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A major paddling race will be held on the Nantahala River March 22 and 23, with around 60 of the country’s top slalom paddlers coming from as far away as Colorado, Texas and Washington.
It’s a chilly day on the Tuckasegee River. Air temperature is in the mid-40s, and the water isn’t much warmer.  Eric Johnson struggles to stand upright, bracing his paddle on the river bottom as a chain of four fellow college…
“Chick-lit” is, of course, the slang expression for those books appealing especially to women. Though not politically correct, most men and women use this moniker when thinking of romance novels, most Christian fiction, books that address feelings (Men Are From…
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

MedWest hosts community meetings

MedWest Haywood will hold another series of community meetings in April and May. Feedback collected from the community during an initial round of public meetings last spring will be shared during the upcoming events. Last year, Medwest Haywood Health System…
A proposal to loosen steep slope development rules in Jackson County is headed back to the drawing board. A large and vocal crowd opposing the rollback of mountainside protections in Jackson County packed a public hearing earlier this month. Given…
Franklin could soon get its first taste of microbrew beer. An offer to lease the old town hall building and turn it into a brewery is currently on the table.
Jackson County sheriff candidate Curtis Lambert no longer has a job with the Sylva Police Department, but he says his firing last week isn’t throwing cold water on his campaign. 
Three months after lies on a search warrant and a fabricated drug dog alert prompted a federal judge to throw out a Cherokee drug trafficking case, it appears that the officers involved are still at their jobs, with no change…
When drivers veer off the road, they’re often alerted to the error by a vicious vibration caused by an ingrained groove laid into the asphalt. That groove is known as a rumble strip.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Film crew granted access to Judaculla Rock

A film crew with the show “American Unearthed” will arrive in Jackson County this week to film an episode on Judaculla Rock, despite fears that a mockery will be made of the prehistoric rock art.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Sylva board talks downtown traffic fixes

Over the past half-century, traffic patterns in downtown Sylva have prompted a repeated cycle of complaint, remedy and return to the status quo. Now, the town is at the crest of another wave of request for change. The Sylva Board…
The Canton town board remains undecided about who will take over as town manager. The board was expected to choose between three finalists at its March 13 meeting, but two members pushed for a delay until at least the next…
After oscillating on the issue last year, Maggie Valley town leaders have now endorsed a room tax hike in Haywood County that would raise more money for tourism projects, but its chances of passing muster with the N.C. General Assembly…
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Robinson will support education, teachers

To the Editor: As I discuss the upcoming District 50 senatorial campaign with my neighbors, it is becoming clear to me that they are deeply troubled by the current senator from Franklin.  They are especially disappointed in his unwillingness to…
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Politics does make strange bedfellows

To the Editor: Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. The recent edition of The Smoky Mountain news said this: “Carla Miller, the chair of the Macon County Republican Party, admits there is a right-wing faction of the party, but said…
By Doug Wingeier • Columnist Recently my wife and I attended the showing of a documentary film on animal rights. When the floor was opened for comments after the film, two members of the audience made the point that, while…
The acclaimed classical music duo of Alyona Aksyonova and James Waldo will be featured at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 24, in the Coulter Building at Western Carolina University. The concert is a benefit for the United Christian Ministries of Jackson…
A celebration of Appalachian storytelling, music and drama, The Liar’s Bench will hit the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University. Storyteller Gary Carden will begin the program with his opening…
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 16:54

Christian rock comes to Franklin

Highly-acclaimed Christian rock bands Audio Adrenaline, Kutless, Finding Favour and Shine Bright Baby will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, March 21, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Audio Adrenaline formed in 1986 at Kentucky Christian…
The 17th Annual Greening Up the Mountains festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 26, in downtown Sylva.
Renowned country group the Zac Brown Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Harrah’s Cherokee.
Americana/country act The Malpass Brothers will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Highlands Performing Arts Center.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

This must be the place

The right place at the right time. We’re all aware of that notion, and most of us have experienced it at one moment or another. For Brad Boulet, it was standing in the mud at the Shaky Knees Music Festival in…
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Shooting for dreams

In a crowded, frenzied gymnasium, Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland was just trying to not embarrass himself. “I haven’t touched a basketball in years,” he chuckled. “I’m trying to not look as dumb as possible.”
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 14:02

DOT explains N.C. 107 survey letter mystery

A controversial bypass around Sylva that was supposedly tabled by the highway department last year suddenly and mysteriously seemed to be back on the drawing board last month.
For most people, the word “jail” stirs up mental images of vertical bars and stark concrete walls, not of rows of books or orange-clad inmates studiously reading them. But bars have, for the most part, turned to Plexiglas and metal…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:58

Deer reclaim historic home in Cherokee

From clothing to art to clan names, deer are everywhere in Cherokee culture. But for the past couple of centuries, they’ve been virtually absent from Cherokee land — until now. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is in the initial…
Jackson County Republicans have been busy during the winter season finalizing plans for their 2014 annual county convention, the NCGOP Convention and arranging for offices in Cashiers and Sylva. The annual convention and precinct meetings will be held on Friday,…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:54

Steinem celebrates ‘escaping’

By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • Correspondent Here is a simple solution for stimulating the economy in this country: give women equal pay for equal work, said author and activist Gloria Steinem, during a recent speech at Western Carolina University.
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:53

WCU hikes citation fees

Students and visitors to the Western Carolina University campus, whether in a car or on roller skates, will soon have a few dollars more of incentive to follow the school’s rules governing vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The WCU Board of…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:51

Haven convinces board that motel is home

In front of a crowded courtroom Tuesday, the Macon County Board of Elections voted unanimously to dismiss a challenge protesting Commissioner Ron Haven’s legitimacy as a candidate.
Dueling challenges over the legitimacy of two Macon County commissioner candidates could have had far-reaching implications for the county’s political landscape and, ultimately, the tone and tenure of the county for years to come. SEE ALSO: Haven convinces board that motel…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:45

Downtown Sylva bakery opens in April

A new bakery and bistro is coming to downtown Sylva. The Perk & Pastry Bistro will offer a wide array of pastries and baked goods, espresso drinks, breakfast, lunch and house-made gourmet grab-and-go items. The new business plans to open…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:45

Community asked for input in prison makeover

The trio of Christian ministries and advocates for the disadvantaged looking to transform the old state prison in Hazelwood into a place of renewal will look to the community to guide its next steps.  “We hope to look at the…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:43

Canton school to be reborn

William McDowell remembers when segregation was a reality in Canton. “When I was a kid we weren’t allowed to sit anywhere but the balcony at the Colonial Theatre in downtown,” he said. “You couldn’t eat in certain restaurants and there…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:37

A bear hunter for the ages

John Baker (Little John) Cable Jr. is one of the prominent figures in Horace Kephart’s Our Southern Highlanders (1913; revised and expanded in 1922). He steals the show in Chapter 4 (“A Bear Hunt in the Smokies”), which most everybody…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:33

Collegiate bouldering showdown coming to WCU

The Cullowhee Rock & Rumble Fest will attract college students from a several state area for a rock climbing and bouldering competition at Western Carolina University on Saturday, March 22. The sixth annual event will be hosted by the WCU…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:32

Fracking documentary to be screened in Sylva

A documentary about natural gas “fracking” in America, “Gasland Part 2,” will be screened in Sylva on Saturday, March 22, at the Jackson County Public Library. A presentation on fracking will be held at 6:30 p.m. by Clean Water for…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:31

Smokies announces spring openings

With spring around the corner, campgrounds and secondary roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are reopening for the year. The schedule for facilities on the N.C. side of the park is: • Scenic roads: Clingmans Dome Road will…
Jim Costa, a biology professor at Western Carolina University and the Director of the Highlands Biological Station, has been nominated for the Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation Awards to be given out by Wild South later this month. The awards recognize and honor…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:29

Historic window stolen off Smokies cabin

An antique window was stolen from an historic cabin in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The volunteer battalion of the Watershed Association of the Tuckaseigee River is looking for new recruits to help monitor water quality in creeks and rivers in Jackson and Swain counties.
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:26

Missing link of Benton MacKaye trail solved

A dicey section of the long-distance Benton MacKaye hiking trail that forced hikers to walk along the side of a narrow highway in Graham County will soon be re-routed off-road as a proper trail should be.
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:25

Aim high with annual Black Rock ascent

Trail runners will scramble, scratch and claw their way to the 5,810-foot summit of Pinnacle Park in Sylva during the annual Assault on Black Rock trail run held Saturday, March 22.
By Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent About a year ago, Patrick O’Neal bought an old, chrome-rimmed Schwinn bicycle. He was just looking for an alternative way to get to class from his off-campus dorm. Now he spends most weekends enduring long…
Some books — novels, certain histories and biographies — deserve full immersion. We dive into them, plummet into their depths, swim through them from first page to last, and return to shore refreshed and satisfied by our explorations.
By John Beckman • Columnist After the hard winter of sub-zero temperatures, heavy snows and power outages our region and much of the nation has seen in 2014, I'm pretty sure that there are a lot of people desperately hoping for…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:11

It’s not really about Obamacare

To the Editor: The drumbeat of complaints about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) from the political right wing leave me a bit mystified. The cries of creeping socialism and government takeover of medical care either mark the duplicity of those…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:11

Elect Robinson to replace Sen. Davis

To the Editor: I’m writing as a citizen and resident of Jackson County to voice my support for Ron Robinson for North Carolina State Senate, District 50, the seat currently occupied by Tea Party extremist Jim Davis, R-Franklin.  As a…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:10

Government is always less efficient

To the Editor: I was having an otherwise intelligent conversation with one of my more liberal acquaintances the other day when I was blown away by one of his radical statements. He told me how awful it was that medical…