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When the microphone opened up to the crowd, Laura Stout felt compelled to say her piece. She raised her hand, got up from her front-row chair and walked to the podium where a dozen or more Cherokee people had spoken…
The warm weather and sunshine brings a flurry of people to Waynesville’s downtown to enjoy the local fare — but it can also mean the beginning of busking season. While Asheville is an epicenter for busking — slang for performing on…
Jackson County Sheriff Jimmy Ashe is refusing to grant permits for businesses wanting to sell alcoholic beverages despite voters overwhelmingly approving countywide alcohol sales when the issue appeared on the ballot earlier this month. With Jackson County no longer dry,…
The announcement in November 1989 that the remote 6,300-acre Panthertown Valley tract in Jackson County had passed into the public domain was welcome news for knowledgeable outdoor enthusiasts throughout the southeastern United States. After years of private management, this truly…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:06

Some tips on coexisting with black bears

There are steps you can take to lessen conflicts on avoiding conflicts with black bears emerging from hibernation. The N.C. Wildlife Commission cautions not to feed bears that wander into camp sites, yards, parks, sidewalks or other residential areas. Feeding…
A guided hike to see the wild rhododendrons of Andrews Bald in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be held Saturday, May 6. It is a bit early for rhododendrons at that elevation, but given the unseasonably warm spring…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:05

Hit the trail with Outward Bound race

N.C. Outward Bound School will hold a 5K and 8K trail race on Saturday, June 9 at the N.C. Arboretum, part of a new trail running race series for this year. The series will be managed by the River Bound…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:03

Take on the French Broad triathlon

The French Broad Challenge Triathlon will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Carrier Park in Asheville as part of the weekend-long Mountain Sports Festival. Teams of two and three people will tackle a 1.5-mile run, a 2.5-mile…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:02

Soccer camps this summer in Waynesville

The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department is offering two summer soccer camps, a British Soccer Camp and a TetraBrazil Soccer Camp. The TetraBrazil Soccer Camp will be held from July 9 to 13 at the Waynesville Recreation Center. The camp will…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:01

Fishing day for kids

A free kids fishing day will be held in various spots across the mountains on Saturday, June 2. The event allows families and friends to share fun and quality time together, while learning about one of the nation’s favorite pastimes …
Kids can explore nature, wildlife, the environment and science during week-long Discovery Camps held at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville this summer from preschool through middle school. The camps utilize the 434-acre arboretum property as an outdoor classroom to cultivate…
More than 150 homes in North Carolina are now producing power from rooftop solar photovoltaic panels thanks to Progress Energy Carolinas’ SunSense Solar PV program. The program offers rebates to customers to help offset the cost of installing rooftop solar…
A wild edibles adventure will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Cove Creek Gap next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the Cataloochee area of Haywood County. The day will be spent…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:57

Time to go birding

The Highlands Plateau Audubon Society chapter is leading birding outings throughout the summer, with the next one planned for May 26, starting at 7:30 a.m. from The Bascom in Highlands, with several roadside points along Turtle Pond. Here, birders scout…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:56

Trail maintenance in wilderness areas

Training for people new to trail work will be held from May 29 through June 1 through the Wilderness Skills Institute, aimed at teaching trail volunteers the skills necessary to do trail maintenance in designated wilderness areas. This training will…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:54

Volunteers needed to help in Panthertown

A trail workday in Panthertown Valley will be held Saturday, May 26, and is open to anyone willing to lend a hand. Trail tools and instructions will be provided. Friends of Panthertown is hosting the trail workday along with REI…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:52

Aqua fitness class to be offered at WCU

An aqua fitness class at Western Carolina University will be held from 12:10 to 12:55 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting June 12 and running through Aug. 2 in the pool of Reid Gymnasium. Participants will engage in a variety…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:50

A day in the life

Up at 4 a.m. to try and catch up on a little correspondence before I hit the road for the Nantahala Ranger District to search for cerulean warblers, I’m on the road by 5. I’ve found a neat short cut…
• Black Perigord Truffles: Three years ago researchers brought in Filbert trees that had their roots inoculated with truffle spore. The trees were planted at the station to see if truffles will grow in Western North Carolina. The hope is…
Testing canola varieties for biofuel. Growing truffles. Finding hemlocks and Fraser firs that can survive the scourge of the adelgid. Determining best practices for organic heirloom tomato production. A walk through the fields of the Mountain Research Station will find…
City Lights Bookstore will host discussions and book signings for two novelists — Bob Plott and Harold Littleton — during the next two weekends. Plott will present his latest book Colorful Characters of the Great Smoky Mountains at 6:30 p.m., May…
For those who don’t know, James Still (1906-2001) is one of the most beloved and influential of all Appalachian writers. He left an enduring legacy of novels, stories, and poems during his nearly 70-year career. He is known formally and…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:38

Redefining marriage is always defeated

To the Editor: According to recent letters to the editor, Christians, or anyone else, should not be allowed to vote on amendments the “tolerant left” does not support.  This form of discrimination and attacks on Christianity continues to grow in…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:36

Recognizing the enemies within

By Martin Dyckman • Guest columnist In July of 1861, Major Sullivan Ballou of Rhode Island composed a letter to comfort his wife in the event of his death, which came soon after at the first Battle of Bull Run.…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:33

Welfare state has destroyed California

To the Editor: California is back in the news. Two Saturdays ago, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that the state’s budget deficit would exceed the original estimate he made in January of $9.2 billion. The new deficit is projected to be a…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:32

A majority did not support Amendment One

To the Editor: Three letters in the May 16-22 edition of the Smoky Mountain News reflect differing views about what the voting results on Amendment One mean, but all three, unintentionally I presume, use numbers from the actual vote count…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:29

A festival for the unassuming goat

Every small town needs a street festival, and what better excuse for one could there be than goats? This past weekend a friend and I went to the Spindale Goat Festival, where all things dairy goat took center stage. The…
“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” quipped the legendary Yogi Berra after watching Yankee greats Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit back-to-back homers so often it became almost commonplace. That’s the sentiment many in Swain County are feeling after…
Jackson County looks set to approve a budget that keeps the tax rate the second lowest in the state at 28 cents per $100 valuation. The proposed budget would see Jackson County add a human resources director, plus a one-time…
Regular coffee connoisseurs in Cherokee may have noticed a slight change in their popular downtown coffeehouse. The Sequoyah Fund, an economic development nonprofit that makes small business loans, is now running what was formerly Tribal Grounds under the name Cherokee…
When it comes to staying well fed, the Macon County commissioners are leading the pack. From finger food and pizzas to fortify them during regular meetings to huge sit-down dinner spreads with fellow boards in the county, commissioners in Macon…
Haywood County will help ease the burden faced by towns as they start trucking their trash all the way to the county’s far-flung landfill. County commissioners will allocate more than $100,000 to towns to help cover the added cost of…
MedWest-Haywood will discontinue in-home aide services in Haywood County, laying off 17 nursing assistants that visit housebound patients and aid them with routine personal, such as bathing. MedWest-Haywood serves about 200 patients with skilled home health care services in Haywood…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:15

Fun in Sun Summer Camp in Waynesville

The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department will offer the “Fun in the Sun Summer Camp” for kids ages 5 to 12 beginning June 11 and ending on Aug. 7. The camp will take place Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:14

Celebrate EMS Week with open house

MedWest-Harris Emergency Medical Services will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 23 to celebrate EMS Week. At the open house, community members can show support for local EMS personnel, get free glucose and blood…
Food coach Manon Fancher of Sylva will be at the Jackson County Public Library at 7 p.m. on May 31 to offer a free program on healthy eating for all ages and body types. Fancher will discuss different kinds of foods and…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:13

Bike ride to benefit Open Door Ministries

The third annual Open Door Benefit Bike Run will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 9. The fund-raiser, hosted by The Carolina Faith Riders, will raise awareness and money for The Open Door Ministries, a soup kitchen and thrift store…
Time is running out for Haywood County veterans to register to participate in the Memorial Day Parade. The Memorial Day Parade to honor veterans will be held at 11 a.m., May 28, in downtown Waynesville.  The parade will feature National…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:12

BizWorks to close two regional offices

The Mountain BizWorks office in Sylva, which serves would-be entrepreneurs and other small business owners in the state’s seven westernmost counties, will close June 30. Mountain BizWorks is also closing its Hendersonville field office on May 31. “This is a…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:11

Free sports physicals for Haywood youth

Student athletes can get free sports physicals Tuesday, May 29 at the MedWest Health & Fitness Center on the campus of MedWest-Haywood. More than 60 volunteers and 30 physicians and health care specialists will offer these free sports participation physicals…
A celebration honoring the sacrifice of those who made the WWII construction of Fontana Dam possible will be held as part of Appalachian History Weekend at Fontana Village Resort on June 1 and 2.   The program will include guided…
Jackson County commissioners butted heads with local activists at a meeting this week, refusing to lend their philosophical support to a movement over whether corporate power should be reined in. A local offshoot of the Occupy movement called on commissioners…
A request by Jackson County Sheriff Jimmy Ashe for eight additional deputies now that the sale of alcoholic beverages has been approve countywide isn’t gaining much traction among the men who hold the purse strings. “I’m going to have to…
Two weeks after the primary election, an official winner has finally been declared following a recount in an insanely tight race between two prominent Waynesville Democrats for the N.C. House of Representatives. Joe Sam Queen beat out Danny Davis by…
A feeling of déjà vu swept over the Haywood County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday as they reviewed more than $19,000 worth of changes to the Haywood Community College’s creative arts building project. These were not the first, or even…
It might be a day late, but it’s certainly not a dollar short. A $235,000 playground is coming to the daycare center at Haywood Community College, a long-awaited capstone on a project that was heralded as a model child development…
Two businesses — Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon, and Belle on Main Salon and Spa — came out winners during the Haywood Chamber of Commerce’s seventh annual Business Start-up Competition this year. Thirteen entrepreneurs contended for the $10,000 prize purse this…
Business owners needs to put aside their bickering and resentments for the good of Maggie Valley, Mayor Ron DeSimone emphasized last week. “This community has been divided for a long time,” DeSimone said at a Maggie Chamber of Commerce meeting…
In addition to the obvious benefits of tourism — jobs and revenue for the county — tourism dollars save Haywood County residents a few hundred dollars in taxes every year. Steve Morse, a mathematics professor at the University of Tennessee, presented…
The quest to bring live table games to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino faces a final political hurdle. Both the Governor and N.C. Senate have given live table games their blessing, with the N.C. House of Representatives now the lone hold-out. Harrah’s…