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Ghost Town is far from off the hook for repairing the latest landslide in Maggie Valley. The Rich Cove slide originated from Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park more than a month ago. About 16,000 tons of material remain…
My weekly deadline is looming. I’m not sure how this is going to turn out. But I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m fairly sure it’s going to be a rambling essay about Horace Kephart, author of Our Southern Highlanders,…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

Sylva board blesses Community Table move

Community Table, Sylva’s nonprofit community kitchen, has outgrown its existing facility and is targeting a move to the town’s now-vacant senior center. The county built a new senior center, freeing up space in the old one, which is owned by…
In today’s economy, people want to stretch their dollars to the max. What if you could actually double your money? Many in Jackson County are doing just that by contributing to the new Jackson County Public Library building fund at…
The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee has saved a key tract from development along the Little Tennessee River near Cowee Mound. The Land Trust bought three acres that were being marketed for an RV park. The low-lying land, which…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

Fighting hunger, one bowl at a time

Fill a bowl, feed a soul, and help fight hunger with a warm heart and a full stomach. The second annual Empty Bowls Dinner is set for Friday, March 12, at Tartan Hall in Franklin. The fundraising event is a…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

The Naturalist's Corner

White Nose Syndrome just miles from WNC The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) announced in mid-February that two bats from Worley’s cave had tested positive for White Nose Syndrome (WNS). The cave, officially designated Morrell Cave by the U.S. Board…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

Sylva pedestrian plan takes shape

The Town of Sylva finalized an agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation last week that clears the way for a continuous sidewalk to Dillsboro. The town will pitch in $83,000 to build the missing link and maintain the sidewalk,…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

No relief for crowded schools

Despite using every nook and cranny available, Swain County schools are still struggling to track down classroom space for its exploding student population. The number of students at Swain County High School has shot up so dramatically that the school…
Thousands of animals end up in the shelters of Western North Carolina each year, and a small group of volunteers, mostly retired, tries to save them. The absence of strict enforcement of spay/neuter laws is the root of the problem.…
Sylva resident Susannah Patty thought her trip to Chile would be an adventure, but she didn’t count on living through the fifth biggest earthquake of the century. In her late 20s now and no stranger to travel, Patty says she…
A proposed health board rule in Haywood County has reignited a debate about how far officials can go when it comes to private property. Public outcry crushed a nuisance ordinance considered by the county last spring. Now, it’s made a…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

Cullowhee school grows beyond expectations

Landmark Learning based in Jackson County offers 80 courses a year providing wilderness medical training to 2,000 people across all sectors of the outdoor and medical industry. Many of the courses are held at their campus in Cullowhee and around…
When the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians took over the Cherokee Indian Hospital from the Indian Health Service in 2002, the hospital’s administrators faced a challenge. They wanted the hospital to feel like it belonged to the community, but they…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

A requiem for Cataloochee

Requiem by Fire by Wayne Caldwell. Random House, 2009. 335 pages Dear readers, if you have some slight respect for my opinions about Appalachian literature, I hope you will believe me when I say that Wayne Caldwell has written a…
If you believe people usually get what they deserve, then the recent conviction of a Jackson County man on elder abuse charges was welcome news. Best of all, it could open the door for similar charges against others taking advantage…
Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park could be foreclosed on as early as June unless investors step forward with a cash infusion between now and then, according to Ghost Town’s bankruptcy attorney. The theme park in Maggie Valley has…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

A guidebook for raising boys

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2009. 368 pages. In Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys (13-978-1-4143-2227-8, $14.99), Stephen James and David Thomas make clever use of Maurice…
Any actor or director at Haywood Arts Regional Theater will tell you there’s nothing wrong with “The Sound of Music.” Or “Oklahoma” for that matter. But that doesn’t mean they want to spend all season shuffling through seasoned classics, singing…
Two plays crafted by Sylva writer Gary Carden will be presented at Western Carolina University in March to benefit the new library fund of the Friends of the Jackson County Main Library. Carden’s “Birdell” will be staged at 7 p.m.…
Macon County Airport Authority members are confident their application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is moving forward, but the project may still face significant procedural hurdles. The airport is planning a 600-foot extension of its runway. In order…
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…