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The Franklin Chamber of Commerce hosted its inaugural “Gingerbread House Competition” at Franklin’s Town Hall during this year’s Winter Wonderland.
Renowned bluegrass/gospel group Balsam Range’s 4th annual “Winter Concert Series” will continue with John Driskell Hopkins at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at the historic Colonial Theatre in Canton. Hopkins is a multi-award winner and founding member of the Zac Brown…
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

This must be the place

Who in the hell is that? Standing on the porch at Camp Hope in Bethel, I found myself in amazement of the sound echoing from the nearby pavilion. It was the inaugural Shining Rock Riverfest this past September. The voice…
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

A Santa for all occasions

By Colby Dunn • Correspondent This time of year, there’s a Santa around every corner. There’s the jolly Santa flying around in Coke commercials, the harassed-looking Santa on his mall throne, the grandfatherly, rosy-cheeked Santa in “Miracle on 34th Street,” but…
The walnut family is relatively small, but it contains some of the more interesting and valuable tree species found in Western North Carolina. In WNC there are only two genera, the walnuts (Juglans) and the hickories (Carya).
Haywood Waterways Association passed out its annual awards this month to water quality heroes. • The Big Creek Award for Partner of the Year went to the Haywood County Environmental Health Department for helping to repair 75 failing septic systems,…
The National Park Service has selected Pedro Ramos to serve as the acting superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 90 days, effective Jan. 12. Ramos has been the superintendent at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida since 2009.
Conservation groups reached a compromise with the U.S. Forest Service over a controversial logging project in the Courthouse Creek area, which is visible to the south of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Devil’s Courthouse.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:42

Slow day at Lake J

I believe Lake Junaluska has spoiled local birders like me. I spent about an hour and a half poking around the lake and nearby areas last Sunday morning. I ran into a few other birders and we were all of…
By Lindsay Wertz • Correspondent After hours of work and preparation, six terrain elements sparkled imposingly under the lights on Cataloochee Ski Area’s Rabbit Hill Run last Friday night in preparation for the inaugural Cat Cage Rail Jam. The Maggie Valley’s…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:36

Cataloochee documentary to be screened at HCC

The new documentary “Cataloochee” will be shown in a special preview at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, in the Charles M. Beal Auditorium at Haywood Community College in Clyde. Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is well…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:35

WCU annual holiday video greeting is unveiled

Western Carolina University has unveiled its third annual holiday video greeting card, “Moments to Remember” and hosted at the website  Created by WCU’s Office of Communications and Public Relations, this year’s greeting card is patterned after the popular “Good…
The times in which we live may someday be celebrated for our advancements in medicine, technology and education, but surely some future historian will designate our voluble times as the Age of Revelation.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:26

Mountain Momma

Like many of you, I’ve been amassing Christmas presents for months now — stocking up at consignment sales, cruising craigslist for good deals, and slipping irresistible stocking stuffers into the shopping basket when the kids aren’t looking. There’s something slightly…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:25

Quilters present work to National Guard

The Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild of Franklin, together with members of Misty Mountain Quilters Guild from Blairsville, Ga. and the Cashiers Guild, presented Quilts of Valor on Dec. 8 to members of the North Carolina National Guard’s 210th Military Police…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:24

Neff painting exhibit at WCU

Work by painter Edith Neff will be on exhibit through Jan. 31 in the Fine Arts Museum at Western Carolina University.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:23

National Park hosts Holiday Homecoming

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a Holiday Homecoming from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:21

Tipping Point celebrates anniversary

On Dec. 21, Tipping Point Brewing in downtown Waynesville will be celebrating its third year in operation with a “Customer Appreciation Day.” Starting as a restaurant/tavern, the business has grown into an acclaimed brewery in the bustling Western North Carolina…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:20

This must be the place

Next week will mark my second Christmas in Western North Carolina. And, like last year, I won’t be making it back home to Upstate New York for the festivities. This has also been the case for Thanksgiving and New Year’s…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:18

WNC Artists find new home at Mahogany House

Bouncing around her gallery like a rubber ball, the energy of Teri Siewert is contagious. “The ambiance here is something you can’t buy or make. It’s either there or it’s not, and it’s definitely here,” she said. 
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:10

Healthcare is people, not logos

John Beckman • Columnist The discussions and debates regarding health care on both the local and national levels have been going on for years as people everywhere have tried to come to grips with rapidly rising costs, a huge number of…
The Ambassadors of Jackson County recently elected new officers: Chairman Tommy Dennison, Business Counselor with the Small Business and Technology Development Center at Western Carolina University; Vice Chairman John Hagdorn of Highlander Self Storage; and Secretary Karen Walston, the Bug…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:05

Props for WCU Professor Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper, associate professor and head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University, has been named the 2013 “Professor of the Year” in the state of North Carolina by the Carnegie Foundation for the…
For Carroll Brown, an associate professor in the hospitality and tourism program at Western Carolina University, there’s nothing like taking her classroom to the streets. For the past five years, she and her students have helped decorate the town for…
By Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent Since she started spreading the word about the new health care law, Cynthia Solesbee has encountered many questions — and opinionated remarks — about a sweeping change affecting tens of thousands of people without insurance…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:01

Sylva librarian closes book on career

Standing on the balcony of the historic Jackson County Courthouse and Library, high above downtown Sylva, Dottie Brunette begins pointing.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:00

Swain group makes donation to SCC Foundation

Citing a desire to maximize their donation through a federal challenge grant, representatives of the Community Services of Swain County (CSSC) recently gave $2,500 to Southwestern Community College’s Student Success Campaign. An effort to bridge the gap between scholarship need…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:00

Volunteers sought for free tax preparation

Jackson County volunteers who provide free basic tax forms preparation and counseling for individuals are looking for others to join their team.    Volunteers must be willing to assist taxpayers at least one day a week during tax season. Training will…
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:59

Swain County eyes federal courthouse

The last day of federal court in Bryson City will be Dec. 31. 
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:57

No dice for Catawba’s casino bid

By Colby Dunn • Correspondent When it comes to Vegas-style gaming, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort has hedged its bets on being the only game in town … in the region … in the state … in the surrounding five-state area.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:56

Closing of Vance Hardware is an end to an era

On the first day of Vance Hardware’s going-out-of-business sale, someone bought the key machine. “I think that hurt him worse than anything,” Willetta Vance said.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:52

WCU holds commencement for graduates

The fall semester came to a close at Western Carolina University on Dec. 14 as commencement exercises were held in Ramsey Regional Activity Center to recognize the university’s newest graduating class and a group of WCU alumni who were awarded…
Raymond Caldwell was 15 years old when he hitched up a team of horses to a wagon with 30 bushels of corn in tow, leaving the only home he and his ancestors had ever known in the idyllic Cataloochee Valley. …
Haywood County commissioners are going through the motions of selling Haywood Regional Medical Center to a national hospital chain with little in the way of pomp and circumstance.
Under normal circumstances, Mike Murray would be thrilled to pass out raises to the hard-working teachers in Jackson County.
A public input meeting that will help shape the future of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 17 in Franklin at the Nantahala Ranger District Office. It is one of several…
National Park Service officials want your input on how to manage the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT).
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:51

Go to college, help a landfill

Nearly 12,000 plastic bottles will have been saved from a landfill when Western Carolina University students graduate this month. What’s the connection? More than 500 of the 700 graduates and numerous participating alumni will be wearing eco-friendly gowns they purchased…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:49

Volunteers continue historical bird count

Thousands of eyes will look skyward this month as volunteer birders, armed with binoculars, participate in the 114th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 14-Jan. 5. Among those scouring the state’s back roads and byways will be members of the…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:49

Winter officially arrives Dec. 21

Those sky watchers at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute are preparing for the winter solstice. Astronomers there say that the sun will be at its most southern point in the sky this year at 12:11 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec.…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:47

Young runners excel at regional meets

Several young runners from Western North Carolina turned in best times at recent state-wide and southeastern regional cross country events.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:46

Record snowfall

This snowfall is measured in feathers or bodies, not inches. This year is turning out to be a major irruption year for snowy owls in the eastern U.S. and at least four have been reported from the Carolinas. Snowys, Nyctea…
By Colby Dunn • Correspondent  Though winter may have you couped up inside, you can dream of sunnier days in the outdoors with The Smoky Mountain News outdoor holiday gift guide, a rundown of the season’s hottest gifts from the…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:31

Santa and reindeer and drones… Oh my!

I was never a fan of drone missiles. Until now, I had always regarded drones as killing machines or mechanical spies. Their deployment by the military to eradicate enemies associated with terrorism does reduce our own casualties to zero, but during…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:27

Faculty member and students light and learn

The Lights and Luminaries festival will be held in downtown Dillsboro, Dec. 13-14. Helping Dillsboro glow for the town’s annual Lights and Luminaries festival are Carroll Brown, an associate professor in the hospitality and tourism program at Western Carolina University,…
The Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition is sponsoring a Snow Moon (Usgiwi) celebration and potluck lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Cherokee Youth Center.  The event will honor retired Cherokee educators for…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:25

Young poets compete

Haywood Early College students recently participated in the National Career Development Association’s Poetry and Poster Contest, “Charting the Course for Our Second Century” held by Haywood Community College.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:24

Student film wins award at Asheville festival

The Western Carolina University student-created film “Jerry,” a dark comedy about a homeless man who comes back to haunt the local politician who ran him over, won the jury award for the best student film at the 2013 Asheville Cinema…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:21

Nature photographer showcased in Waynesville

Wildlife/nature photographer Ron Brunsvold will be the featured artist for December at the Mahogany House Gallery in Waynesville.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:17

Franks joins Opry House ‘Christmas Show’

Television star and International Bluegrass Music Museum legend Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” of the former show “In the Heat of the Night,” will be a special guest during the “Christmas Show” at 8 p.m. Dec. 14, at the Maggie Valley Opry…