art frTimes may change, but stereotypes tend to linger.

Venturing into the off-color humor and often offensive images of Southern culture portrayed by cartoonists throughout American history, Western Carolina University will address the issue head-on in its newest exhibit opening next week.

fr wcustudentsWith more than 15,000 applications for just 1,500 freshman spots last year, Western Carolina University has no difficulty attracting students.

The harder part is getting them to stay.

Western Carolina University’s Board of Trustees approved an 8 percent increase in tuition next academic year — much to the vexation of its student body.

“We came in here, and it was not an easy decision,” said Trustee Grace Battle. “I think everybody in here struggled.”

fr wcuclassesWhile Western Carolina University’s budgets have been shrinking in recent years, its class sizes have been growing.

out frOutdoors enthusiasts and diehard mountain bikers are waiting in anticipation the winter opening of a seven-mile mountain biking and hiking trail in the Sylva and Cullowhee area.

The trail will be the first of its kind accessible by foot, or bike, from the Western Carolina University campus and is expected to be a vital link in a recreation system that may one day expand to connect county, regional and even state trails.

Although college for many is an oasis of learning, fun and social interaction, it is also a sprawling crime scene for everything from drug busts to rape. Despite its idyllic mountain setting, Western Carolina University is no exception.

Last month, WCU officials released their annual crime statistics report for 2011. The campus showed noticeable declines compared to 2010 crimes rates, including a drop in the number of reported sex offenses, aggravated assaults and burglaries.

Traveling around the world, taking down bad guys and helping exonerate the wrongly accused, Steve Moore’s life sounds glamorous — and he will agree that he has loved every minute.

coverDown by six touchdowns to the University of Alabama at halftime, Western Carolina University head coach Mark Speir never gave up on his team.

“When you’re getting into an ugly ball game like that, our players didn’t quit playing; they kept fighting,” he said. “At halftime, we were going to play for 30 more minutes and see where our program is at in [its] infant stage.”

art frWhat sounded like a jet engine echoed out of the building tucked away on the hill.

Peering into the large bay doors of the metal studio at the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro, the booming noise is coming from a foundry in the corner that was used to turn metals into molten liquid for casting.

Plans made in the coming months could set the tone for the following decade or two of construction, renovation and development on Western Carolina University’s campus.

Faculty, staff, administrators and students at the school have been working since September to craft the institution’s next campus master plan — a process that is expected to last about 16 months and create a final product that is a general guideline for all aspects of the university’s infrastructure development.

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