This must be the place

art theplaceShe knows me better than anybody.

She’s a little rough around the edges. Her beauty has seen better days. She’s a dirty girl, one who’ll take to cosmopolitan city streets as easily as rugged backwoods trails. Her needs always seem to take all the cash in my wallet. She’s provided me a place to sleep on my loneliest nights. Her patience with my demands knows no bounds. Our time together has been a love/hate relationship.

WCU to end off-campus busing

Once the spring 2015 semester wraps up at Western Carolina University, off-campus students will no longer have the option of catching the bus to classes. 

While enrollment at the university — and development around it — is increasing, ridership on the off-campus route has been declining. So, WCU has decided to get rid of the off-campus route and funnel those resources instead to the on-campus routes.

Winter on the ridge: Wintry conditions cause Parkway closures despite warm temps at low elevations

out frThough a mixture of rain and ice pelted the windshield as I headed toward the Balsam Gap access of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the forecast was calling for a high of 52 and the car thermometer read 48 degrees. 

I was headed up to see what springlike weather down below translated to when sitting at 6,000 feet on the scenic mountain road, because, let’s face it, I was skeptical. The Parkway had been closed for much of the winter, including the previous week, when temperatures in Waynesville climbed up to the sunny 60s.

Chick-fil-A in the cards for Waynesville as Ingles expansion plans crystalize

fr inglesThere’s been a new turn in the much-anticipated redevelopment of Ingles’ super market site in Waynesville: Chick-fil-A has joined the party.

Ingles’ site development plans on file with the town of Waynesville have been updated recently to include a Chick-fil-A fronting Russ Avenue. It will occupy the vacant parcel beside Home Trust Bank and roughly across the street from McDonald’s.

NC commissioners set legislative priorities

After wading through more than 300 legislative goals presented by more than 500 commissioners throughout the state, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners has agreed on five top priorities to present to legislators during the 2015 General Assembly.

Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, president of the NCACC, gave his fellow commissioners an update on the recent Legislative Goals Conference during the board’s retreat last week. 

Jackson, Macon work together on transportation

Public transit in Macon County is slated to get a boost as Jackson and Macon counties work out an agreement to share a position between the two of them.

Jackson’s mobility coordinator position — a job that basically entails marketing the transportation system, helping new customers and meeting with collaborating agencies — is funded through a federal grant, but it’s turning out to be hard to fill as a 40-hour-per-week job for Jackson County alone. 

Crash course Numbers up in Jackson for alcohol-related crashes

Alcohol-related traffic accidents are on the rise in Jackson County, with rates outstripping those of both North Carolina as a whole and Western North Carolina in particular, according to Jackson’s 2014 State of the County Health Report. 

The report, an interim update to the county’s community health assessment, compares health trends in the county to those in the state and region. 

In murky aftermath of bid snafu, truckers jostle for trash contract

fr jaxtrashA tug of war between two Jackson trucking companies over a high-stakes contract for hauling trash was settled last week following days of political tension.

Jackson County commissioners had to decide which of the two local truckers would snag a $2.5 million four-year contract to haul trash to a landfill in Georgia.

Greasing the wheels: WNC residents trade petroleum for veggie oil

coverThere’s nothing Adam Bigelow likes better than a full tank of gas in the summertime with an open road ahead. After all, the drive from Sylva to Cashiers, where he works three days a week, is a beautiful, twisting mountain route that’s great for someone who wants to put their steering skills to the test. 

But Bigelow’s feel-good mood comes more from the contents of his tank than the places it’s getting him. He’s been driving a car powered by veggie oil for years, and he’s got nothing but good things to say about it. 

Corridor K: Beyond the road

Though the Corridor K debate was the impetus for the Opportunity Initiative Study, Opt-In wasn’t all about transportation. The results of the year-long regional visioning study has been enlightening, unifying and awash with great ideas to improve the area’s economic and cultural landscape, said Ryan Sherby, executive director of the Southwestern Commission Council of Governments. 

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