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Swain County will continue contracting with the Bryson City Fire Department to provide county fire service, despite threatening to cut ties with the department after it asked the county for more money. Earlier this year, the county balked at a…
Wednesday, 24 June 2009 15:49

Sunburst: Fantasy and Reality

By Karen Dill Sunburst. The word evokes a magical image. Yet, in my childhood community of Bethel, Sunburst was simply a place visited on lazy Sunday afternoons in June. It was a mere section of land beyond Lake Logan, but…
Wednesday, 24 June 2009 15:46

Buy local

Haywood Sunburst Trout FarmMakes: Smoked Tomato Jam, trout dip, trout cakes, trout jerky, trout sausage, trout caviar, marinated trout.Find it at: The Nest on Main Street, Waynesville (Smoked Tomato Jam); Ingles (trout dip); or order online at www.sunbursttrout.com.Bethel Eden FarmMakes:…
Across Western North Carolina, an increasing number of people are discovering new and creative ways to use the bounty of produce and farm goods raised in the mountains. From jams to sauces to salves, homegrown chefs and artisans are turning…
Wednesday, 24 June 2009 15:43

Tour retraces Haywood County history

By Ellen Cirino • Special To The Smoky Mountain News The fifth Cold Mountain Heritage Tour, a self-driving tour to historic sites in and around the Haywood County community of Bethel that aren’t open for public access, will be held…
Come the start of fall semester, some Western Carolina University freshmen could find themselves residing in unusual living quarters. A delay in the construction of a new residence hall is forcing WCU staff to scramble for places to put incoming…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 20:14

Maggie festival embraces all things trout

Maggie Valley will celebrate the trout heritage of the Smoky Mountain region with its annual Trout Festival, held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. One of the integral aspects of…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 20:11

Out like trout

Anybody who knows any thing about Western North Carolina is aware of the bountiful rivers and stream waters that paint an awesome landscape for trout fishing. Urban and backcountry waters running in all directions makes the area an attractive mecca…
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino has donated $10,000 to Friends of the Smokies in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year. The contribution recognizes the value of having the most visited national park in the…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 20:01

NC Utility Commission OK with dam seizure

Jackson County appears to be on firm footing in its quest to seize the Dillsboro dam from Duke Energy as far as state law goes, but it is unclear whether the county could hit a roadblock from the Federal Energy…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:57

Swain budget cuts target Sheriff’s office

Swain County commissioners have opted to target one department rather than spreading out county budget cuts among all county employees. Commissioners have scrapped the idea for a mandatory one-week employee furlough, which they had initially seemed to support, and have…
A member of the public was escorted from a Haywood County commissioners meeting Monday (June 15) by a deputy after getting into a verbal altercation with Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick. Tension has been high at county meetings for the past two…
Haywood County became the Westminster of Western North Carolina this past weekend as more than 1,000 dogs and their owners flocked to the area to compete in the first AKC-sanctioned dog show ever held in the far western region. The…
The Cherokee Preservation Foundation recently awarded $87,700 to Western Carolina University’s Craft Revival Project to continue the university’s Cherokee crafts documentation project. Following its initial year, which explored Cherokee baskets and basket makers, the second year of the project will…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:49

They’re here, with beer

The beer business has exploded on the scene in Western North Carolina in the past several years, with Asheville alone now home to seven craft breweries. A recent poll cemented the city’s status as an up-and-coming brewery epicenter, naming it…
Landowners have won a lawsuit against Haywood County claiming they were victims of overbearing enforcement of erosion control laws. Judge Laura Bridges issued her ruling this week, although the case was heard six weeks ago. Bridges ruled in favor of…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:43

Northerners in our southern climes

Elevations above 4,000 feet in the Blue Ridge Province can be thought of as a peninsula of northern terrain extending into the southeastern United States, where typical flora and fauna of northeastern and southeastern North America intermingle. Many plants and…
Swain County will be able to rescind its latest property revaluation — which caused property values to increase by an average of 30 percent — thanks to a bill in the General Assembly. The county had hoped to scrap its…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:41

Bardo declines nomination

Western Carolina University Chancellor John Bardo will not be among the pool of candidates being considered for president of the University of Cincinnati, he announced at a university board of trustees meeting June 5. The fact that his name was…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:38

Garden records

By Jim Webb Don’t you wish you kept good records? I sure do. Those Elvis Presley 45’s, purchased the first day they hit the record store, would probably be worth a fortune now. Oh, well, what did I know in…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:36

The Naturalist's Corner

Birds of a feather Yep, they’ll be flocking June 25 at 10 a.m. at the North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmstead Way in Asheville. The event will commemorate the publication of North Carolina Birding Trail’s Mountain Trail Guide. The…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:32

Terms of Duke’s offer made public

The terms of Duke Energy’s counter-offer to Jackson County and the town of Franklin in exchange for dropping their opposition to Dillsboro dam removal have been made public. Duke Energy made a confidential offer to their opponents two weeks ago…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:29

Woman turns passion into beneficial career

When Suzanne Wilson’s job was eliminated last December, she quickly found a new career, one that would allow her to use her creative talents and provide financial assistance to a cause near and dear to her heart. Wilson, a resident…
Gudger Palmer has never forgotten the fond memories of growing up in Cataloochee Valley. At 100 years old, one memory in particular brings a smile to his lips every time he returns to his old one-room school. “That’s the place…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:27

Macon budget avoids tax increase, layoffs

If you’re a county commissioner in Western North Carolina, it’s hard not to feel envious of Macon County’s budget. While surrounding counties are grappling with layoffs and — in Haywood’s case — a tax increase, Macon County commissioners have managed…
After months of struggling to solve a $7 million budget shortfall, Haywood County commissioners voted 3 to 2 Monday night (June 15) to raise property taxes by 1.7 cents in lieu of more severe cuts to county workers. The two…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:25

Duke begins prepping for dam removal

Despite the looming threat by Jackson County to win control of the Dillsboro Dam using eminent domain, Duke Energy announced that it will begin preparing for its demolition this week by dredging the backlog of sediment from behind the dam.…
By John Sanderson • Guest Columnist It was great to learn recently about the effort the Haywood County Schools Foundation (HCSF) is making to support our school system in these difficult economic times. I applaud HCSF for donating $30,000 to…
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held this week for a new visitor center at the main North Carolina entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park outside Cherokee. The new visitor center will showcase the cultural heritage of the region, from…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:18

Snippets from a poet’s life

Fall of Frost by Brian Hall. Penguin Group, 2008. 352 pages Since his death in 1963, Robert Frost has come to occupy a place in the highest echelon of American poets. In anthologies and textbooks, poems like “Stopping by Woods…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:17

Jackson uses eminent domain to take dam

Jackson County played the ultimate trump card in the drawn-out fight against Duke Energy over the Dillsboro dam this week. County commissioners voted 4 to 1 Monday (June 8) to use the power of eminent domain to seize the dam…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:16

Recreating the past with nostalgic

Remembering Henderson County by Louise Bailey. History Press, 2005. 144 pages. In Louise Bailey’s Remembering Henderson County, the author recreates the past with affection, nostalgia and humor. To me, reading any of her books (I’ve located six of them) is…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:15

The Naturalist's Corner

Goodbye to a native son A light has dimmed in the universe. It was a light that shone with gracious comforting warmth yet it was sparked by a lucidity so radiant, so white hot, that it cut laser-like through the…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:14

Caught in the spider’s alluring web

Spiders are one of the most interesting — and sometimes disconcerting — critters to observe. Especially fascinating, to me, are the various webs they create to capture prey and provide themselves with protection. Spiders are often confused with insects, which…
A proposed tax increase that Haywood residents have fought hard against could likely be avoided if residents would just pay their taxes on time in the first place. But property tax collections are down this year, presumably due to the…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:11

Commissioners' viewpoints

Chairman Brian McMahan “I believe that river belongs to the people of the United States of America. That’s our river. Yes we have benefited from the production of power, but it still belongs to the people. I don’t argue the…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:08

Frequently asked questions

Why does Duke want to tear down the dam? Dam removal is tied to the larger issue of mitigation for Duke’s hydropower operations in the region. Duke operates 10 other dams on five rivers in the region. The permits for…
Photographer Ken Wilson of Waynesville recently published his first book, The Aleutian Islands of Alaska, Living on the Edge. The book is a stunning compilation of photos from Alaska where Wilson went with wife, Kathy, to serve as missionaries to…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:06

Cherokee casino to be dry no more

When Beverly Easton came to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino for the first time and realized there was no drinking, she wondered how an alcohol-free casino could even exist. “I think it is a deterrent,” said Easton, who was visiting Harrah’s from…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:05

A race against time

While it’s hard to imagine as one gazes at the vast wilderness of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, more than two-thirds of the lush forests were clear-cut by timber companies in a couple of short decades preceding the park’s…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:04

Jackson takes on Duke Energy

Jackson County’s decision to take the Dillsboro dam through eminent domain is a bold next step in the relicensing saga that has been playing out for years. Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday night to use one of the strongest powers they…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:01

Parents turn out to support Swain principal

A group of nearly 45 parents and friends came out to show their support for embattled Swain County West Elementary School Principal Rick Abel at a school board meeting Monday night (June 8), but left with few answers to their…
At long last, Wal-Mart will be coming to Cherokee. A move to bring a 120,000-square-foot superstore to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Reservation has been in the works for nearly four years. On May 20, the tribal council voted…
When people say that Jim Carrey can’t act and that his movies are terrible, I always point to “The Truman Show,” which is not only a great movie, but has a great theme, a warning of the pernicious influence of…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 18:56

Doing the public’s business in the open

By Avram Friedman Receiving public input is not a discretionary part of the decision-making process for elected public officials in North Carolina. It is mandated by law that local elected officials provide the opportunity for public input before making decisions…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 18:56

Ghost Town CEO preaches cohesive marketing

Ghost Town CEO Steve Shiver told players in the Haywood County tourism community they need to pull together if they want to effectively market and brand the region. Shiver invited members of the tourism and business community to a breakfast…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer The misty mountaintops and bubbling creeks of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have served as a source of inspiration for countless artists. In celebration of the Parks’ 75th anniversary, some are now choosing…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:54

The unique ways of the kingfisher

Belted kingfishers are one of my favorite birds. A pair fishes along the small creek on our property during the breeding season. In winter they move downstream to the Tuckasegee River, although the male will make infrequent appearances from mid-November…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:52

Gorge outfitters debate direction

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer A year ago, a group of more than 40 rafting outfitters gathered to discuss ways to boost declining visitor numbers in the Nantahala Gorge. The meeting, coordinated by regional tourism entity Smoky Mountain Host,…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:50

New model for mountain living

Mixed-use developments where residents live, work, shop and dine within a few block radius are popping up in cities around the nation, but have been slower to take hold in the mountains of Western North Carolina. One Macon County developer…