More COVID-19 outbreaks reported in WNC

According to the Haywood County Health Department, a significant number of the close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases recently identified by contact tracers have refused to participate in contact tracing, testing, and/or quarantine.

‘Part of history’: Canary Coalition dissolves after 20 years

After 20 years at the forefront of clean air efforts in Western North Carolina, The Canary Coalition is no more. 

“I’m not bitter about it at all,” said Avram Friedman, who founded the organization in 1999 and served as its executive director until retiring in December. “I’m grateful that they tried, but at this point The Canary Coalition has served its purpose. I think we’ve made an impact, and now it’s time for the younger generation to take hold.”

COVID-19: County cases continue to increase

Jackson County has seen a steady growth in active COVID-19 cases in the last week as an outbreak was reported at a local skilled nursing facility on July 17 and a cluster was announced at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino on July 20. 

Law enforcement training — a constant job interview

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | In light of the recent national uproar over police brutality, law enforcement training has rocketed to the forefront of public discussion. It’s a complicated topic; not merely for the politically charged rhetoric it now commonly evokes, but also because approaches to training new officers vary widely from state to state, county to county and agency to agency. It’s a convoluted process and made more difficult to grasp still when you factor in how agencies emphasize different aspects of training on even a personal basis. 

Plans ready for 150-mile Hellbender Trail

Local governments and residents of Western North Carolina have been working for years to improve and construct greenways. Now, there is a plan to connect local trails, greenways, multi-use paths and other bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure into one long trail — the 150-mile Hellbender Trail. 

Turnaround time longer for COVID-19 test results

As more tests for COVID-19 pour into laboratories across the state, the time taken to get results continues to increase. 

Regional Calendar

Community Events and Announcements

• The Jackson County Department of Public Health is seeking input from residents who’ve used the department’s services and residents who have thoughts on the health needs of Jackson County. http://health.jacksonnc.org/surveys. Info: 587.8288.

• The Jackson County Branch of the NC NAACP meeting for Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 10:00 am will NOT be meeting face to face but online.  The program topic will be "Being Allies to the Asian American Community", presented by Ricky Leung, from NC Asian Americans Together.  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive instructions to join online.  All are welcome!

 

Business and Education

• Haywood County Community College Small Business Center will hold Business Planning Virtual Learning Series. The first program, on July 20 - 21 will be the ABC’s of Starting a Small Business in Today’s Crazy Economy. The second program, on July 27 - 28 will be Creating a Winning Business Plan. The third program, on Aug. 3-4 will be Dynamite Marketing on a Firecracker Budget. Attendees are encouraged to register for the webinars that best meet their current small business needs and availability. Visit SBC.Haywood.edu or call 828.627.4512. 

• Registration is underway for several session of a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician program through Landmark Learning. Upcoming sessions include Aug. 7-15, Aug. 21-23, Aug. 29 - Sept. 6, Sept. 5-13, Sept. 18-20, Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 3-30. www.landmarklearning.org.

 

Volunteers & Vendors

• Haywood Habitat for Humanity will conduct their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, July 29th at 12:30 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting is open to persons supporting the purposes and objectives of the organization. New board members will be nominated and voted on.  Call 828.452.7960 to request a link to the meeting no later than Monday, July 27th. For more information, see the organization’s website www.haywoodhabitat.org.

 

A&E

• Currahee Brewing (Franklin) will host Amongst The Trees at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 1. Free and open to the public. www.curraheebrew.com.

• Frog Level Brewing (Waynesville) will host JJ Hipps & The Hideaway July 17 and Scoundrel’s Lounge July 18. All shows begin at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public. www.froglevelbrewing.com.

• Lazy Hiker Brewing (Franklin) will host karaoke at 7 p.m., July 17. For more information and a complete schedule of events, click on www.lazyhikerbrewing.com.

• Nantahala Brewing (Sylva) will host Shane Meade at 5 p.m., July 18. Free and open to the public. www.nantahalabrewing.com.

• The Overlook Theatre Company will present “A Few of Our Favorites: the Best of Broadway” in a live, drive-in concert at 7 p.m. Friday, July 17, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Tickets: $7 in advance per vehicle, $10 day of show per vehicle. All money raised will go to the theatre in education program which allows children of every age opportunities to experience live, theatrical presentations. 828.524.1598 or www.greatmountainmusic.com

•The Hometown Appalachian Heritage Festival will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 18, in downtown Franklin. Live demonstrations will be showcased and will feature the essence of life in Appalachia. You’ll see quilters, wood carvers, canoe builders and even a live, working gem mining flume. Many other events are planned including a fire truck display, face painting for the kids, Appalachian Music and a checker tournament at the Macon County Historical Museum. Free and open to the public. For more information, call 828.524.5676 or click on www.franklin-chamber.com

• The next “Dillsboro After Five: Wonderful Wednesdays” will be held from 3:30 to 7 p.m. July 15 in downtown. Start with a visit to the Jackson County Farmers Market located in the Innovation Station parking lot. Stay for dinner and take advantage of late-hour shopping. Bring the family and enjoy small town hospitality at its best. “Dillsboro After Five” will be held every Wednesday through July 29. For more information, call the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce at 828.586.2155 or click on www.mountainlovers.com

• Concerts of the Creek presents Bohemian Jean (classic hits/ acoustic) on Saturday, July 18 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

• Presented by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, the 11th season of Concerts on the Creek will return on Friday, July 17, at Bridge Park in Sylva. Performances will be held from 7 to 9 p.m.

• Artists in all disciplines are eligible to apply for grants to support their professional and artistic development through a partnership of the North Carolina Arts Council and Asheville Area Arts Council, Haywood County Arts Council, Arts Council of Henderson County, Tryon Fine Arts Center, Rutherford County Recreation, Cultural, and Heritage Commission, and the Transylvania Community Arts Council. Artist Support Grants will be distributed to eligible applicants by Haywood County Arts Council in the following counties: Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford, and Transylvania. Applications for the grants are available www.haywoodarts.org/grants-funding. The deadline is Sept. 30. Grants will range in awards from $500 to $1,000. For information or questions, contact Leigh Forrester, executive director of the Haywood County Arts Council, at www.haywoodarts.org or 828.452.0593. 

• The Macon County Public Library, in cooperation with North Carolina Humanities Council, will host “Water/Ways” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. “Water/Ways” will be on view through Aug. 24 at the library in Franklin. The exhibition explores the endless motion of the water cycle, water’s effect on landscape, settlement and migration, and its impact on culture and spirituality. For more information, visit www.fontanalib.org or call the Macon County Public Library at 828.524.3600. The library is open by appointment from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Food & Drink

• Tour the 10-Acre Garden and enjoy a wood-fired pizza Saturday, July 25, at the Ten Acre Garden in Bethel. Danny Barrett will give a tour of his farm, showing the group how he gets water to the whole property, and at the end of the tour there will be pizza made with local ingredients to enjoy. The event is organized by the Haywood Waterways Association as part of its “Get to Know Your Watershed” series of outdoor recreation activities. The event is free for members with a $5 donation for non-members. Donations are also accepted for the pizza, and participants will be able to buy vegetables from the farm. Space is limited to 10 people, with social distancing guidelines followed. RSVP to Caitlin Worsham, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.476.4667, ext. 12.

On Stage & In Concert   

• The Overlook Theatre Company will present “A Few of Our Favorites: the Best of Broadway” in a live, drive-in concert at 7 p.m. Friday, July 17, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Tickets: $7 in advance per vehicle, $10 day of show per vehicle. All money raised will go to the theatre in education program which allows children of every age opportunities to experience live, theatrical presentations. 828.524.1598 or www.greatmountainmusic.com.

 

Outdoors 

• Discover the amazing diversity of life in the Pigeon River with an event on Saturday, July 25, at Jukebox Junction in Bethel. Using snorkeling gear, underwater viewing boxes and nets, participants will learn about the salamanders, fish and other fascinating creatures that make their home in the river. Due to COVID-19, reservations are taken on the hour from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the number of participants for each time slot limited to 10. The event is part of Haywood Waterways Association’s “Get to Know Your Watershed” series of outdoor recreation activities. It is free for members, a $5 donation requested from nonmembers. Memberships start at  $25. All youth under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. RSVP to Christine O’Brien at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.476.4667, ext. 11, by 5 p.m. Friday, July 24.

• Mountain True will host a canoe outing on Apalachia Lake in the Hiwassee area from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 26.  Cost ranges from $10 to $25 depending on membership status and boat rental needs. Space limited. The group will meet at the parking area at the TVA Hiwassee Dam Recreation Facility and carpool to the put-in, which has very limited parking. Fishing and swimming are both options along the way, so bring a line if you like. No alcoholic beverages allowed, and everyone must have a flotation device accessible. Register at www.mountaintrue.org/event/apalachia-lake-paddle-waterfall-hike.

Hiking Clubs

• On Saturday, July 18 The Nantahala Hiking Club will take a moderate-to-strenuous 7-mile hike, elevation change 900 ft., from Long Branch to Rock Gap in the Standing Indian Recreational Area. Start at the backcountry parking, hike up Long Branch to the Appalachian Trail. At Glassmine Gap, continue north to Rock Gap and return by the Forest Service Road. Dogs on leash are welcome.  Hike is limited to 6 people. Meet at Westgate Plaza at 11 am, drive 38 miles round trip.  Call Leader: Katharine Brown, 421-4178, for reservations or questions. 

• On Sunday, July 19 The Nantahala Hiking Club will take a moderate 3.5-mile hike, elevation change 500 ft. on. Wayah Bald Loop, starting at Wayah Tower to hike the Appalachian Trail to the junction with the Bartram Trail and coming back via a forest service road.  Beautiful views from the tower and the bald. Hike is limited to 10 people. Meet at Westgate Plaza in Franklin at 2 pm, drive 32 miles round trip.   Call Leader: Gail Lehman, 524-5298, for reservations. 

• On Saturday, July 25  The Nantahala Hiking Club will take a moderate 6-mile downhill hike, elevation change 700 ft., to Bee Cove Falls in South Carolina on an old logging road off 107 near the Fish Hatchery. View this 80' multi-tiered falls in a pretty area near the edge of the escarpment of the mountains. Hike limited to 10 people. Meet at Cashiers Rec. Park at10 am, drive 20 miles round trip.  Call Leaders: Mike and Susan Kettles, 743-1079, for reservations. 

• On Sunday, July 26 The Nantahala Hiking Club will take a 9-mike moderate-to-strenuous hike, elevation change 1,000 ft., on the Cowetta Hydrological Lab Center Loop, hiking up Shope Creek Road to Cunningham Branch to Dyke Gap to come down Ball Creek Rd. Hike limited to 6 people. Meet at Smoky Mtn. Visitors Center on Hwy. 441 at 9 am, drive 10 miles round trip.  Call leader Katharine Brown, 421-4178 for reservations.

Entwined with slavery: A brief local history

By Peter H. Lewis • AVL Watchdog | By 1860, about 15 percent of the population of Western North Carolina was enslaved. Only a small percentage of the White settlers, who had pushed out Indigenous Native Americans, owned slaves — about 2 percent of households, according to Katherine Calhoun Cutshall, collections manager, North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library — and of those, most owned one or two. The majority were owned by a handful of elite families, whose names are commemorated throughout the region. 

What’s in a name? For Asheville, signs point to history of racism

By Peter H. Lewis • AVL Watchdog | Vance, Patton, Woodfin,  Henderson, Weaver, Chunn, Baird — their names are familiar  to anyone living in Asheville and Buncombe County today. All were wealthy and influential civic leaders honored by having their names bestowed on statues, monuments, streets, schools, parks, neighborhoods, and local communities.

Pandemic changes WNC’s Independence Day tourism

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | In the past, the Fourth of July holiday has been counted on to draw visitors from across the country to Western North Carolina — and with them, a large portion of the tourist-dependent area’s revenue. This year, many are worried that the Coronavirus pandemic might take a toll on those traditionally high visitation numbers. 

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