Fri08012014

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Kingdom Care Ministries, a faith-based recovery home for women that had been looking to locate in the village of Forest Hills, is searching for another place to settle. In mid-March, the organization had applied for a conditional use permit for…
With two of four incumbents losing their seats during the primary election, there will soon be some new blood on the Swain County Board of Commissioners. That sounds about right to Ben Bushyhead. “I think if you stay in office…
Jane Hipps was quickly anointed front-runner status in the Democratic primary for N.C. Senate — from the day she entered the race, in fact — but the victory she pulled out was the epitome of a clean sweep.
Karen Wallace knows the importance of a library. “In a rural area, the library is the single greatest man-made resource offered to residents and tourists,” she said.
Public outcry over a proposal to weaken steep slope rules in Jackson County has led to the creation of an online planning portal so the public can follow along, virtually, with what the planning board is up to. The groundswell…
A single primary wasn’t enough to clear out the crowded field of candidates for the sheriff’s seat in Jackson County. Though Deputy Sheriff Chip Hall carried 42 percent of the vote in a field of six Democratic candidates, the three…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:19

Cullowhee plan inches toward finish line

Don Kostelec stood in front of a flip pad in the cafeteria of Cullowhee Valley Elementary School. He asked for it all. Hold nothing back.
A soda bottling operation. An original children’s book. A new music album. A mural downtown. Pallets and pallets of Mason jars, and fresh jam to fill them.  They’re all good things, but they all require money to become reality. And…
When summer school starts up at South Macon Elementary this year, a pair of horses will be standing in a round pen outside, waiting for their first playmates. The equines will be helping Macon TRACS, a nonprofit dedicated to providing…
Since the year 2000, I have written going on 750 Back Then “columns” for The Smoky Mountain News. I am enormously proud of that association. Many of the “essays” in my books have been filtered through SMN to their benefit.…
Spots are going fast to view the unique synchronous firefly display in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park June 4-11. Every year, thousands of visitors gather to watch the synchronized flashing of Photinus carolinus, a firefly…
Soccer players ages 11 to 18 looking for a challenge beyond their local leagues will have a chance to try out for a spot on the Mountain United Classic Soccer Teams May 17-18. The teams will travel to compete with some…
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 00:00

Updates for birders

Dinner for the birds The Highlands Plateau Audubon Society’s first program of the season will include a potluck for the bird-brained at 6 p.m. Monday, June 9, at the Highlands Civic Center. Dinner-goers should bring a dish to share and…
A Birds of Prey program planned for 1 p.m., May 9, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center will give visitors an up-close look at birds ranging from the eastern screech owl to the northern bald eagle.
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 15:16

Smokies to offer glimpse of park careers

Anyone who’s wondered what a day in the life of a National Park Service employee looks like will get a chance to see at National Park Career Day, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. May 10 in Great Smoky Mountains…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 15:14

Springtime, garden time

Unearth the secret of square-foot gardening A free introduction to square-foot gardening at 5:30 p.m. May 13 at the Canton Branch Library will teach participants how to get a high yield from a small space.
The grassy field is empty and the playground vacant as the sun sheds evening beams across the grounds of Cowee School. But when Susan Ervin looks at the unoccupied asphalt track and pavilion bare of coolers and tablecloths, she sees…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:39

The Jane Goodall of sea turtles

As I write this, I am wondering if I should disqualify myself from writing a review about a book written by someone I know. But in this case I must write, and trying to be objective, let you know that…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:28

Chicago to hit the Harrah’s stage

Classic rock icons Chicago will perform at 9 p.m. May 16 at Harrah’s Cherokee. The Grammy and American Music Award-winning group is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in five decades. They were recently ranked #13…
The Galaxy of Stars Series at Western Carolina University will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a lineup highlighted by a return engagement of country-western icons Riders in the Sky, a Grammy Award-winning group that performed during the inaugural season of…
Musician Marshall Ballew will perform at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva.
The comic/drama “Painting Churches” will kickoff Smoky Mountain Community Theatre’s 2014 production season at 7:30 p.m., May 9-11 and 16-19 in Bryson City. 
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:23

This must be the place

“Hey, Garret, what’s up, man?” I looked up from my notebook and there standing in front of me was a familiar face. Tony Casey, from the North Country. It was last Saturday evening and I was sitting at a picnic table…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:20

Soldiering on: WNC band releases debut

What a difference a year makes. For the last 12 months, Haywood County group Soldier’s Heart has been roaming Western North Carolina and beyond with their unique Appalachian porch-n-soul tone. 
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:17

Court rules in favor of clean air, water

To the Editor: Human health, wildlife resources and sportsmen had a big win recently in the Federal Appeals Court. The court reaffirmed the EPA’s authority to set limits on mercury, arsenic, and other pollutants from power plants under the Mercury…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:17

Raising minimum wage is a mistake

To the Editor: On the way to Wilmington using the smaller roads off the interstate, I found it depressing to note so many of what appeared to have been small manufacturing businesses shut down. Empty parking lots told the story…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:15

Obama’s socialist agenda has failed

To the Editor: It appears that Bob Wilson, a frequent letter writer, is stuck in a 1950’s time warp. He’s still fighting the Red Menace and the Cold War, and thinks the enemy is still communism and its little brother…
I think Jack Debnam was wise to delay action on the rewrite of the Jackson County steep slope rules until after the November election, but I don’t believe that will take politics out of the final decision on this issue.…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:00

Graduation, and beyond

Alumni Tower is enjoying a late-semester afternoon on the Western Carolina University campus. Its clock keeps watch over students as they hustle between exams or toss a Frisbee on the grass. A short walk from the tower, a fountain has…
Western Carolina University will hold a trio of commencement ceremonies over a two-day period – Friday and Saturday, May 9-10 – to recognize the academic achievements of what is expected to be a record-breaking spring class.
Three grants totaling $12,110 were recently awarded by The Fund for Haywood County.   The grants include: • $5,000 to Folkmoot USA to support the renovation of the kitchen and cafeteria space in the Folkmoot Friendship Center to create a…
As part of the Dillsboro Business Plan Competition, roughly a half dozen aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners transformed their ideas into business plans over the past four months while regularly attending free weekly seminars through Southwestern Community College’s…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:55

Quid pro quo, or just due?

Cashiers area property owners have long complained that they pay more than their fair share when it comes to property taxes — ponying up 60 percent of the county’s total property taxes.
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:53

The lowdown on the high end

The vibe in the Cashiers library was thick with polite tension as Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten recently stood before a roomful of curious skeptics. The undertone was summed up by an audience member about halfway through the meeting.
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:50

Enclosed pool coming to Highlands

A $1.1 million donation from residents Art and Angela Williams of the Old Edwards Inn will net the town of Highlands a retractable roof for its new swimming pool, a new floor and bleachers for the civic center gym and…
Swain County Superintendent Sam Pattillo is taking a new approach this year. He’s requesting that county commissioners participate in the school district’s budgetary process.  “I feel like we need to be more together in our planning process,” Pattillo told commissioners…
Justin Phillips narrowly avoided a stand-off with Maggie Valley town hall last week, but rest assured, he was ready to go the distance if need be. Phillips launched a new farmers market last week in a large grassy field beside…
Jackson County employees could be seeing a little extra in their paychecks next year if commissioners approve County Manager Chuck Wooten’s recommendation for the upcoming budget. Wooten’s budget proposal will include a 1.5 percent cost of living increase and 20…
More than three months after the State Bureau of Investigation started looking into $50,000 worth of embezzlement from the Macon County Board of Elections, a return to normalcy is in sight for the elections office. Kim Bishop, the county elections…
If there’s a word that precedes Ira Dove, it’s smart — really smart, very smart, even super smart. “He’s always the smartest person in the room,” said Haywood County Commissioner Mark Swanger. “He is intelligent, he is very organized, he…
It’s been over a year since North Carolina began the rollout of a new computer program called NC FAST, for North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology. The system was supposed to make it easier to process applications for social…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:39

REACH aims for new shelter

For nearly a year, REACH of Macon County has been helping domestic abuse victims in Jackson County. The group has handled more than 400 cases in Jackson since last July.  “To be honest with you, we feel like that number…
Haywood County commissioners decided this week to install an irrigation system for the lawn of the historic courthouse to ensure the downtown Waynesville icon lives up to its landmark status.
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 12:34

2014 Primary Election results

The primary election was held Tuesday, May 6, in counties throughout North Carolina. Here are the results from the local races in our coverage area of Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties.
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:33

Déjà vu in the woods

I was invited to help lead a bird walk focusing on wood warblers at this year’s 64th annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I was invited to help by Dr. Patricia Blackwell-Cox. 
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:28

Hike to wildflowers and waterfalls

Wildflower blaze expected on Highlands hike A wildflower hike will step off from the Jones Gap parking area near Highlands at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4. Sponsored by the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society, the hike will be led by botanist…
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:27

Plant sale, plant clinic

Plant sale planned for Franklin The 12th annual plant sale of the Macon County Master Gardener Association will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at the Environmental Resource Center on 1624 Lakeside Drive in Franklin. The selection…
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:26

Cherokee language exhibit tours region

Cherokee language and culture is the focus of a touring exhibit slated to visit ten sites in the region throughout the month of May. The exhibit “Understanding our Past, Shaping our Future” is based largely on excerpts from conversations originally…
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is accepting comments on a proposed temporary rule change that would prohibit using dogs to hunt deer and bear on certain portions of game land. The proposed rule is designed to address trespass and safety…
A hike to see the rare pink shell azalea on the slopes of Black Rock Mountain near Panthertown, scheduled for May 5, will give participants a chance to see plenty of blooms while supporting the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust.