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On Monday evening, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners met with leaders from Jackson County Schools to talk about next year’s budget, but any outstanding fears had already been put to rest. County Manager Ken Westmoreland said because the county…
What if the driveway to the county’s administration building were lined with blueberries? It was January, and Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin and Heather Stevens were on a walk, dreaming about how green Jackson County could be. They had read an article on…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

HCC comes out on top in Recycle Mania

Haywood Community College shot to the top in a nationwide recycling competition by doing little more than what it already does to promote sustainability. More than 600 colleges signed up for RecycleMania across the country, recycling and composting more than…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Taking readers down a deep spiral

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Penguin Books, 2005. 487 pagesLet’s begin with a marvelous story — one of those timeless fables that is charged with mystery and magic — the kind that provides the basis for…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

I-40 opens at last

Interstate 40, closed since October due to a massive rockslide, reopened with little fanfare on Sunday evening. For the people who depend on the road for their living, seeing the traffic flow again brought a sense of relief. “We are…
With Haywood County’s revenues down by 4 percent, schools are looking at another year of disappointing budget allocations at the local level. Preliminary budget figures show the Haywood County public school system might receive $335,000 in capital outlay funding from…
In a 2002 referendum, the members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians voted to authorize an audit of the tribe’s enrolled members. Almost eight years later, the process is coming to a head as the Tribal Council considers how…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Key candidates missing at Swain forum

Swain County citizens might have been more thrilled about a candidate forum that was held Thursday, April 22, than the people actually running. About 75 residents came to forum to see candidates candidly answer questions submitted by fellow citizens. It…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Admiration, maybe, but no love for the boar

Numerous non-native plants have been introduced into the southern mountains during the last century or so. Many are now classified by wildlife biologists as “exotic pests.” Few would argue that kudzu does not fall into this category. And without doubt,…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

X marks the spot

I turned 35 years old on Tax Day. I’ve been stuck with that birth date from the beginning and have never tried to read into it much. April 15 is also the date Lincoln issued the call for troops that…
When John Miele, co-owner of the Golden Carp, left a social media class recently taught by Western Carolina University students, his Dillsboro business had a new home. Now, visitors can find information such as the store’s hours and location on…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

NOC’s Great Outpost

Nantahala Outdoor Center is positioned to become a major player in the outdoors scene on the Tennessee side of the Smokies with a gigantic new outfitter’s store smack in the middle of downtown Gatlinburg. The $4 million Great Outpost gives…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Ambitious development going nowhere

All visible signs of the grandiose megadevelopment known as Cataloochee Wilderness Resorts have vanished from public view in Haywood County. Businessmen behind the development recently vacated a Clyde office that served as their headquarters owing more than $8,000 in back…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

The Naturalist's Corner

A little spring cleaning It was a busy weekend and there’s a busy weekend coming up, so I’m going to use this week’s column to clear my desk: Watershed hike Saturday, April 24, was our annual spring pilgrimage into the…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

A hub for all things outdoors

For the outdoors lover, stepping into NOC’s Great Outpost in Gatlinburg is like being a kid in a candy shop. The outdoor gear and paraphernalia is as extensive as that found in major stores like REI or Bass Pro, but…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Rallying around a historic tree

Against all odds, a 250-year-old scarlet oak tree still stands on N.C. 110 south of Canton, despite being struck by lightning, despite neighboring a busy road, despite being forgotten by many for more than three decades. A Native American council…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

A huge pile of good intentions

Haywood County Solid Waste Director Stephen King did not spend his interview with The Smoky Mountain News sitting at an office, pointing to encouraging recycling statistics. Instead, King was constantly on the go, picking up a stray glove he spotted…
By Mark Singleton • Guest Columnist Even in times of crisis, we’re called to take the long view to preserve our national heritage — because in doing so we fulfill one of the responsibilities that falls to all of us…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Alcohol banned at recreation sites

The US. Forest Service has banned alcohol use at 11 recreation sites in the Nantahala National Forest. The sites include: Balsam Lake Recreation Area, Big Choga Dispersed Camping Sites, Bristol Fields Campground, Cheoah Point Swimming Area, Dry Falls Recreational Area,…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Kephart’s persona was well crafted

Our consideration of “books and all things related” continues with a look at an instance when a well-known author (and former librarian) chose to disguise his reading so as to create a literary persona. Horace Kephart was often guarded, sometimes…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

N.C. 47th Senate

North Carolina’s 47th District Senate seat represents Haywood, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery and McDowell counties. Republican voters will choose between Andy Webb, Ralph Hise, and Tamera Frank in the May 4 primary, and the winner faces incumbent Democrat Joe Sam…
The Jackson County Sheriff’s race is hot and getting hotter. While a controversial pay raise and allegations of questionable financial transactions are dogging incumbent Sheriff Jimmy Ashe, the possibility of a politically-motivated arson at challenger Robin Gunnels’ business has provided…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Candidates weigh in

Democrats Donnie Dixon: “I can’t rightfully say he’s done a bad job. It could reflect the commissioners’ doings...I have nothing against the man. I’m not going to point a finger.” Janice Inabinett said the county must rely on an evaluation…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Evergreen Foundation needs to be reined in

It is past time someone looked closely at just what is going on with the Evergreen Foundation, because apparently those in control of a whole lot of what should be public assets have strayed very far from their original mission.…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Sylva board elects to pay music licensing

With Sylva’s annual street festival Greening Up the Mountains right around the corner, town commissioners had a somewhat unusual decision land on their doorstep last week: risk a lawsuit or pay a licensing fee to a music industry group. Apparently,…
A primary owner of Ghost Town in the Sky wants to buy the amusement park out of bankruptcy. But there’s a catch. The owner would walk away from more than $5 million in debt, yet continue to own the park…
While a hotly contested judge’s race is dominating the water cooler gossip in lawyers’ offices, the average voter likely has their work cut out for them. The choices are overwhelming: 10 candidates running for three seats. All the names on…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

N.C. 50th Senate

The 50th Senate seat represents Jackson, Macon, Swain, Clay, Graham, and Cherokee counties, along with a portion of Haywood. Republican voters will choose between Jim Davis and Jimmy Goodman on the May 4 primary, and the winner will face Democratic…
In the lead-up to the primary elections on May 4, criticism of the current administration is stewing underground in Swain County. Most commissioner candidates admit reluctantly that much of that frustration is directed toward County Manager Kevin King, though few…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Jackson EDC debate is over, again

Anyone who thought the discussion over the Jackson County Economic Development Commission’s missing audits was over when the board closed the issue last December got a surprise on Monday night. Chairman Brian McMahan announced that he had gotten a letter…
Haywood County Attorney Chip Killian had his response ready for the citizen activists who have incessantly demanded referendums on a string of controversial county decisions. At Monday’s commissioners’ meeting, Killian informed them that state law actually forbids counties from holding…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Early voting off to slow start

Early voting began last Thursday, April 15, and runs through noon on Saturday, May 1. As of press time Tuesday, here’s how many people had voted early so far. Haywood 119 voted in the Democratic primary 54 voted in the…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

The Naturalist's Corner

Earth Day: hope vs. optimism Lordy, lordy look who’s 40 — Earth Day and the EPA. Officially created and established in 1970, Earth Day was the spirit and philosophy that was going to take us to Nirvana; was going to…
Friday, 03 September 2010 13:46

Trout Festival comes to Maggie Valley

From buttered trout fillets to a trout race, all things trout will be celebrated during the 21st annual Great Smoky Mountain Trout Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. The…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Meet the candidates

Three District Court judge seats are up for election in the seven western counties. The race for judge isn’t partisan, so candidates aren’t distinguished as Republican or Democrat on the ballot. Candidates have to designate which of the three seats…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Bring poetry to the people

“April is the cruelest of months, breeding/ lilacs out of the dead land” — so wrote T.S. Eliot in the much-cited first two lines of “The Waste Land.” April is also National Poetry Month. Had he lived today, Eliot may…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Politicking illegal at county meetings

At the last Haywood commissioners meeting, a citizen asked Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick and Commissioner Bill Upton to answer a political question as election candidates. This week, county attorney Chip Killian said that move was unlawful. Commissioners cannot use the forum…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Veterans take to Cherokee waters for healing

I don't do people, Bart Crowe said matter-of-factly. But there he was getting his fishing tackle together to hit the trophy waters in Cherokee with a couple of fishing buddies. Crowe carried an M-60 machine gun during Operation Desert Storm…
Diehard fans of “The Andy Griffith Show” would know there’s more than meets the eye to Rafe Hollister. The coarse hillbilly overall-clad farmer turns up to audition for the skeptical local choir and blows the crowd away with his powerful…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Haywood Waterways’ new leader

After years of being the in-the-stream science guy behind Haywood Waterways Association, Eric Romaniszyn is taking the helm as the nonprofit’s executive director, something he sees as a natural outgrowth of his work in conservation biology. “Doing what I do…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Debate Web site new to WNC election scene

Shane Burrell’s idea was simple: create a Web site where political candidates can talk to directly to voters about issues. “I knew that a lot of the candidates just weren’t able to get out there and online is an easy…
Six Democrats and five Republicans are vying for three seats on the Haywood County board of commissioners. Only three from each party will advance past the May 4 primary to the November election. The Smoky Mountain News spoke with the…
Six Democrats and five Republicans are vying for three seats on the Haywood County board of commissioners. Only three from each party will advance past the May 4 primary to the November election. The Smoky Mountain News spoke with the…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Scant primary in Jackson commissioner race

While three of five seats are up for election on the Jackson County board of commissioners, there is primary competition for just one of the seats: the Democratic primary for the Cherokee/ Whittier/Dillsboro district profiled here. William Shelton, 47, Whittier,…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Swain commissioner candidates

Democratic candidates, pick four Steve Moon, 59, owner of a tire shop, incumbent Moon is finishing up his first term as commissioner and has served on the school board for six years. Moon said he’d like to be re-elected to…
This year in Macon County, three seats on the board are up for election. Each commissioner represents a geographic district in the county, although all voters get to vote for all seats. Once the board is elected, the sitting members…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Catching air on the Nantahala

Big names in paddling will dish up their best stunts and tricks in the NOC Freestyle Shootout kayak rodeo on the Nantahala River this weekend, April 17 and 18. Freestyle kayaking, like skateboarding or snowboarding on a half-pipe, involves technical…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Haywood commissioner candidates

Democrat candidates, pick three Raymond L. Brooks, 59, owner of trucking company Brooks has worked with citizens for more than 30 years as a preacher at Waynesville’s Bible Baptist Church. He wants to reduce the county debt and be more…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Cherokee casino renovation halfway home

Last week, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians celebrated the topping off of their new 21-story hotel tower, the centerpiece of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino’s $633 million expansion. “This, for us, is a game-changer,” said Harrah’s Cherokee General Manager Darold Londo.…
Western North Carolina’s mental health agency may be headed for a civil war with its partner foundation. Smoky Mountain Center, a quasi-state body that oversees mental health in the region, hopes to wrest $20 million in assets away from its…