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Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

Cupid’s reading list

Valentine’s Day is just around the bend, and for anyone with even a breath of romance in the heart — whether you’re madly in love or you’ve just gotten your heart ripped apart by some human version of Hurricane Katrina…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

Time spent outdoors always validates itself

By Ed Kelley When I think of the mountains of Western North Carolina, I like to believe I know a lot about them. I was raised in Haywood County and have lived here over half a century. I think of…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

700 acres near Cashiers put into easement

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.
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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

New patient data system to link WNC hospitals

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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

Mystery of the coveted mad stone

Last week’s Back Then column described a deer hunt conducted by Quill Rose and his relatives and neighbors in the Great Smokies during the very early 1880s. My source for that event was the long-neglected and exceedingly rare book by…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

Consumer tips for dining out

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,…
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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

The difference between precaution and fear

By Lee Shelton I found Scott McLeod’s column, “Living in Fear....” , in theJan. 18 issue of the Smoky Mountain News very thought provoking. Following are some other thoughts on the subject from a contra-view point. We live — and…
A move to rewrite the Endangered Species Act has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is expected to come before the U.S. Senate in February. The cornerstone of the Endangered Species Act is protecting places where endangered species live.…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

Local BMX teen aims high

A 15-year-old from Waynesville hopes to be part of the women’s USA BMX bike team at the 2008 Olympics after a successful run in the national BMX circuit last year. Michele Curtis, a sophomore at Tuscola High School, ranked 10th…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

A lone cry of reason from the wilderness

The January 2006 edition of “The Auk,” the journal of the American Ornithologists’ Union, includes a 15-page article by Jerome Jackson, an ornithologist and professor of biology at Florida Gulf Coast University questioning the conclusiveness of the evidence Cornell and…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Deep in the mountains that surround Jackson County’s Tuckasegee community, the sound of metal on metal rings out with a sharp ping as blacksmith David Brewin begins to shape a steel rod. The rod,…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

A little frisky — much better than fair

By Chris Cooper It’s harder than you would think to write a song. As a musician, it is tempting to reject anything that sounds traditional or just throws together a bunch of fancy chords. And melody — that which makes…
By Michael Beadle The Duke of Milan and his daughter have been shipwrecked on a strange island far from civilization. Then, along comes a violent tempest that shipwrecks some of the very people who once put them there — and…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

Most Secret I was given this book over Christmas and finally got around to reading it. It’s a fascinating tale about World War II from British writer Nevil Shute. Shute was born before World War I and was an engineer…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Elk negotiations continue

Dick Hamilton, director of the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Biologists with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park want to increase the elk herd in Cataloochee by bringing in a new batch…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Cornell – it’s more than just ivory-billeds

Cornell University and the ivory-billed woodpecker have been inextricably linked since the announcement in 2005 of the rediscovery of the ivory-billed in the Big Woods of Arkansas. Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO) has embraced that link. It’s featured prominently on…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

State sues TVA for polluting mountains’ air

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority last week seeking to significantly reduce pollution from TVA’s coal-fired power plants. Pollution from TVA’s coal plants, which do not meet current federal emissions standards, damages the…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

TVA lawsuit Q&A

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper issued the following question and answer column on the state’s air pollution law suit against Tennessee Valley Authority.
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Hayseed’s latest falls flat on its grass

Some jokes are really, really funny. Some even get better with age, as if their repeated telling somehow increases the comic potency. Then again, some jokes just get beaten into the ground, weren’t that funny to begin with, or suffer…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein If you love the goofy wordplay of Spoonerisms — switching the beginning sounds of words like “dishes and plates” to “plishes and dates” — then Runny Babbit is your bind of kook. It’s full of…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

A changing audience

“Unto These Hills” first opened on July 1, 1950, as an outdoor drama to celebrate the history and honor the sacrifices made by the Cherokee tribe. The play features dances and music as it tells the story of early encounters…
By Michael Beadle For 56 years, the outdoor historical drama known as “Unto These Hills” has been a fixture for summer tourists coming to the region looking for entertainment and a chance to learn about Cherokee history. But in recent…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

A troubled talent

I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone by Nina Simone and Stephen Cleary. New York: Pantheon Books, 1991. $22.00 — 196 pages Back in the 1930s, the inhabitants of the little town of Tryon, N.C., gossiped…
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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Board majority said Horton violated trust

Haywood County Manager Jack Horton was dismissed from his post in early January by a 3 to 2 vote of county commissioners.
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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

DOT plows ahead despite outcry from residents

Despite overwhelming opposition from residents, the N.C. Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to widen Plott Creek Road outside Waynesville.
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Downtown may get internally lit signs

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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Macon takes official stand against I-3

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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Build the road, honor our sacrifice

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,…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Call of the wild resounds loud and clear

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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Cash: a better deal than a road

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…
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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Wal-Mart talk still going strong in Cherokee

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?”…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

A wide open race in Jackson

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’…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Civil War in the Smokies

The war in the Smokies proved to be an intensely personal conflict. A curious conjunction of terrain, history, politics and culture bred in the Smokies ... a tragic division of loyalties and a brutal partisan conflict between supporters of secession…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Looking in on the iPod cocoon

It is now official. I am not young anymore. I guess I should have paid more attention to the signs, and perhaps it wouldn’t come as such a shock, but I didn’t and it does. My youth has expired, gone…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Customers say restaurant grades matter

Editor’s note: Last week The Smoky Mountain News cover story was about cleanliness at restaurants and what health department inspectors look for when they grade them. As we found out by interviewing several people, most do look to see what…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Religion and public schools a volatile mix

When a high school biology teacher in Macon County asked students to compare evolution and creation from a scientific perspective, he was treading too close to the Supreme Court’s long-held directive that mandates the separation of church and state. It’s…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

New talent and old influences enter jam genre

By Chris Cooper Approaching the “jam band” thing from some very different angles, Umphrey’s McGee manage to bring shades of vintage Yes, Peter Gabriel and Rush to the mix in lieu of the usual suspects (Grateful Dead, Phish, Allman Bros.)…
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.
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Wonderful words

  Like many of my fellow writers and readers, I am a sucker for word books. I love dictionaries — I own at least six of them, ranging from the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary to my own…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

“Bubble” Director Steven Soderbergh, the darling of the Sundance film festival, had an audacious idea. Take a bare bones script into a small town, find locals to play the major roles, use their actual homes as “sets,” encourage the “actors”…
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.
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…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Lyon was among WNC’s notable botanist

Andre and Francois Michaux, and John Fraser, and soon to be followed by Thomas Nuttall, Asa Gray, and Moses Ashley Curtis, among others, John Lyon was among the intrepid plant collectors who first penetrated the mountains of Western North Carolina…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

A primer on the right way to use a gun

By Sarah Kucharski On a chilly, rain soaked Sunday morning the last weekend of January I stood under a peaked, sheet metal roof at the Moss Gap shooting range on the Jackson/Macon line, staring down at a loaded Glock Model…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Small towns make for different news

I remember the specific moment in my journalism career when I sealed my future as a small-town newspaperman. I was at my third newspaper job out of college, had moved up to successively larger publications, and an offer came to…
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