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Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:26

Waynesville Rec Center struck by vandals

The Waynesville Recreation Center was vandalized late sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. The vandals entered the building through a broken window into the pool area. Once inside, they broke internal windows, threw furniture around, pulled clocks off…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:25

HRMC, WestCare affiliation creates MedWest

A long-awaited affiliation of the hospitals in Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties will become official in January 2010. That’s when a newly created hospital company, dubbed MedWest Health System, will take over day-to-day operations for Haywood Regional Medical Center and…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:24

A peculiar angst

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book by Walker Percy. Picador, 2000. 272 pages. Walker Percy not only wrote these lines (see below), but he also lived them. He recognized early on that he was indeed a peculiar bird.…
The election for Sylva town board next week will determine the philosophical direction for the town. The board has been marked by split votes over the past two years, stemming from deep-seated ideological differences. Two years ago, the majority on…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:21

No quick fix for rock slide that closes I-40

Western North Carolina is bracing itself for the impact of a massive rockslide that will shut down a major chunk of Interstate 40 near the Tennessee border for about three months. The rockslide occurred 2 a.m. Sunday morning three miles…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:18

Meet the candidates

There are 10 candidates running for four seats on the Canton town board. Only two sitting aldermen are running for re-election, with eight challengers. All four seats are up for election every two years. Mayor Pat Smathers is running for…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:16

The Naturalist's Corner

The rush to be green is making me blue Let’s see, automakers can get CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) credits for making gas guzzlers like Chevy’s suburban that can run on ethanol. That way they can rate one of those…
By all indications, the closing of Interstate 40 due to a massive rockslide will be more than just a minor headache for many. Through traffic heading west to Tennessee will be directed to I-26 from Asheville, where cars would have…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:13

Recipes

Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad (loosely based on the recipe from the October 2009 Bon Appétit magazine) • 3/4 cup lentils • 6 cups 1-inch pieces peeled seeded sugar pumpkin (from about one 2-pound whole pumpkin or butternut…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:11

Macon rallies to defense of river and wins

Macon County has won a partial victory in the fight over the permitting of an industrial wastewater treatment plant in Rabun County, just across the state line in North Georgia. Earlier this month, Georgia environmental protection officials issued a discharge…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:01

Downtown platform

Several candidates have made downtown revitalization the central tenet of their campaign and consider it the one of the most important issues on the town’s agenda. They include Gene Monson, Carole Edwards, and Kenneth Holland. “When I was growing up,…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:59

The Naturalist's Corner

Slogging through the watershed It was dark, 39 degrees and a steady light drizzle when I walked from the house to my truck last Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. By the time I got to town, the rain had stopped,…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:58

Is this the change you waited for?

By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist In the election of 2008 many Americans aspired for hope and change when Barack Obama won the White House and Democrats increased their majorities in Congress. Today signs of buyers’ remorse are everywhere. Disgruntled…
The joint board that will run the eventual Haywood Regional Medical Center-WestCare affiliation needs to have a sitting Haywood County commissioner as a permanent member, as one Haywood County commissioner is now suggesting. Commissioner Mark Swanger worries that the interest…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:55

Three seek two seats on Maggie Valley board

The Town of Maggie Valley has a town board with four aldermen/alderwomen and a mayor with voting power. Each official serves a four-year term. This November, two spots on the Board of Aldermen are up for election. Alderman Mark DeMeola…
A drill simulating the collapse of a tunnel on Interstate 40 in Haywood County tested and prepared the full gamut of emergency workers during an exercise that spanned 30 hours and involved hundreds of rescue personnel from across the region.…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:53

Whimsical tales defy explanation

Willful Creatures Stories by Aimee Bender. Doubleday & Company, 2005. 208 pages Recently, Garrison Keilor mentioned a new writer, Aimee Bender on his daily post, “The Writer’s Almanac.” Garrison noted that Bender’s quirky and enigmatic books were causing quite a…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:52

Tales from the trail

Jennifer Pharr Davis, the female record-holder for the fastest thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, spoke to a large crowd in the auditorium of Southwestern Community College in Sylva last week, enrapturing students with tales of her trail exploits. While Davis…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:51

WCU raises $50 million for endowment

Western Carolina University last week announced that the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in university history has netted a grand total of $51,826,915 in private giving for endowed scholarships, professorships and programmatic support. The tally is more than $11 million above…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:50

Fishermen to hear report on mercury and walleye

Fish biologists will discuss mercury contamination in fish in mountain lakes at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Swain Campus of Southwestern Community College. The talk will also discuss other issues related to lake fish populations and lake…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:48

Unfinished hotel mars Sylva landscape

The fate of an unfinished Clarion Inn in Sylva is up in the air after a bank foreclosed on the property earlier this month. The developer burned through a $5.1 million construction loan for the hotel but ran out of…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:46

Most make extra effort to hear public

As Haywood County commissioners grapple with a surge in this public input at their meetings, largely from the same crowd week after week, The Smoky Mountain News checked in with surrounding counties to see how they handle public comment periods.…
This November, the Town of Dillsboro will elect all five members of its town board, along with a new mayor to replace Jean Hartbarger, who is stepping down after eight years as mayor and eight years as alderwoman. One incumbent…
By Brent Martin • Guest Columnist When President John F. Kennedy formed a federal-state committee in 1963 known as the President’s Appalachian Regional Commission, one out of every three people living in Appalachia was living below the poverty line. Millions…
Haywood County commissioners are once again considering the abandoned Wal-Mart shell for a new Department of Social Services building. The current DSS building is housed in a cramped and crumbling 80-year-old building that was once the county’s old hospital. Patching…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:38

Haywood says state shirking responsibility

Haywood County commissioner sent a strong message to Raleigh this week, chastising state government for not stepping in to help when the county got sued by a landowner when trying to enforce erosion control standards. The county spent $282,000 on…
Jennifer Pharr Davis says she never set out be a speed hiker. When she first hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 2005 at the age of 21, she was mostly looking for an excuse not to get a job right…
If there’s a buzz word for Maggie Valley’s town board elections this year, it’s “balance.” Alderwoman Saralyn Price said she wants to “equal it out” between residents and businesses in town. Challenger Scott Pauley claims that he’ll bring balance and…
Downtown Sylva will host ColorFest: Art of the Blue Ridge from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24. The event spotlights Western North Carolina artists’ work in shops and on Main Street sidewalks. Artists will be demonstrating their work throughout…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:31

Robust citizen input vexes public officials

Johnnie Cure said she never expected to become a local celebrity when she started speaking up during the public comment period of Haywood County commissioners meetings. Typically taking the county to task over what she perceives as excessive spending, Cure…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:29

A great observer of the Smokies

Arthur Stupka (1905-1999) was the first naturalist in the National Park Service in the eastern United States. That was at Arcadia National Park in Maine, shortly before he became chief naturalist in the newly founded Great Smoky Mountains National Park.…
When Haywood County commissioners convened this week to discuss the fate of the county’s erosion control program, they were met by a deep bench of prominent community members who turned out to show support for Marc Pruett. Pruett is the…
The Haywood Community College Woodsmen’s Team finished first in the 2009 John G. Palmer Intercollegiate Woodsmen’s Meet and Forest Festival Day held at the Cradle of Forestry near Brevard on Oct. 3. The HCC Lumberjacks piled on victory after victory…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:20

NOC to hold fly-fishing tournament with a twist

The Nantahala Outdoor Center will hold its first ever fly-fishing competition Oct. 17 and 18 on the Nantahala River in Swain County. The first day’s events will be held at the Nantahala Outdoor Center on U.S. 19 in the Gorge…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:18

Obama haters showing their true colors

His harshest critics delight in daring you to characterize their frothing hatred — and there is no other word for it — of President Barack Obama as “racist.” They whine, “You just can’t criticize Obama or you’ll be labeled a…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:17

The mystery of Judaculla Rock

Located in a field in the rural Caney Fork community of Jackson County is Judaculla Rock, a soapstone boulder covered with mysterious carvings. The lines, circles and squiggles appear to form distinct shapes, but exactly what they mean, and who…
By Julie Ball As a teenager, Josh Stephens worked summers as a rafting guide on the Nantahala River. He’d watch as trout came up on the water to eat flies. Then a friend, David Woody, introduced him to fly-fishing. That…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:12

Cherokee immersion school aims to save language

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians praised the new Kituwah Language Academy for the cultural renaissance that’s now unfolding within its doors. The official ribbon cutting ceremony last Wednesday (Oct. 7) for the language immersion school’s opening led many speakers…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:10

In the running

The Town of Franklin has a town board with six aldermen/alderwomen and a mayor who votes only to break ties. Mayors serve for two years, while aldermen/alderwomen serve for four. This year, the mayor and three aldermen/alderwomen are up for…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:08

The Naturalist's Corner

The leaves, they are a’ changing It seems like colors popped on the mountains almost overnight last Thursday or Friday. It went from a spot of color here and there to a mix of yellows, reds and oranges splashing down…
Joel Queen has been named the new program coordinator and instructor at the Oconaluftee Institute for Cultural Arts in Cherokee. “We stand on the edge of becoming a truly unique voice in the world for indigenous art and culture,” Queen…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:06

Public art and community involvement

When Wayne Trapp made his proposal to the WPAC last April, he suggested that rather then depict actual countries in the “Celebrating Folkmoot” work, members of the community contribute designs for the seven flags that would become part of his…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:04

A memoir about misguided parents

Lies My Mother Never Told Me by Kaylie Jones. William Morrow, 2009. 284 pages Memoirs by children of famous people and children of alcoholics — and often the twain do meet — have long occupied a special niche in the…
The Haywood County Arts Council’s Gallery 86 will host the exhibit, “Natural Perspectives,” featuring the photographic work of Vietnam veteran George Schober. The concept for Natural Perspectives, which opens Oct. 31, is based on three groups of subject matter: clouds,…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:59

BMP’s problems not apparent

At first glance, it is hard to see why Balsam Mountain Preserve has been unable to satisfy the lenders behind a $19.8 million loan dating to 2005. The exact amount of the payoff on the loan has not been revealed,…
An auditor for Swain County had a clear-cut message to pass on to commissioners this week: make drastic cutbacks in expenditures or hike property taxes. “There’s nothing left,” Auditor Eric Bowman told commissioners at their meeting Monday (Oct. 5). “We…
By Julia Merchant • Contributing writer Priceless artifacts often end up tucked safely away behind the protective glass cases of museums — but not Judaculla Rock. A thin, twisted piece of rusty rebar is all that separates this well-known boulder,…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:55

Downtown Waynesville prepares for a new arrival

The Waynesville Public Art Commission will celebrate the installation of “Celebrating Folkmoot,” their third commissioned public art piece, on Nov. 5. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in front of the new Waynesville Police Station. Colossal in scale, the…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:54

Treadway, Reidmiller run unopposed

This year’s elections in Bryson City will be a cinch for Alderwoman Stephanie Treadway and Alderman Tom Reidmiller. Both are running unopposed to retain their seats on the board. Treadway, a 40-year old insurance agent with Allman Insurance, has been…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:53

Most like plans for Russ Avenue makeover

A proposed redesign of Russ Avenue, the main commercial thoroughfare in Waynesville, received strong public support among those who attended a public workshop last week to learn more about the plan. “I think this has to be done,” said Lyle…