The past, present and future on Alarka

By Dawn Gilchrist-Young

(Editor’s note: Writer Dawn Gilchrist-Young is conducting a series of interviews with mountain natives to gauge their reaction to changes taking place in the region and their memories of the past. These stories will appear intermittently in The Smoky Mountain News.)

When you head up Alarka from N.C. 19/74, you see a microcosm of western North Carolina — old home places with mountain pastures, high end real estate development signs every quarter mile, and enough trash to discourage even the most dedicated “Adopt-a-Highway“ group. Like the rest of the region, upper Alarka is a combination of stunning natural beauty, abject disregard for litter laws, and unbridled greed.

Old-style ‘machine’ a factor in Swain

A slate of challengers running in the Swain County commissioners race are speaking out against what they claim is decades of control by an elite handful in the inner circle of the Democratic Party known as “the machine.”

Bushyhead run puts spotlight on Swain-Cherokee relationship

For the first time in history, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is running for a seat on the Swain County Board of Commissioners.

Ben Bushyhead lives just outside Bryson City and works for tribal government as the director of community and recreation services, which encompasses social services, seniors service, and youth service to name a few. The budget Bushyhead oversees in his department rivals that of the Swain County government.

Build the road, honor our sacrifice

Those who want the government to build the road it flooded when Fontana Lake was created say the issue boils down to one premise: a promise is a promise.

“If the government’s word’s not worth the paper it’s wrote on, I don’t know what kind of government we got,” said Robert Jones. “If I signed a contract with them and walked off and left it, where would I be at? I’m getting real fed up with it.”

Swain student raises money to help those half a world away

By Michael Beadle

Darfur may seem a world away from Bryson City, but a group of Swain County High School students is raising awareness about the horrific refugee crisis going on in the east African country of Sudan.

The Save Darfur Student Coalition, a group of about 15 Swain County High School students, will be raising money for the hundreds of thousands of refugees starving and at risk of disease in west Sudan in what world aid agencies are calling an overwhelming humanitarian crisis.

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