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By Sarah Kucharski * Staff Writer Is there enough affordable housing in Sylva? Do you feel safe in your neighborhood? Are you satisfied with street repair? How often do you go to Poteet Park? Town leaders are looking for answers…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

The doghobble’s claim to fame

Whenever I’m conducting a native plant identification workshop, I try to note several regional plants — one each in the fern, shrub, and tree categories that participants might utilize effectively in an ornamental setting. I usually recommend cinnamon fern (Osmunda…
There’s no more pressing issue in this region than enacting ordinances to control steep slope development. If we snooze on this one, then everyone from town dwellers to those living in the rural countryside will suffer the consequences for years…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Media consolidation just ain’t good

It happened months back, but the request was typical of what we hear everyday in this business: will you do a story about us? That’s a request I like to get. We are, after all, in the business of telling…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

A public grace worth emulating

By Stephanie Wampler I didn’t know her. I never met her. I haven’t even read that much about her. I saw lots of pictures of her husband, but not so many of her. The pictures of her were always with…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Filming on the fly

By Sarah Kucharski Standing in the shallows of the Tuckasegee River between Webster and Dillsboro, cold water flowing around the ankles of his waders, longtime fisherman Steve Henson asked fly-fishing guide Roger Lowe what they could expect from the day’s…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Burroughs Wellcome Fund welcome

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has renewed its commitment to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s inquiry-based, hands-on science education programs. That is music to this tone deaf naturalist’s ears.
For the first time in more than 30 years, fishermen in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be allowed to catch and keep brook trout under new experimental Park fishing regulations starting April 15.
The investigation into an off-the-books account kept by the former Haywood County Schools maintenance director at Haywood Builders Supply has shed light on an unspoken creed practiced among many government workers: use it or lose it.
When Danny Wingate agreed five years ago to set up a credit line for the Haywood County Schools maintenance department, he thought he was just doing the school system a favor.
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Cast out the castor

The gardening season is upon us. Many gardeners here in the Smokies region are familiar with mole bean plant, also known as castor bean. The first name is derived from the fact the plants are often placed strategically at the…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Slaves to titillating news and ....

You have already read or heard about the three guys who were arrested for “operating” — yeah, I guess the pun is intended, although I should probably cut it out (stop it, NOW!) — a sadomasochistic castration dungeon here in…
It’s past time to keep rehashing the same old arguments about whether having a state lottery is a good idea. It’s on the books and operating now, and it’s impossible to imagine ever going backward.
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Alien vs. Predator in the GSMNP

A new breed of predator beetles that could help fight the hemlock wooly adelgid were released in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park two weeks ago. The hemlock wooly adelgid is a bug from Asia that has invaded the Southern…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Deep into Gorges State Park

By Ed Kelley Tiptoeing quickly across the Toxaway River, my ankle gaiters did the job and kept the cold water out of my boots. With higher water, fording the river could be dicey. I had chosen the Auger Hole trail…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Gus the gruffy grouse gets territorial

Jerry Smathers is public enemy number one for a ruffed grouse named Gus that lives on the forest bordering Smathers’ pasture in Dutch Cove of Haywood County. Whenever Smathers boards his all-terrain vehicle to ride from his house to his…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Park: Don’t blame us for the ladybugs

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials say they have been erroneously blamed by some residents for introducing large, black and orange ladybeetles that congregate en masse in residential areas.
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

I wanna another peep outta ya!

Jeepers creepers, don’t ya here those peepers. Gram for gram, Pseudacris crucifer is one of the loudest amphibians out there. The spring peeper weighs in at three to five grams and is about an inch long. When males congregate around…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer There are two things Arthel Watson fans are sure to mention when asked about the folk musician — his voice and his character. They say his voice channels everything that is true Americana. They…
As part of an innovative fundraising effort called “Doctors for Doc,” Haywood County physicians affiliated with Haywood Regional Medical Center are helping fund an upcoming concert featuring Grammy Award-winning musicians Doc Watson and David Holt.
By Chris Cooper The name Radney Foster takes me back to the earlier days of home satellite dishes and music television. It was still a novelty to have access to so many things to watch, and in an effort not…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

National Poetry Month April may have been “the cruelest month” for poet T.S. Eliot, but for me it is truly a gift, a time of budding flowers and warming weather. April is also National Poetry Month, a time to honor…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

An attempt to straighten the world

There is a passage in the heart of Ron Rash’s novel, The World Made Straight, in which Leonard Shuler remembers a visit to Shelton Laurel with his grandfather shortly before Shuler leaves to attend the University of North Carolina.
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Stillwell earns fans the hard way

By Chris Cooper What do the words “music career” mean to you? For many it’s big fancy studios, nice cars and whopping cash advances from a record label. Maybe a house in Malibu with a gold plated toilet. Worldwide superstardom…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

Drive-By Truckers: A Blessing and a Curse I first saw the Truckers eight or nine years ago in a little dive in Asheville called the Basement. There might have been 20 people there, including the staff and guests of the…
By Michael Beadle It’s Thursday morning and Cherokee High School junior Brandi Oocumma is preparing to read a news story on the radio about the risks and benefits of caesarian deliveries. She wants to become a pediatrician one day, so…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Simple significance

Writers typically aim to give the reader a protagonist who is likeable. Most of us don’t want to spend hours of our life getting to know protagonists who leave us cold inside, central characters who are so odd or so…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Cherokee anthem realized through WCU

What began as a request to translate “The Star-Spangled Banner” into Cherokee evolved instead into a new song, the “United Cherokee Nations Anthem,” which was recorded in a studio for the first time at Western Carolina University. The anthem opens…
When CNN chose John Armor’s web blog as the political site of the day several years ago, coining him an “intellectual redneck” in the process, Armor accepted the tagline proudly. From his home in Highlands, Armor posts satire columns on…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Voters in Jackson County will elect predominately Democratic county commissioners in this May’s primary elections, regardless of voter turnout. Twelve of 13 candidates in the county’s unusually large commissioners campaign pool — fueled partly…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Local PAC exerts influence

For the first time in Haywood County, a group of residents has formed a political action committee with the goal of influencing the county commissioners race. The political action committee, called the Good Governance Legion, is less concerned with the…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Michael Morgan sits at a table near the back of Malaprop’s Bookstore Café in Asheville eating from an unlabeled can of applesauce, his 6-foot plus lanky frame casually folded, one leg across the other.…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Squirrel stories

It seems to me that the general reputation of squirrels has declined within my own lifetime. I don’t recall hearing negative remarks about squirrels when I was growing up; indeed, most folks that I encountered back then seemed to hold…
The words still ring in my ears, coming as they did from a teacher who had spent years playing by the book: “I’ve got to spend the money by the end of the school year or it’s gone, so I’m…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Forging a wise immigration bill

Amnesty? In the immigration controversy that is dividing Congress and the nation, this has become the most misused term in the politician’s vernacular. It’s being used as wedge by those who favor a policy that is heavy on relentless enforcement…
By Michael Beadle Some people bike for the fun of it. Some people bike to race. For Franklin’s Owen Simpson, it’s a bit of both. Over the past three years, Simpson — who also goes by O.J. — has been…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

The ivory-billed swami predicts

For those not acquainted with the ivory-billed swami, I will give you a bit of history. This is from the Smoky Mountain News edition on Jan. 30, 2002, as Zeiss Optics was mounting a search for the ivory-billed woodpecker in…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Winged migration of a different sort

After getting all the two-leggeds to bed last night I went out to the yard to wrangle the four-leggeds. Dusk was slipping into night. The full “fish moon” was climbing above the mountains on the southeastern horizon.
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Taylor tangled in Abramoff’s web

The recent revelations about Rep. Charles Taylor’s ties to a lobbyist who has confessed to federal bribery charges is a serious problem for this region’s Congressman, a controversy that calls into question his ethics and reveals close ties to the…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Mixed drinks won’t be good for Sylva

By Jason Kimenker • Guest Columnist What makes Sylva great? The people of rural Sylva, North Carolina are as unique as this area is beautiful. This small mountain town is so loved by tens of thousands of visitors year-round. With…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

The healing power of slime molds

New research on slime molds at the University of Georgia has generated hope for the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases that a cure could one day be possible.
When a heavy rain washed into Paul Super’s garage last month, soaking a couple of bags of freshly-purchased mulch in the process, it triggered a dormant slime mold in the mulch to spring to life in a bright yellow ooze,…
Western Carolina University students are filming the last scenes from the Theatre in Education Company’s performance of “Young Cherokee,” concluding a year-long theatre initiative that has captured attention at national conferences and connected university students with the Cherokee people.
By Chris Cooper I’ve seen Danielle Howle completely abandon the stage and microphone in the middle of a song and wander through the audience while singing, beating on the tables and bar counter as her only accompaniment.
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

Leonard Cohen What can you say about a man in his 70’s who is an international sex symbol in Paris, Berlin, London and Dublin? (He doesn’t do badly in Melbourne, Madrid and Stockholm either.) I think I’ll call him a…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

King’s zombie nation

Yes dear reader, when Stephen King’s dread armies of the mindless begin their apocalyptic trudge through the devastated towns of New England, they march to the sweet trills of Debbie Boone. As they tread their way around the bodies of…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Candidates weigh in on the North Shore Road

Every four years when a county commissioner election rolls around in Swain County, there’s one question commissioners know they have to answer but that most wish they didn’t: how they feel about the North Shore Road.
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Growth is on Jackson’s agenda

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer This May 2 voters in Jackson County are faced with choosing a board of county commissioners that will enact and enforce ways to shape growth in the coming years. One hot button issue seemingly…
By Sarah Kucharski The heated race for sheriff in Jackson County is closing in on the May 2 primary date in which voters will decide which candidate, incumbent Jimmy Ashe or former sheriff Jim Cruzan, will head up the agency…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Pro-planning candidate holds ground at forum

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Democratic candidates running for two District 2 seats on the Macon County board of commissioners squared off at a League of Women Voters meeting last Thursday (April 13) in a growth debate that pitted…