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Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:59

The fascinating evolution of the fool killer

One of the oldest traditional folktales, ‘Godfather Death,’ exists in all cultures; however, the tone of the stories may vary from bleak and grim invocations of death’s certainty to humorous tales of tricksters who scheme to avoid death’s coming. Death…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:46

Oil painting demo in Bryson

Oil painter Jon Houglum will demonstrate “Oil Painting Techniques in a Portrait” for the Art League of the Smokies at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City. 
A Dillsboro book artist and adjunct instructor at Southwestern Community College, Frank Brannon has been selected for the first Mary B. Regan Residency Grant for a project to revitalize the Cherokee language through his artistry as a letterpress printer. 
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:34

Shearin brings Americana to Wine Seller

Singer-songwriter Dan Shearin will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, at The Classic Wine Seller in Waynesville.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:32

This must be the place

The stewardess handed me a cold Heineken.  The skyline of Boston in the distance, the beauty of a city I hold so damn close to my heart. It’s horrifically beautiful watching all of the cars, people and lights down there.…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:27

2014: Arts & Entertainment in Review

Another one is in the books.  With each passing year, I find myself digging ever deeper into what it truly means to reside and thrive in Western North Carolina. Week in and week out, I cross paths with innumerable people,…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:04

Time to eschew meat products

To the Editor: It’s time for New Year’s resolutions, particularly those about our health. Although gun violence remains the leading cause of death among young people, our most dangerous weapon is still our fork.  Forty-five times as many die of…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:04

Time for appointed tax collector in Haywood

To the Editor: As we approach the year 2015, I appeal to the decision makers of Haywood County to take a progressive, positive action with a request to fix an obvious problem with a local bill which would fix this…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 15:01

The only lesson may be that there is no lesson

One of my wife’s childhood friends lives near Wilmington. Her daughter, a senior at Appalachian State, died last week in a tragic car accident. We went to the service two days after Christmas.  One of the young lady’s sorority sisters…
Southwestern Community College student Stanley Kingsberry has landed a patent for his invention of a magnetic wrench system. Though offers to buy his invention are streaming in from companies across the nation, he’s holding out for a bid in the…
Alcohol-related traffic accidents are on the rise in Jackson County, with rates outstripping those of both North Carolina as a whole and Western North Carolina in particular, according to Jackson’s 2014 State of the County Health Report.  The report, an…
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 14:38

2014: Newsworthy award winners

2014 is all but in the rearview mirror now, and all the stories reported over the last 12 months are headed for the history books or perhaps a less-lofty final resting place. But lest we forget just what made 2014…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 15:08

Canary Coalition works to help WNC

By Thomas Crowe • Guest Columnist In case you didn't know it, right here in our midst we have a gem of an organization — an organization that has been fighting for clean air and water for all of us here…
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 17:45

Somehow, I was meant to be right here

By Laura Amour • Guest Columnist “The mountains attract seekers.” That comment was made by a cherished friend that I have known most of my life.  We grew up together in Memphis, went our separate ways, and ended up about an…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Lonely this Christmas? Hire an old-time hermit

Serendipity: an aptitude for making significant discoveries by accident. I have always loved that word, and I have had numerous serendipity moments. I would like to tell you about the one that happened today. I have been bemoaning the fact…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

All are welcome at Pigeon Center

To the Editor: An article in the Dec. 17-23 issue of The Smoky Mountain News states that the Pigeon Center in Waynesville serves “the black community and ... underserved populations.” In fact, the programs offered there draw many of us…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Real vs. fake facts, and knowing the difference

To the Editor: Denying facts because they conflict with a belief is a survival tactic for the human race. We all do it. But now it seems a lot easier for everyone to have their own “facts.” On the Internet…
We’re all at home, on vacation at last. Ella Fitzgerald is wishing us a swinging Christmas, as she does every December. First “Jingle Bells,” then “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” then “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and on…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Golden poster-bird

It seems like the golden-winged warbler (GWWA) has become the non-game poster bird for everything from clearcuts to shelterwood cuts to overstory removal to seed tree harvests in our national forests. The philosophy appears to be “if you build it…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Sounds in the night

By Burt Kornegay • Contributing writer It was around 10:30 p.m., just as we were going to bed, when my wife Becky and I heard strange sounds outside our home in Cullowhee. I walked out on the porch and first heard…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Nantahala Brewing supports the A.T.

Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City celebrated the Christmas season with a generous donation to Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Smokies Ridgerunner program.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Forest Service wins public engagement awards

U.S. Forest Service employees in North Carolina recently received a handful of awards for their work in 2014, including a community engagement award for the forest planning process in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests. 
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Women-only ski lessons launch in January

A six-session program aimed at female skiers and snowboarders will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley.
A new conservation easement in Jackson County will provide a critical wildlife corridor, connecting three other easements and located less than 2 miles from Panthertown Valley. 
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Seasonal road closures begin in national forest

Seasonal road closures are starting to kick in for the U.S. Forest Service.  In the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest, 2.9 miles of Longarm Road, FSR-287, will close from its intersection with Blackgum Gap — FSR-288 — March…
It was still a couple weeks till Christmas, but Santa Claus already had his boots shined and suit cleaned in preparation for the second most important day of the year — his annual practice run at Chimney Rock State Park. …
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

The best things come in the smallest packages

Looking up at the old chimney, William “Gene” Gibson still wonders how Santa Claus ever managed to fit in it. “I never could figure how’d he come down through there and not get all covered in black,” the 87-year-old chuckled.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

A renewed appreciation for ‘The Great Gatsby’

In 1977 I fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. That was a year of deep reading for me — Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner, Flaubert, and so many others — but it was Gatsby I loved. The novel…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

WCU assists with Cherokee documentary

Two Western Carolina University faculty members assisted on a recently released award-winning film that chronicles efforts to revitalize the Cherokee language in Western North Carolina. Hartwell Francis, director of WCU’s Cherokee language program, and Tom Belt, coordinator of the program…
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 16:17

Foxworthy to bring laughs to Harrah’s

Superstar comedian Jeff Foxworthy will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at Harrah’s Cherokee. Foxworthy is one of the most respected and successful comedians in the country. He is the largest selling comedy-recording artist in history, a multiple…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

‘Mean Mary’ brings folk-rock to Waynesville

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist “Mean Mary” James will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at The Classic Wine Seller in Waynesville. Known internationally for lightning-fast fingers, haunting vocals, and intricate story songs, James explores the genres of folk-rock, bluegrass, and…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

This must be the place

In a beloved mountain town already filled with great restaurants, cafes, breweries and independent businesses, Sylva recently became home to two new downtown locations — The Winged Lion and Tonic Delivers. The Smoky Mountain News tracked down the owners of…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Pisgah High students get inspired by real author

Dr. Donna Glee Williams, author and fellow at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee, recently paid a visit to a World Literature class at Pisgah High School to talk about writing.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Mom with deployed son leads card drive

A Christmas card drive on the campus of Western Carolina University netted more than 4,000 cards for soldiers stationed overseas. Tables were set up across campus during various times this fall for students to sign cards for deployed soldiers or…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Canton uses crowdsourcing to improve playground

With a focus on improving recreation options for residents with limited funding, the town of Canton is using crowdsourcing methods for the first time to raise money to make playground repairs.  “Our playground is the only one in town,” said…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Canton moves forward with pool project

The town of Canton is moving forward with plans to upgrade its public swimming pool after interviewing several design consultants last week. Town Manager Seth Hendler-Voss said the board of aldermen decided this spring to make renovations to the town…
Plans to memorialize a Cherokee gravesite found earlier this year in the midst of construction for a new baseball tournament complex in Macon County now have some hard costs attached to them, and the county has requested funding from the…
It’s not every day that the scent of barbecue meatballs wafts through the open doors of a jail filled with smiling people wearing slacks, sport coats and blouses. But it’s also not every day that a sovereign nation finishes building…
Two residents shared their horror story experiences dealing with nuisance neighbors during a Dec. 18 Macon County Planning Board meeting.  The board is considering drafting a noise ordinance to address these residents’ complaints about loud music and gunshots coming from…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

New animal shelter gains traction in Haywood

A movement to build a new animal shelter in Haywood County is in the early conceptual stages. Animal lovers say a modern, more spacious animal shelter is needed, despite a daunting price tag and a sizeable drop in animals taken…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Park officials consider banning outside firewood

In an effort to protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park forest from disease-carrying pests, park officials have proposed a new regulation that would prohibit campers from bringing firewood into the park unless it’s certified.  If passed, the new regulation…
The future was looking increasingly frightening to 54-year-old Anita as she got to the end of her six-year prison sentence.  All along, she had assumed that she’d be able to live with her mother while she got back on her…
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 15:29

Council excludes media from tribal meeting

Though Cherokee Tribal Council meetings are broadcast live online and through tribal television — as well as recorded on DVDs — council retains the right to exclude non-Cherokee people from its chamber.  During its Dec. 11 meeting, it did just…
Editor’s note: Cherokee Tribal Police would not allow Smoky Mountain News Staff Writer Holly Kays entry into the Cherokee Tribal Council chambers to report on this meeting, which took place on Dec. 11. This story was written after watching a…
Underground contamination leaching from an old, closed-down landfill in Haywood County will cost millions to clean up, a burden homeowners countywide will be forced to bear through higher trash fees over the coming decade. County commissioners got their first glimpse…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Jackson considers renovations for service centers

The large, cavernous room at the heart of Jackson County’s Community Services Center doesn’t see much action these days. It’s no longer open to the public. A trash can sits solemnly collecting water dripping from a leak in the ceiling. …
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:33

Mistletoe’s link to romance goes way back

The custom of decorating with mistletoe goes back to the ceremonials of the Druids. It is a reminder of the ancient custom of keeping green things indoors in winter as a refuge for the spirits of the wood exiled by…
A $10,000 grant will go toward building up food banks in Western North Carolina in partnership with agribusiness.  The award, given to the Western North Carolina Food Policy Council, comes from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:25

Permaculture school launches in Asheville

A 12-week permaculture school in Asheville will launch in 2015, teaching students how to create landscapes that maintain the health and resilience of natural systems while also providing food, water, energy, shelter, income and spiritual fulfillment. 
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:18

Comment call for red wolf rules

A series of three public hearings in January will take public input on the future of protection for the reintroduced red wolf and continuation of coyote hunting in the five-county area in northeastern North Carolina where the wolf was reintroduced.