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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…
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…