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Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:55

GOP pulls a fast one on ‘tax cuts’

To the Editor: I hate paying taxes. So when someone promises to lower my taxes, they have my attention. Most people feel the same way. In 2010, every Republican running for office in N.C. promised to lower my tax bill.…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:55

Don’t fix what isn’t broken

To the Editor: We have heard much from GOP Gov. Pat McCrory and some leaders in the state legislature about our “failed” Medicaid program. This “fix” is despite the fact that Community Care of NC (CNCC), which manages care for…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:54

Nothing wrong with teacher pay plan

To the Editor: Regarding the plan to give some teaches a pay raise: I cannot for the life of me see anything wrong with this plan. Good teachers get a raise and the others are encouraged to do better. Teachers…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:51

My family will miss the Shoney’s on the hill

If someone had told me 30 years ago that someday I’d be sentimental about a Shoney’s restaurant closing down, I would have laughed out loud and accused them of being delusional. I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:48

Macon County requests auditing assistance

As the State Bureau of Investigations continues to probe embezzlement allegations in Macon County, the county is calling in the experts to help it pinpoint any internal policy failures that may have contributed to the alleged seven-month-long, $50,000 fraud at…
The clock is ticking for the fundraising foundations of Haywood Regional Medical Center and Harris Regional Hospital to spend earmarked money in their coffers to benefit the hospitals.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:45

Jackson eyes courthouse expansion

Just shy of a decade after county offices moved into a brand-spankin’ new Haywood County Justice Center, Jackson County is considering its own courthouse overhaul — and it’s using the Haywood project as a model. Jackson pulled in Heery International,…
Political backlash against the new conservative policies of state lawmakers has given rise to two local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Haywood and Jackson counties — the first such affiliates to be formed…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:42

Will we extinguish another beautiful light?

A river of burnt umber flows every year from southern Canada through the U.S. to the oyamel fir forests in the mountains west of Mexico City. This river tumbles along in a kind of bubbly joy reserved for kids, fairies,…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:42

Sapphire knows how to throw a ‘potty’

Sitting on a toilet, Kyle Iezzi is ready for victory. “The main thing is that I hope we go straight,” the 15-year-old said.
A group of Jackson County locavores is hoping to bring the Ramp-Berry Community Market Co-op, a store that will sell all things local, to fruition before the year ends. 
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:40

Jane Hipps officially kicks off Senate campaign

Jane Hipps of Waynesville will officially kick off her campaign to run against Sen. Jim Davis at an “Announcement Celebration” at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Junaluska Elementary School.  Hipps says she is running for the N.C. Senate because she…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:39

Macon sheriff wants more money for drug buys

Sheriff Robert Holland is looking to ramp-up his department’s crackdown on drug dealers in Macon County, requesting that the county commissioners multiply his allocation for undercover drug buys from $1,000 to $20,000 in its upcoming budget. 
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:39

CCC gives out annual Community Pride Awards

The Commission for a Clean County (CCC) has announced the winners of its annual Community Pride Awards program, who will be honored at luncheon ceremony at the Waynesville Country Club on Feb. 26. This program honors businesses, community groups, civic…
A Maggie Valley restaurant owner who was also a figure in town politics has been charged with sexually abusing two boys several years ago.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:35

Pisgah student persists, forms secular club

A club for non-religious students is being formed at Pisgah High School after a freshman enlisted the help of a national group to go to bat for her.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:32

Jackson sheriff’s race shapes up

With campaign season barely off the ground, the Jackson County sheriff’s race has already drawn a hefty list of candidates — and of issues.
When Becky Olson first began making house calls, she was barely old enough to walk. She spent her childhood following behind her physician father’s coattails when he made house calls and shadowing her mother, a nurse, through various clinics and…
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00

Robin Thicke comes to Harrah’s

Pop sensation Robin Thicke will perform at 8 p.m. March 14 at Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center. Born in Los Angeles, Thicke taught himself to play piano at the age of 12 and by 16 was writing and producing songs for…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00

Chili competition heats up in Maggie Valley

The Maggie Valley Chamber “Chili Challenge” will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Maggie Valley Inn & Conference Center. Alongside chili tasting, there will be awards given for an array of categories. To enter the…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00

Penland School plans open house

The Penland School of Crafts Community Open House will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 1. 
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00

WCU exhibit of artwork by local students

An exhibit of artwork by local students in kindergarten through 12th grade will run Feb. 28 through March 21 in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00

Chocolate Drops to perform at WCU

Grammy Award-winning black string band Carolina Chocolate Drops will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 3, in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00

Squirm Burpee Circus to perform at WCU

The Squirm Burpee Circus will perform at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 2, in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University. The performance is part of the 2013-14 Galaxy of Stars Series.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00

This must be the place

I ski in jeans. There, I said it. And I’ve been doing it for years — as far back as I can remember. Ever since I was a child, when the snowflakes started to drift down from the heavens, I hit…
Summer McMahan remembers the exact moment her life changed. “Mountain Heritage Day [at Western Carolina University], 14 years ago,” she said. “I watched the Fiddlin’ Dill Sisters and decided that’s what I wanted to do.”
For every degree of cold or inconvenience, wintry weather adds two of beauty. Members of Waynesville’s Lens Luggers photography club kept their cameras at the ready as below freezing temperatures and above-normal snowfall transformed Western North Carolina into a winter…
When inflated real estate values in the second-home market came back down to earth, the touchdown wasn’t gentle.  It was more of a crash-landing, and five years later two mountains counties are still sifting through the wreckage.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:25

Remembering the glory of sports radio

Let’s talk some sports radio. I began thinking about this piece the afternoon before the Super Bowl. The Panthers were out of it … but I still listened. I’d listen to the play-by-play of a ping-pong match, so long as…
The Wildlife Club at Haywood Community College is hosting the 8th annual Wild Game Dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, March 7, at the Haywood County Fairgrounds.  The dinner is a fundraiser for students. Funds generated during the event will provide…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:21

Sports for youth

Girls volleyball prep league at Waynesville Recreation Center A volleyball development league for girls in fourth through sixth grade will be held on Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m. in March and April, except for April 21, at the Waynesville…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:19

Learn to grow mushrooms in a log

Learn to grow shiitake mushrooms from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Macon County Environmental Resource Center in Franklin.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:18

Teaching farmers to be businessmen

Boosting sales at farmers’ markets, marketing to restaurants, finding farmland and tapping agritourism are just a few of the topics to be covered during the Business of Farming Conference set for 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at…
A public meeting on management plans for the Needmore game land in Macon and Swain counties will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at Tartan Hall, First Presbyterian Church, 26 Church St., in Franklin.
Owen Link McConnell liked the Unicoi and Snowbird mountains so much, he wrote a book about them. And not just any book, but a reference guide for the region. Unicoi Unity: A Natural History of the Unicoi and Snowbird Mountains…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:03

Mailer — a man of his time and shaper of it

In the Prologue to Norman Mailer: A Double Life (978-1-4391-5019-1, 2013, $40), biographer J. Michael Lennon writes that “Mailer’s desire for fame, and his distaste for it, never abated over his long career. Nor did his ability to determine how…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:51

Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival wants artists

The Greater Cashiers Area Merchants Association is currently looking for artisans for the 6th annual Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, which will be held Oct. 10-12.  The festival is Western North Carolina’s most prominent fall event. The weekend festival is held…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:50

Waldroop family benefit in Franklin

A benefit for Sam Waldroop will be at 4 p.m. Feb 15 at South Macon Elementary School in Franklin. On Dec. 24, 2013, Sam Waldroop (son of Ricky and Julia Waldroop and brother of Christie and Amy Kinsland) was in…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:48

Celtic dance troupe steps into Franklin

The National Dance Company of Ireland’s “Rhythm of the Dance” hits the stage 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:44

Exhibit of rare pottery at WCU

Pottery from the private collection of Joan Byrd and George Rector will be on display Feb. 17 through May 9 in the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University. An artist’s talk and reception is set for 5 p.m. March…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:43

The Drifters to bring doo-wop to Franklin

Bennie Anderson and The Drifters will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. The Sock Hops will open the show.
The Sunday Concert Series continues at 3 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Waynesville and Canton libraries.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:39

This must be the place

My first time was in a navy blue 1991 Toyota Camry. My first time hearing The Beatles, that is. Like the first time you kissed a loved one, that initial introduction to the Fab Four stopped you in your tracks,…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:37

Country boys can survive

Zach Haney looks at obstacles as opportunities. “I wasn’t even supposed to walk, but here I am,” he said.  Guitarist for the Joe Lasher Jr. band, Haney is a 21-year-old Canton native. Born with cerebral palsy, he’s turned whatever adversities…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:01

Visualizing the options for growth

By Ben Brown • Guest Columnist Think of it as a starter kit for a comprehensive business plan for North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties.  That’s as good a way as any to understand the mission of the Opportunity Initiative for Southwestern…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:01

Democratic whining ignores progress

To the Editor: Some parts of Western North Carolina are loaded with socialist agenda people, especially in Asheville and Cullowhee.  They must envy the great progress the country of Russia has made. Is not Sochi a shining example of how…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:00

Article misstated my views on slope rewrite

To the Editor: I want to thank The Smoky Mountain News for the  article in the Feb 5 edition ( concerning the proposed Jackson County Mountain and Hillside Development Ordinance (MHDO). That subject needs public attention, thought and then response…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:54

Moral March is not a moment, but a movement

By Doug Wingeier • Columnist As I write this, I have just returned from a tiring but exhilarating day participating in the Moral March on Raleigh. My wife and I joined 18 others from Haywood County — friends both black and white — plus…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:53

Jackson fire tax goes up in smoke

Jackson County commissioners have nixed the idea of making volunteer fire departments financially autonomous.
County leaders in Western North Carolina breathed a collective sigh of relief after the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law Feb. 7. The bill includes a one-year extension of the PILT program, which stands for payment in lieu of…