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Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel is planning a $254 million expansion and upgrade of its operations, including a third hotel tower, new entertainment venue and overhaul of the casino floor.
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Wonderful words

  Like many of my fellow writers and readers, I am a sucker for word books. I love dictionaries — I own at least six of them, ranging from the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary to my own…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

“Bubble” Director Steven Soderbergh, the darling of the Sundance film festival, had an audacious idea. Take a bare bones script into a small town, find locals to play the major roles, use their actual homes as “sets,” encourage the “actors”…
A $1.66 million plan to build middle turn lanes on Plott Creek Road from Hazelwood Elementary School to Sulphur Springs Road in the Hazelwood district of Waynesville drew strong opposition from residents at a public hearing last week.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Law enforcement officers might spend their entire careers without ever firing their gun in the line of duty. It is a distinction most wear like a badge of honor. For those officers who are…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Lyon was among WNC’s notable botanist

Andre and Francois Michaux, and John Fraser, and soon to be followed by Thomas Nuttall, Asa Gray, and Moses Ashley Curtis, among others, John Lyon was among the intrepid plant collectors who first penetrated the mountains of Western North Carolina…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

A primer on the right way to use a gun

By Sarah Kucharski On a chilly, rain soaked Sunday morning the last weekend of January I stood under a peaked, sheet metal roof at the Moss Gap shooting range on the Jackson/Macon line, staring down at a loaded Glock Model…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Small towns make for different news

I remember the specific moment in my journalism career when I sealed my future as a small-town newspaperman. I was at my third newspaper job out of college, had moved up to successively larger publications, and an offer came to…
“It’s going to be a bit of a change, but change is not always bad. This is just one little story in our evolution as a people.” — Mary Jane Ferguson, a board member for the Cherokee Historical Association, speaking…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

TDA board on track, confident in director

By Dori Pope • Guest columnist I recently had the honor and exciting challenge of being voted the Chair of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. As the new chair, I should share current business and future goals of the…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Bigfoot: personal encounter?

For 12 years, Wanda Childers has brushed off encounters with a mysterious creature lurking around her trailer in the Whittier area near Cherokee. But last summer, after a particularly harrowing evening, she got on the Internet and realized her experience…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

The hunt for Bigfoot comes to town

Stealth is not the preferred modus operandi of the Bigfoot team when they roll into town. Their black suburban, bound to elicit double-takes, is stenciled in large letters along both sides with the team’s name: Searching for Bigfoot.
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

The Bigfoot crew

The team of Bigfoot researchers who came to Cherokee last week to investigate reports of a mysterious creature encounter run the gamut from long-time believers, recent converts and even Bigfoot agnostics.
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

We’ll weather the weather, whatever it is

One of my daughter Izzy’s favorite videos is “Little Bear’s Winter Tales.” She likes the episode with the blizzard. The mantra for the characters becomes, “Whether the weather is hot or whether the weather is cold, we’ll weather the weather…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Open government always a good thing

It’s easy for elected leaders to say they support open government. Proving that support is something altogether different and more difficult. A recent case in Jackson County highlights what often happens in real life. A judge last week ruled that…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

A thank you for helping hands

Editor’s note: Barbara McCarty worked on a flood task force that allocated more than $800,000 in private donations to victims of the 2004 floods. This column focuses on the contributions of business that agreed to accept vouchers from flood victims…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Land trusts launch national vetting process

Land conservation trusts cropping up across Western North Carolina and the rest of the country will soon be able to certify themselves with an official accreditation.
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

The guns of winter

There was a blast from Vice President Dick Cheney’s 28-gauge shotgun — a gun, by the way, that one Web site touts as “...just right for petite shooters” — and lawyer Harry Whittington was down.
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

A pickle of a Prong

I felt like I should have had crampons on my boots, like the spikes mountain climbers use on ice. The steep trail was so slick I would take two steps forward, then slide back a step.
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Boggs represents country music’s greatest hope

Though it’s become a standard target for critical blasting, not all of modern country music is bad. Keith Urban turned in a rousing performance at the Grammy awards, Emmylou Harris really can do no wrong, and the same can be…
By Michael Beadle “Pivot Points” is not your typical art exhibit. Then again, the new Fine Art Museum on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee is building a reputation for unique exhibitions that challenge typical notions of what…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

Joni Mitchell “Anything that moves me, influences me.” — Joni Mitchell
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Undressing: Sex, scandal and character

Campus Sexpot: A Memoir! by David Carkeet. The University of Georgia Press, 2005. 137 pages. Before I was 10 pages into this “memoir,” Campus Sexpot, I found myself carried back to a little town in Georgia where I began teaching…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Bethel gets $30,000 for flood recovery

The North Carolina Rural Center has provided a $30,000 grant to Haywood County to assist with flood recovery and flood prevention in the Bethel area.
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Board made wrong decision, says press attorney

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Jackson County commissioners’ failure to follow state Open Meetings Law was a failure to use common sense, said Mike Tadych, counsel to the North Carolina Press Association.
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer A Superior Court Judge has ruled that Jackson County Commissioners acted illegally when they closed meetings to discuss Economic Development Commission dealings.
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Haywood schools appear ready to pass tobacco ban

Haywood County schools could go tobacco free starting in the fall of 2007, banning smoking and chewing not only for students, but also teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers, parents, sports fans, and anyone setting foot on a school campus or attending…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Jackson County Airport Authority members are hoping to get on with business following a Superior Court ruling that re-establishes Tom McClure as the authority’s rightful chairman.
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Gilfillan’s Burnt House to Paw Paw

Several weeks ago I was perusing the used bookstores in Asheville, where there are, somewhat surprisingly, at least four excellent establishments in the immediate downtown area. I always check out the sections featuring Western North Carolina and southern Appalachian titles.…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

With Mike gone, train’s call is truly lonesome

Mike and I were not exactly a match made in heaven. In fact, I didn’t think we were much of a match at all. At the time we were “introduced,” I lived in a tiny rented house with an equally…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:09

Sylva comes out against fracking

The town of Sylva is now the second Jackson County locale to formally oppose hydraulic fracturing for natural gas within its boundaries.  “I’m concerned about it,” said Commissioner Barbara Hamilton. “It’s not going to affect my life, but it will…
A summer school horse therapy offering at South Macon Elementary School in Franklin will be sticking around once the school year starts, thanks to some successful fundraising efforts at Macon TRACs. The nonprofit, which provides horse therapy to children with…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:04

Road to Nowhere bill advances

Swain County is one step closer to getting $4 million in “Road to Nowhere” funds after a bill introduced by U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., advanced through the House Committee on Natural Resources last week. Though the bill, H.R. 3806,…
Eight defendants charged with the 2013 murder of Calup Joe Caston in Swain County are slated for an Aug. 11 court date.  “If their attorneys have any motions they’ll be heard, if not it’ll be continued,” explained Alison Barnes, of…
Western Carolina University is launching a new lifelong learning institute aimed at people age 50 and older across Western North Carolina who are interested in enriching their lives through the pursuit of knowledge. The institute, based on the idea that…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:02

HCC gets donated fire truck, ambulance

Haywood Community College’s Workforce Continuing Education Department recently added an ambulance and a fire truck to help train students in public safety areas.  An ambulance was donated to the college by Haywood County commissioners and Haywood Emergency Medical Services. A…
Haywood Pathways Center is almost to the finish line in an online voting contest that would provide $50,000 — plus the help of Ty Pennington and his crew from the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” television show — to turn the…
Property owners along the fringes of Sylva may soon have to adhere to town zoning regulations. The town board is considering expanding its extraterritorial jurisdiction.
A section of Johnson Street in Canton has been closed following complaints that parked vehicles — repair jobs from Blackbear Automotive & Transmission — were creating a traffic hazard.  “We’re after a safety issue. We’re not trying to close his…
Shane Claiborne was a couple minutes late for his interview with The Smoky Mountain News, but for good reason. Claiborne and his entourage of Philadelphia friends-turned-family had encountered some crawfish that needed catching, and the job required a couple of…
Jackson County voters will finally be able to see the shape of the November ballot with the close of a second primary for the Jackson County Sheriff Republican candidate July 15. Following the first primary, in which only 42 votes…
No one knows for sure what motivated Scarlette Heatherly the first time she skimmed a little cash off the top of a customer’s water bill. But once she figured out she could get away with it, she couldn’t seem to…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:38

Tapping the trough

A wall calendar edged with hot-pink swirls seems out of place in the Junaluska Sanitary District, where the back door of the office opens onto a double-bay equipment garage and work boots leave muddy tracks across the concrete floor. “It’s…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:37

Canton wins Camp Hope appeal

A two-year court battle over the ownership of Camp Hope concluded last week when the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the property belonged to the town of Canton.
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:36

Macon County revisits Parker Meadows plans

Discovery of a Cherokee gravesite on the soon-to-be ballfield complex at Macon County’s Parker Meadows property will likely mean that the county has to tweak its design. Though no final decision has been made, a series of meetings between county…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:05

Column blaming Rep. Presnell was wrong

To the Editor: The column by Editor Scott McLeod two weeks ago taking after Rep. Michelle Presnell, R-Burnsville, for stopping the annexation —involuntary annexation to many property owners — seems to rely on the false premise that local bills result…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:04

Man of action and education proves popular

There are movies that I simply cannot turn off once I stumble into them when I am switching channels, which I do whenever there is a commercial, as men have been hardwired to do since the dawn of the remote…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 13:50

On the Isle again

Thanks to the generosity of dear friends, my family gets to vacation on Isle of Palms every summer. If you follow the “Naturalist’s Corner” regularly, you’ve seen accounts of these expeditions — maybe about “pluff mud,” “gourd heads,” “sister island,”…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 13:44

Proposed fracking rules released

The Mining and Energy Commission has finished writing a proposed set of rules to govern oil and gas development in North Carolina, and now the commission is seeking public input through Sept. 15. Submit comments at portal.ncdenr.org/web/mining-and-energy-commission/public-comment-meetings. Comments will also…
Amateur biologists of all ages are invited to help find out how the birds and fish are doing on Land Trust for the Little Tennessee’s 57-acre Welch Farm property at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2.  The half-day event showcases nationally…