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Soprano Lisa Odom and pianist Fabio Parrini will perform at the annual Classics and Chocolate concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Performing Arts Center, 250 Pigeon Street in Waynesville. The annual concert pairs the highest quality live musical performance with a sumptuous all-chocolate reception.

The duo will include favorite Gershwin songs like “Summertime,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “Someone To Watch Over Me,” as well as solo piano featuring Gershwin “Preludes,” plus much more.

For a sneak preview of the concert, listen to Lisa Odom and Fabio Parrini on WCQS Radio with host Dick Kowal at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13.

Concert tickets are $15 per person with a limited number of free student tickets available.

www.haywoodarts.org.

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Three of country music’s fastest rising stars are performing on Thursday, Aug 26, at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort Event Center to raise funds for the Development Foundation of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Performances by Jason Michael Carroll, Josh Thompson and Lee Brice will begin at 9 p.m. with doors opening at 8:30 p.m. All three have had songs on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart.

Singer/songwriter Jason Michael Carroll’s 2009 album, “Growing Up Is Getting Old,” holds the hit single, “Hurry Home,” still in regular play. Carroll’s first album, “Waitin’ In the Country” went straight to number one with fan favorites like “Alyssa Lies” and “Livin’ Our Love Song.”

Josh Thompson’s debut album, “Way Out Here,” started climbing the charts as soon as it was released in February. The title track became an immediate hit, joining his 2009 single, “Beer on the Table,” on the Billboard charts.

The latest single from Lee Brice and the title track to his CD, “Love Like Crazy,” is in regular play and has hit the top ten. Brice shares writing credits with the likes of Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw.

Joyce Dugan, director of education for the Cherokee Central School System and a current board member of NCCAT’s Development Foundation, said the concert will benefit one of the region’s greatest assets for teacher education and development.

“NCCAT does so much to keep our teachers at their peak, so they in turn can help our students reach theirs,” said Dugan.

In addition to the concert, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel employees are collecting school supplies and cash gifts for the Development Foundation of NCCAT, which will distribute the supplies to public schools in western North Carolina.

Concertgoers should print out their tickets because there will be drawings for door prizes throughout the evening.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available: 828.293.5202 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To learn more, visit www.nccat.org/benefitconcert.

Tickers are $9.99 plus a convenience fee, and are available at www.ticketmaster.com. Ages 21 and over only. Parking is free in the Casino Parking Garage or main parking lot. Shuttle service will be provided from the lot.

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Patrons and visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the woodcarving artistry of intarsia at a program to be held at the Jackson County Public Library. Lebern Dills, an experienced intarsia artist and resident of Cullowhee, will show some of his work and share his techniques at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Dills uses patterns to carve and all of his pieces are hand-finished without using power tools.

Intarsia is a woodworking technique that uses varied shapes, sizes and species of wood that are fitted together to create a 3-dimensional, mosaic-like picture.

Intarsia is created through the selection of different types of wood, using their natural grain pattern and color to create variations in the pattern. After selecting the specific woods to be used within the pattern, each piece of wood is then individually cut, shaped, and sanded. Once the individual pieces are finished, they are fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and glued to a piece of wood backing.

Intarsia dates back to the 17th century and has its European origins in crafted rocks and stones.

The program is free to the public.

828.586.2016.

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Join Mary O’Shannon of Spiritsong as she shares how to tap into the beneficial energies of the planets during “Connecting with Your Celestial Guides: Your Allies in These Times of Change!” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, at The Creative Thought Center in Waynesville.

Spiritsong is an intuitive astrologer, healing facilitator, musician and metaphysical minister living in Asheville.

Join Spiritsong for a fun and interactive evening, filled with a lot of spirit and a bit of song.  

Bring your individual natal chart or email Mary your name and birth information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ahead of time and she will bring a birth chart for you.

The program is part of the People of Wisdom series at The Creative Thought Center. A $10 love offering is suggested but no one will be turned away.  

For reservations, 828.456.9697 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Volkswagen devotees make their way to Cherokee, Aug. 13 - 15 for the second annual VW Show at the Cherokee Event Center on Aquoni Road. Volkswagens of all makes and models will be on display, and all registered vehicles are eligible to win cash prizes and may compete for Best of Show in the best van, best car, best three wheeler and best dune buggy as well as a People’s Choice categories. Deal of Asheville, Asheville’s area Volkswagen dealer, will be on hand all weekend to demo Volkswagen’s latest offerings, answer questions, and share in some vintage VW tales.

“This year we’re asking all participants to bring a daisy or two to the VW Show. We will collect the daisies, make an obviously enormous bouquet and deliver it to Ambassador Said T. Jawad of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington D.C. as a symbol to encourage peace among all people of the world,” said Mary Jane Ferguson, director of marketing for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Members of Cherokee’s Travel and Promotion Department will collect the flowers at the Cherokee Event Center throughout the weekend, preserve them and prepare the bouquet for shipping to Washington D.C.

Gates open Fri., Aug. 13 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to noon, with the awards program at 11 a.m. Vehicle registration is $10 and includes two free passes to the show. All registered vehicles are eligible to participate in the cash drawings on Saturday and Best in Show competition on Sunday. General admission is $5 daily. Vendors are welcome, and may register for a 10 x 20 space for $50. More information and registration forms are available online at www.cherokee-nc.com/vw.

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The all-male Land of the Sky Chorus will sing classics in “Schtick to Singing,” a concert held 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15, in Tartan Hall at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Franklin.

With more than thirty members, Land of Sky sings lively a cappella renditions of old-time and contemporary favorites in four-part harmony. The upcoming program features hits like “Make ‘em Laugh,” “It’s Only A Paper Moon,” “That’s An Irish Lullaby,” and “Somewhere” from “West Side Story,” with costumes and props to enliven the show, and a heavy sprinkling of rib-tickling humor. Complimentary ice cream sundaes will be served.

Land of the Sky Chorus is a chapter of SPEBSQSA, Inc., one of about 800 society chapters in North America. The chorus is based in Asheville and has performed for audiences throughout the region and beyond.

Suggested donation is $5. Doors open at 2:30.

This program is sponsored by the Arts Council of Macon County. 828.524.7683 or www.artscouncilofmacon.org.

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The Highlands Cashiers Players’ production “Dearly Departed” runs Aug. 19 through 22 and Aug. 27 through 29 with two performances scheduled for Sunday Aug. 29 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. All evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., the matinees at 2:30 p.m.

“Dearly Departed” follows the tribulations of the Turpin family as they prepare for the funeral of the Daddy Bud. The large cast includes eight family members and seven other colorful Southern characters. Add to that the eight Joy of Life Singers, who will perform during the preacher’s radio broadcast and sing a medley of old fashioned hymns before the play begins.

The group will be accompanied on keyboard by Tom Wyse, who has also agreed to play the part of Merline, the irascible pianist for Depew’s Funeral home where Daddy Bud is resting in peace.

All these characters add up to a hilarious comedy and the actors playing the Turpin family and friends are uniquely suited to their roles, according to director Virginia Talbot. “You wouldn’t think the subject of a funeral would be funny,” says Talbot, “But the laughs are almost continuous as these all-too-human characters struggle with their problems and relationships. Some may even remind you of some of your own family members.”

“Dearly Departed” is the first play of HCP’s sixteenth season. This production marks the third time the Players have produced the popular comedy.

The other three plays coming up are “Life With Father,” in October, “You Know I Can’t Hear You When The Water’s Running” in February, and “Leading Ladies” in May.

Season subscriptions are now on sale at a cost of $65, a fifteen dollars savings over the per ticket price of $20.

“Dearly Departed” is sponsored in part by Building Technology Services of Highlands and Cashiers.

Call 828.526.8084 starting Aug. 12 and 13 for season subscribers, Aug. 14 for individual tickets.

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Tired of heating up your kitchen this hot summer? The Stecoah Valley Food Ventures Kitchen is offering a cooking class from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14 focusing on cool recipes to break the heat. 

Participants will make and eat cantaloupe soup, vichyssoise (fancy name for cold potato soup), and gazpacho. Other recipes will be used to teach new variations on classic favorites such as cucumber sandwiches, potato, and pasta salad. The cost of the workshop is $55 and includes all supplies and a lunch that you prepare along with instructor, Darryl Talley. The class requires pre-registration by calling the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center at 828.479.3364.

The Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit corporation that serves the people of Stecoah and Graham County through programs and services that benefit all members of the community, by preserving and promoting the Southern Appalachian mountain culture and through the restoration of the historic old Stecoah School to its original role as the center of the community.

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Expect mouth-watering BBQ accompanied by great mountain music at the 2nd Annual Mountain High BBQ & Music Festival, where the bluegrass band Rye Holler Boys will perform. The festival runs 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, and 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Macon County Fair Grounds. www.mountainhighbbqfestival.com.

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Balsam Range will play Sylva’s Concerts on the Creek Friday, Aug. 13.

The free concert takes place from 7-9 p.m. at the pavilion in the Bridge Park in downtown Sylva.

Balsam Range has produced two CDs, Marching Home (2007) and Last Train to Kitty Hawk (2009). This year the band has performed at Merlefest in April and the Country Music Awards Festival in Nashville in June. The band has also played bluegrass festivals in Dillard, Ga., Naperville, Ill., and Kodak, Tenn. Most recently, they performed at Asheville’s Bele Chere Festival.

The band is comprised of Marc Pruett on banjo, Caleb Smith on guitar, Darren Nicholson on mandolin, Tim Surrett on bass and Buddy Melton on fiddle.

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

For information about the concerts call 800.962.1911, or go to: www.mountainlovers.com.

Balsam Range plays benefit for HART

Balsam Range will play live at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at a special benefit concert at Eaglenest Entertainment in Maggie Valley.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre and the Performing Arts Center at the Shelton House.

Tickets are $15 general admission and can be purchased on line at www.harttheatre.com or at Eaglenest on Soco Road in Maggie Valley.

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The Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild will present its 2010 quilt show, “Quilting New Trails” Aug. 19-21 at the Community Facilities building in Franklin.

Established in 1983, the guild is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to stimulate an intelligent interest in the art of quilting in the community and to provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas, instruction and the presentation of pertinent information among members of the guild.

Every two years the guild sponsors a quilt show featuring local and national quilts, judged by an NQA (National Quilter’s Association ) accredited judge. There will be cash prizes and ribbons awarded. There is a silent auction featuring small wall hangings made by members of the guild, vendors booths, a Member’s Boutique where items made by guild members can be bought, and raffle tickets for the guild’s scholarship fund.

The dates are Aug. 19, 20, and 21. Thursday and Friday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per day or $10 unlimited access. For more information call 828.369.2125 or visit www.smokymtnquilters.org.

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Catch the Spirit of Appalachia is producing its “Traditional Heritage Walk” at Gateway Flea Market in Whittier from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14.

With their mission of “keeping heritage” alive, the local nonprofit is presenting vendors who will be demonstrating their crafts, sharing their knowledge with those who come to this third annual Heritage Day.

“We’re going to have a great time,” says Gail Stillwell Cooper, owner of the Shops at Gateway. “My regular dealers here in the market are joining in the fun, wearing heritage clothing, demonstrating and showcasing their wares. They are as excited as I am about the upcoming festive celebration for Gateway. With Catch the Spirit of Appalachia here with their demonstrators, it makes all of us want to pull up a chair, do a little whittling and tell our heritage stories.”

Among the demonstrators this year are the Ammons siblings, David F. Ammons and Doreyl Ammons Cain. David will be demonstrating chair caning. His skill with weaving strips of cane and white oak was learned at the foot of his grandfather, Tom Ammons from Cullowhee Mountain, and practiced for 30 years. Doreyl, an artist who once had her artwork tour with the Smithsonian, will share a mural demonstration entitled “Cakewalk,” and selling limited edition prints.  

Nan and Ron Smith  will be among those in attendance. Nan will be demonstrating crocheting, while husband Ron will have his guitar, sharing his music with all. There will be a book booth where local authors will be autographing and selling their books. Other crafters will be sell handmade wooden birdhouses, pottery, and more.

Call 828.497.9664 more information.

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Craving information about a family heirloom or a quilt purchased at a flea market or antique shop? A Bed Turning event will help solve those mysteries.

It will be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Historic Shelton House Barn behind the museum. The event is part of a continuing series of educational and entertaining events scheduled for 2010 to commemorate the 30th year merger of the North Carolina Handicrafts Museum with the Historic Shelton House in Waynesville.

In bed turning, woven and quilted bed covers are placed on a bed or table and turned, front and back, to determine various aspects of the piece’s history. Quilt and coverlet specialist Suzanne McDowell will oversee the evaluation of 20 quilts and/or coverlets while simultaneously instructing participants and observers about the quilting or weaving style, design, category, materials, dyes, age, location of origin, and unique qualities about each quilt and coverlet.

Last year’s event involved 20 bed coverlets and quilts and proved to be popular with observers as well as those desiring detailed information about their own particular piece of handiwork.

For example, McDowell determined that Jackie Spenser’s quilt, a variation of the Lone Star pattern, was created in the late 1800s and was made using Turkey red dye, with accompanying green on white.

828.452.1551 to reserve a space. $10 for one quilt/coverlet and $15 for 2. Observers may enter for free.

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Country music recording artist Matt Stillwell returns for the third annual Shinefest Friday, Aug. 13, through Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Fontana Village Resort. The event features live concerts on both Friday and Saturday evening with a lake party at Fontana Marina on Saturday afternoon.

Stillwell will be accompanied by other Nashville recording artists and friends including Lynn Hutton, Mickey Jack Cones, Lance Stinson, David Borne, Jason Sellers, Rachel Farley, Ira Dean and Lauren Briant.

The My Highway band from Robbinsville opens the Friday night performance at 6 p.m. with Stillwell and friends taking the stage at 8 p.m. The Saturday afternoon lake party at Fontana Marina begins at noon with Lance Stinson, David Borne and Matt Stillwell performing.

The Saturday night concert begins with performances by Big House Radio at 7 p.m., Rachel Farley, Lauren Briant and Ira Dean at 8 p.m. and Hoss Howard at 9 p.m. Matt Stillwell will take the stage at 10 p.m.

For more information or tickets call 828.498.2211 or 800.849.2258.

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I had my first introduction to plants in the Hibiscus genus when I was a boy. Rose-of-Sharon was a common dooryard shrub in the piedmont region of Virginia where I grew up, just as it is here in Western North Carolina.

In mid-summer, my cousins and I would amuse ourselves by trapping large bumblebees in the flowers. No problem: just wait for a bee to penetrate the back part of the blossom and then seal the petals shut with your fingertips. We must not have had a lot amusement options back then, since we spent a lot of our time harassing bumblebees in this manner.

Even then, I noticed the peculiar structure of the rose-of-Sharon blossoms, but it wasn’t until later on that I bothered to find out more about them and the other members of the Hibiscus genus, which belong to the mallow family of plants.

All mallows display five petals, within which the male stamen parts are united to form a long tube (or “staminal column”) that surrounds the female parts. Nectar is produced at the base of the petals that attracts pollinators deep into the flower and thereby into contact with the sexual parts.

Rose-of-Sharon is the only shrub in the Hibiscus genus that’s hardy in our region. Sometimes called Althaea by gardeners, the plant is native to Asia but was introduced into the British Isles over 250 years ago; indeed, it has been a part of our floral heritage for so long that it no longer seems “foreign” at all. It’s not uncommon to spot naturalized plants growing near old home sites that have “escaped” and made themselves at home with the rest of our native plants.

Which common garden plant displays the most striking blossoms? To my eye okra is the hands-down winner. The plant is a Hibiscus genus member native to the Old World tropics.

Another Hibiscus genus plants that has come to live with us — this time from Europe — is flower-of-an-hour (H. trionum), which has lovely sulphur-yellow petals and a purplish-black “eye.” As the common name indicates, the flowers last only a few hours. Unfortunately, it is more common in the Piedmont region of the state than here in the Smokies region, being reported from only Jackson and Watauga counties in Western North Carolina.

That brings us to the lone native Hibiscus species found in the Smokies region. But if we have to just have one Hibiscus of our very own, few wildflower enthusiasts would choose another in its stead.

That species is the swamp rose mallow (H. moshcheutos), which grows in moist woods, meadows, and marshes. Some authorities treat the pink-flowered variety and the white-flowered variety as separate species, but the current thought is that they are subspecies.

Here in the westernmost counties of North Carolina swamp rose mallow has been reported from Cherokee, Swain, Macon, and Haywood counties. To my knowledge, all of these represent reports of the whitish subspecies. No plant is more stunning when encountered in the wild. They lend a sub-tropical touch to our upland landscape.

The large deep-red rose mallows that put on late summer and early fall shows in yards throughout the region are derived from horticultural strains such as the “Hibiscus Southern Belle” types offered by many seed companies.

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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Too hot to road bike? Why not try a spinning class.

While pedaling a stationary bike might not sound like the most exciting workout, the instructor in a spinning class leads the group through various drills and visualizations on the cycle.

The instructor may call out, “you are climbing a long hill and you are almost at the top!” Participants are asked to vary their pace, sometimes pedaling as fast as they can, other times cranking up the tension and pedaling from a standing position, said Kyle Smith, fitness coordinator at the Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center.

“Spinning is an excellent exercise class for a number of reasons. Spinning burns serious calories, sometimes as many as 450 calories in a 45-minute class,” Smith said. “It is also a wonderful cardiovascular workout. You can really feel you heart working.”

The tension knob of each bike can be adjusted individually, allowing the beginner to keep up with more advanced cyclists by toning it down a few notches, or the pros to get a better workout by cranking it up.

Due to the popularity of spinning, Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center has added 15 state-of-the-art spin bikes that displays RPMs, resistance, distance and heart rate.

• The Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center offers spin classes 828.452.8097.

• The Jackson County Fitness Center in Cullowhee holds spinning classes at 4:!5 p.m. Tuesdays, 5:45 p.m. Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. Fridays 828.293.3053 or rec.jacksonnc.org.

• The Franklin Health and Fitness Center holds spin classes at Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. and Friday at 5:30 p.m. 828.369.5608.

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A new Great Smoky Mountains chapter of the National Audubon Society formed just a few months ago but can already claims a few hundred members in its ranks.

The Great Smoky Mountains Audubon Society meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the Maggie Valley Pavilion. A program on creating “Backyard Habitats” will be featured at the next meeting, held on Tuesday, Aug. 10. Sara Martin, biology instructor at the Haywood Community College and volunteer for the National Wildlife Federation, is the presenter.

The chapter will offer a venue for birding and wildlife education, guest speakers and birding excursions in the area.

The Great Smoky Mountains Audubon chapter is a part of a larger birding initiative to turn Maggie into a bird sanctuary.

“Over a year ago, I envisioned Maggie Valley as a real bird sanctuary and birding community,” said Kathleen Klawitter, a Maggie Valley resident, who spearheaded the club’s creation and the Maggie Valley Bird Sanctuary Birding Project.

Last week, a N.C. Birding Trail sign was placed at Lake Junaluska, a point on the birding trail with support and donation of materials from Joey’s Pancake House, Haywood Builders Supply, Maggie Mountaineer Crafts, Legends Sports Grill, and The Bird Place.

For more information, go to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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A celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Waterrock Knob Visitor Center between Balsam and Maggie Valley.

The festivities, called “Blue Ridge Parkway: 75 Years of Heritage and Communities” will have a variety of free, ongoing craft demonstrations throughout the day as entertainment.

The entertainment lineup includes Cherokee Dancers at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Old Time Appalachian Music by the Bean Town Boys at 11 a.m., Ammon sisters storytelling at noon and the Francis Family Bluegrass band at 2 p.m.

Demonstrations will include potters, blacksmith, woodcarvers, quilting and yarn spinning. David Brewin will have Nannie the Plott Hound on display and will talk about the famed state dog bred for hunting bears.

Food will be available for purchase from Soul Infusion Tea House & Bistro.

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Cool off with a snorkeling trip on the Little Tennessee River on Saturday, Aug. 14, while gaining a new perspective on aquatic life.

Snorkeling reveals a whole new world of fish, mussels, salamanders and the like that live below the surface. The outing is being hosted jointly by the Western North Carolina Alliance, the Little Tennessee Watershed Association and the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee.

Dr. Bill McLarney, an aquatic biologist who has dedicated his life to studying the Little Tennessee, will lead the trip, sharing his vast knowledge of the ecology of the river, the creatures in the river, and threats to the watershed.

Snorkels, masks and wetsuits will be provided for those who need them. Cost is $5 for members of any of the three organizations or $10 for nonmembers. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.369.6402.

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Hundreds of children will line the banks of the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee this weekend for the annual Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby.

The trout derby — held from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Island Park in the heart of Cherokee — exposes children under 11 to the world of fishing. Kids are provided fishing polls and bait, and volunteers are on hand to help first-timers. Kids get a T-shirt, breakfast and lunch all for free.

Registration runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, at the Cherokee fairgrounds. Festivities at the fairgrounds include fly-tying exhibitions, music and games.

Registration is limited to the first 2,000 kids. If there are any slots still left by Saturday, children can register the day of the derby at Island Park.

828.497.1898 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.cherokeetroutderby.com.

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Upcoming free workshops at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville will offer writers behind-the-scenes tips on getting published and provide guidance to women writers over 50.

• “Don’t murder your mystery — or any other manuscript,” will be led by seasoned book editor Chris Roerden from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Aug. 7 at the bookstore.

Writers will learn how submissions are really evaluated by agents and editors. In a two-hour workshop, explore the techniques that reveal your “writer’s voice” to a pro. Have your questions answered about the most effective ways to get published. Registration not required.

Chris Roerden has been a hands-on book editor for 44 years. A former university instructor of writing, she leads workshops for writers throughout North America. http://www.writersinfo.info

• “Women’s Lives, Women’s Wisdom: using the writing process to review our struggles, resistance, and wisdom” will be led by Nancy Werking Poling from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7.

The workshop is designed for women over fifty, but younger women are welcome. Participants will be guided through a process of examining their lives through writing. Ground rules will work toward encouraging everyone to share stories and insights that are appropriate for a room of neighbors and strangers.

Poling’s most recent publication is Out of the Pumpkin Shell, a novel bringing together the themes of aging angst, female friendship, and domestic violence. In the late ‘90s, she edited and helped six authors write of their experiences of abuse in Victim to Survivor: Women Recovering from Clergy Sexual Abuse. To register, 828.456.6000 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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To the Editor:

In early 2008, Jackson County commissioners approved a study to be done of comparative public sector employees’ pay plans in southwestern North Carolina by a company called the Mercer Group Inc. out of Atlanta, Ga., at a cost of $25,000.

The Mercer Group study showed:

1. Current minimum pay ranges  are approximately 7 percent below market average.

2. Current midpoint pay ranges are approximately 12 percent above market average.

3. Current maximum pay ranges are approximately 25 percent above market average.

Therefore, because the minimum pay ranges/grades, actually called pay grades of the rank and file employees, were below norm, the Mercer study recommended the following (from page 11 of the report): “The new pay plans were developed to place the county in a more competitive position with minimum salaries” — not mid or max ranges.

The Mercer plan was to bring the low-end minimum pay range/grade employees up to parity to the market average in two stages during a two-year period. That never happened. A switch was made. Instead, the overpaid midpoint pay ranges/grades and the maximum pay ranges/grades that the Mercer study showed were already above the market average by 12 and 25 percent received the bulk of the raises, just the opposite of what Mercer recommended. How was it done? Several ways, but basically by not following the Mercer report.

The county has a “pay grade system.” It goes from grade one up to 40. Forty being the top grade where the manager sits. Twenty and above are usually reserved for supervisors and managerial personnel. Below grade 20 is where one would find the rank and file or “minimum salaried” employees that Mercer earmarked for competitive raises.

While grades are separated by 5 percent in pay, steps are separated by 2 percent. Raises in the 5 percents grades were not given. Instead, 2 percent step raises were given, similar to the 2 percent annual longevity pay employees receive for years served.

Here is where raises went wrong. The vast majority of employees above pay range grade 20 (those in midpoint and maximum range grades) received multiple pay steps above the minimum salaried employees who are below pay range grade 20.

Our outside independent accountants compilation analysis of the Jackson County Approved Payroll Budget for FY 2009-2010 showed 101 general employees received three or more pay steps increases, and the majority of these were above pay range-grade 20. Again they were the midpoint and maximum pay ranges of the Mercer report. We and the public believe that these parity raises went to the wrong group. The Mercer report backs that up.

How did the county manager get to pay step 29? The sheriff is at pay step 28 because he has been with the county for 28 years, earning every year he got. The manager will have 9 years in August of this year (2010). Who gave him 20 years of longevity? Himself? Is this 20-year gift an (E-RIP) Early Retirement Incentive Program to get him to leave?

There are too many examples of impropriety and mis-management during the years here to turn a blind eye to. Giving himself 20 years seniority is just one of them. Giving himself an 8-step pay increase when he only gave most of his minimum salaried employees a one-step raise is unconscionable.

Another problem with the raises is the extra unapproved money given to the manager above his 16 percent (8 step) raise. Somebody is doing bad math here. A 16 percent raise added to his old $123,163.04 salary would be an additional $19,706.08, bringing him to $142,869.12. Instead he is getting $21,141.90 on top of $123,163.04, bringing him to his present salary of $144,304.94. That’s a 17.12 percent increase, not the approved 16 percent, thus giving the manager an extra unauthorized $1,436. That’s wrong!

Which begs the question, who’s doing the math for Jackson County?

Also, in our accountant’s “Payroll Reconciliation” report, these “percentage overpayments” continued in all of the 101 employee positions that were reviewed. Again, most of the larger percentage overpayments went to the higher grades, i.e., department heads, etc.

Because of the discrepancies found already with the county’s payroll budget, we strongly recommend that all management employee raises more than the last two stages of the Mercer recommended implementation where found to be flawed with overpayments be totaled and divided equally among the minimum salaried employees, the ones Mercer showed to be below the market average.

Jackson County now has the unique distinction of having the highest paid ($144,304.94) per capita county manager and the highest paid ($16,189.75) per capita part-time county board chairman in North Carolina. (Source: N.C. School of Gov.; Payroll Budget)

The state governor makes $5,000 less a year ($139,001) than this manager, and she draws her salary from 100 counties, while this highest paid manager in this state draws his salary from only one county and a comparatively small one at that.

Is his job more important than the governor? If salary is an indicator, it must be.

Now adding insult to injury comes when the county chairman is pushing a staff administrative plan for additional raises for which he, you guessed it, and the manager would be in line for more pay. Ok, it’s only one step at 2 percent, and it will start at the bottom, right?

Doesn’t this manager and chairman know that 15 percent of Jackson County citizens are below the poverty line and that one in 10 of its citizens is still out of work, that other public sector employees haven’t had a salary raise in years and have suffered furrloughs and have taken cuts in pay? People are still losing their homes to foreclosures.

What’s being told in this report should have been told by the county, but the county doesn’t like to tell on itself, so there goes the open and honest transparency in government and the leaders exclaim to its citizens: “Why don’t you trust us?”

We’ll tell you why. You have a finance director, paid $118,890.20, the second highest paid employee in Jackson County and in the finance department. All three (minimum salaried) employees at pay grade 18 in the finance department only received a one-step (2 percent) increase. But the director, along with all other employees above grade 20, received four steps, and the “Benefits Specialist,” who apparently knows how to benefit, received a six-step or 12 percent increase.

Why were the peons held to only one step increase to the discrimination of the higher grades who received multiple steps? The Mercer study recommended competitive raises for these “minimum salaries” only. Didn’t the finance director know that? As a former public sector Labor-Management Consultant, I view this as management “stacking-the-deck” in management’s favor.

But how did the commissioners get duped into approving the raises for the wrong people?

Budgets come out of the finance department, and they look pretty generic until one starts to peel the onion. In this case, I believe the commissioners let the manager and the finance director peel the onion for them. Unfortunately, they didn’t peel as deep as we or our accountant did, and commissioners did not have full information from staff.

I would like to believe that if the majority of commissioners had full and accurate information the Mercer report would have gone as planned and approved and the public would not be in such a uproar today.

The Finance Director Darlene Fox and her boss, County Manager Ken Westmoreland, were the persons-in-charge of all salaries and/or raises. As the county’s two chief financial officers, they were instrumental in county employee raises and therefore have a responsibility to the taxpayers who are now paying for their salary raises and to explain what happened, how it happened and why.

We the people would respectfully ask our elected officials to conduct an open and honest review by an unattached outside independent consultant to conduct a complete review and summation of the latest county employee salary raises pursuant to the recommendations of the Mercer Group report. Then make the findings and results available to the public without cost. We have already paid.

I want to thank those who helped with this report and comments. Especially county employees who will definitely remain anonymous. All the letters to the editor and the editorials that kept bringing it to the public’s attention and those tenacious “gadflies” who stood alone at the commissioners podium expounding on the wrongs of the raises, the N.C. School of Government, the Sunshine Center of Elon University, the Mercer Group, the labor and employment council that came pro bono and for the calls that encouraged me to action when I wanted to go flyfishing.

Jim McCarthy

Jackson County Citizen Action Group

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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To the Editor:

First, I’d like to thank all the folks who support PAWS, Swain County’s privately run no-kill animal shelter. We so appreciate all the donations we receive, be they actual cash, donations of time at the shelter — PAWS to Shop Thrift Store — helping out at our various events throughout the year or the many items donated to the Thrift Store. It takes all of these things to keep PAWS doors open, which brings me to the point of this letter.

PAWS Thrift Store is many things to this community: It provides a large part of the funding necessary to keep the shelter operating; it offers gently used goods for resale to folks so that they can stretch their dollar a bit further; it brings in tax revenue to the county from the sale of those items; and it offers a place for folks to donate those gently used items for reuse to someone else, getting the most of out of reduce, reuse and recycle.

The Thrift Store asks that folks wanting to donate items please bring them by the store during business hours which are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. We realize that this might be an inconvenience to some but our reason is so that we can make the most of those donated items.

What I’m going to say next may come as a surprise to some. When folks do drop off items after hours they don’t always make it in the door for us to resale. There’s a person or persons that has been helping themselves to these items left on our porch. That’s right, someone is stealing these generous donations that are meant as a gift to help PAWS.

We’ve struggled with ideas of how to come up with a donation box that would work but haven’t found a good solution yet. So, we are asking everyone to please make the extra effort and find a way that works for all. Perhaps there is a friend or neighbor who gets to town during our business hours who would be willing to help you get those donations to us. PAWS desperately needs every donation to count, and we are sure you feel the same way.

If you would like to find out more ways you can help PAWS, visit our website at www.pawsbrysoncity.com or call us at 828.333.4267. Help us celebrate 20 years of being the small shelter that focuses on quality of life by helping the stray, abandoned, abused and neglected cats and dogs in Swain County. Thanks again for helping in whatever way you can.

Ramelle Smith

PAWS Board member

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To the Editor:

HandMade in America fully supports Haywood Community College’s new Creative Arts Center to expand a program that contributes creatively, professionally and economically to our region. The Professional Crafts Program at HCC is recognized internationally for education and entrepreneurial teaching of the crafts industry. HCC students exhibit professionalism and creativity that enable them to be successful.

HandMade continues to partner successfully with HCC in building entrepreneurial skills and markets for craft makers throughout Western North Carolina. In 2007 HandMade worked with HCC on an Economic Impact Study of the Professional Craft Industry in WNC, demonstrating how students of HCC’s Professional Crafts Program positively impact our local economy. The professional crafts industry contributes $206.5 million every year in our region.

Because of this important economic and cultural impact, HandMade supports HCC-CAC’s critical need for expansion. Current facilities, now beyond repair must be rebuilt to address existing waiting’s lists for this program. The new Creative Arts Center will make it possible for HCC to additionally serve 100 students annually and 380 continuing education students.

Bill Lehnert, Chairman

Elizabeth Russell, Interim Director

Handmade in America,

Asheville

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To the Editor:

Your article “County health rankings yield mixed results” in the July 14 issue was well-researched, well-written and informative as one expects from your newspaper; still it left me uneasy. 

Statistics tell a whole lot, but they leave much out. I don’t know if it was really Mark Twain who said it, but it’s good: “There are lies, damn lies and statistics.”   So if statistics tell us that “99 percent of the members of the Nazi party like to eat carrots,” then are we to conclude that eating carrots makes one a Nazi?  

I’m sure the good people of the University of Wisconsin were very thorough and thoughtful and used the latest research and the best statistical methods to perform their study, but they couldn’t have measured the intangibles, like what it means to go to a Swain County physician who has chosen to settle in Swain County, to educate his or her children there, to attend church and serve on local boards there, to coach the kid’s soccer team, or to give free physical exams to the high school athletes. They are devoted to improving the lives of the people of Swain County, dedicated to their patients, maybe settling for fewer exciting cutting-edge medical technologies available in Asheville or Durham, but outstanding practitioners of their art.

I could say the same thing for the nurses and other supporting staff of Swain County Hospital, Swain Medical Center and the Swain County Health Department. As for the Swain County Health Department, Linda White may be the most dedicated director in the state, and, as your article noted, one of the lowest paid. 

Why do these good people work in Swain County?  Because they want to make it a healthy place to live, because they love it. I speak as one who worked as a physician at Swain Medical Center and Swain County Hospital from 1998 to 2007 and was the physician representative on the Swain County Health Department Board of Directors. The people of Swain County can be certain that the health care provided in Swain County is truly excellent.

Steve Crider, MD

Waynesville

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To help offset the impact of budget cuts recently authorized by the N.C. General Assembly, Western Carolina University will raise in-state undergraduate tuition and fees by 17.5 percent effective for the fall semester.

University of North Carolina system President Erskine Bowles approved the plan Wednesday, July 14. A special provision of the state budget allows UNC campuses to increase tuition by as much as $750 for the 2010-11 academic year, a measure intended to help address a $70 million cut to the UNC system’s budget.

Western Carolina’s plan would raise tuition by $572.80 for 2010-11, in addition to a $137 increase in campus-initiated tuition previously approved by the UNC Board of Governors.

The tuition increase will maintain a quality student academic experience at WCU and will generate about $3.8 million, said Chuck Wooten, vice chancellor for administration and finance.

Eighty percent of the increase – or $3.1 million – will be used to prevent the loss of 32.2 faculty positions at WCU.

Another 20 percent will go to need-based financial aid, Wooten said.

But WCU is not alone in tuition increases. All campuses in the UNC system are raising tuition.

UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State University both had supplemental tuition increases of $750 in addition to campus initiated tuition increases.

Bowles said additional tuition charges are the only way the system can maintain quality.

“I have long prided myself in being a ‘low-tuition guy.’ A supplemental tuition increase of up to $750 certainly flies in the face of that,” Bowles said. “Nonetheless, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that low tuition without high quality is no bargain for anyone – not our students, their future employers or the state taxpayers. To compete successfully for the jobs of tomorrow, North Carolina must have a highly trained, highly skilled workforce.”

A comparison to public peer institutions nationally, conducted using the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, ranked WCU as having the lowest tuition and fees for resident undergraduate and graduate students in 2009-10.

“This is a difficult decision,” WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo said. “However, even with this increase, our overall tuition rates will be low compared to our public peer institutions and other UNC campuses similar to us in size and mission.”

In response to budget cuts and reversions last year, Western Carolina eliminated or froze 94 positions – primarily in administrative areas, Bardo said.

“It is critical that we preserve our core programs, retain our outstanding faculty members, minimize the impact of cuts on class size and class availability, and provide critical student support,” Bardo said.

Typically, students would begin receiving bills for the fall semester later this week. Because of the recent changes, billing for fall 2010 semester will be delayed to allow time for adjustments in financial aid packages, said Nancy S. Brendell, WCU bursar.

Electronic notifications for billing will be sent on Friday, July 23. Students should make full payment by Aug. 13 to guarantee their class schedules.

For more information, visit tuitionfees.wcu.edu.

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The Haywood County Meals on Wheels is hosting a Tennis Tournament at 9 a.m., Aug. 5 to 7 at the Waynesville Recreation Center Tennis Courts on West Marshall Street. Cost is $20 per person and $40 for Doubles. Categories include Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles and Mixed Doubles and 50 Plus Singles and Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Registration required. 828.356.2442.

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The public is invited to watch 15 hours of raw video that will take viewers back 20 years to experience the stories and see the land of North Shore residents who had their property seized by the government in the 1940s in order to create Lake Fontana.

The films will be shown 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug. 8, at the Swain County Center for the Arts located on the Swain County High School campus in Bryson City.

The film was shot twenty years ago by an award-winning Associated Press reporter who spent an entire summer with a CBS news crew shooting video while visiting cemeteries in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He explored the religious and cultural tradition of cemetery decoration and interviewed people who watched the government take their land then failed to fulfill its promise of building a road to their ancestral cemeteries. Eight two-hour DVDs will be for sale.

This event is hosted by the Fontana Historical Association.

Contact Linda Hogue at 828.488.9488 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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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.

Comment

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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