Stakeholders offer initial feedback on long-awaited forest management plan

The atmosphere inside the Lake Logan Conference Center was more akin to a reunion of friends than to a gathering of business associates as members of the Stakeholders Forum for the Nantahala and Pisgah Plan Revision arrived Wednesday, Feb. 26 — and perhaps there’s good reason for that. 

Geronimo’s brush with WNC

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a February 2012 edition of The Smoky Mountain News | The names Geronimo and Gen. George Crook are interwoven in the lore of northern Mexico, southeastern Arizona, western New Mexico and the Indian territories in Oklahoma. An association with the Smokies region and the remnant Eastern Band of Cherokees in Western North Carolina is less well known. 

Judicial race heats up

When most people think about exciting election action, they don’t often think about judgeships. 

Judicial races are not usually contested, they’re not usually competitive and so they’re not usually talked about much, for all of those reasons. 

Good manners and good food go a long way

I’m not comfortable writing this, and that’s why I have to write it. In the past three weeks, I’ve given three different people advice that goes against my belief in the value of courage. 

One of these people is a friend whose family pet was shot and killed in her driveway for no reason except that the young man who shot it had a gun and an opportunity. The other is a couple, also friends, who object to Sylva’s prominently displayed Confederate statue. In each separate conversation, I advised my friends to remain quiet because, as I told them, “Speaking out on these issues will change nothing, and you will only suffer if you try to change a culture.” I do believe that the culture of Jackson County, though in so many ways rich and worth preserving, is still very much insular, blindly protective of those we consider “our own,” and equally blind to the continued harm being done by romanticizing and whitewashing a flawed past. I believe this, and yet I would give my friends the same advice today as I did a few weeks ago, and it is because they are not from here. 

Regional hospitals look back on 2019 growth

Western North Carolina hospitals under the Duke LifePoint umbrella are celebrating several milestones in making communities healthier as a new year begins.

‘Mountain Murders’ podcast celebrates one year

There’s just something so mysterious about Southern crime stories. Small towns with big characters and dark family secrets. People taking the law into their own hands and crooked cops turning a blind eye. If there’s one thing mountain folk appreciate, it’s a tall tale woven together through the decades.

The year in quotes

It’s often been said that there’s wisdom to be found in the rhythms of nature, and that’s certainly true. But there’s also wisdom — and humor as well — in the words of those who spend their time outdoors, soaking those rhythms into their souls. Some of their words are featured here among The Smoky Mountain News’ favorite quotes from 2019’s outdoors section.

2019: What just happened?

As we ring in the New Year, The Smoky Mountain News likes to look back and reflect on the last year of news. 

The headlines that have graced our pages in 2019 have had an important impact on the people of Western North Carolina, and our staff has taken its job of reporting and analyzing those issues seriously.

Fake News Freakout!!!!!! Four

By Cory Vaillancourt • Fake News Editor | It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, it’s time for our annual installment of the Fake News Freakout, in which we take stories that sprout from a small grain of truth, harvest them, and then process them into a multi-layered cake of mockery and silliness frosted with fraud. 

Little free pantry ‘fills in the cracks’

You may be familiar with the concept of the “little free library” — those small outdoor cabinets stuffed with donated books intended to feed the imaginations of young and old alike — but the sobering reality of the nation’s roaring economy is that it’s given birth to a disturbing new permutation of the popular donation-based book boxes: the “little free pantry,” stuffed with food intended to feed Western North Carolina’s increasingly poor and hungry children and adults.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.