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Attorneys in the seven western counties will to be called on in the coming weeks to weigh in on their top pick to fill a vacancy on the judicial bench.
On Sept. 12, Jeff Clontz walked out of Haywood County Jail a free man. It wasn’t his first time, though. Jail, release and failing to pay child support comprised a cycle he knew well, but this time was different. When…
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 14:19

Reforming lives on a wing and a prayer

A proposal to convert a closed-down state prison into a halfway house and homeless shelter in Haywood County is gaining steam. The old prison was given to the county two years ago after the state shut it down, but the…
Jacob Flannick & Holly Kays • Correspondent/Staff writer When Scott Cline graduated from Swain High School in the mid-1990s, the community had barely begun talking about forming a school soccer team. And while the sport is gaining popularity in Swain County,…
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 14:15

Forum aims to create new vision for Canton

When Heidi Dunkelberg first entered the town of Canton, she couldn’t imagine ever living there.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:09

Rules rule and rulers rue it

I mentioned the fact a couple of weeks ago that N.C. House Bill 74— the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013 — was set to begin the process of reviewing, readopting and/or repealing all state rules and that the first rules under…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:07

Cold temps freeze Highland’s lake

Lindenwood Lake, a four to five-acre stretch of water in Highlands, froze over last week during the area’s record-cold temperatures. Michelle Ruigrok, program assistant at the Highlands Biological Station, said she was able to stand on the edge of the…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:06

Slide closes Tsali Trail loop

The left loop of the Tsali Trail system popular among mountain bikers is closed due to a slide along the trail. The other three loops in the trail system remain open. The Forest Service will work to evaluate and repair…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:05

News from the farmers market

New farmers market planned for Macon  The Macon County Heritage Center at the old Cowee School is launching a new farmers market in the region this summer. Friends of the Rickman Store has received a small startup grant for planning…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:05

Race to support the Community Table

Registration is now open for the Assault on Black Rock, a seven-mile trail race in Jackson County that takes runners and hikers on an ascent and descent of one of Western North Carolina’s most picturesque mountain summits.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:04

Last call for Polar Plungers

Haywood Waterways Association is calling on lovers of clean water, those immune to the cold or anyone out there  crazy enough to jump on Polar Plunge bandwagon.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:03

Relocated white-tailed deer come to Cherokee

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will receive 25 to 50 white-tailed deer every year for the next three years from Morrow Mountain State Park.
Evergreen Packaging’s Canton paper mill will be writing some big checks over the coming years as it moves to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency rule 10 years in the making. It’s been more than a decade since the EPA…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:56

Much of ACA came from conservatives

To the Editor: When Hillary Clinton proposed a government-run, single-payer system to solve our health care crisis, Republicans responded by proposing a private insurance system based on an individual mandate. Then-Gov. Mitt Romney then adopted this insurance proposal for Massachusetts with great…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:54

Columnist’s anti-Israel tirade distorts truth

David C. Friedman • Guest Columnist Doug Wingeier’s op-ed published in The Smoky Mountain News on Dec.  25, 2013, titled, “Christmas ‘peace’ in the land of the Holy One,” ( is an impressionistic and factually distorted presentation of classic anti-Israel bias…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:50

Views on Israel based on life experiences

Doug Wingeier • Columnist My oh my! Looks like the long arm of Israeli surveillance has reached out to us way down here in the mountains of Western North Carolina (see column to the left). I hadn’t thought the experience…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:47

Hipps brings work ethic to race

When Jane Hipps began toying with the idea of running for state Senate as a Democratic challenger, a wave of excitement crept through party circles.
Ron Robinson thinks a state senator should represent all of his constituents. 
The North Carolina Senate seat for the seven western counties could be one of the few swing races in the General Assembly this year as Democrats vie to make a dent in Republican dominance in Raleigh.
Nearly six months after a staged gunfight left a Ghost Town gunfighter injured, the incident is still not resolved.  Ghost Town amusement park in Maggie Valley was issued a $2,000 citation last month by the N.C. Department of Labor’s Occupational…
Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent He campaigned on the promise of making Franklin fertile ground for new ideas and encouraging more openness and transparency in government. 
By 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, the sky had long gone dark and rain was turning to snow. It was the perfect night to watch a football game. But Steve Kloster had barely gotten past the kickoff of the Sugar…
Canton residents will have the chance to weigh in on the town board’s yearlong search for a town manager at a public forum scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Colonial Theatre.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:36

Jackson County has a new slogan; now what?

Jackson County tourism leaders are weighing the best way to get their message to the masses.
Controls on mountainside development in Jackson County could be loosened following a year-long line-by-line rewrite of steep slope rules by the Jackson County planning board.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

HART to hold 2014 season auditions

There’s an open call for actors to audition for “To Kill A Mockingbird” Feb. 2-3 at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville. Professional actors are asked to be there at 6 p.m., with community theater actors at 7 p.m.…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

Apollo Winds brings chamber music to WCU

Apollo Winds, a professional chamber music group, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the recital hall of the Coulter Building in Cullowhee.  The concert features Francis Poulenc’s “Sextet,” a three-movement work with an extensive part for the…
Smoky Mountain Sk8way & FUN ZONE will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and customer appreciation skate on Wednesday, Jan. 15, in Waynesville. The ribbon cutting will be from 4 to 6 p.m. followed by a customer appreciation night from 6…
Play Shop, a free event in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service and Celebration, will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Swain County Regional Business Education and Training Center, 45…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

2014 marks 125th year for WCU

This year marks the beginning of Western Carolina University’s 125th year of existence, and university faculty, staff and students are planning a yearlong celebration to mark the milestone.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

The Stuart Brothers to play The Strand

Appalachian fiddle and banjo duo The Stuart Brothers will perform at 7:45 p.m. Jan. 16 at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

‘Good Thoughts Better’ exhibit opens at WCU

An exhibit of work by Edward J. Bisese titled “Good Thoughts Better” will open with an artist talk and reception at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, in the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

This must be the place

Hailing from the Green Mountains of Burlington, Vt., The DuPont Brothers have emerged as a breath of fresh air in an often stifling, suffocating music industry. 
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

Tossing fate into the air

What started as a backyard game one afternoon has turned into a passionate career for Nathan Lowe. “I just got addicted to playing cornhole,” the 28-year-old chuckled. Lowe was at his sister’s college graduation party at North Carolina State in…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:07

Bringing in the new year naturally

Some musings on the New Year, from one who never cared much for noisy midnight celebrations of any sort, but I have always enjoyed New Year’s ceremonials. 
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:05

Bear hunting changes possible

A public hearing on changes to the state’s hunting and fishing rules, including looser rules for black bear hunting, will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at Tri-County Community College in Murphy.
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:00

Deep Creek crossing wins photo contest

Hiker Danny Bernstein of Asheville, author of The Mountains-to-Sea-Trail Across North Carolina, won third place in the “People on the Trail” category of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail photo competition for this shot of her hiking partner, Sharon McCarthy, while hiking in…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:59

Garden and landscape designer to give talk

One of the region’s premier garden and landscape designers will give a talk at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at Lake Junaluska as part of the monthly “Live and Learn” series.
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:57

CBC gods smile on Lake Junaluska

The annual Balsam Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place Saturday, Jan. 4. In the weeks prior to the count many regular Balsam CBC participants, like me, had been crying in our eggnog. Bob Olthoff, long-time compiler for the count, was…
By Colby Dunn • SMN correspondent Perched atop the crest of a mountain, with two slim pieces of fiberglass strapped to your feet, that last big push to send you careening down the slope is a leap of faith — with…
In Voyage To Alpha Centauri (Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-1-58617-832-1), Michael O’Brien, Canadian writer and painter, gives us a grand tale of a space voyage to Alpha Centauri, the star closest to our own solar system. Voyage puts us on board…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:50

Natural areas under assault from warming

To the Editor: I love this time of year. Cold, crisp days remind me of the days I spent with my dad and our beagles chasing rabbits. Now it means it’s time to share a blind with a wet retriever…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:49

Lake J annexation issue not fairly represented

To the Editor: While I recognize that The Smoky Mountain News’ annual year in review awards are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, the “Longwinded Award,” which reflects on the proposed annexation of Lake Junaluska by the town of Waynesville, misses the…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:48

Lots of problems with ‘Something Bruin’

In numerous newspapers in late November 2013, it was reported that six U.S. Forest Service (USFS) employees from Western North Carolina were awarded “Law Enforcement and Investigations Awards” by the USFS for their roles in “Operation Something Bruin,” a four-year,…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:45

Putting a price on memories

By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • Correspondent For most of Yvonne Wadham’s 64 years, horses were her life, on a big scale, a 22-acre California ranch kind of scale, where she raised and showed horses, brokered high-priced horses, and taught children how…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:44

Course steady for Jackson Meals on Wheels

Jackson County’s new volunteer policy, enacted in November, is taking a bite out of the Meals on Wheels volunteer force. 
Some hunters in Western North Carolina are speaking out against the tactics used by undercover wildlife officers in a multi-year bear poaching investigation. 
By Colby Dunn • Correspondent  Since Harrah’s Cherokee Casino opened and started bringing an influx of steady cash to the Eastern Band of Cherokee, it’s been a boost to both the tribe and its more than 13,000 members. Annually, individual members…
Amid the epidemic of prescription pill abuse, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is buying a niche device more common to pharmacies than police stations — a pill counting machine.
The attractive, even swanky new liquor store in Waynesville got off to a sluggish start the first two months after popping the cork on its new location, but it had posted slight gains by the month of December.