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The American Forest and Paper Association recently announced that Macon County resident Joel Ostroff has received the 2006 Ed Hurley Memorial Paper Recycling Award. The award recognizes an individual who has had a significant and positive influence in advocating paper…
As artist Ann Vasilik was nearing the home stretch in Quick Draw — an annual event in Waynesville where artists race against the clock to complete a piece of artwork in one hour — the blow-dryer aimed at her watercolor…
Wednesday, 10 May 2006 00:00

Art auction brings in record amount

Quick Draw in the Mountains raised a record amount of money this year off a live and silent auction that supports budding artists and art in the schools.
By Michael Beadle Western North Carolina prides itself as a tourist destination — the mountain getaway where you can hike and shop and rest among the soothing sounds of nature.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Tips for B&B guests

• Costs — Before you book a reservation at a B&B, be sure you check the fine print and know the total cost of your stay. Inns have room taxes that are added on to the bill and there may…
By Michael Beadle Incumbent Kirk Kirkpatrick and newcomers Charles “Skeeter” Curtis and Bill Upton have won the top three slots in the Haywood County commissioner Democratic primary. Incumbent commission chairman Mark Swanger and former commissioner Bill Noland were the fourth-…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Pro-planning group wins in Jackson

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Jackson County will usher in a new board of commissioners committed to addressing the county’s growth issues with the election of pro-planning candidates William Shelton, Tom Massie, Joe Cowan and Mark Jones in Tuesday’s…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Newcomer, incumbent win in Macon

Political newcomer Ronnie Beale and incumbent Bob Simpson beat two other Democrats in Tuesday’s primary and will move on to the Nov. 7 general election against two Republicans.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Sylva voters pass liquor by the drink

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Sylva residents have decided — it’s time for a good stiff drink. Voters approved mixed beverage sales 257 to 182. Only 34 voters chose not to cast ballots on the measure.
Despite a slate of challengers campaigning for change in the Swain County commissioners race, all but one incumbent running for re-election was ousted by voters.
Former North Carolina Highway Patrolman C.D. Jenkins emerged from a field of three Democrats to win the Macon County Sheriff’s primary and the opportunity to run against incumbent Sheriff Robert Holland.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Ashe cruises by Cruzan in sheriff race

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer In a landslide win, Jackson County Sheriff Jimmy Ashe held off challenger and former sheriff Jim Cruzan in what many have called the election’s most heated race.
For two and a half years, David Erikson at Twigs and Leaves has offered a monthly drawing for a gift certificate as a surreptitious means to compel customers to share their hometown address.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Swain commissioner candidate snapshots

Three candidates are running for Swain County chairman in the Democratic Primary.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Political factions help define Haywood race

Two well-defined political factions emerged early in the Haywood County commissioners primary and have only grown stronger in the countdown to election day on May 2. On one side is the county commissioner chairman Mark Swanger, who is running for…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Old-style ‘machine’ a factor in Swain

A slate of challengers running in the Swain County commissioners race are speaking out against what they claim is decades of control by an elite handful in the inner circle of the Democratic Party known as “the machine.”
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer They’ve said they want to strengthen the economy. They’ve said they want to help bring in higher paying jobs. They agree that doing it will require local schoolchildren to get the best education possible.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Enforcement issues cloud zoning debate

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer With growth on the forefront of Macon County’s election issues, commissioner candidates have staked out their stance on land use planning. A majority of candidates have recommended taking a cautious approach — avoiding zoning…
For the first time in history, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is running for a seat on the Swain County Board of Commissioners. Ben Bushyhead lives just outside Bryson City and works for tribal government…
Grasping the extent of development sweeping across the Haywood County landscape is not always easy. So Marc Pruett, the county’s erosion control officer, came up with a little anecdote to put things in perspective. He tallied up all the private…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Pro-planning candidate holds ground at forum

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Democratic candidates running for two District 2 seats on the Macon County board of commissioners squared off at a League of Women Voters meeting last Thursday (April 13) in a growth debate that pitted…
By Sarah Kucharski The heated race for sheriff in Jackson County is closing in on the May 2 primary date in which voters will decide which candidate, incumbent Jimmy Ashe or former sheriff Jim Cruzan, will head up the agency…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Growth is on Jackson’s agenda

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer This May 2 voters in Jackson County are faced with choosing a board of county commissioners that will enact and enforce ways to shape growth in the coming years. One hot button issue seemingly…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Candidates weigh in on the North Shore Road

Every four years when a county commissioner election rolls around in Swain County, there’s one question commissioners know they have to answer but that most wish they didn’t: how they feel about the North Shore Road.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Michael Morgan sits at a table near the back of Malaprop’s Bookstore Café in Asheville eating from an unlabeled can of applesauce, his 6-foot plus lanky frame casually folded, one leg across the other.…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Local PAC exerts influence

For the first time in Haywood County, a group of residents has formed a political action committee with the goal of influencing the county commissioners race. The political action committee, called the Good Governance Legion, is less concerned with the…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Voters in Jackson County will elect predominately Democratic county commissioners in this May’s primary elections, regardless of voter turnout. Twelve of 13 candidates in the county’s unusually large commissioners campaign pool — fueled partly…
When CNN chose John Armor’s web blog as the political site of the day several years ago, coining him an “intellectual redneck” in the process, Armor accepted the tagline proudly. From his home in Highlands, Armor posts satire columns on…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Cherokee anthem realized through WCU

What began as a request to translate “The Star-Spangled Banner” into Cherokee evolved instead into a new song, the “United Cherokee Nations Anthem,” which was recorded in a studio for the first time at Western Carolina University. The anthem opens…
When Danny Wingate agreed five years ago to set up a credit line for the Haywood County Schools maintenance department, he thought he was just doing the school system a favor.
The investigation into an off-the-books account kept by the former Haywood County Schools maintenance director at Haywood Builders Supply has shed light on an unspoken creed practiced among many government workers: use it or lose it.
By Sarah Kucharski * Staff Writer Is there enough affordable housing in Sylva? Do you feel safe in your neighborhood? Are you satisfied with street repair? How often do you go to Poteet Park? Town leaders are looking for answers…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Macon County Planning Board members will continue their first discussion of a draft subdivision ordinance set to potentially include steep slope development regulations at a meeting held at 5 p.m. today (Wednesday, March 29)…
A controversial high-end development along the Nantahala River in the Nantahala Gorge has received the green light for an alternative sewer system that will allow construction of homes to begin on part the property.
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Retailers get ready for opening day

By Michael Beadle As the opening date approaches for the North Carolina Education Lottery, local retailers in Western North Carolina are gearing up to sell the first batch of tickets. At the Cullasaja Exxon outside of Franklin, owner Ronnie Setzer…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

A raw deal for WNC

According to provisions in the state’s lottery law, about a third of the money raised in the lottery (35 percent) would go toward education programs — an estimated $425 million, according to state figures. Half of this money will go…
Turmoil surrounding the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority has landed the entity a regular slot on the government television station where anyone with cable soon will be able to watch the board’s monthly meetings.
By Michael Beadle The North Carolina Education Lottery might be seen by state officials as a boon for public education, but it’s already becoming a frustration for some school officials in Western North Carolina.
Haywood County commissioners are examining a slope development ordinance that would regulate the safety of cut and fill slopes for home sites and roads in mountainside subdivisions.
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:36

Prison conversion project needs votes

Haywood Pathways Center, the working title for the trio of Christian ministries working to make the old prison in Hazelwood into a center for restoration, has made it to the top of the pack in an online contest to win…
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:35

Another Swain sheriff candidate joins race

A new candidate has joined the field of potentials for the Swain County sheriff’s race. In addition to Republican Sheriff Curtis Cochran and Democratic challenger Chuck McMahan, the November ballot will also feature unaffiliated candidate Odell Chastain. “I’m running on…
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:35

Folkmoot USA holds June 26 open house

Folkmoot USA will host an Open House from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, to celebrate Haywood County’s generous donation of the historic Hazelwood School to the cultural organization. On June 16, the Haywood County Board of Commissioners…
Sitting in the judge’s seat, Jackson County Commissioners Chairman Jack Debnam took a look around. He absorbed the courtroom, glanced down at Commissioner Doug Cody on the witness stand and County Manager Chuck Wooten in the jury box. 
A cross-section of Haywood County business leaders took over the reins of economic development this month, with county government passing the torch to the Greater Haywood County Chamber of Commerce to blaze a new path of economic prosperity.
Consumers will start seeing some extras added to their subtotals as a result of a state law adding sales tax to a variety of items that had previously not been taxed, or were taxed at a lower level. Among them…
Western Carolina University is sweating out the North Carolina General Assembly’s budgetary process, but perhaps not as much as some institutions of higher education.
Two months after a management shake-up in which the Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise removed construction manager Sneed, Robertson and Associates from the casino construction project in Murphy, the project is on time and on budget, according to TCGE chairman Ray…
A group of past Macon County Commissioners spent an hour reminiscing about their triumphs and reflecting on lessons learned in front of an audience that included two Election Day hopefuls last week. The lunchtime program was the third in a…
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:25

Franklin passes property tax hike

Franklin residents will be paying a bit more on their property taxes next year following a unanimous decision by the Franklin Board of Alderman to increase the rate by 2 cents per $100. Currently, the rate is set at 25…
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:22

Front row seat to history

Randall E. Murff remembers the guns shooting at him. “The Germans really could shoot those guns, they were good,” he said. “If you gave them 17 seconds, they’d knock you right down.”
A group of vacant, ramshackle buildings at an anchor intersection on South Main Street in Waynesville has been purchased, signaling continued revitalization could be in store for the rag-tag corridor.
The public hearing on Jackson County’s steep slope regulations struck Dave Waldrop as special.  “It was so unbelievable,” Waldrop said.
“See that up there?” asked Alaska Presley as she piloted her Mercedes up a back road to the top of Ghost Town in the Sky. “That’s the drop tower there.” 
Advocates calling for increased state education funding made a stop in Haywood County Monday as part of a statewide tour en route to Raleigh, where they will deliver a stack of petitions signed by 61,000 state residents later this week.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:45

CuRvE gets ARC grant

The nonprofit community group known as the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor (CuRvE) has been awarded an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant from the Southwest Commission to fund ongoing efforts for improved recreational amenities along the Tuckaseegee River where it passes through…
A tribal elder of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians delivered the opening prayer in the Cherokee language at the N.C. Senate session June 19. Jerry Wolfe, was a natural choice to deliver the prayer. Widely recognized for his service…
Swain County Hospital offers Senior Life Solutions, a program that facilitates intensive outpatient psychiatric care for adults and seniors with Medicare. The program, which is located inside Swain County Hospital, is available to individuals through physician or self referral.  Patients…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:39

Jackson chamber gets new assistant director

Kelly Donaldson, 42, of Cullowhee, began work June 9 as the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center new assistant director. Donaldson’s addition is a part of a restructuring plan by the Jackson chamber ‘s board of directors to…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:38

Nurse team to assist disadvantaged mothers

An initiative to educate first-time, low-income mothers in Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties on how to raise healthy, school-ready children with a focus on the critical first two years of the child’s life is being launched by the Southwestern…
Jeanette White, coordinator of Southwestern Community College’s Civil Engineering Technology program, keeps getting calls from employers looking for graduates who are ready to work. There’s just one issue: all of White’s graduates already have jobs or are continuing their education…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:37

Glenville explores planning area

Jackson County may have another community planning project on the horizon. Glenville residents have approached the county about possibly embarking on such a journey. “That’s very initial-stages,” said Jackson County Planning Director Gerald Green, explaining that the county is currently…
Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, has pulled a bill she introduced last month to de-annex a 3.5-acre property from the town of Maggie Valley following pushback from local leaders. 
The Pigeon Community Center in Waynesville has once again been rescued from the brink. Haywood County has pledged $47,000 to fix a severely leaky roof and structural problems with the building, in effect saving a suite of programs offered through…
Lake Sequoyah will disappear for a few months in the coming year as Highlands plans to drain the reservoir to complete a pair of projects there. Combining $1.6 million in grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency with another $950,000…
A new logo will soon chug onto the marketing landscape of Bryson City following the Swain County Tourism Development Authority and the Swain County Chamber of Commerce’s approval of a design meant to emphasize the town’s most unique aspect —…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:31

Ghost Town opening delayed

Ghost Town in the Sky, the seemingly ever-limping amusement park in Maggie Valley, did not open on June 20 as planned. Delays in running new water lines to the park’s upper levels have stalled the opening.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:30

ECU opens dental center in Sylva

There’s a new option for dental care in the region. “We call it a community service learning center,” explained Michael Scholtz, assistant dean for extramural clinical practices at East Carolina University’s School of Dental Medicine. 
The campus of Haywood Regional Medical Center is full of cars coming and going, staff walking toward or returning from shifts and people in workout gear heading toward the Fitness Center. Staff members help an elderly woman in a wheelchair…
Saddled by a higher cost of doing business and hits to its bottom line, Waynesville aldermen were poised to pass a three-cent property tax increase this week, the town’s first in over a decade. Nonetheless, the town’s total budget for…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:22

NAACP gets Haywood organizer

Haywood County’s fledging chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is getting a little help this summer. “I see myself as a booster pack,” said Sam Tyson. “A little summer energy.”
A major motion picture starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig and others will be partly filmed at a Waynesville location in mid-July.
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Cherokee Bear Zoo lawsuit moves forward

Cherokee Bear Zoo hoped a federal civil lawsuit alleging it mistreats grizzly bears in its care would be tossed out.
It was suppose to be Canton’s wrap-up budget meeting. But community members showed up to voice concerns about a specific item tucked within that budget: a proposed firing range in the Gibsontown neighborhood.
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Canton budget passes, with hesitation

Though unanimously passed 4-0, Canton town board members approved the 2014-2015 budget with some hesitation. The budget came in at $7,718,836, which is up from $7,085,956 for 2013-2014.
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Social enterprise: business with a mission

What began as a vision to convert a shutdown state prison in Waynesville into a halfway house, homeless shelter and soup kitchen has spiraled into a larger vision of transforming society one life at a time.
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Merger bill moves forward in Raleigh

Lake Junaluska’s bid to merge with the town of Waynesville flickered to life in the state legislature last week after languishing in political purgatory for the past year.
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Considering a cell tower in Whiteside Cove

The Jackson County Planning Board has of late been engaged in a discussion about the revision of the county’s ordinance governing cell phone towers. That discussion is likely to attract additional voices soon, as the board also prepares to weigh…
The Swain County Farmers Market recently enjoyed its final Friday alongside Main Street in Bryson City. After taking a break for the Fourth of July holiday, it will reopen on the other side of the Tuckasegee River.
The one-way stretch of Main Street running through the heart of downtown Sylva has a new traffic pattern. The left lane now sports turn arrows and solid white lines. 
To some, they might seem like pet projects, budgetary fat in tough times, or frivolous earmarks. But Waynesville leaders are defending $100,000 in annual contributions to a slate of 30 nonprofit organizations as a form of economic development, community advancement…
A budget-trimming effort in Macon County has leaders in multiple counties talking about what’s fair when it comes to community college funding. Charged with proposing an as-small-as-possible budget in advance of expected hard times ahead, Macon County Manager Derek Roland…
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Fireworks: the economics of the intangibles

This Fourth of July there will be plenty of places from which to watch a fireworks display. North Jackson County will not be among them. “I understand Sylva’s not having them this year,” said Cindy Cavender, marketing director with the…
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Partial reopening at Haywood hospital

Haywood Regional Medical Center is on its way to recovery after a small fire in its power room earlier this month knocked out the electrical system, closing the hospital and causing its 62 patients to be shuttled to hospitals in…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:33

Franklin hires town manager

After a closed session Monday, the Franklin Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to give Interim Town Manager Summer Woodard a permanent place in town hall. Woodard, who has been acting as town manager since Warren Cabe resigned in May, now…
One month after low oxygen levels killed the bacteria needed to process sewage at the Cherokee Wastewater Treatment Plant, discharge flowing back into the Oconaluftee River is still on the cloudy side as employees work to get the plant fully…
The general election ballot for Jackson County Sheriff will finally be final next week when polls close on a second Republican primary July 15. Though the field of six Democrats came out with a clear winner, the three-person Republican race…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:18

Fracking opposition organizes in WNC

Candice Caldwell Day and her husband Shayne recently went to Andrews Airport in Cherokee County. “To hold up a really big sign,” she said. 
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:15

Macon schools get $100,000 more from county

Macon County Schools got a little extra to fix up their buildings when some bids for the Parker Meadows recreational complex came in low. All of the extra money went to education, with $39,400 going to Southwestern Community College and…
 The Emergency Department at MedWest Haywood is fully online, having treated 180 patients during the Fourth of July weekend. The department, along with outpatient services and the hospital’s business offices, re-opened June 30, 11 days after a fire in the…
In two separate incidents, graders in Haywood County bulldozed over wetlands, violating state and federal regulations that protect the environmentally-sensitive areas.
Results are back from the first round of testing for lead at Southwestern Community College’s shooting range, and the conclusion is that there’s plenty of lead to go around. In the area 15 to 20 feet downslope from the range,…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:04

Ghost Town opens for season, draws a crowd

After passing state inspections, Ghost Town in the Sky opened for the season on the Fourth of the July.  The Maggie Valley amusement park — open Friday through Monday — is reporting an opening weekend attendance total of more than…
Negotiations between Evergreen Packaging and its union employees at the company’s Canton and Waynesville facilities are still ongoing. The talks resume July 15.
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:00

Corridor K: Beyond the road

Though the Corridor K debate was the impetus for the Opportunity Initiative Study, Opt-In wasn’t all about transportation. The results of the year-long regional visioning study has been enlightening, unifying and awash with great ideas to improve the area’s economic…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 12:59

Corridor K: Dueling studies

A stalemate in the debate over Corridor K boils down to a central issue: can upgrades to the existing two-lane road do the job, or is a new four-lane highway the only solution?
After a year-long study capping off years of debate, the verdict is in on what’s next for the controversial Corridor K road project — sort of. SEE ALSO: Dueling studies | Beyond the road There were high hopes for the $2 million Opportunity…
Officials in the town of Forest Hills in Jackson County recently explored the possibility of providing trash and recycling collection service to residents. It was a brief exploration. 
After a firestorm of public outcry over the prospect of a firing range being built in an African-American neighborhood in Canton, town board members appear to have the issue on hold. “There has been no movement on the project,” said…
Public concerns over the visual blight of a proposed cell tower in the Cashiers area have prompted Verizon Wireless to alter its design for the tower, namely by disguising it to look like a very tall, very big pine tree.