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Wednesday, 07 April 2010 17:37

Life and death aboard a tin can

By Dr. Robert H. Spiro Jr. • Guest Columnist Friday, April 6, 1945, is a day emblazoned in my memory. Sixty-five years ago this week, off Okinawa in the East China Sea, a Japanese kamikaze plane crashed into the port…
Imagine buying an idyllic piece of land in the mountains only to learn you’ll be living under a giant, humming transmission line the size of a 12-story building. That’s what happened to Swain County residents Paul Wolf and Jennifer Simon.…
With the county budget on everyone’s mind, two Haywood commissioners received a vote of confidence on the job they’ve done despite a staggering recession. Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick and Commissioner Bill Upton both sailed through the Democratic primary with comfortable margins.…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Shelton beats Brown in Jackson primary

Incumbent William Shelton beat challenger James Bo Brown by almost a two-to-one margin to win the Democratic spot on the November ballot for the Whittier/Dillsboro district seat. The race was the only one of three county commissioners seats up for…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Crowded judge field narrowed

District Court judge candidates who made it past the primary hope the race will become more digestible to voters now that the field has been narrowed down. Three judge seats are up for election in what is considered a watershed…
A grassroots effort to halt a mine expansion in west Waynesville jumped its first hurdle last week. Citizens have convinced a state environmental agency that there’s enough community interest over the rock quarry expansion to hold a formal public hearing…
When I took my morning walk with our miniature dachshund to the mailbox to get the mail last Friday, I wasn’t really expecting much — a couple of bills, maybe a movie from Netflix, the usual mix of junk mail.…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Queen to face new challenger

After three straight match-ups with the same Republican challenger, Sen. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, will face a new opponent on the Republican side of the ticket this year. Ralph Hise, the mayor of Spruce Pine, narrowly beat out two other…
Join children’s advocates from across the United States at the third annual Lake Junaluska Peace Conference September 18-21, 2010, as we seek to create “Peace for the World’s Children.” With keynote speakers and leaders such as Marian Wright Edelman and…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

In Next, life changes in a day

Next by James Hynes. Reagan Arthur Books, 2010. 320 pages. In The Lecturer’s Tale, previously reviewed in The Smoky Mountain News, James Hynes offered a withering satire of the academic world, in particular the Machiavellian machinations carried on in a…
Removing sediment from Lake Logan would not only benefit its owner, Evergreen Packaging, it could potentially save homes and businesses from flooding, according to a study that was recently completed by McGill Associates. “If we’re successful, we could lower the…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

No Wal-Mart for Cherokee

Wal-Mart will not build a new Supercenter in Cherokee. After months of speculation that the deal between the tribe and the mega-retailer had fallen through, a company spokesperson confirmed the news this week. “We decided not to move ahead with…
Steve Lloyd, executive director of Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville, has been honored with The Herman Middleton Distinguished Service Award, given by the North Carolina Theatre Conference for service to the state’s theatre community. Lloyd has worked as an…
The primary election is over now, but even before the vote tallies made winners and losers out of so many candidates, this election season seemed to be sweeping in a tide of activism in the mountains. The truth of this…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Ashe holds on in Democratic primary

Jackson County Sheriff Jimmy Ashe proved he could survive a tough race during the Democratic primary, defeating challenger Robin Gunnels by nearly 700 votes on the unofficial count. Ashe may have another tough race in November, but on Tuesday night…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

The Naturalist's Corner

Why we do it “You’re getting up when?” “You’re going out in this weather?” People who have a passion for the outdoors and revel in the beauty and the subtle and not-so-subtle intricacies of nature are accustomed to these questions…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Celebrating Kephart, and his teacup

This past weekend marked the second annual Horace Kephart celebration in Bryson City. There was a terrific presentation of newly surfaced George Masa photographs moderated by Masa biographer Bill Hart. Daniel Gore brought his band from Washington State to play…
For the past year or so, Sylva Mayor Maurice Moody has been focused on cleaning up his town. “We’ve been talking about it for a long time, and in the last year we’ve made significant progress,” Moody said. The city’s…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Cochran hammers Dover in sheriff race

Despite widespread criticism of the job he’s done, Swain Sheriff Curtis Cochran proved unstoppable in this year’s Republican primary. Cochran buried opponent Wayne Dover in a landslide with more than 77 percent of the vote. In November, Cochran will go…
Republicans faced a major decision in the primary election: who is the best man to go head to head with Congressman Heath Shuler come fall? The two front-runners going into election day came from opposite sides of the conservative spectrum:…
North Carolina’s farmland is rapidly disappearing. The state has lost more than a million acres of it since 2007, and only 17 percent of the land in cultivation in 1950 is still farmed. In the mountains, the pressure to develop…
Going into the primary elections in Macon County, every candidate stressed the need for a fiscally conservative mindset as the county continues to contend with declining revenues. With little to separate the candidates’ platforms, it seemed like a foregone conclusion…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

Low voter turnout in primary elections

Mid-term election primaries are normally characterized by poor voter turnout, and that held true this year as only 14 percent of the state’s voters made it to the polls. In Western North Carolina, the percentages were higher than the state…
Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in Maggie Valley will emerge from bankruptcy under a new corporate structure. One of the current owners has agreed to put up $7 million to buy the park. It’s not nearly enough to…
Ghost Town in the Sky failed to make timely payments on its liability insurance policy, and as a result it lapsed just days before a massive mudslide originating from the theme park wreaked havoc on the mountainside below. Now, property…
Phil Haire is a fortress as a state candidate. The seven-time incumbent is head of the General Assembly’s appropriations committee, and he’s been endorsed by every kind of voters group from realtors to the Sierra Club. On Tuesday night, he…
Though both commissioner candidates running for re-election in Swain County have safely landed a spot in November’s election, a newcomer earned the top spot in Tuesday’s primary. With only four commissioner seats up for election, all four Republican candidates automatically…
Just a month ago, no one here would believe that the President and First Lady of the United States would one day be savoring smoked trout from Sunburst Farm in Canton while on vacation. Or munching on fresh lettuce directly…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Flying saucers hit the links

On a sunny Friday afternoon, I shanked my flick Hyzer into Copperhead Row in the company of the Doctor, Yoda, and the Kid. For those uninitiated into the manners and lingo of disc golf, allow me to shed some light…
Haywood Heritage Trail: Quilts of Bygone Years opening Wednesday, May 12, will feature traditional quilt squares for sale by area quilters and quilting guilds. In addition, several full-sized and heirloom quilts will be displayed alongside tools of the quilting trade…
Many who walk into Joel Queen’s gallery mistakenly assume the artwork there solely represents Cherokee tradition. After all, Queen comes from a long line of Cherokee potters and basketmakers who passed down their art to him as soon as he…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

The Naturalist's Corner

Murky waters – Louisiana in limbo The giant oil slick (reported to be the size of Puerto Rico) sliding around in the Gulf of Mexico like bacon grease on a George Foreman grill tied to the back of an alligator…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Welsh TV crew visits Cherokee

Iolo Williams is one of the Wales’ most recognized TV personalities. “Wildlife” Williams, as he is known by some fans, or “Birdman” as he is known by others, revolutionized BBC nature shows by bringing heady ecology together with rugged good…
Faced with a tall and growing stack of bills in the solid waste department, Haywood County commissioners are seriously considering offloading part of county trash and recycling operations to private companies. Whether it’s the $4.5 million spent to expand the…
In 1970, Cecil Groves was the 30-year-old provost of Delgado College. The city of New Orleans was on fire, rent apart by the legacy of former President Lyndon Johnson’s policy of desegregation, and Groves was trying to guide his little…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Ghost Town saga reaches deeper into WNC

Western North Carolina is a patchwork of small communities, close-knit groups operating independently to make their own town or area thrive. Whether it’s in the Nantahala Gorge, up the plateau in Cashiers or in downtown Canton, there are real people…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

WNC’s economic stimulus lies in tourism

By David Huskins • Guest Columnist Much of the talk nationally, as well as locally, has been centered on how to get our economy moving again. Policy proposals and local budgets are being measured by whether they will create jobs…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Learning to play the Angel’s Game

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Doubleday, 2009. 470 pages.A few days after completing The Shadow of the Wind, I discovered a copy of Carlos Zafon’s new novel, The Angel’s Game. When I sampled a few pages to see…
As Al Harper watched the national recession undermine ticket sales at Ghost Town amusement park over the past two years, he faced a tough choice: pump more money into the faltering theme park or throw in the towel? Walking away…
More than three months have come and gone since a major mudslide crashed through Maggie Valley’s Rich Cove community, and slide victims are still wondering when a cleanup will finally begin. Their properties are not much better off since the…
Enjoy plow demonstrations, food tasting, sack races, live music and more at the 10th Annual Strawberry Jam starting 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at Darnell Farms in Bryson City. The event is hosted by The Swain County High School Future…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

The cuckoo, both elusive and beautiful

This past weekend marked the 26th annual Great Smokies Birding Expedition, a gathering of onrnithologically-inclined friends. On Saturdays, to get things started, we always walk around Bryson City, tallying the common species that prefer a semi-urban setting. The highlight of…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Tribe plans to expand gambling reach

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians plans to build a Class II gaming facility in Cherokee County, but the project will not move forward without a fight. Earlier this year, the Tribal Council approved the concept of a satellite gaming…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

HCC building feud persists unresolved

Haywood Community College leaders have chipped away more than $430,000 worth of features from its proposed creative arts building, but the project’s $10.3 million price tag continues to leave county commissioners cringing. The Haywood County commissioners gave the college the…
Counties usually have no choice but to accept unfunded mandates from the state, but this time, Haywood County commissioners are pushing back. For the second time in recent years, legislation has been introduced in the state that would pass on…
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:19

Using music to write history

Bluegrass recording artist Buddy Melton feels like he owes Jackson County. He had never played an instrument until he started fiddling in his college dorm room in Cullowhee. He had never experienced the roots of mountain music until he found…
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:19

Tough times lead to tough choices

For its entire existence, this country’s leaders have wrestled with the slippery issue of power and how much is too much for government at all levels. In times like these, as tax revenues disappear while the free market struggles, the…
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:19

Self-help without the sugar

Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness by William Spiegelman. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009. In Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, ISBN 978-0-374-23930-5, $23), William Spiegelman, an English professor at Southern Methodist University and editor of…
An election night glitch in McDowell County led to some votes being counted two or even three times instead of just once, skewing the results in the Republican primary for a state Senate seat spanning six mountain counties, including Haywood.…
While the summer bounty of tomatoes, corn and green beans are still a couple of months away, there is still plenty of local grown food items to be found as local farmers markets gear up for the season. Markets are…