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Tourism is a huge topic with a major impact on Western North Carolina’s economy. Western Carolina University will host the second annual Tourism Conference next week to focus on one major aspect of the tourism industry — festivals and events.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 13:09

Festival frenzy fueling local economies

As a tourism expert in the Southeast, Dr. Steve Morse has been asked to judge competitions at festivals all over the region. His hectic schedule doesn’t allow him to participate in all of them, but he recalls one event he…
It was a century ago that Beverly Kiohawiton Cook’s relative was taken from his family and shipped off to Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. Those years at school, days of travel away from family and forbidden to use native dress…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 15:01

A birthday slap from Gov. Pat McCrory

To the Editor: In March the North Carolina State Parks system celebrated its 100th anniversary with events, gathering and celebrations at the more than 40 state parks scattered across our state. It was a proud day indeed to mark the…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:59

Teaching is not for everyone

To the Editor: The letter from Deanna Lyles, “I quit teaching because I love children,” (April 1, The Smoky Mountain News) rocked me back on heels a bit. You state, Miss Lyles, you “quit teaching.” I prefer to believe, you didn’t…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:58

An opportunity for Dillsboro, Sylva

To the Editor: A representative from the N.C. Department of Transportation recently briefed Dillsboro board on plans to replace the bridge just west of Harold’s Supermarket. One statement caught my attention: “with the existence of a professionally-drawn conceptual design, a…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:56

Living in fear is no way to live at all

“Many of us are not living our dreams because we are living in fear.” Not sure where I came across that line, but I pasted it into my folder for column ideas and then came across it last week when…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:53

Batting away undeserved prejudice

Unfortunately, more undeserved prejudice exists about bats than any other animal, except, of course, serpents.  In European lore, vampires (a word derived from the Serbian “wampir”) were bloodsucking ghosts, dead men’s souls that siphoned blood from sleeping victims.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:49

Remembering the horrors of Europe’s wars

Many Americans — and I count myself among them — are often hard on Europeans when it comes to issues like national defense, appeasement, and willingness to stand up to enemies. We belittle their failure to resist recent Russian intrusions…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:40

Haywood exempt from emissions tests

Emissions tests for cars and trucks are no longer necessary to protect air quality in more than half the counties where state testing is currently required, including Haywood County.
The grand opening celebration for The Terrace at Lake Junaluska is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in The Terrace Auditorium, located on the third floor.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:35

Possum Drop returns to Raleigh

For the third year in a row, opossums are making their way to the political scene in the N.C. General Assembly.  The bill — of which Rep. Roger West, R-Marble, is a primary sponsor — would suspend all state wildlife…
Town commissioners are once again mulling over the question of two-way traffic in downtown Sylva with the conclusion of a traffic study from Waynesville-based J.M. Teague Engineering this month.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:13

Wildflower pilgrimage celebrates spring

The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage will kick off its 65th year of outdoors programming Tuesday, April 21, with the five-day event lasting through April 25.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:03

Spiffed-up shelter hits the Macon County AT

With a higher-than-normal volume of thru-hikers expected next season, the Nantahala Hiking Club is getting prepared with upgrades to the Rock Gap Shelter located near Standing Indian Campground in Macon County.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:02

Commission calls on turkey hunters

A study of lymphoproliferative disease virus, a malady affecting wild turkeys, is calling in help from hunters.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:01

Tribe granted authority over water standards

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is now able to administer its own water quality certifications, becoming the 49th tribe in the nation to gain authority from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to administer the Water Quality Standards Program.
The nation’s largest single-day river litter removal will mark its 31st year Saturday, April 18.
A network of amateur rain and weather spotters are contributing to the scientific understanding of niche weather patterns on a local and regional level.
Applications are open for teachers looking to attend the 2015 Family Nature Summit, based in Lake Junaluska.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 13:53

Cherokee to weigh in on fish conservation

The Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River will hold its annual meeting celebrating Earth Month at 6 p.m. Monday, April 13, in the community room of the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex on Acquoni Road in Cherokee.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 13:52

WCU students win bass angling title

A pair of Western Carolina University students took first this spring, in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Eastern Regional, presented by Bass Pro Shops, bringing in a three-day total of 42 pounds, 6 ounces. Austin Neary and Alex Frazier targeted…
The Southeast’s most grueling team race will take off from Pink Beds Picnic Area in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard April 17, covering 212 miles before ending at Nantahala Outdoor Center April 18. 
After closing the area in September to protect wintering bats, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will reopen Whiteoak Sink — but with limited access through May 15.
Sarah Davis loves bats. They’ve been the wintertime residents of Linville Caverns for as long as she can remember, a marker of the seasons she looks forward to each year. The cave, a commercial cavern near Marion, has been in…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:33

Macon dodges insurance fund deficit

More than 400 Macon County employees and their families will see a reduction in health care coverage and an increase in their contributions beginning July 1 after commissioners agreed to change the county’s health insurance plan and provider.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:31

Macon passes noise ordinance

Macon County commissioners realize they can’t make everyone happy, but they hope some residents can now get some sleep with a nuisance noise ordinance in place.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:29

Business is bustling in downtown Waynesville

Downtown Waynesville has had a flurry of changes lately. As previous tenants move out, new ones move in and improvements are made to the buildings lining Main Street.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:27

Smoking now banned on Haywood property

All tobacco products will soon be banned from being used on county-owned property in Haywood County. Commissioners approved an amendment to the county tobacco-use policy prohibiting tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes, from being used outside county buildings…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:26

Break-in reported at Swain election office

No personal voter identification information was found missing following a break-in at the Swain County Board of Elections Office in Bryson City.
Southwestern Community College is celebrating its 50th year by inviting the public to see all the programs being offered to students.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:22

SCC plans for Macon campus expansion

Dr. Don Tomas likes to be ahead of the curve. As Southwestern Community College celebrates 50 years, Tomas, who has been SCC’s presidents for three years, continues to look ahead and plan for the future.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:20

Jail death sparks state investigations

It was about 5:15 p.m. on March 13 and Mark Leamon, a jailer at the Jackson County Jail, was in the midst of his routine visual check of the male inmates incarcerated there. It’s an oft-repeated exercise, a quick check…
The smokestacks at Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton will be significantly cleaner within four years thanks to $50 million in pollution upgrades.
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 14:19

Lincoln assassination drama at HART

As part of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the production of “The Actor and The Assassin” will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. April 10-11, 14, 17-18 and 3 p.m. April 12 and 19 at the Haywood Arts…
More than 60 Jackson County school students received awards for work exhibited at Western Carolina University during Youth Art Month.
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 14:08

‘Peter Pan’ flies into WCU

The School of Stage and Screen will close its 2014-15 Mainstage season with a high-flying production of the J.M Barrie classic “Peter Pan: The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up,” at 7:30 p.m. April 16-18 and 3 p.m. April 19…
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 14:07

New art studio opens in Franklin

Colorful Creations, a “Paint Your Own Pottery” studio owned by Jimbo and Stacy Ledford, recently opened in Franklin.
The Smoky Mountain Oyster & Seafood Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.
Country/southern rocker Joe Lasher Jr. will perform at 7 p.m. April 18 at the Colonial Theatre in Canton. Tickets are $7, with proceeds going to The Community Kitchen, a local MANNA FoodBank partner.
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 14:01

This must be the place

It’s my favorite place to sit. In a diner, tucked away in a booth, with a notebook, pen and endless cups of coffee. It’s where I feel most comfortable, and at peace, when immersing myself in society. While the organized…
A writer looking at a blank page is a like a painter staring at a fresh canvas, a sculptor facing a block of clay or a woodworker holding a chunk of wood. The desire to grab words from thin air…
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 15:49

Put the forest first!

I was commiserating with a friend who works for the Forest Service just after it was announced that they were taking a step back from the plan revision process to schedule another round of public meetings.  The FS rolled out…
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 15:44

Clingmans Dome Road opens for the year

Clingmans Dome Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened last week, six days ahead of its scheduled April 1 opening.
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 15:43

Bike rodeo comes to Jackson County

The Jackson County Bike Rodeo is calling all kids to come out 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11, to the Jackson Recreation Park in Cullowhee to learn more about life on two wheels.
The fifth annual Assault on BlackRock trail race is now in the rearview mirror, with 82 brave souls battling freezing temperatures frosted with snow and ice to complete the grueling 7-mile race.
A forum on how to transition to solar energy will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin, the second in a string of events to be held throughout the region this…
A pair of hikers camped near the Lower Falls in Graveyard Fields got a rude awakening March 16 when a bear entered the tent where the backpackers — and at least one of their packs — were spending the night. …
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 15:19

An outlandish life makes for hilarious novel

Irish novelist Kennedy Marr is making millions of dollars through the sale of his books and as a Hollywood scriptwriter. Directors vie for his scripts, actresses and actors want to perform in his movies, and a university in England offers…
At its annual Scholarship Fundraising Dinner on March 20, the board of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia in Jackson County awarded three scholarships to three deserving applicants. In the presence of over 100 attendees in the fellowship hall of Cullowhee…