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The proposition is simple — establish a transition from fossil fuels to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 or face climate calamity, according to the N.C. Climate Solutions Coalition.

Working in support of the former is retired Haywood County schoolteacher Susan Williams, who for months now has been circulating a resolution to Haywood County’s local governments calling for support.

Although the clean energy resolution circulating through many local governments of late has been alternately called “aspirational” and “empty” by some, a quick survey of some of the Western North Carolina municipalities that have adopted the resolution shows that while a few have long been in the business of greening up government, others may just use the resolution as an impetus to start doing so.

Nearly a century old, the aging Cullowhee Dam is at a crossroads — with risk of failure increasing, Western Carolina University must decide whether to renovate the existing structure or remove it completely.

The dam hasn’t been used for power generation since the 1960s, but it creates a reservoir of still water that supplies WCU and the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority. However, some would like to see the dam disappear, offering increased opportunity for paddlers and allowing fish and other aquatic life to travel freely through a more natural, higher-quality river.

Our new denier-in-chief believes “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

2016: A Year.

The tidal wave of negative political news in 2016 was staggering in its magnitude and emotionally overwhelming. Thankfully all that is behind us. But we can’t say adios to the year’s local news until our writers and editors sift through those events and mold them into our annual tongue-in-cheek spoof awards. With apologies in advance to those who can’t take a joke, here’s our tribute to the people and events that left an indelible mark on 2016.

out natcornAccording to Steve Ford, in a piece for NC Policy Watch called “Policies, power, pride divide the NC House and Senate” (7/13/2015), the state’s current Republican senators were a bit disappointed that some of their regulatory “reforms” were causing controversy and being stalled due to environmental concerns.

out frThanks to some fortunate happenstance and a lot of hard work from the staff at the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, a piece of property in downtown Franklin will go from being a potential environmental nightmare to a model example of restoration and redevelopment. 

“We wanted to improve the area, but we didn’t think the opportunity would be available so quickly,” said LTLT Executive Director Sharon Taylor. “But our organization is in a perfect position to take the title of that property and it’s a win-win for everyone.”

out frScientific work by professors and students at Western Carolina University is earning recognition and winning research money. The Cullowhee campus, already recognized for its outdoor opportunities, is making an impact on several environmental fronts. Here are three recent examples of that work.

Jackson County Commissioners have voiced their opposition to fracking in the mountains loud and clear, and now they’ve signed an agreement making Jackson the first county in North Carolina to lean on the Natural Resources Defense Counsel for help writing rules to mitigate the industry’s impact in their jurisdiction.

fr fairclothHarold Faircloth was recently named Environmental Specialist of the Year in North Carolina after uncovering widespread lead contamination in private wells throughout Macon County.

“I had been so busy with my duties and responsibilities in my position in addition to my research and analysis of the lead in private drinking water wells that I didn’t expect anything,” he said about his award. “I feel as though I have been admitted to a special fraternity of achievers and scholars involved with environmental health.”

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This Must Be the Place

Reading Room

  • Books that help bridge the political divide
    Books that help bridge the political divide Time for spring-cleaning.  The basement apartment in which I live could use a deep cleaning: dusting, washing, vacuuming. It’s tidy enough — chaos and I were never friends — but stacks of papers need sorting, bookcases beg to see their occupants removed and the shelves…
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