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A proposed tax increase that Haywood residents have fought hard against could likely be avoided if residents would just pay their taxes on time in the first place. But property tax collections are down this year, presumably due to the…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:11

Commissioners' viewpoints

Chairman Brian McMahan “I believe that river belongs to the people of the United States of America. That’s our river. Yes we have benefited from the production of power, but it still belongs to the people. I don’t argue the…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:08

Frequently asked questions

Why does Duke want to tear down the dam? Dam removal is tied to the larger issue of mitigation for Duke’s hydropower operations in the region. Duke operates 10 other dams on five rivers in the region. The permits for…
Photographer Ken Wilson of Waynesville recently published his first book, The Aleutian Islands of Alaska, Living on the Edge. The book is a stunning compilation of photos from Alaska where Wilson went with wife, Kathy, to serve as missionaries to…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:06

Cherokee casino to be dry no more

When Beverly Easton came to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino for the first time and realized there was no drinking, she wondered how an alcohol-free casino could even exist. “I think it is a deterrent,” said Easton, who was visiting Harrah’s from…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:05

A race against time

While it’s hard to imagine as one gazes at the vast wilderness of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, more than two-thirds of the lush forests were clear-cut by timber companies in a couple of short decades preceding the park’s…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:04

Jackson takes on Duke Energy

Jackson County’s decision to take the Dillsboro dam through eminent domain is a bold next step in the relicensing saga that has been playing out for years. Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday night to use one of the strongest powers they…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:01

Parents turn out to support Swain principal

A group of nearly 45 parents and friends came out to show their support for embattled Swain County West Elementary School Principal Rick Abel at a school board meeting Monday night (June 8), but left with few answers to their…
At long last, Wal-Mart will be coming to Cherokee. A move to bring a 120,000-square-foot superstore to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Reservation has been in the works for nearly four years. On May 20, the tribal council voted…
When people say that Jim Carrey can’t act and that his movies are terrible, I always point to “The Truman Show,” which is not only a great movie, but has a great theme, a warning of the pernicious influence of…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 18:56

Doing the public’s business in the open

By Avram Friedman Receiving public input is not a discretionary part of the decision-making process for elected public officials in North Carolina. It is mandated by law that local elected officials provide the opportunity for public input before making decisions…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 18:56

Ghost Town CEO preaches cohesive marketing

Ghost Town CEO Steve Shiver told players in the Haywood County tourism community they need to pull together if they want to effectively market and brand the region. Shiver invited members of the tourism and business community to a breakfast…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer The misty mountaintops and bubbling creeks of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have served as a source of inspiration for countless artists. In celebration of the Parks’ 75th anniversary, some are now choosing…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:54

The unique ways of the kingfisher

Belted kingfishers are one of my favorite birds. A pair fishes along the small creek on our property during the breeding season. In winter they move downstream to the Tuckasegee River, although the male will make infrequent appearances from mid-November…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:52

Gorge outfitters debate direction

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer A year ago, a group of more than 40 rafting outfitters gathered to discuss ways to boost declining visitor numbers in the Nantahala Gorge. The meeting, coordinated by regional tourism entity Smoky Mountain Host,…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:50

New model for mountain living

Mixed-use developments where residents live, work, shop and dine within a few block radius are popping up in cities around the nation, but have been slower to take hold in the mountains of Western North Carolina. One Macon County developer…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:48

Deal over Dillsboro dam could be afoot

Five years into a bitter fight over the fate of the Dillsboro Dam, Duke Energy showed its first sign of budging this week. Following a mediation session in Washington, D.C. Duke pledged to make Jackson County a “counter offer” in…
Parents at West Elementary School in Swain County are questioning the circumstances surrounding the departure of a popular principal. In the weeks since Rick Abel’s alleged resignation, conflicting accounts have emerged that have left parents with growing suspicions over what…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:46

Time to go all in at Harrah’s

It’s time for Harrah’s Cherokee Casino to offer alcohol to patrons, especially since the Tribe is counting on receipts from the thriving gambling operation to pay for everything from health care to education, and enrolled members can certainly make use…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:45

Ivy covered walls

By Jim Janke When our house was being built it became obvious that we needed to hide two 40 feet long by 10 feet high retaining walls. These walls were the first things you noticed when looking at the south…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:44

Patriot’s story is unflinching, honest

American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day by Robert Coram. Little, Brown and Company, 2007. Robert Coram’s American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day (ISBN 978-0-316-0679-3, $15.99) tells the extraordinary story of a man…
The creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 75 years ago was nothing short of a miracle. The pitfalls were enormous and often narrowly skirted. The battle for a park came close to defeat many times, yet park boosters…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:42

New landfill proves money pit for Haywood

Haywood County commissioners grappling with the $4.4 million price tag of a landfill expansion briefly eyed the steep engineering costs as a place to trim this week. During a county meeting, commissioners questioned the hiring of two separate engineering firms…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:40

Creating the park: the early years

1900s Logging and lumber companies built railroads, camp towns and timber camps, slashing across the landscape while fueling an economic boom. 1923 National Park Service Director Stephen Mather voices his support for creation of a national park in the East.…
The Nantahala Gorge contributes $85 million to the local economy each year, and is the primary reason many tourists make their first visit to Western North Carolina, according to the results of an economic impact study conducted by Western Carolina…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:38

Restoration blends function with history

After more than two years, the Haywood County historic courthouse has finally been returned to its original grandeur. The painstaking process of restoring the stately 1931 building, long an icon of the Haywood County community, has had its share of…
Scores of Haywood County taxpayers criticized the county’s proposed budget at a public hearing Monday (June 1) saying commissioners had not looked thoroughly at every possible option before proposing job cuts and a property tax increase. Nearly 150 residents attended…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:35

The Naturalist's Corner

Stop and smell the flowers Sure, we all hear it and we all think, “I’m gonna do just that as soon as I catch up.” And then next year we hear it again. Well thanks to a wonderful offer from…
Although the board of Haywood Regional Medical Center could lose much of its control following its affiliation with WestCare, it will remain a public, county-owned entity nonetheless. Haywood Regional and WestCare have announced their intention to unite under a newly…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:32

You can’t stash true wealth in a bank

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist The concept of wealth has been sideswiped over the last few decades. It seems that the former notion of amassing assets through hard work and sacrifice, and using them to do philanthropic community good,…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:31

Pennington recreates scenes of the Smokies

As a little girl, Teresa Pennington of Waynesville looked forward to Sundays all week. After church, her family would venture into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, often to the banks of the Oconaluftee River, to enjoy a picnic lunch…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:30

Rates jump prior to signing of library loan

Hints of an up tick in the economy are good news to say the least, but a resulting rise in interest rates came a little too soon for Jackson County taxpayers. Interest rates jumped almost 0.75 percent on the eve…
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:40

The alluring calls of song birds

In the opaque early-morning light outside our bedroom windows, the birds that reside in our woods — or do we reside in their woods? — commence warming up for the day with tentative calls and whistles. The male cardinal seems…
There are few places where scientists probing the mysteries of the natural world would rather be. The sweeping vistas of the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, a remote outpost straddling the Cataloochee Divide, has lured researchers from across the globe…
By Dawn Gilchrist-Young This is an Appalachian story because it is about resourceful people taking care of their own with little trust in institutions or reference to societal expectations. It is also an Appalachian story because it is about people…
The town of Maggie Valley fired its part-time festival director after he failed to produce results a few months into the job. The town hoped their new hire, Bill Cody, would lure more festivals to the town-owned festival grounds as…
A new hiking book on Western North Carolina puts the regions trails in a new perspective. It weaves together the classic nuts-and-bolts trail instructions with history, stories and anecdotes of the trail and its surrounds. Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge…
By Karen Dill Author’s note: This article is dedicated to our dear friend and neighbor, Louise Bedford, who passed away March 26 of this year. She loved Percy unconditionally and he preferred her house to ours. On a cool mountain…
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:33

Death in the arctic

The Terror by Dan Simmons. Little, Brown and Company. 2007. 769 pages. Dear readers, let’s begin by establishing two contrary conclusions regarding this massive, painstakingly researched novel: First, the writing in The Terror is masterful; it reeks of atmosphere, intrigue…
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:31

Recipes, 5/27/09

Grilled Lemon Tarragon Chicken An intense lemon and garlic-flavored grilled chicken, the addition of the dill-like herb, tarragon, adds a wonderful dimension to the overall taste equation. Marinade: 1 cup plain yogurt 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons olive…
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:30

Cherokee art institute gets new home

Several years ago, an idea was planted to establish an institution of higher education on the Qualla Boundary that would emphasize and preserve the rich artistic traditions of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Out of that dream, the Oconaluftee…
Jackson County commissioners got their first look last week at a master plan for a Dillsboro river park — a plan that prominently features the controversial dam — on the same night they spent nearly three hours in closed session…
When Phil Drake puts his mind to something, there’s little he can’t achieve. Drake’s company, Drake Enterprises, is one of the largest private employers west of Asheville, and, it seems, owns half the businesses in the region, including The Athlete’s…
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:27

Cherokee face historic vote on alcohol

On June 4, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will go to the polls to cast their vote on the most controversial issue that has faced the tribe in recent history — whether to allow alcohol sales at…
Nantahala Outdoor Center is planning a major new outfitters store in Gatlinburg, tapping into the hub of one of the Smokies’ most bustling tourism markets. NOC will call the 18,000-square-foot flagship retail store the Great Outpost. The new store will…
Ghost Town in the Sky drew around 2,500 people over Memorial Day weekend, despite the daunting challenges of getting the theme park up and running while grappling with Chapter 11 bankruptcy. All eyes had been on the park to see…
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:17

Yaupon and the ‘Black Drink’

For some years now — when walking the woodlands around ancient Cherokee settlements — I have been on the lookout for an evergreen holly species that’s not native to Western North Carolina or the southern mountains. I haven’t yet encountered…
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:16

The many rewards of home improvement

Lately, the days whiz by faster than usual. Now that we have finally decided to put our house up for sale after months of agonizing reflection, we have been trying to squeeze various projects into every available minute of the…
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:16

Long-held dream becomes reality

It’s a project that’s been years in the making, and on Saturday the scores of Jackson County residents who gathered to watch the groundbreaking for the county’s new library couldn’t stop beaming. The excitement and pride was palpable as —…
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:15

The Naturalist's Corner

Crepuscular by nature The sun knows the secret. Beginning and end Are the beautiful times. The soft warm And sensual times. Dawning and setting The magic times Of life Of love Of every day. The sky began to brighten. Clouds…