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When the sun sets in rural Fines Creek, the little community library gets bumping. It may be after-hours, but any given evening, a steady stream of cars comes from miles to sit in the parking lot. It’s the newest take…
The gap between the haves and have nots in the world of high-speed Internet will get a little smaller this spring thanks to a start-up Internet company that will soon be beaming Internet service from towers in Jackson County.
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 15:16

First novel by local writer strikes a chord

Eighteen-year-old Jacob McNeely, a shy high school dropout from Walter Middleton High School in Jackson County, North Carolina, seems resigned to a bleak future: As the son of Charlie McNeely, the biggest drug dealer in Cashiers Valley (and Laura, a mother who is…
Sipping hot tea while swaddled beside a propane heater, warmth beaming as wind whips snowflakes around the mountaintop outside. A stack of books beside the bed, well-worn titles alongside new adventures, a self-replenishing treasure trove of stories illuminated by kerosene-fueled…
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 15:01

A Golden secret

There is one winter visitor to our North Carolina Mountains that is probably happy the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed and is not burgeoning with sightseers and thrill-seekers like it is the rest of the year. That visitor would be…
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:56

WNC conservationists honored

Several Western North Carolina conservationists earned a spot in Wild South’s annual list of nominees for the Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation Awards, an honor that recognizes outstanding work to protect wild places and wild things in the South.
A new invasive plant species is springing up in moist, nutrient-rich soils across eastern North America and has been spotted in six North Carolina counties, including Swain.
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:48

Smokies visitation sets records

January was a record-setting month for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with 351,670 visitors, achieving a lifetime visitation of 500 million — more than any other national park service unit aside from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Golden Gate…
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:46

WNC farmers expand business through grants

Farmers in Western North Carolina will branch out with new crops and alternative growing methods, thanks to 31 grants totaling $168,000 given out by WNC AgOptions.
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:44

Fees increase at Glenville campground

For the first time in more than 18 years, fees at the Ralph J. Andrews Campground on Lake Glenville, which is owned and operated by Jackson County, will go up, but Jackson County residents won’t feel the bite.
Waynesville was named a 2014 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, keeping running a streak that began in 2008. The designation recognizes a town’s commitment to keeping healthy trees a prominent part of the urban environment. 
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 20:52

Chili cook-off in Highlands

The Highlands Annual Chili Cook-off will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Highlands Community Building. There will be live music, dancing and, of course, great chili, salsa and cornbread to sample. Prizes will be $100…
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 20:51

Simon’s ‘Plaza Suite’ at HART

Neil Simon’s comedy hit, “Plaza Suite” will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. March 5-7 and at 3 p.m. March 8 in the Feichter Studio at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville.
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 20:51

Cullowhee teen wins film contest

The National Coalition Against Censorship announced Anne Wade of Cullowhee as the winner of the 11th annual Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest, which asked teen filmmakers to explore censorship issues of the past, present and future.
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 20:47

STYX to play Harrah’s

Legendary rock group STYX will be performing at 9 p.m. Friday, March 13, at Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center.
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 20:45

This must be the place

Just as I took my first sip of beer I was told to turn around. Outside the Tipping Point Brewing windows on Main Street, heavy snowflakes cascaded upon downtown Waynesville last Wednesday night. Cars cautiously cruised through the intersection, with…
David Joy doesn’t look like your typical writer. Then again, Joy isn’t your typical writer. Stepping into Innovation Brewing in Sylva last week, I bellied up to the counter, ordered a drink and looked around for the whereabouts of my…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:44

Medicaid expansion equals economic growth

To the Editor: A recent letter suggested that its author does not believe in economic projections. He may not realize “estimates” of future economic outcomes is a vital part of planning that any organization — whether private businesses or governments…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:44

N.C. loses by not expanding Medicaid

To the Editor: An earlier letter requires concrete proof of the success of the Affordable Care Act. Those truly interested in facts need to research the impact of expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in the Republican dominated states…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:44

Jackson votes supports real free speech

To the Editor: Thank you, Jackson County Commissioners for your courage in passing a resolution calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to petition Congress for the creation of the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will end corporate…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:42

N.C. GOP leadership likes to bully opposition

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist Whether they strut across schoolyards or along the polished halls of a state capital, all bullies are alike. They have to be the boss of everything. They can’t stand anyone who talks back. But they…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:39

Time for universal, free pre-K is long overdue

“… the long-term benefits of a high-quality pre-K program can be substantial. These include higher high school graduation rates, lower rates of juvenile delinquency, less substance abuse, and higher adult earnings. Thus, many studies show that high-quality pre-K programs can…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:17

Franklin plans for water and sewer improvements

Engineers for the town of Franklin are recommending the town spend $15.1 million over the next 10 years to make water and sewer infrastructure improvements.
Haywood County commissioners debated this week whether to make volunteers who serve on appointed boards and committees undergo a background check.
When Haywood County gets stiffed on property taxes, it carries a big stick of last resort: the foreclosure. But since the real estate bust, it’s not been as handy as it once was.
A draft plan to revamp the old Drexel furniture factory property in Whittier into an agricultural center will be presented at a community meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at Smoky Mountain Elementary School.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:05

Lawyers involved in Sylva’s bar noise dispute

Attorneys for the Town of Sylva and No Name Sports Pub are busy trying to hash out the legal road forward for the town’s noise ordinance and sound levels at the music-oriented bar.  Following a Feb. 5 town meeting during…
County and university officials had a sit-down last week over the question of whether Western Carolina University should fall under Jackson County’s revised subdivision ordinance.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:02

Canton moves forward with expanded Labor Day

Canton has decided not to spend upwards of $60,000 to bring in a nationally known headlining music act for Labor Day, but town aldermen feel like they’ve reached an agreement that will make everyone happy.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:00

Hydropower plant proposed in Highlands

The town of Highlands may not be interested in investing millions to rebuild a hydropower plant along the Cullasaja River, but a private corporation out of Atlanta does want to make it happen.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:59

Haywood tourism authority to hire new position

The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority plans to grow its staff to five as it dives into reviewing applications for a new group sales manager.
Scanty wireless networks, outdated computer equipment, slow servers — technological woes have been a centerpiece of discussion at Cherokee Tribal Council meetings for quite some time. After months of introducing resolutions only to table them and hours-long meetings with finance,…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:53

Higher ed a solid investment, study shows

Higher education in North Carolina got some good news with the release of an economic impact study last week, which put its collective economic impact during 2012-13 at $2 billion in the 11 western counties and $63.5 billion statewide.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:51

Folkmoot center renovation plans finalized

Folkmoot USA has finalized its capital improvements and business plan for the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Hazelwood.  Since taking over ownership of the building from the county last year, Folkmoot has been working on plans to renovate the building to…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:48

Babcock resigns from Folkmoot

After being at the helm of Folkmoot USA for six years, Karen Babcock has resigned as executive director and is in the process of training her successor to take over by March 1.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:40

Words, language and grammar do matter

“In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell We live in an age — the relativity of truth — in which Orwell’s adage seems as dated as monocles or top hats. Just…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:31

Adaptation helps plants weather the cold

As I write this on Tuesday morning there are five or so inches of snow covering the ground outside my window. The forecast on the Internet is for more snow. By Thursday there may be upwards of 10 inches.  My…
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is working on a plan to guide management at the Cold Mountain Game Land in Haywood County for the next 10 years.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:05

Buy Haywood guide seeks new listings

An agritourism guide for Haywood County is looking for new listings to help visitors and locals alike explore everything from pick-your-own berry farms to farm-to-table restaurants.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:04

Volunteers sought to adopt tree plot

Smokies rangers are looking for tree-lovers who want to try their hand at science to adopt a tree monitoring plot on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:02

WCU launches outdoor speaker series

A speaker series featuring outdoor adventurers at Western Carolina University will kick off at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, with a presentation by Mark Singleton, executive director of American Whitewater with a headquarters in Sylva. 
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:01

Hike explores Smokemont

The season’s first hike in Friends of the Smokies’ “Classic Hikes of the Smokies” series will explore Smokemont Loop Trail in a 6.2-mile hike led by hiking guide and author Danny Bernstein.
As Paul Carlson tooled out of downtown Franklin, houses faded into rolling hayfields, and the Little Tennessee River soon took up its flank position along the edge of N.C. 28.
History will no doubt remember Paul Carlson as one of the great visionaries of our time in Western North Carolina. As the founder and long time director of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee retires from his leadership role,…
Western Carolina University history department faculty members Sue Abram and Andrew Denson are overseeing a public history project that recently received a $5,000 development grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 16:06

WCU to host tourism conference

The impact of successful festivals and events on the economy of the 26 westernmost counties of North Carolina will be the subject of a daylong tourism industry conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, in the Liston…
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 16:04

Catch the Spirit holds mural fundraiser

“Golden Threads,” a dramatic 24-foot art mural created by Doreyl Ammons Cain for the Shindig on the Green in Asheville, is currently seeking donors to make its installment a reality.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 16:01

Hayes brings country hits to Franklin

Country star Wade Hayes will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 15:56

This must be the place

I was a weird kid growing up. And, in many ways, I’m even weirder as an adult. Since day one, being weird is something I embrace. I’m proud of it, even though I don’t give it much thought, because I…
Acclaimed bluegrass act Balsam Range will welcome the Snyder Family Band as part of their Winter Concert Series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Colonial Theatre in Canton.