SMN staff

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Discover Life in America had a busy year, with many new species added to the nonprofit’s ever-increasing inventory of species in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The annual Haywood County Extension Master Gardener plant sale is now underway, with pre-paid orders due by March 3. 

Friends of DuPont Forest has received $99,000 in grants from the Tourism Development Authorities in Henderson and Transylvania counties. The money will help fund creation of a master recreation plan to plan a sustainable future for DuPont State Recreational Forest. 

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Twelve rock faces in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are closed to climbing, rappelling, hang-gliding and other activities through Aug. 15 in order to protect the rare peregrine falcons that nest there. 

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Registration is open for two upcoming sessions of Outdoor Adventure Kids, or OAK, at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville. 

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The Natti Love Joys will perform during the “Bob Marley Birthday Celebration” at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Frog Level Brewing in Waynesville.

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A special reception for the Bartram Trail Kinship photography showcase will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin.

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A special stage production of “Loves of Elaine” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3-4, 10-11, and 2 p.m. Feb. 5 and 12 in the Fangmeyer Theatre at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville.

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The 2023 “Season Auditions” for the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre (HART) will take place at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, and at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, at the theatre in Waynesville.

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To the Editor: I’m writing a very heartfelt concern I have for the health and safety of all the people in our community. Many are influenced by the local news media from the reports made on important topics. Specifically, I’m referencing the piece in Issue 35, Jan. 25, 2023, Vol. 24. 

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On Jan. 26, one day before the Memphis, Tennessee Police Department released video footage of the beating that led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, the Town of Waynesville Police Department issued a statement calling the conduct of the five MPD officers involved “indefensible.” 

Mountain BizWorks is now accepting applications for its first Latino Catalyst Cohort, which will be facilitated entirely in Spanish.

Corrina Ruffieux has been hired as the executive director of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority (HCTDA) following a national search. She has served in destination executive leadership positions for the last 10 years, most recently as the Executive Director of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank (North Carolina) County Tourism Development Authority (doing business as Visit Elizabeth City). Prior to Visit Elizabeth City, Ruffieux was the director of Visit Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia. for five years.

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A retreat for faith leaders and people interested in inspiring their congregations and communities to care for the planet will be held Feb. 6-7 at the Montreat Conference Center in Montreat.

A proposal for the future of the Overmountain Shelter on the Appalachian Trail, closed since 2019, will be discussed during a virtual presentation and public scoping meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25.

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Save the date for a magical evening watching the synchronous fireflies of the Smokies, with tickets available to see the show at Norton Creek June 8-11. 

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Highlands Aerial Park in Scaly Mountain is a new A.T. Supporter with the Franklin Appalachian Trail Community Council. 

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Popular regional rock act Andrew Thelston Band will hold a special month-long residency every Saturday evening in The Gem downstairs taproom at Boojum Brewing in Waynesville. 

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There will be a contra dance class offered from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin.

Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library is proud to present a new workshop series for aspiring writers. Beginning Feb. 2, the Winter Writer’s Workshop will be held every Thursday in Feb. and March at 1:30 p.m. in the conference room at the Cashiers Library. 

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Haywood Pathways Center will hold its fifth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on Thursday, March 23 at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

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To help address the mental health crisis facing the nation and this region, four Southwestern Community College students recently completed their studies in the Human Services Technology career pathway and are ready to enter the field as professionals.

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Friends of DuPont Forest is looking for new board members to start a term beginning in April. 

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The Assault on BlackRock trail race will return Saturday, March 18, to Pinnacle Park in Sylva. 

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To the Editor: To crib part of a title from Phillip Longman’s book — “Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care Would Work Better for Everyone” — this describes my recent experience at the VA Medical Center in Asheville. 

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Western Carolina University alum Preston Blakely will be the keynote speaker for the Chancellor’s List Award Ceremony.

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles routinely receives complaints from customers who have been targeted by scammers claiming to be representatives of either the DMV or the N.C. Department of Transportation.

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Beloved Haywood County singer-songwriter Chris Minick will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at The Scotsman in Waynesville.

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Joshua Johnson has been hired as the new lands specialist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Families can visit Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley for a reduced cost on non-holiday Wednesdays starting Jan. 11. 

It’s not too early to start training for a big race in 2023, with race organizer Glory Hound Events already announcing several dates on its calendar this year. 

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To the Editor: “Nothing can work damage to me except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me and never am a real sufferer except by my own fault.” Those are words from Ralph Waldo Emerson that are in my book of meditations called “One Day at a Time” in Al-Anon.

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Enrollment for 2023 health insurance through the ACA Marketplace ends Jan. 15. Folks who sign up now can have quality, affordable health insurance starting Feb. 1. 

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Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation (HCHF) has awarded a grant to Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau to fund a recreational therapist position at their Cashiers facility. 

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The Haywood Arts Regional Theater in Waynesville is currently offering a wide variety of classes in the theater arts for all ages, young and old. Whether you are just starting out or want to hone your skills, HART has opportunities for you. 

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The Haywood County Arts Council’s (HCAC) mission is to promote art, art education, and innovation in art. Located on Main Street in Waynesville, the HCAC Haywood Handmade Gallery is currently seeking volunteers to help keep the gallery open this winter. 

The holidays have come and gone, and we are in that New Year period where the kids are still out of school and all the days blend together. This is a great time of year to begin thinking about spending for Christmas 2023.

Barbara Hatcher, previously a supervisory project manager and engineer for the park, is its new chief of facility management, replacing Alan Sumeriski, who is now the park’s deputy superintendent.

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Tunnel repairs have begun on the northbound Spur between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, with ongoing lane closures expected through April 7. 

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A six-week winter sports program aimed at women who learn better with female instructors starts on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley.

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A Finding of No Significant Impact from the National Park Service clears the way for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to start planning a 14-mile trail system in the Wears Valley area that would bring the park its first purpose-built mountain biking trails. 

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The Rock Gap Shelter on the Appalachian Trail in Macon County is no more, as the Nantahala Hiking Club works to replace the aged structure. 

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To the Editor: The headlines read — “Texas governor & others bus immigrants to VP house, and drop them in freezing weather.”

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To the Editor: A recent letter in the Waynesville Mountaineer claimed that climate change is a myth.

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A recent round of grants from Duke Energy will include $75,000 in funding to support emergency management services in Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties. 

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The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation marked its 25th anniversary with a celebration on Thursday, Nov. 17, at Highland Brewing Company in Asheville. More than 100 guests attended to mark the nonprofit’s years of support for projects and programs that enhance the country’s most visited national park. 

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