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Wednesday, 17 September 2014 14:20

Elk rut spells caution for Smokies visitors

It’s breeding season for elk, and that means that fields in the Cataloochee and Oconaluftee areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed to use until Oct. 30, when this season, known as the rut, ends. Even when…
A National Audubon Society study of bird species in the continental United States and Canada released last week shows that global warming threatens more than half of the bird species in that geographic area, including North Carolina species such as…
A hike to the salamander capital of the world will come bundled with highland views and explanation from a National Park Service salamander expert, 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Appalachian Highland Science Learning Center in Great Smoky Mountains…
Dr. Richard Thompson is breathing a bit easier this semester. He’s not worrying about funding. Not wondering if the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching will slip into the abyss. 
The University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ three-day visit on the Western Carolina University campus came to a close Sept. 12. The board’s regular monthly meeting included remarks from District 11 U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows and N.C. Gov. Pat…
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 14:12

Hospital sale over, but when can we get our money?

Although the ink is dry on the sale of Haywood Regional Medical Center, how much the county will get for the hospital remains a moving target.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 14:12

Town of Sylva makes history

The Sylva Downtown Historic District was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service and is the country’s official list of United States historic sites considered worthy of preservation.…
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 14:11

Haywood leaders weigh in on fracking fray

Haywood County commissioners have joined the growing ranks of local elected leaders to take a stand on fracking.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 14:09

Jackson dodges fracking, sans resolution

Jackson County officials were recently set to discuss the possibility of joining other local governments in the region and consider an anti-fracking resolution. At least that’s what Commissioner Vicki Greene thought.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 14:08

Theft, vandalism spur Forest Service to build gate

The U.S. Forest Service is planning to install a gate on Wine Spring Road near Franklin after communications equipment housed less than a mile up the road at Wine Spring Gap was repeatedly stolen and vandalized. Damage has totaled $20,000…
An innovative tool to help recruit the best and brightest teachers to Haywood County has become too costly for the school system to continue in light of education budget cuts in recent years.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 14:06

Sewage standoff lands offender in jail

The owner of a rental trailer in the Cruso community of Haywood County will be locked up until he complies with a court order to stop spilling raw sewage onto the ground.
A new park and playground under construction at Lake Junaluska carries a price tag of more than $200,000.
It’s about that time. Time to worry about PILT money.   After seeing the federal payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) program receive a one-year extension early this year, local leaders are now looking out for more than the program’s…
Attendees at Cullowhee’s hearing on the proposed oil and gas rules Sept. 12 were overwhelmingly anti-fracking, but a small contingent of men showed up on a bus from Winstom-Salem — provided by the N.C. Energy Forum —  wearing sky blue…
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 13:55

Fracking opponents: What they said

“We want unannounced reviews and inspections by DENR. It’s like a drug test. You tell them they’re going to be drug tested? They’re clean. So we want unannounced inspections, number one. We want records kept for a minimum of 50…
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 13:52

Fracking opponents sweep public hearing

It didn’t take but a glance around the lawn of the Liston B. Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University to see that Sept. 12 was going to be an eventful evening.
Wireless communications companies could ultimately find Jackson County’s revised cell phone tower ordinance considerably more palatable than the stricter version that appeared to be shaping up this summer. The county planning board seems to be shying away from its previously…
Two candidates battling for the state Senate seat representing the seven western counties are heading into the homestretch of what could be a close and hard-fought race.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 21:37

More on the meeting of Kephart and Calhoun

The story of the initial meeting between Horace Kephart and Granville Calhoun has as many twists and turns as a short story by O. Henry. 
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 21:28

The red wolf saga continues

The next step for the endangered red wolf in Eastern North Carolina is an evaluation commissioned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife that includes public comment.  A population of red wolves reintroduced in coastal counties is the last vestige of the…
MedicForce, a nonprofit that provides medical care and clinics in remote, third-world areas, is looking for donations of used outdoor gear. Unneeded kayaks, backpacks, tents, mountain bikes, cycling gloves or any other equipment that’s just been sitting around is being…
A Bryson City man will serve five months and 15 days in jail for illegally harvesting 83 American ginseng roots from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s the fourth time Billy Joe Hurley, 46, has been caught poaching ginseng, and…
A self-guided tour of 37 farms in a several-county region of the mountains will be held Sept. 20-21, giving locavores a chance to see how food is grown and farm animals are raised, taste farm-fresh products and meet the people…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 21:25

Party with PARI

The Friends of Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute’s will unveil a new outdoor amphitheater planetarium with an adjoining nature center on Friday evening, Sept. 12, as part of the annual meeting.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 21:23

Cherokee help sicklefin redhorse make a comeback

A new fisheries program on the Cherokee Reservation aims to restore the imperiled sicklefin redhorse fish to its native habitat on tribal waters.
A trio of projects will launch renewed efforts to save the eastern hemlock following awards of $75,000 under the Hemlock Restoration Initiative.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 21:20

Sunburst’s trout jerky, caviar gets boost

Sunburst Trout Farms in Haywood County has received a $150,000 matching fund USDA Value Added Producers Grant.
Bryson City will soon have another feather in the cap proving its worth as an outdoors Mecca. If all goes well, the town will get its name added as a Mountain Heritage Trout Water City by the time summer rolls…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 20:34

Time to clear the desk of books waiting for review

For many reasons, this summer in particular afforded many opportunities for reading. During a 60-hour stay at Figure Eight Island, for example, I finished a novel and a book of essays, mostly because my hosts wanted to do nothing more…
With a mix of Western song classics and zany send-ups, Riders in the Sky will return to the Western Carolina University stage as they kickoff the Galaxy of Stars series at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, at the John W.…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 20:26

RailFest rolls into Bryson City

The 13th annual RailFest will be held Sept. 12-14 at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad depot in Bryson City. 
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 20:21

Youth Arts Festival coming to Dillsboro

The 6th annual Youth Arts Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 20:12

Phillips, Craig and Dean to play Franklin

Christian music group Phillips, Craig and Dean will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 20:10

This must be the place

How do you do it? I get asked this question quite often. Folks, whether friends, family or strangers, approach me and wonder how I’m able to write, day in and day out, about anything and everything. 
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 20:05

Never giving up Hope

Tracy O’Neil has a lot less weight on his shoulders these days. “We never accepted that we could lose the camp,” he said. “If we had lost the camp, we would have lost a cornerstone of the history of our…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 20:02

Tillis out of step on birth control issue

To the Editor: Thom Tillis is one slick fellow. During his debate with Sen. Kay Hagan last Wednesday, he slithered right around the Hobby Lobby issue. Rather than say whether he agrees that employers should be allowed to deny contraceptives…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 20:00

Evergreen paper and the fracking debate

By Avram Friedman Last year Becky Johnson of The Smoky Mountain News interviewed me about Evergreen Packaging’s plans to convert their electrical power plant from being fueled by coal to natural gas. This transformation was being touted as an advancement…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 19:57

Beer town bragging rights go west of Asheville

I heard about this story from the Facebook crowd, so I imagine some of you have already read it. There was a story in this past Sunday’s Raleigh News and Observer that had this to say about Waynesville and Sylva:…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 06:19

Pisgah Inn contract renewed

Bruce O’Connell was pretty surprised to see Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods appear at his door Sept. 8. The Pisgah Inn owner had submitted his bid for a contract renewal to operate the inn off the Blue Ridge Parkway…
It hasn’t take long for the interim CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center to pick up on the hospital’s biggest strengths: high-quality doctors and broad community support.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 00:00

Healthcare news

Hospital labs receive accreditation  Laboratories at Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital received accreditation from the College of American Pathologists based on results of a recent on-site inspection.  Harris has received CAP accreditation since at least 1990 and Swain…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 06:03

Cash mobs Sylva

More than 100 shoppers flocked to downtown Sylva on Sept. 5, dollars in hand, to flood the fire-damaged district with an influx of business. Organized by Venture Local, a Franklin organization dedicated to promoting local business, the cash mob drew…
Six candidates are vying for three seats in the Haywood County commissioners race. They fall in two tidy camps when it comes to their views on the county’s emergency management ordinance, making the issue a quick study for voters. When…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 05:55

Sylva extends reach, approves ETJ expansion

In an effort to assure aesthetic uniformity beyond town borders, Sylva’s commissioners have begun expanding the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. The first phase of the expansion was approved following a Sept. 4 public hearing, but not without some spirited back-and-forth between…
This year’s race for Jackson County commissioner chairman is a rematch between two familiar figures. Each have claimed the title for their own four-year stints. The baton was handed over following an close contest in 2010. So close, that Brian…
A $4 million public safety facility will be constructed at Haywood Community College over the next two years, providing police, fire and rescue workers of all stripes a state-of-the-art training center for simulations, drills and classes. The HCC Board of…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 05:40

Fracking opponents prepare for battle

It was back to school for a group of staunch fracking opponents on Friday, Sept. 5. The corner conference room in the Jackson County Public Library was a bit small for the 20 people crammed in to it, but they…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 05:35

Fracking panel draws crowd in Franklin

A walk through the parking lot was all that was necessary to see that a diverse crowd had gathered to hear what the group of panelists N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, had assembled had to say about fracking. Cars outside…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 05:34

WNC shale gas study cancelled

Western North Carolina is no longer on State Geologist Ken Taylor’s schedule for this fall’s tour de hydrocarbons in North Carolina. Taylor had planned to come to WNC in September to collect rock samples from road rights-of-way to test their…