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The new voter identification requirement won’t likely affect North Carolinians who have put down roots, but more transient populations including college students may find the new regulations cumbersome.  College students in North Carolina will have to make an extra effort…
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:07

WCU makes big strides in freshmen retention rate

They made it a top priority, but Western Carolina University administrators were still a bit surprised when they learned they succeeded in raising the freshmen retention rate by a significant margin.
After a surge in the freshmen retention rate at Western Carolina University, school administrators are trying to get a feel for why fewer students jumped ship this year than any other year in recent history.
The commercial corridor of the Canton exit off Interstate 40 has been in a vice grip for several years due to a maxed out sewer line.
The clock is ticking for Canton to spend $25,000 in remaining grant money from the N.C. Rural Center.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:01

Swain deputies rack up 13 wrecks in three years

A Swain County deputy totaled his patrol car earlier this month after hitting a parked car while going more than 50 miles per hour.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:44

Kephart's life after Hazel Creek

Horace Kephart left the cabin site on the Little Fork in the fall of 1907, spending considerable time in other areas of the Southern Appalachians, comparing life there with what he had observed here in the mountains of Western North…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:39

Mountain Heritage Day features 5K run

A 5K race will be held on the campus of Western Carolina University in conjunction with Mountain Heritage Day festivities. The race will start at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, with check-in and race day registration from 6:45 to 7:45…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:38

Top honors for SCC students

No junior women’s freestyle kayaker in the world was better than Stecoah resident Rowan Stuart recently at the ICF Canoe World Championships — a freestyle boating competition.
The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee will host its first Fish Frenzy, a kayak and canoe fishing tournament, Saturday, Sept.28, at the Tsali Boat Ramp on Lake Fontana.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:36

Track rising water on your phone

In time for peak hurricane season, Duke Energy is going mobile with its lake level information. The smart phone-friendly website can be accessed at The default menu shows an option for “Lakes and Recreation.” Duke Energy’s lake information web…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:35

Mysteries of raptors revealed in Cashiers

A group of raptors will be featured at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, at The Village Green Commons in Cashiers. 
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:33

Got bears?

For homeowners with bear problems, the B.E.A.R. Task Force is hosting a program to keep the persistent beasts away.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:32

Grant helps elk volunteers on bikes

A $1,000 grant given to the Elk Bugle Corps in Cataloochee Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be used to buy gear for the new bike patrol. The grant from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority to…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:32

Adopt A Stream helps clean Clyde waterway

Representatives from the town of Clyde and HomeTrust Bank removed 80 pounds of trash Saturday, Sept. 7, from the small tributary of the Pigeon River. It was the town’s first waterway cleanup since it adopted the stream next to the…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:28

Fall out for the fallout

Thanks to an invitation from a friend — Blair Ogburn, senior naturalist at Balsam Mountain Trust — I was able to spend a few hours last Saturday (9/12) morning looking for fall migrants at Balsam Mountain Preserve.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:25

Cultivating dreams in Appalachia

Sunshine spills into Jackson County. The warm late summer rays cascade down into the mountains, ultimately flowing into the fields of Balsam Gardens. A handful of figures are seen wandering the mystical property, picking some of the freshest and finest…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:18

New Burke novel is not to be

In Light of the World (ISBN 978-1-4767-1076-1, $27.99), James Lee Burke once again gives readers writing cut and polished like a fine diamond. Unfortunately, what he actually has to say and the story he has to tell is so flawed…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:13

Mountain Momma

I recently took stock of our craft supply cupboard and realized it’s looking a little paltry. At one time, I was proud of the run-of-the-mill pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and multi-colored pom-poms in our craft stash. But that was before…
The 39th Mountain Heritage Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. The event will be preceded by a 5K foot race at 8 a.m. WCU’s free celebration of…
The annual Mountain Life Festival in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Mountain Farm Museum near Cherokee.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:03

HART breaks ground on new facility

The Haywood Arts Regional Theatre will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Daniel and Belle Fangmeyer Theater on the grounds of the Performing Arts Center at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in Waynesville. Since kicking off a $1 million…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:52

Racy ‘Ave. Q’ comes to HART

The Tony Award-winning puppet musical “Ave. Q” hits the stage at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20-21, 27-28 and Oct. 4-5, and at 3 p.m. Sept. 22, 29 and Oct. 6, at Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:48

McCreery returns to WNC

Country sensation Scott McCreery hits the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:47

Chicago tribute band to perform at WCU

Called “the world’s greatest tribute to Chicago,” musical group Brass Transit will perform at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University. With a growing legion of fans on both sides…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:43

This must be the place

I was born half-fish. No, not the mermaid kind, but close. As a kid, I grew up on Lake Champlain, a 125-mile long body of water sandwiched between New York, Vermont and the Canadian province of Quebec. Pristine waters flow…
Even before the lights went down and the curtain went up, one thing was already clear: this wasn’t going to be easy. A daunting job had been laid in the laps of the audience at the annual Haywood’s Got Talent…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:38

State is on the way up

To the Editor: North Carolina has the 49th highest unemployment rate in the USA, tied with Rhode Island and followed by Illinois at No. 50 and Nevada at 51 (Washington, D.C., was included in this survey).  There are well over…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:38

McCrory gets defensive about voter law

To the Editor:  The national criticism of his voter suppression law — yes, he signed it, so it’s his — must be working on Gov. Pat McCrory. He wrote a defensive op-ed piece in USA Today not long ago in which…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:38

Government for the rich, by the vindictive

To the Editor: In January, Republicans swept into state government on a mission of frugality, vowing to trim fat from the state budget. And trim they did, taking a cleaver to unemployment benefits, our vaulted education system, welfare, health care,…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:36

Needed: a just, humane immigration policy

By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist With all the current media attention being focused on Syria, budget deadlines, Obamacare, and the floods in Colorado, the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Yet, migrants…
In what he characterized as simply starting the discussion, Jackson County Commission Chairman Jack Debnam broached the idea of changing how voters elect county commissioners.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:33

Deserted factory to morph into agriculture venture

An abandoned, county-owned furniture factory in Whittier could transform into a center for agritourism in Jackson County, or it could become something entirely different.
The National Guard’s 211th Military Police Company based in Haywood County is deploying to Afghanistan.
The creation of a monolithic blueprint that will lead the seven western counties into a new economy is under way, but the team of researchers behind it is calling for community input to ensure the vision being crafted is the…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:31

Haywood acts to secure Mauney Cove trash site

Haywood County has secured the first right of refusal on the 1.4-acre tract where the Mauney Cove trash and recycling collection site is located near the intersection of U.S. 276 and U.S. 19. The county currently leases the site for…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:31

Construction climate warming up again in Haywood

Building permits are trending upwards in Haywood County thanks to an increase in single-family home construction. The majority of new permits are for mid-range homes less than 4,000 square feet and below $500,000 in value, according to Bruce Crawford, director…
The Macon Aero Modelers Club members are not afraid to fly much of anything. Large, wooden aircraft churning through the sky, small, light planes twisting and turning at 10, 15, 20 Gs — if it’s got wings, it’s their forte. 
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:27

Macon County ponies up for airport upgrades, again

The Macon County Commission last week narrowly approved funding for upgrades and an expansion of the runway at the county airport.
Maggie Valley residents and leaders are questioning how and why town taxpayers ended up footing the bill for a Country music concert at the festival grounds last month — and whether the town will end up holding the bag for…
Thousands of uninsured Western North Carolina residents will soon benefit from the Affordable Care Act, despite most people still being confused over what health insurance reform truly entails, according local health experts.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:21

Swain County fights for its just due

Swain County Manager Kevin King made another trip up to Washington, D.C. last week, though this time the visit was not strictly for Swain County’s benefit. The National Association of County Commissioners paid for King and 24 other county leaders…
U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows was appointed as one of the country’ two representatives to the United Nation’s General Assembly last week.
Five full-time doctors practicing at Swain County Medical Center have left during the past year. The departures account for half the doctors in the county, who not only staff the emergency room but also take care of patients staying in…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:15

Bryson City: just what the doctor ordered

As Dr. Randall Castor stared down the final weeks of his residency, it was clear those long, grueling years of medical training were about to pay off.
During rehearsal for her church’s band one Monday night, Paula McElroy called home to check on her 82-year-old husband who suffers from dementia. No answer.
A manufacturing plant that makes parts for big-rig cab interiors has broken ground on a $5.9 million expansion in Canton with plans to add 140 jobs at the factory by 2015. 
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:26

At least the rich got a tax cut

To the Editor: Congratulation, the Republican legislature just gave everyone in the state a tax cut. Well, maybe not, just those whose income is over $84,000. If your income is over $400,000, your tax cut may be as much as…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:25

Hoping memories last until next election

To the Editor: In a recent letter titled “New laws bring advantages to N.C. citizens,” the writer stated “It’s time to speak the truth about the gains made by the N.C. legislature in its 2013 session.” While most of the…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:25

National spotlight shines on N.C.

To the Editor: The 2013 North Carolina legislature has enacted numerous measures to benefit corporations and attract new business to our state. Tax reform is reducing corporate income tax and the state excise tax is being repealed. Middle- and lower-income…