A “Great Strides” walk will take place in Franklin, with a kickoff party and information session at 6 p.m., Feb. 3, at the Fun Factory. The walk is part of a national effort that generates funding to support lifesaving cystic…
A seminar on sustainable tourism is set for 2 p.m., Jan. 31, at the First Presbyterian Church in Highlands, in Coleman Hall. Alex Naar, director of outreach at the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University will lead the…
Finding a new home for the Folkmoot sculpture in downtown Waynesville has taken a new turn. The Waynesville public art commission initially proposed moving the art piece across the street — from its current spot in front of the new…
Maggie Valley has been rallying allies in its fight to save a small but perhaps precious sliver of its struggling tourism trade: pass-thru business from travelers en route to Cherokee. A highway sign currently proclaims Maggie Valley as the proper…
A student club at Western Carolina University is defending its decision to pair a drag show featuring “kings” and “queens” from across the state with a get-out-the-vote drive aimed at defeating a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex…
A free self-defense and personal-safety seminar for women is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at Basulto Academy of Defense in Waynesville. Armando Basulto, who has over 30 years experience in teaching martial arts and self-defense,…
American Red Cross Disaster Relief Training will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 28 in Waynesville for those interested in becoming part of the Disaster Action Team serving Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. This course will…
Edith Callahan, a health science teacher at Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, was recently named Teacher of the Year for Western North Carolina. Callahan will be considered for North Carolina Teacher of the Year, along with seven other regional…
Learn about the ethical issues faced when loved ones age at a Feb. 6, 1 p.m. workshop at Haywood Community Connections. Dr. Lisa Verges will discuss the fine art of gracefully navigating difficult issues with relatives who are getting older,…
For most boys, Superman and Batman were their heroes; for Bob Plott, his ancestors were super men. As he grew up in Haywood County, Plott would spend hours listening to his elders tell stories about the old-timers and life in…
A compromise has emerged in a fight over the historic McCoy truss bridge, one that would keep the old bridge in place for foot traffic while building a newer, bigger bridge alongside it for vehicles. But Macon residents who have…
A mentally ill man got a $22,500 settlement in a lawsuit against a Bryson City police officer who hit him multiple times with a baton and sprayed him with pepper spray. The settlement came more than three years after the…
Earl Bradley watches from the parking lot of his auto repair shop as a tractor trailer struggles for 15 minutes to align itself with Premier Chemicals’ loading dock across the street in Waynesville. Bradley has videotaped the trucks for months,…
The Tennessee Department of Transportation anticipates the re-opening of Interstate 40's westbound lanes by Monday Feb. 6. TDOT has awarded an emergency contract to remove debris and unstable rock near the North Carolina border. Currently, the westbound lanes of the…
Southwestern Community College will once again offer the popular Fight Like A Girl course from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 11. This module is especially effective for dealing with attacks in parking lots and garages where victims could…
REACH of Haywood will hold its annual Volunteer Training Day on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Waynesville. Anyone who would like to offer volunteer services for the nonprofit agency, especially in the area of Helpline phone volunteers, shelter helpers and office…
Sylva speeders beware: at downtown business owners’ requests, Sylva is tapping the full array of skills that newly hired downtown foot-patrol officer J.P. Gallardo brings to the job. As of last week, the retired state Highway Patrol trooper of 30…
N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, spent much of his two-hour town hall in Haywood County last week addressing the topic of education. Davis spoke to a crowd of more than 50 people in the historic courthouse in Waynesville. He didn’t…
An Asheville Democrat going up against Congressman Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, in the May primary held his first town hall meeting in Waynesville at the library last Thursday. Hoping to gather more name recognition and answer voter questions, Cecil Bothwell led…
Concerns among Jackson County doctors that Harris Regional Hospital is not thriving as it should under a partnership with Haywood Regional Medical Center has prompted a change in top leadership. Harris once more has its own CEO, and Haywood will…
Supporters of Jackson County’s revolving loan program describe the financial give-outs as a tool in the county’s economic toolbelt, a boost to deserving businesses that can’t receive critical, even lifesaving, financial help through banks. But five defaults since 1993 when…
The town of Waynesville is suing a Hendersonville contractor for negligence in the construction of its new fire station on the outskirts of downtown. In its complaint, the town alleges that Construction Logic’s work was defective and did not follow…
Teeheeheehee, yuk yuk yuk, ho ho ho, BAHAHAHA — no matter how you do it, laughter can boost your mood, lower your blood pressure and help prolong your life. “It’s spontaneous; it’s contagious; it’s incredibly powerful,” said Cindy Miles, a certified…
Giles Chemical pledged last week to do what it could to appease neighbors fed up with intrusive truck traffic on their town streets, but residents maintain the small industry has outgrown its location. Throughout the day, trucks traveling to and…
Mountain BizWorks will host a free, women only three-part series on increasing your financial independence. The series is sponsored by OnTrack Women’s Financial Empowerment Center, and starts Thursday, Feb. 9 from 5:30-7 p.m. at City Lights Cafe located in downtown…
Angel Medical Center and Macon County Public Health will kick-of Lighten Up 4 Life, a community wide weight loss challenge, at 9 a.m., Feb. 4 at Franklin High School’s Fine Arts Center The purpose of the challenge is to help…
Students from across Western North Carolina will participate in the 2012 Western Regional Science Fair at Western Carolina University’s Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and Wednesday, Feb. 8. More than 600 students attend the fair each year,…
It ain’t easy be green. Nor is it particularly easy for a full-grown man to position himself beside a busy highway and gyrate wildly for hours on end, day after day, in a Statue of Liberty costume. Bryan Pixa is…
Winners of “Community Pride” awards through Haywood County’s Commission for a Clean County will gather at noon, Feb. 15, at the Waynesville Inn. The award winners demonstrated exceptional environmental stewardship in the county during the past year. Being recognized are…
U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-Waynesville) on Tuesday ended speculation that he was considering a run for governor. “I will not be running for governor of North Carolina in 2012,” Shuler announced in a statement distributed to media outlets. “It is…
It’s been nearly a year-and-a-half since Edna Queen lost her son, and despite forking over $1,100 for a headstone to mark his gravesite in Fairview Memorial Gardens in Sylva, there’s nothing but a patch of grass where his body lies.…
A former Jackson County funeral director has been charged with fraud for swindling people who paid for their own funerals in advance. Ronnie and Thomasine Riddle, 55 and 56, of Sylva systematically defrauded as many as three dozen funeral customers…
The fate of Macon County’s planning board and whether it will exist in a meaningful form will be decided at next week’s commissioners’ meeting. At stake are the implementation of term limits, and whether those term limits should be retroactively…
A rockslide has shut down a portion of Interstate 40 in Haywood County for up to two weeks. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, a rockslide occurred near mile marker 451 in Tennessee, about one mile from the North…
To the Editor: I wish to address the controversy surrounding the Macon County Planning Board. Maybe, just maybe you’ll understand our fight against you and your quest to control our property and lives. The word “you” applies to all who…
To the Editor: Macon County Commissioner Ron Haven is a man of character, courage and conviction. He is knowledgeable of and responsive to the beliefs, feelings and opinions of the people he represents. He is keen on liberty, individual rights…
To the Editor: Macon County should be proud to have a politician who makes promises to voters and then works to try to keep them. I’m referring to Commissioner Ron Haven. He received significantly more votes than his opponents in…
To the Editor: My wife and I were richly blessed at a recent presentation of a unique ministry called “Let Heaven and Nature Sing” before a packed auditorium at the Music Road Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. This one-of-a-kind ministry…
To the Editor: There are two ways to look at the Supreme Court decision that enables corporations to spend what they wish to influence elections to public office. It will come to be known either as the death knell of…
To the Editor: Last year I watched news coverage of the Occupy movement as it took root in cities around the globe, but I didn’t imagine it would reach Main Street in Bryson City. But there we were — about…
Macon County residents, indeed all local history buffs, are about to receive a great gift from Barbara McRae, editor of The Franklin Press. Barbara is a noted regional historian with unmatched knowledge, in particular but not exclusively, of Macon County.…
Shame on you, Smoky Mountain News, for making fun of my attempts at public service and, in so doing, potentially deterring other qualified individuals from running for public office. We need more interested young people to run for elected office,…
“[I] discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it …. — Novelist William Faulkner What makes a good newspaper? That’s a complicated and…
Several Republican candidates for the 11th Congressional District will participate in a Feb. 17 forum sponsored by the Smoky Mountain Republican Women. The forum will be held at 7 p.m. at the Swain County Community Services Facility on Brendle Street…
In an effort to recruit new Troop Leaders and volunteers, Girl Scouts will host “Information Hours” from 1 to 6 p.m., Feb. 15, at the Haywood County Library in Waynesville. Current Troop Leaders, parents and Girl Scouts are also welcome…
Western Carolina University is offering a self-defense class for women Thursday, Feb. 16. The class, sponsored by WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach, will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Room 143 of the Cordelia Camp Building. The class will focus…
Whittier’s $5 million wastewater treatment plant could be facing eventual financial insolvency, saddled with too much overhead and too few customers to make operation viable. The sewer plant, in hindsight, was overbuilt for growth and development that failed to materialize…
The Haywood Board of Commissioners agreed to put its John Hancock on a letter asking the N.C. Department of Transportation to post an additional “This way to Cherokee” sign near Dillsboro. The letter is a classic case of turn-about being…
Western Carolina University has launched a pay study to determine whether male employees are paid more than their female counterparts when doing the same jobs. The study is expected to take up to two years to complete. It has been…
Swain County’s Board of Elections will decide this month whether it is worth several thousand dollars to operate an early voting site in Cherokee again this election year. The three-member election board all agreed the county might not be able…
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the Cherokee Bear Zoo for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. During the agency’s Jan. 5 inspection, the officials found that the Cherokee Bear Zoo was failing to provide adequate veterinary care…
Cherokee tribal council last week decided to change the format for an upcoming vote on alcohol sales, a move that will give individual communities more autonomy on the controversial issue. When members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians go…
If Macon County commissioners decide to impose term limits for the planning board, beleaguered planning members could become the only ones out of dozens serving on various county boards who are subject to limits on how many years they can…
Street food vendors aren’t welcome everywhere in Western North Carolina, but Andy and Pamela Fife haven’t found that to be true in Franklin. They are now setup in this Macon County town as the only fulltime mobile food vendors west…
The race for the Congressional seat representing Western North Carolina was flipped on its head last week when incumbent U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, announced he would not seek re-election this year — leaving no heir apparent within his party.…
When Coach Boyce Dietz got a call from his former standout quarterback Heath Shuler asking him to meet for breakfast at Clyde’s Restaurant one morning several years ago, Dietz dutifully got in the car and headed toward Waynesville to hear…
Caron Swayney knew better than to torture herself, but still she occasionally found herself drawn to the trailer park where the cold, limp body of her 15-month-old niece was discovered dead in the middle of the night last January. “I…
Haywood County might not be getting a fair shake from cell tower companies on their property taxes. County commissioners learned this week that cell tower companies might be underestimating the value of their towers and equipment, and as a result,…
Interstate 40 near the Tennessee line in Haywood County reopened early Sunday morning following two rockslides in as many weeks. Only one lane of the Interstate is open through the Pigeon River Gorge near the state line, however. Following the…
Jackson County commissioners this week formally attempted to put the kibosh on 83-year-old Marie Leatherwood’s pattern of outbursts, picketing and general garrulity during meetings. During a meeting last month, Leatherwood was told she could no longer display signs during county…
Two seats are up for election on the Haywood County Board of Commissioners this year, and both Mark Swanger and Kevin Ensley are looking to retain their seats. Both incumbents seemed relatively unconcerned about this year’s election. “I’m optimistic,” Swanger…
Land planning, that perennial lightening-rod topic in Macon County, will likely shape if not outright dominate the upcoming campaign for three of the five county commissioner seats. Up for election in Macon this year are Republicans Kevin Corbin, Jimmy Tate…
News that Jackson County Commissioner Joe Cowan won’t run for re-election this year has set the stage for a high-profile Democratic primary showdown between two well-known Democrats, Vicki Greene and former board Chairman Stacy Buchanan. Greene had let her intentions…
Outgoing Congressman Heath Shuler hopes to pass the torch to his own chief of staff, a like-minded, conservative Democrat who is rapidly being embraced by the party establishment as a replacement for Shuler on the ballot come November. Hayden Rogers,…
Republicans seeking the 11th District congressional seat are trying to find ways before May’s primary to stand out and attract voters amid a crowded field of nine candidates. Candidates began actively campaign toward the end of last year, traveling from…
Pity the poor visitors trying to find their ways to Cherokee if the N.C. Department of Transportation heeds requests of local leaders in Haywood and Jackson counties when it comes to directional signs. First, Jackson County wanted a “This way…
A group tasked with helping Jackson County leaders decide whether to merge two separate tourism entities or possibly hike the room tax is dominated by people who work in the lodging industry. Four out of the six members currently appointed…
Longtime Maggie Valley resident Alaska Presley has seen it all when it comes to Ghost Town in the Sky’s ups and downs. Presley, now 88, and her late husband Hugh met R.B. Coburn, founder of Ghost Town, more than 50…
Tears gathered in Alaska Presley’s eyes as she moved one step closer to attaining a Maggie Valley icon that has remained close to her heart but out of her possession for more than 50 years. Surrounded by supporters, former Ghost…
Steve Heatherly made sure there were plenty of Diet Cokes queued up in the office mini-fridge before work Monday morning — he would need at least a dozen, probably more, to get through the next 24 hours. Heatherly faced hundreds…
Some within the Jackson County medical community are wondering whether their hospital has gotten a fair shake in the partnership forged with neighbor Haywood County under the MedWest umbrella two years ago. When the hospitals in Haywood, Jackson and Swain…
The Haywood County School District has landed a $1 million grant to fight childhood obesity by encouraging an active, healthy lifestyle through the Carol M. White P.E. program. Haywood County Schools was one of only 76 successful applications selected from…
A domestic violence and sexual assault agency serving victims of abuse in Jackson County abruptly shut its doors last week after more than three decades in operation. REACH of Jackson County has been plagued for two years by an on-going…
Swain County commissioners will have to decide in coming weeks whether to pony up $3,000 to $5,000 for an early voting site in Cherokee this election. The Swain County Board of Elections doesn't have the money in its budget this…
Jackson County has been down this road before, but that isn’t stopping leaders from taking another look at forming a local economic development commission. Or, to be more precise, reconstituting the county’s current Economic Development Commission. “Because technically, there is…
It will be several more weeks at best before Sylva AM radio station WRGC gets back on the air, pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission to grant the station a license. Word that the station would resume broadcasting around…
Here’s who has filed lately for the upcoming local election. Filing continues through Feb. 29. Haywood County: Another Republican has put his foot into the county commissioner race. Tracy Kevin Coward, of Waynesville, will run against two incumbents during this…
Hoteliers, innkeepers, outfitters and other tourism-related businesses can attend the Tourism Partnership Forum, a free event that will be held at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center on from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, March 7. The registration deadline is March 1.…
Delinquent payers of the tourism room tax in Haywood County will soon have the tax collector knocking on their door. County commissioners approved a resolution that will allow the tax collector to recover money from hotel and motel owners not…
Haywood County Farm Bureau awards four scholarships each year — two for $1,000 and two for $500. The $1000 scholarships are given to students attending a four-year college and studying agriculture. The $500 scholarships will go to students attending a…
Ministries with Young People at Lake Junaluska is preparing for its summer programming, SURGE into Missions. During the SURGE into Missions program, youth will meet and work with persons in need within the surrounding communities, as well as get to…
Waynesville leaders have committed to foot the bill for the long-held dream of a skateboard park — and it will receive help from an unexpected place. After years of pinning their hopes on grants and private fundraising that only partially…
Macon County’s planning board lived to plan another day. Proposed retroactive term limits, which some considered punitive because they seemed to mainly target the most experienced, pro-planning of the board’s members, were rejected by commissioners. Planning Board Chairman Lewis Penland…
Not long ago Kristina and Bruce Oliver invited a local couple they’d met in nearby Franklin to come play cards with them at their newly constructed house in Diamond Falls Estates. The phone rang about the time the visitors were…
Hopes of turning the abandoned Haywood County social services building into low-income senior apartments have been dashed, leaving the county in a quandary over who else might want the building and what other uses it could have. The county recently…
Canton’s elected leaders could find their two-year terms of office doubling if voters support a proposed change to give the mayor and board of aldermen four years in office. The town board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m.…
An audit of REACH of Jackson County’s finances received by the nonprofit’s board last month show the money situation had become even more dicey than was previously made public. The agency, which worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual…
A $10 million line of County credit intended to bridge short-term cash flow problems at MedWest-Haywood hospital has hit a snag. A loan taken out by the hospital offers up the hospital building as collateral but legally it needs approval…
A 10-week free educational class will be held next month in Franklin on recovery and wellness for anyone experiencing a mental disorder.   The peer-to-peer program is led by mentors (peers) who themselves are in recovery from mental illness and…
The Macon County Republican Party will hold a forum for candidates running for the 11th Congressional District seat on March 3. The event will start at 4 p.m. with finger foods and a meet and greet at the Community Building…
Those interested in being a foster parent can learn what it takes from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. the fourth Sunday of each month at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. Read popular novels, memoirs and biographies that explore the world…
Community Resource Connections of Haywood Community Connections is sponsoring a third session of “Building Bridges in Haywood County.” This program will help local clergy have a better understanding of resources available to those in need. This session will focus on…
Jim Williams, a nationally renowned speaker from Nashville, is coming to Swain County Feb. 27 to speak to parents, teachers and students about bully prevention. He is scheduled speak to parents at the Swain County Fine Arts Center from 6…
Harold Sims, aka The Catman, is looking for sponsors, artists and other people participate in a painted cat project. Similar to the brightly colored bears in Cherokee, Sims hopes to feature the life-size cats in shops around Western North Carolina.…
Western Carolina University students will kick off the Cullowhee Voter Initiative, a nonpartisan effort to improve voter education and participation in Jackson County, with a voter registration drive and student debate on campus Thursday, Feb. 23. A second event, a…
Like most great tales, it began like any other day. Sous Chef Alex Tinsley, 24, was working his usual day in The Gateway Club’s kitchen — chopping veggies, toasting buns, helping to ensure that any food that left the kitchen…
If you can’t beat ‘em, then you can at least benefit from ‘em. Waynesville officials are considering joining the growing ranks of towns that impose fees on businesses that operate sweepstakes machines, a recent reincarnation of the previously outlawed video…
The crowded Republican field vying for Heath Shuler’s former seat in Congress thinned out by one this week. Dan Eichenbaum, an eye doctor from Murphy, rode onto the political scene in Western North Carolina in 2010 with the Tea Party…
A performance and program on the role of foster parents titled “Ellen Foster and Friends: A Look at Foster Care,” will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 3, in the auditorium of the Haywood County Public Library in Waynesville.…
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