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To the editor: I urge conservation-minded residents of Western North Carolina and all those hikers, birders, campers, anglers, hunters, nature photographers, picnickers and local people who prefer the true solitude of a magnificent, wild national resource to again take pen to…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:59

Wake up America, the world is watching

From the hotel window in Durban, South Africa, I can see the Indian Ocean. Freighters line the horizon like parapets on a castle wall, waiting their turn to berth at the busiest container port in the entire continent of Africa.…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:58

Grandparent parenting program offered

A new program called Parenting the Second Time Around is being offered for grandparents who are raising grandchildren. The program will be held each Friday morning from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. beginning August 19, and will run through October…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:58

Bridge work in Haywood County set to go

The bridge over the Pigeon River on U.S. 19/23 in downtown Canton will be replaced over the coming year, with work to start as soon as next month. The $2.9 million project contract was awarded to Taylor and Murphy Construction…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:57

Haywood schools, HCC form credit partnership

Haywood Community College and Haywood County Schools recently signed an agreement to provide high school students with a seamless transition from secondary to post-secondary education. The agreement minimizes content duplication for high school students entering the community college system. More…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:56

Harrah’s brings career fair to Haywood

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino recruiters will be at Haywood Community College’s West Waynesville Campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17. They will accept up to 13 candidates in a panel interview to staff their resort’s expansion. Harrah’s…
A family is protesting after they say the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians seized land they claim is rightfully theirs. When Gladys Wright died in 2009, she left all of her property to her four children. But last month, Cherokee…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:55

Caregiver information on dementia offered

MemoryCare, a program to assess memory and cognitive functioning, will present its Professional Caregiver Education Program curriculum in a three-part series with one part beginning Aug. 9. Parts two and three will be given Aug. 16 and Aug. 23, respectively.…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:55

Need a hand recovering from storm damage?

If you are a private forest landowner and suffered severe damage from the tornado or high winds earlier this year, you might be eligible for federal help. The Swain/Jackson Farm Service Agency office administers the Emergency Forest Restoration Program. If…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:54

No taxes this weekend on back-to-school items

Time to go shopping — this weekend, Aug. 5 through Aug. 7, is the annual back-to-school tax free weekend. Retailers searching for back-to-school items will be able to find clothing, shoes and school supplies (under $100 per item) tax free,…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:54

Swain Visitor Guide kickoff scheduled

The Swain County Chamber of Commerce and The Smoky Mountain News will host a meet-and-greet at the chamber office from 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 5 to kickoff sales in the 2012 Visitor’s Guide. This will be an opportunity…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:53

New urgent care center to open in Sylva

MedWest Health System will open a new Urgent Care Center on Aug. 15 in Sylva. It will be located at 176 Walmart Plaza, and will provide walk-in examinations six days a week to patients with non-emergency illnesses or injuries. The…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:52

Back-to-school date lands Macon in court

If this were a race, Macon County Schools would win for being the first in Western North Carolina — maybe even the state — to end summer vacation and start classes again. Teachers returned Monday; students go back Thursday (August…
Maggie Valley’s business community hopes to bring natural gas lines to the valley, but it will hinge on drumming up enough interest from paying customers to making it worth the gas company’s while. Natural gas is a cheaper form of…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:50

Fontana Dam post office targeted for closure

The U.S. Postal Service wants to close Fontana Dam’s tiny post office to save money, a downsizing move critics say would further isolate the small community. This far-flung outpost in Graham County is frequented by tourists, and serves as a…
Harrah’s Cherokee casino bought nearly half a million dollars of liquor over the past year, netting almost $50,000 in profits each for the ABC stores in Sylva and Bryson City — which had the privileges of being the casino’s suppliers.…
In the current political debate, the word ‘debt’ has become ubiquitous. Cherokee is no exception, where discussion of the debt of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians — and how, precisely, to dispose of it — has dominated the election…
Jackson County commissioners are considering whether to renovate the former Southern Lumber Co. building to get the county out of paying rent elsewhere for office space. The county purchased the property and the 34,633-square-foot building on Skyland Drive in 2008.…
Chuck Wooten’s wings are still clipped as Jackson County’s manager, at least for now, but it looks like he’ll get big-boy hiring and firing powers soon. Commissioners this week failed to act on Wooten’s request that he no longer bring…
The oft-threatened closure of the state prison in Haywood County has finally come to pass, but by now, it hardly comes as a surprise. “Every year, they would always say it is going to close,” said Haywood Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick.…
Counties with jail beds to spare will soon be able to make a little cash housing state prison inmates. Under a new program introduced by the N.C. General Assembly earlier this year, minor criminals with short sentences won’t be housed…
Western North Carolina is losing one of its strongest municipal work forces. And a quick look at their record of projects shows that, in towns and counties around the region, they will be sorely missed. But this loss isn’t exactly…
Western Carolina University and the Cullowhee area could prove the decisive battleground in the coming debate about whether alcohol sales should be legal countywide in Jackson, and not just confined to the towns of Sylva and Dillsboro. Ikran Mohamed, hurrying…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:37

Meth lab cleanup costs sloughed onto counties

In what promises to become an increasingly expensive proposition, county taxpayers must now pick up the tab for cleaning up illegal methamphetamine labs. The federal government notified states in February that it would no longer pay for such clean ups,…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:35

Pilot on pot patrol hits the jackpot

After hours of scouring the ground for renegade marijuana plants from the air last Thursday, the pilot of a Highway Patrol helicopter was ready to call it day. But as he crested the Balsams, in the homestretch of his flight…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:44

Workshops help artists get their game on

Two Handmade in America Craft Labs are coming to Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center in Graham County. Learn how to engage visitors in your studio and tips for arranging and selling from your booth during a session on August 10.…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:44

Sylva artist headlines art society gathering

The next meeting of the Blue Ridge Watermedia Society will be held from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 9 at Haywood Community College Building 1400. The featured artist will be Pam Haddock. Haddock lives in Sylva and has…
The Popcorn Sutton Summer Jam is scheduled for noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. In its second year, this event celebrates the life of legendary moonshiner and Maggie Valley native, Popcorn Sutton.…
The Overlook Players will present Narnia at 7:30 p.m. from August 4-6, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, August 7, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Based on the classic children’s novel, Chronicles of…
Phil Coghill, a professional kaleidoscope artist and woodturner, will be one of the newest artists to participate in the Creative Endeavors Art and Crafts Show, scheduled this year for August 12 and 13 at Lake Junaluska.   Since 1988, Coghill…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:39

Art After Dark gallery stroll is August 5

Art After Dark returns to downtown Waynesville from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, August 5. Working studios and galleries on Main Street, Depot Street and in Historic Frog Level will open their doors to the public and musician Chris…
The Downtown Waynesville Dog Walk will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, at the Haywood County Courthouse, and parade down the street. Categories in a dog contest include best tail wagger, best dressed, most talented and best owner/dog…
Balsam Range, a renowned bluegrass band across the region, will play Sylva’s Concerts on the Creek series at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 5, at Bridge Park in downtown Sylva. Members of the sought-after five-piece band hail from Haywood and…
Franklin will be hopping with all things barbecue at the Mountain High Barbecue Festival and Car Show on August 12 and 13 at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center. The two-day event features barbecue teams from all over the country. Sanctioned…
For the last seven years, Canton has celebrated Haywood County’s biggest crop with a festival in its honor. This year, the town’s Mountain Mater Festival has grown from a small celebration of the red jewel of summer to a sizeable…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:33

Chess as a metaphor for life

When you think chess club, the quintessential picture that comes to mind probably doesn’t include a cowboy or a retired mill worker. The image of high school über-nerds or brilliant eccentrics like Bobby Fisher or Gary Kasparov dominate the vision…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:27

2008: A look at all involved

By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer From playing a girl with big dreams that go nowhere in Haywood Arts Repertory Theatre’s “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” to embracing my fiance’s love for Smashing Pumpkins, this past year left an artistic…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:26

The best of 2008

Every year about this time, reporters dig out their old files and back editions and start cruising the headlines for the top stories of the year. Lucky for us, there never seems to be shortage of material for the “Year…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:25

Haywood Waterways lauds water quality heroes

The Haywood Waterways Association announced its water quality heroes for the year at its annual banquet in December. Here’s who won the three awards given out by the premier water quality group in Haywood County. Eric Romaniszyn received the Pigeon…
The acknowledgement by Waynesville’s leaders that they let a review of the town’s much-heralded land use plan languish and now intend to jumpstart the process is welcome news. “It’s back on track,” said Mayor Gavin Brown of the review process.…
The extraordinarily difficult struggle to find nurses licensed in psychiatric care has forced the state agency that oversees mental health care in Western North Carolina to discontinue crucial services for its most critical patients. For months, the Smoky Mountain Center…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:23

It’s all about the kids, right?

We stood looking at the dinosaur for quite awhile. As parents of children ages 7 and 3, we are more than a little familiar with dinosaurs. In fact, our home has become somewhat of a haven for dinosaurs, an impressive…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:22

Public lands feel the pressure: a recurring theme

Conflicts over public land continued to heat up in 2009 as more people turn to outdoor recreation in WNC. More people equals more pressure on the national parks and national forests as they struggle to be all things to all…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:21

Bad economy leads to a few good things

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist A lot of attention lately has been focused on how bad the economic downturn has been for the U.S. and its world partners but as everyone knows; there are two sides to every story.…
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is now taking public comment on several proposed changes to hunting and fishing regulations. The Wildlife Commission continues to lift restrictions on hunting wild boar as the exotic animal is increasingly recognized as a detriment…
The past year has been marked by some good and not so good news for the environment in Western North Carolina. This week, we look back at some of the top environmental stories of the year. On the horizon Duke…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:18

The Naturalist's Corner

Snowbirds are here No, I’m not talking about your Uncle Bernie and Aunt Esther from New York City. I’m talking about our feathered friends. The snowbirds that have returned en masse to feeders all across the country are dark-eyed juncos.…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:17

Winter wear

(Note: A version of this essay will appear in an upcoming issue of “Chinquapin: The Newsletter of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society,” for which George Ellison writes a quarterly Botanical Excursions column.) Several weeks ago, the nighttime temperature dropped below…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:16

Best wishes for Sylva in 2009

By Chris Cooper Last year I wrote a “suggested Christmas play list” for the holiday. It may have been a stretch (Miles Davis and Joe Satriani may constitute MY ideal soundtrack for Dec. 25, but maybe not everyone else) but…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:14

Today’s boys

The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre. Crown, 2008. 320 pages. For the last 30 years, many teachers and parents have understood…