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The Liars Bench presents “Wild Mountain Music” at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19 at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center auditorium. Member artists Gary Carden, Lloyd Arneach, Barbara Duncan, Paul Iarussi; guest artists Laurence Jordan, Ken Beck, Brent Martin, Jill Gottesman and…
Chocolate is not simply a tasty treat; for some, it is the main ingredient for creating masterpieces, and developing the ultimate recipe or concept is serious business. “We would start in November practicing with recipes,” said Becca Wiggins, a 35-year-old…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:22

The time is ripe for garden planning

January is a time for new beginnings; nowhere is that more true than in the garden. A difficult task for newcomers to Western North Carolina who want to garden, or for first-timers to gardening, is an absence of good information…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:20

A reminder of the inhumanity that is war

It was pouring last Wednesday as I drove home, the cold rain  painting the winter landscape a dull grey. Standing on the sidewalk outside the Haywood County Courthouse was a single peace protester, his raincoat losing the battle against the…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:19

NCAE needs to work for schools, not Democrats

In spite of Scott McLeod’s assertion that “it would be hard to argue otherwise” in his column (“Vote on NCAE dues a slap in the face to teachers,” The Smoky Mountain News, Jan 11 edition), I am going to give…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:18

Locke Foundation critical of tactics

To the Editor: It’s unclear where Justin Conley (“Vindictive measure should send message,” The Smoky Mountain News, Jan. 11 issue) gets his information about the John Locke Foundation’s reaction to last week’s controversial session of the N.C. General Assembly. Lumping…
A lawsuit filed last week claims $17 million has been hijacked from public coffers over the past two decades by a mental health nonprofit. A regional mental health agency filed the suit in hopes of recouping the lost money, as…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:16

News in brief

The Jackson County Republican Party will hold an open house at its new office in Sylva from 3 p.m. until 5: 30 p.m. Monday, Jan 23, located at Sunrise Park Drive This office is the second GOP office opened in…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:15

Bryson federal building will be ‘occupied’

Members of Move to Amend, a grassroots coalition, will be in front of the Federal Courthouse on Main Street in Bryson City, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20 to mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:15

Teach-in on corporate influence planned

Confused about what corporate personhood is, and why it even matters? A group of Haywood County residents will hold a teach-in from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 21, in the historic courthouse in downtown Waynesville. “We want to…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:14

Players sought for football teams

Alumni football is coming to Waynesville via Gridiron Alumni, which is planning several full-contact alumni football games.   Players are needed; the first 40 on each team get to play. The team that gets 30 people registered first gains home…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:14

Edwards sentenced for Cullowhee bank robbery

Brian Anthony Edwards, a junior a Western Carolina University, was convicted of robbery and sentenced to a maximum of 21 months in a North Carolina prison on Jan. 3. Edwards, a 21-year-old Hendersonville native, pleaded guilty to “common law robbery”…
While a proposed room-tax hike in Jackson County has been sidelined at least for now, the idea of merging the county’s two tourism entities has been tapped for further study. Jackson County commissioners plan to appoint a task force to…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:04

Maggie tightens up noise ordinance, again

Maggie Valley was thrust back into controversy over its noise ordinance last week, an ongoing debate that has pitted residents against bars hosting live bands outdoors. Only four months after the previous town board made changes to the noise ordinance,…
Jackson leaders will likely pushback a countywide property revaluation from next year to 2016 following a strong recommendation by their tax man. “Truthfully, if you want this thing done and you want it done right, we don’t have an adequate…
Jackson County leaders have decided that tradition is overrated. Six months after the new Jackson County library opened, commissioners have decided whose name to put on a plaque in the foyer — a spot that until now featured a cardboard…
The construction downturn has led Haywood County to lay off its steep slope engineer, a position created during the heyday of mountainside home building. The county can no longer justify having an engineer on its payroll to oversee steep slope…
Driven by a Republican-dominated commission, Macon County’s beleaguered planning board will undergo wholesale changes that likely include member term limits and a lessened, some might argue silenced, voice in writing development ordinances. But these steps, agreed to in concept by…
Cherokee is on a mission to remodel the look of its business district, in the hope that an infusion of native-themed architecture can give new life to its outdated commercial appearance. “We want it to be pleasing to the eye…
Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians might have the chance to decide whether they want alcohol in their individual communities this spring, but Tribal Council is still trying to decide if and how it would include the option…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 13:53

The road less traveled

The question ‘which way to Cherokee?’ continues bedeviling the state transportation department, which has been caught in a tug-of-war between Jackson County and Maggie Valley over who deserves a sign pointing the “right” way to Cherokee. Maggie Valley currently holds…
Where do the poisonous snakes go in winter? In the Smokies region we have two poisonous species: timber rattlesnakes and copperheads. Cottonmouth moccasins are often reported, but that species is found no farther inland than about the fall line, which…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:37

WNC Alliance director appointed to MRC

The executive director of the Western North Carolina Alliance has been appointed to the state’s influential Mountain Resources Commission (MRC). Julie V. Mayfield was appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue. MRC members provide recommendations to local, state, and federal legislative and…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:36

Pittillo to speak at Franklin meeting

Retired Western Carolina University professor and well-known regional fall color prognosticator Dan Pittillo will be the speaker at 2 p.m. on Jan. 17 at a meeting of the Southern Appalachian Plant Society. The meeting will take place in the Franklin…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:34

Grants available for renewable energy

Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development is accepting applications from Western North Carolina farmers interested in generating renewable energy on their farms. The NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission is providing 40 percent cost-share funding for approved projects. The maximum grant…
Trail maintenance has an obvious benefit: it’s darn good exercise. But for Becky Smucker, a volunteer trail crew leader in the Pisgah National Forest, it carries a deep satisfaction. “Those of us who work in jobs that produce abstract results,…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:33

Friends of the Smokies receives $10K from REI

Moving mountains is no easy task, but volunteers and trail crews hauling boulders, digging waterbars and otherwise rehabilitating trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will have an easier time with their new Trails Forever equipment trailer, thanks to…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:32

NOC wins prestigious outdoor award

The Nantahala Outdoor Center has been bestowed with the 2012 Outdoor Industry Association Outdoor Inspiration Award. It is the outdoor industry’s top honor for businesses contributing to the future of outdoor recreation, voted on by an expert panel of peers…
A volunteer work day to work on campsites for the French Broad River Paddle Trail will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Jan. 13 in Transylvania County. The French Broad River Paddle Trail will be a world-class paddle trail…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:31

Watershed plan subject of Jan. 12 meeting

The Macon County League of Women Voters of Macon County will host a program on a newly completed study on the county’s watershed, its condition, and its needs. The study, conducted as part of the N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program (NCEEP),…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:29

Whoopers and hoodeds

Cranes are cool. These big beautiful graceful birds jolt the souls of non-birders and birders alike. At five feet tall, the snow-white adult whooping crane is the tallest bird in North America. The whooper has a red patch on its…
More than 5 million people hit the trails in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests last year — a number that continues to grow not only as more people move to the mountains but also as outdoor recreation increases in…
Next time you hike a trail, pause a minute and give silent thanks to the legion of trail volunteers who have taken up arms and engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the forest, hacking back the undergrowth and clearing obstructive logs.…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:13

Readings, signings at City Lights

Suzanne Raether will read from and sign her novel, Judaculla, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan.  13, at City Lights Bookstore.   Set in Jackson County, Judaculla tells the story of Timothy Fletcher, a 19-year-old WCU student athlete and his…
Bob Plott will discuss his newest book, Colorful Characters of the Great Smoky Mountains, at 3 p.m. on Jan. 14 at Blue Ridge Books. Plott is a North Carolina native who can trace his family roots in the Old North…
The Jackson County Public Library in Sylva will host Sylva resident Curtis Blanton for an evening of storytelling and tall tales at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan.17, in the Community Room. Always a careful listener to the tales told by…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:10

Intrigue, violence and opium in Oslo

The Leopard marks the eighth crime novel featuring the chain-smoking alcoholic Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Police Department, an agency that is rife with political intrigue, corruption and ineptitude. However, since Hole is immune to politics, doesn’t take bribes…
Prayer breakfast and activities to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Three events celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be held in Haywood County, organized by the Haywood County MLK Committee. • 22nd annual Prayer Breakfast…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:07

Anime club announces movies

Anime, or Japanese animation, returns to its regular schedule at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City with two shows a month starting this Saturday, Jan. 14.   The morning session, from 11 a.m. to 1:10 p.m., features several popular…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:06

Learn basket-weaving in Macon

The Arts Council of Macon County will sponsor a one-day basket-weaving class from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, in the Macon County Cooperative Extension Building. Participants will construct a functional and decorative tote basket, with open top and…
The Oconaluftee Institute for Cultural Arts will feature an exhibition of photographs by author Anna Fariello during the month of January. The photographs explore four different native cultures — the Maya, the Kuna, the Emberá and the Cherokee — and…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:05

Art and craft classes planned at Stecoah

Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center is offering several classes this winter.  Interested participants can register online at stecoahvalleycenter.com or call the Stecoah Gallery 828.479.3364.   • Wool Rug Braiding — Saturdays, Jan. 14, 21, and 28, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $63.…
Each winter the theater scene in Waynesville takes off with the opening of the Feichter Studio at Haywood Arts Regional Theater. Area actors mount six shows in 12 weeks in the intimate backstage space at the Performing Arts Center at…
The work of late painter Pat Passlof will be the focus of a joint exhibition of the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in Asheville from Thursday, Jan. 26, through Friday,…
Catch the Spirit of Appalachia will hold a series of creative writing workshops on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The series, “Writing From The Heart,” will be held with author and publisher Amy Ammons Garza.…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:00

ARTSaturday planned for children in Macon

Elementary school-aged children and their families are invited to the Macon County Art Council’s free ARTSaturday workshop from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday, January 14, in the Macon County Public Library children’s wing.   Make-and-take projects include cottony snowman…
Anne Lough, a nationally known traditional musician with 35 years experience who is also a shape-note singer, will lead the Lunch and Learn session at Lake Junaluska’s Bethea Welcome Center at 2 p.m. on Jan. 19. Lough, who lives in…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:59

Music faculty talent on display Jan. 17

The Western Carolina University School of Music will present a “Faculty Showcase” concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the recital hall of the Coulter Building. The performance, part of a Tuesday evening concert series at WCU, will includes…
The Haywood County Arts Council will host blues musician Sleepy Ralow on Jan. 15 and storyteller Lloyd Arneach on Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. at the Waynesville library as part of its Sunday series. Ralow has played old-style country blues…
A segment of the Jackson County variety show “Liars Bench” will be shown on WMYA My40 at 2 p.m. on Jan. 15. The show was filmed by Carl White, a Charlotte-based journalist whose regular shows are called “Living in the…