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Haywood County Commissioners have released a collection of minutes from closed sessions going back to August 2013, detailing discussions surrounding the sale of Haywood Regional Medical Center to Duke LifePoint Healthcare.  The now-public documents deal with the bidding process, site…
The Franklin Town Board unanimously approved a petition to rezone a small piece of property off Clyde Street at its meeting Oct. 6, but the public comment preceding that decision was far from unanimous.   “My main concern is if…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 14:23

Sylva allows more time for window replacements

Downtown Sylva property owners will still have to replace any plywood currently covering up windows, but they will be provided with more time to do so.  In September, the Sylva Board of Commissioners considered a trio of ordinance amendments aimed…
Tucked away on the corner of Kentucky and Virginia avenues in the old Hazelwood Elementary School building, the Alternative Learning Center in Waynesville doesn’t look much like a high school. It’s got just four classrooms, and a stroll through the…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 14:19

Haywood moves forward with landfill remediation

Work is underway on a multi-million-dollar environmental remediation project on the Old Francis Farm landfill near Waynesville. The first load of dirt was dumped Oct. 7, and on Oct. 6 Haywood County Commissioners approved a $44,500 contract for McGill Associates…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 14:14

A drive-by version of the N.C. Senate debate

A candidate debate last week between N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and challenger Jane Hipps, D-Waynesville, plowed a lot of ground. Education, Medicaid, and fracking were the biggies, but the 90-minute debate ran the gamut, touching on government spending, guns,…
A debate between N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and his challenger Jane Hipps, D-Waynesville, last week was lively, testy, heated, fiery and passionate — and that’s just talking about the audience. Despite ground rules laid down by the moderator at…
N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, is known for his direct and unapologetic communication style, but it landed him in hot water with some audience members at a debate held at Western Carolina University last week. Davis made a reference during…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 14:06

Fund for Haywood surpasses $1 million mark

Twenty years after Aaron Prevost and other community leaders provided the seed money to start the endowment, The Fund for Haywood County has reached a milestone goal by surpassing the $1 million mark. “In two decades, our Advisory Board has…
With a visitor in the house and his crate door open, Adam is all kinds of excited. The lanky black lab bounds down the hall, eager to have his head rubbed, his back petted, his chewy bone tossed. “He’ll try…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 13:59

Don’t call it a fracking resolution

Following multiple anti-fracking resolutions passed by local governments around the region, Jackson County commissioners have now taken an action of their own. While their resolution never specifically mentions “fracking” or “hydraulic fracturing,” the board — or at least three of…
Jerry Monroe Berry and his son, Joshua Monroe Berry, of Swain County have been charged with growing marijuana in the Nantahala National Forest.  According to Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran, a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations aircraft was conducting…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 13:56

Sylva celebrates its 125th anniversary

The Town of Sylva is celebrating its 125th year since incorporation. To mark the occasion, a slate of activities are planned for Oct. 10-11. The celebration pays homage to the history of the town. “The activities are all things that…
With a long construction process coming to an end, students and teachers at Pisgah High School are enjoying a bit more space in their building, and Haywood County Schools Maintenance Director Tracy Hartgrove is happy to be putting the final…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 13:52

DA candidates spar over work, family and gender

The race for top prosecutor over the seven counties between assistant district attorneys Jim Moore and Ashley Welch has grown increasingly heated as it heads into the homestretch. The latest development: a twist on the gender stereotypes that typically saddle…
A Tennessee man in a wheelchair accused of helping bury a dead body in a barrel has emerged as an unusual focal point in the hotly contested race for district attorney in the seven western counties. To be clear, Stevie…
Franklin leaders made their intention to keep Nikwasi Mound in town possession clear this week, rejecting a formal call from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to hand over the property.  The resolution, passed unanimously, declares that the mound will…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 13:43

Library proponents unveil a visual

The new Swain County library isn’t a reality yet — except in the minds of the true believers. Last week, a group of Swain residents who are certain the journey to a new library is well underway gathered on a…
About the race: This used to be a toss-up district, but clever redrawing of voting boundaries by the Republican-led legislature in Raleigh two years ago tipped the scales to the right. The liberal stronghold of Asheville was carved out and…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 17:56

Election 2014: Legislative races, a primer

N.C. House of Representatives, seat 118 Is this my state rep? Yes, if you live in Madison and Yancey counties and part of Haywood — namely Canton, Clyde, Bethel, Cruso, Maggie Valley, Jonathan Creek and Crabtree areas.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 17:54

2014 District Attorney election primer

Do I vote in this race? Yes, if you live anywhere in the seven western counties.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:41

Still time if you hurry

I’ve been on the Blue Ridge Parkway the last couple of weekends and have made it a point to stop at Wolf Mountain Overlook (Milepost 424) to check out the Grass of Parnassus, I believe to be Parnassia asarifolia.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:34

Gardening Grant helps at the Open Door

A pair of grants from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources will help improve water resources in Haywood County. State-wide, $2.2 million was given to 37 projects. The big one for the Haywood County Soil and Water Conservation…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:34

Road and trail closure

• Ball Creek Road, a U.S. Forest Service road that begins at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory and ends at Upper Nantahala Road in Macon County, will be closed through late October for repairs. Storm events in January 2013 caused the need…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:33

Do you like elk?

Cataloochee hike to feature elk and history A full-day hike Tuesday, Oct. 14, in the Cataloochee Valley area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will give hikers a chance to experience the mountain roads of 80 years ago —…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:31

Fall programs in the Smokies

A lineup of fall interpretive programs is underway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will run through the end of October. From black bears to berries to carbon footprints, the fall programs cover plenty of ground.   Sundays • Longing…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:30

Brook trout to join the license plate lineup

There’s a new specialty license plate coming soon: the brook trout plate.
White-nosed bat syndrome is marching west, and as a result the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has closed the Whiteoak Sink area between Cades Cove and Townsend through March to keep people from spreading the disease to bats hibernating there. 
Cambodia and Thailand might be on the other side of the world from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but they deal with similar resource issues — including plant and wildlife poaching — so the Smokies is reaching out to…
The outlook for a bright leaf season is improving, as Western Carolina University fearless fall foliage forecaster Kathy Mathews has updated her prediction about the quality of the annual color show, based on changing conditions in the mountains.
Orange chaps clipped around their legs, Rankin Fender and Zac O’Connor square off inside the sawdust-and-bark-filled woodshed at Haywood Community College. Late afternoon sunlight angles through the lean-to’s open walls, and the two students each grab hold of one handle…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:09

The end is near — now what?

When the novel, The Leftovers came out several years ago, it was an immediate success. (Oprah gave it a significant boost in sales and the fact that America was in the midst of a kind of apocalyptic  fervor at the time…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:01

Want to learn how to make a gingerbread house?

The Franklin Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Bakery will offer a How To Create A Gingerbread House seminar at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Underground Franklin Event Center below the bakery.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:57

Open call for Bryson City Chili Cook-Off

The 24th annual Bryson City Chili Cook-Off will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Depot.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:56

Sylva celebrates its quasquicentennial

The Town of Sylva will hold its 125th anniversary celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, in downtown.
The historic Colonial Theatre in downtown Canton has been nominated for a Momentum Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association for best musical venue of the year.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:51

Minick brings folk, country to Strand

Folk/rock/country singer Chris Minick will perform at 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:49

This must be the place

Claire Lynch likes to blur lines. Born and raised in Upstate New York, she eventually moved away, crossing the Mason-Dixon Line for Alabama at age 12. She carried in her mind the sounds of the 1960s folk scene of Greenwich…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:44

The heartbeat of a community

It never ceases to amaze Lorraine Conard. “It’s a little bit magical,” she said. “You walk in and there’s this energy and excitement, a heartbeat within the community — I’m always so grateful and thankful for the people who come…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:39

Let’s show real respect for teachers

By Jim Hunt • Guest Columnist Earlier this year, I called for a state commitment to raise teacher pay to the national average in the next four years. It was a bold proposal, but that’s what leaders do. Since that…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:38

Let your voice be heard at the ballot box

To the Editor: By this means I thank N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, for presenting the fracking forum in Macon County to afford his constituents the opportunity to at least attend a meeting where Senate Bill 786, the Energy Modernization…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:38

Fracking debate needs more research, facts

To the Editor: The letter writer on fracking in the Sept. 17-23 issue of The Smoky Mountain News appears to have been influenced by the bombastic and fictional style of the extreme right. He begins by demeaning those who are critical…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:38

Why textbooks matter even now

To the Editor: Although Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and his fellow Republicans Sen.  Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, like to tout their $1 billion increase in funding for public education, they have little to say about how…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:37

Fracking is a ticking time bomb

To the Editor: As someone with 25-plus years of experience in water and wastewater equipment design, manufacture and installation, I can guarantee that 100 percent of fracked wells will fail at some point in the future and they will release their residual gases…
Tammy is out in the yard burning the couch. There is no telling where this will end. All by herself, she somehow managed to push and pull an overstuffed sofa out of our guest bedroom, through the downstairs den, and…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:00

A conversation with Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington is a celebrity carpenter best known for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” a show that involved lightning-quick remodels of less-than-stellar homes for families with compelling stories about why they needed a better living space. After taking the grand prize…
It was a scene that any fan — or casual viewer — of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” would find familiar. A crowd, ramped-up and excited, gathered together wearing matching T-shirts. A decrepit property in the background. And Ty Pennington, host…
N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, and Republican challenger Mike Clampitt are on a similar mission. Each is trying to assure voters they are nothing like the other guy. Recently, the two candidates seeking the 119th District House seat faced…
Cullowhee is the fastest growing area of Jackson County. The growth owes much to Western Carolina University and is evidenced in recent years by a surge in private student housing complexes and smattering of bars. Without regulations in place, Cullowhee’s…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:44

Macon approves final school officer position

All 11 Macon County schools will now have their own school resource officer, called an SRO, after county commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to institute the eleventh position at Cartoogechaye Elementary School.