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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…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 14:57

NC’s tourist trails

An Internet search for tourism trails spawns a list of results including biking in Texas, rail travel in England, a tour of “Sex in the City” sites in New York and a heritage trail in Washington, D.C. But the trail…
Award-winning outdoor writer Jim Casada has just published what he describes as “my book of a lifetime.” Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: An Insider’s Guide to a Pursuit of Passion, features separate chapters covering every major…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 14:53

If not now, then health care reform may never pass

This country must pass health care reform that accomplishes two major objectives: providing coverage for everyone and controlling skyrocketing costs. I believe that the bill must include a public option for those who are now uninsured. And just like automobile…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 14:47

Zahner’s special affection for Highlands

Biologist and ecologist Robert Zahner (1923-2007) was born in Summerville, S.C., and grew up in Atlanta. But his adopted “spiritual home” was the elevated plateau on the southeastern cusp of the Blue Ridge where Highlands is situated. Through the years,…
Health insurance reform has garnered a seemingly incongruous ally: the already well-insured workers of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. The association held a forum in Haywood County last week to educate state employees on exactly what the 1,017-page…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:46

Vivid descriptions fail to save flawed book

South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Nan A. Talese, 2009. 528 pages. In his latest novel, South of Broad (ISBN 978-0-385-41305-3, $29.95), Pat Conroy writes with his usual sure touch of subjects and places familiar to his fans: Charleston and…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:45

Free clinics feel recession’s pinch

Amy Street thought she could finally afford health insurance this year. But that was before Street’s employer slashed 25 hours from her 40-hour work week. Street, a 62-year old Waynesville resident, recently applied for retirement and social security benefits, but…
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.…