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Wednesday, 01 February 2012 20:07

Shuler confirms that he won’t run for governor

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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 20:03

Macon planning board on the chopping block?

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…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 14:12

Slide closes westbound I-40

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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:03

The difference between us and them

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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:02

Macon’s Ron Haven is making a difference

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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:02

Haven keeps promises, makes enemies

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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:01

Program was a unique, moving experience

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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:01

We must fix election spending fiasco

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…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:00

Soon, we may all be working in our 70s

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.…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 20:57

Shame on you, Smoky Mountain News, for poking fun

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,…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 20:55

Celebrating our little corner of the world

“[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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:15

Candidate forum to be held in Bryson City

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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:14

Girl Scouts seeking new troop leaders

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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:13

Class on self-defense for women Feb. 16

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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:09

Gender equality on pay under the magnifying glass

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…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 20:54

Family welcomes charges in baby’s death

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…
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:42

GOP absent in Jackson commission race

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…
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:32

Jackson tourism task force weighted

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…
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:31

Has Maggie found its heroine?

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…
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:24

Shared finances complicate MedWest partnership

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…
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:24

Haywood schools score major grant

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 21:13

County election roundup

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 21:12

Tourism forum to focus on regional partnerships

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 21:11

Applications available for scholarships

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 21:10

Youth SURGE into Missions this summer

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:55

Skate park dream revived with pledge from town

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.…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:43

Findings paint dire picture of REACH’s finances

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:41

County holds up approval of MedWest collateral

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:40

Peer-to-peer recovery education program

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:40

Macon Republicans to host candidate forum

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:39

Learn about foster care

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:39

Clergy offered slate of resources

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:38

National speaker to talk about school bullying

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:37

Sponsor a painted cat

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:35

Chefs will tee up their best for the Masters

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…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:32

Eichenbaum bows out of GOP congressional race

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.…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:46

Economic efforts in Macon focus of luncheon

Tommy Jenkins, who oversees economic development efforts in Macon County, will give a talk on economic development plans and projects at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, at the League of Women Voters in Franklin. Jenkins will speak about efforts…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:45

School of Nursing to host education fair

Prospective nursing students can find out about prospective career opportunities at an education fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10, in the Haynes Center on the Enka campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. The event is sponsored…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:45

Chinquapin development likely to get green light

An older development in Cashiers operating under a new name is likely to get Jackson County go-ahead for putting in, over time, 200 house lots on 2,000 acres. A public hearing is set for March 5. The Chinquapin development near…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:44

Swain County’s tourism website goes mobile

Swain County tourists can now get information via the mobile site m.GreatSmokies.com using their smartphones. “In 2011, 10 percent of our website visitors were using some sort of mobile device,” said Karen Wilmot, chamber director. “And that was a 300…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:44

Free guide available from Jackson County

A comprehensive 36-page guide for Jackson County visitors is now available. The guide provides details on hiking, waterfalls, fly fishing, rafting and other leisure activities. There’s also information about hotels, inns, cabin rentals, shopping and dining in Jackson County’s popular…
Sharron Donnahoe of Waynesville has been named a Main Street Champion through the N.C. Main Street Annual Awards program. Donnahoe was nominated by Downtown Waynesville Association for her contributions to the downtown revitalization process. Donnahoe was elected to the board…
Nearly 40 U.S. Forest Service and North Carolina Forest Service firefighters battled a 750-acre wildfire in the Tusquitee Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest this week. The fire started Sunday and had spread 60 acres by Monday. Its large…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:42

Cullowhee community hosts town growth meeting

A community meeting to explore “What will Cullowhee look like in 10 years?” will be held at the Cullowhee Valley School library at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13. Cullowhee is the fastest growing and largest township in Jackson County.…
In-depth volunteer training for hospice and palliative care will be held this month at Lake Junaluska First Baptist Church on March 19-22. This twelve-hour program will orient volunteers to the hospice philosophy and program and hospice volunteering. The essence of…
More than a year has lapsed since 15-month-old Aubrey Kina Marie Littlejohn died on the floor of an unheated single-wide trailer in Cherokee one frigid January night, but it could be several more months before the state conducts a child…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:40

NRA safety sessions aimed at students

The National Rifle Association will offer a seminar called “Refuse To Be A Victim” several times in coming weeks in Waynesville, focused on crime prevention and personal safety strategies for college bound students, such as mental awareness, preparation and avoidance…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:40

Speaker to address gun control March 5 at WCU

Gun control takes center stage at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 5, in the A.K. Hinds University Center Grandroom on the campus of Western Carolina University.   Scholar Gary Kleck will review research in the field of gun control in his…
Waynesville leaders are looking for a way to keep guns out of town parks and recreation centers despite changes in the state’s conceal carry law that allow guns in more places than before. A new state law stipulating where concealed…
A review of rules in Jackson County that guide development along the roughly five-mile stretch of U.S. 441 leading into the Cherokee Indian Reservation is steaming along but possible changes can’t come fast enough for some business owners and residents.…
The battle of the Joneses is about to commence in Jackson County. County Commissioner Mark Jones will appear on the ballot alongside challenger Marty Jones in November. Mark Jones is a Democrat, Marty Jones a Republican. The Joneses will fight…
The ball is already rolling on repairs to the rides at the once-popular Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in Maggie Valley, but a summer opening could hinge on the park passing muster with state inspectors. New owner Alaska…
Complaints from business owners and customers have Maggie Valley leaders asking if its police presence in the small tourist-oriented town is a bit overbearing. Cruising along Soco Road — the single stripe along which Maggie Valley businesses have sprouted up —…
The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce will offer Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning, a four-week business course, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from March 20 through April 12. This four-week course will enable entrepreneurs to…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:34

Physical education program grant implemented

The Haywood County School District was the recipient of a Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant worth up to nearly $1 million. Haywood County Schools was one of only 76 successful applications selected from a pool of 585…
Maggie Valley’s town board has decided not to play favorites when it comes to the growing number of motorcycle rallies revving up to claim a piece of the two-wheeled action at the town festival grounds. Maggie Valley will be home…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:31

Lottery money hardly a win for schools

Keeping a roof over the head of Haywood County’s nearly 8,000 students is getting harder every year as the school system grapples with funding cuts at both the state and county level. With 16 schools, it’s wise to stay on…
Schools got only a brief and passing mention by Haywood County commissioners during a brainstorming session last week on priorities for the coming year. Education came up near the end of a free-wheeling 90-minute discussion, with only two to three…
State Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, violated state ethics rules this month by using his government email address for personal, but political, purposes. Specifically, Davis used his General Assembly email account to send out a campaign announcement saying he would run…
Macon County Schools Superintendent Dan Brigman once again has landed squarely in the crosshairs of a group devoted to protecting that legally mandated chasm between state and church. Brigman sent a December email to his employees that included the line:…
RBC Bank is looking to offload the building that once housed O’Malley’s On Main Pub and Grill in Waynesville from its list of assets. A ‘for-sale’ sign has been posted in the window of the vacant building following a bank…
To hear Franklin Alderman Bob Scott tell it, fellow town leaders and tourism experts haven’t begun to adequately plan for and consider what an influx of some 4,000 bikers could mean to a small town of 3,500 residents. Franklin will…
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 21:54

Public records workshop at WCU

“Full Disclosure,” a public records workshop, will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, in Room 144 of WCU’s Stillwell Building. The workshop will provide information on the existing laws and advice on drafting a request for…
The transportation department will hold a citizens’ informational workshop from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 15, about a proposed project to improve N.C. 107 from north of Old Cullowhee Road in East LaPorte to N.C. 281 in Tuckaseegee in…
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 21:53

Sarge’s photo contest under way

Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation is accepting pet photographs for its Pet Photography Contest sponsored by Ellen Schattie, owner of Bocelli’s Italian Eatery in Waynesville. Entry forms are available on Sarge’s website at www.sargeandfriends.org and at the following locations: The Dog…