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As the director of Southwestern Community College’s new Plus 50 program, Michael Rich is rapidly working in the community to get his face and program recognized. An initiative of the American Association of Community Colleges, Plus 50 focuses on learning,…
Mountain Projects, Inc. through a collaborative effort with the Area Agency on Aging and Progress Energy is sponsoring Operation Fan-Heat Relief Program for seniors. People 60 years or older whose health would otherwise suffer during hot summer months and seniors…
After a tenuous state budget debate, The Farmland Preservation Trust Fund emerged with $2 million in funding for the upcoming fiscal year. The Farmland Preservation Trust Fund helps permanently protect tracts of farmland by funding conservation agreements with working farmers.…
A raffle drawing and silent auction will be held on 6 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at Mountain View Intermediate School in Franklin with proceeds going to the Roy Rickman Scholarship. The Rickman Scholarship is Macon County’s largest local private scholarship.…
The Sylva town board voted unanimously to adopt a new parking ordinance that will fine downtown employees and business owners if they park on Main or Mill streets — a move aimed at alleviating the parking pinch downtown during commercial…
The sweltering heat this summer is restricting some outdoor activities, but it’s a prime time for lizard watching. Lizards don’t mind the heat; indeed, many of them are highly adapted to dry climatic conditions. Lizard watching can be done from…
Whether you’re a birder or mountain biker, paddler or hiker, photographer or hunter, now is your chance to bend the President’s ear on the future of outdoor recreation in America. A series of listening sessions are being held across the…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 19:25

Hosta, hosta, hosta

The Dixie Region Hosta Convention will be in Waynesville Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17, at Rux Gardens. Lovers of the shade tolerant plant will assemble for seminars, garden tours, vending and auction. Plant vendors will be set up…
Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market will have a festival in conjunction with the long-awaited arrival of summer corn and tomatoes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 17. The market has been bustling for weeks with colorful produce, homemade bread,…
The Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River members and all who are interested in clean mountain streams are invited to the WATR Summer Public meeting on Wednesday, July 21, at the Sylva Town Hall in Jackson County. The Watershed Association…
From bark shingles to edible mushrooms, entrepreneurs across Western North Carolina are being encouraged to tap the resources of the national forests for creative business endeavors. More than $1.2 million in federal stimulus money has been granted to 14 small…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 19:08

Bee balm

The girls love to surprise Mom with bouquets of wildflowers. The other day they came in with a handful of one of my favorites, bee balm. Monarda didyma, bee balm or Oswego tea, is a striking perennial wildflower common across…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 19:06

New toilets in Cataloochee Valley

Cataloochee Valley, a popular section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Haywood County, finally has restrooms. Cataloochee Valley offers a historical representation of an early mountain community with farmhouses, cemeteries, a church and school house. It also has…
The mountains of Western North Carolina are rapidly becoming the top destination for serious cyclists east of the Mississippi. The latest long-distance race to join the local cycling scene is the Blue Ridge Breakaway on Aug. 21, the first of…
Mary J. Messer, author of the Haywood County based memoir, Moonshiner’s Daughter, will hold the kick-off launch for her newly published book from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 17, in front of the historic courthouse in Waynesville Messer’s…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:49

Piecing together a picture of home

Although Americans are known for their wandering ways, traveling to California in Conestoga wagons, taking the train to find a place in Broadway’s spotlight, many also retain in their hearts a deep affection for a particular place. Whether that place…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:48

Help feed Folkmoot’s dancers

More than 350 dancers and musicians from across the globe will arrive in Waynesville on July 19 to participate in the 27th annual Folkmoot International Festival, and a project is under way to provide as much fresh food as possible…
The Original Twin Piano Twins, Mark and Clark, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 16, and Saturday, July 17, at Eaglenest Entertainment in Maggie Valley. Mark and Clark Seymour have been playing the piano since they were 4 years…
Craft artists are invited to submit digital images of their work by July 19 to be considered for inclusion in The Bascom’s juried exhibition “American Craft Today.” This national competition and exhibition will feature original works in all craft media:…
The Haywood Arts Regional Theatre is pulling the stops out for its production of the smash hit “Chicago,” which opened July 9. “Chicago The Musical” has become the longest-running revival in Broadway history, with more than 5,600 performances, along with…
Aaron Plantenberg was relaxing by a lake in northern Wisconsin when his vacation was abruptly cut short by a phone call. Fortunately, it was a good surprise. Plantenberg and his bandmates in Bryson City-based Big House Radio learned they were…
To the Editor: The Smoky Mountain News and Western Carolina University’s Gibb Knotts and Chris Cooper are to be commended for a job well done (“Jackson County Political Poll” in the July 7 Smoky Mountain News). County Commissioners Tom Massie…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:33

The real problem with the economy

To the Editor: Let’s look at what truly stimulates an economy, creates jobs, drives markets and produces tax revenue to fund government services. Should it be a mystery that in a brief period of time the greatest economy in history…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:31

Feds listening to our outdoors agenda

By Ken MurphyWestern North Carolina is a special place, a region with awe-inspiring scenic vistas, waterways and forested watersheds that are home to unmatched biodiversity, and rural landscapes and cultural sites that remind us of our heritage on a daily…
By Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts Beginning in 2009 with a series of protests focusing on what participants viewed as excessive government taxation, the TEA Party movement has grown into one of the most prominent political stories of…
By Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts A creature once roamed the American South that many now presume to be endangered if not extinct — the conservative Democrat. For nearly a century following the Civil War, almost all white…
By Michael Morris • Guest ColumnistThe sale of alcohol has become a hot topic in Western North Carolina. In 2010, voters in Burnsville and Weaverville passed ballot measures approving alcohol sales, and last August voters in Clay County approved countywide…
By Christopher Cooper and Gibbs Knotts Confidence in politics, politicians and government is low. President Obama’s approval rating hovers around 50 percent as he deals with two wars and what may turn out to be the worst environmental disaster in…
Franklin Alderman Bob Scott wants to know what people think about a proposed Super Wal-Mart on the edge of town. Instead of stumping on the street corners, Scott has posted a survey on the web using an online polling tool.…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:21

Scam targets hotel owners

When a $4,000 payment showed up in the mail to cover a $1,195 bill, Jim Freeman knew something was up. Freeman, owner of Freeman’s Motel in Almond, made his way to Google and learned he had just narrowly avoided a…
When the Summit Charter School found a new home last year, it left behind an empty space in the heart of the Cashiers’ Village Green, a 12.5-acre green space created with private donations in 1992. The board of directors for…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:15

HRMC uses garden therapy

The engineering, grounds and Behavioral Health Unit at Haywood Regional Medical worked together to brighten the hospital community by planting a rose garden. Research has shown that hospital patients whose windows looked out at landscape scenery recovered from surgery quicker…
At the end of a rough week, your dog might consider stopping in at Smoky Mountain Dog Bakery in Dillsboro for “Yappy Hour” or perhaps heading to Woof Gang Bakery in Cashiers for a homemade gourmet treat. Dogs older than…
A state mental health agency and its sister nonprofit are locked in a debate over whether the nonprofit should continue operating independently. Millions in state and county tax dollars have been funneled to Evergreen Foundation, a mental health nonprofit serving…
Board members of Smoky Mountain Center, a state mental health agency for the 15 western counties, have questioned whether its partner nonprofit foundation does enough to benefit mental health and substance abuse services in the region. Tom McDevitt, the director…
For farmers who rely on the Tuckasegee River to irrigate their crops, a brutal summer heat wave and dry spell took a turn for the worst this month when too much mud in the river forced them to shut down…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:06

SCC recognized for performance

Southwestern Community College was one of only 11 colleges to earn an exceptional rating in the annual performance measures report recently released by the North Carolina Community College System. The performance measures were adopted by the State Board of Community…
The only woman to head a college or university construction management department in the United States has joined the faculty of Western Carolina University as the Joe W. Kimmel Distinguished Professor of Construction Management. J.K. Yates began her duties as…
Measuring the overall health of a population at the local level is an elusive and cumbersome task. As a result, there have been few statistical studies historically that hint at how Western North Carolina stacks up. But this year, an…
Armando Basulto had his opponent’s arm sandwiched between his legs. He leaned forward, putting pressure on the man’s shoulder. The man gritted his teeth and patted the mat in surrender. Basulto slid away from the man who was still belly…
As Macon County closes in on a steep slope ordinance, some members of the building and real estate industry fear the new regulations will pose an unwanted barrier into a construction economy that is already hurting. “No one so far…
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 21:01

Rekindling memories of High Rocks

This is about a place, High Rocks, a lookout situated at just over 5,000 feet on Welch Ridge in the national park. Welch Ridge is the massive divide between Forney and Hazel creeks on the North Carolina side of the…
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 21:00

Jackson farmers roll out the welcome mat

A staggering 15 farms and gardens will open their fields and greenhouses to the public during the Jackson County Farm Tour held from 1 to 5 p.m. on July 10 and 11. Tour-goers will recieve a map and descriptions of…
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 20:59

Parkway’s glories honored by Congress

A resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway is slated for passage by Congress. “The Blue Ridge Parkway offers some of the most spectacular mountain views in the nation, as well as an important source of income…
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 20:58

Kick up your heels for Folkmoot 5K

A race with an international flare, the annual Folkmoot 5K, will be held on Saturday, July 31, in Waynesville. The 5K Run/Walk and Kid’s Fun Run is held in conjunction with the Folkmoot dance and music festival, which brings 300…
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 20:57

Into the wild at Mountain Wildlife Days

Mountain Wildlife Days will bring a line-up of nature talks, wildlife programs and guided hikes to the Cashiers area on July 16 and 17. The annual event attracts outdoors lovers from across the region. Friday has a series of three…
A new video podcast called “Day Hiking and Wildlife” has been created to educate hikers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — or anywhere in bear country for that matter — on proper etiquette. The podcast covers park rules,…
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 20:55

Smokies gala a success

Smokies gala a successFriends of the Smokies raised $20,000 to support special projects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the “Spring for the Smokies” gala held last month in Waynesville. More than 160 park supporters attended the fourth…
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 20:54

Green spaces — good places

We were in Rock Hill, S.C., this past weekend enjoying our annual Fourth of July ritual of visiting my little sister. She has horses and a pool, and if we went anywhere else for the Fourth, we would probably have…
Last Thursday morning was atypical for song sparrow IR-IF. While defending his territory from the song of an intruding male, he landed in the net of Jeremy Hyman, a biology professor at Western Carolina University. Held tightly in Hyman’s hand,…