Officials in the town of Forest Hills in Jackson County recently explored the possibility of providing trash and recycling collection service to residents. It was a brief exploration. 
After a firestorm of public outcry over the prospect of a firing range being built in an African-American neighborhood in Canton, town board members appear to have the issue on hold. “There has been no movement on the project,” said…
Public concerns over the visual blight of a proposed cell tower in the Cashiers area have prompted Verizon Wireless to alter its design for the tower, namely by disguising it to look like a very tall, very big pine tree.
Western North Carolina Rep. Charles Taylor, R-Brevard, has spoken out against the proposed sale of 300,000 thousand acres of National Forest land. During U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth’s testimony on the Forest Service’s 2007 budget request hearing before the…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer As the revamped Medicare system moves from policy to practice, pharmacies nationwide increasingly are faced with confused customers and bureaucratic red tape. Customers come in with a prescription to be filled and for one…
A metal building recently erected on Main Street in Bryson City has sparked discussion over what can be done to preserve the town’s historic character while still remaining business-friendly.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Arthur Pitts sat in a plastic lawn chair waiting to pick up prescriptions from The Village Pharmacy in Waynesville Monday afternoon (March 13). At 73, he is one of the nation’s many Medicare subscribers.…
The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (LTLT) recently acquired a “working farm conservation easement” protecting 53 acres of rich bottomland and a half-mile of Little Tennessee River frontage on the historic Hall Farm in the Cowee community of northern…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Sylva voters will have another go at passing liquor by the drink in this May’s primary elections. Since 1994, Sylva has held two votes, both rejecting liquor by the drink sales. The margin of…
The Downtown Waynesville Association’s Patsy Rogers was honored as a Main Street Champion in a recent Main Street awards ceremony in Salisbury, and a project recognzing DWA’s 20th anniversary was given an Award of Merit.
By Becky Johnson and Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writers A plan to sell off more than 6,500 acres of the national forests in Western North Carolina has galvanized strong opposition in recent weeks, laying the issue at the feet of…
The fate of a controversial figure on the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority is still up in the air two weeks after the tourism board voted 5 to 3 to have him ousted. The decision whether to remove Wade Reece…
The Golden LEAF Foundation has made a $1,573,109 grant to Haywood Community College to establish an advanced machining center at its Regional High Technology Center in Waynesville.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Macon County and Natural Resources Conservation Services officials have negotiated a settlement to a disputed bill submitted by engineering firm McGill Associates that came in approximately $200,000 higher than expected.
Some members of the Waynesville board of aldermen are questioning whether Mayor Henry Foy acted in bounds when he wrote a letter of support to the Department of Transportation for the Plott Creek Road project. The Waynesville Town Board voted…
By Michael Beadle It’s a special day for 14-month-old Tawodi Clapsaddle. Several adults including his father, Ethan, look on as the curious toddler explores tiny furniture and grabs a hold of toys in his new classroom at the Dora Reed…
Residents opposed to a plan to add a middle-turn lane along sections of Plott Creek Road in Waynesville have garnered new hope that there could be a compromise with the local Department of Transportation over the project.
By Michael Beadle Sequoyah is perhaps one of the most recognizable names in Native American history — and quite rightly so. After all, he was the only person in human history to invent a language on his own without first…
The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority called for the removal of one of its board members, Wade Reece in a 5 to 3 vote last Thursday (Feb. 23). The request to remove Reece from the board will be up to…
By Michael Beadle Art class is not just a place to make art for yourself — sometimes it’s a place to help those who are less fortunate. “We need to help the homeless people,” said Hunter Creson, a fifth grader…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The race for the 11th District’s U.S. House of Representatives seat is officially off and running as the filing period closed Tuesday (Feb. 28), but a recent tour of the district found that a…
The four-legged officers of Haywood County are now bulletproof, thanks to a donation from the Western North Carolina Dog Fanciers Association. Of the seven K9s in the county, two had been missing the Kevlar protection they’d need to stay safe…
The summer ritual of naming new principals and assistant principals before the start of the next school year wrapped up in Haywood County this week. The annual shuffle is usually trigged by a couple of principals somewhere in the school…
WestCare Health will launch a new full-time primary care clinic in the Health and Human Sciences Building at Western Carolina University, with a targeted opening in September.  The clinic is the result of a partnership between the hospital and the…
A Canton business has recently found itself in the midst of a heated parking debate. Blackbear Automotive & Transmission, located on the corner of Pisgah Drive (N.C. 110) and Johnson Street, is generating traffic concerns from the community. Those concerns…
Macon County commissioners voted unanimously last week to endorse a resolution stating that no new wilderness areas in Macon County would be a good thing. With the U.S. Forest Service in the midst of hashing out a new forest management…
Hospice House of WNC suffered a setback last week when the Franklin Board of Aldermen made a split decision not to support the organization’s application for a $100,000 Department of Commerce grant.  “It’s a worthy cause. That was not the…
A question-and-answer session concerning fracking drew a full crowd to a recent Jackson County Planning Board meeting. Western Carolina University Geosciences and Natural Resources Professor Cheryl Waters-Tormey was invited to lay out the basic process of hydraulic fracturing and the…
Landslide hazard maps for the Wayehutta Creek watershed in the Cullowhee area of Jackson County were unveiled recently. The mapping is a baby step toward the much loftier goal of assessing the landslide risk for all the steep slopes in…
Macon County’s project to turn the 48-acre Parker Meadows project into a tournament-level softball and baseball complex met some complications when construction turned up a Cherokee burial site.  “You might hear rumors to that effect, so we’ll go ahead and…
In light of the growing number of children with food allergies, a new policy has been adopted by Haywood County Schools to help parents navigate the scary terrain of sending a child with a life-threatening food allergy into an uncontrolled…
Three weeks after a fire in the power room knocked out electricity at Haywood Regional Medical Center, the hospital is fully open and accepting patients. The hospital had already opened its emergency department and business offices back up on June…
Monty Williams didn’t know a whole lot about the Circles of Hope program when he sat down to his first training four years ago. All he knew was that he wanted to do something to help people in poverty escape…
The latest development to throw down a stake in Cullowhee intends to build a 488-bed student housing complex on a two-lane stretch of road across from the community garden and near the Tuckasegee River. It’s a place where students can…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Jackson County Airport Authority members are hoping to get on with business following a Superior Court ruling that re-establishes Tom McClure as the authority’s rightful chairman.
Haywood County schools could go tobacco free starting in the fall of 2007, banning smoking and chewing not only for students, but also teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers, parents, sports fans, and anyone setting foot on a school campus or attending…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer A Superior Court Judge has ruled that Jackson County Commissioners acted illegally when they closed meetings to discuss Economic Development Commission dealings.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Jackson County commissioners’ failure to follow state Open Meetings Law was a failure to use common sense, said Mike Tadych, counsel to the North Carolina Press Association.
The North Carolina Rural Center has provided a $30,000 grant to Haywood County to assist with flood recovery and flood prevention in the Bethel area.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Law enforcement officers might spend their entire careers without ever firing their gun in the line of duty. It is a distinction most wear like a badge of honor. For those officers who are…
A $1.66 million plan to build middle turn lanes on Plott Creek Road from Hazelwood Elementary School to Sulphur Springs Road in the Hazelwood district of Waynesville drew strong opposition from residents at a public hearing last week.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel is planning a $254 million expansion and upgrade of its operations, including a third hotel tower, new entertainment venue and overhaul of the casino floor.
The town of Sylva is now the second Jackson County locale to formally oppose hydraulic fracturing for natural gas within its boundaries.  “I’m concerned about it,” said Commissioner Barbara Hamilton. “It’s not going to affect my life, but it will…
A summer school horse therapy offering at South Macon Elementary School in Franklin will be sticking around once the school year starts, thanks to some successful fundraising efforts at Macon TRACs. The nonprofit, which provides horse therapy to children with…
Swain County is one step closer to getting $4 million in “Road to Nowhere” funds after a bill introduced by U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., advanced through the House Committee on Natural Resources last week. Though the bill, H.R. 3806,…
Eight defendants charged with the 2013 murder of Calup Joe Caston in Swain County are slated for an Aug. 11 court date.  “If their attorneys have any motions they’ll be heard, if not it’ll be continued,” explained Alison Barnes, of…
Western Carolina University is launching a new lifelong learning institute aimed at people age 50 and older across Western North Carolina who are interested in enriching their lives through the pursuit of knowledge. The institute, based on the idea that…
Haywood Community College’s Workforce Continuing Education Department recently added an ambulance and a fire truck to help train students in public safety areas.  An ambulance was donated to the college by Haywood County commissioners and Haywood Emergency Medical Services. A…
Haywood Pathways Center is almost to the finish line in an online voting contest that would provide $50,000 — plus the help of Ty Pennington and his crew from the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” television show — to turn the…
Property owners along the fringes of Sylva may soon have to adhere to town zoning regulations. The town board is considering expanding its extraterritorial jurisdiction.
A section of Johnson Street in Canton has been closed following complaints that parked vehicles — repair jobs from Blackbear Automotive & Transmission — were creating a traffic hazard.  “We’re after a safety issue. We’re not trying to close his…
Shane Claiborne was a couple minutes late for his interview with The Smoky Mountain News, but for good reason. Claiborne and his entourage of Philadelphia friends-turned-family had encountered some crawfish that needed catching, and the job required a couple of…
Jackson County voters will finally be able to see the shape of the November ballot with the close of a second primary for the Jackson County Sheriff Republican candidate July 15. Following the first primary, in which only 42 votes…
A two-year court battle over the ownership of Camp Hope concluded last week when the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the property belonged to the town of Canton.
Discovery of a Cherokee gravesite on the soon-to-be ballfield complex at Macon County’s Parker Meadows property will likely mean that the county has to tweak its design. Though no final decision has been made, a series of meetings between county…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer In what outgoing Jackson County commissioner Eddie Madden has called an “unusually quiet” election season, things are finally starting to heat up as the Feb. 13 start to the filing period approaches. Madden, Cashiers’…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer In the meat aisle of the Reservation Foodliner IGA a customer picks up a large pack of bacon, and calls out to a store employee. “How much do you think this’d be at Wal-Mart?”…
Opinions on whether to build a 34-mile road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park seem to be falling into three camps: those who want the road; those who don’t want the road on environmental grounds; and those who think…
There’s more than one way for the federal government to make up its promise to Swain County to rebuild the road it flooded 62 years ago — and that’s a $52 million payoff, an option with broad public support. This…
Environmental groups and outdoors lovers packed the public hearing in Bryson City last week to decry the idea of building a road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a national treasure and…
Those who want the government to build the road it flooded when Fontana Lake was created say the issue boils down to one premise: a promise is a promise. “If the government’s word’s not worth the paper it’s wrote on,…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer The Stop I-3 Coalition received a major boost in its efforts to prevent construction of a new highway that would connect Savannah, Ga., to Knoxville, Tenn., by way of Western North Carolina when Macon…
The Waynesville town board will consider a request to loosen sign regulations for the downtown district for the second time in two years. Two years ago, the board of aldermen increased the size of signs allowed in the downtown district…
Despite overwhelming opposition from residents, the N.C. Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to widen Plott Creek Road outside Waynesville.
The Waynesville Rotary Club has been caught up in the fallout following the forced resignation of Haywood County Manager Jack Horton. Horton is president of the Waynesville Rotary Club. Commissioner Kevin Ensley, who voted for Horton’s resignation, is a member…
Haywood County Manager Jack Horton was dismissed from his post in early January by a 3 to 2 vote of county commissioners.
Working with four heritage partners, Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library is creating a virtual collection of objects, documents, letters, photos and oral histories that tell the story of an effort to revive mountain crafts during the late 1800s and early…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Donna Stephens, owner and operator of The Yellow House bed and breakfast in Waynesville, is a stickler for cleanliness. A former professional chef for a catering company in Washington, D.C., and attorney for 16…
Eating healthy can also mean eating safe. In North Carolina, three food borne diseases are at the top of health inspectors’ list of things to prevent — norovirus, salmonella and listeria. • Norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting disease,…
Every patient knows the drill. Walk up to the window, tell the nurse your name, take the clipboard and seek out the comfiest seat in the waiting room while you try to recall every allergy and ailment you and your…
The Haywood Advancement Foundation, a non-profit economic development entity, has pledged $2,700 to the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce start-up business competition. The donation marks the end of a campaign to raise $10,000 that will be awarded to an entrepreneur…
More than 700 acres outside Cashiers has been placed in a conservation easement by the Albert Carlton family, protecting the tract from development in the future.
A dream eight years in the making met reality earlier this month when the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians cut the ribbon on a new youth center in Snowbird. The 15,000-square-foot building will offer Cherokee youth opportunities ranging from Cherokee…
The sale of the MedWest hospital trio in Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties will go through on July 31, in keeping with the transaction date that’s been in the crosshairs for the past few months. Duke LifePoint HealthCare, a national…
After oscillating on how much money to give Folkmoot USA during annual budget machinations last month, Waynesville town leaders have revisited the issue and upwardly revised their contribution. Folkmoot historically got $10,000 to help with its general operating costs. But…
A new push to change the public alcohol consumption and possession law in Canton has not come without controversy.
A day earlier the room was full. Wall-to-wall children and snakes. “That was in this room,” said Swain County Librarian Jeff Delfield.
Lake Junaluska homeowners have suspended their push to merge with the town of Waynesville until next year due to political roadblocks in the N.C General Assembly. The vast majority of homeowners at Lake Junaluska support merging with Waynesville as the…
A lawsuit casting blame for a massive landslide in Maggie Valley four years ago is headed to a jury trial in Haywood County this week. A couple whose home was in the path of the landslide have sued a bevy…
Western Carolina University is launching a new lifelong learning institute aimed at people age 50 and older across Western North Carolina who are interested in enriching their lives through the pursuit of knowledge. The institute, based on the idea that…
The Cullowhee Community Planning Advisory Committee will meet July 31 to review proposed development standards for the area. The proposed standards are an attempt to better define and regulate the growth occurring around Western Carolina University.  For the past year,…
Michell Hicks, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, told a U.S. Senate committee in testimony on July 23 that gaming on the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina has had a “dramatic impact” on the lives of Cherokee…
The Town of Canton has selected J. Derek Littlejohn as its next fire chief.  Littlejohn has been employed with the Canton Fire Department for the past 28 years and has served in numerous capacities including firefighter, shift lieutenant and captain. …
Swain County recently passed a resolution in opposition to fracking. “Are you familiar with what fracking is?” asked Swain County Commissioner Steve Moon. “That’s why we’re opposed to it.”
The North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission has scheduled a public hearing on fracking for Western North Carolina. The hearing is slated for Sept. 12 on the Western Carolina University campus in Cullowhee.
With the lease drawn up and fundraising underway, most people attending the Haywood County Commissioner meeting last week figured that approving the lease for a trio of Christian groups to renovate the old Hazelwood prison would be a matter-of-fact agenda…
Carson Angel is excited to show off her reading skills as she waits outside East Franklin Elementary for her mom to pick her up. From the pile of hand-colored posters, worksheets and drawings at her feet, the 8-year-old picks out…
Austin Fore calls it “a blessing.” “If I’m not there every other day I’m bummed,” the Clyde skateboarder said.
No one knows for sure what motivated Scarlette Heatherly the first time she skimmed a little cash off the top of a customer’s water bill. But once she figured out she could get away with it, she couldn’t seem to…
A wall calendar edged with hot-pink swirls seems out of place in the Junaluska Sanitary District, where the back door of the office opens onto a double-bay equipment garage and work boots leave muddy tracks across the concrete floor. “It’s…
As judges and lawyers, politicians and lobbyists, and parents and school officials debate the place of evolution and creationism in the classroom, what do students think? At Franklin High School, students in Lee Berger’s journalism class — an arena where…
Two years ago, the future of Waynesville’s electric system — a lucrative cash cow for the town — was turned on its head by a single email that popped up in the inbox of an energy consultant in Raleigh.
Waynesville’s residents have long reaped the benefits of the town’s electricity enterprise — a sideline business that was making $1.2 million a year. The money paid for the Waynesville Recreation Center — a $6.5 million fitness center with indoor pool,…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer As residents in the Cashiers area pull together to address their community’s needs through the creation of a civic association, members of some of the region’s established grassroots groups weighed in on what makes…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Members of the Cashiers area are organizing a new civic association to direct the community’s future. The formation of the association is an outgrowth of a planning project a group of Louisiana State University…
As the nation debates the role of creation and evolution in the classroom, a research paper assigned in a 10th-grade biology class at Franklin High School in Macon County has sparked a local controversy on the issue. Students were asked…
It promised to be one of the most riveting nights of the year for members of the Jackson County Genealogical Society. Half a dozen men filed through the door of the Sylva library hauling boxes and pulling hand trucks bulging…
A new 1.2-mile greenway section along the Tuckasegee River in Cullowhee has encountered higher-than-expected costs as it nears completion. The greenway project called for a major pedestrian bridge across the river at one end. The greenway is on the opposite…
A public hearing over a controversial cell tower in the scenic Whiteside Cove area of Cashiers will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Cashiers Glenville Recreation Center. The proposed Verizon tower has riled up nearby residents,…
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