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To the Editor: In a recent article in The Smoky Mountain News, Jackson County Commissioner Jack Debnam was quoted as saying that he did not believe in self-gratification. The Debnam quote went on to say “I would prefer the plaque…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:17

Who does Sen. Jim Davis really represent?

To the Editor: State Sen. Jim Davis had an excellent idea. He suggested that anyone who wondered about contributions to his 2010 campaign could just check out the NC. Board of Elections website. I did. Here is what I found.…
In this country built on capitalism, it’s a constant source of antagonism among politicians and citizens. I’m talking about the intersection of government aid to private businesses, and when is too little and when is too much. Jackson County has…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:15

Candidate forum to be held in Bryson City

Several Republican candidates for the 11th Congressional District will participate in a Feb. 17 forum sponsored by the Smoky Mountain Republican Women. The forum will be held at 7 p.m. at the Swain County Community Services Facility on Brendle Street…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:14

Girl Scouts seeking new troop leaders

In an effort to recruit new Troop Leaders and volunteers, Girl Scouts will host “Information Hours” from 1 to 6 p.m., Feb. 15, at the Haywood County Library in Waynesville. Current Troop Leaders, parents and Girl Scouts are also welcome…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:13

Class on self-defense for women Feb. 16

Western Carolina University is offering a self-defense class for women Thursday, Feb. 16. The class, sponsored by WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach, will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Room 143 of the Cordelia Camp Building. The class will focus…
Whittier’s $5 million wastewater treatment plant could be facing eventual financial insolvency, saddled with too much overhead and too few customers to make operation viable. The sewer plant, in hindsight, was overbuilt for growth and development that failed to materialize…
The Haywood Board of Commissioners agreed to put its John Hancock on a letter asking the N.C. Department of Transportation to post an additional “This way to Cherokee” sign near Dillsboro. The letter is a classic case of turn-about being…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:09

Gender equality on pay under the magnifying glass

Western Carolina University has launched a pay study to determine whether male employees are paid more than their female counterparts when doing the same jobs. The study is expected to take up to two years to complete. It has been…
Swain County’s Board of Elections will decide this month whether it is worth several thousand dollars to operate an early voting site in Cherokee again this election year. The three-member election board all agreed the county might not be able…
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the Cherokee Bear Zoo for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. During the agency’s Jan. 5 inspection, the officials found that the Cherokee Bear Zoo was failing to provide adequate veterinary care…
Cherokee tribal council last week decided to change the format for an upcoming vote on alcohol sales, a move that will give individual communities more autonomy on the controversial issue. When members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians go…
If Macon County commissioners decide to impose term limits for the planning board, beleaguered planning members could become the only ones out of dozens serving on various county boards who are subject to limits on how many years they can…
Street food vendors aren’t welcome everywhere in Western North Carolina, but Andy and Pamela Fife haven’t found that to be true in Franklin. They are now setup in this Macon County town as the only fulltime mobile food vendors west…
The race for the Congressional seat representing Western North Carolina was flipped on its head last week when incumbent U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, announced he would not seek re-election this year — leaving no heir apparent within his party.…
When Coach Boyce Dietz got a call from his former standout quarterback Heath Shuler asking him to meet for breakfast at Clyde’s Restaurant one morning several years ago, Dietz dutifully got in the car and headed toward Waynesville to hear…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 20:54

Family welcomes charges in baby’s death

Caron Swayney knew better than to torture herself, but still she occasionally found herself drawn to the trailer park where the cold, limp body of her 15-month-old niece was discovered dead in the middle of the night last January. “I…
Haywood County might not be getting a fair shake from cell tower companies on their property taxes. County commissioners learned this week that cell tower companies might be underestimating the value of their towers and equipment, and as a result,…
Interstate 40 near the Tennessee line in Haywood County reopened early Sunday morning following two rockslides in as many weeks. Only one lane of the Interstate is open through the Pigeon River Gorge near the state line, however. Following the…
Jackson County commissioners this week formally attempted to put the kibosh on 83-year-old Marie Leatherwood’s pattern of outbursts, picketing and general garrulity during meetings. During a meeting last month, Leatherwood was told she could no longer display signs during county…
Thursday, 02 February 2012 18:14

I-40 West expected to be open by Monday, Feb. 6

The Tennessee Department of Transportation anticipates the re-opening of Interstate 40's westbound lanes by Monday Feb. 6. TDOT has awarded an emergency contract to remove debris and unstable rock near the North Carolina border. Currently, the westbound lanes of the…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:56

Poetic writing by a true mountain woman

I am the summer … I am the firefly and the moon … the rain on the leaves the swamp orchids and the blackberries.          — Emma Bell Miles In chronological order, ten of the most informative and/or entertaining books…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:55

Foundation Grant underpins Trust’s work

A three-year, $225,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation will help the Conservation Trust for North Carolina accelerate land and water protection by aiding the state’s network of land trusts. CTNC supports local land trusts by providing grants and…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:55

Wildlife Commission taps social media

Hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts can now receive the most up-to-date information about the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission via social media. “Like” the state agency on Facebook and follow it on Twitter to see the latest news releases, view photos,…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:54

GSMNP appoints new board member

The Benton MacKaye Trail Association elected Ernest Engman, of Maryville, Tenn., as a board member and maintenance coordinator for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A member of the group since 2005, Engman hiked the entire trail in 2008. He later wrote…
The Highlands Biological Foundation has received a $25,000 grant from the Eckerd Family Foundation to create “Backyard Naturalists,” an after-school program designed to inspire a lifelong appreciation of the natural world through science, art and technology. It is intended as…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:49

A unique way to explore ‘your’ Smokies

A new program called experience Your Smokies is a different method now in place to get to know the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its employees. “If you have ever wanted to be a park ranger or get a…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:49

Time to talk gardening in Sylva

A program on Straw Bale Gardening will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church in Sylva. The program is being put on at the February meeting of The Sylva Garden…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:48

Calling for nominees in Green Oscars

Wild South’s Roosevelt-Ashe Society is seeking nominations for its annual conservation awards, with winners recognized next month in Asheville. Nominations are being accepted through Feb. 10. Awards are presented in seven categories: outstanding journalist, outstanding youth, outstanding educator, outstanding business,…
MedWest Health & Fitness Center in Haywood County will hold a Fitness Expo from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 18 to help New Year goal-setters reinvigorate their fitness wishes. “Spring into Fitness” is free and includes a variety of group…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:47

Winter hike at the Needmore tract

Meet at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3, to take part in a winter walk along the Little Tennessee River at Needmore to the old Brush Creek Farm. The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee will host the walk, and staff…
The annual Environmental Scorecard is now out that ranks how friendly or unfriendly state legislators are to the environment, and the results aren’t pretty. A record 55 representatives and 24 senators failed to cast a single vote in favor of…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:46

Better eat … or rather, grow your broccoli

Researchers need organic farmers to help them test-grow broccoli to determine the best varieties for the mountains. The majority of broccoli varieties currently available were developed for California and not East Coast growing conditions. N.C. State University wants to screen…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:44

Slip-sliding away

Dateline 1999: David Kullivan a forestry/wildlife student at Louisiana State University, tells faculty that while turkey hunting in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area, a pair of ivory-billed woodpeckers foraged in trees as close as 10 yards from him. Soon…
Nantahala Outdoor Center is celebrating the company’s 40th anniversary by giving its flagship outfitter’s store in the Nantahala Gorge an environmentally friendly facelift: the store is en route to the coveted LEED Gold certification. The Outfitter’s Store will be NOC’s…
Three Tennessee residents are headed to prison for breaking into a slew of cars at trailheads in Haywood County during a several month period, hitting hiker’s vehicles in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Pisgah National Forest. The…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:36

Some novels requires a certain tolerance

Recently I watched several early episodes of “Blue Bloods,” a fine television series centered on a New York family with a tradition of law enforcement. The father is the New York City Police commissioner, his father is a retired policemen,…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:36

Two days, two events, two writers

City Lights Bookstore will host two writers this weekend. Anne Clinard Barnhill will be at the bookstore at 7 p.m., Feb. 3, to read from her new novel, At the Mercy of the Queen. A tale of sexual seduction and…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:35

‘Fight Like A Girl’ offered

Southwestern Community College will once again offer the popular Fight Like A Girl course from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 11. This module is especially effective for dealing with attacks in parking lots and garages where victims could…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:35

REACH Volunteer Training Day

REACH of Haywood will hold its annual Volunteer Training Day on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Waynesville. Anyone who would like to offer volunteer services for the nonprofit agency, especially in the area of Helpline phone volunteers, shelter helpers and office…
Sylva speeders beware: at downtown business owners’ requests, Sylva is tapping the full array of skills that newly hired downtown foot-patrol officer J.P. Gallardo brings to the job. As of last week, the retired state Highway Patrol trooper of 30…
N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, spent much of his two-hour town hall in Haywood County last week addressing the topic of education. Davis spoke to a crowd of more than 50 people in the historic courthouse in Waynesville. He didn’t…
An Asheville Democrat going up against Congressman Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, in the May primary held his first town hall meeting in Waynesville at the library last Thursday. Hoping to gather more name recognition and answer voter questions, Cecil Bothwell led…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:03

The difference between us and them

To the Editor: I wish to address the controversy surrounding the Macon County Planning Board. Maybe, just maybe you’ll understand our fight against you and your quest to control our property and lives. The word “you” applies to all who…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:02

Macon’s Ron Haven is making a difference

To the Editor: Macon County Commissioner Ron Haven is a man of character, courage and conviction. He is knowledgeable of and responsive to the beliefs, feelings and opinions of the people he represents. He is keen on liberty, individual rights…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:02

Haven keeps promises, makes enemies

To the Editor: Macon County should be proud to have a politician who makes promises to voters and then works to try to keep them. I’m referring to Commissioner Ron Haven. He received significantly more votes than his opponents in…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:01

Program was a unique, moving experience

To the Editor: My wife and I were richly blessed at a recent presentation of a unique ministry called “Let Heaven and Nature Sing” before a packed auditorium at the Music Road Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. This one-of-a-kind ministry…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:01

We must fix election spending fiasco

To the Editor: There are two ways to look at the Supreme Court decision that enables corporations to spend what they wish to influence elections to public office. It will come to be known either as the death knell of…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:00

Soon, we may all be working in our 70s

To the Editor: Last year I watched news coverage of the Occupy movement as it took root in cities around the globe, but I didn’t imagine it would reach Main Street in Bryson City. But there we were — about…
Macon County residents, indeed all local history buffs, are about to receive a great gift from Barbara McRae, editor of The Franklin Press. Barbara is a noted regional historian with unmatched knowledge, in particular but not exclusively, of Macon County.…