travel satulahDale Heinlein never thought he’d set roots down in his hometown of Highlands.

“Living in Atlanta, in suburbia, with the summer heat and traffic, I had to get back to the mountains, back to nature, back to the earth, back to the rivers to cool off,” the 34-year-old said. “I’ve spent most of my life in Highlands and when I came back, I just started to notice so many things about my surroundings I either didn’t know about or had forgotten — there is so much to learn and discover everyday here.”

Tapping into Macon County

art frDale Heinlein never thought he’d set down roots in his hometown of Highlands.

“Living in Atlanta, in suburbia, with the summer heat and traffic, I had to get back to the mountains, back to nature, back to the earth, back to the rivers to cool off,” the 34-year-old said. “I’ve spent most of my life in Highlands and when I came back, I just started to notice so many things about my surroundings I either didn’t know about or had forgotten — there is so much to learn and discover everyday here.”

Highlands residents will soon be seeing better cell phone coverage in town following the town board’s unanimous vote to move forward in negotiating a contract with Verizon Wireless. 

art lazyhikerAs the snow melts in Southern Appalachia, the beer will begin to flow from the taps of the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company in the former Franklin Town Hall.

fr damLake Sequoyah will disappear for a few months in the coming year as Highlands plans to drain the reservoir to complete a pair of projects there. Combining $1.6 million in grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency with another $950,000 of town funds, Highlands plans to install a new intake valve in a deep part of the lake and complete some much-needed maintenance on the dam itself. 

Highlands and Cashiers are perched on the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, where the mountains plunge sharply from a high plateau, creating the right ingredients not only for bountiful waterfalls but a temperate rainforest, one of the few in North America. This makes for lush vegetation, plus special designations such as “salamander and lichen capital of the world.”

A $1.1 million donation from residents Art and Angela Williams of the Old Edwards Inn will net the town of Highlands a retractable roof for its new swimming pool, a new floor and bleachers for the civic center gym and a jumpstart toward a revitalized recreation program. And, possibly, a half-cent property tax increase to fund it.

By Colby Dunn • Correspondent

For residents of Highlands, the list of things to do in town, depending on the season, can be pretty short and “go to the movies” has never been on it. But the town is filmless no more, thanks to a new program at the Highlands Playhouse that’s bringing in the blockbusters four nights a week. 

fr soccerMacon County has it sights set on building a new soccer field in Highlands, one of the few mountain communities where the sport is king of the fall season, not football.

fr wheelchairIt was a moment that forever stuck with Don Schoendorfer.

While on vacation in Morocco several years ago, the southern California engineer/inventor witnessed a disabled woman dragging herself across a busy street. She had no wheelchair. Nobody seemed to even notice her, let alone provide her assistance. 

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