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Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:39

Festival of Trees to be held Monday, Nov.. 22

The Kids Advocacy Resource Effort (KARE) is holding its first Festival of Trees beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 22, at the Gateway Club in downtown Waynesville. Festivities begin with a dinner buffet followed by a live auction of…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:38

Haywood schools chart course for future

This fall, while Haywood County students are focused on homework, football, the opposite sex and the many other preoccupations of youth, their teachers and administrators are mapping a plan to make them more successful and competitive when they leave Haywood’s…
Prospective college students can get a taste of what campus life is all about as Western Carolina University holds Open House on Saturday, Nov. 20. Hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Open House gives students and their families a…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:37

Oratorial scholarship available in Haywood

Haywood County High School students can compete in the a oratorical scholarship program, sponsored by Waynesville American Legion Post 47.   All students, grades 9-12, are eligible to participate. This includes public, parochial, military, private or homeschool students. The American…
Ronnie Beale is an amiable chap, and for the past few years he’s injected a bit of humor into what is often the tediously dull process of overseeing county government. “If you want to stay and see the rest of…
Wit Tuttell, director of Tourism Marketing for the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development will discuss projected travel trends and visitor profiles at the annual meeting of Smoky Mountain Host on Nov. 19 in Maggie Valley. Tuttell will…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:24

Haywood rolls back price of Wal-Mart renovation

Haywood County commissioners are reining in their grand plans for Waynesville’s old Wal-Mart, working with designers and almost everyone else involved in the project to try and get it close to the projected budget. At a work session last week,…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:22

JobsNOW Reverse Job Fair showcases student talent

Haywood Community College’s JobsNOW program will hold a Reverse Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, in the Student Services building. Employers for the Automotive, Green Building Construction and Health Care Professions are invited to…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:22

Additional resources offered to seniors

Haywoood Community Connections, an advocacy organization for senior citizens in Haywood County, has updated its website. Visit  and check out the following: • Resource directory for seniors, caregivers, and persons with disablities. The directory can be accessed in two different formats. Clicking…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:21

Meals on Wheels seeks volunteers

Haywood County Meals on Wheels needs help — there is a shortage of volunteers. People are needed to deliver hot, nutritious meals to qualifying elderly, homebound and/or disabled adults who cannot prepare their own meals, or do not have someone…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:20

HCC offers parliamentary procedures seminar

Haywood Community College’s Continuing Education Department is offering a Basic Parliamentary Procedures seminar on Wednesday, November 17 with UNC School of Government faculty member A. Fleming Bell, II. The seminar will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. in the…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:20

Parking concerns in Sylva never-ending

Sheryl Rudd, just that morning, said she had fussed at her husband, Dieter Kuhn, for leaving a vehicle parked for too long outside their Sylva business. The loading of 150-pound kegs was finished, and Rudd wanted him to move the…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:18

New Jackson commissioners, new county agenda

Jack Debnam says he’s simply trying to get his feet on the ground and figure out what needs to be done first before he and two other newly elected commissioners take control next month. Debnam, running as an unaffiliated candidate,…
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 20:17

Haywood county manager Cotton steps down

After four years in its service, the man who has stood at the helm of Haywood County will be moving on in December. In a Nov. 3 letter to county commissioners, County Manager David Cotton tendered his resignation, effective the…
Up to 1,700 jobs, perhaps a whole campus eliminated — the dire picture painted this month by Erskine Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina system, on the state of higher education during these tough economic times isn’t pretty.…
A proposed Haywood County ordinance that prohibits various kinds of waste and junk was harshly criticized by speaker after speaker at a public hearing Monday (March 2). The “Public Nuisance” ordinance prohibits everything from outdoor storage of scrap metal to…
People in Cherokee will no longer have to drive or hitch rides into Bryson City to cast ballots during early voting. The Swain County Board of Elections recently agreed to establish an early voting site in Cherokee, a move that…
Emotions are sizzling over a plan to extend the Macon County Airport runway over Cherokee burial grounds and artifacts. At an Airport Authority meeting last week in Franklin resident Selma Sparks said it is disrespectful to the Cherokee. Airport board…
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 15:16

Canton stuck in bidding quagmire

A flawed bidding process for a demolition job that left a local company out of the loop is causing a major headache for the town of Canton. The town put its engineering contractor, McGill and Associates, in charge of soliciting…
A member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Franklin is prohibited from bringing his hunting knife to church after another member saw him with the blade at a Sunday service and got worried. The knife carrier, Charles Rowe, said there…
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 15:19

Canton town manager search drags on

There are just two candidates left in the bid to be Canton’s next town manager, but Mayor Pat Smathers said he doesn’t know how much longer it will take the board to finally pick one. The town has been without…
Waynesville Alderman Kenneth Moore passed away Monday (March 2) after a heart attack. He was 74. Moore was the former police chief of the town of Hazelwood, and had been an alderman since 1995. He was serving his fourth term.…
A homeless shelter has opened in Sylva to provide an escape from the frigid nights. The shelter, located at Lifeway Church in Sylva, is the only homeless shelter in Jackson County. It will remain open through March. About a month…
The Smoky Mountain News won four awards for its news coverage in the recent North Carolina Press Association News and Editorial Awards contest, including first place in the Community Service category for the staff’s comprehensive coverage of Haywood Regional Medical…
The prospect of an outpatient surgery center in Haywood County has drawn support from 14 doctors willing to pitch in on a feasibility study to get the ball rolling. Haywood Regional Medical Center will split the cost of a $40,000…
Prominently displayed in the window of the Bryson City Fire Department last week were several signs with the same defiant words: “We serve people, not politics.” The message was a direct reference to a controversy heating up between the town’s…
The $400,000 that Duke Energy was expecting to get from the state to help tear down the Dillsboro dam may no longer be available. The N.C. General Assembly appropriated the $400,000 in 2008, but the money was never certified by…
Questions continue to follow former Smoky Mountain Center for Mental Health director Tom McDevitt — who resigned amid scrutiny last year — in his role as director of the agency’s multi-million dollar nonprofit arm. McDevitt apparently stepped up as the…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Two Swain County commissioners are having second thoughts about a move to end contracted fire service with the town of Bryson City after listening to the impassioned pleas of volunteer firefighters who shared their…
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 19:47

Artifacts endangered by airport project

When Neal Hoppe dies he wants his body cremated and his ashes spread over the Macon County Airport. “When I die, my soul will depart my body,” said Hoppe, who manages the airport’s terminal. “I don’t want a hole dug…
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 19:50

First things first: How many cars too many?

The Jackson County transportation task force has spent the past several months signing off on a projected traffic count for the future, namely the year 2035. Until road planners had a projection in front of them, they didn’t know what…
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 19:51

Missed deadline costs HRMC potential revenue

Haywood Regional Medical Center could miss out on as much as $750,000 in revenue over the course of a year after missing a federal billing deadline for its new mental health wing. The missed deadline, which occurred last fall, was…
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 19:54

Task force aims to fix future traffic snarls

A Jackson County task force has entered the nitty-gritty stage in its quest to fix traffic congestion on N.C. 107 in Sylva. The group has begun compiling a long list of possible solutions to the congestion. Once complete, it will…
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 19:56

What is the Evergreen Foundation?

The Evergreen Foundation was formed by the Smoky Mountain Center for Mental Health in 1977. At that time, state mental health agencies could not own property, so non-profit property holding arms were created. The first tract of land the Foundation…
A Maggie Valley man alerted Haywood County officials this week of a landslide posing a risk to his home in Smoky Mountain Estates in Maggie Valley. Marc Pruett, soil and erosion control director for Haywood County, visited the site of…
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:07

Moonshiner dead in apparent suicide

Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, 62, was found dead of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in a car near his Parrotsville, Tenn., residence, days before he was to begin serving an 18-month prison sentence for large-scale moonshine operation. An incident report filed by…
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:09

Runway extension faces funding shortfall

The Macon County Airport Authority is short about $853,000 of what it needs to pay for a controversial runway extension, according to airport officials. The total runway project, including archaeology and engineering, is expected to cost $3.5 million, according to…
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:11

Jackson ponders solutions to dry wells

A Jackson County task force appointed last fall to develop solutions to water shortages caused by the drought presented its recommendations last week. The Water Study Task Force came about after several Jackson County residents reported that their wells and…
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:12

Troubled park hopes to get back on feet

The dire state of finances at Maggie Valley Ghost Town in the Sky led the amusement park to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 10. The filing will allow the partners of Ghost Town LLC to structure a plan to…
Non-profit agencies and county departments in Haywood County are still reeling from massive budget cuts announced by commissioners last week. The county commissioners cut funding to all non-profits for the rest of the fiscal year, and called for county departments…
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:16

WCU announces faculty layoffs

Under a budget cut scenario announced last Friday (March 13), 31.75 employees will be laid off from Western Carolina University due to state budget cuts. WCU is anticipating the state cutting the university’s appropriation by $7.64 million, or 8 percent,…
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:18

Duke Energy, Jackson argue cases in court

Duke Energy and Jackson County appeared in court Monday (March 16) to argue over permits related to the removal of the Dillsboro dam. An attorney for Duke Energy said the court should order the county to issue the permits to…
Local, state and federal officials involved in the controversial Macon County Airport runway extension held a private meeting last week. The Smoky Mountain News showed up at the meeting at the airport after being tipped off by an anonymous source.…
It appears an $853,000 shortfall facing the Macon County airport runway extension may be covered with additional state and federal funds. The shortfall arose in part after a $550,000 federal grant previously earmarked for the project was pulled after the…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:29

Macon eyes steep slope ordinance

The Macon County Planning Board is in the beginning stages of developing an ordinance that would regulate development on steep slopes. Haywood and Jackson counties shared presentations on their steep slope ordinances with the Macon planning board last week. Marc…
There’s a big problem looming over a rural Swain County road — literally — and exactly how to solve it is befuddling Department of Transportation officials. A rock slide earlier this month sent several SUV-size boulders crashing into Buckner Branch…
The Sylva Town Board on Friday voted 3-2 to hire a new town manager with a background in planning. The board hired Adrienne Isenhower to replace former Manager Jay Denton who was fired in September. Isenhower is currently a planner…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:44

Cause of quarry slide undetermined

Federal investigators with the Mine Safety and Health Administration have still not determined the cause of a slide last week that sent a 600-foot slab of rock crashing down at a Waynesville rock quarry. No one was injured in the…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:47

Ghost Town coaster opening faces big hurdles

Ghost Town investors are banking on finally getting the park’s Cliffhanger rollercoaster up and running in order to attract visitors and increase cash flow. But the park has miles to go before it can open its centerpiece ride. Not only…
He was endorsed by the Family Research Council for his pro-life stance and by the NRA for his support of the Ssecond Amendment. He championed an act for more border security, chaired the national prayer breakfast, and voted against the…
A lawsuit filed against the Haywood County Department of Social Services charging the agency could have prevented the death of a 22-month-old baby but failed to take her out of harm’s way continues to make its way through the courts.…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:58

Grants benefit Cherokee arts

Cherokee Preservation Foundation recently awarded 25 new grants totaling nearly $3.2 million. Here are a few targeting the arts: • A $600,000 grant was awarded to Cherokee Historical Association to complete stair and handicapped access upgrades and install new seats…
After years of grappling with the controversial issue of alcohol sales on tribal land, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will vote on June 4 whether to allow the sale of alcohol at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. If voters approve the…
Swain County residents are locking their doors and loading their guns after a suspect in a double homicide escaped from the county jail Saturday, thanks to help from a jailer who may still be with him. Lelon Greene of Bryson…
Sitting in the Job Link site in Sylva looking for jobs on a computer database, Kathleen Codon of Cullowhee hit on something promising — a posting for a construction project manager. Jobs like those are rare these days with the…
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:10

Task force seeks answers to water shortages

As a task force continues to probe solutions to the drought-induced water shortage in Jackson County, one idea on the table is passing out low-flow showerheads and aerators for the public to install on their faucets. Task Force Chairman Tom…
Jackson Paper employee Tim Coggins Jr. has something a lot of people don’t have these days — job security. Jackson Paper has not laid off any of its 120 employees and doesn’t plan to. “That makes me feel excellent,” said…
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:13

Sawmill manager: World going to hell

T&S Hardwoods General Manager Jack Swanner sat in his office with an ashtray full of cigarette butts next to him and an unopened bottle of merlot on his desk. Laying beside him was a Wall Street Journal, and Swanner said…
Attempts to pass Swain County’s first-ever planning regulations are showing signs of movement, but not in the direction that planning advocates hope. A county subdivision ordinance, primarily setting standards for road widths and grades, was dropped from discussion by county…
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:16

Software CEO doing well in bad times

Drake Software CEO Phil Drake is taking the tough economic times with ease. He believes he can get through the recession without closing any businesses or laying anyone of his employees off. With 500 employees, Drake is the second largest…
Swain County would need more than $4 million to renovate its historic courthouse, putting plans for a cultural museum to be housed on the second floor in jeopardy. The 1908 building has undergone few repairs since it was built, and…
The landslide last month that destroyed a home in Maggie Valley has spurred the Haywood County commissioners to ask the state for help in keeping county residents safe. The board of commissioners discussed two separate requests for the state at…
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:25

Landowners held accountable in wake of landslide

Property owners at the site of last month’s landslide in Maggie Valley are being tasked by county officials with the job of stabilizing the mountain in the wake of the slide. The county has given the property owners until Feb.…
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:26

Park-and-ride in Haywood gains traction

A shuttle to transport commuters between Haywood and Buncombe counties is gaining momentum following the state’s recent offer to donate land for a park-and-ride lot. The proposed lot is at Exit 33 along I-40 in Canton on land owned by…
The Franklin aldermen on Monday night (Feb. 2) unanimously voted to formalize a process for releasing the minutes from previously closed-door meetings. The town attorney, John Henning Jr., has always had the authority to make closed meeting minutes public once…
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:34

Feeling slighted, TDA yanks grant

Farmer Skipper Russell thought he was helping drive tourism with his famous corn “maize,” an agricultural attraction he operates each fall in Bethel. After all, the maze attracted nearly 7,000 visitors this year, many from out of town, who came…
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:36

Community lobbies DOT to save a piece of history

Citizens in the Oak Grove community of Macon County hope to save a bridge from demolition by the Department of Transportation. Located off N.C 28, the one-lane McCoy bridge over the Little Tennessee River is not only a community icon…
Proposed budget cuts at Western Carolina University are beginning to affect students like Will Furse, who says he won’t graduate on time if summer classes are cut. The senior construction management student knows he has little influence over the situation.…
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 17:13

Suttles gets nod for Haywood sheriff

The Haywood County Democratic Party has tapped Chief Deputy Bobby Suttles to replace outgoing Sheriff Tom Alexander. Suttles is a 14-year employee of the sheriff’s department and a former Waynesville police officer. He won 111 of 166 votes cast by…
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 17:14

Bardo pledges to defer to deans

Western Carolina University Chancellor John Bardo in an interview with The Smoky Mountain News last week said that he is distancing himself from the budget cut process. He said he is leaving it up to a “cadre of deans” and…
Commissioner Tom Massie wants to see the county formalize how it funds capital projects. Under the current method entities simply approach the county when they are in need and ask for funding. Massie suggested that entities fill out an application…
How far would you drive for $100? That’s the dilemma Haywood County cattle farmer Neal Stamey faces each time he hooks his trailer up to his pickup truck, loads up the cow or cows he’ll sell that day, and makes…
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 17:26

With proposals in, work starts on partnership

One of three hospitals courting Haywood Regional Medical Center and WestCare for a partnership has dropped out of the running. That leaves Mission Hospital of Asheville and Carolinas HealthCare System, a 23-hospital conglomerate based in Charlotte, still in contention. Both…
At a time when the state’s fractured mental health care system seems beyond repair, local mental health officials have hit on a solution that could go a long way toward fixing it. The key might lie in a new program…
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 17:33

Four-legged crisis brewing in Swain

Swain County’s complete lack of services to handle the growing stray animal population is putting a heavy burden on a nonprofit shelter and forcing county commissioners to weigh their options. “We have absolutely nothing right now, and we are trying…
Despite tough economic times, Jackson County commissioners decided last week to move forward with three multi-million dollar projects. In a capital projects meeting last Thursday, the commissioners reached a consensus to pursue upgrades to the solid waste transfer station estimated…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 18:54

Mandated cutbacks mean tough decisions

The first Friday in February came with some bad news for the Swain County School District and systems around the state. Word came from Raleigh that school budgets would be cut by 7 percent in the upcoming fiscal year. The…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 18:55

Tight times force tough choices for Swain schools

The Swain County School District has terminated a popular program that emphasized science and math education, offered students smaller classes and helped combat the system’s high dropout rate. The three-year-old School of Applied Science, Math and Technology was axed last…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 18:57

Library success rides on public support

Dr. John Bunn of Sylva lived through the Great Depression and said people bind together during tough times to help one another. The same will stand true, Bunn believes, when it comes to donating to the new Jackson County library…
A group of Haywood residents appealed to county commissioners for an ordinance assessing the impacts of large developments. The ordinance would require large developers to assess the impacts of their projects on surrounding communities and the environment. On Monday night…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:06

A long and winding road

Sylva’s current library opened in 1970 and is 6,400 square feet. The debate over where to locate a new library lasted more than eight years, with commissioners finally deciding to build it as an attachment to the historic and beloved…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:10

Aldermen deny exploiting ‘Slategate’

Two Franklin aldermen said they didn’t whip up controversy regarding slate to get back at Mayor Joe Collins but because they sincerely thought it was a situation that needed to be looked into. Aldermen Bob Scott and Verlin Curtis said…
Local legislators are preparing to fight yet another attempt by the state to close the only minimum security prison west of Asheville. The 125-bed Haywood Correctional Facility in Waynesville, commonly referred to as the Hazelwood prison, has landed on a…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:22

Sylva board rift heats up

Split votes are becoming increasingly common on the Sylva town board, throwing into question whether the board can meet its stated goal of agreeing on a new town manager. Town commissioners Harold Hensley and Ray Lewis often vote together against…
Last February, a crisis landed on the doorstep of Haywood Regional Medical Center. After failing federal inspections, the hospital lost its Medicare and Medicaid status, followed by an exodus of private insurance companies. The hospital effectively shut its doors aside…
As Mike Poore waited for an elevator between floors at Haywood Regional Medical Center Monday morning, he gazed out the sixth floor window to see cars circling the packed parking lot hunting in vain for a space. “That’s a good…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:33

Haywood extends token to Canton solar farm

FLS Solar Energy wants a tax break from Haywood County in exchange for an $8 million solar farm the company is building near Canton. FLS is asking county commissioners for financial incentives that would allow the company to pay 20…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:36

Shuler said he’ll fight for stimulus funds

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, spoke to a crowd of about 200 town and county government officials from Western North Carolina last Thursday at the Renaissance hotel in Asheville about the $787 billion stimulus plan. North Carolina is set to…
A 7-year-old Jackson County boy is fighting for his life after being mauled by a dog last week, according to Jackson County Sheriff Jimmy Ashe. Dalton Mathis is listed in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Mission…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:38

In tough times, local company looks to expand

In yet another piece of positive economic news, Waynesville-based Haywood Vocational Opportunities announced a proposed expansion that would create at least 50 new jobs. HVO, which makes disposable medical supplies, plans to pay $400,000 for 10 acres at the Beaverdam…
Today at HRMC, 10 sets of eyes peer over the shoulders of the hospital administration, ready and willing to question every move. Though the hospital had a board of directors in place when the hospital lost its Medicare and Medicaid…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:43

Purported mega-development disappears from radar

Cataloochee Wilderness Resort, a 4,500-acre proposed development in Haywood County’s Jonathan Creek community, appears to have fallen off the map. Developers first announced plans for the massive Resort in November 2007. They touted residential, commercial and retail phases, including golf…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:44

HRMC: A timeline

Oct. 2006-Feb. 2008 — HRMC has several problems with federal inspectors, culminating in the threat to revoke its ability to get reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Feb. 13, 2008 — HRMC given notice that Medicare funding will be revoked…
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 20:17

MedWest celebrates local athletes

MedWest Health System will recognize outstanding athletes from Haywood, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties and the Cherokee Reservation. The Game On! spot in local newspapers will acknowledge individuals who have exemplified outstanding performance, winning attitudes and/or great sportsmanship. The…
“Haywood County: Portrait of a Mountain Community,” was awarded the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award and the President’s Award at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Society of Historians in Mooresville on Oct. 23. The Peace History Award…
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 20:16

Corbin to replace Davis on Macon board

Kevin Corbin has been named by the Macon County GOP to fill the seat on the county board of commissioners that will be vacated by Jim Davis, who was recently elected to the N.C. Senate. Corbin will assume the seat…
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 20:15

Public input sought in chancellor search

Members of the public will have an opportunity to have their voices heard by the search committee that will help select the next chancellor of Western Carolina University during a series of open forums Monday, Nov. 22. Four hourlong meetings…
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 20:15

Local leaders try to protect small farms

By Quintin Ellison and Colby Dunn William Shelton knows one positive aspect about losing his bid for re-election to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners: as a farmer, he can now turn his full attention to keeping Shelton Family Farm…
It’s a dizzying prospect, but a group looking at future traffic patterns and demands in Macon County is considering including as many as four roundabouts in a recommendation to county and town leaders. Additionally, Macon County’s second roundabout is being…