Weighing the Pigeon’s future: Public hearing spurs robust turnout for and against paper mill permit

State of residence was the most visible dividing line in an April 14 hearing on the proposed terms for a renewed wastewater discharge permit at the Evergreen Packaging mill in Canton. 

Introducing triple-win climate solutions

By Mary Jane Curry • Guest Columnist

“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.”

— William Wordsworth, 1798

Agreeing generates peace and optimism — emotions hard to come by over the past year. Fortunately, a growing majority of Americans do agree that we must do more to lessen the climate crisis and they want to be part of the solution. But how and what?

Paper and the Pigeon: Canton mill’s wastewater permit up for renewal

As a college student in the 1990s, Callie Moore would frequently find herself driving along the Pigeon River on Interstate 40 as she traveled between school in Cullowhee and home in Tennessee. She remembers that dirty water well. 

Cleanest air on record: Pandemic accelerates long-term move toward cleaner air in N.C.

When President Richard Nixon ‘s signature on the Clean Air Act of 1970 prompted North Carolina to create its Division of Air Quality, air quality was bad in Western North Carolina. 

“Back in the ‘80s or the ‘90s, once summer hit your mountains would disappear,” recalled Jim Renfro, longtime air quality specialist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, during an interview earlier this year. “You’re outside in the valley looking up, and you couldn’t see the mountains through the haze.”

‘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.”

Research indicates high levels of microplastics in WNC waters

Jason Love got interested in microplastics by way of mussels. 

A wildlife biologist by education and training, he’d long been interested in the reasons behind the decline of Southern Appalachian mussel species, and in particular that of the federally endangered Appalachian elktoe. He was interested while working in his previous position as site manager for Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, and he’s interested now in his new position as associate director of the Highlands Biological Station.

1999: Smokies works to overcome hurdles

It’s no coincidence that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the subject of The Smoky Mountain News’ first-ever front-page story in the paper’s inaugural issue June 2, 1999.

State approves partial rate hike for Duke Energy

The North Carolina Utilities Commission has issued an order granting a partial rate increase for Duke Energy Progress.

SCC lead cleanup cost reaches $500,000

Jackson County will spend an additional $254,000 to clean up lead contamination and plan for sound abatement at the Southwestern Community College shooting range following a unanimous vote from county commissioners Feb. 19. 

Keeping the river clean: Adopt-a-Stream volunteers keep litter out of Haywood’s waterways

It’s a sunny, abnormally warm October afternoon, and Tom Anspach is ready to meet it with a canoe on the Pigeon River.

But Anspach, accompanied by 19-year-old Josh Arford, isn’t there to paddle for miles or fish for trout. He’s there to fish for trash.

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