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Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:40

Local restaurants support Haywood County farmers

Local chefs are proving to be some of the best supporters of Haywood County farmers. “The Buy Haywood project is having a great year, from new produce sales at Ingles grocery stores to a new map and brochure to encourage…
Small business expert Tom Shay told local store owners in Franklin, Sylva and Waynesville that recessions are good for one thing: weeding out the weak. “A recession is a wonderful thing,” said Shay. “It clears the landscape.” At the same…
When America tunes in to Ken Burns’ long-awaited documentary on the national parks next week, the hard-fought battle to save the Great Smoky Mountains from unrelenting timber barrons will play a major role in the epic series. The story of…
After years of fruitlessly demanding fire protection from a local volunteer fire department, homeowners on Buck Knob Island in the middle of Lake Glenville are finally inching toward their goal. So far, the state fire marshal’s office has assessed the…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:34

WCU announces 2009-10 theater season

The department of stage and screen is kicking off Western Carolina University’s 2009-10 “Mainstage” theater season with the hip, dark comedy “Manuscript.” This season also will feature productions of Shakespeare’s classic “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Chorus…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:33

After delay, schools getting lottery dollars

By Julie Ball • Correspondent Some lottery money used to pay the debt on local school projects is coming to Western North Carolina months after the payments were frozen amid the state budget crunch. The money, which was withheld by…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:31

‘John Muir’ makes a return visit to WNC

By Thomas Crowe “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful, not only as fountains of…
The Macon County committee charged with proposing regulations for building on steep slopes is still swimming in a sea of ideas but has agreed on one point. It will incorporate landslide hazard maps into a proposed ordinance, though the maps…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:26

County settles Cameron lawsuit for $75,000

Haywood County is shelling out $75,000 for an out-of-court settlement that resolves an ongoing lawsuit by a landowner over the county’s erosion control laws. The county’s liability insurance pool will cover the remaining $105,000 of the $180,000 settlement. “It was…
By Julia Merchant • Contributing Writer A year and a half ago, Fatie Atkinson spent most of his time in an office designing custom furniture and tossing around ideas with other creative professionals. Today, instead of the chatter of a…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:17

Film highlights Asheville’s many offerings

“The Spirit of Asheville” (video) by Arthur Hancock and Katie Brugger. Time Capsule Video: Highlands. Running Time: 73 minutes. The Spirit of Asheville” is an unabashed siren call to the rest of the world: “Come to Asheville! This is the…
Bob Buckner, director of Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, is one of the first two recipients of the Award for Excellence in Marching Music Education presented by MENC: The National Association for Music Education and Drum…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:15

Revealing a love for the Smokies

Angler and writer Harry Middleton (1949-1993) is an elusive figure. Except for what he chose to reveal in his books — which are part memoir and part novel — little is known, outside of family and friends, about his too…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:13

Fly-fishing tournament offers hefty prize

A $10,000 cash prize is at stake for the second annual Rumble in the Rhododendron Fly Masters Tournament on Sept. 26-27 in Cherokee. Sponsored by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Fisheries and Wildlife Management in partnership with the North…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:12

The Naturalist's Corner

Act swiftly No, I don’t mean fly around in a circle above a chimney or smokestack before disappearing into it. I mean clear your calendar and grab the kids and head to Asheville’s Grove Arcade this Friday (Sept. 25 from…
With much controversy circling around how to conduct the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a conference at Lake Junaluska this weekend will instead focus on how to bring about lasting peace. The second annual Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, scheduled for…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 16:05

Hard drive connects, but some data is lost

By Jon Beckman • Guest ColumnistThe human brain must have been the first computer, capable of capturing and storing data for future reference, helping us learn to get out of the rain and not to put our hands in the…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 16:03

Swain makes cuts to plug million dollar shortfall

The recession has finally caught up with Swain County. While other counties began bracing for declining revenues in late 2008, Swain County has only just begun to tackle a $1 million shortfall eating its way through the county budget. Swain…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 16:02

Rooting out landslide prone slopes

As much as mountain dwellers take pride in the gnarled and weathered Rhododendron thickets that characterize Appalachian mountainsides, the signature bush could have a nasty side-effect. The same uncanny knack of the twisted roots to cling to steep, rocky terrain…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 16:00

Duke countersues Jackson

Duke Energy has fired back at Jackson County’s attempt to seize the Dillsboro Dam with a counterclaim of its own. Duke claims that it is the victim of abuse of process by the county and is seeking damages. Despite the…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:59

Family time before deployment a mix of emotions

I do not much like having my photograph taken, but there is one picture of me I have always liked. In it, I am standing near the road between my old apartment and the park across the street. In the…
Three years later, Denise Mathis, former director of the Haywood County Council on Aging, is still fighting to restore her reputation and seek monetary damages for being wrongly accused of mismanaging the finances of her former agency. Mathis lost her…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:55

Sheriff, Swain point fingers over budget shortfall

The on-going tension between Swain County commissioners and the sheriff has surfaced yet again, this time over the root cause of the county’s $1 million budget shortfall. “If it hadn’t been for the expenditures of the sheriff’s office we would…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:54

The Naturalist's Corner

Surprises under fog I decided to take advantage of a few free hours last Friday morning to get a firsthand look at fall migration. My strategy was to drive up to Soco Gap and then follow the Blue Ridge Parkway…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:53

WCU shoreline studies send out call to action

Western Carolina University professor Rob Young has co-authored a book titled The Rising Sea, which bears an “urgent message” for society about the threat posed by global sea-level rise. Sea-level rise is not merely a future possibility but is happening…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:52

Indigo mushrooms elicit eureka moment

When John Springstead went hiking through the forest behind his house outside Bryson City last week, he stumbled across a pale blue wad of paper peaking through the leaves. He stooped down to retrieve it as any good Samaritan would…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:51

Entering the mind of a terrorist

First up for review this week is Piers Paul Read’s The Death of a Pope (Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-1-58617-295-4), the story of a terrorist plot following on the heels of the death of John Paul II in which the terrorists…
Plans for a 300-acre golf course on Cullowhee Mountain in Jackson County have been temporarily sidelined after developers failed to follow through on a federal environmental permit. Several creeks were in the way of Legasus’ golf course design. Nearly two-thirds…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:49

A gifted writer, a great naturalist

Those of you who enjoy reading books about the Smokies should make an effort to locate a copy of Hidden Valley of the Smokies: With a Naturalist in the Great Smoky Mountains (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1971) by Ross E.…
Illegal temporary signs are so commonplace in Waynesville that Byron Hickox — the town’s land use manager — does a sign sweep once every week. Hickox drives around the main thoroughfares, grabbing any sign that is not allowed and amassing…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:47

Watershed assessment still underway

The team of experts conducting an ecological assessment of Waynesville’s 8,600-acre watershed has collected so much data that they have had to hunt down a bigger software package that can actually handle the load. “We cannot fit this on Excel,”…
Jackson County’s lawsuit against Duke Energy to seize the Dillsboro Dam and surrounding river shore through eminent domain has been kicked up to federal court. Jackson County filed the condemnation lawsuit in state court in August, but Duke attorneys argued…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:38

HCC crafts students awarded fine arts scholarships

Four Haywood Community College Professional Crafts students, representing each field of study, were recently awarded Gateway to the Arts Scholarships. Those receiving the $1,000 awards for the 2009-10 academic year were Stephanie Costa, fiber; Melinda Erwin, clay; Penny Jewett, wood;…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:37

Macon wades gingerly toward transportation plan

As the main coordinator of a comprehensive transportation plan for Macon County, Ryan Sherby faces a long road ahead of him. Sherby and a local steering committee — with the help of public input — aim to determine the transportation…
A scholarship fund to encourage biological research among students at Western Carolina University has been created as a tribute to Bob Zahner, a plant lover, botanist and former trustee of the Highlands Biological Station. The fund will cover tuition and…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:35

A seven-year vigil for peace

A quiet gathering of people stood outside Haywood County’s courthouse on a recent Wednesday afternoon holding colorful signs and flags calling for peace. They waved back to smiling drivers who honked their car horns in support or gave thumbs up…
The forest service has pledged to ensure a solitary wilderness experience on the upper Chattooga River, even if it means imposing limits on the number of recreational users who can enter the area, including day hikers. If such steps are…
By Julia Merchant • Contributing Writer Take a drive through the countryside of Western North Carolina, and you’ll likely notice brightly colored squares adorning the sides of barns and other rustic structures. Look closer, and they’ll tell you a story…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:11

The Naturalist's Corner

Taking a swim through the air On long narrow graceful wings, the common nighthawk seems lighter than air as it dips, glides, banks and dives to scoop flying insects out of the sky. As common as dusk itself, this aerobatic…
The battle over healthcare reform hit home in Sylva last week. A crowd of more than 50 people gathered on Main Street at the foot of the historic courthouse Wednesday evening holding signs in support of a public health care…
With an economy still recovering from a recession, local businesses are reaching for ways to keep customers coming. Downtown associations in Franklin, Sylva and Waynesville will assist in those efforts by bringing in the expertise of a small business consultant.…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:08

Lake J seeks state help for dam, sediment

Lake Junaluska Assembly is asking Haywood County commissioners to help it land state grants for maintenance on the lake and dam. The Assembly faces two major issues: repairs to the aging dam and sediment removal from the lake. An engineering…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:07

WCU to pass on electric rate hike

Those who buy their power from Western Carolina University have historically enjoyed cheaper electric bills than their neighbors, but that is soon to change. WCU buys electricity at wholesale rates from Duke Energy and resells it to customers on its…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:06

Haywood gets rolling on methane project

Haywood County commissioners have taken the first step in constructing a more than $1 million methane collection system at two landfills. After two 4-1 votes, the board this week approved doling out $92,200 to McGill Associates to handle the design…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:04

Follow the yellow brick road

• The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina are collected in a travel-size book that leads visitors on eight driving tours along scenic byways and back roads to more than 500 galleries, studios, heritage sites, historic inns, and restaurants…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:03

Grouse habitat dedicated to outdoor lover

A project to create prime ruffed grouse habitat in the Cold Mountain Game Lands has been dedicated as the Jerry Smathers Memorial Ruffed Grouse Habitat. Smathers was an avid outdoorsman and loved spending his free time in the woods hunting,…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:01

The dark side of the Romantics

The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy and Thomas Hobbler. Little, Brown and Company. 374 pages. Back in the 1950’s, when I was an English major, I frequently found myself moribund with boredom as I suffered…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:00

Borrowing bikes a big hit at university

Ever since the launch of the Yellow Bike Project in late August, a new bike culture has quickly sprung up around campus at Western Carolina University. The student-led initiative, which makes a fleet of fixed-up bikes available to anyone who…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 14:59

Macon group takes aim at day care shortage

By Julie Ball • Correspondent Working parents in Macon County have few choices when it comes to child care for their infants, according to members of a committee tasked with coming up with some solutions to the county’s child care…
Western Carolina University has enacted mandatory testing for the sickle cell trait among all student athletes following the death of a football player during summer workout drills in July. Ja’Quayvin Smalls, a junior defensive back from Mount Pleasant, S.C., was…