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Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:20

NOC to hold fly-fishing tournament with a twist

The Nantahala Outdoor Center will hold its first ever fly-fishing competition Oct. 17 and 18 on the Nantahala River in Swain County. The first day’s events will be held at the Nantahala Outdoor Center on U.S. 19 in the Gorge…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:18

Obama haters showing their true colors

His harshest critics delight in daring you to characterize their frothing hatred — and there is no other word for it — of President Barack Obama as “racist.” They whine, “You just can’t criticize Obama or you’ll be labeled a…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:17

The mystery of Judaculla Rock

Located in a field in the rural Caney Fork community of Jackson County is Judaculla Rock, a soapstone boulder covered with mysterious carvings. The lines, circles and squiggles appear to form distinct shapes, but exactly what they mean, and who…
By Julie Ball As a teenager, Josh Stephens worked summers as a rafting guide on the Nantahala River. He’d watch as trout came up on the water to eat flies. Then a friend, David Woody, introduced him to fly-fishing. That…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:12

Cherokee immersion school aims to save language

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians praised the new Kituwah Language Academy for the cultural renaissance that’s now unfolding within its doors. The official ribbon cutting ceremony last Wednesday (Oct. 7) for the language immersion school’s opening led many speakers…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:10

In the running

The Town of Franklin has a town board with six aldermen/alderwomen and a mayor who votes only to break ties. Mayors serve for two years, while aldermen/alderwomen serve for four. This year, the mayor and three aldermen/alderwomen are up for…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:08

The Naturalist's Corner

The leaves, they are a’ changing It seems like colors popped on the mountains almost overnight last Thursday or Friday. It went from a spot of color here and there to a mix of yellows, reds and oranges splashing down…
Joel Queen has been named the new program coordinator and instructor at the Oconaluftee Institute for Cultural Arts in Cherokee. “We stand on the edge of becoming a truly unique voice in the world for indigenous art and culture,” Queen…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:06

Public art and community involvement

When Wayne Trapp made his proposal to the WPAC last April, he suggested that rather then depict actual countries in the “Celebrating Folkmoot” work, members of the community contribute designs for the seven flags that would become part of his…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:04

A memoir about misguided parents

Lies My Mother Never Told Me by Kaylie Jones. William Morrow, 2009. 284 pages Memoirs by children of famous people and children of alcoholics — and often the twain do meet — have long occupied a special niche in the…
The Haywood County Arts Council’s Gallery 86 will host the exhibit, “Natural Perspectives,” featuring the photographic work of Vietnam veteran George Schober. The concept for Natural Perspectives, which opens Oct. 31, is based on three groups of subject matter: clouds,…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:59

BMP’s problems not apparent

At first glance, it is hard to see why Balsam Mountain Preserve has been unable to satisfy the lenders behind a $19.8 million loan dating to 2005. The exact amount of the payoff on the loan has not been revealed,…
An auditor for Swain County had a clear-cut message to pass on to commissioners this week: make drastic cutbacks in expenditures or hike property taxes. “There’s nothing left,” Auditor Eric Bowman told commissioners at their meeting Monday (Oct. 5). “We…
By Julia Merchant • Contributing writer Priceless artifacts often end up tucked safely away behind the protective glass cases of museums — but not Judaculla Rock. A thin, twisted piece of rusty rebar is all that separates this well-known boulder,…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:55

Downtown Waynesville prepares for a new arrival

The Waynesville Public Art Commission will celebrate the installation of “Celebrating Folkmoot,” their third commissioned public art piece, on Nov. 5. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in front of the new Waynesville Police Station. Colossal in scale, the…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:54

Treadway, Reidmiller run unopposed

This year’s elections in Bryson City will be a cinch for Alderwoman Stephanie Treadway and Alderman Tom Reidmiller. Both are running unopposed to retain their seats on the board. Treadway, a 40-year old insurance agent with Allman Insurance, has been…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:53

Most like plans for Russ Avenue makeover

A proposed redesign of Russ Avenue, the main commercial thoroughfare in Waynesville, received strong public support among those who attended a public workshop last week to learn more about the plan. “I think this has to be done,” said Lyle…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:52

Waynesville welcomes Apple Harvest Festival

The 21st annual Haywood County Apple Harvest Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17, in historic downtown Waynesville. The annual festival, which celebrates the beauty of the harvest season in Haywood County, will have…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:50

Kephart’s fast friendship with the Barnetts

I have nothing to add to Gary Carden’s perceptive review of Horace Kephart’s posthumous novel Smoky Mountain Magic (Great Smoky Mountains Association, 2009) that appeared in last week’s “Smoky Mountain News.” I do, however, have a query regarding Bob Barnett,…
An analysis of property values in Haywood County aims to reduce disparities between the value listed on the county’s tax rolls and the real-life value. The project will more precisely hone in on characteristics that affect home values, hopefully resulting…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:48

Amid tough times, DSS director denied raise

After much deliberation, Swain County commissioners voted 3-2 against an $8,800 pay raise for the Department of Social Services director in the face of a severe budget shortfall. Director Tammy Cagle asked for the raise to be compensated for additional…
Tensions are rife as Franklin Alderman Bob Scott and Mayor Joe Collins butt heads over the prize of a mayor spot up for election. Scott is seeking to trade his two remaining years as alderman for two years as mayor…
Balsam Mountain Preserve, a mega development on 4,400 acres in Jackson County, has defaulted on the terms of a $19.8 million loan, prompting a notice of foreclosure by nervous lenders last week. Owners of the development say they are hopeful…
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 15:41

New plan aims to corral chaotic thoroughfare

A plan to redesign Russ Avenue would dramatically alter the appearance and traffic flow along the frenzied main commercial artery of Waynesville. The plan has several components, but chief among them is wiping out the middle turn lane. Instead a…
The Town of Maggie Valley is moving closer toward hiring a festival director to market its struggling festival grounds. Aldermen decided last Thursday to appoint a six-member selection committee to help sort through job applications and choose the most qualified…
Local libraries report that more people are streaming through their doors as a direct result of the recession. Area residents are increasingly heading to the library rather than doling out dollars for books, CDs and DVDs, as well as newspapers,…
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 15:38

Angel Medical continues to stand alone

While neighboring hospitals count down the days until an affiliation is finalized, Angel Medical Center in Franklin continues to stand alone during a time when independent hospitals are becoming increasingly rare. Angel Medical CEO Tim Hubbs said the small hospital…
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 15:37

Angel CEO says hospital investing in its future

When Tim Hubbs stepped down as the CEO of Drake Software, a Franklin firm that writes accounting software, he thought the frenzy of tax season was behind him and he would coast out his years with the hassle-free title of…
Hazelwood seems to be getting the short end of the stick these days. Once an independent blue-collar town boasting a half-dozen factories, it has seen them close one by one over the past two decades. Now, the community is in…
Despite their conceptual support for a greenway along the Tuckasegee River, Jackson County commissioners expressed hesitation about purchasing land to establish it. At a meeting Monday, the commissioners unanimously approved spending about $39,580 on a 1.4-acre plot but also unanimously…
Haywood Regional Medical Center and WestCare are in the final stages of forming a partnership, with plans to launch a new joint venture as early as January. The two entities will join forces under a new umbrella organization with a…
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 15:33

The Naturalist's Corner

Just leisure time in good company So much of our time in this soured economy is spent paying homage to the almighty dollar that leisure time – real leisure time, not ferrying the kids to soccer or mowing the yard…
The state should turn down Duke Energy’s request for a nearly 13 percent hike in utility rates and instead encourage the giant utility to do a better job with the revenues and power-creation capacity it already owns. There are several…
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 15:31

A little hometown appreciation

Country music recording artist Matt Stillwell will return to his roots Thursday, Oct. 15, for a hometown Homecoming week concert at Western Carolina University to help his alma mater celebrate a major milestone. Stillwell, a Sylva native who played baseball…
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most studied national parks in the country. It consistently ranks in the top three for the number of research permits issued every year — a whopping 184 in 2008. The…
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 15:28

Costa’s eye for unique insect details

Western Carolina University biologist Jim Costa traces his interest in insect societies to studies of social interactions of caterpillars made while an undergraduate at the State University of New York at Cortland, an interest that deepened as he worked on…
Among the varied “revelations” brought to light during the celebrations attending the 75th Anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year was the verification of the existence of an unpublished novel by Hoarace Kephart. Until this discovery, Kephart’s…
Dueling solutions for relieving traffic on N.C. 107 in Sylva are poised to make the final cut in the long-awaited Jackson County Transportation Plan. Both a bypass around the commercial thoroughfare and redesign of the road itself could ultimately be…
Local singer-songwriter Lorraine Conard celebrates the release of her new CD, “Riding on Your Wings,” with a release party to be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Colonial Theater in Canton. Influenced by a vast and varied mix…
Home to 3,000 motel rooms yet only 1,610 year-round residents, Maggie Valley can’t exactly escape the term “tourist town.” Anyone driving through the main drag passing a long line of lodging options would know. But perhaps less evident to visitors…
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 19:11

Maggie chases festivals as ticket to tourism

When the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen purchased land for a town festival ground in 2002, it had high hopes for success. Events held there would reel in visitors to stay at local motels, eat at local restaurants, and shop…
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 19:10

Storytelling traditions live on

Naturalist, herbalist, lecturer, writer, adventure trip leader, folklorist and prize-winning harmonica player Doug Elliott has a new book. Titled Swarm Tree: Of Honeybees, Honeymoons, and the Tree of Life (Charleston, SC: The History Press; soft cover; 160 pages; illustrated by…
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 19:09

Rebellion reigns in historical novel

Devil’s Brood: The Last Days of the Tempestuous Marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine by Sharon Kay Penman. G.P Putnam’s Sons, 2008. Politics is not a game for sissies. It is not even necessarily a game for the…
Graham County delivered yet another jolt to the three-month debate over who should provide emergency services to Deal’s Gap, a motorcycle mecca in a satellite portion of Swain County that sees serious wrecks each year. Graham commissioners voted 3-2 at…
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 19:06

Cat lovers quietly care for wild colonies

Move over rabbits, it’s cats that multiply like crazy in Haywood County. According to the Haywood Animal Welfare Association, there are about 12,000 lost or stray cats in the county, nearly a fifth of the Haywood’s total human population. To…
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 19:04

Swain at last makes foray into animal control

Swain County Manager Kevin King has an ambitious idea for finally addressing the years-old issue of animal control, or lack thereof, in the county. King would like to set aside some money to hire an animal control officer to handle…
By Brent Martin • Guest Columnist With the long August recess now behind them, Senators have returned to Washington, D.C., with a heavy workload. In addition to the momentous responsibility they have to pass legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions,…
The Haywood Tourism Development Authority announced some good news last week for all those miffed by the incorrect spelling of “Smoky” on its official Web site’s address. The TDA has put up $14 to buy a new URL, www.visitncsmokies.com, to…
Western North Carolina has steadily lost out on tens of millions in federal highway dollars over the past decade, despite the money being specifically earmarked for the region. Mountain leaders sent a message to both Raleigh and Washington this week…
Some members of the Jackson County Transportation Task Force feel like the list of road projects bearing their name has not properly been vetted, despite the work of the task force being declared finished. “I think the task force has…