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Getting an education is about reducing ignorance. Whether it’s in a rural second-grade classroom or at one of this nation’s elite graduate schools, learning is all about gaining a better understanding of the world around us. That might mean studying…
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:35

Meet the candidates for district attorney

Two candidates are competing for the job of top legal prosecutor in the seven western counties. The seat came up for grabs when District Attorney Mike Bonfoey announced his retirement after 11 years in the role. Two assistant prosecutors who…
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:35

March to the polls

With elections nearing, some groups are already making plans for how to cast their ballot.  In Sylva, a group will descend on the polls for the first day of early voting, 10 a.m. Oct. 23. The gathering is organized by…
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:33

Evergreen negotiations ‘worked out fine’

Evergreen Packaging has been in talks with its employees since the spring, trying to hammer out a new contract. This month, the company reached a deal with members of the union.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:26

County votes ‘yes’ on hospice grant

Hospice House of WNC passed a hurdle in its fundraising effort when the Macon County Board of Commissioners voted to submit a grant application on the organization’s behalf. In a 4-0 vote, the commissioners unanimously agreed to support the hospice…
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:25

Folkmoot gets $25,000 donation

Folkmoot USA got some cash toward its expansion of education programs with a $25,000 donation from Wells Fargo & Company.  Folkmoot is an international folk festival held yearly in Waynesville and surrounding communities since 1984. The two-week event has featured…
When a property tax bill for the old town hall building showed up in the Town of Franklin’s mail, John Henning, the town’s attorney, was surprised. The bill called for a payment of $2,872.22 on a property that Henning said,…
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:21

House 118th seat showdown

Hicks: Getting off the sidelines Dean Hicks is still a coach at heart.  “I’m an old coach, I don’t want to be average,” Hicks said. “No coach could settle for average, and I don’t think North Carolina should either.”
Editor’s note: The Smoky Mountain News spent a day on the campaign trail with Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, as he tries to retain his seat in the N.C. General Assembly representing the seven western counties. It’s almost dark and North…
Editor’s note: The Smoky Mountain News spent a day with Jane Hipps, a Democratic challenger running for the state Senate seat spanning the seven western counties. 8:40 A.M. Jane Hipps was getting a later-than-normal start on the campaign trail, unless…
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:10

Queen, Clampitt battle it out again

Election season is winding down to the finish line and both candidates in the N.C. House’s 119th District race are eyeing Raleigh. Challenger Mike Clampitt and incumbent Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, have been here before. They went up against…
Tax reform was one of the top issues tackled by the new Republican majority in Raleigh last year, but voters hitting the polls this election season don’t yet know whether they’ve come out ahead or behind, since the changes don’t…
North Carolina has rarely seen an election where the candidates matter so little, but who wins matters so much. This year it’s not about the names on the ballot. Those are mere window dressing. Their alma matter, their church, their…
Jamie Kemper knew it’d happen. She just didn’t think it’d happen this quickly. “We thought it’d be a few years,” Kemper said. 
In the short walk from the doors of the Swain County Courthouse to the steps outside it, a couple of people stopped Gilbert Breedlove to shake his hand, ask him if it was true he was resigning his post as…
A panel of Western Carolina University faculty members, including an environmental health professor who has studied the spread and control of infectious agents such as Ebola for more than two decades, will take part in a discussion about the virus…
Friday, 17 October 2014 18:58

New roof for Waynesville middle

Waynesville Middle School is set to get a new roof, following a vote by Haywood County Commissioners to approve a project that the Haywood County School Board OK’d Sept. 8. The project will finish off a campaign against leaky roofs…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 15:20

Flame on!

Color is starting to spill down the mountainsides once again. I recently received an email from a reader asking about the different fall colors and directions for some good viewing so I thought I would pull that information together from…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 15:07

Clean water grants fund WNC projects

Western North Carolina won big in the newest round of grants from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund. The fund, whose goal is to conserve environmentally important land and waterways, gave out $12.7 million total to fund 38 projects…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 15:06

Bryson fly shop to hold grand opening

Tuckaseegee Fly Shop, a new Bryson City business offering the town’s only full service fly shop, will hold its grand opening 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17. The event will include a ribbon cutting, reception and chance to meet…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 15:05

Stocking cancelled in three Jackson lakes

Three lakes in Jackson County will go without trout stocking this fall due to low water levels stemming from maintenance work.  Duke Energy owns Bear, Wolf Creek and Tanassee lakes, and the maintenance being performed on the dams will draw…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 15:03

Year of the acorn in WNC

It looks like 2014 will go into the history books as “The Year of the Acorn,” according to Friends of the Smokies. 
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 15:01

What do you want from your national forest?

The U.S. Forest Service is holding the next round of public meetings on the Forest Management Plan for Pisgah and Nantahala national forests.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:59

Swain students tackle trash in the Big Sweep

Swain Middle School students in the New Century Scholars Program and the afterschool program volunteered to help remove over 45 pounds of litter outside Swain Middle School and High School during the Big Sweep event, a statewide blitz each fall…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:59

Black Balsam Road reopens

Black Balsam Road is now open, restoring access to a popular trailhead and jumping off point for the Shining Rock Wilderness in Haywood County. The road, which branches off of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 420 and is the…
A lot of people familiar with Great Smoky Mountains National Park got a surprise earlier this month when an article began making the rounds online claiming that a hiker had discovered an abandoned town in the middle of the park.…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:49

Complicated, confusing and utterly fascinating

I am intimidated by this book. In fact, this is one of the most challenging reviews that I have ever undertaken. Admittedly, I have known about David Mitchell, the English “wanderkind” for several years now, but I have carefully avoided any of…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:45

Jackson art grant winners announced

The Jackson County Arts Council announces its grant recipients for the 2014-15 Grassroots Grants. The arts council is a Designated County Partner of the North Carolina Arts Council, from which the Grassroots grants are funded. The JCAC received $12,254 from…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:44

Fine art and craft winners at ColorFest

ColorFest, the annual art and craft festival in Dillsboro, had around 4,000 attendees at this year’s event, which was held on Oct. 4. With funds donated by Champion Credit Union, the Dillsboro Merchant’s Association was able to provide the cash…
The fall production of Bram Stoker’s classic “Dracula” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17-18, 24-25 and 27 and at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19 and 26 at the Smoky Mountain Community Theatre in Bryson City. The stage adaptation is…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:34

Apple Harvest Fest in Waynesville

The Apple Harvest Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, in downtown Waynesville. The one-day festival has grown into the region’s premier juried arts and crafts event and celebration of all things apple. This…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:32

Sid the Science Kid rolls into Franklin

“Sid the Science Kid LIVE: Let’s Play!,” a stage production of the popular PBS Kids television show, will hit the stage at 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:31

Air Supply to play Harrah’s

Soft rock megastars Air Supply will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at Harrah’s Cherokee.
The Haywood Community Band will perform a concert of popular music evoking the heart of America at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, in Maggie Valley’s Community Pavilion. 
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:29

Homecoming fires up WCU

The Catamount spirit will sweep Jackson County for Western Carolina University’s homecoming weekend, including a community pep rally and parade in downtown Sylva. 
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:28

Haywood Art Studio Tour

The Haywood Art Studio Tour will be from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 25-26. 
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:26

This must be the place

I’m alone, again. As of last Tuesday, I am newly single. To be honest, I’m not happy about that fact. Not one bit. This was the relationship where I felt she was the “one,” a person I truly could see…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:24

Just let the music play

If Norman Rockwell were alive today, he might have painted a record store. It’s as American and iconic as children playing outside until the streetlights came on or a young couple sharing a milkshake at a soda fountain. The record…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:01

Support Sen. Jim Davis in the coming election

To the Editor: When I read letters to the editor demanding more government spending, it is clear many do not understand what they are asking for. It is a relief to live where the legislature has balanced the budget and…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:01

Why isn’t GOP protecting property rights?

To the Editor: Republican leaders like Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, Rep. Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Rep. Roger West, R-Marble, voted to allow hydraulic fracking without comment from the citizens of North Carolina whose property rights, drinking water, health and liability exposure will be…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 14:01

In this election, vote for education

To the Editor: I am a 1953 graduate of Waynesville Township High School, received my undergraduate degree from Furman University and two graduate degrees from schools in Texas.  One of my high school classmates told me recently that his granddaughter…
Though I will wear one sometimes as a “fashion statement,” on most days I do not wear a watch. I don’t really need to wear one. Everywhere I look, I see the time of day. In fact, no matter where…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:47

Jackson commissioner candidates: The issues

Property Revaluations The hurt is coming. All the candidates agree, it won’t be pretty. In 2016, Jackson County will preform a property revaluation, in which the values of properties on the tax role — currently listed with values tethered to the…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:42

Showdown in Jackson

No one really knows how the Jackson County commissioner races are going to pan out. Incumbent Republican Commissioner Charles Elders has no idea.  “It’s hard to say,” Elders said. “Straight party voting, that’s a thing of the past. They’re gonna…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:37

Education, tax rates on ballot in Macon

State issues are trickling down to the election debate surrounding the Macon County commissioners’ races. Three of the five seats are open, bringing out a total of six candidates looking for a place on the board. Chief among the topics…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:34

Ten vie for Haywood school board seats

With shrinking budgets, cries for higher teacher salaries and the struggle to keep test scores high while working with limited funds for resources such as textbooks and technology, local school districts have had their share of challenges this year. Four…
Three challengers running for Haywood County commissioner are touting lower property taxes, a smaller budget, limited government, less regulation and personal freedom — the core tenets of conservatism with a Libertarian twist. “The government needs to live within its means,”…
Criticism over taxes and spending from the conservative arm of the local Republican Party is nothing new for Haywood County commissioners. So this election year, the three Democrats running for re-election came armed with talking points: only 29 counties have…
Up to now, the mood at many of the Cullowhee planning meetings and public forums was upbeat and positive — full of rah-rah and optimism.  Occasionally a naysayer would need to be hushed — Cullowhee property owner Mike Clark has…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 19:41

Tipping the scales

The past four years have been the first in recent memory that Democrats haven’t held a majority on the Jackson County board. But likewise, Republicans haven’t had the majority either — a point Chairman Jack Debnam is quick to point…