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A Cherokee elder presided over a ceremonial torch passing from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway last week. Standing at an overlook along the Parkway outside Cherokee, Elder Jerry Wolfe performed a “smudging” to open…
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:05

Hope of paper mill job attracts hundreds to ESC

More than 300 people waited in line at the N.C. Employment Security Commission in Waynesville on Monday to submit job applications with Evergreen Packaging, the paper mill in Canton. Evergreen employs 1,200 workers in Haywood County. The company is not…
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:10

Shuler caught short of truth

While Congressman Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, was cleared two weeks ago by the House Ethics Committee of any wrongdoing related to a Tennessee real estate deal, controversy erupted again a week later when the Tennessee Valley Authority released a report that…
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:05

Creeks form character across WNC

Flowing water is as central to life here in Western North Carolina as the mountains themselves. You can’t have ancient mountains like these without the seeps, springs, branches, creeks and rivers that sculpted them. The word “creek” — a shallow…
A surge in students applying to Western Carolina University has allowed the college to be more selective. Despite a rise in applications –– tripling over three years –– enrollment at WCU has not risen significantly. The bigger pool has allowed…
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:05

WCU rides wave of new applicants

Over the past three years the applicant pool at Western Carolina University has nearly tripled. The increase in prospective students signals a success story in outreach and marketing, and it may also mark a transitional moment for the school. According…
As Ghost Town heads toward its first big showdown in bankruptcy court next week, objections from those owed money are beginning to pile up. Ghost Town, an Old West amusement park in Maggie Valley, recently filed a disclosure statement and…
In an effort to boost recruitment of doctors to the region, hospitals across Western North Carolina are following in the footsteps of a national trend to employ physicians in-house. Historically, doctors set up independent, private practices. But doctors are increasingly…
In July only two candidates signed up to get on the ballot for the five spots up for grabs in Webster’s town board election, posing a quandary for the tiny Jackson County town of just over 250 registered voters. When…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

A gift from the grave on Veteran’s Day

By Karen Dill • Guest Columnist “Mom,” my daughter Anna began on her phone call from Washington, D.C., “wasn’t Grandpa a World War II veteran?” It seems there are scholarship monies for medical students who are direct descendants of veterans…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

The allegations

The House of Representatives Committee on Standards and Official Conduct –– commonly known as the House Ethics Committee –– recently conducted an inquiry into whether or not Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, used his influence to benefit one of his own…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

The beetles' fall tour

No, not the Fab Four — more like the Fab Gazillion. Swarms of thousands to perhaps hundreds of thousands of Asian lady beetles, Harmonia axyridis, (those cute little ladybugs) are coming, not to a location near you, but to your…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

You may hear a Blue Dog howl

By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist Conservative victories and liberal angst – often repressed — characterized last week’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey. But what lies ahead as the nation’s politicians wrestle with the contentious issues of the economy,…
Western Carolina University professors who haven’t already done so are running out of time to take a mandatory 10-hour furlough by year’s end. Earlier this year, Gov. Bev Perdue issued an executive order calling on all state employees to take…
Waynesville’s two independent bookstores — Osondu Booksellers and Blue Ridge Books & Cafe — have merged. The economics of independent bookstores have made it nearly impossible for a town of Waynesville’s size to support two stores. Squeezed by the discount…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

House clears Shuler on ethics rap

After months of high-profile scrutiny, U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, has been cleared in an ethics inquiry that examined whether the congressman used his influence to benefit one of his real estate deals in East Tennessee. While Shuler’s office maintains…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

Typical Zombie fare

If you are a fan of the apocalypse movies that are currently common fare in American theaters, you will immediately recognize the landscape of Season of Rot. From Cormac McCarthy’s classic, The Road to the endless clones of the “Mad…
Misuse of county credit cards by a Swain jailer has prompted tighter controls on charge card use across all departments. Earlier this year, a jailer purchased a $500 or $600 big-screen TV with the county’s credit card at Sam’s Club,…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

Back to nature

Burt Kornegay is a one-match man. As the owner of Slickrock Expeditions and the longest running independent outdoor guide in the state, he’s started hundreds of campfires in some of the most remote wilderness settings in the country, never using…
Several western counties have been scrambling to create an in-house child support enforcement program after the state announced it would no longer handle the job of tracking down delinquent parents. Swain, Macon, Cherokee and Graham counties, along with the Eastern…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

Coweeta leads research on watershed dynamics

Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, an experimental research station for the U.S. Forest Service outside Franklin, celebrated its 75th anniversary this month. The 5,500-acre forested basin in southern Macon County has been fertile ground for research into how forests behave — and…
A federal judge has dismissed a civil lawsuit by Maureen Lackey, a 45-year old Franklin resident who alleged discrimination by Macon County and the Sheriff’s Office. Lackey, who suffers from epilepsy, claimed jailers denied her medicine after she was arrested…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

Satulah has long been a WNC favorite

One can still see why flatlanders started pouring into the Cashiers-Highlands region after the Civil War. The scenic ridge, valley and gorge country here remains one of the most interesting areas in Western North Carolina to explore. Some of the…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

New company part of a long local legacy

The merger of Osondu Booksellers and Blue Ridge Books and Café will eventually bring under one roof the long legacy of two beloved Waynesville institutions catering to readers and etched in the memory of the downtown community A legacy of…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Allen joins Knotts on Sylva board

Danny Allen, a former Sylva town commissioner who has been off the board for two years, will reclaim his seat after being the top vote-getter in the town election. Commissioner Stacy Knotts followed closely on his heels, while Harold Hensley…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Tracing the roots of WNC’s signature style

Love it or hate it, mountain vernacular architecture has stubbornly planted its roots in Western North Carolina and shows no signs of abandoning the area. The style that favors steep pitched roofs, native stonework, timber frame gables and earth-tone colors…
When Candace Stimson lost her job last winter due to the recession, she seized the opportunity to go back to school and pursue something meaningful. She wasn’t sure just what that would be, however, until she happened upon a new…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Ivey’s ‘Up River’ offers valuable lessons

Up River: A Novel of Attempted Restoration by George Ivey. Dog Year, 2009. 304 Pages. George Ivey’s Up River: A Novel of Attempted Restoration (Dog Year Publishing, ISBN 978-160844-164-8, $16.95) tells the story of Peter Bailey, a young man who,…
The main message that local and state authorities are frenetically broadcasting to the world is that Western North Carolina is still open for business even though a major rockslide will likely shut down a portion of Interstate 40 near the…
After a feel-good race lacking much controversy, Maggie Valley voters have re-elected Saralyn Price to her second term on the town board, sending with her a fresh face, motel owner Scott Pauley. Both Price and Pauley ran on campaigns that…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Ugly public discourse and the future of truth

More and more these days, it seems those who follow the news have strong opinions on the tone of public debate, a topic that elicits as much discussion — perhaps more — than the actual news items we want to…
A model home under construction on the Haywood Community College campus is giving construction majors hands-on training in green building techniques. The demonstration house will take two years to build. It was launched in conjunction with a new green building…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Regional election results

Clyde Town boardSeats up for election:    2Total seats on board:    4Carroll Mease (I)    103Jim Trantham (I)    95Alan Trantham    42Registered voters:    780Voter turnout:    127 (16%) Village of Forest Hills MayorJames Wallace (I)    49(running as write-in)Mark Teague    22Town boardSeats up for election:  …
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Franklin voters stick with familiar faces

Not one face is changing in Franklin’s local government despite close contests for mayor and aldermen. In a neck-and-neck race, Franklin Mayor Joe Collins beat out Alderman Bob Scott by only 14 votes to reclaim the office for another two…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Fresh faces will lead Canton

As with the election two years ago, Canton will once again see three new faces on the board. Voters had a deep bench of candidates to chose from: 10 running for four seats on the board. The only two returning…
Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band has been awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy, the nation’s highest and most-coveted award for college and university marching bands. Formal presentation of the award, which has been called the “Heisman Trophy”…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

The Naturalist's Corner

It’s 11 p.m. – do you know where your wood thrush is? “Hello, Ms. Stutchbury, this is OnStar. Your wood thrush that is supposed to be on its way to Mexico is actually in New Orleans.” It’s really not as…
Balsam Mountain Preserve has been stripped of control and custody of its development as lenders continue their march toward foreclosure. The 4,400-acre development in Jackson County owes nearly $21 million to its lender, a private equity investment firm called TriLyn.…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

The grand finale

We tend to hone in on the showy flowering phase of a plant’s life for observation, identification, and enjoyment. But the greatest pleasure in coming to recognize and appreciate plants occurs when we learn to follow favorite plants from their…
An overwhelming majority of citizens who showed up at a public hearing in Robbinsville spoke out against the Corridor K road project last Thursday (Oct. 29). The proposed four-lane highway would supplant the winding, two-lane roads that are currently the…
A bill is moving through Congress that could help boost the local economy and create jobs by drawing international tourists to Western North Carolina. The legislation would charge overseas visitors a $10 fee. The revenue would be used to market…
Faced with a collapsing tourism marketplace caused by a national recession and the pullout of its featured attraction — the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad –– Dillsboro’s voters elected a new leadership team to steer the town towards an uncertain future.…
Western North Carolina has so embraced mountain vernacular architecture that local planning boards across the area are prodding developers into adopting the style. While officials stop short of handing over a checklist to architects that includes stacked stone, steep pitched…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

21 write-ins get votes in Webster

In an unusual election storyline, voters in Webster cast ballots for a total of 21 write-in candidates because too few candidates signed up to run for the five available seats on the town council. When the new town council convenes,…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Blue Ridge Parkway kicks off 75th anniversary

The Blue Ridge Parkway will kick off its 75th anniversary celebrations this month with several historical, symbolic and entertaining events, even though the official anniversary isn’t until next year. • A program called “Natural Resource Stewardship – An American Indian…
The National Park Service and Swain County appear locked in a stalemate over how much the federal government should pay up for breaking its long-standing contract to replace a road flooded by the creation of Lake Fontana in the 1940s.…
Lessie Williams, a well-known and nationally recognized gospel singer, will give a concert of inspirational music at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Community Services Building in Sylva. The performance is a fundraiser for the new Jackson County library. Williams’…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:42

NOC expedition gains attention

An outdoor expedition to Bolivia that puts paddlers to work delivering medical supplies to remote villages organized by Nantahala Outdoor Center got a major plug by National Geographic ADVENTURE. The November issue of the magazine listed the trip in its…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:41

Old houses, spirits and comfort food

By Karen Dill • Special to Smoky Mountain News October is a glorious month. Brilliant colors dot the mountains against clear blue Carolina skies. Fall leaves turn our world into an amazing canvas and spirits soar like the geese that…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:39

Canton’s future pivots on heated board race

When voters head to the polls in Canton next week, they will face a daunting and even unwieldy list to choose from: 10 candidates for four seats on the board. Town politics in Canton have been marked by division the…