Ice rink in Maggie Valley opens next week

It’s a perplexing dichotomy. Maggie Valley has been portrayed as a town that rolls up the sidewalks once the leaf-lookers leave each fall, even though it’s home to two popular winter attractions — Cataloochee Ski Resort and Tony’s Tube World draw thousands each year to the western end of Haywood County — but now a third reason to visit the Valley will further test tourists’ appetite for winter wanderings.

Local officials weigh in on legal marijuana

On Jan. 15, The Smoky Mountain News contacted almost every elected official in Haywood County for whom an email address was listed with the county’s board of elections. Around half failed to respond, but those who did were sometimes too verbose for print, so an excerpt from their response was used in the Jan. 23 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. In the interest of transparency, their full responses are included here.

Ghosted: Clock runs out on latest Ghost Town redevelopment plan

The strange saga of Maggie Valley’s Ghost Town amusement park has more twists and turns and more highs and lows than a roller coaster, but now that the latest ride up Buck Mountain is over, two investors say CEO Lamar Berry has thrown them for a loop. 

Legal troubles mount for Ghost Town, developers

A pair of legal actions filed in Haywood courts during the month of October suggest efforts to redevelop Maggie Valley’s Ghost Town amusement park may be in jeopardy. 

Allegations of fraud, failure haunt Ghost Town developer

For months, Valerie Oberle has been the public face of the three-person partnership supposedly taking shape at the long-shuttered Ghost Town amusement park in Maggie Valley. Along with husband Spencer, Oberle’s had a frustrating summer marked by unmet promises and modest progress. 

State of emergency in Haywood, Canton, Maggie Valley

Early on Sept. 14, a flurry of press releases from Haywood County, the Town of Maggie Valley and the Town of Canton declared states of emergency in each jurisdiction.

While no effect has yet been felt in Western North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence, the next 72 hours could bring heavy rain, downed limbs, gusty winds and localized flooding.

Here’s the full text of the Haywood County declaration:

As a precautionary measure, Haywood County will declare a state of emergency effective noon today. The state of emergency allows the County to access critical resources, coordinate support and provide assistance in case conditions worsen. In order to receive FEMA reimbursement, a local state of emergency declaration is required.

Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for all 100 counties in North Carolina on September 7, 2018.

Haywood County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick stated, “Our emergency response teams and law enforcement have been monitoring and preparing for the storm all week. Haywood County is taking the necessary precautions with the uncertainty of the storm.”

“We know the storm is coming. We don’t know the impact the storm will have on our area,” said Emergency Services Director, Greg Shuping. “A state of emergency alerts our citizens to monitor the rain, wind and landslide potential during the storm. Please take the time to make necessary preparations now.”

Citizens should stay tuned to your local news stations and the latest updates from state and local authorities.

Haywood County Alerts was developed for these types of emergencies. This system provides emergency alerts for Haywood County and all municipalities within Haywood County. To receive emergency (emergency only) *text message* alerts, simply text your Haywood County zip code to the number 888-777.To receive additional information including road closures and utility interruptions, visit to choose the types of alerts you want to receive.

Ghost Town sale still not final

Slow progress and a string of broken promises from new Ghost Town operator and former Disney exec Valeria Oberle haven’t stopped her from talking to people about her plans for the park, but they have stopped her from allowing people to record or broadcast them. 

Ghost Town sale, ride inspections still haven’t happened

Amid high hopes for a rejuvenated Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park, it’s looking more and more like the been down this road before crowd may be on the right path. 

Wild West success could be a long shot

Growing up in Gastonia during the 1960s, Mike Withers would pile into an old Ford sedan with his parents and siblings for the long drive to the now-shuttered Maggie Valley mountaintop amusement park called Ghost Town.

Over generations, Ghost Town left an indelible cultural mark and an enduring economic impact on the Valley, the county, the state and the region.

Living in The Valley

During a divorce, one person is required to move out of the family home. After months of rigmarole and this and that, I decided that person would be me. No one particularly wants to leave the place where children grew up and memories were made but then again, it’s easier to cope with the emotions when you’re not constantly staring at wedding china or knick-knacks bought on summer vacations. 

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