Fri10172014

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About the race: This used to be a toss-up district, but clever redrawing of voting boundaries by the Republican-led legislature in Raleigh two years ago tipped the scales to the right. The liberal stronghold of Asheville was carved out and…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 17:56

Election 2014: Legislative races, a primer

N.C. House of Representatives, seat 118 Is this my state rep? Yes, if you live in Madison and Yancey counties and part of Haywood — namely Canton, Clyde, Bethel, Cruso, Maggie Valley, Jonathan Creek and Crabtree areas.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 17:54

2014 District Attorney election primer

Do I vote in this race? Yes, if you live anywhere in the seven western counties.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:41

Still time if you hurry

I’ve been on the Blue Ridge Parkway the last couple of weekends and have made it a point to stop at Wolf Mountain Overlook (Milepost 424) to check out the Grass of Parnassus, I believe to be Parnassia asarifolia.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:34

Gardening Grant helps at the Open Door

A pair of grants from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources will help improve water resources in Haywood County. State-wide, $2.2 million was given to 37 projects. The big one for the Haywood County Soil and Water Conservation…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:34

Road and trail closure

• Ball Creek Road, a U.S. Forest Service road that begins at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory and ends at Upper Nantahala Road in Macon County, will be closed through late October for repairs. Storm events in January 2013 caused the need…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:33

Do you like elk?

Cataloochee hike to feature elk and history A full-day hike Tuesday, Oct. 14, in the Cataloochee Valley area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will give hikers a chance to experience the mountain roads of 80 years ago —…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:31

Fall programs in the Smokies

A lineup of fall interpretive programs is underway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will run through the end of October. From black bears to berries to carbon footprints, the fall programs cover plenty of ground.   Sundays • Longing…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:30

Brook trout to join the license plate lineup

There’s a new specialty license plate coming soon: the brook trout plate.
White-nosed bat syndrome is marching west, and as a result the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has closed the Whiteoak Sink area between Cades Cove and Townsend through March to keep people from spreading the disease to bats hibernating there. 
Cambodia and Thailand might be on the other side of the world from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but they deal with similar resource issues — including plant and wildlife poaching — so the Smokies is reaching out to…
The outlook for a bright leaf season is improving, as Western Carolina University fearless fall foliage forecaster Kathy Mathews has updated her prediction about the quality of the annual color show, based on changing conditions in the mountains.
Orange chaps clipped around their legs, Rankin Fender and Zac O’Connor square off inside the sawdust-and-bark-filled woodshed at Haywood Community College. Late afternoon sunlight angles through the lean-to’s open walls, and the two students each grab hold of one handle…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:09

The end is near — now what?

When the novel, The Leftovers came out several years ago, it was an immediate success. (Oprah gave it a significant boost in sales and the fact that America was in the midst of a kind of apocalyptic  fervor at the time…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:01

Want to learn how to make a gingerbread house?

The Franklin Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Bakery will offer a How To Create A Gingerbread House seminar at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Underground Franklin Event Center below the bakery.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:57

Open call for Bryson City Chili Cook-Off

The 24th annual Bryson City Chili Cook-Off will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Depot.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:56

Sylva celebrates its quasquicentennial

The Town of Sylva will hold its 125th anniversary celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, in downtown.
The historic Colonial Theatre in downtown Canton has been nominated for a Momentum Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association for best musical venue of the year.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:51

Minick brings folk, country to Strand

Folk/rock/country singer Chris Minick will perform at 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:49

This must be the place

Claire Lynch likes to blur lines. Born and raised in Upstate New York, she eventually moved away, crossing the Mason-Dixon Line for Alabama at age 12. She carried in her mind the sounds of the 1960s folk scene of Greenwich…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:44

The heartbeat of a community

It never ceases to amaze Lorraine Conard. “It’s a little bit magical,” she said. “You walk in and there’s this energy and excitement, a heartbeat within the community — I’m always so grateful and thankful for the people who come…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:39

Let’s show real respect for teachers

By Jim Hunt • Guest Columnist Earlier this year, I called for a state commitment to raise teacher pay to the national average in the next four years. It was a bold proposal, but that’s what leaders do. Since that…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:38

Let your voice be heard at the ballot box

To the Editor: By this means I thank N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, for presenting the fracking forum in Macon County to afford his constituents the opportunity to at least attend a meeting where Senate Bill 786, the Energy Modernization…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:38

Fracking debate needs more research, facts

To the Editor: The letter writer on fracking in the Sept. 17-23 issue of The Smoky Mountain News appears to have been influenced by the bombastic and fictional style of the extreme right. He begins by demeaning those who are critical…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:38

Why textbooks matter even now

To the Editor: Although Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and his fellow Republicans Sen.  Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, like to tout their $1 billion increase in funding for public education, they have little to say about how…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:37

Fracking is a ticking time bomb

To the Editor: As someone with 25-plus years of experience in water and wastewater equipment design, manufacture and installation, I can guarantee that 100 percent of fracked wells will fail at some point in the future and they will release their residual gases…
Tammy is out in the yard burning the couch. There is no telling where this will end. All by herself, she somehow managed to push and pull an overstuffed sofa out of our guest bedroom, through the downstairs den, and…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:00

A conversation with Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington is a celebrity carpenter best known for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” a show that involved lightning-quick remodels of less-than-stellar homes for families with compelling stories about why they needed a better living space. After taking the grand prize…
It was a scene that any fan — or casual viewer — of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” would find familiar. A crowd, ramped-up and excited, gathered together wearing matching T-shirts. A decrepit property in the background. And Ty Pennington, host…
N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, and Republican challenger Mike Clampitt are on a similar mission. Each is trying to assure voters they are nothing like the other guy. Recently, the two candidates seeking the 119th District House seat faced…
Cullowhee is the fastest growing area of Jackson County. The growth owes much to Western Carolina University and is evidenced in recent years by a surge in private student housing complexes and smattering of bars. Without regulations in place, Cullowhee’s…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:44

Macon approves final school officer position

All 11 Macon County schools will now have their own school resource officer, called an SRO, after county commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to institute the eleventh position at Cartoogechaye Elementary School. 
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:42

Dillsboro sells Duke property to Jackson County

The quiet, early morning streets of Dillsboro seemed still asleep as the town board ambled in. They arrived one by one, easing in with casual conversation about health and grandchildren and how delicious Town Clerk Debbie Coffey’s homemade cheese Danish…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:38

Swain sees three-way race for sheriff

With Election Day nearing, Odel Chastain seemed pretty relaxed.  “I’m sitting on my porch with my feet thrown up, watching the deer,” Chastain said. 
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:35

Jackson candidates drill down on fracking

The three Democratic challengers in the Jackson County commissioners race took the sitting commissioners to task for their inaction on fracking at a candidate forum last week.
Three challengers for Jackson County commissioner opened with a strong offensive charge at a candidate debate last week, rarely letting up from their hard-driving line as the night wore on.
Jim Moore and Ashley Welch have been on the same team for years, working side-by-side in the district attorney’s office to put criminals behind bars, seek justice for victims and keep society safe in the seven western counties.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:57

A prolific year for buckeye productions

A large buckeye tree overhangs and supports the swinging gate leading into our property. Thereby, we have the opportunity to observe buckeye in all seasons. The year 2014 is a big one for buckeye seed production — the most prolific…
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:54

Timbersports team to take on competition

Chopping, sawing, axe throwing, tree climbing, log rolling and more will be on tap during an intercollegiate Woodsmen’s Meet Saturday, Oct. 4 at the Cradle of Forestry in America. Haywood Community College’s famous Timbersports Team will be one of six…
The Cradle of Forestry’s Forest Festival Day will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4. More than 80 traditional craftsmen, exhibitors and forestry students will be on site sharing demonstrations of old-timey and outdoor skills, such as…
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:45

Smokies celebrates Wilderness Act

Ed Zahniser, son of the man who was widely regarded as the father of the Wilderness Act, will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 as the keynote speaker of a Wilderness Act celebration at Sugarlands Visitor Center in Great…
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:42

NOC recognized as top 100

Outdoor USA Magazine named Nantahala Outdoor Center, located outside Bryson City, as one of the top 100 outdoor specialty retailers in the United States in its September issue. Nominations were judged on outstanding work and entrepreneurial drive, and they were…
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:38

Franklin loves the AT, and the AT loves Franklin

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy recently recognized a passel of Franklin businesses and organizations for their support of the Appalachian Trail, naming them AT. Community Supporters for helping out the hiking community, the ATC or the trail itself. Recipients were: •…
“I’m gonna mark the spot with an X, right here,” says Tim Petrea, program supervisor for the Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department, tracing his kayak paddle through the water. “That’s a good spot.” Katie Durbin, 8, maneuvers her stand up…
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:24

A realist writer examines uncomfortable topics

“Evil is no more at an end than History, and so long as there are men there will be no final victory over it.” —Theodore Dalrymple Regarding politics and language, George Orwell once wrote that modern speech and writing are…
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:21

‘Elemeno Pea’ comedy hits WCU stage

A comedy set in Martha’s Vineyard that explores a wealthy world of infinity pools, Bentleys and yacht clubs with men in pink pants, “Elemeno Pea” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-3 and at 3 p.m. Oct. 4 in…
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:17

Fall, art comes alive at ColorFest

The 6th Annual ColorFest: Dillsboro Fine Arts & Crafts Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in downtown Dillsboro.
Frank Brannon, Jr., proprietor of SpeakEasy Press in Dillsboro, will present “How to Make and Print Photopolymer Plates” for Art League of the Smokies at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:12

Taste of Sylva returns

Featuring local food, music and children’s activities, the 5th annual Taste of Sylva culinary tour will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in downtown Sylva restaurants and in the pavilion at McGuire Gardens on West Main Street.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:11

Music, fall camping at Barnaroo

The 5th annual Barnaroo fall music festival will be held Oct. 4 at Franny’s Farm in Leicester.