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It’s always a little embarrassing to look on another’s misfortune and discover that you may be the beneficiary of their problems, but it does happen. And so I read a story about Florida’s economic woes and couldn’t help but see…
By Julia Merchant • Contributing writer As a professional storyteller, Tim Hall is no stranger to spinning yarns — but it’s in Western North Carolina that Hall hopes to weave his biggest story yet. Hall’s ambitions of creating a five-story…
Graham County has thrown a curve ball in an ongoing debate with Swain County over ambulance service in Deal’s Gap, a motorcycle mecca that sees a disproportionately large share of wrecks. Deal’s Gap is an outlying area of Swain County,…
Haywood County Tourism Development Authority is employing an ambitious new marketing strategy to lure tourists, and their dollars, to the region. The plan calls for a narrowing focus on certain niche markets, as well as soliciting sponsorships from local businesses.…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:39

Methane collection system at landfill in the works

Haywood County officials are racing against the clock to get a methane collection system built at two landfills before the U.S. Senate gets a chance to pass the climate change bill. Haywood County hopes to score points for installing methane…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:33

Paddlers get restricted access to Chattooga

A long-standing ban on paddling on the Upper Chattooga River will be lifted this winter, but not without a host of restrictions designed to limit the likelihood of hikers and fishermen encountering the paddlers. Paddlers will only be allowed to…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:32

Panthertown trail plan designates use

A new trail management plan designed to rein in heavy use by competing forms of recreation in Panthertown Valley will be discussed at a public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the Cashiers Library. The…
An exhibition by critically acclaimed fiber artist Cat Chow opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, at The Bascom in Highlands. Chow, who has been hailed by The New Yorker magazine, will give an artist’s…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:29

Pooches pose problem in Sylva

A debate has erupted in Sylva over whether dogs should be allowed in the town’s new Bridge Park, a small green space adjacent to downtown with a covered pavilion for holding concerts and community events. The issue has split members…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:28

A natural passion for history

Naturalist, photographer and writer Edwin Way Teale (1899-1980) was born in Joliet, Ill. American nature writing in descriptive prose inevitably flows from Henry David Thoreau, that insistent observer of the commonplace. John Burroughs, his 19th century follower, was the first…
A new cell phone tower has been proposed on the south-facing side of Utah Mountain above Lake Junaluska. It would bring cell phone service to the dead zone on Dellwood Road (U.S. 19) when driving between Lake Junaluska and Maggie…
An epileptic woman in Macon County is alleging that she did not receive proper medical attention after being arrested for a DWI last January. Maureen Lackey, 45, is suing Macon County in a U.S. District Court and has filed complaints…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:25

Hiker airlifted from remote region of Smokies

A five-day search for a lost hiker in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park had a happy ending last week. What began as a three-night backpacking trip for Morgan Briggs, 70, of Pigeon Forge, turned into an eight-day ordeal. Briggs…
To the Editor: We’ll start with the 1943 North Shore Road Agreement since that’s what is supposedly being settled. A park road is promised — adustless surface not less than 20 feet in width. Over $10 million has been spent…
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park staged a reenactment this week of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s dedication of the newly created park nearly 70 years ago. Roosevelt’s trip to the region in 1940 is still remembered by many. Throngs of…
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers returns to Western Carolina University at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, with “Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records,” a trip into Los Angeles’ underground punk scene in the…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 13:59

The Naturalist's Corner

What’s good for the goose In his latest letter to the editor in Smoky Mountain News (8/19/09) the Canary Coalition’s executive director, Avram Friedman admonishes us to “stick to factual information” and calls Tonya Bottomley’s range of 40 to 70…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 13:52

Junaluska deals with same dog issue

Sylva isn’t the first place to wrestle with the not-so-pleasant by-product of dogs in public areas. The wildly popular two-mile walking trail around Lake Junaluska in Haywood County confronted the same issue several years ago. When word got out that…
Fundraising for the new Jackson County library may have entered the home stretch, but is far from home free. Friends of the Library is only $250,000 away from its $1.6 million goal. But the final leg will prove the toughest,…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 15:04

Ripe tomatoes and other simple pleasures

By Karen Dill • Special to The Smoky Mountain News August in the Appalachian Mountains is a time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Summer is winding down, and we look for simple and free escapes to get through…
My daughter is 8 years old, which is one of the greatest ages a person will ever be. She has outgrown Dora the Explorer and “The Cat In the Hat.” She does her own exploring now, thank you, and writes…
Swain and Graham county commissioners agreed Monday to let their respective county managers look at solid numbers before deciding on a resolution to the Deal’s Gap quandary. Graham County, which provides rescue service to the satellite Swain County territory and…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:59

Recipes, 8/26/09

Tomato Pie 1 deep dish pie shell (found in the frozen foods section) 6 medium ripe tomatoes Fresh basil leaves (optional) 1/4 cup finely chopped onion 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup parmesan cheese Salt and…
When the 3,500-acre Legasus development won exemptions from Jackson County’s development regulations two years ago, it raised the hackles of residents in the Tuckasegee community who claimed the hard-fought growth protections they ardently supported had failed when needed the most.…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:57

A force of lyrical storytelling

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie. Bell Bridge Books, 2009. 315 pages Some of the most poignant passages in literature are uttered by children: Tom Sawyer, Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Ree Dolly in Daniel Woodrell’s Winter Bone —…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:56

WCU welcomes freshman class

Probably very little about freshmen move-in day at Western Carolina University has changed over the years: the “nervous but excited” students, the teary-eyed, mostly just nervous parents following close behind, the authoritative, no-nonsense Resident Advisors directing their new underlings, and…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:53

Abbey’s tenure at ‘Redneck U’

Radical ecologist and writer Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was born in Home, Penn., the son of a hardscrabble farmer and a schoolteacher. Hitchhiking as an adolescent through the western United States initiated a lifelong identity with that region. After being discharged…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:52

A popular road reveals a dark side

An inspiration for songs, poems, and pilgrimages by motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world, the challengingly curvy stretch of U.S. 129 that crosses over from Western North Carolina to Tennessee has become the center of a political dispute between Swain…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:51

Coalition builds momentum for Nikwasi park

A proposed park at the site of the Nikwasi mound in Franklin would provide a quiet place for residents to gather while beautifying downtown and educating passersby on the mound’s historical importance. The Nikwasi mound, located near East Main Street…
A steering committee tasked with examining and recommending possible changes to Waynesville’s land-use plan is finally getting down to brass tacks. Town aldermen commissioned the project nearly a year-and-a-half ago as a five-year review of how the town’s new land-use…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:46

The Naturalist's Corner

More in the wind than megawatts The chorus of katydids clamoring in the night air announces the impending fall. And with the arrival of fall comes the departure of millions of Neotropical migrants. Clearly 90 percent of the birds that…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:44

The Bottle Rockets fly into WNC

By Joe Hooten • Guest Writer Americana-roots music has seen its fair share of imitators since its revival in the early 1990s. The explosive array of alt-country talent that preceded all the primed-for-CMT bands can be traced back to a…
Ghost Town in the Sky did not bring in enough revenue from its amusement park operations during the months of May, June and July to cover its overhead and operating expenses. Ghost Town recently filed financial statements with the U.S.…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:42

Jackson EDC says new direction key to future

A comprehensive economic development strategy would go a long way toward solving the quagmire that is holding back progress on the Jackson County Economic Development Commission, the EDC board decided this week. “This is probably the most important issue,” said…
Jackson County poll workers will contend with write-in ballots from at least two towns on election night this fall. One is Webster, where not enough people have stepped forward to run, leaving the town’s fate up to write-in candidates. The…
The latest U.S. News & World Report guide to “America’s Best Colleges” ranks Western Carolina University 10th among public universities in the South that offer master’s degrees. It is the first time WCU has made the U.S. News top 10…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:39

Bulb crusher helps recycling efforts

The state will ban plastic bottles, motor oil filters, and wooden pallets from landfills starting this October. The ban aims to fuel more recycling, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create more jobs. On the local level, Haywood Builders Supply in…
The Maggie Valley Zoning Board of Adjustments approved a special zoning exception to make way for a 114-bed assisted living facility in the Campbell Creek area. The proposed facility, located in a 5-acre section of a 16-acre tract, would be…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:36

Schools vs. prisons is an easy choice

Haywood County’s 1930’s-era minimum-security prison was kept open for another year by our ever-diligent legislative delegation in Raleigh. They saved about 45 jobs and cheap labor for roadside cleaning by keeping the relic open. Meanwhile, Haywood County school supporters were…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:35

Q&A with Congressman Shuler

SMN: What did you learn from the teletown meeting? Anything new? Heath Shuler: “The meeting reinforced my belief that most people don’t fully understand what is in the health-care reform bill and they have many valid questions about it. It…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:34

Healthcare debate civil at tele-town meeting

Against the backdrop of a nation embroiled in an emotional, high-stakes debate on health care reform, the voices of Western North Carolina citizens seemed remarkably calm and polite during a telephone town hall meeting with Congressman Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, last…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:33

Proposed apartments denied tax breaks

Neighbors of a proposed 64-unit apartment building to serve low-income seniors in Waynesville have renewed hope that their fight to stop the project isn’t over yet. They had opposed the project on the basis of its size: a three-story, 400-foot…
Since its creation, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has loomed over Swain County. Its massive peaks flank life itself: as an engine for tourism, a stomping ground for locals, and a refuge for wild things. The park’s most lasting…
A competitive state Senate race appears to be on the horizon once again for Sen. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville. Andy Webb, a Republican challenger from McDowell County, has gotten a head start by already announcing his candidacy for the 2010…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:29

Preserving Cherokee tradition

Anthropologist James Mooney (1861-1921) devoted his life to detailing various aspects of the history, material culture, oral tradition, language, arts, and religion of the Eastern Cherokee, Cheyenne, Sioux, Kiowa, and other tribes, adding a new dimension to the writing of…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:27

Cash settlement amount proves a sticking point

Negotiations over a cash settlement for Swain County have been stalled for more than a year as opposing sides argue over a fair dollar amount. Swain County officials have met three times with the U.S. Department of the Interior to…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:27

Town helps HVO seek state grant

The Town of Waynesville plans to step in for Haywood Vocational Opportunities in procuring state money to help with an estimated $2 million expansion at the old Wellco site in Hazelwood. HVO must create at least 40 jobs in exchange…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:26

Jackson EDC still taking old board’s heat

Old records of the Jackson County Economic Development Commission are likely too spotty to complete missing audits from the years 2001 through 2005, although the county and EDC board say they will continue their quest to do so. “The citizens…
Haywood County commissioners have seen their share of hot-button issues this year. First came the proposed nuisance ordinance, with angry citizens accusing them of communist rule. The momentum rolled over to budget time, when a 1-cent property tax increase once…
A Macon County group is one step closer to its dream of establishing a Living History Farm, a working replica of a pioneer village where visitors can witness what life was like for the earliest settlers in the area. An…