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Wednesday, 04 March 2009 15:24

Flood Relief Funds: What really happened

By Denise A. Mathis • Guest Column One of the most publicized criminal cases in Haywood County history centered around me, Denise Mathis, and the whereabouts of flood relief funds. I will never forget that day in August, 2006, when…
Waynesville Alderman Kenneth Moore passed away Monday (March 2) after a heart attack. He was 74. Moore was the former police chief of the town of Hazelwood, and had been an alderman since 1995. He was serving his fourth term.…
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 15:22

The Naturalist's Corner

Peregrine pads protected Rock climbing trails across the Carolina mountains near known peregrine falcon nest sites have once again been closed to climbers. The closures run from Jan. 15 to Aug. 15. While the peregrine falcon was removed from the…
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 15:21

Tough year for HRMC teaches hard lessons

It’s a cultural tradition in nearly every society, the firm belief that people and institutions become stronger once they’ve been tested. Whether that test comes about due to one’s own shortcomings or to circumstances outside one’s control is important, but…
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 15:19

Canton town manager search drags on

There are just two candidates left in the bid to be Canton’s next town manager, but Mayor Pat Smathers said he doesn’t know how much longer it will take the board to finally pick one. The town has been without…
A member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Franklin is prohibited from bringing his hunting knife to church after another member saw him with the blade at a Sunday service and got worried. The knife carrier, Charles Rowe, said there…
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 15:16

Canton stuck in bidding quagmire

A flawed bidding process for a demolition job that left a local company out of the loop is causing a major headache for the town of Canton. The town put its engineering contractor, McGill and Associates, in charge of soliciting…
A design has been finalized for a new $3 million visitor center at the North Carolina entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park outside Cherokee. The new visitor center will focus on the cultural history of the park, from…
By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer Capturing a grandmother’s story of survival, a fiancé’s sigh, or a best friend’s joke during an intimate interview is how StoryCorps allows people to connect with each other. Recording the stories of our lives…
Emotions are sizzling over a plan to extend the Macon County Airport runway over Cherokee burial grounds and artifacts. At an Airport Authority meeting last week in Franklin resident Selma Sparks said it is disrespectful to the Cherokee. Airport board…
The economy and high gas prices last summer led to slightly fewer visitors in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last year. The park saw 9.04 million visitors last year, a drop of 4 percent compared to the 9.37 million…
People in Cherokee will no longer have to drive or hitch rides into Bryson City to cast ballots during early voting. The Swain County Board of Elections recently agreed to establish an early voting site in Cherokee, a move that…
A proposed Haywood County ordinance that prohibits various kinds of waste and junk was harshly criticized by speaker after speaker at a public hearing Monday (March 2). The “Public Nuisance” ordinance prohibits everything from outdoor storage of scrap metal to…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:44

HRMC: A timeline

Oct. 2006-Feb. 2008 — HRMC has several problems with federal inspectors, culminating in the threat to revoke its ability to get reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Feb. 13, 2008 — HRMC given notice that Medicare funding will be revoked…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:43

Purported mega-development disappears from radar

Cataloochee Wilderness Resort, a 4,500-acre proposed development in Haywood County’s Jonathan Creek community, appears to have fallen off the map. Developers first announced plans for the massive Resort in November 2007. They touted residential, commercial and retail phases, including golf…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:42

Cowbirds a favorite to despise

Some folks can’t stand house sparrows (a native of north Africa and Eurasia) while others detest starlings (a native of Europe). Both species were introduced into this country in the 19th century. While I don’t especially admire house sparrows and…
Today at HRMC, 10 sets of eyes peer over the shoulders of the hospital administration, ready and willing to question every move. Though the hospital had a board of directors in place when the hospital lost its Medicare and Medicaid…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:39

Jackson library deserving of community support

Deduction would tell us that in the information age libraries would be accorded great respect, but somehow that isn’t universally the case anymore. Given that truth, it’s encouraging to see what has happened over the last several years in Jackson…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:38

In tough times, local company looks to expand

In yet another piece of positive economic news, Waynesville-based Haywood Vocational Opportunities announced a proposed expansion that would create at least 50 new jobs. HVO, which makes disposable medical supplies, plans to pay $400,000 for 10 acres at the Beaverdam…
A 7-year-old Jackson County boy is fighting for his life after being mauled by a dog last week, according to Jackson County Sheriff Jimmy Ashe. Dalton Mathis is listed in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Mission…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:36

Shuler said he’ll fight for stimulus funds

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, spoke to a crowd of about 200 town and county government officials from Western North Carolina last Thursday at the Renaissance hotel in Asheville about the $787 billion stimulus plan. North Carolina is set to…
By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer Chubby Checker clears his throat and states with pomp, “I plan on tearing the place up and taking no prisoners in Cherokee.” Leaving New York City on his tour bus, the Checkerlicious Express, Checker…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:33

Haywood extends token to Canton solar farm

FLS Solar Energy wants a tax break from Haywood County in exchange for an $8 million solar farm the company is building near Canton. FLS is asking county commissioners for financial incentives that would allow the company to pay 20…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:32

For young illegals, a coming-of-age quandary

Irene is not just a good student. She is one of the very best at her school, near the top of her class and hard working as they come. Under ordinary circumstances, she would be filling out applications to the…
One thing became clear during my little bird feeding experiment. If you’re looking for one birdseed that will attract just about any bird, black oil sunflower seed is the bomb. Remember a few weeks back when, disillusioned about the high…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:30

Brooding obsessions

Dying Light by Donald Hays. MacAdam/Cage, 2006. 261 pages In recent years, I’m sure that the average reader feels intimidated by the steady onslaught of new publications that flow into the bookstores each day. (I also hear that all of…
As Mike Poore waited for an elevator between floors at Haywood Regional Medical Center Monday morning, he gazed out the sixth floor window to see cars circling the packed parking lot hunting in vain for a space. “That’s a good…
Last February, a crisis landed on the doorstep of Haywood Regional Medical Center. After failing federal inspections, the hospital lost its Medicare and Medicaid status, followed by an exodus of private insurance companies. The hospital effectively shut its doors aside…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:22

Sylva board rift heats up

Split votes are becoming increasingly common on the Sylva town board, throwing into question whether the board can meet its stated goal of agreeing on a new town manager. Town commissioners Harold Hensley and Ray Lewis often vote together against…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:21

Free clinic plugs mental health holes

By Marth Teater • Guest Columnist The Good Samaritan Clinic of Haywood County has served the medical needs of our community since 1999. In 2007 the clinic started a mental health program funded by two multi-year grants. Funding for the…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:18

Could hops be one of WNC’s new cash crops?

Tobacco is no longer the cash crop it once was in North Carolina, but its partner in crime — hops — could be on the way up. Several small farms across Western North Carolina are experimenting with hops to supply…
What would surprise someone the most about the Appalachian culture? Well, assuming that they are not Appalachian, it would probably be the fact that we have nothing in common with the stereotypes. I remember teaching a class at the Mountain…
The results are in and the fourth annual Hendershot Birdapalooza at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, Louisiana was the most successful to date. We ended the day (6.5 hrs.) with 66 species. The success was due, in…
Local legislators are preparing to fight yet another attempt by the state to close the only minimum security prison west of Asheville. The 125-bed Haywood Correctional Facility in Waynesville, commonly referred to as the Hazelwood prison, has landed on a…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:13

Spare me some spears

By Sandi Simons-Crawford Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is one of very few perennial vegetables. A properly managed bed will produce for 15 years or more. The taste of fresh asparagus from your garden rewards your initial effort and patience. Varieties The…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:12

A ray of hope in the mental health crisis

When it comes to caring for the mentally ill in North Carolina, there’s been very little good news over the last few years. A 2001 attempt to radically reform the state’s mental health system has been, by nearly unanimous opinion,…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:10

Aldermen deny exploiting ‘Slategate’

Two Franklin aldermen said they didn’t whip up controversy regarding slate to get back at Mayor Joe Collins but because they sincerely thought it was a situation that needed to be looked into. Aldermen Bob Scott and Verlin Curtis said…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:09

A call to action for the Southern Appalachians

By Brent Martin • Guest Columnist In an article in Blue Ridge Country magazine, author and professor Steve Nash provided a bleak overview of what climate change means here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Most significant are current…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:08

The age of acting and the rapture of writing

The Age of Dreaming by Nina Revoyr. Akashic Books, 2008. 320 pages Every once in a while a novel comes at us out of the blue to capture first our attention, then our minds, and finally our hearts. Such a…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:07

Hair Wars: May the gel be with you

By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer Movie stars are coming to Cullowhee. With a snip here and a dye job there, hair stylists will be battling the gift of glam in Hair Wars for the second annual fundraiser Feb. 21…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:06

A long and winding road

Sylva’s current library opened in 1970 and is 6,400 square feet. The debate over where to locate a new library lasted more than eight years, with commissioners finally deciding to build it as an attachment to the historic and beloved…
Courtney Boessel’s “Patchwork Community” was chosen as the winning entry for Waynesville’s new police station paver design as part of a contest sponsored by the Waynesville Public Art Commission. The contest was designed to build community — and also to…
A group of Haywood residents appealed to county commissioners for an ordinance assessing the impacts of large developments. The ordinance would require large developers to assess the impacts of their projects on surrounding communities and the environment. On Monday night…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:02

Guarding the Little Tennessee from exotics

Environmental groups in Macon County are joining forces to tackle the scourge of exotic plants along the Little Tennessee Greenway in Franklin. Exotic plants undermine the natural ecosystem, pushing out native plants and the wildlife that depend on them. The…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:01

Reservoir rendezvous

Joe Wright was born and raised in the high Nantahalas in the northwest corner of Macon County. He was 90-some-years-old when I interviewed him back in the early 1990s or thereabouts and made the notes upon which this account, in…
Jerry Span stared down the sign post for Old Settlers Trail. The temperature registered a mere 6 degrees, and the 17 miles of frozen trail stretching before him through a remote corner of the Smokies loomed large in his mind.…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 18:57

Library success rides on public support

Dr. John Bunn of Sylva lived through the Great Depression and said people bind together during tough times to help one another. The same will stand true, Bunn believes, when it comes to donating to the new Jackson County library…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 18:55

Tight times force tough choices for Swain schools

The Swain County School District has terminated a popular program that emphasized science and math education, offered students smaller classes and helped combat the system’s high dropout rate. The three-year-old School of Applied Science, Math and Technology was axed last…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 18:54

Mandated cutbacks mean tough decisions

The first Friday in February came with some bad news for the Swain County School District and systems around the state. Word came from Raleigh that school budgets would be cut by 7 percent in the upcoming fiscal year. The…
What a great way to earn public trust: a public body decides that minutes from closed sessions no longer need to be secret, and therefore it periodically votes to make them public. That’s what the Franklin Town Alderman Bob Scott…