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Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:13

Motive behind Cherokee fire remains mystery

An apparent arson fire that burned the Tribal Operations Program building in Cherokee in the early morning hours of Dec. 20 remained under investigation by the police department at press time Tuesday (Dec. 30). The building, which held ordinances and…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:12

Save the planet by changing your diet

By Rudy Beharrysingh • Professor, Southwestern Community College Editor’s note: This series of green living tips is provided by Sustainable Mountain Initiative, a Jackson County coalition of government officials and concerned citizens working together to lead the way toward a…
By David Curtis Just a short two weeks ago I was texting my daughter, who was in the process of finishing up her first semester at N.C. State, asking her when her finals would be over, about her arrangements for…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 16:01

Alma

(poem from Wildwood Flower by Kathryn Stripling Byer) Two dead leaves on the table and ice floats on milk like the ashes of leaves. Oak twigs kindle and fire leaps like a prayer, “Give us breath.” When I open the…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 16:00

Jackson board sets sights on historic property

The Jackson County Planning Board is considering establishing a historic preservation commission to help maintain significant landmarks and districts. Such a commission would regulate what kind of changes could be made to structures in areas designated as historic districts. The…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:59

Dressing right for winter weather

By Doug Scarborough • Contributing writer With the winter season here, dressing appropriately to prevent cold injuries is often overlooked. Significant heat loss while exercising can be prevented by wearing the appropriate layers of waterproof and water-resistant clothing. The more…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:58

Voters to decide on alcohol sales at Harrah’s

Voters in Cherokee will decide whether alcohol should be sold at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino now that enough signatures have been gathered to put the measure on the ballot. The Cherokee Board of Elections has certified 1,536 signatures. Only 1,534 signatures,…
Haywood Regional Medical Center will terminate its contract with the corporate physician staffing outfit that supplies doctors for the hospital’s emergency department, according to hospital CEO Mike Poore. “What we are trying to do is improve our overall emergency department,”…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:56

A stellar year for Cataloochee’s elk

When the first batch of 25 elk were released in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park seven years ago, it was dubbed an experiment. Park biologists hoped, but weren’t sure whether the elk would thrive. Indeed, the early years were…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:55

Land use plan review ‘back on track’

Waynesville leaders vowed to speed up a review of the town’s land use plan after an article in The Smoky Mountain News two weeks ago revealed the process is months behind schedule. The town board directed Town Planner Paul Benson…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:53

That’s me on the couch, counting my blessings

The holidays are upon us, I’m walking almost normal, and I’m ready to sit on the couch and count my blessings. First off, I’m thinking how lucky I am. No pain meds, no crutches, no cane, just a big scar…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:52

Chili’s scouts Waynesville as possible location

Even as one national retailer — Home Depot — is pulling its plans for a Waynesville store, the national restaurant chain Chili’s Grill and Bar is setting its sights on the small mountain town. The West Waynesville commercial area near…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:50

Sustainable travel makes sense

By Cynthia Deale • Western Regional Representative, Center for Sustainable Tourism Editor’s note: This series of green living tips is provided by Sustainable Mountain Initiative, a Jackson County coalition of government officials and concerned citizens working together to lead the…
Two recently created tourism boards in Macon County met last week to begin discussing how they can make the area more of a tourist destination. The groups, the Tourism Development Authority and the Tourism Development Commission, represent the town of…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:48

DOT meeting should have been advertised

By James McCarthy • Guest Columnist Did the N.C. Department of Transportation hold an illegal meeting on Dec. 4 at Western Carolina University when it failed to give proper notification or invite the public? Actually there were two meetings held…
By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer North Carolina’s poet laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer listens to the CD “Alma,” composed by Harold Schiffman, in the mornings as she begins her day and when she drives to her home state of Georgia.…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:45

Swanger back in the game with EDC seat

Haywood County Commissioner Mark Swanger is back on the county’s Economic Development Commission five years after he played a critical role in overhauling the organization and redirecting the county’s strategy for economic development. Swanger recently regained his seat as a…
Charles Phillips of Waynesville may be monetarily poor, but he is rich in the Christmas spirit. Each Christmas Phillips covers his small house on Frazier Street with colorful lights and adorns his yard with Christmas trees, Santa Claus statues and…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:43

Was the night really that silent?

According to old Appalachian tradition, you don’t have to be named Doolittle to hear the animals. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. The right place would be a field or perhaps a barnyard.…
Lynn Collins, the director of Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce, was unanimously appointed as the new director of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority this week following a muddled process involving three separate votes. The process and the outcome seemed…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:40

Heritage center welcomes new curator

Trevor Jones, a native of St. Cloud, Minn., is the new curator at the Mountain Heritage Center, Western Carolina University’s museum of Southern Appalachian natural and cultural history. Jones was formerly curator of history at the Neville Public Museum in…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:39

Music for the land

Dirt Music by Tim Winton. Scribner and Sons, 2003. 411 pages. Well, dear reader, we are about to discuss a remarkable book. It has been a while since I read anything that qualified as innovative in both style and content,…
When Haywood Regional Medical Center suspended its care of Medicare and Medicaid patients last February, Jim Pressley realized there was no time to waste. The announcement, kept secret by the hospital CEO until the last minute, was effective immediately. The…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:26

Historic harmony: “Songs From Haywood County”

By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer Providing a historic glimpse into triumph and tragedy of real life in Haywood County over the past 200 years, professional musicians Buddy Melton, Milan Miller and Mark W. Winchester have combined their talents to create…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:24

College students squeeze value out of trash

It took a team of Western Carolina University students just 10 days and dozens of discarded plastic bottles to design and build a product that is original, innovative, creative, useable — and award winning. Three seniors in engineering technology at…
The North Carolina Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit filed against a domestic violence shelter by the family of a woman who was murdered by her deranged husband at the facility. Woody Woodring broke into the REACH shelter in…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:23

Public land stewardship as economic stimulus

Editor’s Note: The following is testimony delivered by Mark Singleton of Sylva, who is the chairman of the Outdoor Alliance. Singleton is the executive director of the Sylva-based American Whitewater, a paddling advocacy organization. The Outdoor Alliance is made up…
Editor’s note: The following is series of student-written excerpts from a five-day camping trip taken to the Hazel Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trip was taken by eighth-grade students from Mountain Discovery Charter School in…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:21

Franklin development pushes village-style design

The days of suburban sprawl could be coming to an end as a new type of development — mixed use — is ushered in. With carbon footprints and gas prices on the minds of so many these days, mixed-use development…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:20

The Naturalist's Corner

Gun-toting tourist deters smarter than average bear Setting: A campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, nightfall, Jan. 13, 2009. 911: Hello, 911, what’s the nature of your emergency? Caller: Hey, hey, hey, it’s an emergency in nature! 911:…
It’s time for Waynesville to get going on its land use plan review, especially since the economic downturn has slowed development and provided a window of time where big projects just aren’t coming along. Waynesville’s land use plan is about…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:19

School air data suspect, officials say

Officials from Haywood County and the state Division of Air Quality are disputing a recently released report by USA Today that lists two schools in the paper mill town of Canton as among those with the worst air quality in…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:18

WestCare, Haywood hospitals hunt for partner

The boards of Haywood Regional Medical Center and WestCare Health System are officially seeking proposals from three hospital systems that will likely result in an affiliation with one of them. The document lays out the primary advantages of HRMC’s and…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:17

Verizon cell tower violates county ordinance

A cell tower company jumped the gun by building onto its tower without the necessary permits from Haywood County. Verizon Wireless added 20 feet to the height of its tower off Mauney Cove without applying for a permit. When it…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:16

Russell’s ‘dog of a book’

Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell. Random House, 2008. 272 pages. One of the great delights in browsing library shelves or bookstores is to encounter a totally unfamiliar book which seems to promise, from the first touch of…
U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, voted against the proposed bailout of the auto industry last week. Gary Tallent, manager of a Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge dealership in Franklin, said he is disappointed in Shuler’s decision. “I don’t know if he understands what it…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:14

Home Depot scraps Waynesville plans

Home Depot has officially yanked plans to build a store in Waynesville next to the town’s new Super Wal-Mart. The decision comes after months of continual delays on the project. The home improvement chain had pushed the opening date back…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:12

HCC serves up student-grown produce

This spring, the greens served in Haywood Community College’s cafeteria couldn’t have been more local — they were grown just outside on the college campus itself by horticulture students. The buy-local movement has taken off at HCC. In addition to…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:11

There ain’t no shelter here

There aren’t many options for those without a home in Western North Carolina. Sleeping outside is one, but winter nights can get dangerously frigid. Non-profit agencies can sometimes pay for a hotel room, but only for a couple nights at…
Although Jackson County and the Airport Authority prevailed in a lawsuit this month blaming them for slope failure at the airport, they can’t rest easy yet. Work on projects to make the airport more geologically stable is set to begin…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:09

Ye Olde Christmas CD roundup ...

By Chris Cooper I guess it’s a kind of Christmas tradition. Every year around this time I go on the hunt for Christmas music that provides a bit of the prerequisite holiday spirit without making the listener want to smack…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:08

No guns, no bikes, and no dogs

By Danny Bernstein • Guest Columnist Our national parks have been assaulted by new rulings in the closing days of the Bush Administration. Users and lovers of the national parks have to say no — no guns, no bikes, and…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:07

Macon may be out of money for K-4 school

There may not be enough money to build a new K-4 school in Macon County because of the economic downturn, two county commissioners told school board members on Monday (Dec. 15). Commissioners Ronnie Beale and Jim Davis agreed the new…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:06

Taking a likin’ to the lichen

On a winter walk you will encounter numerous evergreen plants. None is more mysterious or delightful to behold than the lowly lichen. Except for pollution, nothing much disturbs lichens. They grow ever so slowly, as little as one millimeter a…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:05

Lending a hand

Recently, more than 50 members of the Haywood County community gathered in a church fellowship hall to brainstorm ways to help with the rising level of need. In the middle of the meeting, a woman and her son entered the…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:04

A word with the musicians

Mark W. Winchester (MW) and Milan Miller (MM) answer questions about the collaboration of “Songs From Haywood County.” SMN: How was this project different for you from other CDs you have worked on? MW: It was different in a lot…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:03

Cherokee petition closes in on alcohol vote

Organizers of a petition drive in Cherokee believe they have enough signatures to force a referendum by voters on whether alcohol sales should be allowed at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. Don Rose, a volunteer with the committee that circulated the petition,…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:03

The economic downturn hits home — hard

The trickle down effect from the national economic downturn is starting to feel more like a flood to agencies in Western North Carolina, which report being inundated with people hurting from layoffs and foreclosures. “We’re absolutely slammed — it’s more…
It appears local government officials obeyed the Open Meetings Law when they attended a private N.C. Department of Transportation meeting about the controversial N.C. 107 connector last week. The Smoky Mountain News reported in the Nov. 26 edition that the…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:40

About Nance Dude

A brief synopsis of “Nance Dude,” which is one of three dramatic monologues in “Land’s End” written by Gary Carden: In February of 1913, Nancy Kerley, more commonly known as Nance Dude, was told by her son-in-law, Will Putnam, to…