A task force charged with creating guidelines for a joint Jackson County Tourism Development Authority is still struggling to figure out exactly how everything will work — and the deadline for making recommendations to the county leadership is drawing nearer.

Jackson County has two tourism agencies — one for the county as a whole and one for Cashiers — that oversee room tax money collected from overnight visitors by the lodging industry. Whether to merge the two entities has been a point of contention since last year.

Jackson County commissioners in the coming months will weigh whether to open a liquor store in Cashiers, outside Cherokee — or both — but the road to a decision will take a lot of number crunching.

Namely, Jackson County must decide whether it’s likely to sell enough booze to cover the overhead of an ABC store.

The Westcare Board of Directors met for more than four hours Tuesday, Aug. 7, to discuss the future of MedWest-Harris and MedWest-Swain hospitals.

The board did not take an official vote on whether to pull out of the MedWest partnership or whether to dissolve its ties with Medwest-Haywood. Instead, the board will remain study mode and reconvene toward the end of August to make a more conclusive decision.

Harris and Swain partnered with Haywood Regional Medical Center two and half years ago under the MedWest banner. However, doctors and hospital staff in Jackson County, and to some extent Swain County as well, have been unhappy with the affiliation.

fr jaxairportThe advent of live dealers and table games at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is widely predicted to bring sweeping economic benefits to the region — benefits that are so far-reaching even the tiny landing strip known as the Jackson County Airport could land a piece of the action.

fr familylandEvery year on the first weekend in August, Linda Maxwell and other heirs of patriarch H.B. Wood make a pilgrimage to family land in the rural reaches of Little Canada and gather at the Wood cemetery where so many of their other descendents rest.

fr medwestThe medical community in Jackson and Swain counties has renewed its call to part ways with Haywood Regional Medical Center less than three years after forging an alliance under the MedWest banner.

Business in Dillsboro has continued to slow during the past few years, to the point that even the cash cow of video sweepstakes parlors pulled out after a brief run.

A couple of businesses have closed this year, including the Dillsboro Smokehouse Bar-B-Que — continuing a slow but steady exodus of shops in the three years since the tourist railroad once based in Dillsboro moved its operations to Bryson City.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Sylva’s bars are not abandoning the town for the student-laden pastures of Cullowhee.

Area residents have heard whispers that the Bone Shack and O’Malley’s Pub and Grill — two bars that count college students among their base of patrons — will close their doors in Sylva and move their operations to Cullowhee.

By Peggy Manning • Correspondent

Waldo fans take heed. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Are you up to the challenge?

Tiny Where’s Waldo figures have been cleverly hidden on the shelves and racks of stores throughout downtown Sylva, and for the month of July, children are invited to rack up Waldo sightings for a chance at prizes.

fr jacksonhuntersA burley crowd wearing their long lineage of Appalachian ancestry proudly on their sleeves stared down Jackson County commissioners this week, decrying the idea of an ordinance that would muzzle their hunting dogs.

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