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Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

Blessed be the tin-eared hymn singer

By David Curtis “Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the new born King.”
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

Fed OKs $6 million for North Shore Road payment

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer After 64 years, it looks like the battle over the North Shore Road in Swain County may have finally reached a resolution.
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

Hike to Pinnacle Peak

There are two ways to hike to Pinnacle Peak, which is renowned for its 360-degree views from the Plott Balsams.
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

The honesty of a cat’s purr opens my eyes

By John Armour We have two cats: Weasel, a grey female calico, and Orion, a male orange and white tabby. Orion is a big, lump of a cat, twenty pounds if he’s an ounce. He’s taught me a lesson for…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

A Christmas gift

Citizens of Washington County, hundreds of thousands of migrating waterfowl and Navy pilots who would have been put in harm’s way received a Congressional Christmas gift when the fiscal year 2008 National Defense Authorization Bill de-authorized construction of an Outlying…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

WCU trustees OK fee increases

Western Carolina University’s board of trustees unanimously approved proposed tuition and fees for the 2008-09 academic year, including increases to support operational costs for a new indoor recreation center currently under construction and to begin meeting student requests for enhanced…
A Franklin-based mining company has filed an appeal against the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources decision denying a permit to operate a rock quarry in the Tuckasegee community in Jackson County.
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

A plant’s purpose

There are more than 300,000 plant species in the world. Some are edible, some can be used for their medicinal properties, and many are poisonous. The latter category is defined by Nancy J. Turner and Adam F. Szczawinski in Common…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

Recommended diversions

Christmas Eve dinner Not the particular food, per se, but the tradition. In our home it’s Lori’s homemade lasagna, and one pan probably weighs 10 pounds because it has so much cheese, meat and pasta. My pasta-loving children get all…
By Tom Jensen • Guest Columnist John Edwards and Mike Huckabee are the most popular Presidential candidates in their own parties in Western North Carolina, according to recent surveys conducted by Raleigh’s Public Policy Polling. But Rudy Giuliani is the…
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer On June 1, 2007, A.J. Rowell left Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and began pedaling a bicycle across North America. Just before 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 19), the Jackson County native pulled into Sylva, seven…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

Parkway views from Waynesville overlook protected

A ridgeline tract adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooking Waynesville has been saved from development, thanks to the acquisition of the property by the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

When Florida was wild

Crackers in the Glade: Life and Times in the Old Everglades edited Betty Savidge Briggs. University of Georgia Press, 2007. 127 pages. Crackers in the Glade: Life and Times in the Old Everglades (University of Georgia Press, ISBN 13-978-0-8203-3043-3) tells…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Frank Singleton, the spokesman for the 4,500-acre proposed Cataloochee Wilderness Resort in Haywood County, stopped by The Smoky Mountain News office to answer some questions about the planned development. Singleton said the ball is…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

A little moss, hopefully, is forever

By Stephanie Wampler A thick, green sheet of moss is growing across my roof. When I first noticed it the other day, driving home, I grimaced. I thought, “Somebody’s going to have to get up there and spray it off.…
When back-to-back tropical storms hit the mountains with heavy rains in 2004, the saturated soils triggered more than 140 landslides. Some were small, others big, but all pointed to how vulnerable some mountain slopes are to the forces of nature…
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer For more than 60 years, students have been learning at Cowee Elementary School. But with the rise in Macon County’s student population, county leaders are looking to build a new school to accommodate the…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Landfills in North Carolina should become a lot emptier due to a new law requiring nearly 8,000 restaurants to start recycling alcoholic beverage containers.
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

Hits and misses

The Carolina Field Birders (CFB) conducted their sixth annual Christmas Bird Count this past Saturday (12/29.) The annual CBC count is sponsored by the National Audubon Society and is the longest running ornithological database in the world. Initiated 108 years…
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Students at Smokey Mountain Elementary and Cherokee Indian Reservation schools will be learning an important lesson about land development.
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

What? Me read?

Letters to My Son on the Love of Books by Roberto Coltroneo. Ecco Press, 1998. 151 pages. In the Dec. 24 issue of The New Yorker, Caleb Crain addresses the decline of literacy and the increasing disinterest in reading in…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

An engineer’s take on N.C. 107

Walter Kulash, a private traffic engineer, has been advising the Jackson County Smart Roads Alliance on and off for four years on issues pertaining to the Southern Loop. Kulash specializes in “livable traffic” design and has worked as a consultant…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

Remember – every year is a new year

So it’s the New Year. The ball has dropped, the parties are all over, your Kool and the Gang album has been tucked away for another year, and Dick Clark has gone back into his jar of formaldehyde. Did you…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

Kinky Boots Start the year off on the right foot with this 2005 Brit flick starring Joel Edgerton as Charlie Price, the hapless inheritor of a shoe factory, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola, the charming drag queen who sets Charlie’s…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

A few notes on 2007

By Chris Cooper Looking back on the albums and/or shows (be they local, regional or major label offerings) I’ve had the opportunity to write about over the last year, two things struck me: 1) that I was lucky enough to…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

HART opens 2008 Studio Season with ‘Demons’

By Michael Beadle A lawyer battling personal demons returns to a small town near Pittsburgh where a sensational crime forces him to face up to following the letter of the law — even if that means letting a dangerous criminal…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

A tough farming year

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer “Overall, it’s been a really tough year for farming,” said Jackson County farmer William Shelton as he reflected back on 2007. “It’s one for the history books,” agreed Bill Skelton, director of the N.C.…
The best news about the proposed Cataloochee Wilderness Resort is that it appears that from here on out, there will be at least some public disclosure on whatever progress is made. At least that is what representatives of the development…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

Cherokee and their bird stories

The second soul, that of physiological life, is located in the liver, and is of primary importance in doctoring and in conjuring. This soul is a substance, is not anthropomorphic in any, has no individuality, and is quantitative, there is…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

Competing road studies likely for N.C. 107

The next year could play out as a battle of the traffic studies between the Department of Transportation and opponents to a new four-lane divided highway through Jackson County.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer After investigating the actions of the Macon County School Board for the past two months, officials at the North Carolina State Board of Elections have determined that the school district violated two campaign finance…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

In living colour

Cedar waxwings and American holly are with us year round. The waxwings wander around a lot in extended family groups, but they can be spotted in any season here in the Smokies region. Holly trees don’t wander around, of course,…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

An account of Haywood County

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer The crowning achievement of Haywood County’s bicentennial celebration is a 600-page, hardcover book that will be the first definitive account of the county’s 200-year history.
One is a new law that just took effect Jan. 1, and the other is a hoped-for statute that we believe is absolutely necessary for the continued prosperity of Western North Carolina. Both are good for the region.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer The Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail hope its first-ever executive director will be able to complete the missing lengths in the footpath that runs the breadth of the Tar Heel state.
Jackson County commissioners are contemplating drastic measures in their fight against Duke Energy to stop the Dillsboro dam from being torn down.
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Parkway rangers work to save hemlocks

With a massive die-off of hemlock trees all but imminent in the mountains, Ranger Chris Ulrey is putting faith in a handful of high-elevation hemlocks along the Blue Ridge Parkway to be the species’ saving grace.
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

Skinny Dip, Carl Hiaasen This 512-page novel is a fast read that unfolds like a movie, painting a vivid picture of crime and adventure in South Florida. The story itself isn’t deep — Chaz Perrone offs his wife in an…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Southern Comfort Food

By Michael Beadle Long before the days of microwaves and fast food meals, there was the slow-cooked stew, a Southern standard prepared in vast pots over an open fire. These stews included tender meats, fresh vegetables, secret seasonings and a…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

‘Rainbows’ plays as Radiohead should

There was an interesting coincidence on July 11, 2006. Thom Yorke released Eraser to mixed reviews, and the same day a band that still desperately wants to be Radiohead (that would be Muse) dropped their newest, Black Holes And Revelations.
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer The widening of Howell Mill Road in Waynesville will take years to complete, cost millions of dollars and displace residents who live along the thoroughfare. The two-lane road starts at Russ Avenue next to…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Day hikes along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Balsam Gap Segment This portion of the trail runs for approximately 35 miles from Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) Balsam Gap Ranger Station (milepost 442.9) to the intersection of the BRP with NC 215 (BRP milepost 423.2). Abundant wildflowers and shrubs…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Sylva manager resigns, but new job is in limbo

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Sylva Town Manager Jay Denton has resigned from his job to become the executive director of Jackson County’s Economic Development Commission, but county commissioners refused to confirm his appointment to that position when they…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Big as a mountain

The Encyclopedia of Appalachia.  University of Tennessee Press, 2007. 1864 pages Sometimes good things come in big packages. And the Encyclopedia of Appalachia is big. More than 1,800 pages of finely-printed prose make up this boxlike book. I’m not sure…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Stew recipes

Upcountry Carolina Beef Hash 5 lbs lean beef, cut up for stew 1 1/2 lbs large onions diced 1 lb butter 1-2 tbsp salt pepper for taste — York County, S.C., recipe Brunswick Stew of Brunswick Co., Va. 6 hens…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Haywood fields to get artificial turf

School official will use lottery proceeds to install artifical turf at the Pisgah and Tuscola high school stadiums, it was announced at a county commissioners meeting on Jan. 7.
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Jackson students need a balanced education

By Michael Sanera • Guest Columnist In what appears to be a first in Jackson County, planners from a private consulting firm have been invited to teach students at Smokey Mountain Elementary and Cherokee Indian Reservation schools. The consultant will…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Winter tourism up in WNC

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer As Shelli Milling of Georgia unpacked her minivan she watched her two sons play in the snow at Maggie Valley’s Jonathan Creek Inn parking lot.
The state recently gave Duke Energy the green light to tear down the Dillsboro dam, a move that Jackson County and the town of Franklin are now formally protesting.
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

A big bowl of politics and football

By David Curtis College football and presidential primary politics make strange bedfellows, but in this New Year I think they have been sharing the same sheets.