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The Sylva Police Department may find a new home in the Jackson County Public Library on Main Street once the library moves to its new location. The building would become available for the police department in December 2010 when the…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:58

From South America to the Appalachians

Alpacas herald from South America, but are increasingly being found on farms in the Southern Appalachians. Alpacas are in the same family as llamas and camels, hence the resemblance. They’re the oldest domesticated animal on the planet. The first alpacas…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:57

New Swain jail continues to rack up costs

Weeks following an escape at the brand-new Swain County jail, county commissioners agreed to an emergency appropriation of $139,000 at the request of Sheriff Curtis Cochran. Cochran asked commissioners for the money at their meeting Monday (April 6) to cover…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:56

Weavers bring finest of craft to WNC

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer This April, nearly 100 professional weavers and spinners will converge at Lake Junaluska in Haywood County for the Southeast Fiber Forum. They’ll come to share their knowledge and learn new crafts — “everything from…
Despite losing yet another court battle over the Dillsboro dam, the majority of Jackson County commissioners have vowed to continue their fight to save the structure. Superior Court Judge Laura Bridges on March 23 ordered that Jackson County issue permits…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:54

Jackson Paper adding 61 jobs in Sylva

Stonewall Packaging LLC, a joint venture of Jackson Paper Manufacturing Co., announced today that it will invest more than $17 million to build a new facility in Sylva for the production of recycled cardboard packaging. The investment will result in…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:53

Anne Rice’s spiritual journey

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. 256 pages. The books are piling up around my desk, which means the time has come for a spring cleaning. Several books, all read in the…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:52

Park starts lengthy reorganization process

Despite the daunting hurdles faced by Ghost Town in the Sky to get the Maggie Valley amusement park open by summer, it could be only the beginning of a long, uphill slog to pull through bankruptcy reorganization. Ghost Town managers…
The town of Sylva continues to be plagued by a financial mistake made last year in which $2 million in town funds were invested in accounts not allowed by state statute. At the town commission meeting last week, Mayor Brenda…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:49

Get ready for life in the fast lane

It seems impossible that my niece is going to have a baby. She is 20 years old, which is about the same age as my favorite pair of Levis. I remember when she was born. We all crowded around the…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:48

The Naturalist's Corner

Watershed dreaming Last Saturday (April 4) was another sojourn into the town of Waynesville’s 8,500-acre plus watershed. The town initiated these watershed hikes back in 2007 to introduce town residents and other interested parties to this amazing resource that has…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:48

Local couple recognized for land stewardship

John and Jane Young of Haywood County have been recognized by the North Carolina Forest Stewardship Program for their commitment to natural resource conservation on their land in the Upper Crabtree area of Haywood County. The couple wanted to bring…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:47

Alpacas: Furry, friendly and in 23 colors

The group that Joe Moore hangs out with most days is an eclectic one, with names like Jack Straw, Reuben, and James Brown. They’re a loyal bunch, following Moore around his Bethel farm whenever they get a chance. They don’t…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:46

Ghost Town’s struggles challenge community

As Ghost Town continues to struggle, many are finally coming to grips with the reality that the Old West theme park may never be the economic engine it once was. Ghost Town has had ongoing financial problems since it re-opened…
An environmental group out of Asheville plans to sue the Macon County Airport Authority and other parties involved in the proposed extension of the runway. The group, Wild South, wants to stop the runway from being extended, saying the project…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:42

Old stone walls redux

(Author’s Note: While running random Internet searches, I occasionally am confronted from out of the blue, as it were, with something I wrote years ago that I’d absolutely forgotten I’d written and failed to store in my computer files. Most…
The Swain County sheriff and jail administrators were warned that a jailer who freed a double murder suspect March 21 was getting too close to the prisoner but didn’t do anything to intervene, a former jail employee who was fired…
Economic development officials have adopted a policy that will give business incentives to clean, renewable energy projects that locate in Haywood County. County officials hope the policy will convince green businesses to locate in the region, as well as provide…
After a search that has dragged on for more than a year, the Canton Board of Alderman has finally selected a town manager. It’s not exactly a big change. Al Matthews has served in an interim position since long-time manager…
Though some are complaining that the salary for the recently hired Sylva town manager is high for her level of experience, the compensation is below the state average for towns in that population range. For towns with a population of…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:36

A gem of a novel

The Missing by Tim Gautreaux. Knopf Double Publishing Group, 2009. 384 pages. This is a novel that seems to vibrate in your hands. It is filled with sounds, smells and the bittersweet beauty of a vanquished time — the Mississippi…
The business partners behind Ghost Town in the Sky are facing significant logistical and financial challenges as they pursue their goal of reopening the Maggie Valley amusement park by summer. Ghost Town filed for bankruptcy three weeks ago under the…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:34

Shuler proving his independence

Openly conservative Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, is blazing his own path in Congress. That characteristic is easy to admire, especially in these days of strident bickering and blind party allegiance. Last week The Smoky Mountain News interviewed both Republicans…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:32

Debts mount at theme park

Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in Maggie Valley has left a wake of unpaid bills with local companies over the past year, putting some small businesses in a bind during already difficult economic times. Ghost Town owes around…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:31

The Naturalist's Corner

Caving moratorium sought Three weeks ago (Naturalist’s Corner 3/11) I wrote about a mysterious malady dubbed White Nose Syndrome (WNS) that has been decimating bat populations at various hibernacula across the Northeast and spreading south. Last week (3/26) the U.S,…
One would be be hard-pressed to find someone uttering anything but praise for new Waynesville Alderman Wells Greeley. The 6-foot, 5-inch former college football player and one-time Canton alderman is a well-known and well-liked figure about town. In his role…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:29

Ghost Town responds

The following comment was provided by Steve Shiver, Ghost Town CEO and president, in response to questions about the challenges Ghost Town faces in its quest to reopen the park amid Chapter 11 proceedings. “At this stage of the process…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:27

Tight budget forces libraries to trim hours

In the latest tangible consequence of countywide budget cuts, the Haywood County Library system is scaling back hours at each of its branches starting April 6. Both Waynesville and Canton libraries have reduced their evening and weekend hours, with the…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:26

Finding a home for fresh water mussels

Barrels of mussels being bred at the state’s fish hatcheries are awaiting release into the region’s rivers, helping to restore these dwindling but important species. For decades, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has raised fish — some 8 million a…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:25

Do not plant Bradford Pear

By Jim Janke We moved here from Chicago, where there are only two seasons: winter and road-under-construction.* By comparison, the extended spring in the mountains is wonderful. We have as many as 12 weeks of continuous bloom when redbuds, pears,…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:23

Pondering the future of newspapers

Much as I dislike posing the question, here it is: can you imagine a future without newspapers? Would it be a dark day or good riddance to a biased blight upon the information landscape? Well, if you’re reading this you’ve…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:21

Mountain beauty is an asset we all own

To the Editor: We appreciate The Smoky Mountain News coverage on the steep slope issues in Macon County and would like to clarify and expand on some of the comments attributed to me, the vice chair of the Macon County…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:18

Homecoming on the Pigeon River

After decades of paper mill pollution, the Pigeon River is coming back to life — literally. Aquatic biologists embarked on a mission several years ago to restore species that had been wiped out by chemical discharges from the mill. After…
By Josh Mitchell • Staff Writer J.R. vanLienden grew up in a frame shop and used to promise himself he would never get into the field of photography. Now he has purchased the old Whittier elementary school built in 1936…
Haywood County is having a bit of an identity crisis. The Tourism Development Authority touts the county as a place “Where the Sun Rises on the Smokies.” The slogan, created in 2005 by the Tombras Group marketing agency, appears on…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:11

Bluebirds continue to fascinate

My oh my what a wonderful day Plenty of sunshine in my way Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Zip-a-dee-eh Mr Bluebird’s on my shoulder It’s the truth, it’s actual Everything is satisfactual Through the years, I’ve written more than a few columns about eastern…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 21:02

Guns in parks? Court says not so fast

The ban on guns in national parks will continue to remain in place for the time being, despite a move by the outgoing Bush Administration to lift the ban. Environmental groups and park ranger associations joined forces in filing a…
Sitting in the Job Link site in Sylva looking for jobs on a computer database, Kathleen Codon of Cullowhee hit on something promising — a posting for a construction project manager. Jobs like those are rare these days with the…
Swain County residents are locking their doors and loading their guns after a suspect in a double homicide escaped from the county jail Saturday, thanks to help from a jailer who may still be with him. Lelon Greene of Bryson…
After years of grappling with the controversial issue of alcohol sales on tribal land, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will vote on June 4 whether to allow the sale of alcohol at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. If voters approve the…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:58

Grants benefit Cherokee arts

Cherokee Preservation Foundation recently awarded 25 new grants totaling nearly $3.2 million. Here are a few targeting the arts: • A $600,000 grant was awarded to Cherokee Historical Association to complete stair and handicapped access upgrades and install new seats…
By Izzy Hendershot (age 7) • Notes in italics by Dad We hopped in the car and started off. The first stop (two hours later, in Blowing Rock) was the hotel. We unpacked and then we got back in the…
A lawsuit filed against the Haywood County Department of Social Services charging the agency could have prevented the death of a 22-month-old baby but failed to take her out of harm’s way continues to make its way through the courts.…
He was endorsed by the Family Research Council for his pro-life stance and by the NRA for his support of the Ssecond Amendment. He championed an act for more border security, chaired the national prayer breakfast, and voted against the…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:47

Ghost Town coaster opening faces big hurdles

Ghost Town investors are banking on finally getting the park’s Cliffhanger rollercoaster up and running in order to attract visitors and increase cash flow. But the park has miles to go before it can open its centerpiece ride. Not only…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:45

Uncle Fat and Cabbage-head

By Karen Dill The climatic temperaments in the month of March have been likened to gentle lambs or irascible lions. In the mountains, this description seems especially applicable. On March 1, the wind can whistle through the ridges like the…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:44

Cause of quarry slide undetermined

Federal investigators with the Mine Safety and Health Administration have still not determined the cause of a slide last week that sent a 600-foot slab of rock crashing down at a Waynesville rock quarry. No one was injured in the…
The Sylva Town Board on Friday voted 3-2 to hire a new town manager with a background in planning. The board hired Adrienne Isenhower to replace former Manager Jay Denton who was fired in September. Isenhower is currently a planner…
Preserving Cherokee heritage goes beyond baskets, blow guns and pow-wows to the very foods and crops once grown and savored by the tribe centuries ago. One of those important foods — for the Cherokee and any mountain dweller of yesteryear…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:40

Making friends with an injured crow

According to the current Ornithological Union listing, the appropriate non-scientific name for a crow is “common crow.” How apt! Like most commonly observed objects, crows, for the most part, flit across our field of vision unheeded. Cawing, they flap away…