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Water pollution stemming from a Waynesville rock quarry is 100 times higher than that allowed under state standards, according to recent creek sampling by a state water quality specialist. Silt running off the Harrison Construction rock quarry into nearby Allens…
While Sylva’s downtown organization struggles for stable financial footing, similar programs in Waynesville and Franklin are seeing the results that strong support can yield. In May, Gov. Bev Perdue announced the awards of the first round of state funding for…
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 15:09

DSA’s future tenuous without more money

Recently, the town of Sylva passed a $1.6 million budget on a 3 to 2 vote. The most contentious line item in the finance package was a $12,000 allocation to the Downtown Sylva Association. Since the DSA was formed in…
Hikers and map geeks will revel in poring over a new map of the Bartram Trail being released this week. The map covers a 75-mile stretch of the Bartram Trail that winds through the Nantahala National Forest of Macon and…
The Sylva town board is in for another shakeup. The board will vote at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, to appoint a replacement for Sarah Graham, who had to step down from her position because she and her family…
The make-up of Sylva’s town board shifted this week when board members voted 3-1 to replace outgoing board member Sarah Graham with Harold Hensley. The vote changes the town’s disposition from one with a progressive voting majority to one likely…
Swain County residents overwhelmingly chose John Ensley in Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff for sheriff — those who voted anyway. Ensley, the owner of Yellow Rose Realty, easily prevailed over opponent Mitchell Jenkins with 478 votes. With more than 60 percent…
At a special session of the Swain County board last week, Commissioner David Monteith stood up and stunned the crowd with a controversial proposal for spending the North Shore Road cash settlement money. Monteith called for a one-year suspension of…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:57

The Naturalist's Corner

Still soaring after all these years Eagle Lady Doris Mager enjoyed a “rock star” reception last Friday (6/18) at the Waynesville public library. But instead of overage adolescents flicking bics and shouting “Freebird,” Mager and her friend E.T. (Extra Terrific),…
A packed public hearing last week over a Waynesville rock quarry pitted neighbors opposing an expansion of the mine against its workers. The Allens Creek quarry mines granite, which is used in road building and is the primary raw material…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:55

Coastal Crusaders

When asked how he felt about the catastrophic BP oil spill, Robert Young paused for the first time during the interview, visibly moved. “It’s depressing...don’t make me cry,” Young said before walking over to his desktop and opening up a…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:54

Building boom underway in medical field

Every hospital in the MedWest Health System — which covers Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties — will see new construction in the next few years. A one-story urgent care center, also housing minor X-ray and laboratory services, will be built…
The Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has passed a new enrollment ordinance that requires DNA testing for new applicants to the tribe’s rolls. The DNA testing will be used to verify the applicant’s parental lineage. The…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:53

Beekeeping in the mountains

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in June 2003. Honey was a primary sweetening agent for the early settlers here in the Smokies region. And to this day there are numerous beekeepers in the region.…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:51

Horror in Haywood

Eric S. Brown’s neighbors have probably noticed him — planted in his car day and night, writing furiously in spiral notebooks, smoking cigarettes and downing one energy drink after another. To spare his wife, son and Canton home from a…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:48

Quarry regulations fall between the cracks

A Waynesville rock quarry where a major slide occurred last year was operating without rules governing the stability or safety of its massive walls, which tower hundreds of feet in the air. There are no state or federal engineering standards…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:47

Sylva budget passes on split vote

Funding for the Downtown Sylva Association has caused a rift in the Sylva town board for the fifth year running. Town leaders last week approved a $2.3 million budget for the coming fiscal year by a vote of 3 to…
By Thomas Crowe • Guest Columnist With the recent rash of mining disasters, oil and gas spills here in the U.S. and worldwide, and the apocalyptic timing of all of these, things have changed. These are not just mere rare…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:45

Trooper honored with bridge naming

The N.C. Department of Transportation dedicated the bridge at Exit 31 of Interstate 40 in Haywood County in honor of State Trooper Shawn Blanton, last Thursday, the two-year anniversary of his death. “From this day forward, all who cross this…
Swain County residents overwhelmingly chose John Ensley in Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff for sheriff — those who voted anyway. Ensley, the owner of Yellow Rose Realty and a certified North Carolina law enforcement officer, easily prevailed over opponent Mitchell Jenkins…
The Veterans Administration’s community-based outpatient clinic in Franklin will be just two years old in August, but it’s already operating at capacity. The clinic’s three full-time doctors have full dockets, and to them, that’s a sign the V.A.’s new service…
The town of Sylva plans to impose a new parking law to stop shop owners and employees from taking up customer parking on Main Street. While most towns in the region face the same challenge — what to do about…
Long-awaited relief for Swain County’s dire animal control problem has finally arrived. For years, residents had no recourse if a vicious dog or colony of stray cats took up residence on their property. Now, county officials hope to hire their…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:33

Can’t pop the top

As part of the major renovation of the historic Jackson County Courthouse, workers from Brantley Construction were set to remove the building’s signature dome last Friday. But three separate attempts to lift it off by crane failed. The wood inside…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:32

Slow corruption

The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell. Plume/Penguin Group, 2008. 196 pages. Several years ago, I read an amazing novel by Daniel Woodrell entitled Winter’s Bone, and after the review was published, I found that Woodrell’s narrative style lingered…
Thousands of poor and low-income children across Western North Carolina rely on schools to get least at one square meal a day, but with classes now out for summer, there’s no easy solution for keeping kids fed. “This question has…
Jackie Shuler has lived in the shadow of the Waynesville rock quarry most of her life. But as blasts have grown stronger and the size of the quarry bigger, so has the list of Shuler’s complaints. “If you were home…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:24

Holding on to an identity

Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf. Clarion Books, 2007. 208 pages. On May 27, 1942, resistance fighters who had parachuted into Czechoslovakia attempted to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, deputy Reichsprotector of the Nazi Germany Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the…
Rich Kucharski, chief legal counsel for Western Carolina University, became the seventh person in university history to receive one of the institution’s highest honors when the WCU board of trustees presented him with the Trustees’ Award. Retiring this summer after…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:20

Watching the world’s game

Every four years the World Cup interrupts business as usual for a month in countries that have nothing else in common. From Accra to Osaka to Ljubljana, sport’s most international event hits 90 percent of the globe with the unpredictability…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:19

Sylva woodworker goes back to the future

In our commodity-driven world, it may seem absurd to spend a year making a table. But for Sylva woodworker Brian Bartel, a year is just a fiber in the grand tapestry of tradition. “My grandpa lived across the street from…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:18

Quarry plays vital role in economy

Harrison Construction’s rock quarry on Allens Creek in Waynesville mines granite for building roads, driveways and concrete house pads. The raw crushed stone forms the base for roadbeds and is also the main ingredient in asphalt and concrete. Harrison has…
With the Jackson County budget a few short weeks from completion, a split emerged among commissioners concerning raises for county workers. Last week Commissioners Tom Massie, William Shelton and Mark Jones voted to eliminate employee raises in the upcoming budget…
On Tuesday (June 22), Swain County voters will decide which Democrat will face Republican Curtis Cochran in the hotly contested sheriff’s race this fall. Though candidate John Ensley won the primary with an impressive 28 percent of the vote —…
While university leaders are nervously hoping state lawmakers will pass a budget that looks something like the Senate version, many K-12 school officials are openly rooting for the House version. Seeing public schools and colleges compete for the same budget…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:13

New SCC president had former career at WCU

The Southwestern Community College Board of Trustees has settled on a replacement for outgoing President Cecil Groves. Last week, the board approved the selection of Dr. Richard Collings, president of Wayne State College in Nebraska and a former administrator at…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:11

Budget crunch deals blow to WCU

Western Carolina University Chancellor John Bardo fears the budget passed by the General Assembly this year might cast a shadow over the state’s future for years to come. Like many university leaders across North Carolina, Bardo opposes the House version…
Having already committed to a 1.5 cent tax rate increase to pay for building a new school in the north part of the county, Macon County commissioners were forced to cut departmental budgets to the bone this year in the…
The last Cold Mountain Heritage Tour, sponsored by The Bethel Rural Community Organization, will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 26. This final tour includes some of the most popular and historic sites in Haywood County…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:03

Exploring Sylva’s secret garden

Jay Coward is no stranger to Pinnacle Park. When the work day ends, Coward often trades in his attorney’s suit and tie for hiking attire and escapes into the 1,000-acre wilderness at Sylva’s doorstep. An intergral player with the Pinnacle…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 13:59

The Naturalist's Corner

Skulker of the tangles The other morning at 6 o’clock at Hickey Fork in the Pisgah National Forest’s Shelton Laurel Backcountry Area in Madison County, the loud ringing song of a Swainson’s warbler shattered the early morning stillness. The mnemonic…
By Lynda Bennett • Guest Columnist Protestors in Waynesville recently dismissed Gov. Beverly Perdue’s stimulus grants as simply “baking up” a photo opportunity using pork barrel spending instead of addressing small business concerns. The ruling elite once stated “let them…
Hundreds of chefs gathered in Washington, D.C., Friday, June 4, to launch Chefs Move to Schools, a program designed to get healthy food into cafeterias. Among their ranks was Charles Hudson, the research and development chef for Sunburst Trout Company…
Lake Junaluska, a century-old retreat for Methodist clergy and their families, will remain the favored venue for a major annual conference of the United Methodist Church. The Western North Carolina Conference — a formal gathering of Methodist churches from the…
For decades the story of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians wasn’t their own. Tourists flocked to see Cherokee men dance in the streets dressed as Great Plains Indians, arrayed in long feathered headdresses. The tribe’s history play, “Unto These…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:47

Downtown Sylva to get more free parking

Years of complaining by Sylva merchants that there isn’t enough parking downtown has spurred the Sylva town board to lease a private parking lot near the intersection of Mill and Main Streets. The board voted 4 to 1 to lease…
Duke Energy wants an option to buy land at the Swain County Industrial Park with the intention of using it as the alternate site for an electrical substation, which was originally slated for the Ela area. According to Jason Walls,…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:43

WCU grad drowns during tubing trip

A river tubing trip on a sunny day ended in tragedy last week when a recent Western Carolina University grad drowned. Allen Stanley Brisson, 22, of Cullowhee was tubing with friends on the Tuckasegee River on June 3. According to…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:41

Apartment complex fills unmet need in WNC

The demand for stress-free, turnkey living was largely an untapped market in the region until the recent debut of VantagePointe Homes, a newly completed apartment community located in Waynesville. The 160-unit apartment development on 13.5 acres isn’t the first community…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:40

The Naturalist's Corner

uddling – a kaleidoscope adventure Maddy (my 4-year-old) and I had been in the woods at Harmons Den checking on some bird points. We came out of the woods at the Harmons Den Horse Camp. At the intersection of Cold…