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Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:33

Swain courthouse slated for civic revival

After years of talk and little action, Swain County is moving forward with a long-held dream to turn its iconic, domed courthouse into a cultural history museum and visitors center. The architectural centerpiece of town, the old courthouse has been…
It’s early on a workday, and there’s a single player seated at one of the 18 machines in the two-room M&J’s sweepstakes café, located in a small strip mall on Highlands Road in Franklin. Louise Dills, who works at the…
Counties and towns in the region are sparring over a highway sign that points the way to Cherokee, each hoping to capture a share of the 3.5 million annual visitors en route to the tribe’s casino by bringing that traffic…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:28

Haywood to cash in on landfill methane

An alternative energy project to convert methane landfill gas into electricity will cost Haywood County a little extra after a wrench was thrown into the plans. The county will have to fork over an additional $45,000 and bring in a…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:28

North Carolina wins federal award for education

North Carolina will receive a $69.9 million grant award from the federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge fund to support early childhood education throughout the state.   “This award is outstanding news for our children, families and educators…
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:27

Learn to swim, or learn to swim better

The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department will offer swim lessons in January, February and March. The lessons will take place at the Waynesville Recreation Center:   • January lessons: Level one swim lessons from 4-4:30 p.m., level two from 5-5:30…
When it comes to connecting farmers with students and substituting common cafeteria fare with fresh, local produce grown here in the mountains, Jackson County Schools stands at or near the forefront of Western North Carolina school systems. Jackson County has…
Few restaurants could afford to lose $1 on every meal they serve, but in Haywood County school cafeterias, that’s the reality faced every day. It costs $3.75 to fix a lunch, including the food and labor. But, the federal government…
It was only 11 a.m., and already 60 fidgeting children had streamed down the lunch line at Jonathan Valley Elementary School, eagerly eying the pans of corndogs and beans, a steady barrage that would continue in five-minute waves until, some…
A bank robbery at the N.C. State Employees Credit Union last week in Cullowhee saw a series of recent safety measures at Western Carolina University suddenly transform into the real thing. In 2007, a shooter went on a rampage at…
Randy Eaton has been selected Western Carolina University’s new athletics director and the man designated with rescuing the school’s floundering football program. He was greeted last week by a throng of Western Carolina University coaches, administrators, faculty and staff. Some…
Just one day after being named Western Carolina University’s athletics director, Randy Eaton was shopping for purple-colored clothing at the school’s gift shop. He had figured out, in a mere matter of hours, that at WCU employees are expected to…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 17:31

WCU announces new athletic director

After a five-week search, Western Carolina University has found its new director of athletics. Randy Eaton, former senior associate director of athletics at the University of Maryland, was announced as the new director at a press conference Wednesday. Eaton will…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:58

The light of winter is ‘tricky business’

Winter Light So much light in what we call the dark of the year, a flashing and glittering of light … Should it surprise us, having known the holes of darkness in the longest days? — William Bronk, “A Bright…
Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines has received a $239,000 grant from the National Park Service to assist the agency in identifying and protecting resources threatened by coastal erosion and future sea-level rise. The one-year grant…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:56

Hay prices burning through your dollars?

Learn how to cut down on winter hay-feeding bills by utilizing winter grazing techniques. A “pasture walk” is set for Dec. 16 at 12:30 p.m. in Haywood County at the Mountain Research Station test farm. Discussion topics include grazing versus…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:55

Ring in 2012 with a 5K run

The seventh annual Run in 2012 5K will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 1 in Jackson County. The race starts and finishes at the Jackson County Recreation Center in Cullowhee and follows a flat course. Registration is $20 through…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:55

Celebrate the sun with solstice walk

Celebrate the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, by participating in a nighttime walk at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, in DuPont State Forest. The quarter-mile walk follows an old roadbed to the base of Hooker Falls. In…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:54

Christmas weekend hikes planned

Enjoy the outdoors this Christmas by participating in a series of guided hikes scheduled to take place during the holiday season in the Pisgah National Forest. Roger Skillman, a former naturalist with the Cradle of Forestry Interpretive Association, is leading…
Local food sales are predicted to reach $7 billion nationally in 2012, according to a report released last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program estimates that Western North Carolina consumers alone purchased $62 million of…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:52

Come see ‘The Wave’ on the Nantahala

The Nantahala Gorge Worlds Organizing Committee will celebrate the completion of The Wave on Friday, Dec. 16, with a ceremony, reception and paddling exhibition starting at noon. The Wave is the competition site of the 2013 ICF Freestyle Kayak World…
Work is under way on the first wildlife habitat enhancement project in Western North Carolina that relies on an outside group to act as stewards within the national forest.  The U.S. Forest Service has contracted with the N.C. Wildlife Commission…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:49

Master Stewardship on the ground

A North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) press release from Dec. 9 announced that work was underway, “… to restore habitat by promoting new forest growth for wildlife,” on the Catpen project. The Catpen area is on the south side…
Christmas tree farming is nothing new in Western North Carolina thanks to the perfect climate, perfect soil and preponderance of mountainsides — terrain that leaves farmers with few options for cultivating crops suited to slopes. Tree farms run the gamut,…
Author Deanna K. Klingel of Sapphire was recently awarded the bronze medal in the children’s literature division of the National Stars and Flags Book Award Program for her book Avery’s Battlefield. The book, set during the American Civil War, tells…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:46

Tuscola’s Brooke Palay wins poetry competition

Eleven students from Haywood County high schools competed in the second Poetry Out Loud district competition at Tuscola High School Dec. 1. Brooke Palay from Tuscola High School won the district championship. Ali O’Kelly from Tuscola High School was first…
Join City Lights Bookstore for the Coffee with the Poet series at 10:30 a.m., Dec. 15, for a presentation of two anthologies by Western North Carolina women writers. “Women’s Spaces Women’s Places explores idea of giving a woman room of…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:37

A ‘kafka-esque’ story that offers redemption

Saddle up, kind hearts. I have a winner. Like most good things, this book came to me from a good friend who is in a position to read books that I would normally never see. Knowing something of my eccentric…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:30

The sage gardener won’t put off these chores

If you haven’t covered your greens yet — and I’m among those who have not — it’s time. We’ve been favored by a long, relatively warm fall, but these 20 degrees nights cause wear and tear on our mustard, collards,…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:29

Marketing success depends on cooperation

To the Editor: With reference to Quintin Ellison’s and Becky Johnson’s excellent reporting on the tourism marketing program for Jackson County, it was disturbing to read about the conflict between Cashiers and the Jackson County Travel and Tourism associations. In…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:28

Think before making a taxpayer-backed loan

To the Editor: “When asked about the likelihood of the AM radio station surviving in today’s advertising landscape, Jackson County commissioners said they were relying on the financial projections provided by the prospective radio owner.” This excerpt is from the…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:22

Gingrich’s rise a sad indictment on GOP field

For Newt Gingrich to have floated to the top of the Republican presidential slough tells what a dismal swamp it is. As most of the other alternatives to Mitt Romney have turned out to be dim bulbs, the former House…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:20

Haywood has low infant mortality rate

Haywood County has a lower infant mortality rate than the state as a whole, according to a report given at last week’s county commission meeting. The Haywood County Health Department updated the commissioners on the county’s child and infant deaths…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:20

Hooper House gets historic designation

The Hooper House on West Main Street in Sylva has received Jackson County’s first designation as a Local Historic Landmark. The house, which now serves as home for the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, was built in 1906. It was…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:19

Chamber hopes to regain footing with new director

After several years without a full-time promoter, the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce plans to bring back an executive director to help the valley rebound from a recession fraught with business closures. “We need that presence,” said Teresa Smith, president…
The price tag of transforming Western Carolina University’s losing football team into a winner — or anything less than a total embarrassment to Catamount fans — keeps rising, leaving students, alumni, faculty and staff at odds about whether the cost…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:16

Chancellor fields football question

SMN: The $300,000 to the football coach represents at least three professors’ salaries. Is this cost worth trying to have a winning football program? Why pump this kind of money into athletics compared to academics in this day and age…
Western Carolina University hired a new athletic director this week who will face the daunting challenge of turning the college’s losing football team around. The official announcement will be made on campus Wednesday morning with an appearance by the new…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:12

Folkmoot statue could get new home on Main Street

A whimsical sculpture that honors the Folkmoot international dance festival will find new prominence at a different spot on Main Street in Waynesville. The Waynesville Art Commission approved the relocation of the “Celebrating Folkmoot” for public safety reasons and concerns…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:10

Students will need to dig deeper to cover costs

Western Carolina University students likely will shell out an additional $399 in tuition and fees to attend school next year, an increase in dollars that some on campus said will be hard for them to come by. It’s likely to…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:10

Group prepares for Panama relief trip

A group of residents and students from Western North Carolina will embark in early March on a trip to the Central American country of Panama, donating ten days to do renovation work, provide medical assistance and distribute needed supplies to…
Rumors of an impending closing to the contrary, The Coffee Shop in Sylva is not shutting down, owner Phyllis Gibson said this week. “We’ve heard it, too,” Gibson said. “I had a woman customer come in this morning and say…
It’s 8 a.m. and the everyday regulars — Sylva’s working class Janes and Joes — are stopping by Cope’s Superette on Mill Street for packs of cigarettes, morning newspapers, soft drinks, candy and other breakfast necessities you grab when on…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 21:08

Free throw contest this month in Waynesville

The annual Elks National "Hoop Shoot" Free Throw Contest will take place at the Waynesville Recreation Center on Friday, Dec. 16. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. and the event will start at 6 p.m. The event is for boys…
The Jackson County-Webster Historical Society commemorated Pearl Harbor’s anniversary on Dec. 7 at its first public meeting in the renovated, historic courthouse in Sylva. “We are commemorating here an event that fundamentally transformed the history of the United States and…
When bulldozers began demolishing trees on a hillside overlooking Waynesville’s main commercial thoroughfare this summer, Byron Hickox was bombarded by a flood of inquiries from suddenly civic-minded citizens. The highly visible slope along Russ Avenue was denuded in a matter…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 20:58

WCU prepares for graduation ceremonies

Western Carolina University will honor its fall graduating class and recognize a group of graduates who received their degrees after this year’s summer school sessions, as the university holds fall commencement at 2 p.m., Dec. 17. The ceremony at the…
Bryson City Fire Department failed its state mandated insurance inspection last week for failing to respond to false alarms. The department would often be en route to a call when firefighters heard from 9-1-1 dispatchers that it was actually a…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 20:50

Waynesville artist to teach painting class

Waynesville artist and teacher Nick DePaolo will help people create an oil painting with his follow-along technique. The two-hour class is open to any skill level and will be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 16 and Dec.…
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 20:49

Skaggs Family to release album, perform Dec. 17

The Skaggs Family will perform songs from its new, 10-song holiday album, A Skaggs Family Christmas Volume Two, at the Smoky Mountain Performing Arts Center in Franklin at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17. The CD, which is now available nationwide,…