Commissioners give HRMC board vote of confidence

All three Haywood Regional Medical Center board members were reappointed this week for another three years by the Haywood County commissioners.

TDA quiets some critics with festival funding hike

The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority gave out twice as much money in grants for festivals this year, quelling some of the controversy that erupted last year following cuts to festival funding.

Haywood commissioners still split on Mountain Projects deal

Haywood County commissioners continue to disagree on what kind of deal to give Mountain Projects on a tract of county land to house an intergenerational Head Start program and senior day care.

Old roots, new focus for soil and water district

For decades, soil experts like Duane Vanhook have been showing farmers how a crop of winter wheat can recharge soil nutrients or how to shore up a stream bank decimated by cattle hooves.

The magic of myth: HART opens main stage season with ‘Metamorphoses’

A king named Midas wishes for riches and ends up with a wealth that kills. A singer named Orpheus descends into Hades to win back his love, but curiosity causes him to lose her forever. Narcissus falls in love with his beautiful reflection and drowns in his own vanity.

Mélange of the Mountains: Culinary event returns to temp the taste buds March 29

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Culinary connoisseurs will have a chance to sample the skills of a dozen local restaurant chefs at the third annual Mélange of the Mountains to be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 29, at the Balsam Mountain Inn.

Haywood looking for best way to recycle glass

Haywood County’s new solid waste director intends for the county to dump the dubious distinction of being the only one in Western North Carolina not recycling glass.

Stephen King, who came to Haywood County in February after holding previous solid waste-related jobs in Wake, Guilford and Macon counties, isn’t prepared to say when a glass recycling program would be available, only that it’s a priority.

“We’re working toward it,” he said. “But we need to find what will work best for the residents of Haywood County.”

King said the county’s recycling facility isn’t set up to handle glass, and that developing an efficient and cost-effective program will take time and require additional funds.

A solution can’t come too soon for Joe Vescovi, who moved to Haywood County from New York about the same time King took over as solid waste director. Vescovi said he was surprised and disappointed to discover that his new home county was trashing an opportunity to help the environment.

“I think things that can be recycled should be,” he said.


The difference

Unlike in Haywood County, residents in most WNC counties sort various recyclables such as glass, newspaper and plastic themselves. That’s worked well in places such as Macon County, which is recycling about 20 percent of its total waste stream.

“That means every five years we gain a year of landfill life,” said Chris Stahl, head of Macon’s solid waste program. “The cell (landfill area) we are in is about a 15-year cell. We’ll gain three years over those 15 years by diverting that waste.”

Macon County ranks fourth among the state’s counties for the pounds per person the county recovers in recyclables, collecting about 346 pounds for each resident living there.

Swain is sixth with 273 pounds per person, Jackson 21st with 149 pounds per person, and Haywood 26th with 139 pounds per person, according to the latest state rating figures available, released in May 2006.

Like some other statistics for the western counties, the region’s second homeowners and part-time residents are probably skewing the numbers. Many of those residents recycle their waste while living here part-time but aren’t included in county population figures. Therefore, the pounds per resident averages are inflated.


The problem

In Haywood County, the system – and the space allotted for that system – doesn’t easily allow for individuals to sort recyclables themselves.

Currently, a Haywood County resident brings their recyclables – excluding glass, which goes directly in the garbage — in a single bag to a convenience center.

The bag is ferried to the county’s recycling center, and is dumped on the concrete floor where the bag is broken apart. The contents are then loaded on a conveyor belt that feeds a bailing machine.

Under this system, any glass placed in the bag would break and mix in with other recyclables. That would lower the price received for what is now a commodity — the county sells its recyclables to help sustain the program, King said.

Why not simply set up areas at the convenience centers for separation to take place there, as other counties do? The 10 convenience centers in Haywood County are smaller than their counterparts elsewhere and there isn’t room for sorting bins, King said.


Possible solutions

King, who once ran Macon County’s recycling operations, plans to evaluate the county’s convenience centers and see if bins could be squeezed in at some of the more centrally located ones.

Haywood County residents Fred Henline and wife Corena said they’d be among those participating in a glass recycling program if the county develops one.

“We already recycle everything else,” Henline said. “If we could, we would.”

King is also exploring an out-of-the-box option: Hiring a company to set up a processing facility that would allow Haywood County to mix its glass with concrete and make items such as stepping stones.

In addition to glass, King also plans to start recycling programs for rechargeable batteries and computers. He said any success would be dependent on Haywood County residents’ buying-in to recycling.

Haywood likely to hike room tax, change tourism board make-up

A proposed 1-cent increase in Haywood County’s tax on overnight lodging and a completely new make-up of its tourism board will likely be approved during this session of the General Assembly.

Chocolate sensation

By Michael Beadle

Come March 24, sink your teeth into blueberry truffles, fudge cookies, and mocha cheesecake.

Newly formed Balsam Range features some of the finest

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Balsam Range, a newly formed group of all-star pickers, will play a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16 at Haywood Community College.

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