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Wednesday, 20 June 2007 00:00

Rash of private dams altering WNC landscape

The damming of creeks and streams by private developments is on the rise in Western North Carolina — so much so that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has voiced concern over the cumulative impacts.
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Parking for free Public parking for as long as you want in downtown Waynesville:
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 00:00

A great look, but too expensive

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Architects last week unveiled plans for a new three-level building that will house the Waynesville Police Department and town planning offices.
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer It appears that the re-opening of Ghost Town in the Sky on Memorial Day weekend has made the town of Maggie Valley anything but.
As Chuck Bennett rang up a sale at his electrical supply store in Cashiers, he showed no fear of the business slowdown some predict as fallout from a slate of development regulations coming down the pipe in Jackson County.
Unlike most town and county governments in Western North Carolina, Franklin’s elected leaders had the foresight more than five decades ago to pass zoning regulations.
A dam broke on an irrigation pond at Balsam Mountain Preserve in Jackson County two weeks ago unleashing hundreds of tons of mud downstream.
A tight race could be in store for the two candidates vying for principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians between now and the final election in September.
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 00:00

Blue Ridge workers hopeful after buyout

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer In the end, the acquisition of Blue Ridge Paper Products by the New Zealand-based Rank Group for $338 million last week may have been the result of the purchase of a single factory in…
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 00:00

Study puts values on working easements

A recent study in the Bethel Community revealed that “working land conservation easements” would be valued as high as $7,900 to $9,400 per acre for flat or rolling land outside the floodway of the Pigeon River or other streams.
A non-profit that helps abused women escape domestic violence could be facing a budget cut by Jackson County commissioners this year.
A procession of impassioned speakers pleaded with Jackson County commissioners to slow the rapid pace of development on mountainsides during a public hearing Monday (June 11).
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 00:00

Maggie Valley unveils new land-use plan

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer After months of rigorous planning sessions, Maggie Valley town officials are finally ready to reveal to the public a new land-use plan they hope will help the town deal with anticipated growth.
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 00:00

Library, senior complex win budget approval

Jackson County commissioners whittled down three construction projects on their wish list to two last week.
After years of the public waiting for a new library in Jackson County, county commissioners last week pledged to set aside $4.2 million to start construction in 2008.
Ray Trine eased past the gatehouse guarding the entrance of a Cashiers development and turned up a gentle road landscaped with boulders, ferns and rhododendrons that give way to the forest.
By Julia Mrchant • Staff Writer A decades-long battle between advocates for a clean Pigeon River and the Canton-based company Blue Ridge Paper Products reared its head last week at a rally where several groups called for further clean-up of…
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 00:00

Western counties to share land-use ideas

County commissioners, planners and planning board members from the state’s seven westernmost counties will meet this month in a first-of-its-kind attempt to discuss land management on a regional level.
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 00:00

Victim’s family sues REACH for negligence

REACH of Jackson County, a non-profit that aids victims of domestic violence, is being sued by the family of a woman shot and killed at a domestic violence shelter last September by her deranged husband.
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 00:00

Macon planning efforts gaining momentum

Susan Ervin has served on Macon County’s Planning Board for so long she can’t actually remember how many years it’s been.
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 00:00

Haywood leaders voice support for test farm

The region might be at risk of losing an important agricultural research station in Haywood County if a proposed state cost-cutting measure goes through.
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Haywood County officials are jumping at the chance to purchase 22 acres of land for recreational space that will help make the county’s master recreation plan a reality.
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Haywood Community College is finally on track to receive some much needed funding after county commissioners announced plans this week to allocate $3 million to the school.
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 00:00

Consultant recommends Jackson library site

Where to put a new Jackson County library is no closer to a resolution following a $20,000 study by a consultant intended to lay the groundwork for building a library.
Want to build anything you want in a downtown location that receives a ton of visitors each summer? Then Bryson City, with its total lack of rules governing development, is just the place for you.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 13:58

Upcoming improvement projects on I-40

Tunnel projects to delay work on I-40 The N.C. Department of Transportation will perform work on three tunnels in the Pigeon River Gorge on Interstate 40 in Haywood County during a two-week period starting Monday, Feb. 4. • Traffic reduced…
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 13:56

Medical foundation appoints new chairman

The Haywood Regional Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees recently appointed Laura Leatherwood as the new chairman of the board. Leatherwood is the vice president of Student and Workforce Development at Haywood Community College, where she has worked since 2000.…
A long overdue $4 million payment may finally make its way to Swain County after languishing for the past year in the budget dungeons of the National Park Service. The payment is part of a larger $52 million cash settlement…
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 13:48

The biggest little show in Haywood

Editor’s Note: Given the national debate over gun legislation and controversy swirling around gun shows in particular, The Smoky Mountain News was curious to see just what goes on at a gun show. Join our reporter on a stroll through…
The newly formed Jackson County Tourism Development Authority is taking on the task of “branding,” an important first step for the entity that’s been tasked with developing a unified tourism promotion strategy for the county.
A rain-induced landslide in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park left a gaping hole in U.S. 441, but its impact could leave a lot bigger hole in the local economy if park officials are not able to fix the road…
Susan Gathers was kicked back in the student union one afternoon, her thumbs poised over her smart phone, simultaneously bantering with friends while texting — sometimes even texting the same person she was talking to. This impressive skill to seamlessly…
The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority has launched a new website with information specifically for lodging owners.
A company hired by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority has found a dozen businesses that have been evading a 4 percent lodging tax.
Although Jackson County’s Economic Development Commission has not met in several years, all its board members’ terms have expired and its director has long-since resigned, it technically still exists.
As Jackson County officials craft plans to open a liquor store in Cashiers, possibly as soon this summer, they must first determine whether the town of Sylva is in or out.
Lake Junaluskans got their first glimpse this weekend at what it would take for the community to become its own town. Incorporating as its own town comes with a host of regulatory, political and logistical hurdles. A task force studying…
The death of Haywood County Sheriff John Phillip Noland — a murder story set against the backdrop of the American Civil War — sounds as if it belongs in the pages of Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain.
The decrepit state of Canton’s aging outdoor swimming pool has left town leaders with two options — bulldoze it and build a new one or simply close it.
Proposed pay raises for county workers in Macon has prompted skepticism from at least two of the five county commissioners, who are asking if now is the right time for that. The proposed pay raise would boost the salaries of…
Macon County commissioners are analyzing the geographic system of electing county leaders after two commissioners from outlying communities questioned whether the process is too weighted in Franklin’s favor.
A long-range plan to make Cherokee a friendlier place to walk, visit and shop moved forward last week with the dedication of a quarter-mile section of a proposed three-mile greenway.
The National Park Service has finally chosen sides in the long-standing debate over whether to build a 30-mile road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park backcountry outside Bryson City.
A group of Realtors and developers challenging the legality of Jackson County’s five-month moratorium on new subdivisions lost the first round in court Thursday (May 24).
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 00:00

What they’re saying

“It’s well past time to bury this boondoggle and resolve the issue in this positive way for the park and the people. The ‘Road to Nowhere’ has been a dark cloud over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the…
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

Ghost Town goes silver screen

Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town “The Movie” will premiere at the Eaglenest Entertainment Center in Maggie Valley at 7 p.m. on June 2.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

History of Ghost Town in the Sky

Businessman R. B. Coburn, who was inspired to build a park with a western theme after visiting several ghost towns in the American West, conceived Ghost Town in the Sky.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

Fun Facts about Ghost Town

• Ghost Town in the Sky first opened its doors to the public in June 1961. Construction began in September 1960, with the extensive removal of 70 feet from the mountain top for the western townsite. Thousands of yards of…
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

Ghost Town re-opens

After being closed for five years, a North Carolina icon, Ghost Town In The Sky, is re-opening on May 25.
The General Assembly is considering a bill that could solve a Catch 22 in election law: how to legitimately help nursing home patients vote without creating a climate ripe for abuse.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

Open space requirement set at 25 percent

How much open space should be required in new developments? That question has caused the most contention among Jackson County planning board members over the past four months as they have hammered out a revolutionary array of new development regulations.
A state election investigator is trying to determine whether a Swain County voting drive targeting the poor and elderly crossed the line from exceptionally ambitious to improper.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

A new park opens

“Ghost Town is one of the biggest things that has happened to the western end of North Carolina in many a day. It has proven a giant boost to the economy of a people long hampered by a natural terrain…
After they opened Joey’s Pancake House in 1966, Brenda O’Keefe and her late husband would calculate how much pancake batter they’d need based on the number of cars they saw at local hotels on their way to work. Brenda and…
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

Ressurecting the Ghost of Maggie past

Bob Cordier likes a challenge. So, when the 25-year veteran of the amusement park industry decided he was bored with building houses and was ready to get back into the business, Ghost Town in the Sky seemed a natural fit.
For the second week in a row, the Jackson County planning board watered down proposed development regulations following rounds of public comment.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

Moratorium opponents suffer setback

A group of Realtors and developers challenging the legality of Jackson County’s five-month moratorium on new subdivisions lost the first round in court Thursday (May 24.)
Before a crowded room of town officials this week, Jackson County Commissioner Jack Debnam announced, in so many words, what many already knew: the county’s economic development committee in its previous form was dead and never coming back.
It’s a right of passage for teens, the Holy Grail of high school, an iconic symbol of young adulthood freedom — that tiny piece of plastic called a driver’s license.
The recurring deluge of heavy rains has brought paddlers out of hibernation and onto Western North Carolina rivers over the past few weeks.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:08

HCC plans Entrepreneurship Week activities

Haywood Community College will celebrate National Entrepreneurship Week Feb. 16-23 with a week-long schedule of events. The events will allow HCC to highlight the college’s strengths in the areas of entrepreneurship, sustainability and creativity. The following events are planned: •…
Federal regulators temporarily suspended operations at Cherokee bear zoo and fined its owners $5,000 for repeated animal welfare violations.
A Macon County commissioner, who prides himself on fiscal conservatism, has been staking out his positions lately. After questioning the virtue of pay raises for Macon County workers two weeks ago, Commissioner Ron Haven has turned his attention to another…
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:02

Sylva teacher wins statewide teaching award

Deanne Oppermann, a chemistry instructor at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, is the recipient of the R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award for 2012-2013 by the North Carolina Community College System. Oppermann is known at SCC for embracing multiple teaching…
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:01

Blue Ridge Heritage signage to make its debut

Ten years after the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area won federal designation, themed signs tying together 65 attractions throughout the mountains will finally be installed this year.
A $93 million family adventure park in Cherokee would likely turn a profit during its first year of operation, according to early projections from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ finance department.
Increased demand for Meals on Wheels services and daily meals for low-income seniors in Jackson County have led to a budget shortfall for the programs.
Whether it’s a new dad catching a breather after his wife’s marathon labor or a grief-stricken daughter who just watched her mother slip away in her arms, overwhelmed hospital visitors sometimes need to escape.
Nightlife in Waynesville’s downtown Frog Level district is brighter thanks to the addition of new lampposts along its two main streets.
The newly formed Jackson County Tourism Development Authority voted last week to enter into a $50,000 contract with a nationally renowned branding and marketing company out of Virginia.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 00:00

Haywood Public Transit on the move

Haywood Public Transit will hold a ribbon cutting for a new transit shelter at 1 p.m. Feb. 12, in Clyde. Haywood Public Transit offers free rides to anyone in the county, and the central location of the new transit facility…
One of three candidates vying to be Haywood County’s next sheriff was eliminated from the competition in a preliminary round last week.
Amateur boxers will square off at the Haywood County Fairgrounds to vie in the Roughest and Toughest Brawl this weekend, pitting off-the-street fighters against each other for a chance to win $600 in each of the three weight classes. There…
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 00:00

Merger input sought in countdown to decision

Waynesville residents will get their first chance to weigh in on the possibility of adding Lake Junaluska to the town limits with two public hearings this month.
Customers have asked Katie Seymour to monogram just about everything — from the typical towels or cloth purses to the completely abstruse car mats or sports bras.
Lately, it seems Ann Melton was born in the wrong century. During the past two years, Melton has spent more time living in the late 1800s — the days when boarding houses and hitching posts lined Waynesville’s Main Street, when…
A Waynesville sweepstakes operator was charged with a criminal misdemeanor last weekend when she refused to shut down her machines, considered a form of illegal gambling under state law.
Haywood County tourism leaders want to increase the tax on overnight lodging to fund special tourism-related capital projects, including a Jonathan Creek sports complex — a proposal that seems to have traction with county commissioners as well.
Two breweries that nearly found themselves pitted against each other in a trademark lawsuit may soon make amends in the spirit of brotherly beermaker love, but also out of mutual gain.
Swain County could receive as much as $2 million in , one-time grant funding from the Golden LEAF Foundation for community betterment projects.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the National Park Service are offering up to a $500,000 incentive for early completion of landslide repairs to U.S. 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — indicating both entities’ concerns about the…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00

WCU hastens Millennial build-out

In an effort to speed development of its Millennial Campus, Western Carolina University plans to lease the 344-acre tract to a nonprofit endowment — streamlining regulations and eliminating some of red tape the institution must otherwise cut through as a…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00

Growth prompts call for Cullowhee land-use plan

Cullowhee community members have been making their case for nearly a year now that this pseudo-college town needs land-use planning to guide the growth that’s come knocking.
Champions of Cullowhee revitalization are chipping away at a lofty plan to create a vibrant college downtown centered on the banks of the Tuckasegee River in Old Cullowhee.
Life Share of the Carolina’s and a local organ donation recipient are hosting a Transplant Party to celebrate the lives saved through organ donation from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 16, at Main Street Perks in downtown Waynesville. Waynesville…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00

Stellar lumberjack team carves out a niche at HCC

Haywood Community College leaders are collecting donations to give its lumberjack club a facility worthy of its prestige.
It may still be too soon to declare an economic rebound, but recent construction data may point toward a housing sector comeback led by high-end, new home building in Jackson County.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:18

Cherokee entertains idea of bear sanctuary

Tribal Council for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has postponed any action that would ban bear zoos from the reservation for good. A few tribal members called on Tribal Council last week to revoke the business licenses for any…
A woman was sent to jail for nine years this week for her role in the death of toddler who likely succumbed to hypothermia on the floor of a single-wide trailer one bitterly cold night in Swain County two years…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:12

Clear sailing ahead for Haywood room tax hike

If anyone opposes an increase in Haywood County’s overnight lodging tax, they did not make their enmity known at Monday’s board of commissioners meeting.
A heated argument and near fight between two Maggie Valley residents — one of whom is banned from town hall — disrupted the town’s board of aldermen meeting last Tuesday.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:07

New logo captures essence of Haywood Chamber

The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce debuted a new logo this week, showing off more than a year of work to craft a design that represents the business organization’s role in the county.
After spending $200,000 to build a new parking lot shared by five downtown Sylva businesses, the property owner lost a state grant she was initially promised to help with the cost.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office made a pitch to commissioners this week for four additional sheriff’s deputies to be placed in four of the county’s elementary schools — Fairview, Cullowhee Valley, Scotts Creek and Smokey Mountain Elementary.
In a new state of high alert, schools face tough choices when confronted by a threat from a student: is it a precursor to real violence or simply the empty words of imprudent children?
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 13:39

Jackson salutes its new flag

Jackson County is no longer a banner-less government. County commissioners selected an official county flag this week from a pool of a dozen designs submitted by high school, community college and university students. The chosen design is by Southwestern Community…
Swain County School administrators began an internal investigation Friday after videos surfaced of a “fight club” among ninth grade boys in the gym locker room at Swain County High School.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 13:35

So long, courthouse maples

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners voted to cut down the stately maples trees that grace the grounds of the historic courthouse on Main Street in Waynesville this week, citing concerns that the trees are on their last leg.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 13:33

New defibrillators carry big price tag in Macon

Macon County emergency vehicles will soon be equipped with new state-of-the-art cardiac defibrillators. Commissioners voted 3 to 2 this week to spend nearly $400,000 on 12 pieces of the live saving equipment. One will be placed in each of the…