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A public meeting on management plans for the Needmore game land in Macon and Swain counties will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at Tartan Hall, First Presbyterian Church, 26 Church St., in Franklin.
Owen Link McConnell liked the Unicoi and Snowbird mountains so much, he wrote a book about them. And not just any book, but a reference guide for the region. Unicoi Unity: A Natural History of the Unicoi and Snowbird Mountains…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:03

Mailer — a man of his time and shaper of it

In the Prologue to Norman Mailer: A Double Life (978-1-4391-5019-1, 2013, $40), biographer J. Michael Lennon writes that “Mailer’s desire for fame, and his distaste for it, never abated over his long career. Nor did his ability to determine how…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:51

Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival wants artists

The Greater Cashiers Area Merchants Association is currently looking for artisans for the 6th annual Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, which will be held Oct. 10-12.  The festival is Western North Carolina’s most prominent fall event. The weekend festival is held…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:50

Waldroop family benefit in Franklin

A benefit for Sam Waldroop will be at 4 p.m. Feb 15 at South Macon Elementary School in Franklin. On Dec. 24, 2013, Sam Waldroop (son of Ricky and Julia Waldroop and brother of Christie and Amy Kinsland) was in…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:48

Celtic dance troupe steps into Franklin

The National Dance Company of Ireland’s “Rhythm of the Dance” hits the stage 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:44

Exhibit of rare pottery at WCU

Pottery from the private collection of Joan Byrd and George Rector will be on display Feb. 17 through May 9 in the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University. An artist’s talk and reception is set for 5 p.m. March…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:43

The Drifters to bring doo-wop to Franklin

Bennie Anderson and The Drifters will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. The Sock Hops will open the show.
The Sunday Concert Series continues at 3 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Waynesville and Canton libraries.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:39

This must be the place

My first time was in a navy blue 1991 Toyota Camry. My first time hearing The Beatles, that is. Like the first time you kissed a loved one, that initial introduction to the Fab Four stopped you in your tracks,…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:37

Country boys can survive

Zach Haney looks at obstacles as opportunities. “I wasn’t even supposed to walk, but here I am,” he said.  Guitarist for the Joe Lasher Jr. band, Haney is a 21-year-old Canton native. Born with cerebral palsy, he’s turned whatever adversities…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:01

Visualizing the options for growth

By Ben Brown • Guest Columnist Think of it as a starter kit for a comprehensive business plan for North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties.  That’s as good a way as any to understand the mission of the Opportunity Initiative for Southwestern…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:01

Democratic whining ignores progress

To the Editor: Some parts of Western North Carolina are loaded with socialist agenda people, especially in Asheville and Cullowhee.  They must envy the great progress the country of Russia has made. Is not Sochi a shining example of how…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:00

Article misstated my views on slope rewrite

To the Editor: I want to thank The Smoky Mountain News for the  article in the Feb 5 edition ( concerning the proposed Jackson County Mountain and Hillside Development Ordinance (MHDO). That subject needs public attention, thought and then response…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:54

Moral March is not a moment, but a movement

By Doug Wingeier • Columnist As I write this, I have just returned from a tiring but exhilarating day participating in the Moral March on Raleigh. My wife and I joined 18 others from Haywood County — friends both black and white — plus…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:53

Jackson fire tax goes up in smoke

Jackson County commissioners have nixed the idea of making volunteer fire departments financially autonomous.
County leaders in Western North Carolina breathed a collective sigh of relief after the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law Feb. 7. The bill includes a one-year extension of the PILT program, which stands for payment in lieu of…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:51

Cherokee Bear Zoo fined by OSHA

Cherokee Bear Zoo has been fined by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for violating worker safety regulations. Cherokee Bear Zoo was cited for allowing workers to have “unprotected contact with bears while feeding, cleaning cages and assisting in…
Four Asheville residents were arrested after an attempt to steal a logsplitter from Lowe’s in Waynesville drew the attention of an alert citizen. Something about the scene apparently didn’t sit quite right: a person in the bed of a pickup…
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:48

2014 election filing season opens

The 2014 election season officially got underway this week. Candidates could begin signing up to run for office on Monday. The candidate sign-up period runs for two weeks, closing on Feb. 28.
Limits on mountainside development and standards for steep slope building are once again in the spotlight in Jackson County.  The Jackson County planning board has spent the past 14 months rewriting steep slopes regulations first put in place seven years…
By Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent A design for a new gazebo on the town square in downtown Franklin has been sent back to the drawing board.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:35

Ghost Town gunfight negotiations finalized

A compromise has been reached between Ghost Town in the Sky and state inspectors over a violation and fine stemming from a staged gunfight at the Maggie Valley amusement park.
Robert Holland has been pushing to place a resource officer in every school for years — long before the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy catapulted cops in schools to the top of county funding debates, and even before assuming the…
Usually, you’d expect a school system to jump at the chance to give its teachers a raise, but superintendents statewide are now rolling up their sleeves for an unpleasant task: figuring out a process to determine the top 25 percent…
Restaurants in Haywood County are being encouraged to jump on the Melange of the Mountains train, which will return this year April 10-13. The event is expanding again this year, with a growing  lineup of culinary-themed festivities over several days. …
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:28

Canton debates alcohol policy at armory

A request to serve keg beer at an event in the Canton Armory prompted a broader discussion of the town’s alcohol policy at public venues it rents.
By Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent Haywood County leaders have all but signed off on plans by a pair of faith-based groups running social service ministries in the county to convert a defunct state prison into a homeless shelter and halfway…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 16:10

Tallulah Hike steps off a year of wilderness

A guided hike along the Tallulah River in the Southern Nantahala Wilderness will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of passage of the Wilderness Act. It is being led by the Nantahala Hiking Club and…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 16:08

Outhouse race to run in Sapphire

So, when else would you have an opportunity to race an outhouse down a ski mountain? Thought so. 
A whole lot of people visited the WNC Nature Center last year. The Friends of the WNC Nature Center report that 107,949 people visited the Nature Center in 2013, a record-breaking attendance.
A Haywood County teacher, Janet Frazier, has been named the 2013 North Carolina Elementary Conservation Education Teacher of the Year.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 16:03

Macon hiker talks about life feat

Octogenarian Jim Pader will talk about his record-setting hike up Mount Whitney from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, at REI in Asheville.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:59

Dinosaurs, LEGOS and toads, oh dear

No better way to celebrate a big thaw than an impromptu field trip. We rounded up kids, friends and friends’ kids and headed for the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. Our first stop at the Arboretum was the Baker Exhibit…
There’s nothing abnormal about the pair of armchairs in Jim and Baraba Mills’ living room, or about the television — the old tube kind — and wooden entertainment center that they face. Typical, too, is the hodgepodge of DVDs and…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:40

‘Night Film’ is a tiring yet mesmerizing read

I did not like this book. My first response on finishing it was that I would not review it, but there is a paradox here. The author has an enviable and encyclopedic knowledge of the history of film, and this book is…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:35

Background checks are government overreach

To the Editor: The Jackson County commissioners recently made a mistake — an honest, well-meaning, well-intentioned error, yet a mistake nonetheless. Imposing background checks on county volunteers is government intrusion and is wrong. These infringements to our freedoms are totally…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:35

How did county finance not catch on?

To the Editor: The alleged embezzlement of around $50,000 from Macon County taxpayers by a county employee highlights incompetency within the county’s “award winning” finance department. The allegations in Judge Letts’ search warrant for the Macon County Board of Elections…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:34

Teachers, public education get raw deal

To the Editor: If you have been following the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, you have recently learned that 85 individuals control more wealth than the less wealthy half of the world’s population …  that’s 3.5 billion people. It…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:33

Public Art Commission needs to speak up

To the Editor: I served on the Waynesville Public Art Commission from 2006 until March of 2011. Public art was a brand new commission at the time, tasked with not only starting a public art collection for the town of Waynesville…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:30

Vouchers are just bad education policy

The Smoky Mountain News published an excellent analysis of the controversy centered on the current legislation called the “Opportunity Scholarship Program” in the Jan. 29 issue ( SMN Staff Writer Holly Kays presented this material in exemplary form.  I was…
A plan to turn the old state prison campus in Hazelwood into an epicenter for changing lives is moving forward fast. 
By Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent Years have passed since Jack McJunkin’s dog was struck and fatally injured by a car on a Swain County road. But memories of the episode linger.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00

Finding a culprit behind parking crunch in Canton

Free parking has its drawbacks, at least for the Country Music and Dance Parlor in downtown Canton.
David Brooks grew up dirt poor. His dad farmed corn, apples and tobacco, always with a plow and mule, never with a tractor. Brooks’ mom and five siblings were often left to tend to the 100-acre hillside farm in Jackson…
Who shows up and speaks out at a steep slope public hearing in Jackson County next week could alter what mountainside development looks like for decades to come.
After discovering $50,000 worth of unauthorized checks had disappeared from its budget and placing director Kim Bishop on paid investigatory leave, the Macon County Board of Elections is now trying to regain its footing.
Three weeks after the State Bureau of Investigation launched a probe into possible embezzlement at the Macon County Board of Elections, county leaders are still sifting through the paperwork to figure out just where it all went wrong.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00

REO Speedwagon to rock Harrah’s

Iconic rockers REO Speedwagon will play at 9 p.m. Feb. 14 at Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center. Formed in 1967, signed in 1971, and fronted by legendary vocalist Kevin Cronin since 1972, REO Speedwagon is a band whose career will always…
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00

‘A Doll’s House’ at WCU

The 1960s version of the production “A Doll’s House” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12-15 and at 3 p.m. Feb. 16, in the Hoey Auditorium at Western Carolina University.