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Wednesday, 06 May 2009 16:19

Finding distinction in literature

The Genius by Jesse Kellerman. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008. 384 pages Sixty years ago, Graham Greene, one of the great English writers of the 20th century, differentiated his novels from what he regarded as his lesser works by calling the…
While George and Elizabeth Ellison are fixtures in Bryson City today — Elizabeth as a renowned artist and George as a writer and naturalist — their journey to the region 30 years ago was little more than happenstance. The Ellisons…
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 16:17

Miss California takes on gay marriage

I cannot remember the last time I watched a minute of a beauty pageant. I never had much of an interest in the first place, even when watching them with my family as a kid. The contestants were sparkly and…
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 16:16

You, too, can bike to work

Whether it’s for fitness, for fun or to save the planet, there’s plenty of reasons to bike to work. There’s also plenty of excuses not to. This week, The Smoky Mountain News sought out two people who make biking to…
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 16:14

Gate goes up, Gorge community blocked out

By Julia Merchant • Staff writer One day last October, Bud Dills, a longtime Nantahala Gorge resident, headed down to his favorite fishing spot. The area, located where the Nantahala River empties into Fontana Lake just past Wesser Falls, had…
Ghost Town in the Sky owners paid themselves nearly $25,000 over two weeks in March despite the company being in bankruptcy. The Maggie Valley amusement park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-March with the aim of reorganizing, opening the…
An attorney for Duke Energy gave Jackson County commissioners a “friendly reminder” this week to stop dragging their feet on turning over permits that will pave the way for the demolition of the Dillsboro Dam. Before Duke can tear down…
“When I first came into the Smokies the whole region was one of superb primeval forest. My sylvan studio spread over mountain after mountain, seemingly without end, and it was always clean and fragrant, always vital, growing new shapes of…
A fix for impending traffic congestion on N.C. 107 in Sylva doesn’t lie solely with a new bypass but will require a redesign of the commercial artery itself, according to the latest traffic projections by the Department of Transportation. Two…
Jackson County leaders have finished the first draft of a planning ordinance they hope will transform the U.S. 441 corridor in Whittier from a mish mash of billboards and unregulated growth into a model of tidy landscaping and mountain-themed architecture.…
Walk among the rows and rows of hydroponic butter leaf lettuce growing in William Shelton’s greenhouse, and you’ll notice a distinctive dark green patch that seems out of place. While the butter leaf is destined to be neatly packed in…
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 16:03

Library bids come in well under budget

The bad economy has finally reaped some dividends for Jackson County taxpayers. Construction of the new Jackson County library and renovations to the historic courthouse will cost the county roughly $1.5 million less than expected. Bids from construction companies came…
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 16:03

The Naturalist's Corner

A decade of Birding for the Arts This past Saturday morning (May 2) more than 20 arts patrons and bird fanciers gathered at 8 a.m. under ominous skies at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre for the 10th annual (time sure…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:15

Ghost Town and alderman at loggerheads

Ghost Town CEO Steve Shiver threatened to sue Maggie Valley Alderman Colin Edwards during a town meeting this week. Edwards attempted to speak out against Shiver’s request for a $200,000 loan from the town. But Shiver objected and refused to…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:14

Celebrating 75 years

More than 200 state and local dignitaries gathered for a ceremony atop Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last week. The event kicked off the celebration of the park’s 75th anniversary, bringing together communities from North Carolina…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:13

Smokies prepare for bat-decimating disease

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…
George Ellison never knows when a Horace Kephart pilgrim will come calling. But invariably, they will come — creaking up the wooden stairs that have smooth depressions worn into the treads from years of use — to Ellison’s second floor…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:10

New program aims to bring abusers to justice

Victims of domestic violence in Western North Carolina recently received a powerful new voice to help bring them justice. A $400,000 grant awarded to the 30th Judicial Alliance, a group that works on behalf of the justice system in seven…
Maggie Valley has a year-round of population of only 607, and its main drag contains dozens of 1960s-era mom and pop hotels, a Wild West theme park, and shops selling fudge and moonshine jelly. All these business, however, share space…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:08

HRMC board chair steps down

The board of Haywood Regional Medical Center bid farewell to chairman Glenn White April 24. White had served on the hospital board nine years and became chairman in March 2008 following the resignation of then-chairman Dr. Nancy Freeman. White called…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:07

The Naturalist's Corner

Hats off to Avram and the activist spirit Avram Friedman, executive director of the Canary Coalition, is not afraid to put his money (whatever fine he may have to pay for trespassing) and time (eight hours in Mecklenburg County jail)…
What’s a college without a college town? It’s an almost unimaginable scenario to those who love the unique, quirky places that grow up around major universities. But it’s very much the reality when it comes to Western Carolina University and…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:04

A chat with Carolinas Healthcare president

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer The Smoky Mountain News caught up with Carolinas Healthcare System Chief Operating Officer and President Joe Piemont this week. The hospital system — the largest in the Carolinas and the third largest public non-profit…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:00

All things wild and wonderful

By Karen Dill It is in April that the wild things emerge. Bears crawl from their dens; baby wolves are born while their parents howl at the moon; and mysteriously tender green shoots climb bravely from the ground. To an…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:00

When to celebrate

Depending on how you slice it, the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park could be celebrated on a variety of days. The park has deemed the official anniversary date to be June 15, 2009, exactly 75 years…
Officials at Ghost Town in the Sky continued to pressure Maggie Valley leaders this week to pony up a $200,000 loan to help the beleaguered theme park get up and running. In a special meeting Monday (April 27), Ghost Town…
A Haywood Community College wildlife student brought home a second-place finish in the STIHL Timbersports Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Challenge this month. Daniel Jones, 22, from Hayesville, combined precision, strength and speed to bring home the honor. Jones is a freshman majoring…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 16:57

Dispatches from the kinky South

Surreal South: an Anthology of Short Fiction and Poetry edited by Laura Benedict & Pinckney Benedict. Winston-Salem: Press 53 $19.95 – 378 pages The co-editors of this anthology, Laura and Pinckney Benedict, know “surreal” when they see it. In fact,…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 16:56

Perdue’s no-show was a missed opportunity

“Gov. Beverly Perdue probably didn’t set out to give Western North Carolina a slap in the face Wednesday. “But we know a slap in the face when we see one, and this sure qualifies.” — Asheville Citizen-Times editorial, April 23…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 16:54

Wild mountain boars

Numerous non-native plants have been introduced into the southern mountains during the last century or so. Many of these are now classified by wildlife biologists as “exotic pests.” Few would argue that kudzu does not fall into that category. And…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:53

Fighting the fear that comes at night

I don’t really know when nightmares begin. I guess it is possible that babies have nightmares, shaken awake in the night by dreams of stuffed giraffes turned suddenly sinister or a nipple that you chase and chase and never quite…
Should a private business receive taxpayer money to stage an event? That was the question of the hour at two recent meetings of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority as the board discussed how to dole out its dollars. The…
Business owners hoping to be annexed by Waynesville in order to serve alcohol be out of luck. At a meeting of the Waynesville board of aldermen on April 14, town leaders failed to approve an annexation request by Grandview Lodge…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:50

The Naturalist's Corner

A picture is worth a thousand words When the 1968 Apollo astronauts rounded the moon for the first time the deepest impression was not the view of that barren, never-before-seen lunar landscape, but the sight of a dazzling, beautiful blue…
The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce’s Green Initiative is one of those projects that is good on many different levels, not the least of which is the admirable goal of reducing the impact the business community has on the environment.…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:48

Ghost Town didn’t withhold sales tax

Among Ghost Town’s debts is $136,000 in back sales taxes owed to the state of North Carolina. It was previously reported that Ghost Town failed to remit sales tax to the state collected as part of ticket sales. Ghost Town…
By Josh Mitchell • Staff Writer The bad economy may be good for business along the Appalachian Trail. The AT typically attracts recent college grads, young people taking a break from their jobs, and a growing number of retirees. This…
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…