North Carolina’s 47th District Senate seat represents Haywood, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery and McDowell counties. Republican voters will choose between Andy Webb, Ralph Hise, and Tamera Frank in the May 4 primary, and the winner faces incumbent Democrat Joe Sam…
The Jackson County Sheriff’s race is hot and getting hotter. While a controversial pay raise and allegations of questionable financial transactions are dogging incumbent Sheriff Jimmy Ashe, the possibility of a politically-motivated arson at challenger Robin Gunnels’ business has provided…
Democrats Donnie Dixon: “I can’t rightfully say he’s done a bad job. It could reflect the commissioners’ doings...I have nothing against the man. I’m not going to point a finger.” Janice Inabinett said the county must rely on an evaluation…
It is past time someone looked closely at just what is going on with the Evergreen Foundation, because apparently those in control of a whole lot of what should be public assets have strayed very far from their original mission.…
With Sylva’s annual street festival Greening Up the Mountains right around the corner, town commissioners had a somewhat unusual decision land on their doorstep last week: risk a lawsuit or pay a licensing fee to a music industry group. Apparently,…
The 50th Senate seat represents Jackson, Macon, Swain, Clay, Graham, and Cherokee counties, along with a portion of Haywood. Republican voters will choose between Jim Davis and Jimmy Goodman on the May 4 primary, and the winner will face Democratic…
In the lead-up to the primary elections on May 4, criticism of the current administration is stewing underground in Swain County. Most commissioner candidates admit reluctantly that much of that frustration is directed toward County Manager Kevin King, though few…
Anyone who thought the discussion over the Jackson County Economic Development Commission’s missing audits was over when the board closed the issue last December got a surprise on Monday night. Chairman Brian McMahan announced that he had gotten a letter…
Haywood County Attorney Chip Killian had his response ready for the citizen activists who have incessantly demanded referendums on a string of controversial county decisions. At Monday’s commissioners’ meeting, Killian informed them that state law actually forbids counties from holding…
Early voting began last Thursday, April 15, and runs through noon on Saturday, May 1. As of press time Tuesday, here’s how many people had voted early so far. Haywood 119 voted in the Democratic primary 54 voted in the…
Three District Court judge seats are up for election in the seven western counties. The race for judge isn’t partisan, so candidates aren’t distinguished as Republican or Democrat on the ballot. Candidates have to designate which of the three seats…
At the last Haywood commissioners meeting, a citizen asked Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick and Commissioner Bill Upton to answer a political question as election candidates. This week, county attorney Chip Killian said that move was unlawful. Commissioners cannot use the forum…
Shane Burrell’s idea was simple: create a Web site where political candidates can talk to directly to voters about issues. “I knew that a lot of the candidates just weren’t able to get out there and online is an easy…
Six Democrats and five Republicans are vying for three seats on the Haywood County board of commissioners. Only three from each party will advance past the May 4 primary to the November election. The Smoky Mountain News spoke with the…
Six Democrats and five Republicans are vying for three seats on the Haywood County board of commissioners. Only three from each party will advance past the May 4 primary to the November election. The Smoky Mountain News spoke with the…
While three of five seats are up for election on the Jackson County board of commissioners, there is primary competition for just one of the seats: the Democratic primary for the Cherokee/ Whittier/Dillsboro district profiled here. William Shelton, 47, Whittier,…
Democratic candidates, pick four Steve Moon, 59, owner of a tire shop, incumbent Moon is finishing up his first term as commissioner and has served on the school board for six years. Moon said he’d like to be re-elected to…
This year in Macon County, three seats on the board are up for election. Each commissioner represents a geographic district in the county, although all voters get to vote for all seats. Once the board is elected, the sitting members…
Democrat candidates, pick three Raymond L. Brooks, 59, owner of trucking company Brooks has worked with citizens for more than 30 years as a preacher at Waynesville’s Bible Baptist Church. He wants to reduce the county debt and be more…
Last week, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians celebrated the topping off of their new 21-story hotel tower, the centerpiece of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino’s $633 million expansion. “This, for us, is a game-changer,” said Harrah’s Cherokee General Manager Darold Londo.…
Swain County is nearing the end of an ongoing saga with neighboring Graham County over who will provide emergency services to Deal’s Gap. The sparring counties reached a tentative agreement last week pending approval by both boards. According to the…
Nine Democrats and four Republicans have set their sights on four open commissioner seats in Swain County. A primary on May 4 will decide which four Democrats will advance to the November election. All four Republicans will automatically advance, along…
Avram Friedman is not your average North Carolina political candidate. Born in the Bronx, Friedman studied political science at Hunter College, and he’s been a grassroots activist since the late 1960s. After spending his life affecting change from outside the…
Last month, officials from the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority and the Town of Sylva clashed over who was responsible for fixing a clogged town sewer line. The issue has since been resolved, with TWASA’s board voting 4-1 to reimburse…
Smoky Mountain Center, the mental health management entity for Western North Carolina, has finally gotten itself out of the game of providing services. The suite of programs known as Smoky Operated Services would be handed over to a partnership forged…
A handful of Haywood County residents are demanding a vote by the people before county leaders proceed with purchasing the abandoned Wal-Mart building. The request comes despite the county commissioners’ unanimous vote in January to buy the shopping center to…
There are six Republicans vying for a shot to run against Congressman Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, this year. The six Republican candidates share similar platforms on all the salient talking points: they are against the health care bill that passed, they…
A malicious prosecution lawsuit by a woman accused of misappropriating flood relief donations was dismissed by a federal judge last week. Denise Mathis, former director of the Haywood County Council on Aging, claims she was wrongly accused of mismanaging the…
The deserted Wal-Mart near Clyde will be hardly recognizable once Haywood County is through with its makeover of the megastore. Sunlight will stream in through 30 skylights scattered across the low-slung ceiling of the former big-box store. A new metal…
After years of a stalemate with the state over live dealers at Harrah’s Casino, the election of Gov. Beverly Perdue signaled new hope for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians that an agreement finally could be reached. Perdue had signaled…
Soccer coach Nathan Trout recalled, with a tinge of jealousy, the four “unbelievable” sports parks in his Florida hometown, including six soccer fields. “It’s almost embarrassing for the community to not have nice facilities for their kids,” said Trout. “I’m…
A coalition of Cherokee and Swain County residents have stepped up the pressure on a proposed Duke Energy substation in the vicinity of the sacred Cherokee mothertown, Kituwah. Last week, a coalition of more than a dozen people filed a…
N.C. House District 119 represents Jackson, Swain and portions of Haywood and Macon counties. In the Democratic primary, incumbent Phil Haire faces challenger Avram Friedman. The winner will face Republican candidate Dodie Allen of Jackson County in the November election.…
Like many of the stakeholders in the argument, county commission chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick wishes the county could build enough fields for both sports. He played baseball in college, and his daughter is currently a soccer player. But if he has…
Imagine buying an idyllic piece of land in the mountains only to learn you’ll be living under a giant, humming transmission line the size of a 12-story building. That’s what happened to Swain County residents Paul Wolf and Jennifer Simon.…
With the county budget on everyone’s mind, two Haywood commissioners received a vote of confidence on the job they’ve done despite a staggering recession. Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick and Commissioner Bill Upton both sailed through the Democratic primary with comfortable margins.…
Incumbent William Shelton beat challenger James Bo Brown by almost a two-to-one margin to win the Democratic spot on the November ballot for the Whittier/Dillsboro district seat. The race was the only one of three county commissioners seats up for…
Removing sediment from Lake Logan would not only benefit its owner, Evergreen Packaging, it could potentially save homes and businesses from flooding, according to a study that was recently completed by McGill Associates. “If we’re successful, we could lower the…
Wal-Mart will not build a new Supercenter in Cherokee. After months of speculation that the deal between the tribe and the mega-retailer had fallen through, a company spokesperson confirmed the news this week. “We decided not to move ahead with…
Jackson County Sheriff Jimmy Ashe proved he could survive a tough race during the Democratic primary, defeating challenger Robin Gunnels by nearly 700 votes on the unofficial count. Ashe may have another tough race in November, but on Tuesday night…
For the past year or so, Sylva Mayor Maurice Moody has been focused on cleaning up his town. “We’ve been talking about it for a long time, and in the last year we’ve made significant progress,” Moody said. The city’s…
Despite widespread criticism of the job he’s done, Swain Sheriff Curtis Cochran proved unstoppable in this year’s Republican primary. Cochran buried opponent Wayne Dover in a landslide with more than 77 percent of the vote. In November, Cochran will go…
Going into the primary elections in Macon County, every candidate stressed the need for a fiscally conservative mindset as the county continues to contend with declining revenues. With little to separate the candidates’ platforms, it seemed like a foregone conclusion…
Mid-term election primaries are normally characterized by poor voter turnout, and that held true this year as only 14 percent of the state’s voters made it to the polls. In Western North Carolina, the percentages were higher than the state…
Phil Haire is a fortress as a state candidate. The seven-time incumbent is head of the General Assembly’s appropriations committee, and he’s been endorsed by every kind of voters group from realtors to the Sierra Club. On Tuesday night, he…
Though both commissioner candidates running for re-election in Swain County have safely landed a spot in November’s election, a newcomer earned the top spot in Tuesday’s primary. With only four commissioner seats up for election, all four Republican candidates automatically…
Iolo Williams is one of the Wales’ most recognized TV personalities. “Wildlife” Williams, as he is known by some fans, or “Birdman” as he is known by others, revolutionized BBC nature shows by bringing heady ecology together with rugged good…
Faced with a tall and growing stack of bills in the solid waste department, Haywood County commissioners are seriously considering offloading part of county trash and recycling operations to private companies. Whether it’s the $4.5 million spent to expand the…
In 1970, Cecil Groves was the 30-year-old provost of Delgado College. The city of New Orleans was on fire, rent apart by the legacy of former President Lyndon Johnson’s policy of desegregation, and Groves was trying to guide his little…
Western North Carolina is a patchwork of small communities, close-knit groups operating independently to make their own town or area thrive. Whether it’s in the Nantahala Gorge, up the plateau in Cashiers or in downtown Canton, there are real people…
More than three months have come and gone since a major mudslide crashed through Maggie Valley’s Rich Cove community, and slide victims are still wondering when a cleanup will finally begin. Their properties are not much better off since the…
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians plans to build a Class II gaming facility in Cherokee County, but the project will not move forward without a fight. Earlier this year, the Tribal Council approved the concept of a satellite gaming…
Haywood Community College leaders have chipped away more than $430,000 worth of features from its proposed creative arts building, but the project’s $10.3 million price tag continues to leave county commissioners cringing. The Haywood County commissioners gave the college the…
An election night glitch in McDowell County led to some votes being counted two or even three times instead of just once, skewing the results in the Republican primary for a state Senate seat spanning six mountain counties, including Haywood.…
While the summer bounty of tomatoes, corn and green beans are still a couple of months away, there is still plenty of local grown food items to be found as local farmers markets gear up for the season. Markets are…
Candidate Mitchell Jenkins decided last week to revive arguably the most heated race in Swain County for one more round. After coming in second in the Democratic primary for sheriff, Jenkins has called for a runoff against top vote-getter John…
A visitor in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park got nipped on the foot by a bear after getting too close last week. The visitor was on a high-traffic foot path at the entrance to the park right outside Gatlinburg,…
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is talking about moving to DNA testing as a way of verifying the blood requirement to be enrolled as a tribal member. The tribe’s latest quandaries over its enrollment audit have led Principal Chief…
Haywood County commissioners are fighting opposition on all fronts after a county task force recently recommended major changes to trash and recycling operations. The central debate is revolving around a proposal that would privatize a portion of the county’s trash…
A new road that would traverse the campus of Southwestern Community College and provide a new link between two of Jackson County’s major roads is in the final planning stages. The proposed two-lane road is designed to alleviate congestion and…
Limit prior to 2008: .08 parts per million New limit set in 2008: .075 parts per million New limit pending in 2010: Between .06 and .07 parts per million How WNC stacks up Ozone levels have improved gradually in WNC…
Counties usually have no choice but to accept unfunded mandates from the state, but this time, Haywood County commissioners are pushing back. For the second time in recent years, legislation has been introduced in the state that would pass on…
What is the enrollment audit? A review of the nearly 14,000 people on the tribe’s roll to determine whether they qualify as being Cherokee. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians requires members to be one-quarter Cherokee by blood and to…
As one development after another began to bite the dust two years ago, lenders who had bankrolled the mountain building spree in its heyday fretted nervously. The demand for high-priced lots had evaporated into thin air. Banks reluctantly foreclosed, resigned…
Ten-year-old Waynesville resident Zeb Powell has exclusive, 24-7 access to a skate park in town — it’s in his driveway. Powell got hold of a half-pipe, rails and multiple ramps when the indoor BP Skate Park closed down last fall.…
Jackson County Manager Ken Westmoreland said he would deliver a balanced budget with no cuts to services or staff and that is exactly what he did on Monday night. While neighboring counties are taking drastic measures to offset budget shortfalls…
$6,342,044. That’s approximately how much money needs to be raised before Haywood County residents can expect to see a recreation park built in Jonathan Creek. With the recession retaining its stranglehold on the nation, county commissioners aren’t contributing a single…
Sylva Commissioner Sarah Graham will step down from the town board at the end of June because her family has decided to move outside town limits. Graham said she and husband, Bill, had been looking at homes that offered more…
The Friends of the Jackson County Main Library have completed their remarkable effort to raise $1.6 million to outfit the interior of the new library under construction on courthouse hill in Sylva. The Friends announced this week that a $200,000…
A downtown Waynesville project that would put a live entertainment venue, a microbrewery and a pizza restaurant together in the old Strand Theater on Main Street has been awarded a $300,000 grant. Gov. Beverly Perdue will visit Waynesville this Friday…
How do you kick out a member of a Native American tribe? The Eastern Band of Cherokee is about to find out, and there’s no way it’s going down without some bitterness and fighting. The EBCI is almost finished with…
Once repair work is complete, a precarious Maggie Valley mountainside destabilized by a major mudslide will be returned to its natural state. The hard part will be getting to that point. Last Wednesday, anxious residents downslope of the slide along…
A parking study of downtown Sylva conducted by a Western Carolina University graduate student has gotten local merchants talking and left the town board facing a puzzle. For years downtown merchants have complained that the lack of available parking for…
In the eyes of Canton’s town leaders, the status quo in recreation funding just isn’t cutting it. For years, the town of Canton has had to maintain an aging public pool and has struggled to obtain stadium lighting to allow…
A Low Impact Development FastTrack Certification will be held at Haywood Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 15 through Friday, Sept. 17. The course will give an overview of low-impact development from a holistic perspective and covers design, planning, implementation and…
A workshop on bringing local farm produce into the schools will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at Shelton Family Farms in Jackson County. Participants will learn how to integrate school gardens, farm field trips,…
A two hour workshop in Intercultural Communication will be taught by John Stiles, a Jackson County native who is the U.S. Director of International Relations and Development for Hannam University in Daejong, South Korea. The workshops will be held from…
A debate about how adolescents — and even pre-adolescents — dress these days is a topic that covers a lot of ground, ranging from self-expression to familial relationships. One thing, though, still holds true — public schools should use whatever…
Robert A. Levy, a nationally known expert in the field of constitutional studies, will deliver a talk titled “How the Supreme Court has amended the Constitution” at Western Carolina University. The free presentation will take place 3:35 p.m. Tuesday, Sept.…
Eduardo Duran, a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with the legacy of historical trauma and Native American healing, will visit Western Carolina University to deliver the Biannual Public Lecture on Indian Health The lecture, “Healing the Soul Wound,” will…
Everything from the authors of the Bible to religious extremism will be covered in two upcoming courses at Southwestern Community College. “Who Wrote the Bible,” held 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 7 to Oct. 26 at the Jackson…
Are you battling the bulge or want to lose a few extra pounds before the holidays arrive? Take advantage of an eight-week weight management program in Waynesville or learn how to cook healthy meals in Sylva. • The Cook Smart,…
A state proposal to widen and pave a gravel road that runs alongside the Little Tennessee River and near the protected 4,400-acre Needmore Tract is being greeted with caution by conservationists. “It is a very important stretch of river,” said…
Public input is being sought for a memorial dedicated to the North Shore families in Swain County who had their land taken in the 1940s during the creation of Lake Fontana. A design meeting will take place from 9 a.m.…
A long-range plan to create a museum highlighting the role and contribution of Appalachian women might be in limbo. The Dillsboro town board last month informed representatives of the Appalachian Women’s Museum — which wants to renovate and turn the…
The blue-plate special fundraiser is a tradition in Sylva. On the last Wednesday of each month, Jackson County residents sit down to lunches served on battered wooden tables at the soup kitchen and eat food donated by local restaurants. The…
Court testimony could start this week in the case of a Florida man who gunned down state Trooper Shawn Blanton more than two years ago in what should have been a routine traffic stop. Blanton was killed June 17, 2008,…
Charlotte Littlejohn has spent much of her morning in a bustling kitchen preparing traditional frybread. Next to her, Donavon Crowe is stirring an enormous pot of chili. Crowe says he’s probably made six gallons of it already. Littlejohn and Crowe…
Four donated modular units should help ease a space crunch at the Public Safety Training Center in Macon County, but the fix could be short-lived. The training center, run by Southwestern Community College, might soon become one of a handful…
Waynesville’s town board is drawing the line at 14 Main Street closings annually. As a result, the town has rejected a request to shut down part of Main Street to traffic for a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony. The group organizing…
After violating their own policy, Swain County commissioners convened a special meeting Wednesday (June 23) for a do-over on a vote that gave Health Director Linda White a $15,000 raise. In the process, the board’s previous 3-2 vote to grant…
With the single-mindedness of Ahab and the devotion of a wounded heart, Phil Schmidt is building a monument for his wife. “If I didn’t have this to do, I don’t know what I would do,” Schmidt said. The Martha Jean…
While conducting a research study a few years ago, tourism official David Huskins came across an Atlanta resident who thought the Blue Ridge Parkway meandered its way through Kentucky. Another focus group participant said all he knew about the Smokies…
At 9 years old, Italian Joseph Di Lillo lost his leg as a civilian casualty in World War II. He felt he no longer fit in at home or school. After months of self loathing, Di Lillo ran away and…
Motorcyclists Maggie Valley business owners have seen an uptick in motorcycle enthusiasts with the opening of the Wheels through Time Museum. Brenda O’Keefe, owner of Joey’s Pancake House, says many more motorcyclists are rushing to the Smokies to ride the…
While Sylva’s downtown organization struggles for stable financial footing, similar programs in Waynesville and Franklin are seeing the results that strong support can yield. In May, Gov. Bev Perdue announced the awards of the first round of state funding for…
Recently, the town of Sylva passed a $1.6 million budget on a 3 to 2 vote. The most contentious line item in the finance package was a $12,000 allocation to the Downtown Sylva Association. Since the DSA was formed in…
The Sylva town board is in for another shakeup. The board will vote at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, to appoint a replacement for Sarah Graham, who had to step down from her position because she and her family…
The make-up of Sylva’s town board shifted this week when board members voted 3-1 to replace outgoing board member Sarah Graham with Harold Hensley. The vote changes the town’s disposition from one with a progressive voting majority to one likely…
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