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Wednesday, 24 March 2010 19:03

U.S. Open brings paddlers to Nantahala gorge

The best of USA Canoe/Kayak’s whitewater team will descend on the Nantahala River this weekend intent on making a clear impression about their Olympic aspirations. The Bank of America Whitewater U.S. Open (March 27-28) is the first measuring stick in…
Everything has fallen into place for a government-sponsored cleanup of the Rich Cove mudslide in Maggie Valley, an undertaking pegged at roughly $1.47 million. The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service agreed last week to foot 75 percent of the bill…
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 19:03

How we found the Wondermutt

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a news story about how animal rescue organizations are being inundated with unwanted pets in the down economy. I didn’t, however, get a chance to say why I care. So here’s a happy…
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 19:03

Imagining a one-book library

The feedback (mostly email) from readers to recent columns regarding books in general, book shelving strategies, and bookplates has been both surprising and interesting. It encourages me to proceed in that vein. Down the line, we might consider public libraries…
For many low-income women, pregnancy can lead to more stress than excitement. Most of the expecting mothers who visit local health departments are facing unplanned pregnancies. Maternal care coordinators across the state have experienced firsthand all possible emotions along with…
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 19:03

Buffer buyout launched along Pigeon River

A trail alongside the Pigeon River may materialize between Canton and Clyde, but recreation will not be its primary purpose. The goal is to create a buffer zone clear of any development 100 feet from the riverbank as a safeguard…
Haywood Community College leaders say county commissioners are unfairly accusing them of overspending on a new $10.2 million complex where arts and crafts will be taught. Last week, Commissioner Kevin Ensley called it the most expensive building per square foot…
The Macon County Planning Board voted unanimously March 18 to forward the recommendations of its steep slope committee to the county commissioners. “What I would like to ask is that the planning board take this document before the commissioners and…
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 19:03

Carden wrestles with storyteller legacy

There are two voices inside Sylva storyteller and playwright Gary Carden. One belongs to the mountain man of letters whom author Lee Smith coined “the Appalachian Garrison Keillor.” The other belongs to an orphaned child who clung to a pink…
Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, at its office in Waynesville. The Friends office is still located beside Blue Ridge Osondu Books on Main Street,…
Over the past month a slow-moving landslide behind the Craftsmen Village development in Macon County has worsened, leaving one property owner facing life without a home. Michael Boggan’s house was condemned by the county last week, a decision arrived at…
A pivotal moment arrives every time a pregnancy test turns positive at public health departments across the state. The new mother could walk out the doors, overwhelmed and underprepared, never to return again. She could receive little or no prenatal…
William and Mary Alice Fryar presented the Cashiers Historical Society with the 19th century Zachary family bible earlier this month. The Bible belonged to one of Cashiers’ early pioneer families, that of Mordecai Zachary. From 1842 until 1852, Zachary constructed…
With federal and state grants in hand, work will soon get underway to stabilize the remnants of a massive landslide still looming precariously over Maggie Valley. “You can see the cracking of the soil. It is obviously very unstable and…
Every so often a dissatisfied electorate injects a third current into the country’s two-party dialogue. It’s happening this year with the Tea Party movement, and it’s also happening spontaneously in Jackson County. Four Jackson County residents who want to be…
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 19:03

The Naturalist's Corner

Scientist-science Paige Barlow is a University of Georgia PhD candidate working out of the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Otto, outside of Franklin. Barlow is researching the effects of land use on different species of birds in Macon County. It’s no…
Four years ago, Principal Chief Michell Hicks issued a proclamation intended to move the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians towards environmental sustainability. Last week, leaders from the tribe gathered to discuss the impact of Generations Qualla, a grant program created…
Haywood County residents have another chance to steer plans for a park in Jonathan Creek at a public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 25. The meeting will be held at the County Office building on Russ Avenue past K-Mart,…
Buying alcohol will become a lot more convenient for residents in Haywood County. For the first time in 43 years, a new ABC store will be constructed in Waynesville. The second location will be situated behind Hardee’s on South Main…
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 18:34

Book lovers and our new bookplates

Several weeks ago, I devoted a column to the complicated science of book shelving. Not a few readers responded — often with descriptions of their systems, which they deemed infallible. Shelving by fiction and non-fiction and leaving it at that…
One of the region’s most beloved and authentic cultural traditions, Shindig on the Green, will present “A Celebration of Mountain Traditions” annual fundraiser with headliner Balsam Range plus Laura Boosinger and Bobby Hicks and the Cole Mountain Cloggers at 7…
A Sylva sewer line that overflowed on a residential property last month has sparked a difference of opinion between the sewer authority and the town that may have larger implications for Jackson County. According to Sylva officials, the owner of…
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 18:34

Library friends reveal interior design plans

The construction of the new Jackson County Main Library has been a community-driven project all along, and last week the community got its first glimpse of what the interior will look like. Friends of the Jackson County Main Library held…
Scot Ward isn’t a missionary, but he does have a burning message. An experienced thru-hiker who carries a copy of Peter Jenkins Walk Across America in the retrofitted box-truck he calls home, Ward wants people to hike the Mountains to…
The Town of Maggie Valley recently transferred the responsibility for building inspections to Haywood County. Now, Maggie is considering handing over soil and erosion control, too. “We could really become a one-stop shop,” said Maggie planning director Nathan Clark. Town…
Foodies can have it all at the sixth annual Mélange of the Mountains culinary gala in Haywood County. Many of the region’s best chefs will assemble at The Gateway Club in Waynesville to show off their finest fare and engage…
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 18:34

Swain passes moratorium on utility projects

The setting may have been humble –– a nondescript meeting room in a county administration building –– but the Swain County commissioners’ vote to pass a moratorium on communications and utility projects may prove monumental. The vote could force utility…
Haywood Community College leaders are at odds with county commissioners over funding for the college. The county slashed capital contributions to the community college by two-thirds due to the recession. The college counted on the annual funding for repairs and…
Smoky Mountain Center has begun the process of transferring its mental health services to private companies in a move that signals the advent of the latest overhaul to the state’s mental health provider network. Last week, Smoky Mountain Center closed…
Cindy Robertson never for a minute believed in ghosts — that is, until she moved into her new restaurant outside Cherokee. And she’s not alone. A mysterious presence has made converts of every restaurant owner who’s moved into the building…
By Chris Cox I did not expect to, but I feel sorry for Enka Middle School teacher Rex Roland, who made national news last week when WLOS aired a story that he had written the words, “-20 percent for being…
The town of Franklin has been officially designated an Appalachian Trail Community. A new program of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy will highlight the value of towns along the trail. Towns are more than waypoints along the trail for hikers to…
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 18:34

The Naturalist's Corner

Invited for tea I opened the door around 7 a.m. last Saturday and spring hit me square in the face. Actually a cold misty breeze hit me square in the face but I got an earful of spring. “Drink your…
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 18:34

Maggie eases proposed design standards

The Maggie Valley Planning Board has eased requirements on a proposed set of design standards that would shape the town’s appearance in the long-term. The board hopes to replace the haphazard look of the town with more earthy colors, natural…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

Learning to treat injuries in the wild

What can you do with a foam pad, rain pants, sleeping bag and an old T-shirt? A whole lot apparently, according to students who have been through wilderness medical training with Landmark Learning. Broken leg? No problem. Dislocated shoulder? Gotcha…
The U.S. Small Business Administration plans to hand over more than $1.4 million in disaster relief loans to a host of unlikely recipients in the region. The low-interest loans are meant to aid businesses distressed by a rockslide that shut…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

Dixie dog transport saves lives

With the euthanasia rate at area shelters fluctuating between 50 and 70 percent, animal rescue advocates are literally going the extra mile to save pets that haven’t been adopted. Each month, local volunteers load crates of cats and dogs into…
Waynesville is a leader when it comes walkable communities, according to a consultant hired to develop a long-range pedestrian plan for the town. “I would like to say this is a unique situation,” Terry Snow with Wilbur Smith Associates told…
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…