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Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:06

Taking a likin’ to the lichen

On a winter walk you will encounter numerous evergreen plants. None is more mysterious or delightful to behold than the lowly lichen. Except for pollution, nothing much disturbs lichens. They grow ever so slowly, as little as one millimeter a…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:05

Lending a hand

Recently, more than 50 members of the Haywood County community gathered in a church fellowship hall to brainstorm ways to help with the rising level of need. In the middle of the meeting, a woman and her son entered the…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:04

A word with the musicians

Mark W. Winchester (MW) and Milan Miller (MM) answer questions about the collaboration of “Songs From Haywood County.” SMN: How was this project different for you from other CDs you have worked on? MW: It was different in a lot…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:03

Cherokee petition closes in on alcohol vote

Organizers of a petition drive in Cherokee believe they have enough signatures to force a referendum by voters on whether alcohol sales should be allowed at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. Don Rose, a volunteer with the committee that circulated the petition,…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:03

The economic downturn hits home — hard

The trickle down effect from the national economic downturn is starting to feel more like a flood to agencies in Western North Carolina, which report being inundated with people hurting from layoffs and foreclosures. “We’re absolutely slammed — it’s more…
It appears local government officials obeyed the Open Meetings Law when they attended a private N.C. Department of Transportation meeting about the controversial N.C. 107 connector last week. The Smoky Mountain News reported in the Nov. 26 edition that the…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:40

About Nance Dude

A brief synopsis of “Nance Dude,” which is one of three dramatic monologues in “Land’s End” written by Gary Carden: In February of 1913, Nancy Kerley, more commonly known as Nance Dude, was told by her son-in-law, Will Putnam, to…
Visitors could soon be toting loaded, concealed guns in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A long-standing ban on loaded guns in national parks has been lifted by the Bush Administration. Of 140,000 public comments that came in on the…
As the economic picture gets more and more bleak, the ironies loom larger and larger. Public school systems, community colleges and the state’s universities are being asked to send money back to the state or plan reductions in the coming…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:38

DOT gets earful from public on Southern Loop

Jackson County resident Susan Leveille opposes the construction of a N.C. 107 bypass. “I am very hopeful DOT and all other powers who make decisions will take a look at the alternatives to a bypass for alleviating traffic concerns,” Leveille…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:37

Smokies plate helps Friends help the park

The new specialty license plate for Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, sporting a black bear against a mountain ridge line, continues to show record support among drivers. Friends of the Smokies brought in $338,280 from its special black…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:36

Traffic simulations for 2035 takes leap of faith

As the debate over the Southern Loop rages on, a faceless cadre of number crunchers have been assigned a seemingly impossible task: predict who will be driving on N.C. 107 and why 25 years from now. The answer could ultimately…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:35

Don’t jump up and do anything

With Clayton Cathey On a weekday afternoon the Walker Service Station in Waynesville is busy with a steady stream of customers dropping off and picking up their cars. A woman sits, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper in a sunny…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:34

Tough times strike dealerships

Scott Rodes’ first job in the automobile industry was 30 years ago washing and selling cars for his grandfather in Sylva. Rodes was in high school, and the car business was much easier then. Now the owner of a GM…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:33

Swain hunts for inmates to fill overbuilt jail

When 400 people poured in to Swain County’s jail one day in late September, Sheriff Curtis Cochran was thrilled. And on an equally unusual note, the crowd at the jail was more than happy to be there. Of course, the…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:33

Commissioners make extra meetings official

The Macon County commissioners on Monday voted to start having two regularly scheduled meetings a month, rather than just one — a move that follows a Smoky Mountain News article that criticized the board’s meeting practices. Macon County Commissioner Brian…
The town of Waynesville has done little to jumpstart a promised review of its land use plan, and critics say the lack of movement is causing the town to lose prospective businesses that don’t want to abide by the plan’s…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:31

Task force seeks answers to water shortages

The newly formed Jackson County Water Study Task Force met for the first time Thursday (Dec. 4) to begin discussing ways to combat water shortages. The task force was formed after several county residents recently reported that their wells and…
U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, said he is unsure if he will support a bailout of the auto industry. The auto industry over the years has made poor decisions that led to its current situation, Shuler said. Shuler wonders why…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:29

Nance Dude: Legend, murderer, victim

By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer Stoned by children, considered a witch by some and a complete outcast by others, the story of Nance Dude has left a legacy in Haywood County. Local playwright and storyteller Gary Carden has written…
By Linda McFarland • Guest Columnist Here we are in the holidays, the most sacred and profane time of year. When we yearn for simple pleasures and traditions, for celebrations which affirm connection and presence, how do we find meaning…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:27

Town settles disagreement over pilfered stone

The town of Franklin has settled a disagreement with a man who took slate and doors that belonged to the town without first receiving permission from the town board. Under the agreement, the former resident, David Whitmire, now of Alaska,…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:25

Come rain, snow or cold, holiday lights go up

By David Curtis If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise? If a man is putting up Christmas lights and his wife is not there to supervise, is…
With only a couple weeks left for holiday shopping, local outfitters are stocked with solutions for the outdoor aficionados on your list. Even for the casual outdoors person, simply living in the mountains gives rise to the need for outdoor-related…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:23

A night of music with a purpose

By Chris Cooper My participation in the Play For Peace project has been, honestly, primarily for purely selfish reasons. The opportunity to play music live is one I’ll rarely pass up, especially when the lineup includes an abundance of fine…
By Dr. Allan Zacher, M.D. Flu season is here. You and your family and friends have not gotten it yet, but if you look at Google Flu Trends (http://www.google.org/flutrends/) you will see that we are on the early part of…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 14:21

Vintage King

Just After Sunset by Stephen King. Scribner and Sons, 2008. 367 pages. Unlike the majority of his peers, Stephen King keeps expanding his territory. Certainly, he could have put down roots in any of a dozen horror genres ranging from…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:20

The Naturalist's Corner

Bees do it and die Honeybees are not native to the States. But these prolific pollinators arrived with the earliest settlers. With the changing agricultural landscape, i.e., thousands of acres of monoculture crops and the decimation of native pollinators through…
While sales of new vehicles have plummeted, the service side of the automotive industry is holding steady as people opt to keep their old cars and trucks running. “So far, it’s extremely busy,” said Earl Hannon, service department director at…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:11

Here come the seed catalogs

By Jim Janke Editor’s note: This is a regular feature on gardening by the Haywood County master gardeners. Look for it every other week.   Does cold weather cause gardening catalogs to stuff my mailbox? Or does the arrival of…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:38

Prime time pushes trend in crime forensics

Waynesville defense attorney Don Patten has noticed an interesting trend among jurors in recent years. They are hungry for hard and fast evidence like hair samples, DNA, blood traces and firearm analysis — tidbits most likely picked up from TV…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:37

Unsung guitar hero’s latest keeps it lively

By Chris Cooper It’s in the phrasing; the careful sculpting of each and every note. It’s something about the intent, the message conveyed with each musical statement. The way Jeff Beck grabs a guitar string and twists, bends, swoops and…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:36

Twin path productions: Two friends, one dream

By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer Wearing white sneakers with a buzz haircut, Tighe Wachacha enters the Burger King in Waynesville followed by his cardigan-clad cohort Matthew Yates. Wachacha, 28, is married with one child and Yates, 27, is engaged.…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:34

The Naturalist's Corner: Bad moon ‘risin

When we headed for the car after a glorious Thanksgiving dinner, the skies above Jonathan Creek were dark and clear, and the blue stars seemed close enough to touch. I could see Orion and the Pleiades and a couple of…
The idea of using the region’s readily accessible natural resources in daily life is nothing new in the mountains, a place where people have traditionally turned plants and animals into everything from medicine to baskets to clothes. Today, officials are…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:33

Commissioners select Haywood’s top leader

Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick took the helm as the new chairman of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners this week. Every two years following a commissioner election, the five members appoint a chairman from among their ranks. The chairman conducts meetings,…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:32

Haywood proud winner of 22 acres, but what now?

After a 15-month legal battle, Haywood County can finally claim ownership free and clear over a 22-acre tract in the Jonathan Creek area that the county wants to make a recreation park. The county paid $1.1 million for the parcel…
Construction of a new center for seniors in Swain County has ground to a halt because the project has run out of money. The 6,000-square-foot facility, which sits atop a hill next to the new Swain County jail, will remain…
A lawyer for Duke Energy told the Jackson County commissioners on Monday that if the county continues to hold up permits necessary for removal of the Dillsboro dam that “further legal action” will be taken. Duke wants to tear down…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:27

New Folkmoot director takes helm

The new executive director of Folkmoot USA, Haywood County’s famed international dance festival, is perfectly poised to help the event’s multinational participants adjust to their unfamiliar surroundings — after all, she’s a newcomer here herself. Karen Babcock, 47, was recently…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:23

My birding through the warbler

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that my wife, Elizabeth, and I first started birding in a systematic fashion. That is, we began learning to distinguish species by their calls and songs as well as by their distinctive markings. For…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:22

A reminder to keep the public in mind

“’Official meeting’ means a meeting, assembly, or gathering together at any time or place ... of a majority of the members of a public body for the purpose of conducting hearings, participating in deliberations, or voting upon or otherwise transacting…
The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. 272 pages. Biography affords the reader a rare chance to walk in another’s shoes, to explore unknown places ranging from the Amazon rainforest to the great uncharted territories of…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:19

Schools struggle with state budget recall

By Josh Mitchell & Julia Merchant • Staff Writers The downturn in the economy is forcing schools to send back some of their state money. The state has asked local school systems to send back $39 per student, or 0.75…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:18

Choices in home energy systems

By Avram Friedman • Executive Director, Canary Coalition Getting “off the grid” is more and more appealing to many of us as the cost of energy goes up and our awareness about the health and environmental impacts of coal and…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:18

Snow days are like heaven for 12-year-olds

You are 12 years old and it’s December and a school day. The days are shorter now, meaning it is still dark when the alarm clock blasts you out of your dreams like a cannonball fired at dawn in a…
When a hunter discovered human skeletal remains in the woods in Macon County last winter, investigators didn’t know who the dead person was, how long he’d been there or if foul play was involved. It was a classic situation for…
By Zack Dean • Smoky Mtn. High School I had to work late on Nov. 4, so upon coming home that night I didn’t know what to expect. I walked into the living room to find a group of my…
For two weeks every summer, the Folkmoot Center is a popping nightspot. Well after midnight, little crowds cluster around the exit doors, tiny clouds of smoke rising around them. Inside, in what was once the Hazelwood Elementary School Cafeteria, a…
Seventy kilos is a lot of weight to hold on your head. It’s about 150 pounds. That’s like carrying a welterweight boxer balanced atop your skull. Or a gargantuan African drum. It’s no mean feat, but Patrick Muvunyi, Bienvenu Katungeko…