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Wednesday, 15 April 2015 15:55

NOC rings in spring

A celebration of spring and its waterborne joys will be held April 24-26 at Nantahala Outdoor Center with a Spring Fling featuring the Hometown Throwdown freestyle kayaking event, Nantahala Racing Club Slalom Series kick-off, a vendor fair, live music and…
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation will spend $600,000 in 2015 on projects to benefit the Parkway and the plant and animal life calling it home. Every year, the Foundation collaborates with Parkway staff to come up with its list.
Solar power is on the rise across the U.S., and a campaign recently launched in Western North Carolina is urging mountain folk to join the trend.  “You can only do what you can afford to do, and now that it’s…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 15:45

Fate and fortune sing in new novel

Spartanburg poet and nonfiction writer John Lane has broken out of his comfort zone and journeyed into the netherworld of the novel and Appalachian noir. Joining company with Ron Rash, Charles Frazier, Wayne Caldwell, Wiley Cash, Pam Duncan and David…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 15:44

A big thank you to Sen. Jim Davis

To the Editor: Thank you Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, for raising my taxes. As with the majority of North Carolina citizens who earn less than $84,000 a year, my total state tax bill went up. Most of the promised tax…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 15:40

Time to get re-acquainted with an old friend

It is just mid-April and already too hot to sleep, but too early in the year to resort to air conditioning. For years, I managed to do without any air conditioning at all, even in my car — partly out…
Nothing would reflect better on this country than to have a rational, reasoned debate on gun violence and what steps could be taken to curb it while still adhering to the Second Amendment. One look at the statistics shows how…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 14:07

Friends of the Arts benefit, concert

A special performance by WCU alumna and recording artist Jeanne Jolly will take place as part of the Friends of the Arts benefit on Friday, April 24, in the Bardo Arts Center at Western Carolina University.
Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band drummer Seth Estes, who graduates in May with a bachelor’s degree in music education, has been selected for a position on the drum line of the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 14:05

Vaudeville at The Strand

An intricate mix of artistic performance, The Moon Show will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville. A collaboration between performing artists Valerie Meiss, Rich Risbridger and Madison J. Cripps, the…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 14:04

It's all about the chocolate

Bryson City chocolate cook-off Cooks of all things chocolate will square off at the 8th annual Chocolate Cook-Off from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at the Swain County Chamber of Commerce in Bryson City. The Friends of the…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 14:02

This must be the place

They fascinate me the most — in a way that is captivating and haunting, ancient and mysterious. Women. The opposite sex. The basis behind all great art, music, literature, war and unanswerable questions we never seem to stop asking. They…
Debbie Milner has a simple philosophy. “If I won’t eat it, I won’t sell it,” she said. Standing next to a large display case at Sentelle’s Seafood in downtown Clyde, Milner points out all of the right-off-the-boat and shipped to…
A Whittier man was discovered dead in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the early morning hours of March 29.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 13:31

Trash being tossed on Tuckasegee River bank

Barbara Robinson of Bryson City drives by the Tuckasegee River on a daily basis, but lately the peaceful view of the river has been interrupted by overflowing trash piling up on the riverbank.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 13:29

Maggie Valley gears up for spring cleaning

Telling people what to do with their property is not an easy job, even when a town’s local economy may depend on it.
Downtown Canton has seen better days.  A once vibrant and bustling Main Street is now struggling to hang on to its few surviving businesses. Some of its historic buildings are now vacant and falling into disrepair.
Discussion about a new industrial development ordinance is just getting going in the Jackson County Planning Board, but the board didn’t waste any time in taking a unanimous vote asserting that fracking — a controversial form of fossil fuel extraction…
A state investigation into jail conditions in Jackson County turned up a passel of compliance issues and a mandate that Sheriff Chip Hall submit a plan of correction by the end of the month.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 13:22

State senate rematch already in the making

Last fall’s election is barely in the rearview mirror, but battle lines are already being staked out for 2016. And voters may be looking at a rematch for the state senate seat that sprawls from Waynesville to Murphy, spanning seven…
Haywood Community College had to pay back $126,000 in state funding after accidentally inflating its enrollment numbers. The state doles out community college funding based on enrollment. HCC inadvertently reported more students than it actually had, however, and as a…
Haywood County is back on the prowl for potential sites to build a new $3 million animal shelter to replace its existing one. County commissioners initially set their sights on an empty field at the Haywood County Fairgrounds. But that…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 13:17

Macon commissioners give board new direction

With the six-month process of getting a nuisance noise ordinance passed behind them, members of the Macon County Planning Board now have some new assignments.
Jackson County’s Tourism Development Authority will soon launch a search for a tourism director, a milestone for the newly minted countywide tourism agency.
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.