Spicing up Southern Appalachia

art frThough the weather is getting colder and winter is emerging on the horizon, Doug Weaver is all smiles.

It’s open season for chili.

“Chili itself is not just a dish, it’s a state of mind,” he said. “There’s no better spicy food than chili. It’s an institution.”

Forum attracts diverse audience, engaged candidates

fr candidatesNearly 200 people came out for a candidate forum in Jackson County Monday (Oct. 15) to listen to a slate of candidates spar over local, state, federal — and sometimes existential — issues facing Western North Carolinians today.

Meadows catches Rogers in U.S. Congressional race fundraising

Republican Mark Meadows has out fund-raised his competitor 2-to-1 this quarter, but the two candidates for the U.S. Congress are almost neck and neck in the overall money race.

Not counting candidate contributions to their own campaigns, Meadows and Democrat Hayden Rogers have raised about the same amount since the beginning of their campaigns — however, Rogers still leads by several thousand dollars.

Parties tight-fisted when it comes to WNC race for Congress

The Republican National Congressional Committee won’t be putting any money behind Mark Meadows, the Republican candidate for the 11th U.S. Congressional District.

RNCC leaders said this race is a shoo-in given the conservative-leaning district, so they will marshal their financial resources for other races in their quest to win the majority on Capitol Hill.

Galax takes a beating from blackmarket trade

out frThey operate in groups, or sometimes alone, packing duffle bags of the illicit product by foot through the Western North Carolina wilderness as they try their best to evade federal agents.

Once out of the woods, they smuggle their contraband in the trunks of cars, traveling back roads as they move the goods from remote drop points to warehouses where it is then sold and shipped domestically and to countries across the globe.

No way: Gaining legal access to landlocked tracts can get murky in Western North Carolina

Alice Parker Watty can’t get to her house.

The only driveway to her front door crosses her neighbor’s land, and suddenly they don’t want her using it anymore. Watty said she has driven on and maintained the driveway for 19 years.

But recently, Watty found herself in the midst of a lawsuit for trespassing on her neighbor’s property.

Bicycle touring light Overnight trips take the pressure off planning, purchasing

out frBy Jack Moore • Contributor

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost,” and he may as well have been writing about bicycle tourists. This time of year in the Smokies it’s not uncommon to see a cyclist, bike loaded with gear, struggling up and over one of our many mountain passes.

You might imagine they are on some grand adventure circumnavigating the globe or at least crossing the country in some epic voyage. You may be right, or it could be that this is one of your cycling neighbors out for a short overnight bicycle camping trip.

Under-the-radar sublease of county building comes to light in convoluted civil case

The director of a mental health nonprofit falsely posed as the landlord for a building he didn’t own for nearly a decade, collecting more than $371,000 in rent on office space that in fact belonged to Haywood County, according to a civil lawsuit.

Since 2003, Tom McDevitt, the director of Evergreen Foundation based in Waynesville, collected monthly rent on two office buildings in Waynesville that were owned by the county — unbeknownst to the county.

McDevitt loses CPA license

The former director of Smoky Mountain Center for Mental Health has lost his CPA license over allegations he backdated his first day of state employment to bolster his retirement benefits.

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