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Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:46

Ghost Town appears in bankruptcy court

Ghost Town in the Sky revealed last week that it was driven into bankruptcy by the threat of foreclosure from BB&T, which holds outstanding debt on the property to the tune of $9.5 million. In a bankruptcy hearing in federal…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:45

Bradbury succeeds again with new novel

We’ll Always Have Paris by Ray Bradbury. William Morrow, 2009. 224 pages Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Ill., — the town became Greentown in Dandelion Wine and many of his short stories — in 1920. He published his first…
A jailer and the murder suspect she allegedly freed from the Swain County Detention Center a month ago were apprehended in Vallejo, Calif., on Sunday (April 19). The jailer, Anita Vestal, 32, was unharmed, much to the relief of her…
An angry crowd stormed downtown Franklin on tax day last week, protesting the federal government’s bailouts, high taxes and pork barrel spending. The Tea Party protest was one of hundreds that took place across the nation April 15, the first…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:42

Tourist industry lines up to tap TDA coffers

Requests for Haywood Tourism Development Authority money this year ran the gamut from the predictable to events making their debut this season. The TDA generates a pot of money from a 4 percent tax levied each time someone pays for…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:41

Local activist arrested at Cliffside protest

Avram Friedman, leader of the Sylva-based air quality group the Canary Coalition, was arrested during a protest march in Charlotte Monday (April 20) against Duke Energy’s new Cliffside power plant proposed for Rutherford County. More than 400 marchers, including Friedman,…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:40

Art as a spectator sport

More than 40 artists will race against the clock this weekend, crafting a piece of art from scratch in just one hour during the annual Quick Draw event in Waynesville. Quick Draw will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:39

When is it safe to plant?

By Jim Janke When is it safe to plant tender annuals and vegetables in Haywood County? The standard answer we give in the plant clinic is May 15th. Before then you risk damage from a frost. But is May 15th…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:38

Ancient chemical warfare

I’m sometimes asked if the prehistoric Cherokees used any sort of poisons on their blowgun darts. These darts (slivers of black locust, hickory, or white oak) were from 10- to 20-inches long with thistledown tied at one end to form…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:37

Grandview Lodge

When Terry Ferguson and his wife Nancy bought the Grandview Lodge in 2008, they knew they were taking on a responsibility above and beyond restoring the old building. With the purchase, the couple became the keepers of an important piece…
Maggie Valley will roll out the welcome mat next weekend for more than 3,500 motorcycle riders descending on the tiny Smoky Mountain town for the annual Thunder in the Smokies Motorcycle Rally held April 24 through 26. With hundreds of…
By Becky Johnson & Julia Merchant • Staff writer Haywood Regional Medical Center and WestCare announced plans to join forces under a newly created parent company. In addition, they will enter a management agreement with Carolinas HealthCare System, a large…
When most business owners cast their eyes about the office — noting the reams of white paper spilling off the printer, the blinking lights on computers not shut down at the end of the day, the drafty crack under the…
In response to a growing concern about a new malady that has killed an estimated 400,000 bats north of here and may be headed this way, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has closed all of its caves to public…
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:24

The Naturalist's Corner

Canaries in the coalmine As I passed the kitchen windows last Friday (4/10), a brilliant red streak caught my eye. I followed the streak to a branch in one of the large poplars at the corner of the deck. There…
Western Carolina University softball star Mollie Fowler painfully remembers the day her shin broke in half playing shortstop. She dove for a ball and collided with the second baseman’s cleat. Drama like this plays out on the athletic fields at…
Waynesville’s South Main Street — the two-lane thoroughfare that is the major artery between downtown and the new Super Wal-Mart — could be increased to four lanes and even have roundabouts, according to preliminary redesign options recently laid out by…
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:21

Swain’s tax base just got even smaller

Swain County, 86 percent of which is already owned by the federal government, lost a little more land from its tax rolls this month when commissioners voted to transfer 621 acres of land to become part of the Eastern Band…
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:20

Jackson Paper bucks manufacturing trend

Last week’s announcement that 61 new jobs are coming to Sylva with the expansion of Jackson Paper is relief for a town hurting from the closing of the T&S Hardwoods sawmill that employed 75. Stonewall Packaging LLC, a joint venture…
Waynesville leaders will finally kick off the town’s much-anticipated review of its six-year-old land use plan on April 22. Town aldermen have hired the Davidson-based Lawrence Group, renowned in planning circles, as the consultant for the project. A $10,000 grant…
The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority will weigh the merits of grant applications from tourism groups over the coming week. Every year, tourism initiatives, from festivals to visitor center operations, compete for funding from the tourism authority. Haywood County hopes…
Macon County commissioners voiced concern this week over a proposed sewer treatment plant that would discharge into the Little Tennessee River just across the state line in Georgia. The river, considered an environmental treasure and a future source of drinking…
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has announced plans for an affordable housing development and substance abuse treatment center in Swain County. The tribe plans to build an affordable multi- and single-family housing development on a 300-acre tract in the…
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:15

Everyone's mother

Mother Jones by Elliott J. Gorn. Hill and Wang, 2002. 408 pages. When Mother Jones celebrated her (allegedly) 100th birthday on May 1, 1930, our nation rejoiced with her. Hundreds of telegrams arrived from statesmen, celebrities and politicians, including Eugene…
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:14

Dogwoods in the mountains

In the Smokies region, there are three species of dogwood. Everyone is familiar with flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), which is starting to flower this week, but the others are less well known. Alternate-leaved or pogada dogwood (C. alternifolia) is the…
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:13

Nuisance debate both crass and credible

Every now and then a government proposal takes on such a vigorous life of its own that its intent gets clouded, those supporting it — or just discussing it even-handedly — get tarred and feathered and what started as an…
In Massachusetts, a vacant textile mill is now an art museum. An old city hall became a restaurant. In California, a sprawl of empty factories were transformed into a shopping district. Across the country, vacant industrial sites as well as…
A throng of about 150 angry members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians turned out to the Birdtown Community Center last week, protesting that the Tribal government is to blame for losing $57 million that was to go to…
Take note — members of the public with an agenda to push could learn a thing or two from the mass of Haywood County residents who came out repeatedly to protest the county’s proposed nuisance ordinance. Commissioners voted unanimously at…
Between blue skies and blue water, the inaugural Lake Junaluska Duathlon won over dozens of runners and bikers this weekend. “It’s basically the perfect set-up. I couldn’t imagine a better venue,” said Ken Howell, a racer who lives in Haywood…
The neighborhood covenants of a Maggie Valley homeowners association were put to the test in court recently. A developer sued the Sherwood Forest homeowners association after they tried to block his foray into rental condos. David G. Baker, formerly of…
Residents of a downtown Waynesville neighborhood are up in arms about a proposed three-story, 64-unit condo development that would provide affordable housing for senior citizens — and, they fear, also lower the property values of their homes. The development, called…
Owners of Ghost Town in the Sky hope to funnel up to $500,000 into the amusement park in order to get it open by summer. A recently created limited liability corporation called Resurrection Partners has emerged as a vehicle to…
Opposition to the airport runway extension in Macon County continues to mount, with a standing-room-only crowd attending last week’s Airport Authority meeting and an environmental group threatening to sue and stop the project. The controversial runway project would pave over…
The Sylva Police Department may find a new home in the Jackson County Public Library on Main Street once the library moves to its new location. The building would become available for the police department in December 2010 when the…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:58

From South America to the Appalachians

Alpacas herald from South America, but are increasingly being found on farms in the Southern Appalachians. Alpacas are in the same family as llamas and camels, hence the resemblance. They’re the oldest domesticated animal on the planet. The first alpacas…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:57

New Swain jail continues to rack up costs

Weeks following an escape at the brand-new Swain County jail, county commissioners agreed to an emergency appropriation of $139,000 at the request of Sheriff Curtis Cochran. Cochran asked commissioners for the money at their meeting Monday (April 6) to cover…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:56

Weavers bring finest of craft to WNC

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer This April, nearly 100 professional weavers and spinners will converge at Lake Junaluska in Haywood County for the Southeast Fiber Forum. They’ll come to share their knowledge and learn new crafts — “everything from…
Despite losing yet another court battle over the Dillsboro dam, the majority of Jackson County commissioners have vowed to continue their fight to save the structure. Superior Court Judge Laura Bridges on March 23 ordered that Jackson County issue permits…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:54

Jackson Paper adding 61 jobs in Sylva

Stonewall Packaging LLC, a joint venture of Jackson Paper Manufacturing Co., announced today that it will invest more than $17 million to build a new facility in Sylva for the production of recycled cardboard packaging. The investment will result in…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:53

Anne Rice’s spiritual journey

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. 256 pages. The books are piling up around my desk, which means the time has come for a spring cleaning. Several books, all read in the…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:52

Park starts lengthy reorganization process

Despite the daunting hurdles faced by Ghost Town in the Sky to get the Maggie Valley amusement park open by summer, it could be only the beginning of a long, uphill slog to pull through bankruptcy reorganization. Ghost Town managers…
The town of Sylva continues to be plagued by a financial mistake made last year in which $2 million in town funds were invested in accounts not allowed by state statute. At the town commission meeting last week, Mayor Brenda…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:49

Get ready for life in the fast lane

It seems impossible that my niece is going to have a baby. She is 20 years old, which is about the same age as my favorite pair of Levis. I remember when she was born. We all crowded around the…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:48

The Naturalist's Corner

Watershed dreaming Last Saturday (April 4) was another sojourn into the town of Waynesville’s 8,500-acre plus watershed. The town initiated these watershed hikes back in 2007 to introduce town residents and other interested parties to this amazing resource that has…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:48

Local couple recognized for land stewardship

John and Jane Young of Haywood County have been recognized by the North Carolina Forest Stewardship Program for their commitment to natural resource conservation on their land in the Upper Crabtree area of Haywood County. The couple wanted to bring…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:47

Alpacas: Furry, friendly and in 23 colors

The group that Joe Moore hangs out with most days is an eclectic one, with names like Jack Straw, Reuben, and James Brown. They’re a loyal bunch, following Moore around his Bethel farm whenever they get a chance. They don’t…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:46

Ghost Town’s struggles challenge community

As Ghost Town continues to struggle, many are finally coming to grips with the reality that the Old West theme park may never be the economic engine it once was. Ghost Town has had ongoing financial problems since it re-opened…
An environmental group out of Asheville plans to sue the Macon County Airport Authority and other parties involved in the proposed extension of the runway. The group, Wild South, wants to stop the runway from being extended, saying the project…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:42

Old stone walls redux

(Author’s Note: While running random Internet searches, I occasionally am confronted from out of the blue, as it were, with something I wrote years ago that I’d absolutely forgotten I’d written and failed to store in my computer files. Most…