fr mainst champsWhen LeRoy Roberson and his wife, Gale, opened an optometric business on Waynesville’s Main Street 35-years-ago, about a quarter of the storefronts sat empty.

The Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen got an earful from hotel and motel owners Monday during a nearly three-hour meeting held specifically to hear views about a proposed increase to the overnight lodging tax.

The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority and the county board of commissioners both unanimously approved the idea of a hike in the lodging tax — from the current rate of 4 percent to 6 percent. The Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce has also written a letter of support.

art frDarkness enveloped the vehicle as soon as it exited Interstate 40.

Cruising around sharp S-curves in the mountain community of Fines Creek in the remote northern reaches of Haywood County, headlights peered across vast fields and by quiet farmhouses where inhabitants were winding down after another bountiful day. A heavy fog rolled into Western North Carolina as distant homes sparkled like far away stars in the sky. Barreling further into the country, and away from any semblance of town, it seemed you could drive off the edge of the earth if you kept pushing any longer.

If anyone opposes an increase in Haywood County’s overnight lodging tax, they did not make their enmity known at Monday’s board of commissioners meeting.

A heated argument and near fight between two Maggie Valley residents — one of whom is banned from town hall — disrupted the town’s board of aldermen meeting last Tuesday.

The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce debuted a new logo this week, showing off more than a year of work to craft a design that represents the business organization’s role in the county.

Several boards and bodies will formally vote in coming weeks on whether Lake Junaluska should become part of Waynesville, form its own town or continue as a sophisticated homeowner’s association. Here’s a look at who will be weighing in and when.

SEE ALSO: Ongoing coverage

February 22: Public hearing by Waynesville leaders. 11 a.m. at new town hall.

February 26: Waynesville Board of Alderman votes. 7 p.m. at town hall. Alternate date first week of each month.

February 28: Property owner survey results announced. 7 p.m. at Harrell Center at Lake Junaluska.

February 28: Lake Junaluska task force votes. 7 p.m. at the Harrell Center at Lake Junaluska.

March 5: Lake Junaluska Community Council votes. 4 p.m. at Junaluska Welcome Center

March 8: Lake Junaluska Board of Directors votes. No time specified.

March 13: General Assembly deadline for bill to be introduced. Vote by state lawmakers by late summer.

coverWhen Ken Zulla hung up his IRS badge and retired to the well-groomed mountain hamlet of Lake Junaluska more than a decade ago, monthly sojourns to the local feed-and-seed store weren’t on the radar for his Golden Years.

SEE ALSO: Ongoing coverage


Haywood County tourism leaders want to increase the tax on overnight lodging to fund special tourism-related capital projects, including a Jonathan Creek sports complex — a proposal that seems to have traction with county commissioners as well.

cover2With her hands fluttering like a hummingbird, Dana Claire loops skeins of colored yarn around a large pegboard.

Claire has been interested in fiber crafts her entire life and now, in her retirement years, has she decided to pursue her true passion of working with her hands by going back to school. Offering a nationally recognized professional crafts program, she found herself at Haywood Community College in Clyde. This semester, she’s learning and engaging in the new Creative Arts facility constructed on campus.

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