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A six-part lecture series on nature, ecology and conservation will kick off with a program titled “Plott Balsams Business Case for Conservation” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 17, at the Jackson County Library in downtown Sylva. The relationship between the…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:58

Birders bring Africa to Highlands

Highlands will get a chance to experience South Africa through a presentation from Jim and Ellen Shelton, long-time birders whose recent trip across the globe allowed them to glimpse some spectacular birds and mammals.
More than a dozen farmers and gardeners will be featured in the annual Jackson County Farm Tour coming up July 26-27. Tour-goers get a self-guided brochure and can visit the sites in whatever order they please, running from 1 to…
Water quality, aquatic habitats and outdoor recreation will see a boost in Haywood County thanks to $132,000 in new grants awarded through the Pigeon River Fund grant cycle for the first half of the year. The Pigeon River Fund has…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:55

Battle for the brookie

As the only native trout in North Carolina, brook trout is a well-loved fish, but it’s fallen on some hard times. Competition from introduced rainbow, brown and genetically different northern brook trout has taken its toll, as have acid rain…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:55

Rare wetland habitat to get an upgrade

A three-acre wetland near Cherokee Central Schools will get $25,000 worth of restoration work thanks to a grant that Great Smoky Mountains National Park received from the National Park Foundation to help the Ravensford floodplain wetland keep its natural character. …
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:54

Growing native in Highlands

A slate of programs July 23-25 at the Highlands Biological Foundation will highlight the benefits of gardening with native plants, including a workshop on maintaining home flowerbeds, a lecture on native plants and a guided tour of the Southern Highlands…
Haywood Community College student Logan Hawks recently placed third in the nation in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series Collegiate Lumberjack Competition. He is the third HCC student since 2007 to rank as a top place finisher in the national woodsmen competition. 
The summer is shaping into a pretty good rafting season for Tee Davis. “It’s awesome, man,” said Davis, owner of Smoky Mountain Adventures. Much better than last summer, anyway. Last year, rains wreaked havoc on the rafting season.  “Night and…
The four-legged officers of Haywood County are now bulletproof, thanks to a donation from the Western North Carolina Dog Fanciers Association. Of the seven K9s in the county, two had been missing the Kevlar protection they’d need to stay safe…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:40

A few problems with one-sided letter

To the Editor: In his column, Martin Dyckman disparages supply-side economics but contradicts himself two paragraphs later stating that teachers are leaving North Carolina, supposedly for higher salaries.  Jude Wanniski, a leading proponent of supply-side economics, observed that whatever our…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:39

Your property rights are at risk

To the Editor: Republican Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, co-sponsored SB 786, which is now law. • It fast tracked fracking in North Carolina. Fracking is a process of selecting some chemicals from a toxic group of about 600 types which are then mixed with about…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:38

The truth about Common Core

To the Editor: Common Core and understanding the ramifications of the future of our children’s education are something all citizens of the United States of America should be aware.  My granddaughter advised me that she could not read my handwritten…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:35

Can anyone afford to get sick?

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist About eight months ago I had a misunderstanding with a pile of lumber which, when resolved, left me with shattered right wrist. Yes, that right wrist, just like the one you use everyday. Two…
The summer ritual of naming new principals and assistant principals before the start of the next school year wrapped up in Haywood County this week. The annual shuffle is usually trigged by a couple of principals somewhere in the school…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:25

WestCare to open primary care clinic

WestCare Health will launch a new full-time primary care clinic in the Health and Human Sciences Building at Western Carolina University, with a targeted opening in September.  The clinic is the result of a partnership between the hospital and the…
A Canton business has recently found itself in the midst of a heated parking debate. Blackbear Automotive & Transmission, located on the corner of Pisgah Drive (N.C. 110) and Johnson Street, is generating traffic concerns from the community. Those concerns…
Macon County commissioners voted unanimously last week to endorse a resolution stating that no new wilderness areas in Macon County would be a good thing. With the U.S. Forest Service in the midst of hashing out a new forest management…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:22

Franklin aldermen vote no to hospice grant

Hospice House of WNC suffered a setback last week when the Franklin Board of Aldermen made a split decision not to support the organization’s application for a $100,000 Department of Commerce grant.  “It’s a worthy cause. That was not the…
A question-and-answer session concerning fracking drew a full crowd to a recent Jackson County Planning Board meeting. Western Carolina University Geosciences and Natural Resources Professor Cheryl Waters-Tormey was invited to lay out the basic process of hydraulic fracturing and the…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:20

Jackson still mulling landslide mapping

Landslide hazard maps for the Wayehutta Creek watershed in the Cullowhee area of Jackson County were unveiled recently. The mapping is a baby step toward the much loftier goal of assessing the landslide risk for all the steep slopes in…
Macon County’s project to turn the 48-acre Parker Meadows project into a tournament-level softball and baseball complex met some complications when construction turned up a Cherokee burial site.  “You might hear rumors to that effect, so we’ll go ahead and…
In light of the growing number of children with food allergies, a new policy has been adopted by Haywood County Schools to help parents navigate the scary terrain of sending a child with a life-threatening food allergy into an uncontrolled…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:17

Hospital back online following fire

Three weeks after a fire in the power room knocked out electricity at Haywood Regional Medical Center, the hospital is fully open and accepting patients. The hospital had already opened its emergency department and business offices back up on June…
Monty Williams didn’t know a whole lot about the Circles of Hope program when he sat down to his first training four years ago. All he knew was that he wanted to do something to help people in poverty escape…
The latest development to throw down a stake in Cullowhee intends to build a 488-bed student housing complex on a two-lane stretch of road across from the community garden and near the Tuckasegee River. It’s a place where students can…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:33

Franklin hires town manager

After a closed session Monday, the Franklin Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to give Interim Town Manager Summer Woodard a permanent place in town hall. Woodard, who has been acting as town manager since Warren Cabe resigned in May, now…
One month after low oxygen levels killed the bacteria needed to process sewage at the Cherokee Wastewater Treatment Plant, discharge flowing back into the Oconaluftee River is still on the cloudy side as employees work to get the plant fully…
The general election ballot for Jackson County Sheriff will finally be final next week when polls close on a second Republican primary July 15. Though the field of six Democrats came out with a clear winner, the three-person Republican race…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:18

Fracking opposition organizes in WNC

Candice Caldwell Day and her husband Shayne recently went to Andrews Airport in Cherokee County. “To hold up a really big sign,” she said. 
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:15

Macon schools get $100,000 more from county

Macon County Schools got a little extra to fix up their buildings when some bids for the Parker Meadows recreational complex came in low. All of the extra money went to education, with $39,400 going to Southwestern Community College and…
 The Emergency Department at MedWest Haywood is fully online, having treated 180 patients during the Fourth of July weekend. The department, along with outpatient services and the hospital’s business offices, re-opened June 30, 11 days after a fire in the…
In two separate incidents, graders in Haywood County bulldozed over wetlands, violating state and federal regulations that protect the environmentally-sensitive areas.
Results are back from the first round of testing for lead at Southwestern Community College’s shooting range, and the conclusion is that there’s plenty of lead to go around. In the area 15 to 20 feet downslope from the range,…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:04

Ghost Town opens for season, draws a crowd

After passing state inspections, Ghost Town in the Sky opened for the season on the Fourth of the July.  The Maggie Valley amusement park — open Friday through Monday — is reporting an opening weekend attendance total of more than…
Negotiations between Evergreen Packaging and its union employees at the company’s Canton and Waynesville facilities are still ongoing. The talks resume July 15.
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:00

Corridor K: Beyond the road

Though the Corridor K debate was the impetus for the Opportunity Initiative Study, Opt-In wasn’t all about transportation. The results of the year-long regional visioning study has been enlightening, unifying and awash with great ideas to improve the area’s economic…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 12:59

Corridor K: Dueling studies

A stalemate in the debate over Corridor K boils down to a central issue: can upgrades to the existing two-lane road do the job, or is a new four-lane highway the only solution?
After a year-long study capping off years of debate, the verdict is in on what’s next for the controversial Corridor K road project — sort of. SEE ALSO: Dueling studies | Beyond the road There were high hopes for the $2 million Opportunity…
Officials in the town of Forest Hills in Jackson County recently explored the possibility of providing trash and recycling collection service to residents. It was a brief exploration. 
After a firestorm of public outcry over the prospect of a firing range being built in an African-American neighborhood in Canton, town board members appear to have the issue on hold. “There has been no movement on the project,” said…
Public concerns over the visual blight of a proposed cell tower in the Cashiers area have prompted Verizon Wireless to alter its design for the tower, namely by disguising it to look like a very tall, very big pine tree.
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 04:10

More dialogue – anyone listening?

The next USDA Forest Service public meeting regarding the National Forest Plan Revision will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on July 10 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in downtown Asheville. The new plan will guide the management…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 04:08

Outdoors events for kids

Kids program offers chance to touch bones, or delve into digestion Haywood Public Library will get more than skin deep with a forensic anthropology program at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 17, at the Waynesville branch and Tuesday, July 29, at…
Nantahala Lake spawned two state fishing records within a week during the month of June. Until now, the state record for a kokanee salmon was 3 pounds, 9 ounces, set in 2009 by Swannanoa resident Ashley Swann, but Fred Mix…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 03:51

Trout tournament coming up in Cherokee

The annual Cherokee Dog Days Fishing Tournament will be held in Cherokee again July 18-19, with $10,000 in cash prizes available.
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 03:50

New map and website highlight Swain fishing

A new website and brochure highlight all the fishing opportunities available in Swain County.
The 11th annual Mountain Wildlife Days will take over Sapphire Valley Resort near Cashiers, N.C. June 18-19, activities ranging from a presentation on with world of mammals to a raptor demonstration to bluegrass gospel music. 
It’s no secret that an accurate weather forecast is hard to come by in the Smokies. But after two months of intense measurements at more than 100 stations around the region, scientists working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration…
This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More, For Young and Old Alike (Picador, 2013 reprint, $15) has minor flaws to irritate every reader. For me, the title on the dust-jacket…