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People once again lined up at the Biltmore Square Mall in Asheville last week, but this time they weren't waiting for hours to see Santa Claus. Instead, they were looking for a belated Christmas gift — a job. The mall was…
The town of Fontana Dam can still send and receive mail via its own post office — at least for now. The U.S. Postal Service decided to delay closing or merging scores of post offices nationwide following protests from lawmakers…
Wildlife officers have charged a Cashiers man with killing a bear that he claimed was damaging his property, the second such case in Jackson County in less than a year. Jeffrey Spencer Green, 39, was charged recently with illegally shooting…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 02:28

Dogs’ anti-freeze deaths sadden families

Two dogs in the rural countryside of Upper Crabtree in Haywood County died from antifreeze poisoning last week, a tragic fate that has left the dog owners wondering whether it was an accident or malicious deed. Pat and Stone Reuning…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:11

The poetry in a weather’s sharp vision

Note: This essay was originally written for The Smoky Mountain News. It was subsequently revised and collected in Mountain Passages, which was published by the History Press (Charleston, S.C.) in 2005. This time around it has been re-revised and a…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:10

Farm and forest land eligible for tax breaks

If you have 10 acres or more of agricultural land or five acres of horticultural land and make a gross production amount of $1,000 for three proceeding years, you might be eligible for a property tax break. Landowners with 20…
Farmers are eligible for grant money to help with projects to make their operations more environmentally-friendly through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Conservation Stewardship Program is a voluntary program that encourages farmers to put conservation practices into use…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:08

Group runs to inspire half-marathon hopefuls

If the holidays resulted in a few extra inches to your waistline and you’re determined to get fit, a free half-marathon training program will kick-off in Jackson County in January. The program culminates in Western Carolina University’s Valley of the…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:07

The ethics of conservation in your own backyard

A program called “Land Ethics: Reconnecting with the Natural World” will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Macon Library in Franklin. The free program includes a short film that is based on conservationist Aldo Leopold’s visionary…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:07

HCC a national model of sustainable practices

Haywood Community College’s hard work to build a sustainable campus is featured on a campus sustainability case study database. The National Wildlife Federation built the database, the only catalog of its kind, at ww.nwf.org/campuscasestudies. Work by other American colleges and…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:06

Mount Mitchell gets new superintendent

Bryan Wilder, a veteran state park ranger, has been promoted to superintendent of Mount Mitchell State Park. Wilder takes over from Jack Bradley, who retired as superintendent earlier this year. As superintendent, Wilder will function as the chief of operations…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:05

A Wild Week in the Wilderness

The 22nd Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week is scheduled for Jan. 7-14 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. This year’s Wildlife Week boasts 288 programs and activities. Likely due to the time of year (winter in the Smokies), the bulk of Wildlife Week’s…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:02

Origin of WCU white squirrel a mystery

A rare sighting of a white squirrel at Western Carolina University has workers there abuzz. The squirrel has been spotted a number of times, and is clearly not albino because it doesn’t have pink eyes, said Roger Turk, grounds superintendent…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:01

Separating the good guys from the bad

About 20 years ago, the book collector’s magazine “First” published an impressive article on George Pelecanos, a new writer that was not only imminently collectable, but was (in their opinion) destined to “change the face of crime fiction.” That was…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:00

Suzanne Raether at City Lights

Suzanne Raether will read from and sign her novel, Judaculla, Friday, at 7 p.m. on Jan.13 at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. Set in Jackson County, Judaculla tells the story of Timothy Fletcher, a 19-year-old WCU student athlete who discovers…
Michael Revere will present his poetry for the January “Coffee with the Poet” series at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 19 at City Lights Bookstore. He has written several books, including, War, Madness and Love, What Co$t Freedom, and an audio…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:57

Vigil planned for troops

Honor the troops who have fought in the war in Iraq by participating in a candlelight vigil on Friday, Dec. 30 at 5:30 p.m., below the steps to the Jackson County Public Library at the Veterans Memorial Fountain. The event…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:57

Support available for prostate patients

MedWest Health System is sponsoring “Man to Man” support group meetings for prostate cancer patients and survivors. The meetings are from 7-8 p.m. the second Monday of the month in the Annex Conference Room on the MedWest-Harris campus in Sylva.…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:57

Judo classes to start

Beginner judo classes in Waynesville start Jan. 3 through the Waynesville Kodokan Judo Club. The club practices at the Waynesville Recreation Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Children participate from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and adults…
Despite a double-digit rise in revenue this year, the Sequoyah National Golf Club in Cherokee is at least five more years away from breaking even — let alone turning a profit. “The cost of maintaining a golf course is astronomical,”…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:53

School wants to help foundation

Smokey Mountain Elementary seventh-grade students will help the Tye Blanton Foundation through their “Service to Others” project. Tye, who died after a four-and-a-half month battle in Neo-natal ICU, was the son of slain Highway Patrol Trooper Shawn Blanton and his…
Jim Pennington’s rebuilt Mustang car is a thing of beauty. Candy-apple red, spotlessly clean, sleek lines and an immaculate, original interior make for one amazing car. Toiling over the Mustang has been a labor of love for Pennington. He needs…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:17

2011 In Review

The Smoky Mountain News takes note this week of some of the newsmakers of 2011 by handing out our annual awards. Back issues of the newspaper never fail to reveal a variety of humdingers: the funny, the astonishing, the interesting,…
N.C. Rep. Phil Haire’s decision not to run for re-election after 14 years in office opens the door for a possible free-for-all of both Democratic and Republican candidates seeking the suddenly available House seat. Tuesday’s news spread like an out-of-control…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 21:53

Long-time state legislator retires

N.C. Rep. Phil Haire, D-Sylva, will retire from the state legislature this year after 14 years in office. Haire will be 76 next year and said that he realized it’s time to trade in the long drives back and forth…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:57

Building community protects against calamity

While reading the article “Getting ready: Growing number of preppers work to ensure survival in case of societal collapse” (Dec. 7 edition, www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/5738) in a recent edition of The Smoky Mountain News, I paused often to really think about what…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:56

99 percenters better pay attention to GOP

To the Editor: To all 99 percenters. You had better be paying attention to what Newt Gingrich and his cronies are proposing for the future of your country. Get informed about what is being thrown out there. Then, get involved!…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:56

Does the right practice what it preaches?

To the Editor: We find ourselves during the holidays celebrating the birth of a man whose teaching greatly affected our present-day social contract. He taught us to be tolerant towards each and every one and to love our neighbors as…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:55

Cutting Russ Avenue trees was bad move

To the Editor: I think that clear-cutting the slope on Russ Avenue across the road from Kmart was ridiculous. I understand that they needed soil for the contaminated apple orchard, but they could not have chosen a worse place to…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:55

Why spend money moving art during tough times?

To the Editor: As I bounce merrily along the potholes on the way into town, I often wonder if the money spent on pubic displays of artwork could have been better spent in these trying economic times. I may be in the…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:53

Staring down a blank computer on deadline

It happens to writers much better than me. I know this, because I need only to open a book and find a sentence like this one to be instantly reassured: “I was sitting at my typewriter one afternoon several weeks…
The number of people applying for library cards in Jackson County has doubled since the new library opened this summer. Jackson’s striking increase in library use in part is a testament to just how low use was before. A dismally…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:11

New Sylva library top in the state

Everyone who has seen and toured Jackson County’s new public library knows that it’s beautiful, but now the state has put an official stamp on that fact. The library recently won the Outstanding Facility Award for new libraries larger than…
Donations are already rolling in for the Waynesville Art Commission’s latest public art piece, a replica of the historic Smokies’ arch over Main Street, but the group is still looking for donors. “I am real pleased with the response so…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:06

Clyde’s top cop sidelined on suspension

Clyde’s police chief has been placed on suspension, but town leaders are not saying why. Police Chief Derek Dendy is currently on a 30-day unpaid suspension, with the possibility of further action pending the outcome of a hearing in two…
The coordinators of the annual Rally in the Valley motorcycle event have strapped Maggie Valley leaders a seemingly impossible ultimatum that could leave the town in straits no matter what they decide. Rally in the Valley coordinators asked the town…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:01

Jack Stern demos his oil painting techniques

Landscape painter Jack Stern will demonstrate oil painting techniques at 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 5 at the Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City. He will discuss the medium of oil painting and how to develop the painting…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:00

Sylva library offers monthly music performances

The Jackson County Public Library in downtown Sylva hosts a daytime music program on the first Friday of every month featuring the “The Lady and the Old Timers Band.” Next month’s performance will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 19:59

‘Memories’ with Barbara Bates Smith

Actress Barbara Bates Smith will perform her adaptation of the Lee Smith short story, “The Happy Memories Club,” at 2 p.m., Jan. 9, at the Haywood County Recreation and Parks building. Following the performance, Dr. Lisa Verges will facilitate a…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 19:58

Fiber artist to give rug hooking demo in Jackson

The Jackson County Public Library in Sylva will host fiber artist Jerry Spears for a demonstration of traditional rug hooking at 7 p.m. on Jan. 10 in its atrium. The rug is Spears’ palette choice. She creates her own designs…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 19:57

Bryson City library to show family classic

The Marianna Black Library in Bryson City will show another family classic at 3:30 p.m., Jan. 3. The 2011 movie from Walt Disney features beloved characters — Kanga, Roo, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger and Pooh. Christopher Robin has gone missing, and…
The First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Jam Series will continue at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center on Jan. 5 with a concert featuring Ric Ledford and Reems Creek Incident. The 7 p.m. performance by the Buncombe County band will…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 19:56

Gateway Club to host New Year party

The Gateway Club in Waynesville will hold a New Year’s Eve party on Dec. 31 in its dining room. The party runs from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., with live music from the Lorraine Conard Trio, hors d’oeuvres and a…
The North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has awarded $57,486 in grants for projects in the humanities. All funded programs are free and open to the public. The Mountain Area…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 19:54

Fireworks in the mountains on New Year’s Eve

Fontana Village Resort is planning its annual New Year’s Eve celebration in the Smokies. The 2011 New Year’s Eve Bash includes dinner by Chef Carl Eklund in the Mountview Restaurant, a party with live music from the Caribbean Cowboys at…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 19:52

HCC goes high-tech for the holidays

At Haywood Community College’s Regional High Technology Center, students created a Christmas tree like no other — a high-tech tree. All the programs in the Advanced Technology Department made decorations for the tree, which uses LED energy efficient lights. The tree…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 19:46

Learning the craft

In a classic case of the student becoming the teacher, Brock Martin signed up for his first blacksmithing class at the Jackson County Green Energy Park and began apprenticing soon after. That was four years ago. Now, he has been…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 15:13

Navigating the waterways of WNC

When one thinks about navigation in regard to the rivers here in the Smokies region, it’s old-time ferries and modern-day canoes, kayaks, rafts, tubes, and motorboats that come to mind. But there have been other sorts of navigation involving flatboats,…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 15:12

Gov. Purdue recognizes Save the Frogs Day

Gov. Beverly Purdue of North Carolina recently issued a proclamation officially declaring April 28 “Save the Frogs Day” in the state of North Carolina. The governor’s move was prompted by the request of 13-year-old Rachel Hopkins, an eighth-grade student at…
Conservation groups are hailing an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that they say will protect an area of rare old-growth forest from logging near Franklin in the Nantahala National Forest.   The Southern Environmental Law Center had appealed a…