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Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

‘Mean Mary’ brings folk-rock to Waynesville

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist “Mean Mary” James will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at The Classic Wine Seller in Waynesville. Known internationally for lightning-fast fingers, haunting vocals, and intricate story songs, James explores the genres of folk-rock, bluegrass, and…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

This must be the place

In a beloved mountain town already filled with great restaurants, cafes, breweries and independent businesses, Sylva recently became home to two new downtown locations — The Winged Lion and Tonic Delivers. The Smoky Mountain News tracked down the owners of…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Pisgah High students get inspired by real author

Dr. Donna Glee Williams, author and fellow at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee, recently paid a visit to a World Literature class at Pisgah High School to talk about writing.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Mom with deployed son leads card drive

A Christmas card drive on the campus of Western Carolina University netted more than 4,000 cards for soldiers stationed overseas. Tables were set up across campus during various times this fall for students to sign cards for deployed soldiers or…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Canton uses crowdsourcing to improve playground

With a focus on improving recreation options for residents with limited funding, the town of Canton is using crowdsourcing methods for the first time to raise money to make playground repairs.  “Our playground is the only one in town,” said…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Canton moves forward with pool project

The town of Canton is moving forward with plans to upgrade its public swimming pool after interviewing several design consultants last week. Town Manager Seth Hendler-Voss said the board of aldermen decided this spring to make renovations to the town…
Plans to memorialize a Cherokee gravesite found earlier this year in the midst of construction for a new baseball tournament complex in Macon County now have some hard costs attached to them, and the county has requested funding from the…
It’s not every day that the scent of barbecue meatballs wafts through the open doors of a jail filled with smiling people wearing slacks, sport coats and blouses. But it’s also not every day that a sovereign nation finishes building…
Two residents shared their horror story experiences dealing with nuisance neighbors during a Dec. 18 Macon County Planning Board meeting.  The board is considering drafting a noise ordinance to address these residents’ complaints about loud music and gunshots coming from…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

New animal shelter gains traction in Haywood

A movement to build a new animal shelter in Haywood County is in the early conceptual stages. Animal lovers say a modern, more spacious animal shelter is needed, despite a daunting price tag and a sizeable drop in animals taken…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Park officials consider banning outside firewood

In an effort to protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park forest from disease-carrying pests, park officials have proposed a new regulation that would prohibit campers from bringing firewood into the park unless it’s certified.  If passed, the new regulation…
The future was looking increasingly frightening to 54-year-old Anita as she got to the end of her six-year prison sentence.  All along, she had assumed that she’d be able to live with her mother while she got back on her…
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 15:29

Council excludes media from tribal meeting

Though Cherokee Tribal Council meetings are broadcast live online and through tribal television — as well as recorded on DVDs — council retains the right to exclude non-Cherokee people from its chamber.  During its Dec. 11 meeting, it did just…
Editor’s note: Cherokee Tribal Police would not allow Smoky Mountain News Staff Writer Holly Kays entry into the Cherokee Tribal Council chambers to report on this meeting, which took place on Dec. 11. This story was written after watching a…
Underground contamination leaching from an old, closed-down landfill in Haywood County will cost millions to clean up, a burden homeowners countywide will be forced to bear through higher trash fees over the coming decade. County commissioners got their first glimpse…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Jackson considers renovations for service centers

The large, cavernous room at the heart of Jackson County’s Community Services Center doesn’t see much action these days. It’s no longer open to the public. A trash can sits solemnly collecting water dripping from a leak in the ceiling. …
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:33

Mistletoe’s link to romance goes way back

The custom of decorating with mistletoe goes back to the ceremonials of the Druids. It is a reminder of the ancient custom of keeping green things indoors in winter as a refuge for the spirits of the wood exiled by…
A $10,000 grant will go toward building up food banks in Western North Carolina in partnership with agribusiness.  The award, given to the Western North Carolina Food Policy Council, comes from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:25

Permaculture school launches in Asheville

A 12-week permaculture school in Asheville will launch in 2015, teaching students how to create landscapes that maintain the health and resilience of natural systems while also providing food, water, energy, shelter, income and spiritual fulfillment. 
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:18

Comment call for red wolf rules

A series of three public hearings in January will take public input on the future of protection for the reintroduced red wolf and continuation of coyote hunting in the five-county area in northeastern North Carolina where the wolf was reintroduced. 
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:16

Internships for Smokies fans

Five summer internship positions are available for undergraduates looking to get involved with Discover Life in America’s mission to learn as much as possible about the species inhabiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park through the Mary Raoul Fitzpatrick Photography and…
Just after putting the final touches on the Chimney Tops Trail this month, the Trails Forever program in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will begin restoration on the popular Alum Cave Trail in 2015.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:14

Congressional act could expand National Parks

The National Parks System could see its largest expansion in decades after bipartisan legislation in Washington, D.C. was introduced proposing a significant national parks package.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:13

Aquatic invaders found in Macon County

For the first time, gill lice have been found in brook trout in the Southern Appalachians. The parasitic crustaceans are common in the northern states but had never been found this far south. 
The opening of the Swain County Visitor Center in downtown Bryson City this year represented the culmination of a $3.46 million investment from the Great Smoky Mountains Association on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail had been in the back of Andy Smith’s mind for a while, ever since a coworker at Cherokee Hospital, where he was chief of physical therapy, told Smith about his 1989 thru hike. As 2014 dawned,…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:50

Country noir masterpiece gets its due — again

One of the things that I admire about the New York Review of Books is a special honor that they reserve for what they call the “lost masterpieces of American fiction.” In effect, they acknowledge that occasionally, a major literary work…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:47

Faster than thought: two book covers

By Steve Ellis • Guest Columnist As we leave this political season, which has been nasty, brutal and long, I’d like to offer some thoughts. If you doubt my description of nasty, brutal and long, I remind you of our…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:45

This is no time to devalue our wild heritage

By Bill McLarney • Guest Columnist We humans are highly skilled and devilishly clever. We can create ball fields, schools, prisons, highways, airports, strip malls, industrial parks, reservoir lakes, landfills, farms of all kinds, Superfund sites, babies  and sustainably managed…
A roomful of hunters and hikers turned out at last week’s Macon County Commissioners meeting. It was the first meeting after Franklin Mayor Bob Scott went public with a plea for the county to reconsider a resolution it passed in…
Out of the gate, the U.S. Forest Service’s first stab at listing potential wilderness areas in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests met with criticism following its release in late November.  Whether concerned about which areas were on the list,…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:22

Ridgetop towers OK’d in draft Jackson ordinance

Cell phone towers will now be allowed on Jackson County ridgetops — at least according a draft ordinance that’s on its way to commissioners after meeting planning board approval last week.  The final vote on the draft ordinance was unanimous,…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:21

Tribe’s new justice center opens

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will open its new state-of-the-art, $26 million Cherokee Justice Center on Dec. 17 following two years of construction. 
Jackson County commissioners will decide in the coming weeks whether to keep Jay Coward on board as their county attorney. Commissioners will consider other candidates in January. Coward said he will put his name back in the hat and hopes…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:19

Folkmoot named a Top Ten Festival by USA Today

Folkmoot USA was recently named a Top Ten Festival by USA Today, the only festival in the state of North Carolina to receive such recognition.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:16

Noise ordinance in the works for Macon

A noise ordinance could be in Macon County’s future as the planning board starts in on writing a set of draft rules this week.  The board’s been taking comment and researching similar ordinances in nearby counties since September, and last…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:15

‘Play On’ poised to go online

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority will launch its new website that will support its “Play On” branding campaign at 1 p.m. on Dec. 17 in the auditorium of the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee.
When Haywood County put up $35,000 to replace a chronicly leaky roof on the Pigeon Community Center in Waynesville, it was both a tangible and symbolic gesture, one that saved a major landmark of African-American community from certain demise.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:13

Former, current tax collectors build rapport

The outgoing and incoming tax collectors in Haywood County appeared shoulder to shoulder at the podium of the Haywood County commissioner meeting this week, pledging to work together to make the transition a smooth one. “There’s a lot of animosity…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:06

Macon finalizes property values

Macon County’s tying up the loose ends on a property revaluation that will likely cause tax hikes for some and breaks for others, and the county’s tax director gave commissioners a heads up that they’ll probably be getting some phone…
If Waynesville has a dirty little secret, it’s this: a cash cow runs through its power lines. Of course, it’s not dirty and not a secret — not really. Town leaders don’t hide the fact they have a lucrative electric…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 14:59

Bomb threat disrupts WCU graduation

A bomb threat was received by the Jackson County 911 office shortly before the beginning of Western Carolina University’s fall commencement ceremony, scheduled to be held in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Saturday, Dec. 13, prompting university officials to…
A tug of war between two Jackson trucking companies over a high-stakes contract for hauling trash was settled last week following days of political tension. Jackson County commissioners had to decide which of the two local truckers would snag a…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

HCC builds desk for Forest Service

Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Wood instructor Brian Wurst and students recently finished a project for the U.S. Forest Service to build and install a reception desk for the visitor’s center at their headquarters on the National Mall in Washington…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

‘John Parris’ Christmas’ returns to Webster

The Webster Historical Society will present its 4th annual “John Parris’ Christmas” at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Webster Methodist Church. Curtis and Janice Monteith Blanton will both read the Christmas stories of Parris and the second original…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Carolina Brass to play Waynesville

Carolina Brass will feature a variety of holiday and classical songs at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the Waynesville First United Methodist Church.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Balsam Range, Meals on Wheels raise $12K

On Dec. 6, acclaimed bluegrass group Balsam Range began it Winter Concert series with The Molly Tuttle Trio at The Colonial Theatre in Canton.  Along with the concert was a fundraising event to honor, recognize and celebrate the Haywood County…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

This must be the place

I’ve always felt the greatest gift is the gift of music. Though I’ve never been a huge fan of receiving presents (I’d rather spend quality time with a loved one, save your money), the gifts that meant the most to…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Maggie Valley venue enters second act

With one flick of a light switch, Grier Lackey is illuminating a dream. “What do you think?” he said with a smile. Standing inside Eaglenest, an 800-seat theatre in Maggie Valley, Lackey scans the enormous room, pointing out design details…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 16:04

WCU dorm gets LEED certification

Western Carolina University’s Harrill Residence Hall has become the university’s second building to be LEED-certified for its comprehensive energy-efficient and environmentally friendly features.