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Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

HCC builds desk for Forest Service

Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Wood instructor Brian Wurst and students recently finished a project for the U.S. Forest Service to build and install a reception desk for the visitor’s center at their headquarters on the National Mall in Washington…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

‘John Parris’ Christmas’ returns to Webster

The Webster Historical Society will present its 4th annual “John Parris’ Christmas” at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Webster Methodist Church. Curtis and Janice Monteith Blanton will both read the Christmas stories of Parris and the second original…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Carolina Brass to play Waynesville

Carolina Brass will feature a variety of holiday and classical songs at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the Waynesville First United Methodist Church.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Balsam Range, Meals on Wheels raise $12K

On Dec. 6, acclaimed bluegrass group Balsam Range began it Winter Concert series with The Molly Tuttle Trio at The Colonial Theatre in Canton.  Along with the concert was a fundraising event to honor, recognize and celebrate the Haywood County…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

This must be the place

I’ve always felt the greatest gift is the gift of music. Though I’ve never been a huge fan of receiving presents (I’d rather spend quality time with a loved one, save your money), the gifts that meant the most to…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Maggie Valley venue enters second act

With one flick of a light switch, Grier Lackey is illuminating a dream. “What do you think?” he said with a smile. Standing inside Eaglenest, an 800-seat theatre in Maggie Valley, Lackey scans the enormous room, pointing out design details…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 16:04

WCU dorm gets LEED certification

Western Carolina University’s Harrill Residence Hall has become the university’s second building to be LEED-certified for its comprehensive energy-efficient and environmentally friendly features.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 16:03

Giving Tuesday nets Smokies $18,000

Friends of the Smokies raised more than $18,000 for Great Smoky Mountains National Park on GivingTuesday, far more than its $4,500 goal. 
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 16:01

Smokies hires superintendent

For the first time since Dale Ditmanson retired in January 2014, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a permanent superintendent. A string of three acting superintendents have served in the post over the past year.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 16:00

Franklin greenway gets some extra acreage

The Little Tennessee Greenway will offer users a bit more space to enjoy the outdoors following Dick and Melissa Jones’ gift of a .66-acre piece of property adjacent to the greenway.  “The greenway is a  tremendous asset out our community,”…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:59

Graffiti for a good cause

Ten high school students from the Haywood Community Learning Center recently armed themselves with colorful spray paint to mark the storm drains of Hazelwood with a message: “Don’t Dump … Drains To Pigeon River.” 
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:58

Tuscola takes all in FFA event

Tuscola High School students dominated Future Farmers of America’s Land Judging competition this year. The competition tests students’ ability to identify different types of soil and, based on the soil’s position in the landscape, develop recommendations for various uses. 
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:56

Trail crews drill for backcountry emergencies

Appalachian Trail license plate funds are helping to make the woods a little safer for the volunteers who maintain the trail. Using the plate money, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy funds Wilderness First Aid certification courses, taught by Cullowhee-based Landmark Learning,…
There’s plenty of tradition and symbolism that goes along with the holiday season, but for birders no tradition is more part of the holiday than the annual Christmas Bird Count.  The count is just what it sounds like: Every year…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:52

Extreme commenting on plan for national forests

Yogi Berra said it best — “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” When I read Holly Kays’ Nov. 12 article about the USDA Forest Service’s Plan Revision in The Smoky Mountain News (, I was taken back to the…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:38

Start your holiday shopping at the bookstore

For all of you who haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, for you who scorn Black Friday, who keep telling yourselves day after day that you will go buy gifts tomorrow (tomorrow: what a wonderful word!), for all of you…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:36

Letter writer needs help connecting the dots

To the Editor:  I certainly hope Santa brings Bob Wilson a “Connect the Dots” book — he could use the practice. His meandering letters are clearly out of touch with verifiable fact, but then his goal is plainly to give…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:36

Time for many to relearn tolerance

To the Editor: The letter “Democrats hurting African Americans” (SMN, December 3) confuses race with economics. The implication that Democrats have re-enslaved African Americans with social programs that rob them of the incentive to work and be productive is both…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:35

Plutocrats drive modern GOP agenda

To the Editor: It’s amusing to hear Republicans and other reactionaries describe Democrats and the Democratic Party. Contrary to their fiction-based descriptions, Democrats are not intent on keeping minorities dependent on the government nor do they any longer support segregation. Those who…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:34

What do people really want?

Dr. Graeme Potter • Guest Columnist As one of the practicing, board-certified OB/GYNs in the community who provide prenatal care, I’ve been honored to care for more than 800 babies born in Western North Carolina. When I moved here in 2007,…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:31

Hard to believe that it has been 14 years

I am in my office between classes, eating egg drop soup out of a little plastic container with a white plastic spoon, checking email, separating student essays into stacks, wondering whether I will be able to make it until Friday,…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:07

Scottish heritage alive in Franklin

Scotland’s roots run deep in Western North Carolina. Since before this country’s inception, Scottish immigrants have been migrating to these hills that remind them of home.  So, it makes sense that the only museum outside of Scotland that’s dedicated to…
A new health advisory was issued this month warning people about mercury levels in walleye fish in Lake Glenville. This is not exactly news. “As an obligate piscivore — that is, fish that feed almost exclusively on smaller fish —…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:03

WCU board approves tuition hike

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees approved a schedule of tuition and fees for the 2015-16 academic year that includes a 3 percent increase in tuition for students from North Carolina. The proposal, unanimously approved by the board at…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:02

Bust takes down gambling houses in east Haywood

A months-long undercover investigation led to a raid of three underground gambling parlors in Haywood County last week. The private gambling houses were outfitted with video poker and keno machines. Officers seized 35 illegal gambling machines and $8,000 in cash…
Sylva Commissioner Danny Allen had a question. He’d been watching what was happening with the incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York, where police-involved fatalities of black men have led to civil unrest, and wondered about his own home.  “I…
There wasn’t much discussion in the chamber Oct. 14 when Cherokee Tribal Council passed its budget for 2014-15. But as news of backpay and a $10,000 raise for council members spread through the reservation, things heated up. “You’ve opened a…
Those who frequent downtown Franklin may have noticed an odd-looking birdhouse taking up residence outside town hall in recent months, but the white structure isn’t a habitation for birds — it’s for books.   “They’re sort of large birdhouse-style kiosks…
Hoping to combat a steady departure of officers, Haywood County entry-level deputies will see a 5 percent raise starting in January  — the first step in a three-year plan to bring salaries of Haywood lawmen in line with the rest…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 14:52

SCC releases SSNs

Southwestern Community College has inadvertently released students’ social security numbers to a private research company. The college is reporting that all confidential student information has been confirmed as secure, and that steps have been taken to prevent future data breaches.
An Old World pigtail macaque monkey taken away from its owner in Waynesville now has a new home at a primate preserve in Kentucky. The monkey — “Opey” — was the indoor pet of a Waynesville woman, who’d kept him…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 14:48

Haywood’s tax collector roller coaster is over

The newly elected Haywood County Tax Collector took office Monday, one week later than scheduled after encountering a delay in securing a professional liability bond. Mike Matthews, a Republican, was a longshot candidate, yet pulled out a narrow win in…
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Dulcimer Winter Weekend at Junaluska

Western Carolina University’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education will hold its 10th annual Mountain Dulcimer Winter Weekend Jan. 8-11 in the Lambuth Inn at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. 
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Strand presents ‘Blue Ridge Christmas’

A “Blue Ridge Christmas” with Sheila Kay Adams and Michael Reno Harrell will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville. 
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00

Works by Welch to be displayed

Works by painter Jeannie Welch will be displayed throughout December and January in the Meeting Room of the Macon County Public Library in Franklin.
The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees has endorsed the appointment of George H. Brown, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts at Western Michigan University, to the position of dean at the College of Fine and Performing Arts.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00

Russ brings talents to Sylva

Alma Russ will perform at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva. The event will feature Russ on fiddle, guitar, banjo, and vocals. Russ is a singer and musician whose style is a melting pot…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00

This must be the place

It snuck up on me this year. I know that it resides at the end of November. I know it’s filled with food, friends and family. But, I wasn’t really paying attention to the calendar until the day before the…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00

The world through her fingertips

Maine is a long way from China. And for Amy Putansu, that distance is a testament to her life, passions and career. “That was a whole new level,” she smiled. “I was in heaven — it was incredible.”
Thursday, 04 December 2014 20:28

Jackson schedules mercury meeting in Cashiers

The Jackson County Department of Public Health has scheduled a public meeting to discuss increased levels of mercury in walleye and large mouth bass at Lake Glenville. 
Thursday, 04 December 2014 15:35

Haywood Regional Medical Center hires new CEO

Haywood Regional Medical Center (HRMC) announced today that Phillip L Wright has been named chief executive officer (CEO) for the hospital. He will assume his new role on Jan. 5, 2015. Wright is a seasoned healthcare executive with 17 years…
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 17:00

Democrats hurting African Americans

To the Editor: Kudos to Bruce Gardner whose wise comments appeared in the Nov. 26 Opinion section of The Smoky Mountain News and pointed out that the Democratic Party of your parents is not the same we have today.  Because…
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 16:59

Ronald Reagan was an economic powerhouse

To the Editor: Even his critics agree that Ronald Regan did great things for the U.S. economy. Just look at these numbers: the best job creation record in American history, with an estimated unemployment rate of 5.6 percent by the…
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 16:58

Bigger not better when it comes to health care

To the Editor: My husband’s recent illness caused me to have several strong reactions regarding medical care at Haywood Regional versus Memorial Mission. Dr. Johnson and Dr. Mina’s care of Bob and me has been exemplary. We have utmost confidence…
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 16:55

Watching grief from across the street

By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • Guest Columnist He usually arrives in the late afternoon, always before dinner time, and he doesn’t stay more than 30 minutes or so. Sometimes I see him arriving, sometimes leaving, his old maroon Oldsmobile crawling along…
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 16:53

Students are searching for a good life

My seniors are writing letters to themselves today, an activity I have students do every year just before the holidays. I will mail these letters to them, as I do every year, when they are 22, only five years in…
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 16:51

The meaningful moments that make memories

Moments, mostly the ones unplanned, are the stuff of important and lasting life memories.  We had a great Thanksgiving day with our daughter Hannah, son Liam and family in Asheville. My wife Lori and her sister Julie had planned the…
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 16:35

Stop and smell the … ferns

One of my favorite times to observe ferns is in winter when they stand out in the brown leaf-litter. Of the 70 or so species that have been documented in the southern mountains, perhaps a fourth are evergreen. These would…
College student interns at the Highlands Biological Station have been working since August on a broad range of research projects, and they’ll share their results from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, on- site in Highlands as part of…
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 16:24

Smokies considers ban on firewood

A program on dangerous and destructive forest pests that hitchhike on firewood brought in from outside the region will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 8, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.