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Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:52

Back-to-school date lands Macon in court

If this were a race, Macon County Schools would win for being the first in Western North Carolina — maybe even the state — to end summer vacation and start classes again. Teachers returned Monday; students go back Thursday (August…
Maggie Valley’s business community hopes to bring natural gas lines to the valley, but it will hinge on drumming up enough interest from paying customers to making it worth the gas company’s while. Natural gas is a cheaper form of…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:50

Fontana Dam post office targeted for closure

The U.S. Postal Service wants to close Fontana Dam’s tiny post office to save money, a downsizing move critics say would further isolate the small community. This far-flung outpost in Graham County is frequented by tourists, and serves as a…
Harrah’s Cherokee casino bought nearly half a million dollars of liquor over the past year, netting almost $50,000 in profits each for the ABC stores in Sylva and Bryson City — which had the privileges of being the casino’s suppliers.…
In the current political debate, the word ‘debt’ has become ubiquitous. Cherokee is no exception, where discussion of the debt of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians — and how, precisely, to dispose of it — has dominated the election…
Jackson County commissioners are considering whether to renovate the former Southern Lumber Co. building to get the county out of paying rent elsewhere for office space. The county purchased the property and the 34,633-square-foot building on Skyland Drive in 2008.…
Chuck Wooten’s wings are still clipped as Jackson County’s manager, at least for now, but it looks like he’ll get big-boy hiring and firing powers soon. Commissioners this week failed to act on Wooten’s request that he no longer bring…
The oft-threatened closure of the state prison in Haywood County has finally come to pass, but by now, it hardly comes as a surprise. “Every year, they would always say it is going to close,” said Haywood Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick.…
Counties with jail beds to spare will soon be able to make a little cash housing state prison inmates. Under a new program introduced by the N.C. General Assembly earlier this year, minor criminals with short sentences won’t be housed…
Western North Carolina is losing one of its strongest municipal work forces. And a quick look at their record of projects shows that, in towns and counties around the region, they will be sorely missed. But this loss isn’t exactly…
Western Carolina University and the Cullowhee area could prove the decisive battleground in the coming debate about whether alcohol sales should be legal countywide in Jackson, and not just confined to the towns of Sylva and Dillsboro. Ikran Mohamed, hurrying…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:37

Meth lab cleanup costs sloughed onto counties

In what promises to become an increasingly expensive proposition, county taxpayers must now pick up the tab for cleaning up illegal methamphetamine labs. The federal government notified states in February that it would no longer pay for such clean ups,…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:35

Pilot on pot patrol hits the jackpot

After hours of scouring the ground for renegade marijuana plants from the air last Thursday, the pilot of a Highway Patrol helicopter was ready to call it day. But as he crested the Balsams, in the homestretch of his flight…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:44

Workshops help artists get their game on

Two Handmade in America Craft Labs are coming to Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center in Graham County. Learn how to engage visitors in your studio and tips for arranging and selling from your booth during a session on August 10.…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:44

Sylva artist headlines art society gathering

The next meeting of the Blue Ridge Watermedia Society will be held from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 9 at Haywood Community College Building 1400. The featured artist will be Pam Haddock. Haddock lives in Sylva and has…
The Popcorn Sutton Summer Jam is scheduled for noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. In its second year, this event celebrates the life of legendary moonshiner and Maggie Valley native, Popcorn Sutton.…
The Overlook Players will present Narnia at 7:30 p.m. from August 4-6, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, August 7, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Based on the classic children’s novel, Chronicles of…
Phil Coghill, a professional kaleidoscope artist and woodturner, will be one of the newest artists to participate in the Creative Endeavors Art and Crafts Show, scheduled this year for August 12 and 13 at Lake Junaluska.   Since 1988, Coghill…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:39

Art After Dark gallery stroll is August 5

Art After Dark returns to downtown Waynesville from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, August 5. Working studios and galleries on Main Street, Depot Street and in Historic Frog Level will open their doors to the public and musician Chris…
The Downtown Waynesville Dog Walk will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, at the Haywood County Courthouse, and parade down the street. Categories in a dog contest include best tail wagger, best dressed, most talented and best owner/dog…
Balsam Range, a renowned bluegrass band across the region, will play Sylva’s Concerts on the Creek series at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 5, at Bridge Park in downtown Sylva. Members of the sought-after five-piece band hail from Haywood and…
Franklin will be hopping with all things barbecue at the Mountain High Barbecue Festival and Car Show on August 12 and 13 at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center. The two-day event features barbecue teams from all over the country. Sanctioned…
For the last seven years, Canton has celebrated Haywood County’s biggest crop with a festival in its honor. This year, the town’s Mountain Mater Festival has grown from a small celebration of the red jewel of summer to a sizeable…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:33

Chess as a metaphor for life

When you think chess club, the quintessential picture that comes to mind probably doesn’t include a cowboy or a retired mill worker. The image of high school über-nerds or brilliant eccentrics like Bobby Fisher or Gary Kasparov dominate the vision…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:27

2008: A look at all involved

By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer From playing a girl with big dreams that go nowhere in Haywood Arts Repertory Theatre’s “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” to embracing my fiance’s love for Smashing Pumpkins, this past year left an artistic…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:26

The best of 2008

Every year about this time, reporters dig out their old files and back editions and start cruising the headlines for the top stories of the year. Lucky for us, there never seems to be shortage of material for the “Year…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:25

Haywood Waterways lauds water quality heroes

The Haywood Waterways Association announced its water quality heroes for the year at its annual banquet in December. Here’s who won the three awards given out by the premier water quality group in Haywood County. Eric Romaniszyn received the Pigeon…
The acknowledgement by Waynesville’s leaders that they let a review of the town’s much-heralded land use plan languish and now intend to jumpstart the process is welcome news. “It’s back on track,” said Mayor Gavin Brown of the review process.…
The extraordinarily difficult struggle to find nurses licensed in psychiatric care has forced the state agency that oversees mental health care in Western North Carolina to discontinue crucial services for its most critical patients. For months, the Smoky Mountain Center…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:23

It’s all about the kids, right?

We stood looking at the dinosaur for quite awhile. As parents of children ages 7 and 3, we are more than a little familiar with dinosaurs. In fact, our home has become somewhat of a haven for dinosaurs, an impressive…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:22

Public lands feel the pressure: a recurring theme

Conflicts over public land continued to heat up in 2009 as more people turn to outdoor recreation in WNC. More people equals more pressure on the national parks and national forests as they struggle to be all things to all…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:21

Bad economy leads to a few good things

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist A lot of attention lately has been focused on how bad the economic downturn has been for the U.S. and its world partners but as everyone knows; there are two sides to every story.…
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is now taking public comment on several proposed changes to hunting and fishing regulations. The Wildlife Commission continues to lift restrictions on hunting wild boar as the exotic animal is increasingly recognized as a detriment…
The past year has been marked by some good and not so good news for the environment in Western North Carolina. This week, we look back at some of the top environmental stories of the year. On the horizon Duke…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:18

The Naturalist's Corner

Snowbirds are here No, I’m not talking about your Uncle Bernie and Aunt Esther from New York City. I’m talking about our feathered friends. The snowbirds that have returned en masse to feeders all across the country are dark-eyed juncos.…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:17

Winter wear

(Note: A version of this essay will appear in an upcoming issue of “Chinquapin: The Newsletter of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society,” for which George Ellison writes a quarterly Botanical Excursions column.) Several weeks ago, the nighttime temperature dropped below…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:16

Best wishes for Sylva in 2009

By Chris Cooper Last year I wrote a “suggested Christmas play list” for the holiday. It may have been a stretch (Miles Davis and Joe Satriani may constitute MY ideal soundtrack for Dec. 25, but maybe not everyone else) but…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:14

Today’s boys

The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre. Crown, 2008. 320 pages. For the last 30 years, many teachers and parents have understood…
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…