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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…
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:12

Ghost Town withdraws loan request

By Becky Johnson & Julia Merchant A surprising turn of events caused the Maggie Valley town board to call off its vote on whether to loan the struggling Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park $200,000. Moments before aldermen were…
Tight times in Haywood County have forced commissioners to consider significant job cuts and a tax increase in an attempt to make up for the county’s falling revenues. The county has $72.5 million in requests for the 2009-2010 fiscal year…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Haywood County jeweler Diannah Beauregard believes that art can change the world. With that as a starting point, Beauregard is embarking on a project that is quickly gaining interest in the local art community.…
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:04

Macon, Rabun leaders eye future of water

Would a water-starved Atlanta ever come after the Little Tennessee River? While it may be a long shot, the prospect — however remote — has made some residents of Macon County uneasy. The concern has been sparked by forays into…
While the feeling of stately grandeur evoked by Jackson’s historic courthouse has remained over the years, many of the original features of the building have not. Little by little, the courthouse architects, McMillan Smith and Partners out of South Carolina,…
Jesse Webster consulted his GPS and eyed the tangle of rhododendrons stretching out of sight up the mountainside. Somewhere beyond the gnarled thicket lay a massive grove of old-growth hemlocks — at least that’s what aerial photos suggested. It was…
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:00

Swain jail escapees returned to NC

A murder suspect and the guard who allegedly helped him escape from the Swain County jail have been returned to North Carolina. Former jailer Anita Vestal arrived at the Macon County Detention Center Monday (May 18), said Macon County Sheriff…
Though the Swain County government hasn’t escaped the recession completely, the blow dealt by the economy has been softer there than in other places. While other local governments are contemplating tax increases, Swain County commissioners are looking to lower the…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:52

Remembering Popcorn

To tell you the truth, when I read that some woman claiming to be Popcorn Sutton’s daughter was publishing a book about her legendary father, I was openly skeptical. Following Popcorn’s suicide on March 16, 2009, I surfed thorough a…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:52

The new frugality is an old idea

There’s talk all over about America’s newfound love affair with frugality. What Time magazine has dubbed the Great Recession is threatening the American consumer culture, pundits and writers say, forcing us to re-think whether we need the biggest plasma screen…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:50

A two-horse town

A rift that splintered the town’s longtime farmers market in downtown Waynesville into two opposing groups of vendors continues to persist this season, resulting in two separate markets that will operate just half a mile apart. “They’re going to have…
When Steve Woody and Barney Coulter got a mysterious call from Smokies Superintendent Randall Pope in the early 1990s asking to see them in his office, they dutifully, albeit curiously, complied. Neither were used to taking orders — Coulter as…
It’s slim pickin’s out there, as Western Carolina University students are finding out. This past weekend, more than 1,100 graduates walked across the stage and into the most unforgiving job market in decades. The competition is stiff. Fewer companies are…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:47

Ghost Town seeks ride inspections

A team of state inspectors will arrive at Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park on Monday, May 18, in hopes of getting the rides and chairlift certified for the anticipated opening day of May 22. Ghost Town barely made…
Susan Livengood of Fines Creek has been awarded a 2009 Regional Artist Project Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. Livengood, whose paintings are represented by Art on Depot in Waynesville, used the money to do a three-dimensional installation, loosely…
For nearly a decade, a group of Jackson County residents have envisioned a greenway that would meander for miles from one end of the county to the other. Now, the Greenway Committee is finally ready to turn this lofty goal…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:43

Local farmers markets

Haywood Waynesville Tailgate Market 8 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Saturdays at American Legion parking lot near downtown Waynesville. Haywood County grown vegetables, fruits, cut flowers, honey and nursery stock. Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:41

Erosion laws put to the test

Haywood County’s sediment and erosion control policies are the subject of a bitter legal battle poised to set statewide precedent. A landowner slapped with a $175,000 fine by the county is fighting back with a lawsuit claiming he is being…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:40

Do you have a gardening question?

By Jim Janke The purpose of Master Gardener programs is to increase the knowledge of horticulture among home gardeners. Master Gardener Volunteers are trained to answer questions about lawns, fruits, vegetables, trees and ornamental plants. Their efforts in getting information…
A potential clash between downtown Franklin merchants and street vendors was headed off the pass this week. For years, street vendors have been peddling food and sodas to the large crowds converging downtown every Saturday for the popular Pickin’ on…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:34

Swain jail keys found in get-away truck

The Swain County Sheriff’s Department got a welcome piece of news recently when it learned the escape of an inmate won’t cost as much as previously thought. Jailer Anita Vestal and accused murder suspect Jeffrey Miles were picked up in…
It looks like the Department of Social Services in Haywood County won’t be getting a new home after all. Haywood County commissioners decided against purchasing the old Wal-Mart building, which would have housed DSS as well as the health department,…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:32

The Naturalist's Corner

What’s that buzzin? “Daddy, daddy, there’s a yellowjacket in the bedroom!” cried Izzy. And somehow, the dusty old synapses fired and I replied, “It’s not a yellow jacket, it’s a fly.” Now, I guess I could have been premature —…
The burst of the nation’s housing bubble has caused real estate markets to tank — everywhere, it seems, but in Swain County. Property values there have increased 30 percent over the past four years, according to the county’s latest property…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:30

The story of the fiddlehead

Fiddleheads are emerging from the leaf litter in our forests. Almost everyone, even those not especially interested in plants, has heard of fiddleheads and knows that they’re supposedly edible. Whenever I teach a plant identification workshop for the Smoky Mountain…
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 16:26

A haven of nectar and beauty

The irises my wife, Elizabeth, cultivates in our yard are coming into full bloom as I write this. Their shapes and colors and fragrances are almost too intricate to describe. The name iris, meaning rainbow, was given to the group…