As the leaves change and the air becomes crisp, the mountains of Western North Carolina transform into a landscape of mystery and mischief. In the spirit of ghouls, ghosts and everything creepy and crawling, communities around Southern Appalachia will celebrate Halloween with an array of local and regional events, for kids and parents alike.
Two candidates are competing for the job of top legal prosecutor in the seven western counties.
The seat came up for grabs when District Attorney Mike Bonfoey announced his retirement after 11 years in the role. Two assistant prosecutors who work under Bonfoey are vying for the job.
Attendees at Cullowhee’s hearing on the proposed oil and gas rules Sept. 12 were overwhelmingly anti-fracking, but a small contingent of men showed up on a bus from Winstom-Salem — provided by the N.C. Energy Forum — wearing sky blue t-shirts bearing the words “Shale Yes.” Except, fracking opponents are saying, the men weren’t exactly informed proponents of the fossil fuel extraction practice.
“We want unannounced reviews and inspections by DENR. It’s like a drug test. You tell them they’re going to be drug tested? They’re clean. So we want unannounced inspections, number one. We want records kept for a minimum of 50 years, not 5 years. We want no wide-range variances on regulations. We don’t want favors given out to criminals that are fracking our land.”
— Louise Heath, Cherokee tribal member
It didn’t take but a glance around the lawn of the Liston B. Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University to see that Sept. 12 was going to be an eventful evening.
Western North Carolina is no longer on State Geologist Ken Taylor’s schedule for this fall’s tour de hydrocarbons in North Carolina. Taylor had planned to come to WNC in September to collect rock samples from road rights-of-way to test their carbon content. That initial test would have determined whether there was any point in pursuing shale gas exploration in the region any further.
The North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission has scheduled a public hearing on fracking for Western North Carolina. The hearing is slated for Sept. 12 on the Western Carolina University campus in Cullowhee.
Monty Williams didn’t know a whole lot about the Circles of Hope program when he sat down to his first training four years ago. All he knew was that he wanted to do something to help people in poverty escape it, and the program had the full endorsement of Mountain Projects Community Action Agency Executive Director Patsy Dowling.
Candice Caldwell Day and her husband Shayne recently went to Andrews Airport in Cherokee County.
“To hold up a really big sign,” she said.