A winter rescue: Rangers trek into frigid, snowy darkness to save hikers

coverBy 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, the sky had long gone dark and rain was turning to snow. It was the perfect night to watch a football game. But Steve Kloster had barely gotten past the kickoff of the Sugar Bowl showdown between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Oklahoma Sooners before a phone call tore him away from cheering for the Southeastern Conference powerhouse. Chief Ranger Clayton Jordan was on the line, calling the Tennessee District Ranger for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into an even higher-stakes contest. 

Cherokee homes were warm and smoky in winter

“Two or more Families join together in building a hot-house, about 30 feet Diameter, and 15 feet high, in form of a Cone, with Poles and thatched, without any air-hole, except a small door about 3 feet high and 18 Inches wide. In the Center of the hot-house they burn fire of well-seasoned dry-wood; round the inside are bedsteads sized to the studs, which support the middle of each post; these Houses they resort to with their children in the Winter Nights.”

Zeb’s big jump: Middle-schooler gets invite to elite snowboarding school

out frFlips, spins, big jumps and high speeds — these things challenge the average human being, but, for big-air snowboarder Zeb Powell, they’re no big deal.

Five days out of the week during ski season, the 13-year old can be found out on the slopes at Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, grinding on rails, zipping down hills, twisting and turning head over heels in the air. He dominates most competitions he enters into and is always working on the next big move.

Nonprofits getting creative for funds

fr nonprofitfundraisingFrom charity golf tournaments to bluegrass concerts to spare change jars, nonprofits lending a helping hand with heating costs for the needy use a variety of means to get people to pitch in for the cause.

Struggle to afford heating costs hits new ­high

coverIt looked like any wood yard, piles of tree trunks in various stages of processing: long logs still bearing their bark, shorter stacks cut into rounds and neatly split triangles of firewood ready to be shoveled into a piping stove.

But to Richard Reeves, the woodlot at an abandoned factory site in Waynesville, is ground zero in the battle to fight winter’s impending cold.

A wintry mix

Christmas Day brought showers interrupted by buckets full of sleet. Sometime late Christmas night or before dawn the next morning, a dusting of snow covered the lawn. Winter precipitation is often a mix in the eastern United States. Sleet and freezing rain are almost exclusively eastern phenomena.

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