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Jackson The Jackson County board consists of four commissioners and one chairman. This year, the two commissioner seats and chairman are up for election. Commissioners must live within their voting district to seek election, but the county chairman is elected…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

SCC’s Cecil Groves to retire at end of year

Cecil Groves, president of Southwestern Community College since 1997, informed the board of trustees and college faculty and staff that he will retire at the end of this academic year. “As for everything and everyone, there is a season. My…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

Back to the old homestead

Sometimes you have to go away to come home again. Way up Coweeta Gap in south Macon County is a place at the end of Shope Road called Sanders Knob. Paul and Lara Chew live there in a cabin that…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

The Naturalist's Corner

On the road to recovery Friends of the Western North Carolina Nature Center unveils its New Winter Speaker Series on native animals at the Folk Art Center at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6. Asheville native Warren Parker, retired chief…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

Quick facts

• The mill is operating within state pollution limits on most counts. The current permit allows a variance in two areas: temperature and water color. In the new permit, the mill is again seeking a variance for temperature, but not…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

Sun power supplies a path to simplicity

Lydia Aydlett first moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina during the height of the back-to-the-land movement, and it’s taken her all the time since to understand why living a sustainable life is so important to her. Aydlett grew…
Macon County Chairman Ronnie Beale knew the county had a problem when two young working mothers contacted him directly following the closure of a daycare and unable to find openings elsewhere. “They were saying ‘We don’t have anywhere to send…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

Haywood Waterways applauds water guardians

Haywood Waterways Association recently gave out 2009 stewardship awards to several people and organizations that have worked to protect and improve the waterways of Haywood County. n Volunteer Organization of the Year went to Mike Gillespie and the Richland Creek…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Not for the faint of heart

The highly technical and extremely dangerous work to stabilize the rockslide is being carried out by Janod, a Canadian company. A leading expert in rock stabilization, they get called in by mines, quarries, railroads and highway departments to shore up…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

The Naturalist's Corner

And the dam - came tumblin’ tumblin’ The Dillsboro Dam story is as twisted and convoluted as the Tuck itself. You had Jackson County commissioners who made property rights one of the underpinnings of their election campaigns voting in favor…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

All about tea

Editor’s Note: Since January is National Tea Month, The Smoky Mountain News talked to some of the tea connoisseurs in Western North Carolina about their love of tea and disdain for the traditional iced tea so popular in the South.…
If all goes according to plan, a new regional livestock market will open in Canton by late May to more than 3,000 happy cattle farmers from Western North Carolina. The venue will again provide a stable market to help livestock…
Balsam Mountain Preserve, a mega-development in Jackson County, was sold to the highest bidder on the courthouse steps Monday (Jan. 25) in a closely followed foreclosure proceeding. TriLyn, a private equity investment firm which initiated the foreclosure, was the highest…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

How to fix a mountainside

In the first days following the rockslide on Interstate 40 last October, Jody Kuhne had the unenviable job of rappelling down the freshly scoured rock face and into a gaping chasm left in the mountainside. As the DOT’s resident expert…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Virtual fieldtrip brings park into classrooms

Three Cherokee Middle School students starred in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park live field broadcast via the web to hundreds of schools across the nation last month. The rest of Cherokee’s middle school students watched the virtual fieldtrip from…
By Joe Cowan • Guest Columnist Editor’s note: Jackson County Commissioner Joe Cowan made the following comments following a vote last week to stop legal proceedings against Duke Energy over its plan to take down the Dillsboro Dam, the centerpiece…
With the rest of the region’s construction economy at a standstill, Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino is in the midst of a massive expansion project employing nearly 1,000 workers. “We’re kind of creating our own gravity in terms of labor…
After making the journey to Western North Carolina from China, Niu Jun discovered Bryson City was nothing like she imagined. Driving through the town of about 1,300, a confused Niu Jun asked, “Bryson City? Where’s the city?” Niu Jun, 33,…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Jackson finally folds in long feud with Duke

The seven-year battle between Jackson County commissioners and Duke Energy has come to a close. After losing a critical court battle this month, Jackson County commissioners voted 4 to 1 to give up their legal fight against Duke Energy last…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

A different take on a legend

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell. Saint Martin’s Press, 1997. I was probably 10 years old when I discovered King Arthur in the local library. I never got over it. That battered copy of Bullfinch’s Mythology was filled with illustrations…
The newest addition to Southwestern Community College’s Oconaluftee Institute of Cultural Arts holds a piece of Cherokee history. OICA will soon obtain a letterpress that will be used to print books in the Cherokee syllabary. “We are bringing back the…
Another rockslide struck along the already closed section of Interstate 40 over the weekend. The new slide is nothing like the earlier one, but big enough in its own right. It covered both westbound lanes just past exit 7 at…
The Waynesville Public Art Commission recently issued a Call for Artists for its fourth public art project. The proposed art will celebrate the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its historic relationship to Waynesville. For many years an arched sign…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Waynesville producer wins national award

Producer, editor and videographer John Kenyon of Waynesville has been selected to receive the Award of Excellence in the slide and multimedia programs category by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education for District III. Kenyon was cited…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Family farm builds Brasstown Beef brand

It’s a slogan even the slickest New York ad firm couldn’t top if it tried: “Real Beef. Raised Right. Around Here.” It would be equally hard to find a cattle ranch better suited to the motto than Brasstown Beef, a…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Life on the rock

Workers on the rockslide slope are laboring around the clock. There’s a day crew and a night crew, ranging from 15 to 25 men per shift. They labor for 10 hours at a stretch on the side of a steep,…
Comprehensive planning is supposed to be, well, comprehensive. But as Macon County leaders are finding out, it’s not that easy to get the public’s opinion on how its government should work for the next 20 years. After a three-month effort…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Davis was a poetic nature writer

The professional career of biologist Millard C. (“Bill”) Davis — who was born in 1930 in Utica, N.Y., and now resides in Dunnellon, Fla. – included stints as a teacher and editor in various capacities. He has been president of…
William Maney, owner of Fantasy Travel in Sylva, allegedly defrauded an elderly woman from Franklin out of $7,000 last year by stealing her credit card and using it to purchase airline tickets for other clients, according to charges filed by…
Get ready to hit the slopes and participate in meaningful worship at Lake Junaluska’s Ministries with Young People (MYP) annual THAW President’s Day Weekend, February 12 – 15, 2010. MYP at Lake Junaluska offers Christian youth ski weekends packed with…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Elk delisting draws ire of protectors

“Elk don’t know how many feet a horse has.” That’s the advice Bear Claw Chris Lapp gave Jeremiah Johnson as the pair hid behind their horses while stalking elk in the eponymous Robert Redford film. Well, according to Jackson County…
The bankruptcy of one of Western Carolina University’s largest supporters will hurt the school’s fast growing construction management program. In 2005 Joe Kimmel, owner of Asheville-based Kimmel & Associates, pledged nearly $7 million over eight years to the construction management…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

National Guard soldiers deserve better

The Smoky Mountain News cover story last week about the troubles faced by returning National Guard soldiers after deployments in Irag and Afghanistan will hopefully open many people’s eyes to this issue. Reporter Giles Morris wrote about the post-traumatic stress…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

The Naturalist's Corner

And then there were none Atlee Yoder’s purple martin houses are in storage, out of the raw Ohio weather, awaiting spring and the first scout of the new season. But herein lies the rub — Yoder’s houses did not come…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

If you reform a reform, is it still reform?

Michael Watson, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, contends the state’s overhaul of its behavioral health system doesn’t amount to an abandonment of its past reform effort of 2003. “I wouldn’t call it a rollback of…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Close-up of a crumbling facility

Fire code violations, compromised client confidentiality, leaking roofs, freezing pipes, lack of energy efficiency, severely limited space, windows that won’t close... The problems with the current DSS and health department facilities would take pages to list. And the issues have…
NOTE: Gracie Mayer won the Building Small Essay Contest held in conjunction with the N.C. Arboretum's Building Small exhibit and sponsored by Smoky Mountain Living. Here is her winning entry: If you’re wondering what it’s like to live in a…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

New club nurtures growing interest in bees

A beekeepers association has formed in Haywood County. The club meets at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Office in Waynesville off Raccoon Road. The club has seen a huge level of interest…
Year after year, Haywood County commissioners recognized the social service and health department buildings were falling apart. Yet they passed the buck, hoping the next set of fresh-faced commissioners would tackle the lingering issue. Last week, county commissioners got over…
The North Carolina Wildlife Commission is at odds with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the status of the newly reintroduced elk herd. The N.C. Wildlife Commission has come under fire for its plan to remove elk from the…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

A tale of both despair and hope

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath by Elizabeth and Michael Norman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. 480 pages In the summer of 1966 I worked one day a week as a volunteer…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

A look at John Preston Arthur

One of my favorite accounts of this region’s varied history is provided by John Preston Arthur, who published his 659-page volume titled Western North Carolina: A History (From 1730 to 1913) in 1914. Originally published by The Edward Buncombe Chapter…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Swain plods toward fund balance recovery

Despite cutting corners across the board, Swain County still isn’t sure it has achieved a healthy level of savings. Nevertheless, County Manager Kevin King is guessing the county will pull out of its financial crisis by early spring. “That’s not…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Duke prevails over Jackson

The seven-year battle between Jackson County commissioners and Duke Energy has come to a close. After losing a critical court battle last week, Jackson County commissioners vote 4 to 1 to give up their legal fight against Duke Energy at…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Wal-Mart no more

Haywood County commissioners are joining a burgeoning nationwide movement that is making use of abandoned Wal-Marts and foresaken strip malls in creative ways. Deserted Wal-Marts across the country have been reworked into a library, a mega-church, an indoor flea market,…
The Town of Canton has begun clamping down on video sweepstakes machines with a new ordinance last week, but some business owners seemed more relieved than disappointed. That’s because the ordinance ends the 90-day moratorium passed in November and clears…
Canton aldermen are embarking on an ambitious quest to identify long-term goals and strategies that will shape the town in years to come. “You’ve got to have a plan, and this is the plan for the future of Canton,” said…
The state agency in charge of implementing new mental health rules this year says those changes will save money and improve quality, but some providers see it as a knee-jerk reaction that will limit access to services and put people…
Audience members knew from the start that this concert would be different. Instead of beginning the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver show by bringing out the legendary bluegrass band, concertgoers were given an acting lesson of sorts. They were instructed to…
A 31-year-old attorney in Jackson County pleaded guilty this week to forging judges’ signatures and creating phony court documents. John Lewis faked the signatures on limited privilege driver’s licenses for at least three clients in Swain County who had their…