By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Michael Morgan sits at a table near the back of Malaprop’s Bookstore Café in Asheville eating from an unlabeled can of applesauce, his 6-foot plus lanky frame casually folded, one leg across the other.…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Squirrel stories

It seems to me that the general reputation of squirrels has declined within my own lifetime. I don’t recall hearing negative remarks about squirrels when I was growing up; indeed, most folks that I encountered back then seemed to hold…
The words still ring in my ears, coming as they did from a teacher who had spent years playing by the book: “I’ve got to spend the money by the end of the school year or it’s gone, so I’m…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Forging a wise immigration bill

Amnesty? In the immigration controversy that is dividing Congress and the nation, this has become the most misused term in the politician’s vernacular. It’s being used as wedge by those who favor a policy that is heavy on relentless enforcement…
By Michael Beadle Some people bike for the fun of it. Some people bike to race. For Franklin’s Owen Simpson, it’s a bit of both. Over the past three years, Simpson — who also goes by O.J. — has been…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

The ivory-billed swami predicts

For those not acquainted with the ivory-billed swami, I will give you a bit of history. This is from the Smoky Mountain News edition on Jan. 30, 2002, as Zeiss Optics was mounting a search for the ivory-billed woodpecker in…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Winged migration of a different sort

After getting all the two-leggeds to bed last night I went out to the yard to wrangle the four-leggeds. Dusk was slipping into night. The full “fish moon” was climbing above the mountains on the southeastern horizon.
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Taylor tangled in Abramoff’s web

The recent revelations about Rep. Charles Taylor’s ties to a lobbyist who has confessed to federal bribery charges is a serious problem for this region’s Congressman, a controversy that calls into question his ethics and reveals close ties to the…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Mixed drinks won’t be good for Sylva

By Jason Kimenker • Guest Columnist What makes Sylva great? The people of rural Sylva, North Carolina are as unique as this area is beautiful. This small mountain town is so loved by tens of thousands of visitors year-round. With…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

The healing power of slime molds

New research on slime molds at the University of Georgia has generated hope for the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases that a cure could one day be possible.
When a heavy rain washed into Paul Super’s garage last month, soaking a couple of bags of freshly-purchased mulch in the process, it triggered a dormant slime mold in the mulch to spring to life in a bright yellow ooze,…
Western Carolina University students are filming the last scenes from the Theatre in Education Company’s performance of “Young Cherokee,” concluding a year-long theatre initiative that has captured attention at national conferences and connected university students with the Cherokee people.
By Chris Cooper I’ve seen Danielle Howle completely abandon the stage and microphone in the middle of a song and wander through the audience while singing, beating on the tables and bar counter as her only accompaniment.
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

Leonard Cohen What can you say about a man in his 70’s who is an international sex symbol in Paris, Berlin, London and Dublin? (He doesn’t do badly in Melbourne, Madrid and Stockholm either.) I think I’ll call him a…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

King’s zombie nation

Yes dear reader, when Stephen King’s dread armies of the mindless begin their apocalyptic trudge through the devastated towns of New England, they march to the sweet trills of Debbie Boone. As they tread their way around the bodies of…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Candidates weigh in on the North Shore Road

Every four years when a county commissioner election rolls around in Swain County, there’s one question commissioners know they have to answer but that most wish they didn’t: how they feel about the North Shore Road.
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Growth is on Jackson’s agenda

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer This May 2 voters in Jackson County are faced with choosing a board of county commissioners that will enact and enforce ways to shape growth in the coming years. One hot button issue seemingly…
By Sarah Kucharski The heated race for sheriff in Jackson County is closing in on the May 2 primary date in which voters will decide which candidate, incumbent Jimmy Ashe or former sheriff Jim Cruzan, will head up the agency…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Pro-planning candidate holds ground at forum

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer Democratic candidates running for two District 2 seats on the Macon County board of commissioners squared off at a League of Women Voters meeting last Thursday (April 13) in a growth debate that pitted…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Baseball’s scapegoat

San Francisco Giant outfielder Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player of this era, and one can make a good argument that he is the greatest player in history. Bonds will almost certainly pass the legendary Babe Ruth on the…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Stuck in a stinky situation

Hopefully, any encounter you have with a skunk will be a sighting, not a spraying. Neither my wife nor I have ever been sprayed by a polecat. But our dogs have — and they were pitiful creatures for days afterward.
Grasping the extent of development sweeping across the Haywood County landscape is not always easy. So Marc Pruett, the county’s erosion control officer, came up with a little anecdote to put things in perspective. He tallied up all the private…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

Back-buying Have you ever noticed that people, for the most part, solidify their tastes — in music, and clothing, and what they like to eat — at a certain time in their younger years? I don’t mean that we can’t…
Besides being what T.S. Eliot called “the cruelest month/Breeding lilacs out of the dead land,” April is also National Poetry Month. To do honor to poetry, let’s look at two books that have much to do with the poem and…
For the first time in history, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is running for a seat on the Swain County Board of Commissioners. Ben Bushyhead lives just outside Bryson City and works for tribal government…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Enforcement issues cloud zoning debate

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer With growth on the forefront of Macon County’s election issues, commissioner candidates have staked out their stance on land use planning. A majority of candidates have recommended taking a cautious approach — avoiding zoning…
By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer They’ve said they want to strengthen the economy. They’ve said they want to help bring in higher paying jobs. They agree that doing it will require local schoolchildren to get the best education possible.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Old-style ‘machine’ a factor in Swain

A slate of challengers running in the Swain County commissioners race are speaking out against what they claim is decades of control by an elite handful in the inner circle of the Democratic Party known as “the machine.”
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Political factions help define Haywood race

Two well-defined political factions emerged early in the Haywood County commissioners primary and have only grown stronger in the countdown to election day on May 2. On one side is the county commissioner chairman Mark Swanger, who is running for…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Swain commissioner candidate snapshots

Three candidates are running for Swain County chairman in the Democratic Primary.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Wild, mysterious and sometimes a bit sly

In the natural world here in the Blue Ridge, there are certain visual images that rivet the attention of human beholders. One such is a timber rattlesnake suddenly encountered in the wild. That sight literally galvanizes the senses. The vibrating…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Get ready for the backroom abortionists

Three cheers for crime. If moralists have their way, it will only get worse. How coincidental that within three short weeks of Justice Sam Alito’s long-anticipated confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the anti-abortion lobby of South Dakota suddenly convinced…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Get over the fear and say it: ZONING is GOOD

Note to all candidates seeking office in Western North Carolina, and all their constituents: repeat these words, over and over — zoning, land use, high-impact ordinances, long-range planning, master planning. Say them again, and try to get over the fear…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Rotten to the core

According to recent stories by Knight Ridder news services, the Bush Administration thinks our national parks are too fat. A mandate called the “core operation analysis” has been issued directing park officials across the country to cut between 20 and…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Don’t touch that fawn

White-tail deer will soon start scouting the fields and forests for hiding places to give birth to their fawns this spring. After giving birth, the doe leaves the fawn lying on the ground and continues foraging for the crucial calories…
Five marinas on Fontana Lake have been certified as Clean Marinas in recognition of their efforts to preserve and protect water quality in the Tennessee River system by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates the dam at Fontana Lake for…
By Michael Beadle Helen Keller is an unruly child. She eats food with her fingers, drops her silverware on purpose, kicks and whines, and throws temper tantrums. She also happens to be blind, deaf and mute with very little way…
First, an admission: I didn’t get to talk to Kenny Wayne Shepherd at all. No interview or anything. Kind of a bummer, because it means I couldn’t ask him how it feels to look back on a performing and recording…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Frank may be gone, but not frugality

Some people say I can be cheap, or at the very least, my priorities are out of whack. They say, “You’ll spend $30 for a bottle of wine, but won’t spend 30 to get that dent in your car fixed.”…
Every year when the local tailgate farmers markets begin opening, it’s a good time to ponder just what it means to be able to hop down to some designated spot and buy produce, flowers and other goods fresh from a…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Float trips return to Waynesville

The sight of bobbing caravans of inflatable kayaks floating down Richland Creek through Waynesville will return on Saturday, May 6 when Whitewater of Waynesville, a.k.a. WOW, opens back up for its second season.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Mount Sterling — a hikers’ crossroads

Climbing the 80 rickety feet of metal and wood got my adrenaline flowing a bit. Once up there, I found it to be a precarious perch, especially since the plywood floor was rotten and some of it missing. I was…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Declare war on incumbents

By Marshall Frank • Columnist Time to send a message to our government leaders. Our democracy is ruled by the will of the people. It appears our president, and our senators and congressional representatives from both parties have forgotten that.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

The life-long legacy of a few brushmarks

By Lew Garnett Without his ever knowing it, Blaine Richardson was one of my heroes. It was a recent breezy Saturday at our karate school, where over the past few years I’d fought a sharp contest between my 50-year-old body…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

A brand new world

Anyone who hasn’t been to the woods in the last month would swear they’re in a different world. In a sense, they are. At the end of March most anything above 2,500 feet still looked like winter. A hike today…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Reaching out for the Little T

When Cass and Mary Lou Combs attended a conservation celebration along the shore of the Little Tennessee River in Macon County last Friday, their mind occasionally wandered from the speaker at hand to thoughts of a new great-grandchild being born…
For two and a half years, David Erikson at Twigs and Leaves has offered a monthly drawing for a gift certificate as a surreptitious means to compel customers to share their hometown address.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Recommended diversions

Beach Trips My first vacation of any real length is coming up in two weeks’ time. My boyfriend and I are heading south to Delray Beach, Fla. — a place picked solely for being home to the Morikami Museum and…
By Chris Cooper There’s this thing that can happen when you research an artist for a review. I’m not sure what the technical term for it is, but it goes something like this: you find that many people (usually well…
By Michael Beadle There’s so much art to see in downtown Waynesville, gallery owners are now offering to keep their businesses open extra hours. For the first Friday of the month starting this May, the Waynesville Gallery Association is kicking…