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By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer When Denise Tyson realized she would have to trek to another county to take part in celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, she did just what the famous civil rights leader would have done…
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

Since in this age of home video, I seldom get to see many of the best movies of any given year until the following year — when they are finally released on DVD — please consider the following list of…
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

Evolution In a Nutshell — the book

Evolution In A Nutshell by Martin Malloy. Trafford Publishing, 2007. 302 pages Evolution is one of those wonderfully fiery topics which, when broached at parties or family gatherings, can convert otherwise reasonable friends and relatives into raging maniacs, shouting, slamming…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer In one room, a jagged crack runs from wall to wall, evidence of an unstable foundation. In another, the shifting earth has pushed one side of the floor higher than the other at a…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Emergency rooms crowded with mentally ill patients. Sheriff’s deputies spending 96 hours supervising one individual. A sick man or woman whose situation is growing more dire by the second. It all adds up to…
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00


It’s nine o’clock and my 6-year-old is snug in her bed and sound asleep even though she’s been told it will likely snow this evening. I, on the other hand, am pacing back and forth in front of the large…
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Rachel Upchurch wants to protect the mountains that tower throughout Jackson County however; the Smokey Mountain Elementary student also wants to see more houses and shopping centers built throughout the Qualla community.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Macon County welcomed its new County Manger Jack Horton back to Western North Carolina earlier this month. Horton, 57, returned to Macon County to fill the county manager position after the retirement of former…
By Michael Beadle What would New York City be without its Statue of Liberty? Picture St. Louis without its Gateway Arch. What would towns and cities be without their signature sculptures and eye-catching murals?
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Coal-fired power plants and renewable energies took center stage as topics at last Saturday’s lieutenant governor’s debate in Asheville.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

Is it unpatriotic to save the rebate?

Don’t you just love being an American. Just the mere mention of the word “recession” and the next thing you know the government is proposing to spend billions of dollars in the form of tax rebates for people just like…
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

The growing issue of elder abuse in WNC

The senior citizen population is growing in Western North Carolina, and with that increase comes the increasing potential for abuse, exploitation, or neglect of the elderly.
Reverend Horton Heat: Reverend Organdrum Maybe all that needs to be said is that somewhere around three and a half minutes into Booker T’s “Can’t Be Still” you realize the Reverend and company have slipped a little snippet of Black…
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

It’s a dog’s life

A new book has been published that will be of particular interest to area hunters, outdoorsmen, and dog lovers. It will also be of considerable value to those concerned with the region’s human history.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

Go west yon hiker

A new hiking club has joined the ranks of an already burgeoning collection of trail trotters in WNC.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

“3:10 To Yuma” Russell Crowe as vicious murder Ben Wade and Christian Bale as Dan Evans, a farmer hired to help deliver the captured Wade to the train in Yuma, give outstanding performances in this new version of a previous…
Perhaps it is going to take a complete fracturing of the mental health system before policymakers finally realize that North Carolina needs more inpatient facilities to treat patients who are a danger to themselves and society. Well, if it’s a…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Not too long ago, the number of people who carried on the ancient Cherokee basket-weaving tradition had dwindled to just a handful. Today, the craft is experiencing a resurgence — thanks in part to…
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Sylva’s search for a new town manager ended Jan. 17 after Town Manager Jay Denton asked the board for his job back.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer It’s been almost a year since Bonita Fox and her family have taken a sip of water from their well.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Public weighs in on future of U.S. 441

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Progress on Jackson County’s corridor study for U.S. 441 is taking shape after three public meetings last week.
Haywood Community College needs help, and the community that benefits from this beloved institution is going to step up. The only question to be answered is in what form that help will come.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

The peril of complacency

The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture by Andrew Keen. Doubleday, 2007. $22.95 Web 2.0 is killing our culture.
For nature photographer Bill Lea, Cades Cove is heaven on earth.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Jim and Rhonda do it different

Jim Lauderdale: The Bluegrass Diaries If you recognize the name, little more needs to be said. Long one of the first-call songwriters in Nashville, Jim Lauderdale is probably the guy responsible for penning some of your favorite country tunes.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Tis the season of politics and lies

The truth is that, at the state level, no one is giving Pat Smathers a chance to win in his bid for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. The Canton mayor and attorney is trying to run a statewide race…
More than 150 people traveled from all over Western North Carolina to attend the first official Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Bryson City’s Historic Calhoun House on Jan. 21.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Reward offered in Parkway bear killing

A driver on the Blue Ridge Parkway last November witnessed a group of hunters and their dogs corner a black bear against a rock face and shoot it in stark violation of the no-hunting policy of national parks.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

“No Country For Old Men” There’s a whole list of movies (films?) I’ve seen that I respected, on many levels enjoyed, and don’t have an overwhelming urge to see again. This isn’t a comment on the quality of the films,…
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Oh, the glorious memory of boredom

George Bernard Shaw once said, “It’s a shame that youth is wasted on the young.” If that is true, then I would also add that it is equally a shame that boredom is wasted on the bored.
By Marsha Crites • Guest Columnist She is very thin, about 6 years old, her hair is unkempt and her nose is running, but her smile is broad and captivating. It is hard to walk with her wrapped around my…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer With a potential end to the North Shore Road saga looming, supporters of constructing the 30-mile road through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park are confronting their fear of what a wilderness designation would…
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Right in the thick of it

Our southern mountains are old and relatively sedate when compared with the Himalayas, Rockies, and other “young” mountain ranges. But as any backcountry ranger, hunter, or rescue worker will attest, there’s still plenty of rough, steep and potentially dangerous terrain…
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

The Naturalist's Corner

There she was when I got up around 6:30 this morning, the buttons from her blue jeans shining radiantly just above the southern horizon, Venus was dazzling. Below and to the left of Venus like a poodle on a leash…
A long-awaited decision over paddling on the Upper Chattooga is expected within weeks by the National Forest Service.
By Michael Beadle Watch out Broadway. Get Carnegie Hall ready.
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Wings of winter

Winter birding is often slow going. There is no chorus of rowdy and randy males singing lustily, and weather conditions can often be harsh. However, winter birding has its on set of rewards.
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Dr. Elisha Mitchell

While scanning the shelves of a rare bookstore in Asheville several months ago, I happened upon a regional volume by Elisha Mitchell I’d been seeking for many years. Titled Diary of a Geological Tour by Dr. Elisha Mitchell in 1827…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Body found in Macon in missing hiker case

Skeletal remains found in Macon County’s Nantahala National Forest Feb. 2 are those of an 80-year-old hiker who disappeared in October 2007, authorities say.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Living “green” is a way of life for Mark and Darcia Bondurant. The Haywood County family of four works diligently everyday to reduce their carbon footprint by doing everything from buying locally produced food…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Garden questions

By Jim Janke • Special to the Smoky Mountain News Editor’s note: This is the first of what will become a regular feature on gardening by the Haywood County master gardeners. Look for it every other week. “I can dig…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Final countdown to the Chattooga decision

There are nine scenarios on the table in the debate over whether paddling should be allowed on the Upper Chattooga. They run the gamut, from a paddling free-for-all to none at all. The scenarios in between limit paddling under various…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Driving a tractor-trailer in Haywood County or a motorcycle in Swain? Use caution. Both counties top the list of AAA Carolinas recently released report on the most dangerous places to drive in North Carolina.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Macon County residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on amendments to the county’s flood damage prevention and watershed ordinances at a public hearing on Feb. 11.
By Rep. Heath Shuler After more than 60 years of contentious debate that has divided our community, we are finally nearing a fair and conclusive solution to the issue of the North Shore Road. This solution will provide a fair…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Letter writers take me to task twice in one week

Fair’s fair, so I’ll print an anonymous letter I received over the weekend. We usually don’t print anonymous submissions, but this one raises important issues. Don’t stop reading before the last paragraph.
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

Kindle In case you don’t know, the Kindle is Amazon’s answer to the paperless book. It’s a wireless, portable electronic tablet, I guess, and its advocates say it is the first electronic device that comes close to replicating a book.…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Bluegrass’ contemporary class

The term “contemporary bluegrass” is open to a ridiculous amount of interpretation. For some it signifies anything that strays even a little beyond the template set by Ralph Stanley, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs — which means that damn near…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Life chronicles

How To Make A Journal Of Your Life by D. Price. Ten Speed Press, $9.95. Ant Farm by Simon Rich. Random House, $12.95. Many people have attempted at least once in their lives to keep a journal. Whether they use…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

This rodent won’t make it to the White House

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Penn. — A year from the day he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog in the land, has dropped out of the race for the highest office in the land.