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The endangered Indiana bat saw a 9 percent population increase between 2005 and 2007, continuing a 12-year rise in bat numbers. However, a mysterious illness in the Northeast poses a threat to this success. The number of Indiana bats rose…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Painting over Bureaucracy

By Michael Beadle Phyllis Jarvinen was tired of all the paperwork, the endless forms and bureaucratic red tape that clogged up her job as a therapist working with children.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Birdapalooza results

My brother and I conducted our annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, La., last Friday, Feb. 15. While we didn’t set any records, we had a good count. We bested last…
When the Democratic primary election rolls around in Jackson County on May 6, many will finally get the chance they’ve been wanting — the opportunity to vote on the strict development regulations passed last year by county commissioners.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

A favorite plant

By Jim Janke • Special to SMN Editor’s note: This is a regular feature on gardening by the Haywood County master gardeners. Look for it every other week. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes) is one of my favorites. Sow the seeds…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

The innate traits of the male species

By Stephanie Wampler Step-by-cautious step, the man crosses the room, casting his eyes in all directions to make sure no one is watching. He moves quietly but intently, focused completely on the object which beckons to him from across the…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

This one's for Rob

By Chris Cooper Last summer I wrote an article titled “I Played In A Classic Rock Cover Band And Lived To Tell About It.” It was a semi-humorous account of some friends getting together under the moniker of Alpine Taxi,…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Is feeding the hungry bad for business?

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer It’s lunchtime at the Open Door, a 12-year-old soup kitchen in the Frog Level community of Haywood County, and chatter and laughter fill the modest dining hall. Here, down-on-their-luck residents can get a free…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Resisting the prospect of extinction

By Brent Martin Almost 10 years ago, science writer David Quammen published an essay in Harper’s Magazine titled A Planet of Weeds, which was later selected for Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Essays, 1999. It made a lasting impression on me,…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

DOT accused of convoluted planning

Opponents to the Southern Loop again urged the N.C. Department of Transportation to halt planning for the new highway last week during a meeting of the Jackson County Transportation Task Force.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

EcoBuilders This Asheville area green building company co-owned by former Haywood County Environmental Science teacher Rob Moody and organic farmer turned Realtor Jack Bebber has just announced that it has been selected to be a part of a special edition…
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer As Macon County officials move forward with plans to build two new schools, community schools in Cowee, Iotla and Cullasaja could close their doors forever.
By Ed Seavey • Guest Columnist The recent issue of the Smoky Mountain News (Jan. 16, “WNC Confronts Mental Health Crisis”) on the mental health crisis was interesting. Officials quoted proclaimed diplomatically that the issue is complex, as they wonder…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Highlands plateau still a world of green hills

Several years ago I wrote about Bradford Torrey’s A World of Green Hills, which was published in 1898 by Houghton Mifflin and Co. The book is divided into two parts, equally devoted to Torrey’s travels in Western North Carolina and…
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Sometimes, amid the focus on such divisive issues as growth regulations or steep slope construction, it’s easy to forget that on the most basic level most people in the region share a similar feeling…
By Marsha Crites • Guest Columnist Whether I am working on a watercolor design, organizing a community group, decorating a room, or getting to know a new person, I always enjoy beginning with a blank slate. No old baggage, muddled…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Valentine's Day, often, is about survival

By David Curtis Whew ... I survived another Valentine’s Day. That is a big accomplishment if you are a man, a man who’s married with teenage daughters.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

WCU enjoys a surge in popularity

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer When Callie LaDue started shopping for a college, there was only one school that she had her eyes on — Western Carolina University. “I liked it because it was a small campus but it…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Rash's Chemistry "notable"

Chemistry and Other Stories by Ron Rash. Picador, 2007. 230 pages This remarkable collection of short stories has already been named one of the 15 “notable books” of 2007 by the Story Prize Committee — an award that is presented…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Swain's drug problem worries officials

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer The beautiful mountain scenery that covers Swain County hides an ugly truth — the area is combating a major drug problem, and officials aren’t quite sure how to stop it.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

State forest users protests proposed bear hunt

A handful of lucky hunting parties were about to embark on a special bear hunt in DuPont State Forest last fall when wildlife managers realized they had gotten themselves in a bit of snare.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Grand plans in store for Cherokee trout hatchery

The Cherokee Tribal Trout Hatchery is embarking on $500,000 renovation project that will more than double its already impressive capacity for raising trout.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Crisis brewing at HRMC

Doctors, patients, nurses, ambulance drivers — even hospital board members — were unaware of a crisis brewing at Haywood Regional Medical Center that jeopardized its Medicare and Medicaid status and, as a result, the future of the hospital.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Alum Cave for a breath of fresh air

I recently happened upon an interesting article that described an excursion made in 1860 to the Alum Cave on the Tennessee side of the present-day Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Titled “A Week in the Great Smoky Mountains,” it was…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Rice resigns, cites need to move forward

David Rice, CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center for 15 years, resigned Monday in the wake of a financial crisis resulting from the hospital’s loss of its Medicare and Medicaid status. “I think the fallout is so negative, I think…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Board surprised by HRMC situation

The resignation on Feb. 25 of Haywood Regional Medical Center CEO David Rice was preceded by a tense, hour-long public meeting where hospital trustees expressed surprise and irritation toward Rice’s lack of candor about ongoing, serious problems uncovered by inspectors.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Saddle up for song and dance

By Michael Beadle Mamas, it’s OK to let your sons grow up to be cowboys — especially if they end up singin’ and dancin’ in the Summit choir at Tuscola High School.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Westcare prepares for patient load

WestCare’s Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva will be filling a major void in the region’s health care in the wake of to the Medicare and Medicaid crisis at Haywood Regional Medical Center.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

The seach goes on

For the past four years — five years total, if you count the magical, muddy, mystery tour in Louisiana back in 2002 — the devout, the convinced, the skeptical and the curious have slogged and paddled across the swamps of…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

“Juno” The little movie that could is this year’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” another quirky comedy that broke out of its expected art house niche and into the Cineplexes. Former exotic dancer Diablo Cody just won the Academy Award for best…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Timeline of a crisis

June 9, 2006 Haywood Regional Medical Center receives a visit from the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Medicaid and Medicare Services, the state agency responsible for overseeing hospital compliance with standard of care requirements. Inspectors cite the…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

HRMC's survival vital to Haywood

Some are saying Regional Medical Center faces an uncertain future, but we believe it is vitally important for community leaders, the medical community and anyone else who cares to come together and do whatever it takes to help this hospital…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Tuning in once again

The Sweetest Sounds The sweetest sounds I’ll ever hear Are still inside my head. The kindest words I’ll ever know Are waiting to be said. — Rogers and Hart   Over the past 40 years, as my hearing has steadily…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Many say Medicare action too heavy-handed

Doctors and officials at Haywood Regional Medical Center are accusing state inspectors of being heavy-handed, draconian, unprecedented, dangerous and unfair by pulling the hospital’s Medicare and Medicaid status.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Camping to return at Needmore

When some 4,400 acres along the Little Tennessee River known as the Needmore Tract was taken over by the N.C. Wildlife Commission four years ago, a touch of the Wild West in WNC — complete with wholesome cattle ranchers and…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Campaign for Needmore campground goes public

Mountain Neighbors for Needmore Preservation hope to raise about $250,000 to make a family campground on the Needmore tract a reality.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Signs that we are growing up

Sparta, N.C. – I am on my way to town to get a birthday cake for my son, Jack. He will be 3 years old tomorrow, but we are celebrating tonight, so that all the family can join in the…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Henderson pours some hot sauce on it

By Chris Cooper In guitar circles, certain names are spoken in hushed, respectful tones. Players like Mike Stern, Allan Holdsworth and Scott Henderson — among others, of course — represent the best of the best in regards to the modern…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Close encounters

Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Walker. Indigo Publishing, 2007. 224 pages. Bill Bryson’s account of his time on the Appalachian Trail, A Walk in the Woods, revealed that the chief amusements of the Trail are not…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Issues flare up at Jackson Green Energy Park

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Jackson County officials say its high-profile tenant at the Green Energy Park is in violation of its lease, and now the county is requiring the biodiesel producer to comply or move elsewhere.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Fallout from funding crisis still unfolding

The future of Haywood Regional Medical Center could be in jeopardy following the termination of the hospital’s Medicare and Medicaid status due to violations uncovered by health care inspectors.
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Bryson City adopts first land use plan

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Bryson City Alderman have adopted the town’s first land development plan.
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Green Energy Park is not dangerous

By Timm Muth My thanks to the editor for giving me the opportunity to respond to the recent allegations about safety at the Green Energy Park. The article in last week’s paper (“Issues flare up at Green Energy Park,” Feb.…
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

A Continual Feast Evelyn Vitz’s cookbook offers a fine array of rituals and recipes from the Christian calendar. Greek lamb soup, baked Easter ham, and Russian Easter bread, for example, are only a few of the recipes offered for the…
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Outpouring of support for HRMC

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Donning purple ribbons of support, members of the community came together Monday in a show of encouragement for the embattled Haywood Regional Medical Center, which is facing a financial crisis after losing its Medicare…
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

The politics of python invasions

By David Curtis Just when you thought you had enough to worry about here comes a news report that’s right out of a bad Hollywood B movie — the giant snakes are coming.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Musicians will soon be able add another venue to their tour list next year.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer Next year Eastern Band of Cherokee tribal members will be able to watch the latest blockbuster flicks on the big screen, get their weekly groceries at Wal-Mart and enjoy a friendly game of golf…
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Situation changes daily at medical facility

Anyone following the saga of Haywood Regional Medical Center has to feel like their head is spinning. So much has happened so fast that keeping it all straight is likely proving difficult, even for those with the most nimble minds.
The healing power of forgiveness is at the top of the list of things in which I believe strongly. It’s the best drug on earth, doing more good for more people than anything a doctor ever learned in medical school.