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Wednesday, 30 July 2014 14:21

Canton gets new fire chief

The Town of Canton has selected J. Derek Littlejohn as its next fire chief.  Littlejohn has been employed with the Canton Fire Department for the past 28 years and has served in numerous capacities including firefighter, shift lieutenant and captain. …
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 14:20

Swain passes fracking resolution

Swain County recently passed a resolution in opposition to fracking. “Are you familiar with what fracking is?” asked Swain County Commissioner Steve Moon. “That’s why we’re opposed to it.”
The North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission has scheduled a public hearing on fracking for Western North Carolina. The hearing is slated for Sept. 12 on the Western Carolina University campus in Cullowhee.
With the lease drawn up and fundraising underway, most people attending the Haywood County Commissioner meeting last week figured that approving the lease for a trio of Christian groups to renovate the old Hazelwood prison would be a matter-of-fact agenda…
Carson Angel is excited to show off her reading skills as she waits outside East Franklin Elementary for her mom to pick her up. From the pile of hand-colored posters, worksheets and drawings at her feet, the 8-year-old picks out…
Austin Fore calls it “a blessing.” “If I’m not there every other day I’m bummed,” the Clyde skateboarder said.
In a letter to the editor of the Smoky Mountain News published several weeks ago, Gwen Franks Breese took exception to a Back Then column of mine originally published in SMN in November 2013.  That column went into considerable detail…
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:51

Graveyard Fields celebrates new look

Better public access and trail improvements for Graveyard Fields, one of the most popular spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway, will be celebrated at 2 p.m. Aug. 4, with representatives of The National Park Service, U.S Forest Service and Blue…
Native plants are getting a boost in Cherokee with the opening of a 2,200-square-foot greenhouse designed to produce and propagate native plants. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians designed the building to propagate black willow, silky dogwood, Carolina rhododendron, Catawba…
The Nantahala Racing Club and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation came out on top in an online voting contest from The North Face, winning $25,000 for special initiatives aimed at connecting youth with the outdoors. The organizations were two of…
More than 1,200 outdoor atheletes will converge on Lake Logan in Haywood County this weekend for the annual Lake Logan Multisport Festival.
Sam Fowlkes, who teaches paddlesports and rescue at Western Carolina University, has received prestigious recognition in the field of technical swiftwater rescue for an American Canoe Association conference he helped coordinate.
Taking a walk with Ila Hatter is the outdoors equivalent of sitting beside a scrapbooker as she pages through the family photo album. Every step is a story, a meeting with a plant bearing its own history and its own…
Each time Stephen King is interviewed, he finds himself responding to the same question: “Where do you get your ideas?” Usually, the question is prompted by the questioner implying that an author who writes about serial killers and psychotics must…
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:33

This must be the place

When the camera bulb flashed, it hit me — had it really been that long? Standing in the Belhurst Castle, a Great Gatsby-esque property situated on Seneca Lake in Geneva, N.Y., I realized it had been around a decade since…
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:22

BBQ Festival & Car Show in Franklin

The 6th Annual Mountain High BBQ Festival and Car Show will be held Aug. 8-9 at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center in Franklin. Gates will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.…
“A Songcatcher’s Notebook: Traditional Music and Storytelling” with singer-songwriter/storyteller Lee Knight will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 31, at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:18

Sylva welcomes Whitewater Bluegrass Co.

The Whitewater Bluegrass Company will perform as part of the Concerts on the Creek Series at 7: 30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, at Bridge Park in Sylva.
Karyn Tomczak, director of the Western Carolina University dance program, will receive the 2014 Dance Teacher Award for Higher Education at the Dance Teacher Summit to be held in New York City in August.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:14

In other beer news

A home brewing class for beginners will be led by Clark Williams of Frog Level Brewing Company every Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5-26 at Southwestern Community College in Sylva.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:12

Franklin brewery readies for spring opening

As the snow melts in Southern Appalachia, the beer will begin to flow from the taps of the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company in the former Franklin Town Hall.
In the last two weeks, Joe Rowland has soaked in the California sunshine, rafted the Grand Canyon, wandered the Rocky Mountains, gone skydiving and tamed the endless cornfields of the Midwest, all the while cruising the country in a rock…
To the Editor: The issue of fracking by the oil and gas industry — already one of the most controversial issues of our time — is not a political issue, but one which has the potential to forever alter the…
To the Editor: Most letters to the editor are benign or overly active, but the one in the July 2 edition of The Smoky Mountain News (“Let’s stop yellow journalism politics,” July 2, 2014, The Smoky Mountain News, was…
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:06

Honest survey or deceitful phone ad?

To the Editor: Recently “SSI” surveys popped up on my called ID and in a moment of curiosity I answered my phone. I figured it was a political questionnaire and it was. What I didn’t anticipate was a veiled attempt…
Most anyone who has worked for a living, volunteered, or held elected office has stood at the edge of the abyss, looked over it, and made a very important decision: complete honesty and unyielding integrity, or maybe a little dishonesty,…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

New talent and old influences enter jam genre

By Chris Cooper Approaching the “jam band” thing from some very different angles, Umphrey’s McGee manage to bring shades of vintage Yes, Peter Gabriel and Rush to the mix in lieu of the usual suspects (Grateful Dead, Phish, Allman Bros.)…
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…