Rivers, rains and runaway trains: Tim Surrett of Balsam Range

In its 14 years together, Haywood County’s own Balsam Range has risen into the upper echelon as one of the marquee acts in the national and international bluegrass scene — this once in a generation blend of songbird harmonies and lightning fast finger pickin’. 

Western Republicans elect new congressional district chair

As North Carolina Republicans seek to maintain dominance across the state and in the 11th Congressional District, they’ll do so under new leadership after electing Hendersonville Republican Michele Woodhouse as their new district chair on April 10. 

A healthy, diverse media landscape is a good thing

We who live in Western North Carolina are fortunate in many ways. We know that. It’s a beautiful place with a vibrant economy populated by interesting people from all over. It’s easy to commune with friends at a brewery or restaurant (adhering to covid restrictions) or slip away to the woods in the East Coast’s largest wilderness area.

Year of the cicada: After 17 years, large cicada brood will emerge aboveground

This spring, the eastern United States will play host to one of nature’s great marvels — periodical cicadas, mysterious insects that live underground either 13 or 17 years before emerging for a few short weeks of furious mating closely followed by mass death. 

Hospitals offer incentives to attract providers

In 2019, registered nurses were listed as the third most in-demand job in the U.S., and even though enrollment in nursing programs is also on the rise, it’s not keeping pace with the market demand.

Growing the pipeline: Amid pandemic, educators train new generation of healthcare professionals

As a respiratory therapist, Bruce Moyle is trained to deliver breathing therapies to people who struggle to draw oxygen. As a respiratory therapy instructor at Southwestern Community College, he’s trained to deliver the next generation of healthcare workers to a region that struggles to hire enough of them. 

Nursing students find purpose amid difficulties of pandemic

For students in the nursing program at Western Carolina University, the Coronavirus Pandemic sauntered into their world during spring break 2020. On Wednesday of that week, the university informed students that the break would be extended by one week. By Friday, the news was more dire, students wouldn’t be returning to campus at all. 

As cases recede, health experts urge caution

Vaccination numbers have nearly doubled in the four-county area of Haywood, Jackson, Swain and Macon counties over past month and case numbers are way down, but with Easter weekend and spring break trips on the horizon, public health officials are urging the public to continue taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

WNC schools to finish school year in person

North Carolina State legislators have voted to send more students back to in-person learning with the passage of Senate Bill 220. Titled “The Reopen Our Schools Act of 2021,” the bill will require districts to offer full-time, in-person learning for K-5 students, where previously school districts could choose what plans to offer K-5. It also gives districts the option to offer Plan A, fully in-person learning, or Plan B, a hybrid plan with remote and in-person learning, to students in grades 6-12. 

One year later: COVID-19 killed 189 in the four-county area

When life as we knew it slammed to a sudden stop in mid-March of 2020, the novel coronavirus from Wuhan hadn’t yet infected a single resident of Western North Carolina, but with the virus continually expanding its territory  since the United States’ first confirmed case on Jan. 21, 2020, it seemed only a matter of time. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
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.