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Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Life on the rock

Workers on the rockslide slope are laboring around the clock. There’s a day crew and a night crew, ranging from 15 to 25 men per shift. They labor for 10 hours at a stretch on the side of a steep,…
Comprehensive planning is supposed to be, well, comprehensive. But as Macon County leaders are finding out, it’s not that easy to get the public’s opinion on how its government should work for the next 20 years. After a three-month effort…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

Davis was a poetic nature writer

The professional career of biologist Millard C. (“Bill”) Davis — who was born in 1930 in Utica, N.Y., and now resides in Dunnellon, Fla. – included stints as a teacher and editor in various capacities. He has been president of…
William Maney, owner of Fantasy Travel in Sylva, allegedly defrauded an elderly woman from Franklin out of $7,000 last year by stealing her credit card and using it to purchase airline tickets for other clients, according to charges filed by…
Get ready to hit the slopes and participate in meaningful worship at Lake Junaluska’s Ministries with Young People (MYP) annual THAW President’s Day Weekend, February 12 – 15, 2010. MYP at Lake Junaluska offers Christian youth ski weekends packed with…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Elk delisting draws ire of protectors

“Elk don’t know how many feet a horse has.” That’s the advice Bear Claw Chris Lapp gave Jeremiah Johnson as the pair hid behind their horses while stalking elk in the eponymous Robert Redford film. Well, according to Jackson County…
The bankruptcy of one of Western Carolina University’s largest supporters will hurt the school’s fast growing construction management program. In 2005 Joe Kimmel, owner of Asheville-based Kimmel & Associates, pledged nearly $7 million over eight years to the construction management…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

National Guard soldiers deserve better

The Smoky Mountain News cover story last week about the troubles faced by returning National Guard soldiers after deployments in Irag and Afghanistan will hopefully open many people’s eyes to this issue. Reporter Giles Morris wrote about the post-traumatic stress…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

The Naturalist's Corner

And then there were none Atlee Yoder’s purple martin houses are in storage, out of the raw Ohio weather, awaiting spring and the first scout of the new season. But herein lies the rub — Yoder’s houses did not come…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

If you reform a reform, is it still reform?

Michael Watson, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, contends the state’s overhaul of its behavioral health system doesn’t amount to an abandonment of its past reform effort of 2003. “I wouldn’t call it a rollback of…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Close-up of a crumbling facility

Fire code violations, compromised client confidentiality, leaking roofs, freezing pipes, lack of energy efficiency, severely limited space, windows that won’t close... The problems with the current DSS and health department facilities would take pages to list. And the issues have…
NOTE: Gracie Mayer won the Building Small Essay Contest held in conjunction with the N.C. Arboretum's Building Small exhibit and sponsored by Smoky Mountain Living. Here is her winning entry: If you’re wondering what it’s like to live in a…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

New club nurtures growing interest in bees

A beekeepers association has formed in Haywood County. The club meets at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Office in Waynesville off Raccoon Road. The club has seen a huge level of interest…
Year after year, Haywood County commissioners recognized the social service and health department buildings were falling apart. Yet they passed the buck, hoping the next set of fresh-faced commissioners would tackle the lingering issue. Last week, county commissioners got over…
The North Carolina Wildlife Commission is at odds with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the status of the newly reintroduced elk herd. The N.C. Wildlife Commission has come under fire for its plan to remove elk from the…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

A tale of both despair and hope

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath by Elizabeth and Michael Norman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. 480 pages In the summer of 1966 I worked one day a week as a volunteer…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

A look at John Preston Arthur

One of my favorite accounts of this region’s varied history is provided by John Preston Arthur, who published his 659-page volume titled Western North Carolina: A History (From 1730 to 1913) in 1914. Originally published by The Edward Buncombe Chapter…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Swain plods toward fund balance recovery

Despite cutting corners across the board, Swain County still isn’t sure it has achieved a healthy level of savings. Nevertheless, County Manager Kevin King is guessing the county will pull out of its financial crisis by early spring. “That’s not…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Duke prevails over Jackson

The seven-year battle between Jackson County commissioners and Duke Energy has come to a close. After losing a critical court battle last week, Jackson County commissioners vote 4 to 1 to give up their legal fight against Duke Energy at…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

Wal-Mart no more

Haywood County commissioners are joining a burgeoning nationwide movement that is making use of abandoned Wal-Marts and foresaken strip malls in creative ways. Deserted Wal-Marts across the country have been reworked into a library, a mega-church, an indoor flea market,…
The Town of Canton has begun clamping down on video sweepstakes machines with a new ordinance last week, but some business owners seemed more relieved than disappointed. That’s because the ordinance ends the 90-day moratorium passed in November and clears…
Canton aldermen are embarking on an ambitious quest to identify long-term goals and strategies that will shape the town in years to come. “You’ve got to have a plan, and this is the plan for the future of Canton,” said…
The state agency in charge of implementing new mental health rules this year says those changes will save money and improve quality, but some providers see it as a knee-jerk reaction that will limit access to services and put people…
Audience members knew from the start that this concert would be different. Instead of beginning the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver show by bringing out the legendary bluegrass band, concertgoers were given an acting lesson of sorts. They were instructed to…
A 31-year-old attorney in Jackson County pleaded guilty this week to forging judges’ signatures and creating phony court documents. John Lewis faked the signatures on limited privilege driver’s licenses for at least three clients in Swain County who had their…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Canton Mill pursues new pollution permit

Evergreen Packaging, a large paper mill in Canton, is seeking a new water pollution permit for the Pigeon River. The paper mill sucks roughly 29 million gallons a day out of the river and uses it in myriad aspects of…
It may be illegal to throw away plastic bottles in North Carolina these days, but don’t expect a landfill patrol to start picking through your trash any time soon. The state is still trying to divine how exactly to enforce…
Haywood Regional Medical Center was in better financial shape than expected as it embarked on an affiliation with neighboring hospitals under WestCare and entered a management contract with Carolinas Healthcare System this month. The latest financial report for Haywood Regional…
Fellow ice carvers Jeff Pennypacker and Cary Shackelford are ever ready to etch out any sculpture that will satisfy their client’s whimsy. The recently departed holiday season means Pennypacker has carved heaps of reindeers, snowflakes, New Year’s signs, champagne bottles…
Elder abuse takes many forms and, thanks to a national grant program, law enforcement officers in Western North Carolina now know what to look for. In 2007, the Department of Justice awarded the 30th Judicial District Sexual Assault Alliance a…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Golf club to restore Upper Cullasaja

The Upper Cullasaja Watershed Association and the Cullasaja Club are pursuing state funding to restore the headwaters of the Cullasaja River. The partners have applied to the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund for money that would allow them…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Haywood County poised to buy abandoned Wal-Mart

Haywood County Commissioners are expected to vote this week to buy the abandoned Wal-Mart shopping center near Lake Junaluska and retrofit the space to house the Department of Social Services. Commissioners will convene a special meeting on the issue Wednesday…
For the first time in history, the government, the military and private healthcare providers are working together to deliver the appropriate counseling resources to returning war veterans. This year, the Haywood Regional Medical Center, working with a Department of Defense…
The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently upheld a state law that bans video gambling everywhere but the casino in Cherokee. The video gambling industry challenged the ban, claiming it was unfair to outlaw the machines statewide while allowing them…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Suspenseful guest drives novel

For some 30 years now, Bernard Cornwell has been one of the most prolific writers in the western hemisphere. With over 40 books to his credit, he has settled comfortably into the “historic fiction” genre and has become famous for…
Religion and its place in local government have once again arisen as issues in North Carolina. This means that many Christians — especially those holding elected office — are having to search for a balance between their personal prayer practices…
Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park received a record $385,000 from drivers sporting the special “black bear” license plate program in 2009 — the park’s 75th anniversary year. Support from North Carolinians for the Smokies’ license plates increased $46,720…
At a time when Waynesville’s appearance standards are under scrutiny for being too strict, three proposed developments cruised past the town’s Community Appearance Commission. Last week, the advisory board approved the Noland Retail Center and Holland Car Wash, both on…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Antenna users left in the lurch

Television viewers in Jackson and Macon counties who get their reception the old-fashioned way — with an antenna — have been without UNC-TV for the past month. The UNC-TV translator on Coweee Mountain malfunctioned in early December. New equipment finally…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Commissioners commit to former Wal-Mart site

After a marathon five hours of discussion on Wednesday (Jan. 13), Haywood County commissioners voted unanimously to buy the abandoned Wal-Mart shopping center near Lake Junaluska and retrofit the space to house the Department of Social Services and health department.…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Finding a WNC solution for ‘aging in place’

With so many unknowns ahead, it’s comforting there are proven solutions to one big challenge — the aging of the population. From research, and experience, experts have identified factors for remaining independent, resilient and happy as we grow older. Key…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Soldiers face a second battle at home

Citizen soldiers. The National Guard’s moniker evokes the best of American values and hearkens back to a Greek ideal. The citizens of a nation, its moral fiber during times of peace, should be ready to take up arms during war.…
An attorney that forged judges’ signatures was caught thanks to the sharp eyes of a law enforcement officer, a fellow attorney and a court clerk who noticed red flags. But for at least a year, fraudulent driving privileges provided to…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Congregation backs leaders’ stand on prayer

Responding to a Smoky Mountain News article covering the debate over prayer at public meetings, a group of Macon County residents attended the county’s first board meeting of the New Year to urge the commissioners to hold their ground on…
Duke Energy could start tearing down the Dillsboro Dam any day after Jackson County lost a final and critical legal battle this week. Judge Zoro Guice denied a move by the county to temporarily halt demolition on the Dillsboro Dam.…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Masters of the night sky

The New Year has arrived and the great horned owls have commenced their annual “singing” along the dark ridges. These birds don’t sing, of course, in the manner of true songbirds like warblers and orioles — but the quick cadence…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

A snowflake by any other name

It was one of those rare winter mornings when Haywood County Schools were on a two-hour delay. Izzy, my second-grader, and I dropped her sister, Maddy, at First Methodist’s outstanding daycare center, blasted by Smoky Mountain Coffee Roasters, grabbed a…
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 15:43

New generation takes over at City Lights Books

What is a bookstore? The question was unimaginable when Joyce Moore bought City Lights Books in Sylva from Gary Carden in 1986. But as Moore calls time on her career, e-books and online booksellers have challenged bricks and mortar bookstores…
Elk could lose their status as a species of special concern under a new rule change proposed by the N.C. Wildlife Commission. A public hearing on proposed changes to state hunting and fishing rules will be held at 7 p.m.…
A year ago, state officials promised a group of Macon County residents that they would get a cost estimate for what it would take to rehabilitate the McCoy Bridge, a single lane truss bridge that dates from the 1930s. That…