Tue07292014

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The North Carolina GOP generally holds its annual conventions in places like Raleigh or Greensboro. This year, state Republicans will be traveling to Cherokee for the affair.  The state Republican convention will be held in Cherokee June 6-8. It’s an…
Union employees at Evergreen Packaging’s Canton and Waynesville factories are currently engaged in contract negotiations.
From animal shelters to free clinics to food banks, nonprofit organizations of all stripes make a yearly knock on county commissioners doors, hoping to be included in the upcoming budget. But as the recession marches on, those knocks are becoming…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:32

Flat budget recommended for Macon schools

As this year’s budget talks kicked off, Macon County Schools presented its petition for a $500,000 funding increase to pay for teacher raises and insurance increases, but County Manager Derek Roland’s proposed budget doesn’t include any of those extra dollars.…
Haywood County Schools may have a tough choice to make in coming weeks: add additional teachers or give existing teachers a half-percent raise? The Haywood School Board hoped to do both in the coming year, but likely won’t have enough…
Haywood County Schools will see a slight budget increase from county commissioners next year, although it will fall far short of what school officials asked for. The school system will get an extra $280,000 from the county — about a…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:27

Grant recipients announced in Haywood

The first grants from the Mib and Phil Medford Endowment Fund, established by their family last July, have been announced by The Fund for Haywood County. The Medford endowment supports beautification, streetscape improvements and other public amenities in Waynesville.  …
Thirty campus leaders from Western Carolina University crisscrossed the mountains of Western North Carolina for a weeklong tour May 12-16 to learn more about the region that the university serves and to help strengthen relationships between WCU and its surrounding…
Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and Ghost Town in the Sky still appears much as the name implies. The closed gift shop and ticket windows sit watch over an empty parking lot. 
The Smoky Mountain News recently got a sneak peek of the new Swain County Heritage Museum and Visitor’s Center. Leading the tour was David Monteith, who’s been a driving force and visionary behind the museum since its inception.
The new Swain County Heritage Museum slated to open in downtown Bryson City this weekend not only honors Swain County’s history, but the sizeable visitor center housed inside also pays homage to Swain’s future.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:43

The black sheep of the blackbird family

2014 seems to be a banner year for cowbirds. I saw them in large numbers in southeastern Arizona two weeks ago. And this past weekend they were also prominent around Bryson City and along the Blue Ridge Parkway here in…
The Wilderness Act’s 50th birthday will get some recognition at “An Evening of Wilderness Champions — Celebrating 50 Years of Wilderness” from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 30, at Pack’s Tavern in Asheville.
Regular weekday programs will begin at Highlands Nature Center next week. The programs include guided plant walks, children’s activities, storybook-based nature lessons and animal programs.  • Monday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Guided, themed walks along the Highlands Botanical Garden…
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:33

New bike shop set to open in Bryson City

Bryson City is about to get a second bike shop with the grand opening of Tsali Cycles on May 23. Local cyclists Rob Acton, Chris Royce and Brad Gerard are teaming up to head the business.
A federal court issued a preliminary injunction against coyote hunting — which includes spotlight hunting — in the five eastern North Carolina counties, which comprise the world’s only wild population of red wolves, totaling about 100. 
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:31

Smokies gets new acting superintendent

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will get a new acting superintendent June 1, replacing the currect acting superintendent who has been there since January. The Smokies has been without a permanent leader since last September, when former Superintendent Dale…
When the Campus Conservation Nationals Competition wrapped up this spring, Western Carolina University came out near the top of a nationwide field of 109 schools. Schools didn’t receive specific rankings, but WCU made the top 10 with a 13.7 percent…
In recent years, I have developed a growing discomfort with the Internet. Services like Facebook, Amazon, Linked-in have become increasingly ... well, personal. They want to know how I am doing, mentally and physically (at times they sound like a…
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:17

Don’t leave dogs in hot cars

To the Editor: It’s that time of year again when the cool mountain air can rise rapidly by noon. I would like to remind others that it is very dangerous to take your dog anywhere that you have to leave…
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:17

GOP has done much to help state

To the Editor: Asheville is a town full of smart, aggressive people and a town with a lot more winners than losers. Anytime a city has an unemployment rate below 5 percent, it is obviously doing something right.  However, there…
The rapid pace of change these days often leaves many of us feeling helpless in its wake. Things change, then change some more, and finally a transformation so complete has taken place that very little of what we started with…
Hospitals in North Carolina face a catch-22 of the worst kind: the $600 million kind, the kind they have no control over, the kind that involves politics. Hospitals in North Carolina are seeing a financial hit they can ill-afford after…
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are standing by their controversial decision last year to deny Medicaid expansion to 500,000 low-income people who otherwise lacked health coverage. Some Democrats in the General Assembly are pushing to revisit Medicaid expansion, however. The…
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:05

July 4 Fireworks fizzle in north Jackson

The northern portion of Jackson County will go without fireworks again this Fourth of July. Last year’s display in Dillsboro was rescheduled for December due to rain, but it appears future fireworks have been scuttled due to funding.
Southwestern Community College is gearing up for some soil testing following a meeting with Robin Proctor, environmental chemist with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, on Tuesday. SCC had taken the initiative to call the meeting as…
Vandalism is apparently still a problem in Sylva public parks.It’s a problem that cost the town about ten grand last year to install four security cameras as a deterrent. But it wasn’t enough to do the trick, so town leaders…
Local school leaders and educators are celebrating last week’s court ruling declaring a 2013 law that doles out a small raise for 25 percent of the state’s teachers — no more and no less — unconstitutional. 
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:58

Voucher program still in play

School vouchers are back on the table for the 2014-15 school year following a ruling in the North Carolina Supreme Court last week. In March, N.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood issued a preliminary injunction against the Opportunity Scholarship Program,…
North Carolina legislators have returned to Raleigh for the General Assembly’s short session. In the weeks ahead, lawmakers will wrestle with Medicaid, coal ash and a $445 million budget shortfall.  
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:54

Local NAACP chapters elect officers

Both the Haywood and Jackson county chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have elected officers.  Haywood’s NAACP chapter elected officers in March. Chuck Dickson, a local attorney, was elected as president. The chapter also elected…
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:53

Macon considers $50K for REACH

REACH of Macon County won’t find out for another month or so whether its application for a $909,000 grant toward a new building gets approved, but the shelter for victims of domestic abuse is optimistic about the outcome. Already, REACH…
Jackson County Librarian Tracy Fitzmaurice recently pitched her first proposal for library funding before county commissioners. She asked for a bit of a jump in the their financial commitment. 
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:51

Feature film to shoot in Haywood

Three Haywood County towns will be used as filming sites for an upcoming feature movie. The film — a Catalyst Pictures project called “Chasing Grace” — is a faith-based thriller.
Fire, smoke, and efforts to make more of both fill the event pavilion at Haywood County Fair Grounds on a chilly May morning that feels more like early March. The Dutch oven class gathers around a fire in the right…
The mostly vacant Tuckaseigee Mills factory in Jackson County will soon become a warehouse and shipping site for ConMet, a company that makes dashboards, consoles and custom-molded cab interiors for 18-wheelers.
A $4 million payment to Swain County for the so-called Road to Nowhere cash settlement may soon be freed of the bureaucratic purgatory where it’s been parked for more than two years.
From welcoming backwoods front porches to raucous downtown stages, the music of Western North Carolina weaves together the rich history, passion and camaraderie of Southern Appalachia and its inhabitants. At the heart of this deep love and appreciation for music…
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00

This must be the place

He was completely shocked. Standing in front of an empty warehouse in Dillsboro, which will soon be the site of his new brewery, Dieter Kuhn couldn’t believe almost 500 people had shown up at the recent launch party of his new…
Brewmaster Clark Williams, owner of Frog Level Brewing in Waynesville, will teach a beer-making class from June 3 to July 1 at Southwestern Community College in Sylva.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00

Open call for Jackson art grants

The Jackson County Arts Council is currently accepting applications for the North Carolina Grassroots Grant and the Jackson County Grant. The deadline for applications is June 30.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00

‘Unto These Hills’ opens May 31

The “Unto These Hills” outdoor drama will run at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday May 31-Aug. 16 at the Mountainside Theater in Cherokee.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00

Liar’s Bench says farewell with Lough

The Liar’s Bench will hold its final performance of Appalachian storytelling and music at 7 p.m. May 29 in the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University.
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:45

A not too shabby second

May 3 and 4 were the dates for this year’s 30th annual edition of the Great Smoky Mountains Birding Expedition. This trip began in 1984 as the brainchild of George Ellison, Bryson City resident, author and naturalist; Rick Pyeritz, M.D.,…
Volunteers are needed for a cleanup day along the walking trail and stream bank of the Pigeon River at Canton Recreation Park from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 24. Haywood Waterways Association, which is organizing the event, will provide…
A 12-hour bike race in Nantahala National Forest near Bryson City will test the mettle and stamina of participating peddlers. The race, called 12 Hours of Tsali, will last from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 17, with individual…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:43

Duckett’s Produce enters tenth season

Duckett’s Produce has reopened for a tenth season at three locations in Haywood County, including Maggie Valley, Crabtree and Canton, headed up by fifth-generation Haywood County farmer Dibe Duckett. “Farming is an important industry and tradition in our community, and…
The Southern Appalachians have the world’s highest diversity of salamanders, and Salamander Saturday will introduce some of the key players, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 24 at the Cradle of Forestry in America, 25 miles south of Waynesville on…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:37

Avian experience coming to Sapphire

A raptor demonstration at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, at Sapphire Valley Community Center will give participants a chance to see birds of prey up close and personal, including flying demonstrations.
The tale of the once-common Cullowhee lily will take center stage at the next meeting of the Tuscola Garden Club, 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 20, at the Bethea Welcome Center at Lake Junaluska.