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Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Welsh TV crew visits Cherokee

Iolo Williams is one of the Wales’ most recognized TV personalities. “Wildlife” Williams, as he is known by some fans, or “Birdman” as he is known by others, revolutionized BBC nature shows by bringing heady ecology together with rugged good…
Faced with a tall and growing stack of bills in the solid waste department, Haywood County commissioners are seriously considering offloading part of county trash and recycling operations to private companies. Whether it’s the $4.5 million spent to expand the…
In 1970, Cecil Groves was the 30-year-old provost of Delgado College. The city of New Orleans was on fire, rent apart by the legacy of former President Lyndon Johnson’s policy of desegregation, and Groves was trying to guide his little…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Ghost Town saga reaches deeper into WNC

Western North Carolina is a patchwork of small communities, close-knit groups operating independently to make their own town or area thrive. Whether it’s in the Nantahala Gorge, up the plateau in Cashiers or in downtown Canton, there are real people…
More than three months have come and gone since a major mudslide crashed through Maggie Valley’s Rich Cove community, and slide victims are still wondering when a cleanup will finally begin. Their properties are not much better off since the…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Tribe plans to expand gambling reach

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians plans to build a Class II gaming facility in Cherokee County, but the project will not move forward without a fight. Earlier this year, the Tribal Council approved the concept of a satellite gaming…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

HCC building feud persists unresolved

Haywood Community College leaders have chipped away more than $430,000 worth of features from its proposed creative arts building, but the project’s $10.3 million price tag continues to leave county commissioners cringing. The Haywood County commissioners gave the college the…
An election night glitch in McDowell County led to some votes being counted two or even three times instead of just once, skewing the results in the Republican primary for a state Senate seat spanning six mountain counties, including Haywood.…
While the summer bounty of tomatoes, corn and green beans are still a couple of months away, there is still plenty of local grown food items to be found as local farmers markets gear up for the season. Markets are…
Candidate Mitchell Jenkins decided last week to revive arguably the most heated race in Swain County for one more round. After coming in second in the Democratic primary for sheriff, Jenkins has called for a runoff against top vote-getter John…
A visitor in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park got nipped on the foot by a bear after getting too close last week. The visitor was on a high-traffic foot path at the entrance to the park right outside Gatlinburg,…
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is talking about moving to DNA testing as a way of verifying the blood requirement to be enrolled as a tribal member. The tribe’s latest quandaries over its enrollment audit have led Principal Chief…
Haywood County commissioners are fighting opposition on all fronts after a county task force recently recommended major changes to trash and recycling operations. The central debate is revolving around a proposal that would privatize a portion of the county’s trash…
A new road that would traverse the campus of Southwestern Community College and provide a new link between two of Jackson County’s major roads is in the final planning stages. The proposed two-lane road is designed to alleviate congestion and…
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 17:37

EPA ozone standards

Limit prior to 2008: .08 parts per million New limit set in 2008: .075 parts per million New limit pending in 2010: Between .06 and .07 parts per million How WNC stacks up Ozone levels have improved gradually in WNC…
Counties usually have no choice but to accept unfunded mandates from the state, but this time, Haywood County commissioners are pushing back. For the second time in recent years, legislation has been introduced in the state that would pass on…
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:19

The EBCI enrollment audit at a glance

What is the enrollment audit? A review of the nearly 14,000 people on the tribe’s roll to determine whether they qualify as being Cherokee. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians requires members to be one-quarter Cherokee by blood and to…
As one development after another began to bite the dust two years ago, lenders who had bankrolled the mountain building spree in its heyday fretted nervously. The demand for high-priced lots had evaporated into thin air. Banks reluctantly foreclosed, resigned…
Ten-year-old Waynesville resident Zeb Powell has exclusive, 24-7 access to a skate park in town — it’s in his driveway. Powell got hold of a half-pipe, rails and multiple ramps when the indoor BP Skate Park closed down last fall.…
Jackson County Manager Ken Westmoreland said he would deliver a balanced budget with no cuts to services or staff and that is exactly what he did on Monday night. While neighboring counties are taking drastic measures to offset budget shortfalls…
$6,342,044. That’s approximately how much money needs to be raised before Haywood County residents can expect to see a recreation park built in Jonathan Creek. With the recession retaining its stranglehold on the nation, county commissioners aren’t contributing a single…
Sylva Commissioner Sarah Graham will step down from the town board at the end of June because her family has decided to move outside town limits. Graham said she and husband, Bill, had been looking at homes that offered more…
The Friends of the Jackson County Main Library have completed their remarkable effort to raise $1.6 million to outfit the interior of the new library under construction on courthouse hill in Sylva. The Friends announced this week that a $200,000…
A downtown Waynesville project that would put a live entertainment venue, a microbrewery and a pizza restaurant together in the old Strand Theater on Main Street has been awarded a $300,000 grant. Gov. Beverly Perdue will visit Waynesville this Friday…
How do you kick out a member of a Native American tribe? The Eastern Band of Cherokee is about to find out, and there’s no way it’s going down without some bitterness and fighting. The EBCI is almost finished with…
Once repair work is complete, a precarious Maggie Valley mountainside destabilized by a major mudslide will be returned to its natural state. The hard part will be getting to that point. Last Wednesday, anxious residents downslope of the slide along…
A parking study of downtown Sylva conducted by a Western Carolina University graduate student has gotten local merchants talking and left the town board facing a puzzle. For years downtown merchants have complained that the lack of available parking for…
In the eyes of Canton’s town leaders, the status quo in recreation funding just isn’t cutting it. For years, the town of Canton has had to maintain an aging public pool and has struggled to obtain stadium lighting to allow…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 20:24

HCC Low-Impact Development fast track

A Low Impact Development FastTrack Certification will be held at Haywood Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 15 through Friday, Sept. 17. The course will give an overview of low-impact development from a holistic perspective and covers design, planning, implementation and…
A workshop on bringing local farm produce into the schools will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at Shelton Family Farms in Jackson County. Participants will learn how to integrate school gardens, farm field trips,…
A two hour workshop in Intercultural Communication will be taught by John Stiles, a Jackson County native who is the U.S. Director of International Relations and Development for Hannam University in Daejong, South Korea. The workshops will be held from…
A debate about how adolescents — and even pre-adolescents — dress these days is a topic that covers a lot of ground, ranging from self-expression to familial relationships. One thing, though, still holds true — public schools should use whatever…
Robert A. Levy, a nationally known expert in the field of constitutional studies, will deliver a talk titled “How the Supreme Court has amended the Constitution” at Western Carolina University. The free presentation will take place 3:35 p.m. Tuesday, Sept.…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 19:13

Indian health and healing lecture at WCU

Eduardo Duran, a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with the legacy of historical trauma and Native American healing, will visit Western Carolina University to deliver the Biannual Public Lecture on Indian Health The lecture, “Healing the Soul Wound,” will…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 19:10

Intriguing religion classes offered at SCC

Everything from the authors of the Bible to religious extremism will be covered in two upcoming courses at Southwestern Community College. “Who Wrote the Bible,” held 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 7 to Oct. 26 at the Jackson…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 19:09

Help with weight loss is here

Are you battling the bulge or want to lose a few extra pounds before the holidays arrive? Take advantage of an eight-week weight management program in Waynesville or learn how to cook healthy meals in Sylva. • The Cook Smart,…
A state proposal to widen and pave a gravel road that runs alongside the Little Tennessee River and near the protected 4,400-acre Needmore Tract is being greeted with caution by conservationists. “It is a very important stretch of river,” said…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 18:58

North Shore memorial in Swain needs input

Public input is being sought for a memorial dedicated to the North Shore families in Swain County who had their land taken in the 1940s during the creation of Lake Fontana. A design meeting will take place from 9 a.m.…
A long-range plan to create a museum highlighting the role and contribution of Appalachian women might be in limbo. The Dillsboro town board last month informed representatives of the Appalachian Women’s Museum — which wants to renovate and turn the…
The blue-plate special fundraiser is a tradition in Sylva. On the last Wednesday of each month, Jackson County residents sit down to lunches served on battered wooden tables at the soup kitchen and eat food donated by local restaurants. The…
Court testimony could start this week in the case of a Florida man who gunned down state Trooper Shawn Blanton more than two years ago in what should have been a routine traffic stop. Blanton was killed June 17, 2008,…
Charlotte Littlejohn has spent much of her morning in a bustling kitchen preparing traditional frybread. Next to her, Donavon Crowe is stirring an enormous pot of chili. Crowe says he’s probably made six gallons of it already. Littlejohn and Crowe…
Four donated modular units should help ease a space crunch at the Public Safety Training Center in Macon County, but the fix could be short-lived. The training center, run by Southwestern Community College, might soon become one of a handful…
Waynesville’s town board is drawing the line at 14 Main Street closings annually. As a result, the town has rejected a request to shut down part of Main Street to traffic for a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony. The group organizing…
After violating their own policy, Swain County commissioners convened a special meeting Wednesday (June 23) for a do-over on a vote that gave Health Director Linda White a $15,000 raise. In the process, the board’s previous 3-2 vote to grant…
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 15:21

Memorial garden marks a lasting love

With the single-mindedness of Ahab and the devotion of a wounded heart, Phil Schmidt is building a monument for his wife. “If I didn’t have this to do, I don’t know what I would do,” Schmidt said. The Martha Jean…
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 15:20

Who’s visiting the Smokies?

While conducting a research study a few years ago, tourism official David Huskins came across an Atlanta resident who thought the Blue Ridge Parkway meandered its way through Kentucky. Another focus group participant said all he knew about the Smokies…
At 9 years old, Italian Joseph Di Lillo lost his leg as a civilian casualty in World War II. He felt he no longer fit in at home or school. After months of self loathing, Di Lillo ran away and…
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 15:12

WNC tourism trends

Motorcyclists Maggie Valley business owners have seen an uptick in motorcycle enthusiasts with the opening of the Wheels through Time Museum. Brenda O’Keefe, owner of Joey’s Pancake House, says many more motorcyclists are rushing to the Smokies to ride the…
While Sylva’s downtown organization struggles for stable financial footing, similar programs in Waynesville and Franklin are seeing the results that strong support can yield. In May, Gov. Bev Perdue announced the awards of the first round of state funding for…
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 15:09

DSA’s future tenuous without more money

Recently, the town of Sylva passed a $1.6 million budget on a 3 to 2 vote. The most contentious line item in the finance package was a $12,000 allocation to the Downtown Sylva Association. Since the DSA was formed in…
The Sylva town board is in for another shakeup. The board will vote at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, to appoint a replacement for Sarah Graham, who had to step down from her position because she and her family…
The make-up of Sylva’s town board shifted this week when board members voted 3-1 to replace outgoing board member Sarah Graham with Harold Hensley. The vote changes the town’s disposition from one with a progressive voting majority to one likely…
Swain County residents overwhelmingly chose John Ensley in Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff for sheriff — those who voted anyway. Ensley, the owner of Yellow Rose Realty, easily prevailed over opponent Mitchell Jenkins with 478 votes. With more than 60 percent…
At a special session of the Swain County board last week, Commissioner David Monteith stood up and stunned the crowd with a controversial proposal for spending the North Shore Road cash settlement money. Monteith called for a one-year suspension of…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:54

Building boom underway in medical field

Every hospital in the MedWest Health System — which covers Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties — will see new construction in the next few years. A one-story urgent care center, also housing minor X-ray and laboratory services, will be built…
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 20:00

Farmers and chefs come to table

The Buy Haywood Project is bringing farmers and chefs from Haywood County and surrounding counties together for the third in a series of meetings aimed at connecting local farmers and chefs. The meeting, which will feature a panel of local…
The Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has passed a new enrollment ordinance that requires DNA testing for new applicants to the tribe’s rolls. The DNA testing will be used to verify the applicant’s parental lineage. The…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:47

Sylva budget passes on split vote

Funding for the Downtown Sylva Association has caused a rift in the Sylva town board for the fifth year running. Town leaders last week approved a $2.3 million budget for the coming fiscal year by a vote of 3 to…
When the Bryson City and Sylva ABC boards hammered out a profit-sharing agreement for liquor orders from Harrah’s Casino, there was widespread speculation the new revenue source would bring in big money. But the reality, so far, has been different.…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:45

Trooper honored with bridge naming

The N.C. Department of Transportation dedicated the bridge at Exit 31 of Interstate 40 in Haywood County in honor of State Trooper Shawn Blanton, last Thursday, the two-year anniversary of his death. “From this day forward, all who cross this…
Swain County residents overwhelmingly chose John Ensley in Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff for sheriff — those who voted anyway. Ensley, the owner of Yellow Rose Realty and a certified North Carolina law enforcement officer, easily prevailed over opponent Mitchell Jenkins…
The Veterans Administration’s community-based outpatient clinic in Franklin will be just two years old in August, but it’s already operating at capacity. The clinic’s three full-time doctors have full dockets, and to them, that’s a sign the V.A.’s new service…
The town of Sylva plans to impose a new parking law to stop shop owners and employees from taking up customer parking on Main Street. While most towns in the region face the same challenge — what to do about…
Long-awaited relief for Swain County’s dire animal control problem has finally arrived. For years, residents had no recourse if a vicious dog or colony of stray cats took up residence on their property. Now, county officials hope to hire their…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:33

Can’t pop the top

As part of the major renovation of the historic Jackson County Courthouse, workers from Brantley Construction were set to remove the building’s signature dome last Friday. But three separate attempts to lift it off by crane failed. The wood inside…
Thousands of poor and low-income children across Western North Carolina rely on schools to get least at one square meal a day, but with classes now out for summer, there’s no easy solution for keeping kids fed. “This question has…
Rich Kucharski, chief legal counsel for Western Carolina University, became the seventh person in university history to receive one of the institution’s highest honors when the WCU board of trustees presented him with the Trustees’ Award. Retiring this summer after…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:18

Quarry plays vital role in economy

Harrison Construction’s rock quarry on Allens Creek in Waynesville mines granite for building roads, driveways and concrete house pads. The raw crushed stone forms the base for roadbeds and is also the main ingredient in asphalt and concrete. Harrison has…
With the Jackson County budget a few short weeks from completion, a split emerged among commissioners concerning raises for county workers. Last week Commissioners Tom Massie, William Shelton and Mark Jones voted to eliminate employee raises in the upcoming budget…
On Tuesday (June 22), Swain County voters will decide which Democrat will face Republican Curtis Cochran in the hotly contested sheriff’s race this fall. Though candidate John Ensley won the primary with an impressive 28 percent of the vote —…
While university leaders are nervously hoping state lawmakers will pass a budget that looks something like the Senate version, many K-12 school officials are openly rooting for the House version. Seeing public schools and colleges compete for the same budget…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:13

New SCC president had former career at WCU

The Southwestern Community College Board of Trustees has settled on a replacement for outgoing President Cecil Groves. Last week, the board approved the selection of Dr. Richard Collings, president of Wayne State College in Nebraska and a former administrator at…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:11

Budget crunch deals blow to WCU

Western Carolina University Chancellor John Bardo fears the budget passed by the General Assembly this year might cast a shadow over the state’s future for years to come. Like many university leaders across North Carolina, Bardo opposes the House version…
Having already committed to a 1.5 cent tax rate increase to pay for building a new school in the north part of the county, Macon County commissioners were forced to cut departmental budgets to the bone this year in the…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:47

Downtown Sylva to get more free parking

Years of complaining by Sylva merchants that there isn’t enough parking downtown has spurred the Sylva town board to lease a private parking lot near the intersection of Mill and Main Streets. The board voted 4 to 1 to lease…
Duke Energy wants an option to buy land at the Swain County Industrial Park with the intention of using it as the alternate site for an electrical substation, which was originally slated for the Ela area. According to Jason Walls,…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:43

WCU grad drowns during tubing trip

A river tubing trip on a sunny day ended in tragedy last week when a recent Western Carolina University grad drowned. Allen Stanley Brisson, 22, of Cullowhee was tubing with friends on the Tuckasegee River on June 3. According to…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:41

Apartment complex fills unmet need in WNC

The demand for stress-free, turnkey living was largely an untapped market in the region until the recent debut of VantagePointe Homes, a newly completed apartment community located in Waynesville. The 160-unit apartment development on 13.5 acres isn’t the first community…
Kaleigh Davis, 12, comes to the Haywood County Public Library with her aunt Marlene Arrington almost every Thursday night. Arrington said the family can’t afford a computer at home so when Davis had to do a project that was a…
When the hour finally arrived for Haywood County commissioners to vote on a budget for the upcoming year, Haywood County Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick expressed his wish for a unanimous vote. That’s exactly what he got. But that 5-0 victory for…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:35

Towns demand parity in Haywood trash plan

There was one thing Haywood County commissioners, town officials, private haulers and county employees could all agree upon at last week’s public hearing on the budget: Someone, somewhere has to pay for the skyrocketing costs of trash operations in the…
Despite its peaceful atmosphere and long history as a spiritual center for Methodists, Lake Junaluska may lose the annual United Methodist Church conference it has hosted for more than half a century. Space limitations at the Lake have prompted the…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:30

Civil suit targeting Jackson sheriff fails

“The only reasonable verdict here is for Sheriff Ashe,” Patrick Flanagan told the jury. “He did not commit any wrongdoing here.” The eight-person jury in the Bryson City federal courtroom agreed, taking slightly less than an hour to clear Jackson…
Hidden behind 16 feet of Main Street storefront, the inside of The Strand Theater looks like a cave. The floor slopes down to a black stage surrounded by tall, black walls. Old theater chairs are stacked on the wall closest…
Gov. Beverly Perdue visited Main Street Friday to announce that Waynesville received a $300,000 grant from the state’s Main Street Solutions fund to help with The Strand Theater renovations. “We decided Waynesville would be one of the best places in…
On May 25 the Friends of the Jackson County Main Library marked the completion of their astonishing two-year fundraising drive, reaching their goal of $1.6 million to outfit the interior of the new library on Courthouse Hill in Sylva. Jane…
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 20:08

Waynesville bookstore changes ownership

Waynesville residents may soon notice the sign on Main Street’s Blue Ridge Books & Café switched out for a new one that says just Blue Ridge Books. The name change will be the most conspicuous sign of the switch in…
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 20:01

Cherokee passport checkpoint a fun reminder

Martie Hoofer was driving her motorcycle into Cherokee from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when an Anikituhwa warrior dressed for battle stopped her and asked for her passport. “I was shocked,” Hoofer said. “I believed him. My passport is…
In March Swain County commissioners voted to enact a moratorium that put a halt to Duke Energy’s substation project on a hill overlooking the Cherokee mound site, Kituwah. The moratorium was passed amidst a heated dialogue between the county, the…
“Putting Mr. Finn out of business is not a duty of the Jackson County sheriff. Is that a fair statement?” asked Frank Contrivo Jr., the lawyer representing David Finn. “That statement or thought has never crossed my mind,” said Jackson…
On one side are local farmers, toiling from dawn to dusk, trying to compete in an increasingly globalized economy. On the other are local restaurant owners, caught up with the myriad responsibilities of running a successful small business. Hovering in…
It doesn’t get much fresher than this. Horticulture students at Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva are helping to feed their peers by supplying the school cafeteria with lettuce. Students are growing lettuce hydroponically in a greenhouse, where plant roots…
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 16:37

From garden to table in Sylva

In Sylva, the buy local mantra is being reinterpreted as grow your own. Volunteers at the Community Table, a nonprofit that provides free, nutritious meals to anyone who needs them, helped to create the Sylva Community Garden six years ago…
Thousands of animals end up in the shelters of Western North Carolina each year, and a small group of volunteers, mostly retired, tries to save them. The absence of strict enforcement of spay/neuter laws is the root of the problem.…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

Rickman Store celebrates 85 years

A community-wide open house celebration featuring a full day of entertainment and cultural events will mark the 85th anniversary of the historic Rickman Store from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 6. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. with…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 20:14

Decoration Day authors offer presentation

Alan Jabbour and Karen Singer Jabbour, authors of Decoration Day in the Mountains: Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians, will appear at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City. Decoration Day…
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 20:07

What is Buy Haywood?

Supported by the Golden LEAF Foundation since 2007, Buy Haywood has enjoyed success promoting the county’s farms. Its first project targeted grocery store chains and successfully enlisted Whole Foods, Ingles, Food Lion, Bi-Lo, Lowes Food and others into carrying tomatoes,…
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 20:05

Haywood County 911 director calls for help

Haywood County’s technology director Kristy Wood wasn’t exactly latching onto the hope that commissioners would grant her $2.8 million budget request for the county’s 911 Communications department this year. The proposed budget shows an allocation of about $495,000 instead, a…