according to a review of similar projects built…
Developers of a proposed big box complex in Waynesville are seeking several exemptions from the town’s land-use plan. Waynesville has won several state and national awards for its progressive land-use plan, aimed at preserving the unique small town character.
Wednesday, 19 July 2006 00:00

Gala Preview has a new home

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Folkmoot USA’s Gala Preview will celebrate its first year in its new home at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20 at Eaglenest Entertainment in Maggie Valley.
Ted White, a bass player with Whitewater Bluegrass Company, was warming up backstage at a Folkmoot performance last year when a Cyprus fiddler struck upon a melody everyone recognized, spurring a lively, impromptu jam among a hodge-podge of international musicians.
The concern of our group is that Swain County appears to have no control of development to inside and outside interests.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Macon County’s trash is a growing problem, says Chris Stahl, director of the Macon County Solid Waste Department.
Men between the ages of 45 and 65 who visit the 25-county Blue Ridge National Heritage Area are most interested in outdoor recreation. Women, on the other hand, are more interested in craft activities.
Swain County commissioners informally agreed to consider mountainside development regulations at a meeting last Tuesday (July 11) during what amounted to a free-form discussion between commissioners and audience members about growth.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Preliminary master plans and architectural designs for Franklin’s new mixed-use, smart growth style development were presented last Thursday night (July 17). It was the first chance local residents and government officials had to see…
Wednesday, 19 July 2006 00:00

Dayco developers want rules relaxed

Developers of a strip shopping complex at the site of the old Dayco factory in Waynesville are asking for several exemptions to the town’s land-use plan, including the height of signs, building appearance and parking lot design.
Wednesday, 12 July 2006 00:00

Locals plead Duke case to congressmen

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hones its final recommendations for the mitigation Duke Power should provide in exchange for using the region’s waterways to produce hydroelectric power, local officials are asking for one…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Macon County residents have the opportunity to help design the first New Urbanist traditional neighborhood in Western North Carolina — a neighborhood that will rely on mixed use and smart growth development practices to…
Duke Power discounted accusations last week that a portion of the hydropower operation on the Oconaluftee River extends onto tribal land belonging to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Wednesday, 12 July 2006 00:00

Odd jobs

Today’s economy is amazingly complex. Niches of the most obscure order have been found and filled, giving birth to a spectrum of jobs most people don’t realize existed.
A former Haywood County school employee and Haywood Builder’s Supply have been cleared of wrongdoing in connection with an off-the-books spending account established at the store.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Late last month Macon County consultant Gary Nicholson sent out 351 letters to local accommodations owners to begin building a database of who is supposed to pay the county’s 3 percent tax on overnight…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Fifty years ago, Jackson County’s Greens Creek was used as a dumping ground — milk jugs, tin cans and all kinds of unwanted items, local residents say.
Preliminary results of a zip code market analysis being conducted in Waynesville shows signs of a strong and healthy retail economy.
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 00:00

Subject to tax, where applicable

Every few weeks, Scotty Ellis cruises the newspaper classifieds, scans Web sites and scrounges brochures from kiosks at visitor centers looking for vacation homes to rent in Haywood County.
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 00:00

Baby steps toward green power

Talitha and Louis Mes erected a 100-foot tall wind tower on a ridge above Crabtree last week to generate environmentally-friendly power for their home, marking the first privately installed wind turbine in this part of the mountains.
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 00:00

DSA rallies support to oppose funding cut

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Sylva town board members should expect a heated public comment session at their upcoming meeting on Thursday, July 6, as Downtown Sylva Association members are rallying support to persuade aldermen to overturn their decision…
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is questioning whether Duke Power concealed the boundary of its hydropower operation on the Oconaluftee River to avoid sharing a portion of its profits with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 00:00

Green power: no longer a pipe dream

By Michael Beadle At first it sounds too good to be true. Imagine being able to pipe methane gas from a landfill to heat greenhouses, run a biodiesel refinery, and power blacksmithing forges and art studios for glassblowers and potters.
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 00:00

Macon free dental clinic eyes expansion

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Macon County’s Molar Roller is on the move in a forward direction. The mobile dental clinic, which travels from school to school providing service to low-income children has hired a full-time dentist and is…
Wade Reece, a well-known figure in Maggie Valley civic life and the tourism industry, passed away last week, leaving a void that will be hard to fill, according to the Maggie Valley business community.
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 00:00

On Sacred Ground

By Michael Beadle Nearly two centuries have passed since the last time Cherokees held a council meeting on the sacred ground of Kituwah, the tribe’s revered Mother Town.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The Stop I-3 Coalition — the grassroots organization that aims to prevent construction of a proposed interstate running from Savannah to Knoxville — has received a boost to its efforts as the Southwestern Regional…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 00:00

Delving into dialect

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Gary Carden was in fifth grade when he learned to be ashamed of his accent. His teacher, perhaps meaning well, said simply, “‘Gary, you need to change the way that you talk. Your dialect…
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

Verizon expands DSL service in rural areas

High-speed Internet access has been expanded into several rural areas in the region thanks to a technology investment by Verizon landline company.
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

Sylva slashes funding for downtown group

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Faced with a $20,000 budget cut, the Downtown Sylva Association is re-examining its plans after Sylva aldermen voted 3 to 2 last Thursday (June 15) not to renew the town’s annual contribution to the…
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

How to herd a bill

Sen. John Snow, D- Murphy, had a whopper of a week last week. He had four bills on the table he hope to push through committee, the Senate and the House in a matter of days.
Editor’s note: Smoky Mountain News reporter Becky Johnson spent two days in Raleigh last week covering local representatives at work in the General Assembly. Johnson’s reporting of the activities in Raleigh covers the gamut, from the omnipresent professional lobbyists to…
It was a big week in the legislative building in Raleigh last week. The House of Representatives would vote on its version of the budget, prompting a great deal of last-minute wrangling by those who hadn’t gotten what they wanted.…
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

Franklin hires Main Street coordinator

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer A month into her new job as Franklin’s Main Street Program Coordinator, Nancy Deeks is just starting to get things organized. She helped out with the town’s annual Taste of Scotland Festival, held this…
A study committee charged with examining the role and structure of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority will be formed in July and asked to report its findings to the Haywood County Board of Commissioners.
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

Bethel survey

The Bethel survey polled a random sample of 273 residents in Bethel via telephone. The Bethel Rural Community Organization sanctioned the study to identify community sentiment toward development, farmland and what makes their community special. Here are some of the…
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

Macon survey

The survey in Macon County set out to quantify the value the public places on the landscape. Surveys sought to measure the public’s willingness to contribute toward conservation, and if so, how much.
Joetta Rinehart, a member of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority board, recently moved to Asheville, throwing into question her legitimacy as a tourism board member.
Wade Reece, a member of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority and a Maggie Valley businessman, was in a motorcycle accident Saturday (June 10). Reece was listed in critical condition at Mission Hospital in the Neurotrauma ICU unit as of…
Land for Tomorrow is a statewide campaign to raise $1 billion in state funds to preserve farmland and forestland, create new state parks and natural areas, restore historic sites, develop local parks and greenways and protect views along scenic highways.
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area has announced its 2006 Heritage Grants Program, which will provide and leverage funding for innovative projects that preserve and promote the heritage of Western North Carolina.
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

Hearing heated, but no surprises

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public hearing regarding the recently released draft environmental assessment of Duke Power’s hydroelectric projects on the Tuckasegee and Oconaluftee rivers held last Thursday (June 8) began quietly enough.
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

Haywood considers wider tourism study

The town of Maggie Valley could be getting more than it bargained for when it called on fellow towns in Haywood County to consider overhauling the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer N.C. Geological Survey staff hopes to finish its survey of Macon County’s landslide prone areas by the end of this month and present its research to county commissioners.
Butch Deals’ day doesn’t fit the image of the simple farming life. Perched in the air-conditioned cab of a John Deere towing a baler across raked winnows of straw, Deals’ cell phone traffic rivaled that of a busy banker or…
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

Bryson City developing first zoning plan

An influx of growth has prompted Bryson City leaders to address land-use planning with hopes of drafting the town’s first development ordinance by January 2007.
Craig Buchner and his father didn’t say much during their weekends in upstate New York checking spigots on sugar maples, chopping wood and boiling sap to make syrup, but the Western Carolina University student found comfort just spending time with…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer June through October is known as festival season in the mountains, and its no wonder why. During the five-month stretch there’s at least one festival every weekend somewhere in the region.
Elected town and county leaders will be dragged into the Haywood County tourism saga this week. They will be asked to weigh in on how much of the $600,000 in tourism tax dollars should be dolled out in the form…
Wednesday, 07 June 2006 00:00

Spill the beans

Confession is good for the soul. As any practicing Catholic will tell you, that old tune still plays true. You may dread going to confession — I don’t know anyone who enjoys spilling out his faults and sins before a…
Wednesday, 07 June 2006 00:00

Tourism board divided over festival funding

The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority is split over a budget for the coming fiscal year that would reduce funding for festivals and local chambers of commerce and instead put the money toward a marketing plan.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of more than $625,000 to Western Carolina University for a project designed to boost the number of students pursuing degrees in engineering and technology fields as part of an effort to address…
Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton could get $12 million in state assistance to offset the cost of converting from coal to natural gas, if a proposal pending in the General Assembly goes through.
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:31

State law eliminates business license fees

Business license fees will disappear in North Carolina following the recent passage of the Omnibus Tax Law Changes. Currently, towns and cities use any of a number of schemes for calculating how much a business must pay for the privilege…
It’s been more than a month since seven of the Pigeon River Fund Board’s nine members learned that a dictum from Raleigh was booting them off midterm, but the restructured board is still raising eyebrows and ire. Typically, the board…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:24

Jackson assesses cell tower regulations

A conversation has begun in Jackson County regarding the revision of the county’s regulations pertaining to cell phone towers.  “We’re just barely into it,” said Ed Weatherby, a member of the Jackson County Planning Board. 
Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, faced a group of 50 Macon County teachers and staff last Tuesday in the library of South Macon Elementary School, and it was not a happy crowd. 
Thom Tillis has a recurring daydream. The Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives and candidate for the U.S. Senate, laid out his fantasy during the GOP’s annual convention held last weekend in Cherokee.    “It goes something…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:13

Sylva mother questions park ban

After her teenage daughter was banned from Poteet Park for a year, a Sylva mother sought an audience with the town’s commissioners.  “Everywhere I try to address my concerns, I’m ignored,” Deborah Woolverton told Sylva commissioners during a recent board…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:13

Haywood GOP faction loses bid to oust chair

An ongoing tug-of-war for control of the Haywood County Republican Party reached a finale last week. A faction of conservative activists failed in their bid to wrest the chairman’s seat away from Pat Carr, who represents the mainstream party establishment.…
Waynesville leaders will face a tough choice in coming weeks: either raise the property tax rate by 3 cents or cut town services and amenities. That’s the message Town Manager Marcy Onieal shared with Waynesville aldermen at a budget workshop…
A tug-of-war over the $600,000 in tourism tax money in Haywood County and how it is used to lure travelers reached a new level last week. At the prodding of Maggie Valley motel owners, the Maggie Valley Town Board is…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

Sylva residents rate quality of life high

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer “Overall, citizens seem fairly satisfied with the quality of life in the town of Sylva.” So reads the first line in the summary of responses collected last month in a citizen satisfaction survey of…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

Momentum builds to challenge TDA

Dissatisfaction among the Haywood County tourism industry with the way tourism tax dollars are spent has long been a constant in the divided tourism community. But critics from Maggie Valley appear to have reached a new momentum in a push…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Macon County schools personnel director Tamra Tisdale has filed a sexual harassment suit against outgoing Macon County School Superintendent Rodney Shotwell. The filing brings to light the probable content of recent closed-door Macon County…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

Critics say FERC not tough enough on Duke

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s draft environmental assessment recommending removal of the Dillsboro Dam has come out, concern has arisen over mitigation measures planned for the Tuckasegee River.
By Michael Beadle Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series on some of the issues faced by new Latino immigrants to this region. Cristina Heath, a native of Mexico and a Spanish teacher at Swain County High…
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

An outpouring of support

When Rose Smith read about the tragic death of an 8-year-old boy left in a car in the parking lot of Mountain Trace Nursing Home in Webster last May, her heart sank.
When Michelle Gibson showed up at her son’s second-grade classroom with balloons, ice cream and a decorated birthday cake signed “Love, Mommy” on a Friday afternoon last May, she told him that a bigger party was yet to come.
Michelle Gibson, a single mother charged with second-degree murder in the death of her 8-year-old son, Devin, was found not guilty Monday (May 22) after a week-long jury trial.
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

Celebrating 10 years as an A+ school

By Michael Beadle Central Elementary School capped its 10-year anniversary as an A+ school Friday, May 19, with students, parents, county leaders, school officials and school alumni joining in the celebration.
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Blue Ridge banking on cool cartons

The war on soft drink vending machines in schools has found an unexpected ally in Haywood County. Blue Ridge Paper Products has joined the ranks of those hoping to ban the drinks blamed for contributing to diabetes, childhood obesity and…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer A Dillsboro business owner’s recent attempt to purchase and develop land near the Great Smoky Mountains Railrod tracks has renewed a longstanding debate over railroad right-of-way issues and property owners’ rights.
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Swain election protest appealed to state

An election protest in Swain County over alleged irregularities in the May 2 primary was dismissed in a 2 to 1 vote by the local election board last week but will be appealed to the state election board for a…
The Haywood County Health Department has asked for state assistance to conduct tests in two subdivisions after soil samples from a vacant lot tested positive for lead, arsenic and other pesticides similar to those detected in Barber Orchard, which was…
Rhett Langston with the Buncombe County Parks and Recreation Department has been selected from a pool of 63 applicants to become the new Waynesville Recreation Director.
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Learning the language

By Michael Beadle When Lori McLeod first started teaching English as a Second Language at Tuscola High School in Haywood County, she had two students. They didn’t constitute enough to make a class, so she would pull them out of…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer This summer residents of Franklin will vote on whether to allow restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages, following a town board decision to hold a referendum on the issue.
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Building a better life

By Michael Beadle Norma Brown knows how hard it is to get legal citizenship in the United States.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Turn to the classified pages in any Western North Carolina newspaper and the employment section bears similar traits. Jobs listed tend to be those in the growing service sector — housekeepers, night shift hotel…
Wednesday, 10 May 2006 00:00

Peeping tom caugh in Ingles’ restroom

Kim Pettit and her husband were on vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains from Minnesota two weeks ago and had popped into the restroom at the Ingle’s grocery store in Bryson City when she heard a noise coming from the…