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The Junaluska Associates evening session will feature the stories of two Vietnam veterans at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, in the Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska Assembly.

Porter Halyburton, a Southern gentleman born and raised in a small town in North Carolina, was a Navy pilot shot down over Vietnam and the youngest POW in Vietnam. Fred Cherry, an Air Force pilot from Virginia and a Korean War veteran, was the first black officer captured by the North Vietnamese.

When Halyburton was put in a prison cell with the badly injured Cherry, he was puzzled to hear that his captors expected him to care for Cherry. Then reality dawned on both men: The Vietnamese thought that putting a white Southern man in charge of caring for a black man would be the worst kind of punishment for both. What they didn’t reckon was that Halyburton would save Cherry’s life and that Cherry would save Halyburton’s spirit. While they shared a cell for just eight months, they established a lifelong bond.

Halyburton has enthralled audiences across the country, including Best of Our State at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, where he shared his life experience and insights.

Marie Metcalf at 828.454.9474 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Altrusa International, Inc. of Waynesville and the Haywood Rotary Club will be spearheading a drive to collect school supplies for needy children in Haywood County public schools from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at Wal-Mart in Waynesville.

Residents are asked to pick up extra supplies as they shop during the tax-free weekend for back to school purchases.

All supplies and funds collected will be distributed by the Haywood County Schools Foundation to students in need by the start of this school year. 

Donations of cash, check, and/or supplies may be given to Altrusa or Haywood Rotary members, or mailed or delivered directly to the Haywood County Schools Foundation.

Contact Ann Overbeck of Altrusa at 828.456.7641 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for info.

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The League of Women Voters will sponsor a public forum for candidates running for N.C. Senate and House of Representatives in the 2010 elections at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 12.

Incumbent Senator John Snow (Dem.) will be challenged by Dr. James Davis (Rep.). Incumbent Representative for NC House District 119, Phil Haire (Dem), will face Dodie Allen (Rep.). And incumbent Representative for NC House District 120, Roger West (Rep.) will face Roger Hogsed (Dem.).

The meeting will be held at Tartan Hall in Franklin. Lunch is available at noon, by reservation. 828.524.5192 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Dean Christopoulos and Gregory Gonzales from Kostas Family Restaurant in Dillsboro will teach how to dish up authentic Greek food at a free class next week.

The two will demonstrate making Greek chicken with potatoes. They’ll also share information on some special ingredients and techniques used in Greek cooking and information about the rich heritage of this part of the Mediterranean.

Participants will sample the dish at the conclusion of the demonstration.

The class will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16 at the conference room of the Community Service Center in Sylva. It is part of the Jackson County Cooperative Extension’s Good Cooks Series, which features topnotch cooks from the area.

Register at 828.586.4009 by Aug. 9.

The next Good Cooks program will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, and will spotlight seafood.

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See rare vintage and antiques motorcycles from the early 1900s at the Kick-Start! American Motorcycle Design exhibition in Highlands.

The exhibition will premiere with a reception and gallery talk from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7 at The Bascom. Motorcycles from the exhibit are on loan from Wheels Through Time, a Maggie Valley-based private collection.

The exhibition will trace the progression of 20th century design styles as evidenced through the motorcycle. The earliest objects will date from the early 1900s. From 1900 to 1928, motorcycles evolved from a motor powered bicycle to a form of reliable sport and transportation.

This exhibition is sponsored by Helen and Fred Cooper and Old Edwards Club members Barbara and Doug DeMaire, Judith and Robert Moore, Angela and Art Williams, and Patsy and Bill Wolff.

The Bascom’s exhibitions are free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and from noon to 5 p.m Sundays.

www.thebascom.org or 828.526.4949.

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Seona McDowell will perform a concert of traditional, contemporary and original tunes from Australia, New Zealand, and other cultures at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Haywood County Library in Waynesville.

McDowell will accompany herself on the guitar, autoharp and didgeridoo (an Aboriginal instrument) as she draws from her Australian, Irish and English roots to enchant children and adults of all ages with songs and stories that are witty, reflective and entertaining.

The concert is part of the Sunday Concert Series co-sponsored by the Haywood County Arts Council and the Friends of the Haywood County Library.

A recent Waynesville resident, McDowell was born in India of Irish/English parents and grew up on a farm in New Zealand. She studied classical piano for eight years then began her musical career after moving to Australia.

A national music company approached her about performing Australian history through music in the schools. Through songs, folk dances and stories she weaves in history, geography and folklore in her concerts and residencies, which she has performed throughout Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

McDowell received the OZ music award for Best Female Australian Folk Singer twice. Her impressive credits include touring and appearing in concert with Don McLean, Roy Orbison, Gerry Lee Lewis, the Mills Brothers and many other top names.

She performed for the Kennedy Center’s “Imagination Celebrations” for three years and had her own show on Public Radio in Cleveland, Ohio, called “WCPN Live with Seona McDowell.” The show ran for nearly two years with interviews and performances by many well-known American folk artists. It was awarded “Top Local Live Show” in 1985 by the broadcasting commission of Ohio.

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Johnny Floor and The Wrong Crowd will be performing from 8 until 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Fontana Village Recreation Hall.

Johnny Floor’s singer-songwriter is also the manager and engineer of Lands Creek Studios in Bryson City, which enjoys a long list of credits including the recent CD releases for Big House Radio and the Rye Holler Boys.

The band lineup includes Johnny Floor on bass, his wife Karen — whom he refers to as his “secret weapon” — on vocals, Robin Fronrath on drums, John Lamb on saxophone with Phil Watford and Zach Thomason on guitars. The band’s country roots are blended with blues, rock and roll and R&B.

Admission is free for the event.

828.498.2211 or 800.849.2258.

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Good things come in threes when the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival welcomes Grammy-nominated The Eroica Trio, Friday, Aug. 6, and Saturday, Aug. 7.

The Eroica Trio – comprised of pianist Erika Nickrenz, violinist Suzie Park, and cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio – will perform a trio of trios. Beehoven’s “Trio in Bb Major, Op 11” opens the evening, followed by Turina’s “Trio, Op. 35” and Schumann’s “Trio in F Major, Op. 80.”

One of the first all-female chamber ensembles to reach the top echelons of the field, the Eroica Trio is helping to break an age-old gender barrier. The trio’s recognition extends beyond the world of chamber music to features in magazines such as Elle, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Bon Appetit and Detour.

On Sunday, Aug. 8, and Monday, Aug. 9, French horn virtuoso Brice Andrus and pianist Anton Nel will perform Schumann’s “Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70.”

Andrus has served as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s principal horn since 1975, while South African Anton Nel has performed around the world and was appointed as the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor of Piano and Chamber Music at the University of Texas at Austin.

Cellist Christopher Rex will join Nel for Schumann’s “Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102.” Rex has served as principal cello of The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for the past 25 years.

Schumann’s “Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73” will be performed by Nels and clarinetist Laura Ardan. Ardan is the principal clarinet with the Atlanta Symphony.

Concerts are held at 6 p.m. Fridays at the Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center in Highlands and repeated at 5 p.m. Saturdays at the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library in Cashiers. Sunday concerts are staged at 5 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center in Highlands and repeated at 5 p.m. Mondays at the Cashiers Community Library.

www.h-cmusicfestival.org or 828.526.9060.

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Sylva-based The Buchanan Boys take the stage from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, at the Bridge Park Pavilion as part of the free summer Concerts on the Creek series in downtown Sylva.

The Buchanan Boys will play a setlist that is heavy on covers with five or six original songs mixed in. Folks can expect country hits from the likes of Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and the Zac Brown Band.

“We’re a cross between southern rock and country,” said lead guitarist Adam Blythe. “It’s country, but not old country with a twang.”

Joining Blythe in the band are vocalist/guitarist Chris Pressley, drummer Michael Cannon, bass guitarist/vocalist Sam McCarson and rhythm guitarist/vocalist Neal Morgan.

The band selected the name Buchanan Boys because both Pressley and Morgan had a grandfather named Frank H. Buchanan.

Concerts on the Creek are co-produced by: Jackson County Parks & Recreation, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Sylva Association, Jackson Country Travel & Tourism, and the Town of Sylva.

800.962.1911 or www.mountainlovers.com.

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Penland School of Crafts has open spaces in several of its sixth session summer session classes available at half tuition to residents of the following Western North Carolina counties: Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Graham, Clay, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, and Yancey. Regular room and board charges apply, but students are not required to stay on campus.

The sixth session runs Aug. 15 to 27 with openings in papermaking, clay, drawing, glass, metals, photography, letterpress printing, textiles, and wood.

• The papermaking class, taught by Paul Wong, will focus on creating imagery with paper pulp using techniques that include stencils, watermarks, and painting.

• In the clay studio, Elisa Helland-Hansen will teach a class about making pots specifically for serving food.

• In the drawing studio, Curtis Bartone will cover an array of drawing media including graphite, silverpoint, charcoal, ink, and pastel.

• Glass sculptor Hin Won Han will teach an intermediate flameworking class that will also include computer rendering; students will create 3D mockups of their pieces using a computer and then bring them to life in flameworked glass.

• Scott McMahon’s photography class will work with a variety of historic printing processes including gum bichromate, cyanotype, and anthotype.

• John Horn will lead an introductory class in letterpress printing.

• Two metals classes are available: Marvin Jensen will teach angle raising—a technique for forming a seamless hollow form from a flat sheet of metal. Natalya Pinchuk and Dana Perry will teach a jewelry class titled, “You Think This Is Ugly?” that will challenge students to reconsider their aesthetic assumptions.

• Two textiles classes are open: Tommye McClure Scanlin will teach woven tapestry. Jeanne Brady will teach an intermediate class for weavers who would like to explore the expressive potential of weaving.

• In the wood studio, sculptors Mark Gardner and Stoney Lamar will teach a class in direct carving into unmilled wood using everything from chain saws to lathes.

Classes listed as “intermediate” require some previous experience. All other classes are open to students of all levels.

www.penland.org or 828.765.2359, ext 15.

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A semiformal gala featuring red carpets, bright lights, gallery openings and a Gershwin musical is planned for Friday, Oct. 22, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Western Carolina’s Fine and Performing Art Center.

The venue had its grand opening in October 2002 with a performance by comedian Jay Leno.

Since then, more than 100,000 visitors have passed through the doors of the Fine and Performing Arts Center, which is home to WCU’s Fine Art Museum. The center has hosted events ranging from sellout performances of music, drama and dance to visual arts, music and drama festivals for Western North Carolina children.

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Artists must submit applications by Friday, Aug. 13, for a chance to win Western Carolina University’s 2010 Outdoor Sculpture competition.

Five winners will receive a one-year exhibit on Western’s campus and a $2,000 honorarium. A reception, inauguration and awards ceremony to honor recipients will be held Friday, Oct. 22, in conjunction with a red carpet celebration of the Fine and Performing Arts Center.

The sculpture contest is open to artists over the age of 18 working in the Southeast, and there is no application fee.

“Through this competition, we aim to enhance our students’ education by fostering an atmosphere of inquiry and discovery by intentionally planting thought-provoking artworks,” said Denise Drury, curatorial specialist with WCU’s Fine Art Museum

A selection committee will choose five works to exhibit on the FAPAC sculpture lawn. It is specifically seeking intimate works that will fit five predetermined locations on the lawn.

The application and guidelines can be downloaded at fineartmuseum.wcu.edu.

Contact Drury at 828.227.3591 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The Jeweler’s Workbench in Waynesville will present the wire-wrapping art of Nadine Fidelman as its featured artist for Art After Dark on Friday, Aug. 6.

Nadine searches out the best gemstones, pearls, fossils and dichroic glass from the world’s top suppliers to use in her one-of-a-kind pendants and earrings. She “wraps” each one, surrounding it with a minimal amount of wire, to enhance its beauty. She uses her fingertips, fingernails and various pliers to surround each one. She often adds gemstone beads or pearls to create a unique piece of art jewelry.

Fidelman is the newest member of the group of local artists represented at The Jeweler’s Workbench, located at 80 North Main Street.

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The Junaluska Woman’s Club Creative Endeavors Arts and Crafts Show and Sale is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 13, and Saturday, Aug. 14, at Harrell Center Auditorium and Bistro Café in Lake Junaluska.

More than 30 artists and crafters from several states will display arts and crafts for sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Many crafters have donated art featuring images of Lake Junaluska for a silent auction, including stained glass, wall hangings, wooden trays, jewelry, car license tag, Junaluska baskets, Junaluska church birdhouses, gourd art, a Junaluska driftwood arrangement and much more.

Also up for bid will be watercolor prints of scenes around the lake and a framed picture depicting seasons at Junaluska in photographs. There is a Glenn Draper Doll, which is the first in a series of Junaluska “Notable Person” dolls.

Anne Stewart, member of the North Carolina Basketmakers Association, will be making traditional baskets, some with contemporary designs. Fabiola Diaz, a 16-year-old from Highlands, will make quick or detailed sketches of individuals or do drawings from attendees’ pictures by consignment.

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Elizabeth Ellison will do a watercolor demonstration at The Blueridge Water Media Society’s monthly meeting, held at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at Haywood Community College, Building 14.

Ellison will demonstrate her loose expressive watercolor technique that depicts the varied wildflowers, animals, human inhabitants, and landscapes of the Smokies.  

The exceptional quality and individuality of Elizabeth Ellison’s works led to her inclusion in the 1994 Fodor’s Guide to the National Parks and Seashores of the East.

Ellison is a painter, paper maker and owner of Elizabeth Ellison Watercolors, a studio and gallery in Bryson City.

She has exhibited and sold widely throughout the United States for more than 30 years and often teaches week-long workshops at various institutions, such as the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville.

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Witness an authentic performance of the classic “A Christmas Carol,” with one of the original performers in the 1938 radio show that starred the legendary Orson Welles.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 10, at Western Carolina University for a December re-creation of the Campbell’s Playhouse radio adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.”

The WCU production will use Welles’ personal script and will star Arthur Anderson, who will reprise his role of the Ghost of Christmas Past that he performed in the original radio show more than 70 years ago. Now 87, Anderson was 16 at the time he portrayed one of Charles Dickens’ ghostly trio opposite Welles in the 1938 broadcast.

“A Christmas Carol,” which includes a live orchestra and sound effects, will feature the talents of WCU faculty, staff and students, as well as radio professionals from Western North Carolina.

Presented with special permission of the show’s original sponsor, the Campbell Soup Co., the performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, in WCU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center. All tickets are $10 each.

The academic-based entertainment event is being mounted by director Steve Carlisle, a stage and screen veteran who is associate dean of WCU’s Honors College; musical director Bruce Frazier, the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Electronic and Commercial Music; and producer Donald Connelly, head of WCU’s department of communication.

The team previously collaborated on the 2008 live radio show production of Welles’ “The War of the Worlds” and last year’s nationally acclaimed Veterans Day tribute “On the Home Front, Nov. ‘44.”

The show is a joint production of the Department of Communication, Department of English, School of Music, School of Stage and Screen, and Honors College.

Visit FAPAC box office or 828.227.2479.

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The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, the country’s longest running folk festival, will celebrate its 83rd year of highlighting mountain culture this week.

The celebration kicks off 7 p.m. nightly from Thursday, Aug. 5, to Saturday, Aug. 7. at the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place in downtown Asheville. Tickets are on sale now.

The festival formally showcases an extensive repertoire of mountain performers — old-timers as well as the newest generation of bluegrass and mountain string bands, ballad singers, big circle mountain dancers and cloggers who share music and dance that echo centuries of Scottish, English, Irish, Cherokee and African heritage.

The first night is Hometown Appreciation Night. In keeping with the grassroots flavor of the festival, local families and individuals are encouraged to attend to help kick off the festival.

Each evening features at least four dance teams from the very young to the young at heart. The popular and long-standing house band the Stoney Creek Boys returns to perform each evening.

Highlighted throughout this year’s Mountain Dance and Folk Festival are “Legacy Performers.” These individuals are recognized as having made significant contributions to our region’s musical heritage over several decades. Among the designated Legacy Performers this year are Ralph Lewis of Sons of Ralph; Paul Crouch, a self-taught fiddler; and Betty Smith, a music scholar and balladeer.

For the complete lineup and more info, 828.258.6101 ext. 345 or www.folkheritage.org.

Tickets (Regular $20; Children 12 and under $10; 3 night package $54) available from the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place box office, 828.257.4530 or www.dwtheatre.com.

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Before summer slips by, take in one of the many ranger guided programs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, from naturalist hikes to history talks.

Here’s a line of up of free programs on tap in the Smokies this summer.

Even You Can Play The Hog Fiddle! Join a park ranger to learn about the hog fiddle (a.k.a. the mountain dulcimer), and master two tunes on it —guaranteed or double your money back! Wednesdays at 11 a.m. at the Mountain Farm Museum, adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

A Stitch in Time. Learn about quilting and make a quilted potholder as a keepsake from your visit to the Smokies. Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 10:40 a.m. at the Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Fishy Facts. Take a short walk near the Oconaluftee River to learn about some of the park’s native fish species, some older methods of fishing, and streams in the park. Fridays at 11:30 a.m. at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Oconaluftee River Trail Walk. 45-minute guided walk. Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Coffee with a Ranger: Hemlock Horrors. Join a ranger for some coffee and chat about the fate of the hemlock trees in the park. Sundays at 10 a.m. at Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Hike: Where the Waters Sing. Pack a snack or lunch and water and join a ranger on a moderate 3-mile round-trip hike along Bradley Fork to Chasteen Creek Falls.  Sundays at 11:30 a.m. at Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441. Meet at Bradley Fork trailhead on the D-loop.

Smokemont History Walk. A one-mile hike to a cemetery and learn about the people and rich history of the Smokemont area. Mondays at 11 a.m. at Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

House of Salvation, Education, and Damnation. Join a Ranger and discover how old-time mountain religion met spiritual, social, and community needs. Wednesdays at 1 p.m. at Smokemont Baptist Church near the entrance to Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Woodhicks & Misery Whips Nature Walk. Discover the profound impact the industrial boom in America had on the Great Smoky Mountains on a one hour walk. Saturdays at 7 p.m. at Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

The Smokies at Twilight: Sunset Hike. Join a Ranger on a short walk to experience this remarkable area in all its glory. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots and bring a flashlight. Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at Clingmans Dome. Meet near the bulletin board.

Anikituwahgi:  The Cherokees of the Appalachians. Learn about the inhabitants of the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, as we discuss aspects of their past and present. Try your skill with an authentic Cherokee blowgun. Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at Collins Creek Picnic Area five miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Lunch with a Ranger. Bring your lunch and join a ranger for some noon-time conversation.  Ask questions, share your experiences, and  make new friends. Tuesdays at noon at Collins Creek Picnic Area five miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Safe Hiking in the Smokies. Learn about hiking safety practices, including changing weather conditions in the Smokies, appropriate dress, and what should be in your backpack. Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. at Newfound Gap parking area.

“I Hiked the AT!” Join a park ranger for a two-hour walk along part of the Appalachian Trail. Discover the beauty and secrets of this high elevation ecosystem. Thursdays at 10 a.m. at the Newfound Gap parking area.

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To the Editor:

Since November, the whole district has known that Shuler told us all an endless stack of lies regarding his dealings with the TVA and his own personal property investments. His tall tale that he had never contacted anyone at the TVA to push his multi-million dollar deal along was blown sky high.

The Smoky Mountain News gave Shuler their “Pants On Fire Award”, saying: the “TVA report later confirmed that the Congressman had lied when he told media he had had no contact with the TVA.”

The Asheville Citizen Times’ John Boyle said: “There’s no pretty way to put this. Congressman Heath Shuler flat-out lied ... — repeatedly.”

The HendersonvilleTimes-News said: “Shuler tried to slide around the truth, apparently hoping that the whole story would never come to light.”

Shuler knew that it was wrong for a sitting Congressman to call the CEO of the TVA about his own sweetheart land deal so he decided to bald-face lie about it. And he has never once apologized for it.

When Shuler asks for your vote to be part of Pelosi’s majority again, will you let him pretend that what every major paper in WNC has reported as shameful fact never happened?

Robert Danos

Henderson County GOP

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To the Editor:

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, a self-defined fiscal conservative, has a lot of explaining to do. He recently rejected to extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans because Democrats did not seek spending cuts to offset the $34 billion price tag. His position seemed to be logical and fair.

Burr’s voting record paints a different picture. He voted for the 2001 Bush tax cuts that cost over $890 billion in lost revenue. He voted yes on another extensive tax cut in 2003. The two massive tax cuts for the wealthy have cost us over $2 trillion. He also voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002 that has cost over $900 billion. Burr voted yes on these measures without seeking to offset their costs with spending cuts.

A common sense fiscal conservative would tell you that you cannot cut taxes and increase spending if you want to keep the deficit under control. Burr even voted for TARP, which will end up costing us $109 billion.

His yes vote for TARP shows that he is not really a free-market conservative. He understands that the federal government has to intervene into the economy when it is necessary. I believe he made the right decision by voting for TARP, even though it was and still is extremely unpopular. Nearly every economist agrees that the bank bailout saved us from another depression. Now Congress and Burr need to address “too big to fail” to prevent another financial collapse.

Burr ended up voting against the stimulus package in 2009 in an attempt to showcase his conservative credentials and backtrack from his wayward support of TARP, but his voting record is difficult to hide.

As of July 15, Burr has $6.3 million to spend for his reelection campaign, and he might have to spend every dollar to convince North Carolinians that he is a true fiduciary. Challenger Elaine Marshall has $163,000 on hand to combat Burr this fall. It will be tough for Marshall to overcome Burr’s big money, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is somewhat responsible for this huge discrepancy since they refused to endorse her during the primaries. This is forcing her to play catch-up.

A 38 to 1 funding advantage may help Burr sleep peacefully at night, but a lot can happen before November. Elaine Marshall needs to give specific alternatives to Burr’s supply-side economic policies that squandered Clinton’s $230 billion budget surplus. Burr helped Bush double the deficit in eight years. Now he wants to portray himself as a fiscal conservative. We should not let him off so easily. Elaine Marshall may be far behind in fundraising, but Burr’s record is her greatest weapon.

Chad Simons

Franklin

 

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To the Editor:

The Waynesville Tailgate Market is celebrating 25 years of serving Haywood County. The longevity of the market is due to the growers, some who are first-time vendors while others have been a mainstay of 20-plus years. Main crops offered are, affordable fruits and vegetables. In addition one can find cut flowers, honey, nursery stock and black walnuts and a surprise item or two.

The market is now grower run, and all decisions are made as a group. Co-managers of the market are Steve and Judy West who have farmed and helped farmers of Haywood County for more than 30 years.

Some of our customers are old and loyal shoppers, some are new ones who are discovering the market and all it has to offer. Customers and vendors swap a lie or two, seeds, gardening tips and recipes. We know most by name if not certainly by face. Whether they are in town or out of town all our customers are welcomed and valued by all the vendors.

The market is certified for Senior and WIC coupons which can only be redeemed for fruits and vegetables. Most vendors are certified to accept coupons for vegetables and fruits that are available on market.

Market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon in the American Legion parking lot through Oct. 30.

Judy West

Market Manager

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To the Editor:

Something is terribly wrong when the region has a “ready-made” audience of an estimated 18 million visitors and everyone is singing the blues about lack of business. Either the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway visitation numbers are in error or there’s something wrong at the private and public sector with products and marketing.

I think it’s the latter.

David Redman

Sylva

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To the Editor:

I read with great interest your recent column about the tourism industry in Western North Carolina. As a result of your insightful comments about the need for tourism research and based on my years of working as a consultant in the tourism industry in the area of destination development, I want to offer two suggestions for the industry.

An easy and inexpensive way for any entity in the region to get valid tourism information “in real” time is to use an intercept interview survey conducted by college students and/or senior volunteers. All that is needed is for a focus for the survey to be defined, e.g., why you selected this area, what you want most from a tourism visit, your rating of the value/friendliness of the destination, etc.

The survey could then be developed with the help of a professor/class in marketing or statistics at an institution such as WCU, HCC or SCC OR all three.

Then the interview team (with proverbial clipboards in hand) fan out across the region for an extended period of time or on a regular cycle, i.e., the first week of every third month to adjust for seasonality until a few hundred surveys have been completed. Merchants could provide discount/free coupons as an incentive for the person to take 3 to 5 minutes to answer the survey conducted by the volunteer interviewer.

This is not brain surgery. They could just walk the streets of Sylva, Dillsboro, Waynesville, etc. and/or attend events such as art/craft shows, Folkmoot and/or visit local campgrounds and/or just be stationed at the visitor centers in these respective communities and ask folks who stop to get visitor information a few (8 to 12 questions) and move on.

If a standardized survey to be used in the intercept interviews was developed, it could also be added to Web sites of entities in the region, made available at the front desk of hotels, given at restaurants at check out time, etc. An incentive could be offered to complete the survey, i.e. name entered into a contest for a free ... whatever.

In short order and with little money, the tourism industry would have a baseline of valid statistical data that could be culled through for insights that might drive change in how the destination presents itself to the nation. If the entities who launch this effort make a long term commitment to making data-driven decisions about how best to market WNC as a region, we could have a leg up on most any other area of the Southeast that does not have a single focus.

Even without this type of “real time” research, there is another golden opportunity the region could leverage and the target market is easy to find. It is called “grand” tourism by some, not unlike developing a specific niche market such as eco-tourism, Grand tourism is a focus on GRANDparents. Free demographic data on the aging Baby Boomers travel preferences is everywhere. Guess what they want... to enjoy time with grandchildren.

However, amplified by the recession, these same millions of Boomer grandparents are looking to get out in nature, have a safe destination, be in close proximity to a wide variety of activities appropriate for grandchildren, and save money. They want value for their vacation dollar. Just think of WNC as a single destination, depending on the time of the year... we have whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, mountain climbing, festivals, Corvettes, Harleys, train rides, snow skiing, the Biltmore, WNC Nature Center, shopping, museums, the highest mountain in the Eastern U.S., Ghost Town, REAL Cherokee Indians, waterfalls. All of these “themed” parks are less than a two-hour ride in most any direction from a central location such as Maggie Valley or Waynesville.

John Curtis, Ph.D.

Waynesville

Comment

To the Editor:

Taxpayers should be infuriated about any tax dollars going to such an organization as the Evergreen Foundation. It is about time that county commissioners are taking a stand on behalf of the tax dollars as it relates to mental health, especially given this strange relationship with Evergreen.

How can our state and legislators allow this to continue? This is supposed to be about mental health, not financial gain.

Thanks to the Smoky Mountain Center for taking on this issue on behalf of the taxpayers and those in need of mental health services. How about a little help from our “elected” officials? Taking the word of the Evergreen director is not good enough, considering the relationship.

Ed Seavey

Waynesville

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Western Carolina University’s Police Department will host a free law enforcement seminar on police officer survival skills from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Friday, July 30. Deputy Jeff DeGrow of the Charleston County, S.C., Sheriff’s Office will re-enact an incident in which he survived being shot six times responding to a burglary in progress.

Geared to veterans of law enforcement and recent police academy graduates alike, the seminar also will cover critical incident care, stress management, identifying as an officer, and other survival techniques. 828.227.7301.

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The women’s giving circle, Women for Women, was able to award $235,000 in new grants this year. To date, the initiative has distributed more than $1.2 million in grants.

More than 1,000 women attended Women For Women’s sixth annual “Power Of The Purse event, where the grants were announced in late May.

This year, OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling received $100,000 to develop a Women’s Financial Empowerpent Center. The Task Force on Family Violence: REACH received $100,000 to expand counseling, educational training and job placement to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault in Cherokee, Clay and Graham counties.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.cfwnc.org/women.

 

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An “old-fashioned” groundbreaking will be held July 30 for the new Homestead hospice inpatient facility, complete with a working mule and plow and banjo music.

The hospice has raised $2.8 million of the $3.6 million needed to build and equip the facility through two generous grants, community donations and a donation from the Bernice Medford estate. The new facility will house six beds for hospice patients, offering families with a  dying loved one a choice in between hospitalization and in-home care.

The groundbreaking will be held at 10 a.m. near the construction site on the hospital campus. Marc Pruett of the Balsam Range will provide bluegrass music for the occasion. Construction on the inpatient facility is expected to be completed by Sept. 2011. Clark & Leatherwood construction company of Waynesville  is slated to serve as contractors for the project.

The second phase of the project will eventually be the end-of-life outreach center, which will focus on outpatient services and community outreach programs, including space for medical professionals, therapists, clergy and volunteers to collaboratively manage care for patients in the home care hospice program. There will be private rooms for counseling services and bereavement therapy, a reference library for resources related to terminal diseases and end-of-life issues, and a community education center with multimedia capability. A courtyard will connect the two buildings, and memorial gardens will provide for intentional counseling through gardening and for memorial butterfly and dove releases.

828.452.8471.

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For decades Maggie Valley and Dillsboro were two of the mountain’s most iconic tourist towns. Sadly, both relied heavily — too heavily — on a single cash-cow. When Ghost Town shut down in Maggie and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad pulled out of Dillsboro, both lost tens of thousands of visitors once delivered to their doorsteps. Both towns are now struggling to find new identities.

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Western North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage comes to life on Aug. 6 through during the Asheville Quilt Guild’s 28th Annual Show at The North Carolina Arboretum.

The popular show is a judged event featuring more than 250 quilts of exceptional craftsmanship from across the U.S. and worldwide. The three-day show offers live demonstrations, a vendor’s mall and more. This year’s theme is “Stars Over the Mountains.”

The show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. $8 for parking per vehicle and $5 for the Quilt Show.

Visitors to The Arboretum during the Quilt Show will also be able to explore engaging indoor and outdoor exhibits, including:

• “Balance and Beauty: A Visual Celebration of Rural Life,” featuring paintings by Margaret Scanlan at the Baker Exhibit Center.

• “Inflorescence,” a new outdoor sculpture exhibit throughout the Arboretum’s gardens by Jason S. Brown and Elizabeth Scofield that features a variety of botanical forms created from synthetic nylon fabric.

828.665.2492 or www.ncarboretum.org.

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Tickets for Western Carolina University’s 2010-10 University Theatre Mainstage season, which is packed with popular Broadway musicals and smaller experimental works, will go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Mainstage productions are directed by faculty members from the School of Stage and Screen. For the first time, the season includes three musicals: “The Seven Deadly Sins,” an operatic ballet by Kurt Weill; “Rent” by Jonathan Larson; and “Kiss Me, Kate” by Cole Porter.

In addition to the musical works are a combination of contemporary and intimate productions staged in the university’s Niggli Theatre: the comedy “Romantic Fools” by Rich Orloff; the Tony Award-nominated “Reasons to be Pretty” by Neil LaBute; and a selection of “theAtrainplays,” six short works by different authors all set on an iconic New York subway route.

Tickets may be purchased individually or in season packages. The six-show combo is $60, a savings of $40 over regular ticket prices.

Anyone interested in offering financial support for the University Theatre and its student organization, the University Players, can become a member of the Patron Club, which offers three membership levels. Go to www.wcu.edu/4915.asp for more information.

For tickets, 828.227.2479. For further information, 828.227.7491.

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The two-day Mountain High BBQ & Music Festival is back for its second year at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center, home of the Macon County Fair. Doors will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13, and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14.

Teams will prepare their best BBQ on Friday and Saturday, hoping to be named Grand Champion and earn a N.C. State Championship.

In addition to the BBQ at this year’s festival, attendees will be treated to craft and retail vendors, and new this year is a Cornhole Tournament.

Cornhole is a lawn game played with bags filled with corn. The object is to toss the bags into a 6-inch hole cut in a 2-foot by 4-foot platform 30 feet away. The tournament will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13.

Registration forms are available at www.franklin-chamber.com and www.MountainHighBBQFestival.com, or pick one up at the chamber located at 425 Porter Street. Registration fee is $25 per two-person team. Cash prizes include $200 first place, $100 second place and $50 third place.

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Every category of knitted items imaginable will be represented at The Smoky Mountain Knitting Guild’s  2nd Annual Benefit Fashion Show — including socks, mittens, menswear, baby clothes, skirts, sweaters, hats, handbags, children’s wear and more. This year’s benefit — with the theme of “Four Seasons” —will feature an array of fashions for all year long.

This gala event, including a luncheon, will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, at The Gateway Club in Waynesville. Proceeds from the fashion show and luncheon will benefit HRMC Hospice and Palliative Care.

Members of the Smoky Mountain Knitting Guild, as well as yarn shops and knitters from Franklin, Sylva, Canton, and Asheville, will contribute the hand-knit fashions, the models and the moxie. HRMC and Hospice personnel may also be corralled as models.

With more than 100 members and still growing, the Guild also hosts small weekly knitting circles and offers organized classes. It meets on the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. in the new fellowship hall at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 234 Church St., Waynesville. Guild members’ handiwork can also be seen during the month of July in the Haywood St. entrance display window of the Waynesville Branch Public Library.

Tickets for the annual sale are available from Blue Ridge Books, The Laughing Lamb Antiques (Frog Level) and HRMC Hospital Gift Shop or from any of the Guild members. Tables for eight may be reserved with the group purchase of 8 tickets.  Contact Barbara Mancini at 828.627.9784. To learn more about the Guild, visit SMKGuild.com or call Kristi Siplon at 828.550.3136. There are no dues or fees associated with the knitters’ circles, and the cost of membership in The Guild is nominal.

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Angela Faye Martin and the Scarlet Oak Sway will showcase its unique rock-and-roll sound when the band performs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 30, at Sylva’s Bridge Park Pavilion.

Martin, a talented musician from Franklin, added the Scarlet Oak Sway last year for what was to be a one-time show to release her album, “Pictures From Home.” However, the band, comprised of musicians from Macon and Jackson counties, was a hit with fans and that evolved into a year-long tour of venues across the Southeast.

The band’s impromptu tour makes its final stop in downtown Sylva. The free show is part of a summer concert series each Friday evening through Labor Day weekend.

Martin says folks in Sylva can expect a setlist of the band’s original music, a haunting pop-rock sound with Southern and country tinges.

“People expect traditional mandolins and banjos out of the mountains, we play neither. This is primarily a rock outfit,” Martin explains. “The first time we played in Atlanta, a rock critic came up to me and asked, ‘These guys are from the mountains?’ That’s when I knew we were onto something.”

Joining Martin in the Scarlet Oak Sway are: lead guitarist Chris Cooper, keyboardist Jeff Southerland and drummer Adam Woleslagle.

“We want to take our sound further out into the world, but love playing near home, where the songs were written,” Martin says.

Concerts on the Creek are co-produced by: the Downtown Sylva Association, Town of Sylva, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Jackson Country Travel & Tourism and Jackson County Parks & Recreation.

800.962.1911 or www.mountainlovers.com.

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The Josh Fields Band will perform a free concert at Materfest at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 6, in Canton.

From Haywood County, The Josh Fields Band mixes classic and contemporary country, Southern rock and a bluegrass leaning to make a sound all their own.

With tight three part harmonies, the Josh Fields Band prides itself on playing many original songs that are reminiscent of older times.

Visit www.joshfieldsband.com and look for their upcoming album “Tobacco Road” due out on Aug. 28. For more on Materfest, visit www.focusoncanton.com/materfest.html.

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Dehlia Low will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center. The Asheville-based band offers fresh originality while also echoing the sounds of early country with a strong bluegrass flavor.

The show is part of the award-winning “An Appalachian Evening” concert and dinner series, which showcases bluegrass, folk and old-time music every Saturday evening through Aug. 28. Coming up on Aug. 7 is bluegrass group The Kruger Brothers.

“An Appalachian Evening” was named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society in 2008 and is a featured event in the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary community spotlight.

On Saturday, plan to come early to an authentic Appalachian Dinner served family-style at the Stecoah Kitchen, with seatings at 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

Concert tickets are $15 adult and $5 K-12 and can be purchased by calling 828.479.3364, in person at the Stecoah Gallery, or at www.stecoahvalleycenter.com.

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Every year, railroad enthusiasts and history buffs gather in Bryson City for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s Railfest. This year, the 9th annual weekend railroading event takes place Sep. 17, 18 and 19.

The fun begins Friday night with a special “Wet Your Whistle” celebration train reception. The festival offers guests a taste of railroad food, memorabilia, storytelling, dance, music, special excursions and events that happen only once a year.

In addition to many display vehicles, motorcar rides will also be available on both Sept. 18 and 19. Railroads from the present and the past will be represented by motorcars from the U.S. and Canada. These track cars were formerly used on railroads to inspect track and carry track gangs and their tools out to work zones. The cars are now privately owned and used to ride on short line railroads nationwide.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, festivities include an authentic Mountain Craft Fair with close to 50 area crafters and artists displaying and selling their handmade crafts, pottery and artwork. Catch the Spirit of Appalachia will present local entertainment featuring singing, dancing and mountain folk music.

There will be food vendors, a children’s talent contest and winner’s jamboree and a bouncy train for children 8 and under.

On Sunday, Sept. 19, there will be a Nantahala Gorge “Photo Special” Excursion. This eight-hour roundtrip excursion takes you from Bryson City to Andrews, and includes two photo run-by opportunities and a picnic lunch. Visitors to Bryson City will enjoy mountain music with various artists throughout the day.

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The Liquid Ginger Band — featuring former Graham County resident Ginger Edwards Fawcett on lead vocals — will perform from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 30, in front of the Wildwood Grill restaurant at Fontana Village Resort.

Working out of the Savannah, Ga., music scene, the band is known for its pure rock and roll sound with just a hint of country and classic blues. Considered one of the hottest acts in Savannah, Liquid Ginger has won numerous Entertainer of the Year awards. The band’s sound has overtones of pop, dance and alternative rock that always has the audience on their feet.

Johnny Floor & The Wrong Crowd will be entertaining guests from 8 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Fontana Recreation Hall. Their music style is best described as Americana. The band is frequently featured at festivals throughout the region.

828.498.2211 or 800.849.2258.

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If you love the mellow, romantic songs of the oldies jazz big band era, check out Oldies Night with the Waynesville Wildcats.

The oldies jazz band will take the stage from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 30, at Ceviches On Main restaurant in Waynesville. Oldies Night brings together jazz singers and instrumentalists to create an evening of classic oldies jazz covers & signature songs from crooners like Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Doris Day, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, and other jazz legends.

This Oldies Night features the superb jazz guitarist George Jones, who has backed up The Supremes and Frank Sinatra Jr. among others. Bassist David Lawter will be sitting in with the band later in the evening.

No cover charge.

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Registration for fall personal enrichment classes is beginning at Southwestern Community College.

The first course offering at SCC-Cashiers Center (217 Frank Allen Road) will be an eight-hour workshop on Digital Camera Basics, starting Monday, Aug. 16. The class will meet from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 16, 23, and 30, and Sept. 13.

This course will cover the basics of using your digital camera and using the various functions and tools available with it. There will be practical applications of photography theory and opportunities to explore several forms of expression. The class will conclude with the basics of getting digital photos from the camera to a computer, and simple editing and production of prints.

The instructor will be Michael Rich, the current director at Cashiers Center, who has been a professional photographer and worked for Mountaineer Publishing as staff photographer and photo editor.

828.339.4272.

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Two FUNd Parties will be held in August to help raise money for the Haywood County Arts Council’s Arts in Schools program.

Join in on an evening under the stars at the 10th Annual Wine for the Arts, starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at the home of Kay and Ron Isserman.

Co-hosted by the Classic Wineseller, Inc, guests will enjoy spacious decks that draw them outside and cozy overstuffed sofas to keep them comfy inside. Enjoy the fun of a “blind” wine tasting and partake in the fruit of the vine alongside culinary delights to completely satisfy the palate. $40 per participant and the ticket purchase deadline is Monday, Aug. 16.

On Wednesday, Aug. 25, it is Bridge and Lunch with a View from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The sky-high experience is offered for foursomes to provide another excuse to play Bridge and enjoy a delicious lunch while experiencing the breathtaking view of Haywood County from high above on Bottoms Way. Paid reservations must be made for tables of four, $180 per table. Deadline to purchase tickets is Monday, Aug. 2.

Call Karen for more information at 828.235.9219; for tickets, call 828.452.0593.

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The feature film “Wesley” will be screened at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin.

“Wesley” is based closely on the actual events of John Wesley’s life, a story that already reads much like a Hollywood screenplay.

Arledge Armenaki, WCU associate professor of cinematography, was the director of photography for the movie.

Sixteen Western Carolina University students got hands-on experience as crew for “Wesley” during filming on locations in and around Winston-Salem and Morganton for two months in 2007 and two weeks in 2008, including a sold-out red carpet premiere. WCU students and faculty also were cast in the movie.

Wesley is a compelling and controversial main character that women found intensely attractive; there is adventure on the high seas, a terrible storm and near-shipwreck. In the newly settled Savannah, Ga., there is an incredibly romantic but star-crossed love affair that ends tragically. Wesley is crushed, and on his return to England, we experience his spiritual struggle and finally renewal. We are then swept away with his preaching in the fields and his efforts to help the lowest classes of society. His ministry is controversial, there is mob violence, confrontation, and tension followed by his victorious preaching to thousands in his hometown.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the center box office at 1028 Georgia Road in Franklin, at Dalton’s Christian Bookstore in Franklin and Waynesville, and online at GreatMountainMusic.com, or call 866.273.4615.

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In August, educational programs continue in Highlands with three diverse artists-in-residence workshops.

• Lewis Knauss, “Fiber and Handmade Paper into Sculpture,” Aug. 10 to 14.

Combining ceramic and fiber, this workshop will guide students through five days of sheer enjoyment combining off-loom techniques with Eastern papermaking to create a lightweight sculpture. His works, which reference landscape and a sense of place, will engage each student in a memorable experience. Tuition is $475 Bascom members/ $500 non-members (most materials included).

• Mira Lehr, “Painting and Layering,” August 24 to 28.

While combining Japanese paper and collage with painting, take risks and experience new levels of creativity and expression with this workshop. Described as a visual poet, Lehr teaches students to search, analyze and develop their own vision. Tuition is $500 Bascom members/$525 non-members.

• Tom Turner, “Attention to Detail”, August 27 to 28.

This workshop is an exposé of Turner’s approach to throwing, decorating and finishing porcelain pottery. His approach is graceful and inviting, alluring and complex. Tuition is $200 Bascom members/ $225 non-members.

Turner’s and Lehr’s works will be featured in The Bascom’s “Fire and Heat by Three” exhibition, which opens Sept. 11 in the loft gallery.

The public is invited to meet with all three artists-in-residence. Lewis Knauss on Aug. 10, Mira Lehr on Aug. 24 and Tom Turner on Aug. 27. Enjoy demonstrations and learn what motivates and inspires them. All artist talks, which are free to the public, begin at 5 p.m. and are preceded by a public reception at 4:30 p.m.

The Art Academy, classes for non-artist, beginners and continuing students, begins Summer Session III on Aug. 2. Courses will be offered in Outdoor Drawing, Life Drawing, Interactive Art Appreciation, Painting: Oil or Acrylic, Watercolor Basics: Design, Pastels: Studies in the Landscape and/or Botanical Watercolor. Four classes per course. $120 Bascom members/ $125 non-members.

Registration required. 828.526.4949 or visit www.thebascom.org/artacademy.

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The upland waterways of the southern highlands provide one of the region’s most interesting natural areas. Unlike most upland habitats — which generally occur as blocks or patches — streams form long corridors that afford rich and varied niches for  plants and animals that have adapted their lifestyles accordingly.

Within the water there’s a variety of animal life, ranging from native brook trout to grotesque hellbenders to water shrews equipped with hairy feet that allow them to hunt underwater. In quiet nooks of pools and eddies, waterstriders skate on film provided by the surface tension of the water.

Over the water corridor, kingfishers, dragonflies and other species establish linear territories. Along the edges, Louisana waterthrushes hunt for worms and snails that they take to their young hatched in nests built back under the banks.

Within the spray zones of waterfalls and cascades, there’s the shimmering emerald world of the mosses, liverworts, ferns and other moisture-loving plants. Then, somewhat farther back — in the miniature flood plains or wash zones created by periodic overflows — a variety of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants form thick walls of undergrowth and overhanging canopy that define the outer edges (or walls) of the corridor.

Shrub yellowroot (Xanthoriza simplicissima), one of the most distinctive and important plants found here in the Blue Ridge, occurs along the banks of most streams. Yellowroot is distinctive because of the handsome tassel of flowers that sometimes appear as early as February and the strategies it has devised for growth and seed dispersal in areas often invaded by raging currents. The plant is also economically and socially important because of its medicinal use and the yellow dye Cherokee women extract from the plant’s inner pulp for tinting basket splints.

If you’re not familiar with yellowroot, look for a woody plant about 8- to 24-inches high that looks to me like a miniature palm tree; that is, all the leafy green growth is at the top of the stem. A participant in one of my plant identification workshops disagreed, saying that it looked like carrot tops.

The flowers emerge on graceful drooping racemes about 3-inches in length. These flowers consist of five purplish-brown sepals (no petals) about a half inch in diameter. The most distinctive feature of the flower is the bright yellow dot in its center — the pollen used to attract pollinators.

The yellowish follicles or fruits produced in summer disperse seeds that float away on inflated capsules.  That makes wonderful sense of why the plant favors a streamside habitat and of how it becomes distributed downstream.

The tissue under the bark is a bright yellow hue that rivals the color of fine butter. The slender roots have long been used for medicinal purposes. Doug Elliott, in his neglected little book Roots (The Chatham Press, 1976), advises that “many people who do use it, including myself, chew a section of the bitter root regularly as a general tonic with an especially beneficial effect on the gastric system.”

Many years ago, Martha Ross, a resident of the Big Cove Community on the Qualla Boundary and a member of family well known for their basketry, told me that her mother, Charlotte Lossiah, “didn’t use yellowroot as a dye too much except with honeysuckle. She liked to use bloodroot. But I like yellowroot. We also use butternut and walnut and bloodroot. You can gather yellowroot anytime, but it’s best in spring when you get a brighter color. It’s a little dull in winter. The roots can be used if you beat them with a hammer, but I like the stems to get the prettiest yellow. You scrape the pulp into a kettle of boiling water on the stove. Pull the splints out to the edge so that the yellow fills up a little hole in the center. After 30 or 40 minutes it’s ready. I never dye a big batch at once, just enough to make a few baskets.”

George Ellison wrote the biographical introductions for the reissues of two Appalachian classics: Horace Kephart’s Our Southern Highlanders and James Mooney’s History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. In June 2005, a selection of his Back Then columns was published by The History Press in Charleston as Mountain Passages: Natural and Cultural History of Western North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains. Readers can contact him at P.O. Box 1262, Bryson City, N.C., 28713, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting for volunteers for the Adopt-a-Trail program.

A mandatory training program will be held on Saturday, July 31, on the North Carolina side of the Park for interested volunteers.

Volunteers are asked to hike their adopted trail section eight times between spring and fall and report major problems to park rangers. Minor issues would be handled by the volunteers, like removing small limbs from across the trail, clipping back encroaching branches, picking up trash and removing illegal fire rings found along trail.

The training will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the park entrance on U.S. 441.

RSVP by July 26. 828.497.1949 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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The Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will throw its annual banquet at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was integral to the reintroduction of elk in the Smokies. The annual banquet is their primary fundraising and social event of the year.

The lively evening includes a prime rib dinner, raffles, silent auction and live auction — including more than 15 rifles or shotguns and a bow. Other auction items include hunting trips, a pack trip and Bristol race tickets.

The park’s two elk experts, wildlife biologist Kim DeLozier and elk researcher Joe Yarkovich, will give a presentation on the status of the Smokies elk prior to the banquet at 4 p.m.

$45. Contact Joyce Cooper in Cherokee at 828.506.3308 or Rusty McLean in Waynesville at 828.452.2896.

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Stocking a river with one of the nation’s rarest fish is a slow and gentle process.

On a recent summer day, biologist Steve Fraley lowered a clear-plastic bag full of water and 50 small, threatened fish called spotfin chub, into Graham County’s Cheoah River, holding it closed until the water temperature in the bag approached that of the river’s. After a few minutes, he opened the bag and slowly mixed in river water before finally giving the fish free rein to enter the river. By the end of the day, 844 of the tiny fish were released following the painstaking acclimation process.

“To watch us empty those bags in the river may seem a little anti-climatic, but returning this rare fish to this river is a tremendous step in restoring the river’s rich diversity and one that is the result of a lot of effort by a lot of people,” said Fraley, a biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission who has directed the effort to restore the spotfin chub in the Cheoah.

This is the second year in a row the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has stocked the rare minnow in the Cheoah, and the latest chapter in an effort to bring back the river’s biodiversity. For decades the nine-mile river reach between Lake Santeetlah and its confluence with the Little Tennessee River was largely dewatered by Alcoa Power, which diverted the river to a hydropower generator.

Some fish and other aquatic life, including a remnant population of endangered Appalachian elktoe mussels, were able to hold on in the Cheoah River thanks to a trickle of water seeping through the dam and small feeder creeks.

A few years ago, however, federal environmental regulations forced Alcoa to stop diverting the entire river and return a small flow of water to the natural riverbed.

The spotfin chub, a fish on the federal endangered species list, is the latest in a series of reintroductions aimed at restoring aquatic life to this stretch of river. Wavy-rayed lampmussels and the wounded darter, a small, bottom-dwelling fish, are also being reintroduced. Other native species on the horizon for stocking in the Cheoah include the rainbow and Appalachian elktoe mussels.

The effort is being led by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the N.C. Wildlife Commission.

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The Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River will host a “Walk ‘n Talk” in the Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park outside Bryson City at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 23.

Two retired WCU professors, Glenn Liming and Dan Patillo, will take the group on a short hike to a waterfall, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Anyone interested in discussing environmental issues and water quality in Jackson and Swain counties is welcome. 828.488.8418 or WATRnc.org.

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Jackson County resident Josie Williams will be guest storyteller at a special children’s storytime at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 24, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.

Williams is co-creator (with her sister-in law Kim Williams) of Shert: The Helping Hand Glove Puppet, a book-and-puppet combination for children. Shert is an acronym for Safety, Helping, Encouraging, Relating, Teaching. The simple glove puppet is both toy and teaching tool.

Williams will read from the book, Shert: Goes to the Park and introduce children to puppets. 828.586.9499.

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Join the fun at a Star Wars party at 2 p.m on Saturday, July 31, at Blue Ridge Books. The bookstore in Waynesville is one of only 70 in the United States hosting a 2010 DK Star Wars Event. The party is co-sponsored by the DK publishing company.

The event will include games and crafts for children, a trivia contest for all ages, free Star Wars souvenirs for the first 100 participants, and a costume contest. Star Wars prizes will be given for contest winners and there will be a raffle for other Star Wars prizes. The highlight of the event will be a special appearance by several members of the 501st Legion, a costuming organization formed in 1997. Be sure to bring a camera. 828.456.6000.

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