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Wednesday, 07 January 2015 16:03

Park changes firewood rules to protect forests

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will limit the type of firewood brought into the park in order to protect forests.  Beginning in March 2015, only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and displays a certification stamp by the USDA or a…
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:59

A possumless possum drop

Just like they have for the last two decades, residents of Clay County and beyond gathered in Brasstown to ring in the New Year with the annual Possum Drop. But unlike the last two decades, they had to do so…
More than $6 million has been spent on upgrades and improvements at Haywood Regional Medical Center since it was bought by Duke LifePoint hospital network last year. Pumping cash into the facility and equipment was a condition of the deal,…
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:57

Haywood Regional’s new CEO now on the job

The new CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center assumed his role this week, pledging to lead the hospital into a new era under the ownership of Duke LifePoint. The sale to Duke LifePoint last year ended Haywood Regional’s proud history…
Dinnertime came a little late at Haywood Pathways Center Sunday night (Jan. 4), but for all the right reasons. It was the inaugural night for The Open Door’s Hazelwood kitchen, the final piece in turning the dream behind the Pathways…
Each year an economic report card issued by the North Carolina Department of Commerce determines which counties will be given first dibs on state grant money — and each year no one seems satisfied with their grades. Haywood’s status improved, for…
Fred Baker’s title isn’t particularly glamorous. For nearly three decades, he kept the potholes patched, the trash picked up, the sewer lines repaired, the clean water flowing, the lights on and the gutters swept all over Waynesville. “It is a…
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:41

Insurance agents adjust to industry under ACA

Since the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, people have been urged to get signed up for health insurance online with the help of certified navigators. Local insurance agents, however, say they are still more qualified to make sure residents…
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:35

Study shows Swain benefited most from ACA

More than 10 million people now have health care coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, and Swain County residents benefited from the new law more than any other county in North Carolina.  According to data released by Enroll America,…
Jackson County got plenty of response back when its new board of commissioners put out the word that they were taking applications for the county attorney position. 
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:31

Jackson, Macon work together on transportation

Public transit in Macon County is slated to get a boost as Jackson and Macon counties work out an agreement to share a position between the two of them. Jackson’s mobility coordinator position — a job that basically entails marketing…
A final public hearing to solicit public input on a draft set of standards to guide development in Cullowhee will take place on Jan. 13 After that, the draft standards will go to the planning board and then to the…
Now is the time to make resolutions, order seeds for the coming year’s garden and buy an almanac for 2015. Just doing those things will make you feel better. My almanac of choice this year is titled “Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 16:19

Forest Stewards honored for conservation forestry

A Cullowhee-based forest management group was recently recognized for its work by Root Cause, a regional initiative to raise awareness of sustainable forestry industries.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 16:15

Haywood Waterways does good work

Editor’s note: The following is a submission from Haywood Waterways Association reflecting on the organization’s work to protect and improve water quality in Haywood County. Since 1998, Haywood Waterways Association has instructed thousands of children, written more than a hundred…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 16:10

Roan Mountain viewsheds protected by land trust

A 76-acre tract along the Appalachian Trail on Roan Mountain has been permanently protected thanks to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, safeguarding scenic views and wildlife habitat. The tract is half a mile from Carvers Gap, a popular access point…
When Jim Brendle put together the first Smoky Mountain Relay in 2009, it was a pretty small affair. With only 48 runners representing six teams, the 200-plus-mile foot race didn’t draw a lot of attention.  A lot has changed since…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:59

The fascinating evolution of the fool killer

One of the oldest traditional folktales, ‘Godfather Death,’ exists in all cultures; however, the tone of the stories may vary from bleak and grim invocations of death’s certainty to humorous tales of tricksters who scheme to avoid death’s coming. Death…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:46

Oil painting demo in Bryson

Oil painter Jon Houglum will demonstrate “Oil Painting Techniques in a Portrait” for the Art League of the Smokies at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City. 
A Dillsboro book artist and adjunct instructor at Southwestern Community College, Frank Brannon has been selected for the first Mary B. Regan Residency Grant for a project to revitalize the Cherokee language through his artistry as a letterpress printer. 
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:34

Shearin brings Americana to Wine Seller

Singer-songwriter Dan Shearin will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, at The Classic Wine Seller in Waynesville.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:32

This must be the place

The stewardess handed me a cold Heineken.  The skyline of Boston in the distance, the beauty of a city I hold so damn close to my heart. It’s horrifically beautiful watching all of the cars, people and lights down there.…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:27

2014: Arts & Entertainment in Review

Another one is in the books.  With each passing year, I find myself digging ever deeper into what it truly means to reside and thrive in Western North Carolina. Week in and week out, I cross paths with innumerable people,…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:04

Time to eschew meat products

To the Editor: It’s time for New Year’s resolutions, particularly those about our health. Although gun violence remains the leading cause of death among young people, our most dangerous weapon is still our fork.  Forty-five times as many die of…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:04

Time for appointed tax collector in Haywood

To the Editor: As we approach the year 2015, I appeal to the decision makers of Haywood County to take a progressive, positive action with a request to fix an obvious problem with a local bill which would fix this…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:01

The only lesson may be that there is no lesson

One of my wife’s childhood friends lives near Wilmington. Her daughter, a senior at Appalachian State, died last week in a tragic car accident. We went to the service two days after Christmas.  One of the young lady’s sorority sisters…
Southwestern Community College student Stanley Kingsberry has landed a patent for his invention of a magnetic wrench system. Though offers to buy his invention are streaming in from companies across the nation, he’s holding out for a bid in the…
Alcohol-related traffic accidents are on the rise in Jackson County, with rates outstripping those of both North Carolina as a whole and Western North Carolina in particular, according to Jackson’s 2014 State of the County Health Report.  The report, an…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 14:38

2014: Newsworthy award winners

2014 is all but in the rearview mirror now, and all the stories reported over the last 12 months are headed for the history books or perhaps a less-lofty final resting place. But lest we forget just what made 2014…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 15:08

Canary Coalition works to help WNC

By Thomas Crowe • Guest Columnist In case you didn't know it, right here in our midst we have a gem of an organization — an organization that has been fighting for clean air and water for all of us here…
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 17:45

Somehow, I was meant to be right here

By Laura Amour • Guest Columnist “The mountains attract seekers.” That comment was made by a cherished friend that I have known most of my life.  We grew up together in Memphis, went our separate ways, and ended up about an…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Lonely this Christmas? Hire an old-time hermit

Serendipity: an aptitude for making significant discoveries by accident. I have always loved that word, and I have had numerous serendipity moments. I would like to tell you about the one that happened today. I have been bemoaning the fact…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

All are welcome at Pigeon Center

To the Editor: An article in the Dec. 17-23 issue of The Smoky Mountain News states that the Pigeon Center in Waynesville serves “the black community and ... underserved populations.” In fact, the programs offered there draw many of us…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Real vs. fake facts, and knowing the difference

To the Editor: Denying facts because they conflict with a belief is a survival tactic for the human race. We all do it. But now it seems a lot easier for everyone to have their own “facts.” On the Internet…
We’re all at home, on vacation at last. Ella Fitzgerald is wishing us a swinging Christmas, as she does every December. First “Jingle Bells,” then “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” then “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and on…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Golden poster-bird

It seems like the golden-winged warbler (GWWA) has become the non-game poster bird for everything from clearcuts to shelterwood cuts to overstory removal to seed tree harvests in our national forests. The philosophy appears to be “if you build it…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Sounds in the night

By Burt Kornegay • Contributing writer It was around 10:30 p.m., just as we were going to bed, when my wife Becky and I heard strange sounds outside our home in Cullowhee. I walked out on the porch and first heard…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Nantahala Brewing supports the A.T.

Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City celebrated the Christmas season with a generous donation to Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Smokies Ridgerunner program.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Forest Service wins public engagement awards

U.S. Forest Service employees in North Carolina recently received a handful of awards for their work in 2014, including a community engagement award for the forest planning process in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests. 
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Women-only ski lessons launch in January

A six-session program aimed at female skiers and snowboarders will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley.
A new conservation easement in Jackson County will provide a critical wildlife corridor, connecting three other easements and located less than 2 miles from Panthertown Valley. 
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Seasonal road closures begin in national forest

Seasonal road closures are starting to kick in for the U.S. Forest Service.  In the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest, 2.9 miles of Longarm Road, FSR-287, will close from its intersection with Blackgum Gap — FSR-288 — March…
It was still a couple weeks till Christmas, but Santa Claus already had his boots shined and suit cleaned in preparation for the second most important day of the year — his annual practice run at Chimney Rock State Park. …
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

The best things come in the smallest packages

Looking up at the old chimney, William “Gene” Gibson still wonders how Santa Claus ever managed to fit in it. “I never could figure how’d he come down through there and not get all covered in black,” the 87-year-old chuckled.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

A renewed appreciation for ‘The Great Gatsby’

In 1977 I fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. That was a year of deep reading for me — Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner, Flaubert, and so many others — but it was Gatsby I loved. The novel…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

WCU assists with Cherokee documentary

Two Western Carolina University faculty members assisted on a recently released award-winning film that chronicles efforts to revitalize the Cherokee language in Western North Carolina. Hartwell Francis, director of WCU’s Cherokee language program, and Tom Belt, coordinator of the program…
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 16:17

Foxworthy to bring laughs to Harrah’s

Superstar comedian Jeff Foxworthy will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at Harrah’s Cherokee. Foxworthy is one of the most respected and successful comedians in the country. He is the largest selling comedy-recording artist in history, a multiple…
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.