I should get over being astounded by the way the world works. And I’m talking about the good stuff, not the negative.
The package of stories that graced the cover of The Smoky Mountain News last week, “The Golden Children,” is almost allegorical in its arc. Staff writer Holly Kays traveled to an orphanage in a remote part of Bolivia to help do some construction work and spend time with the children. Her reporting about the orphanage — named Kory Wawanaca, which means “Golden Children” — its founder, Carrie Blackburn Brown, and the connection to Western North Carolina and particularly Haywood County, is so touching that it could never be scripted because it would come off as too heartwarming, too many people doing the right thing for all the right reasons.
I don’t know if it reaches the magnitude of a moral dilemma, but I feel for the Frog Level merchants who appeared before the Waynesville town board recently. They came seeking help in dealing with the patrons of The Open Door soup kitchen that’s located in the historic business district.
The soup kitchen clientele, needless to say, are the most needy among us — some are poverty-stricken, others suffer from mental health issues, others have drug and alcohol problems — and so it is bound to come off as callous if you say you want to be rid of them.
June Johnson’s foray into the world of gardening began in the dead of winter. A sunny January day last year inspired her to venture outside, and her walk brought her to the path behind Maggie Valley United Methodist Church and the grassy lawn surrounding it. The sight made her pause.
“Having grown up around farming, I thought, ‘Why don’t they have a church garden?’ and roamed into the back of the church,” recalled Johnson, a retired teacher and native of Haywood County.
If all goes according to plan, Jackson County could have a permanent homeless shelter up and running by April.
That “if,” though, is a big one. Jackson Neighbors in Need hopes to get commissioners’ approval to lease the old rescue squad building on Main Street just past Mark Watson Park and below the Jackson County Library for $1 per year. Then, it will need to raise tens of thousands of dollars to fund renovations and operational expenses, as well as drum up lots of volunteer support.
The town of Franklin recently passed a Charitable Solicitations ordinance in order to have more control over groups who stand in the middle of the road asking for money.
But it appears the ordinance has backfired. The group the town was trying to keep away met all the requirements in the ordinance, including a $2 million insurance policy, and was issued a one-time permit to solicit donations in the street.
For the past four years, Jackson County Neighbors in Need has been footing the bill to put people lacking winter shelter up in motel rooms for the night, but the group is on the lookout for the perfect facility to serve as a central shelter before the winter gets much deeper.
“We haven’t been able to get into a shelter facility of our own which we are very much hoping to do because it’s very expensive to lodge people in a motel,” said Veronica Nicholas, co-chair of the Neighbors in Need shelter committee.
At T-minus three days until the scheduled opening day for Haywood Pathways Center, Nick Honerkamp still wasn’t sure how to answer the big question: will the shelter open?
“That is the question of the week,” said Honerkamp, one of the leaders of the effort, Wednesday (Nov. 12) morning.
Shane Claiborne was a couple minutes late for his interview with The Smoky Mountain News, but for good reason. Claiborne and his entourage of Philadelphia friends-turned-family had encountered some crawfish that needed catching, and the job required a couple of extra minutes to splash in the creek.
The 2nd annual United Community Bank Mountain Challenge featuring American tennis legends Andy Roddick and Jim Courier will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 26, at the Cedar Creek Racquet Club in Cashiers.
The event will be hosted by the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce and benefits the nonprofit organizations Mountain Youth Charities and the Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau.
Not everyone was happy about the free shoes. Betty Cloer Wallace was more concerned about the “holy war.”