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Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

EPA takes aim at Canton paper mill

A water pollution permit for the Canton paper mill has come under fire by the Environmental Protection Agency. The pollution permit is up for a periodic review by the state. The EPA isn’t pleased with the standards the state has…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

The calm of a winter’s night

It’s Saturday night as I write this .... going on toward midnight. I read the thermometer mounted outside the kitchen through the windowpane with a flashlight. 30-degrees. Not bad. A light frost is forming on the grass in the pasture.…
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…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

DOT plans ahead to stave off slides

Rather than continuing a reactive approach to rockslides on Interstate 40, the DOT is making a widespread effort to prevent disasters like the Oct. 25 slide from occurring again. The DOT says it will invest $4 million to stabilize five…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

Evergreen’s fate is important to WNC

Mix a strong environmental ethos, economic realism and strong community pride all together in the same brain (mine, in this case), and in almost any environmental controversy or issue, there’s an outcome that fits nicely into my world view. Logging…
Harsh winter weather has delayed the reopening of Interstate 40 until late April, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Snow, rain, heavy winds and bitter cold shut down operations for a total of 14 days, leading to the…
The conviction of former Jackson County employee Marc Hawk on elder abuse charges last month closed the book on a painful family struggle. Now, the relatives of the victim, Earla Mae Cowan, are hoping the case also changes the way…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

Tapping the power of the sun

Progress Energy customers can now claim a fraction of their power comes from the sun. A new solar farm is on line in Canton sporting 2,340 solar panels on four acres — generating enough electricity to power 51 homes. A…
Swain County has entered the fight over Duke Energy’s proposed electrical substation that would mar views in a rural farming valley near a highly sacred Cherokee site. Swain commissioners are considering a moratorium that would halt any electrical and telecommunications…
With a large loan payment looming and not enough money to pay it, the fairgrounds turned to Haywood commissioners this week to save it from foreclosure. Commissioners voted Monday to purchase the fairgrounds facilities and apply for a 40-year U.S.…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

Beating bugs the natural way

It all started with a stranger’s death. At the time, Carl Hughes was working as a construction supervisor for the oil corporation Chevron in Angola. A worker came into his office to ask permission to take the afternoon off to…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

Sylva may be stuck with cell tower

The Sylva Town Board opposes the construction of a 195-foot-high cellular communications tower on the main commercial drag of N.C. 107, but a state law passed in August may allow the tower to go up anyway. The cell tower, planned…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

The Naturalist's Corner

ake J eagle Not a winter has passed in the last four years or so that a bald eagle — mature, immature or both — has not been sighted at Lake Junaluska. Usually they’re here today and gone tomorrow, but…
Cherokee’s trout streams have earned their reputation as the crown jewel of North Carolina’s trophy waters, and now the area has an outfitter shop of the same quality. Business partners Joe Street, Chris Anderson and Steve Mingle, building on the…
Vertigo Jazz Project will drop their second full-length studio album on March 12 at Emerald Lounge in Asheville. VJP’s new disc ‘Paragon’ is almost one year in the making and showcases the band’s expansive growth since their debut on the…
A Cherokee archaeological site spanning from at least 6,000 years ago to the 18th century stands in the way of bridge widening project over the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County. Plans call for widening the N.C. 107 bridge over the…
Haywood County commissioners are reluctant to hand over taxpayer money to stabilize the latest landslide in Maggie Valley — even if the federal government chips in for much of the cost. At a commissioners meeting on Monday, the Town of…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Bringing home the brew

Zach Phillips and Mike Valente graduated from Western Carolina University just in time to enter the worst job market in 80 years. Instead of crying into their beers, they decided to brew their own. “I’d applied for a few jobs…
On Monday evening, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners met with leaders from Jackson County Schools to talk about next year’s budget, but any outstanding fears had already been put to rest. County Manager Ken Westmoreland said because the county…
What if the driveway to the county’s administration building were lined with blueberries? It was January, and Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin and Heather Stevens were on a walk, dreaming about how green Jackson County could be. They had read an article on…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

HCC comes out on top in Recycle Mania

Haywood Community College shot to the top in a nationwide recycling competition by doing little more than what it already does to promote sustainability. More than 600 colleges signed up for RecycleMania across the country, recycling and composting more than…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Taking readers down a deep spiral

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Penguin Books, 2005. 487 pagesLet’s begin with a marvelous story — one of those timeless fables that is charged with mystery and magic — the kind that provides the basis for…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

I-40 opens at last

Interstate 40, closed since October due to a massive rockslide, reopened with little fanfare on Sunday evening. For the people who depend on the road for their living, seeing the traffic flow again brought a sense of relief. “We are…
With Haywood County’s revenues down by 4 percent, schools are looking at another year of disappointing budget allocations at the local level. Preliminary budget figures show the Haywood County public school system might receive $335,000 in capital outlay funding from…
In a 2002 referendum, the members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians voted to authorize an audit of the tribe’s enrolled members. Almost eight years later, the process is coming to a head as the Tribal Council considers how…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Key candidates missing at Swain forum

Swain County citizens might have been more thrilled about a candidate forum that was held Thursday, April 22, than the people actually running. About 75 residents came to forum to see candidates candidly answer questions submitted by fellow citizens. It…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Admiration, maybe, but no love for the boar

Numerous non-native plants have been introduced into the southern mountains during the last century or so. Many are now classified by wildlife biologists as “exotic pests.” Few would argue that kudzu does not fall into this category. And without doubt,…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

X marks the spot

I turned 35 years old on Tax Day. I’ve been stuck with that birth date from the beginning and have never tried to read into it much. April 15 is also the date Lincoln issued the call for troops that…
When John Miele, co-owner of the Golden Carp, left a social media class recently taught by Western Carolina University students, his Dillsboro business had a new home. Now, visitors can find information such as the store’s hours and location on…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

NOC’s Great Outpost

Nantahala Outdoor Center is positioned to become a major player in the outdoors scene on the Tennessee side of the Smokies with a gigantic new outfitter’s store smack in the middle of downtown Gatlinburg. The $4 million Great Outpost gives…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Ambitious development going nowhere

All visible signs of the grandiose megadevelopment known as Cataloochee Wilderness Resorts have vanished from public view in Haywood County. Businessmen behind the development recently vacated a Clyde office that served as their headquarters owing more than $8,000 in back…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

The Naturalist's Corner

A little spring cleaning It was a busy weekend and there’s a busy weekend coming up, so I’m going to use this week’s column to clear my desk: Watershed hike Saturday, April 24, was our annual spring pilgrimage into the…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

A hub for all things outdoors

For the outdoors lover, stepping into NOC’s Great Outpost in Gatlinburg is like being a kid in a candy shop. The outdoor gear and paraphernalia is as extensive as that found in major stores like REI or Bass Pro, but…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Rallying around a historic tree

Against all odds, a 250-year-old scarlet oak tree still stands on N.C. 110 south of Canton, despite being struck by lightning, despite neighboring a busy road, despite being forgotten by many for more than three decades. A Native American council…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

A huge pile of good intentions

Haywood County Solid Waste Director Stephen King did not spend his interview with The Smoky Mountain News sitting at an office, pointing to encouraging recycling statistics. Instead, King was constantly on the go, picking up a stray glove he spotted…
By Mark Singleton • Guest Columnist Even in times of crisis, we’re called to take the long view to preserve our national heritage — because in doing so we fulfill one of the responsibilities that falls to all of us…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Alcohol banned at recreation sites

The US. Forest Service has banned alcohol use at 11 recreation sites in the Nantahala National Forest. The sites include: Balsam Lake Recreation Area, Big Choga Dispersed Camping Sites, Bristol Fields Campground, Cheoah Point Swimming Area, Dry Falls Recreational Area,…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Kephart’s persona was well crafted

Our consideration of “books and all things related” continues with a look at an instance when a well-known author (and former librarian) chose to disguise his reading so as to create a literary persona. Horace Kephart was often guarded, sometimes…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

N.C. 47th Senate

North Carolina’s 47th District Senate seat represents Haywood, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery and McDowell counties. Republican voters will choose between Andy Webb, Ralph Hise, and Tamera Frank in the May 4 primary, and the winner faces incumbent Democrat Joe Sam…
The Jackson County Sheriff’s race is hot and getting hotter. While a controversial pay raise and allegations of questionable financial transactions are dogging incumbent Sheriff Jimmy Ashe, the possibility of a politically-motivated arson at challenger Robin Gunnels’ business has provided…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Candidates weigh in

Democrats Donnie Dixon: “I can’t rightfully say he’s done a bad job. It could reflect the commissioners’ doings...I have nothing against the man. I’m not going to point a finger.” Janice Inabinett said the county must rely on an evaluation…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Evergreen Foundation needs to be reined in

It is past time someone looked closely at just what is going on with the Evergreen Foundation, because apparently those in control of a whole lot of what should be public assets have strayed very far from their original mission.…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Sylva board elects to pay music licensing

With Sylva’s annual street festival Greening Up the Mountains right around the corner, town commissioners had a somewhat unusual decision land on their doorstep last week: risk a lawsuit or pay a licensing fee to a music industry group. Apparently,…
A primary owner of Ghost Town in the Sky wants to buy the amusement park out of bankruptcy. But there’s a catch. The owner would walk away from more than $5 million in debt, yet continue to own the park…
While a hotly contested judge’s race is dominating the water cooler gossip in lawyers’ offices, the average voter likely has their work cut out for them. The choices are overwhelming: 10 candidates running for three seats. All the names on…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

N.C. 50th Senate

The 50th Senate seat represents Jackson, Macon, Swain, Clay, Graham, and Cherokee counties, along with a portion of Haywood. Republican voters will choose between Jim Davis and Jimmy Goodman on the May 4 primary, and the winner will face Democratic…
In the lead-up to the primary elections on May 4, criticism of the current administration is stewing underground in Swain County. Most commissioner candidates admit reluctantly that much of that frustration is directed toward County Manager Kevin King, though few…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Jackson EDC debate is over, again

Anyone who thought the discussion over the Jackson County Economic Development Commission’s missing audits was over when the board closed the issue last December got a surprise on Monday night. Chairman Brian McMahan announced that he had gotten a letter…
Haywood County Attorney Chip Killian had his response ready for the citizen activists who have incessantly demanded referendums on a string of controversial county decisions. At Monday’s commissioners’ meeting, Killian informed them that state law actually forbids counties from holding…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Early voting off to slow start

Early voting began last Thursday, April 15, and runs through noon on Saturday, May 1. As of press time Tuesday, here’s how many people had voted early so far. Haywood 119 voted in the Democratic primary 54 voted in the…