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U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, is getting the word out: from now on, he’ll be carrying a gun when meeting with constituents. Just a short time ago such an announcement from a member of Congress probably would have been considered…
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 21:09

New York City? No wonder they left us out

A spokeswoman with the state Department of Transportation said they didn’t intentionally leave out the state’s westernmost counties on an official logo created by consultants paid $434,590.46 by taxpayers. That amount, in the interest of accuracy, was a lump sum…
An anonymous letter alleging corruption — including bribery, embezzlement, overbilling and theft of state materials — among contractors hired to do roadside maintenance for the N.C. Department of Transportation in Haywood County has been widely circulated in recent weeks. County…
Fund for Haywood County has released $28,335 in recent grants to local nonprofit organizations supporting important community initiatives. The grants include: • Habitat for Humanity — $25,000 to support start-up costs for a ReStore to sell usable donated building materials…
The Macon County businessman and farmer who stirred up controversy recently by announcing plans to build a dirt-bike racetrack in a residential community said he’s still deciding whether to move forward with the plan. More than 100 people turned out…
Remodeling work to the old Wal-Mart building in Haywood County could begin within weeks after commissioners approved a contract to transform the space into county offices. The board heard from Scott Donald of Padgett & Freeman Architects, who are spearheading…
Haywood County’s seniors are one step closer to having more affordable housing options. County commissioners last week agreed to sell the old hospital to Fitch Development Company for $1.275 million. They will then undertake the mammoth task of turning the…
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 19:30

HCC to offer business plan workshop

The Small Business Center of Haywood Community College will offer a free seminar entitled Business Plan Basics on Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 6-9 p.m. on campus in the Student Center, first floor. Participants of Business Plan Basics will be able…
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 19:33

Harrah’s third hotel tower now open

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel third hotel tower which has been under construction as part of its three-year, $633 million expansion is now open. The 532-room Creek Tower broke ground in July 2009 and was completed just before Christmas less…
Swain County has lost more than $17,000 a month from their coffers, and that financial gouge may become a lot bigger following a suit filed by Graham County last month. Graham and Swain county are at odds over property taxes…
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 19:31

Get involved: volunteer

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners is accepting applications for the following boards: • The Board of Equalization and Review — The purpose of this board is to hear appeals to the value placed on real property for the County’s…
Jackson County has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Green Energy Park since launching the innovative project about five years ago. Rent and usage fees offset a portion of the costs. Taxpayers, however, largely underwrite the venture, an…
Don’t expect business as usual when the state’s General Assembly convenes January 26: not with an epic power shift from left to right and a crippling $3.7 billion shortfall to contend with. Despite the staggering budget crisis, Republicans — who…
Haywood County selected a new manager at their Wednesday meeting, promoting current interim manager Marty Stamey. The board decided to make it official with Stamey, long-time assistant county manager, voting unanimously to give him the position permanently. Stamey took over…
Altrusa Club of Waynesville will host its 13th annual Soup and Cornbread Benefit Scholarship Fundraiser from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Jan. 25. The lunch or dinner will include homemade soup (vegetable or potato), fresh cornbread, a beverage and…
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 19:45

Adoption center opens at Sarge’s

Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation will soon open its Animal Adoption Center. The new location will be 256 Industrial Park Drive at the Regional High Tech Center in Waynesville. The facility will include the main office and administrative area, an 1,800-square-foot…
Haywood Habitat for Humanity is holding an open enrollment through January for perspective new-home partner families. Applicants must meet certain criteria for consideration. For general information or to obtain required applications call 828.452.7960 or visit www.haywoodhabitat.org.
With Gov. Beverly Perdue reversing her stance on her previous suggestion to privatize liquor sales, towns can rest assured they’ll probably not soon see this important revenue stream go dry. In Waynesville, beneficiary of about $170,000 in annual profits from…
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 20:23

Dirt-bike track gets green flag

Bud Talley said this week he plans to move forward on building a dirt-bike track on his farm in Macon County despite opposition from neighbors. The size and scope of the project hasn’t yet been determined, Talley said, but “something”…
With what they claim is hundreds of thousands in unpaid rent and loans on the line, Jackson County commissioners have ordered three delinquent tenants at county-owned industrial sites to pay up, or else. Precisely what “or else” means hasn’t been…
Faculty and staff at Southwestern Community College will take part in a daylong session this week on how to identify and deal with troubled students. The program has been in the works since last fall, but the Arizona shootings have…
When Jackson County’s new commissioners announced they would oversee all hiring to determine whether positions should be filled or wiped off the books, the mandate had a fiscally prudent, vigilant-watchdogs-of-taxpayer-dollars sound. “I have to admit, this is causing somewhat of…
Supporters of Jackson County’s methane-powered Green Energy Park urged county leaders last week not to slash funding to the innovative project. “What is the Green Energy Park?” Aaron Shufelt, a glass artisan and intern at the park, asked rhetorically during…
Haywood County commissioners have cut five full-time jobs and frozen four open positions to stave off a projected budget shortfall for the current fiscal year. It marks the third straight year commissioners have cut county jobs to counter recession-driven budget…
Haywood County is seriously considering turning over operations of the county landfill to a private company in hopes of saving money. The proposal also includes selling space in the landfill, allowing other locales to ship their trash here for a…
The Department of Transportation isn’t sure how long it will take to investigate anonymous allegations of fraud among road maintenance contractors and DOT employees in Haywood County, according to a spokesperson for the agency. A second anonymous letter was distributed…
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 20:08

Southern cuisine comes to Clyde

If you had to pick a concept to describe Mary Catherine Earnest, it would probably be local. The owner and co-founder of Haywood County’s Blue Rooster Southern Grill is a proud local girl, through and through, and she said that’s…
Haywood County has landed a $1 million grant to turn the methane pouring off a no-longer-used landfill into energy. The money comes from the N.C. State Energy Office as a part of their Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan, which offers…
Friday, 04 February 2011 19:55

NC General Assembly update

Most people predicted that this session of the North Carolina General Assembly was going to be fast and furious, and it appears that is indeed the case. The GOP-led General Assembly is advancing legislation that Democrats have traditionally not supported,…
The Green Energy Park would stand on its own financially within five years if Jackson County adopts recommendations made last week by interim County Manager Chuck Wooten. The park, which uses methane created by decomposing trash at the old Dillsboro…
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 20:17

Past blunders cost hospital in ER lawsuit

A group of emergency room doctors has been awarded $1.6 million in a lawsuit against Haywood Regional Medical Center. Haywood Emergency Physicians was ousted by the hospital in 2006 and replaced with a corporate physician staffing outfit before the group’s…
The second and final public hearing on whether the N.C. Department of Transportation should widen and pave Needmore Road took place in Macon County last week. Needmore Road is a rough, one-lane, 3.3-mile gravel road along the Little Tennessee River…
This year in Cherokee, a major change will quietly work its way into law, causing little fanfare but marking a historic shift in policy towards the casino profits that, for 15 years, have been divided among all members of the…
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 19:59

Maggie ABC stores face questions amid losses

Maggie Valley’s liquor stores lost money in 2010 for the second year in a row, prompting some aldermen to question whether the ABC stores are being properly managed. The two stores are opening for fewer hours. Three part-time employees have…
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 19:58

Maggie alderman Colin Edwards resigns

Maggie Valley Alderman Colin Edwards resigned last week, prompting a special called meeting where barely-concealed animosity among the remaining board members threatened to bubble up into outright conflict. Alderman Phil Aldridge voted against accepting Edwards’ resignation — the only member…
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 19:56

New real estate values due out soon in Haywood

Property owners in Haywood County will soon learn how their home and land values weathered the recession. Every home, lot and tract of land in the county — all 50,000 of them — have been reappraised to reflect the current…
Local boards are finding themselves on the wrong end of the dog when it comes to putting together budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. In Jackson and Macon counties, at work sessions held by commissioners in their respective counties last…
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 20:30

Winter blanket drive in Franklin

Donations of food, coats and blankets are needed for the Warmth in Winter event in Franklin. Free hot meals, blankets, and other services for those in need will be provided from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, in…
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 20:30

State road map yours for the asking

A new, 2011-12 state roadmap can be obtained for free by contacting the N.C. Department of Transportation. The state map includes a detailed represen-tation of highways throughout the state, insets of major metropolitan areas, indexes of cities and towns. Plus,…
Mountain BizWorks will offer “Foundations,” an eight-week business planning course starting Feb. 2 in Waynesville. Students will learn how to craft a solid business plan, including: developing a mission statement, estimating start-up and overhead costs, setting profit goals, cash flow,…
A United Nations expert on women’s human rights is investigating why Native women face the highest rates of sexual and physical assault of any group in the U.S. Rashida Manjoo, United Nations special rapporteur on Violence Against Women, will visit…
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 20:27

Free tax preparation help in Jackson

Those with low and moderate income can get help preparing and filing their taxes every Monday and Friday from Feb. 4 until April 11 at the Jackson County Senior Center in Sylva.  Monday hours are from 10 a.m. to 5…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:30

Jurisdiction quagmire challenges Cherokee courts

Tribal leaders and prosecutors in Cherokee will now have stronger tools to mete out justice to criminals on the reservation, thanks to a bill signed into law by President Obama last year. The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010,…
Webster Enterprises, a community rehabilitation program serving those with disabilities and disadvantages in Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, wants money from the three counties so the nonprofit can create additional jobs. “I wouldn’t ask, if we didn’t really need it,”…
Cherokee got a special visit last month from Rashida Manjoo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, as part of a fact-finding trip around the United States. Making her stop at the special request of several tribal council…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:21

Community helpers recognized by CCC

Winners of the Commission for a Clean County’s 10th-annual awards were announced recently.   The Community Pride program honors businesses, community groups, civic clubs, schools and individuals (both adults and children) for exceptional efforts in the categories of litter pick-up…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:20

Jackson tackles money shortfall

Times are tough, and in response Jackson County department heads have been ordered to reduce spending by 3 percent between now and June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Additionally, a hiring freeze will continue and the use…
Canton will be opening its doors to new business when a long-awaited upgrade to its Champion Drive sewer line is completed next year. The update, which town officials say has been on the list of top priorities for several years,…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:19

Candy sales to support the hungry

This year, Mast General Store will contribute $1 to MANNA FoodBank for each pound of candy purchased on Feb. 12 and 13. The eighth annual Be a Sweetheart, Feed the Hungry event is designed to raise awareness of hunger and…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:18

Animal Services reports rabid raccoon

Haywood County Animal Services officers are canvassing the Beaverdam community in search of stray animals, after hikers discovered a rabid raccoon in the area on Jan. 30. The raccoon tested positive for rabies, after being killed following a fight with…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:17

Supporters of Green Energy Park asked to step up

A meeting to form a new Friends of the Green Energy Park organization in Jackson County is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18. “In order to continue operating and moving forward, the Green Energy Park will need a lot…
There aren’t any strip joints, dirty bookstores or other adult establishments currently in Jackson County, but Sheriff Jimmy Ashe wants regulations put in place ... just in case. Passing an adult establishment ordinance, Ashe said this week to the Jackson…
Macon County Schools, like other local school systems in North Carolina, has been warned by state leaders to plan for cuts that could mount as high as 15 percent. Along with other county departments, the school system will have to…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:14

Business seminar series begins

A six-part seminar series on financial management and updated business strategies is being offered by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce and Asheville consulting firm BluePrints for Business. The seminars, sponsored by Champion Credit Union, Waynesville, will run six Thursday…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:14

Boogie to benefit the schools

The third-annual Mardi Gras dance, sponsored by Old Town Bank to benefit the Haywood County Schools Foundation, will be held at the Gateway Club March 5.  This will be an evening of fun, food, pageantry and dance. A limited number…
The League of Women Voters of Macon County will play host to Macon County Manager Jack Horton and Commission Chair Brian McClellan Feb 10 at noon. McClellan and Horton will discuss projects, plans, issues and the county’s economy. They plan…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:12

Workshop to focus on conservation

The Leopold Land Ethics Leaders Program will hold a conservation discussion and training session from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 8 at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. The program is rooted in renowned conservationists Aldo Leopold’s developing a personal…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:12

Macon County health assessment starts soon

Healthy Carolinians of Macon County will launch a telephone survey of 400 county residents starting next week. The question to be answered: Is the health of Macon County getting better or worse? The survey is part of a comprehensive health…
A lawsuit waged by Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran against the county was shot down in court this week. Cochran accused commissioners of cutting his pay in 2006 as a form of partisan retribution. State statute protects sheriffs from politically…
In many ways, Brian Hockman and wife Carrie of Claymates, a “paint your own pottery experience,” serve as the perfect business portrait of the new Dillsboro. This is Dillsboro post the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. A Dillsboro that maybe hasn’t…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:07

Haywood bike plan gets into gear

Haywood County cyclists – and would-be cyclists – will soon be able to breathe a little easier and peddle a bit more freely, thanks to a comprehensive plan in the works to address a range of cycling issues. The plan,…
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:06

Committee looks for WCU’s next chancellor

The 16-member search committee tasked with helping select Western Carolina University’s next chancellor has developed a list of questions it will use to choose long-time chancellor John Bardo’s replacement. The questions will cover a range of topics gleaned from November’s…
For Darcy and Kevin Sisson, living in Waynesville makes perfect sense. She works in manufacturing in Asheville, his employer is Swain County’s Nantahala Outdoor Center. Waynesville offers the couple a central location, a town large enough to have an active…
Annie Lough, a nationally known folk musician, will give a talk and musical presentation on Appalachian musical heritage and culture at Lake Junaluska. The program will be held Thursday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m. in the Bethea Welcome Center. The…
NAMI Family-to-Family Education, a free, 12-session program for relatives and friends of people diagnosed with a mental illness, will be offered from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, starting March 8 in Franklin. Sponsored by NAMI Appalachian South, the local…
Good things come to those who wait. It’s an adage Jackson County library users will need to bear in mind this spring during a month-long closure of the Sylva branch during the massive move into its brand-new, first-class digs. Librarians…
Jackson County commissioners have been asked to select their top six road priorities for consideration by the state Department of Transportation, a decision that could help decide whether a controversial bypass around Sylva is ever built. Division 14, a 10-county…
With a clipboard under one arm and a giant measuring spool under the other, Greg West climbed into a county-marked truck last Wednesday, cranked the engine and consulted a large Waynesville map on the seat beside him. “Today we’re hitting…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:37

Sharpen your marketing skills, increase sales

A seminar on how to use marketing to increase sales will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Bethea Welcome Center at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. More seminars are scheduled for Feb. 24,…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:36

MedWest to honor outstanding athletes

MedWest Health System will recognize outstanding athletes from Haywood, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties and the Cherokee Indian Reservation through the Game On! spot in local newspapers. The Game On! spot will acknowledge individuals who have exemplified outstanding performance,…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:36

Shuler appointed to budget committee

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, has been appointed to serve on the House Committee on the Budget. “Our nation’s exploding debt has become the single greatest threat to America’s economic future,” Shuler said. “The Budget Committee in the 112th Congress…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:34

Cherokee police ask citizens to text their tips

Crime reporting in the region has moved into the digital age, thanks to the Cherokee Police Department’s new text-a-tip program. The system offers tipsters the option to text, via their cell phones, about crime they know about. This can be…
Remodelers who don’t want to send their old kitchen cabinets, bathroom sinks or screen doors to the dump will soon have a place to send unwanted wares that seem too good to throw out. Haywood Habitat for Humanity is opening…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:28

Girl Scouts ramp up cookie drive

Local Girl Scouts will begin this year’s cookie drive beginning Feb. 12.   Cookies are only available for approximately two months, then the girls decide where the proceeds go. This year, Girl Scouts can also track their goals online and…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:27

Walk to benefit student emergency fund

Western Carolina University supporters have the chance to grow a student emergency fund when they commission a brick paver for the Catamount Legacy Walk. Each 4-by-8-inch, reddish-orange brick paver commissioned through a $125 gift to the Catamount Legacy Walk will…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:27

Health-care policy forum Feb. 22 at WCU

A health-care policy forum is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, in the Catamount Room of the A.K. Hinds University Center at Western Carolina University. The Department of Political Science and Public Affairs and the Public Policy Institute is…
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership today announced twenty grants, totaling nearly $245,000, have been awarded to help preserve and promote Western North Carolina’s heritage. The grant awards will help support diverse initiatives across the North Carolina mountains and…
Jackson County commissioners have been asked to select their Top Six road priorities to pass along to the state Department of Transportation — a decision that could help decide whether a controversial, five-mile bypass around Sylva is ever built. The…
New protocols for the unlikely event that one of Duke Energy’s dams shows a sign of weakness could speed evacuation of residents downstream. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wants power companies such as Duke Energy to cut the amount of…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:22

Business news

The Haywood County Board of Realtors is offering continuing education classes for current N.C. Real Estate License holders. The four-hour class called Mandatory Update will be held in the morning and the elective class Client Level Negotiating will take place…
Maggie Valley has extended its deadline for alderman applications by a month, despite already having five applications in hand. The town set an application deadline of Feb. 9 after Alderman Colin Edwards tendered his resignation last month. Edwards told The…
With a clipboard under one arm and a giant measuring spool under the other, Greg West climbed into a county-marked truck last Wednesday, cranked the engine and consulted a large Waynesville map on the seat beside him. “Today we’re hitting…
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:10

Golden LEAF on the chopping block

It’s no secret that the state budget is in a tight spot. In the few weeks the General Assembly has been in session, a raft of new laws already have hit the legislative floor, most proposing cuts in varying degrees…
The financial situation facing REACH of Jackson County is so bleak the nonprofit is facing the possibility of shutting down, leaving women and children who live in abusive relationships nowhere locally to turn for help. The nation’s economic downturn, coupled…
Richard Collings has submitted his resignation as president of Southwestern Community College after just six months on the job. The resignation was submitted Tuesday, to be effective Wednesday, Feb. 9. No reason was given for the resignation. Collings suffered unexpected…
Great Smoky Mountains Railway this week promised to return to Dillsboro in a big way, on this condition: Jackson County must come up with $817,176. “We need to explore how we can work together and get that train here, and…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:30

Ingles continues growth trend

Ingles got a green light last week from Waynesville’s town board to bulk out their Russ Avenue location, complete with gas station and convenience store, adding another expansion to the chain’s growing empire of new and revamped stores. The store…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:28

Residents weigh in on new Ingles

When Ingles pushes out of its old shell, it’s new home will bring new options to customers, like a stir-fry station, improved produce section and expanded wine and café offerings. For many local residents, however, the store’s current incarnation is…
A halfway house to help women who have been released from jail after serving time for minor offenses or other “life challenges” is opening in Sylva. The transitional housing, called Clean Slate, will serve women from Jackson, Haywood, Swain and…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:24

Much ado about everything in Maggie

In Maggie Valley’s Town Hall, the cooperative spirit has been in short supply of late, with disputes flaring at nearly every turn. A chill fell over the Board of Aldermen when former member Colin Edwards took his leave last month,…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:24

Mental health education class gets going

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Family-to-Family Education Program offers new spring classes for caregivers of individuals living with mental illness. Family-to-Family is a free, 12-week course led by John and Suzanne Gernandt, who are experienced in caring for a loved…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:23

Sylva Rotary Club hosts weekday pancake breakfast

A pancake breakfast will be held from 7:30 to 10 a.m. on Friday, March 4, at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Sylva, hosted by The Rotary Club of Sylva. On offer will be hot and cold beverages, all-you-can-eat…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:22

Jackson puts property revaluations off until 2015

Jackson County has decided to postpone its revaluation of property values from next year until 2015. A resolution to that effect is being prepared for adoption during the March meeting. Tax Assessor Bobby McMahan this week recommended the delay, citing…
In the farthest reaches of the Cherokee Indian  Reservation, work is being done to ensure that when crime happens, the police can be there. While most portions of the reservation are central to Cherokee itself, within easy reach of police…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:14

Bigger building, higher costs, no money

Jackson County commissioners are faced with a dilemma over the new Sylva library slated to open in May: either pony up more money for staff or the library will be forced to cut hours. The new library is four times…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:14

Train to help victims of domestic violence

Reach of Haywood needs volunteers for the nonprofit’s helpline. Helpline volunteers can assist from home — or away from home — if they have a cell phone. Other opportunities for volunteering are available, including helping at the REACH office on…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:13

Health Department offering free vaccines

Free flu vaccines are available at the Haywood County Health Department while supplies last. The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone over six months old and it is especially important for people at high risk of complications, including pregnant women,…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:13

Seats open on MedWest Haywood board

Four seats on the MedWest-Haywood hospital governing board will open up in April, with a deadline to apply of Feb. 28. Applications can be accessed on the county’s web page at www.haywoodnc.net or at the county administrative building. Completed applications…
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:12

Construction begins on U.S. 441

Delays are expected on Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park beginning March 1, due to road rehabilitation.    In addition to repaving the road, thousands of feet of stone masonry retaining walls and several…