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With so many unknowns ahead, it’s comforting there are proven solutions to one big challenge — the aging of the population. From research, and experience, experts have identified factors for remaining independent, resilient and happy as we grow older. Key among them: nutritious meals; regular exercise; and the opportunity to engage meaningfully with friends and with the broader community.

Obvious, right? So it should be easy to integrate those components into programs and policies. Except for the fact that we’ve organized American life to make them tough to implement at any age.

We’ve grown fat on processed food and little exercise. We’ve abandoned the oldest traditions of community life in villages and towns and sprawled into the countryside. The move has isolated us from one another and exiled us to hours in automobiles commuting to every aspect of our daily lives. As a result, when we get older, we’re often stuck with habits that threaten our health and with environments that inhibit mobility and opportunities for maintaining the connections we need to avoid hospitals and nursing homes.

Demographics and economics are forcing us to take the problem seriously. Between 2000 and 2050, the U.S. population is expected to grow by 48 percent. Over the same period, the demographic category of folks aged 65 to 84 is expected to grow by 114 percent; and the percentage growth of the 85-plus group is projected at 389 percent. In North Carolina, by 2029, 17.2 percent of the population is expected to be 65 or older, compared to 12.2 percent in 2008.

Public agencies and nonprofits at all levels want to ramp up to meet the challenge. But the gap between demand and funding support is huge and getting huger, first because of the sheer numbers, and now because of the economic downturn. So it’s time for individuals and communities to start thinking of do-it-yourself strategies that build on what works for a growing senior population.

For policymakers, the most senior-friendly strategy is to help villages and towns renew walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods with diverse housing choices that serve people of all ages. For those of us who plan to get old, it’s time to take charge of this stage of our lives. If we want the infrastructure, emergency services, and amenities of in-town living, let’s build or redevelop neighborhoods in towns instead of insisting developers and county governments deliver town-like services in remote places.

For those with a gift for organization, there’s a growing movement of senior “co-housing” in which potential neighbors come together before there’s a physical neighborhood. They decide on elements of the environment they want, then hire design and construction teams to build it. Cohousing neighborhoods already exist in Asheville and throughout North Carolina. New groups are forming all the time. The idea aligns perfectly with what is already a strong desire for more alternatives for town living and with innovative developers’ projects that tap into the best tradition of compact, connected neighborhoods.

(Ben Brown is a Franklin-based writer and communications consultant who works with private sector clients and governments on Smart Growth planning. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Comment

Area music fans will have a unique opportunity to help make history as a bluegrass/gospel music legend celebrates the 30th anniversary of his solo career with a live DVD recording session and concert at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will take the stage with cameras rolling at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, in the 1,500-seat center in Franklin.

Lawson’s distinguished career spans more than 40 years and 40 albums. Along with his band Quicksilver, he’s earned numerous industry awards including seven consecutive “Vocal Group of the Year” awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association. He’s also received several Grammy nominations and four Dove Award nominations over the last decade.

The National Endowment for the Arts honored Lawson in 2006 with a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship at its annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. It’s the country’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, putting Lawson among a select group of performers including Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, and Doc Watson, among others.

Rounder records recently released Lawson’s latest album “Lonely Street,” which marked the 30th anniversary of his solo career, but he’s been a professional musician for nearly 50 years.

“The adventure is still unfolding and nowhere near complete, but if the story of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver were a novel, it would be hailed as a masterpiece,” according to BluegrassJournal.com. The site called Lonely Street a “razor-sharp display of bluegrass virtuosity.”

The August 2009 cover story on TheBluegrassSpecial.com Web site calls Lawson “one of the most revered artists on the contemporary bluegrass scene.”

For videos and music downloads, visit www.doylelawson.com or www.youtube.com/doylelawsonmusic.

$15 per ticket at www.greatmountainmusic.com, 828.273.4615, or at 1028 Georgia Road in Franklin.

Comment

A failed megadevelopment in the Lake Lure area around Chimney Rock has been conserved at a fire sale price, but a state budget crunch is leaving a local land trust with a big fundraising goal to pay for the conservation effort.

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy purchased a 1,527-acre tract north of Lake Lure in Rutherford County that was once part of the 4000-acre “Grey Rock at Lake Lure” residential subdivision. The developer, Orlando-based Land Resources, filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and abandoned the development.

“It is relatively rare for tracts of this size and significance to become available for conservation,” said CMLC Executive Director Kieran Roe. “I believe the community will look back in coming years and feel very gratified that conservationists stepped up and acquired this gem for the enjoyment of present and future generations.”

The conservancy purchased the land for $2.29 million, or $1,500 per acre — which is one-third the $4,500 per acre value established in a recent property appraisal.

A gift of $620,000 from a North Carolina philanthropist provided a down payment, but Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy had to take out $1.95 million in loans to finance the purchase of the tract, known as Weed Patch Mountain.

“We simply couldn’t afford to put Weed Patch in the ‘gone forever’ column,” says David Efird, Lake Lure resident and CMLC trustee. “Weed Patch will be huge in terms of recreation and preserved green space in the area. A win for everybody.”

The nonprofit now has a steep road ahead, however, to raise the money need to pay off the loans, which were made by Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Norcross Wildlife Foundation.

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy would like to transfer the property to the state for inclusion in Chimney Rock State Park.

However, state revenue shortfalls have placed a strain on public sources of conservation funding such as the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.

“There is a possibility the land will be added to Chimney Rock State Park, but with the state revenue situation, the state can’t commit itself right now,” Roe said. “Even if it is never added to the park, the Weed Patch Mountain tract will continue to protect views from the park and provide a buffer of conserved green space.”

A corridor of protected property around Chimney Rock State Park has been expanding exponentially in recent years thanks to a combination of state funding, private philanthropists and the work of land trusts in finding new properties.

Fast action by the private conservation groups allowed the tracts to be saved from development when the opportunity arose and until the state could earmark funds for the acquisition.

To date, 4,320 acres have been set aside for the park. Additional property in the area is privately owned but protected through a conservation agreement between the landowner and a land trust or owned by a land trust itself.

“Conservation of Weed Patch Mountain adds another protected emerald to the crown of conserved land near Chimney Rock State Park,” said says Lynn Carnes Pitts, CMLC vice president.

The tract provides an essential link for the “Six Summits Trail,” a network of trails envisioned by local hikers that could one-day circumnavigate Lake Lure.

The tract is home to scenic ridges, distinctive rock outcrops, dense hardwood forests and abundant trout streams.

The property, a state-designated Significant Natural Heritage Area, is home to rare species such as the green salamander. The low elevation cliff and rock outcrops on the property have been identified in the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission’s State Wildlife Action Plan as critical habitats for several rare birds and amphibians.

“If homes were to start popping up on Weed Patch, it would not only take away a beautiful vista, but more importantly it would disturb the ground, increase muddy runoff and make it harder for water to penetrate the bedrock that refreshes Lake Lure,” Pitts said.

www.carolinamountain.org or call 828.697.5777.

Comment

What to say about 2009? How about this: it ended on a high note for the overall economy, and that is good for the citizens of this country and this region.

Here’s a sampling of the business news that bodes well for the coming year. A report released Jan. 4 from the Commerce Department shows that the U.S. manufacturing sector grew in November at its fastest pace in four years. That was the fifth consecutive month of growth for the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Overall, the economy is beginning to grow. Fourth quarter figures are not tabulated yet, but the U.S. economy grew by 2.2 percent in the third quarter (July through September 2009). That news came on the heels of four consecutive quarters of a shrinking economy, the worst four-quarter performance since the 1930s.

We’re still losing jobs, but that may end soon. Economists expect data released this week to show that about 8,000 jobs were lost in December after 11,000 were eliminated in November. In the first quarter of 2009, the U.S. economy was shedding about 500,000 jobs a month, so businesses large and small seem to have reached their new employment level.

Although there are still many weak areas — particularly construction spending, which has fallen to its lowest level since July 2003 — overall this economy feels like it is moving forward. In Haywood County, four of the last five months have seen an increase in the number of houses sold — year over year — and an increase in the dollar value of those homes. As houses move and the backlog of available properties decreases, that should lead to a corresponding increase in construction spending. Similar increases, slight though some of them are, are being reported in other Western North Carolina counties.

The stock market is making up for the losses of the last couple of years, and the Federal Reserve has made a point of saying interest rates are going to remain low.

Here’s why the economic news is good for everyone. First, families and individuals will feel the benefit as the rising tide lifts almost all ships. As those still employed feel more secure in their jobs and as some employers even make new hires, these people can plan ahead for their family’s well being rather than continue living paycheck to paycheck. Those who have dropped health insurance or quit saving for their retirement or their kids’ college can once again look to the future and put a few bucks away.

Small businesses, brutalized over the last couple of years, may finally have the funds to begin making purchases and getting caught up on the debt accumulated from just staying alive. The economic benefits from these small companies becoming confident can lift entire communities.

And as families and small businesses get better off, tax revenues to local, state and federal coffers will increase. Many detest taxes of every kind, but we also believe that quality public schools, community colleges and universities, well-maintained law enforcement and rescue departments, the continued delivery of social services and public healthcare services, and a strong public sector make for a stronger economy and stronger communities. Government at all levels needs money, and as the business climate brightens so do the prospects for government workers and all the public services that help make this country such a unique place.

We don’t want a return to the falsely inflated economy of two years ago. What we need is a slow, steady turnaround that rewards those with good habits, fosters a healthy business climate and provides opportunity for those willing to work for it. The beginning of 2010 points to just such a scenario.

Comment

The stunning beauty that surrounds U.S. 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park outside Cherokee draws thousands of tourists each year who come to enjoy the cool mountain summers or marvel at the vivid fall foliage along the route.

But come winter, the crowds fall away and a layer of peace and quiet descends over the peaks and valleys — making this season the perfect time to enjoy a serene experience on the state’s newest Scenic Byway.

The 17-mile Smoky Mountain Scenic Byway begins at the foot of the Blue Ridge Parkway outside Cherokee and snakes north through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park until it hits the Tennessee border. Also known as Newfound Gap Road, the byway possesses an abundance of scenic views, historical spots and recreational opportunities to enjoy during the winter months.

The road begins next to the Oconaluftee Visitors Center, open year-round, which features a bookstore and exhibits dedicated to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. An on-duty park ranger is available here to provide information about the Park and the people who once lived there. Don’t miss the Mountain Farm Museum next door, comprised of pioneer buildings.

A half mile further down the road is Mingus Mill, an 1886 water turbine mill that for more than 50 years ground corn into meal and wheat for the Mingus community.

Past the mill, the byway starts its ascent, eventually climbing a total of about 3,000 feet. The lack of foliage on the trees only serves to enhance the spectacular mountain vistas along the drive, and clearer visibility during the winter months allows visitors to see a further distance than at any other time of year.

Take in the view about 11.5 miles up the road at the Webb Overlook, named for Sen. Charles Webb of North Carolina, a staunch supporter of the park’s establishment. Or journey another two miles up the road to the Oconaluftee Valley Overlook, which boasts spectacular views of the Oconaluftee River Valley below.

The Smoky Mountain Scenic Byway culminates at Newfound Gap, an evergreen spruce-fir forest that straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee at an elevation of 5,046 feet. It was here that President Franklin D. Roosevelt officially dedicated the park in 1940. The location is now the site of the Rockefeller Memorial, built to memorialize the support and $5 million donated by the Rockefeller family to help establish the park.

At Newfound Gap, a seven-mile spur road winding up to Clingmans Dome is closed in the winter, but provides a venue for walking and cross-country skiing. Hiking opportunities can also be found at several other points along the byway.

Fewer crowds and bare trees make winter the perfect season to admire the stunning backdrop of the Smoky Mountain Scenic Byway.

This article was written by Julia Merchant, a former reporter at the Smoky Mountain News, who now works as a communications officer for the N.C. Department of Transportation in Raleigh.

 

Through the park

While U.S. 441 through the Smokies isn’t the official detour around the I-40 rockslide, it could be the best bet depending on where you are heading in Tennessee.

Snow does fall in the Smokies during the winter and sometimes results in road closures. Visitors should check weather and road conditions prior to making the trip by calling the National Park Service hotline at 865.436.1200.

Comment

Loaded guns are now legal in national parks.

The new rule is two years in the making. Previously, guns had to be unloaded and stowed in the trunks of vehicles when traveling through a park. While hunting or firing a gun in a park is still illegal, visitors can now tote loaded guns freely per the firearm rules of neighboring states. Locally, that means the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A move to lift the ban on guns in parks was pushed by the Bush Administration during its final months in power, but was staved off by lawsuits.

The Obama Administration then inherited the issue. It was tabled for study along with a host of other regulations left as a parting gift by the outgoing Bush administration, which is typical of outgoing administrations.

Before the Obama Administration could take up the issue and before the lawsuits played out, Congress passed a law lifting the ban on guns in parks. That trumped any debate over the rule change by simply making it law. The vote was last summer, but the law went into effect Feb. 22.

The law received stiff opposition from the national park traveling public, environmental groups and various park ranger associations, including the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“This law is a very bad idea,” said Bill Wade, chair for the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

Loaded guns increases the likelihood of opportunistic shooting at wildlife, or pot shots at everything from park signs to historic landmarks. A camper startled by a bear might pull out their gun and fire indiscriminately, posing a risk to campers nearby.

“Visitors will not only be more at risk, but will now see national parks as places where they need to be more suspicious and wary of others carrying guns, rather than safe and at peace in the solitude and sanctuary that parks have always provided. It is a sad chapter in the history of America’s premier heritage area system,” Wade said.

Hunting is still illegal in national parks. Sometimes hunters on adjacent land have to cross into a national park to retrieve hunting dogs gone astray. They typically hide their guns in the leaves or under a bush or take them back to their vehicles first.

Despite the new law, that’s still the best course of action, said Bob Miller, spokesperson for the Smokies. Wandering about the park with a shotgun in hunting gear during hunting season looks a lot like illegally hunting in the park, and could result in a ticket, Miller said.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is cautioning visitors to make sure they can legally possess a firearm under local, state and federal laws, which is a criteria for carrying one in a national park.

“Our goal is to provide safe, enjoyable park visits for everyone, and to preserve this very special place for people today and future generations,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis.

Comment

There are three district court judge seats up for election this year. Candidates must designate which seat they are running for. The race is non-partisan. Two candidates for each seat will advance past the May primary to the general election in November.

 

Seat 1

• Danya Vanhook, 31, Waynesville*

• Donna Forga, 46, Waynesville

 

Seat 2

• Caleb Rogers, 29, Waynesville

• Kris Earwood, 32, Sylva

• David Sutton, 34, Waynesville

• Justin Greene, 30, Bryson City

• Greg Boyer, 60, Franklin

 

Seat 3

• Steve Ellis, 60, Waynesville

• Roy Wijewickrama, 34, Waynesville

 

*Vanhook currently holds this seat after being appointed to a vacancy last year.

Comment

The starting salary for a judge is $109,000, but can climb much higher for judges with a long tenure thanks to cost of living raises plus a bump in pay for every five years spent on the bench.

Judge Steve Bryant now makes $132,000 a year.

“There are certainly lawyers making more than that and certainly lawyers making less than that,” Bryant said.

These days, however, with the recession taking its toll on the legal profession, there are far more lawyers below that figure than there used to be. Candidates have to plunk down $1,094 to run — 1 percent of the salary.

The job isn’t a cakewalk. While attorneys who labor 10 hours a day envy the judge that strolls up to the bench at 9:30 a.m. to start court, breaks for lunch between 12:30 and 2, then knocks off at 5, it’s not what it appears.

“I think people have the perception that everything you do takes place on the bench,” Bryant said.

But Bryant regularly takes work home to research case files and legal precedent, working nights and weekends.

And that doesn’t count the driving time. In a judicial district that spans seven counties — a more than two-hour drive from tip to tip — judges travel from courthouse to courthouse wherever they are needed.

“You can’t just decide to take a day off because there are 400 people waiting on you,” Judge Danny Davis said.

The district was so large and unwieldy — and had grown so much in case volume — that an additional judge’s seat was added four years ago, bringing the total to six seats.

Comment

The recession has been good news for landfills.

Due to the economic downturn, less trash was thrown in landfills in North Carolina last year than any year in the past two decades. The biggest reduction in trash came from the construction industry, which is a significant contributor to landfills.

Trash in landfills amounted to 1.07 tons per capita in 2008-09 — a sharp decline from the previous year and the lowest disposal rate since 1995, according to the “North Carolina Solid Waste Management Annual Report.”

The report also found that:

More glass, plastic and aluminum were recycled than ever before. One reason for the uptick in recycling could be the new state law that went into effect in 2008 requiring any restaurant with an ABC permit to serve beer or alcohol must recycle.

Curbside recycling programs had better numbers than recycling at drop-off centers. The report recommends increasing state oversight to prevent banned materials from making it into landfills, including aluminum cans and plastic bottles.

Comment

A bill before Congress could help save views along the Blue Ridge Parkway by setting aside $75 million over five years to buy adjacent land threatened by development.

Blue Ridge Parkway Protection Act was introduced in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Parkway this year, and out of growing recognition that the disappearing viewsheds along the Parkway are undermining what makes the scenic journey special.

“The Blue Ridge Parkway offers some of the most spectacular mountain views in the nation, and this legislation will preserve those views for our children and grandchildren,” U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, said.

Shuler cited the important role of the Parkway for locals, who use it to reach recreational outposts and favorite outdoor spots, as well as its source of tourism revenue.

“It is imperative that we protect it,” Shuler said.

The funding should be enough to protect 50,000 acres. Land would only be bought from willing sellers, allowing the Parkway to buy land when it goes up for sale rather than seeing it get snatched up by developers.

An economic study by professors at Warren Wilson and UNC-Asheville directly linked declining views with a drop in Parkway visitation, and in turn a loss of dollars for communities along the Parkway’s route. The Parkway is an economic driver for the region, generating about $2.3 billion in economic activity in both states annually.

“This legislation calls for a wise investment in the long-term health of the Parkway and the tourism economies of communities near this national treasure,” said Reid Wilson, executive director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, which works to protect land along the Parkway.

The act was supported in the Senate by Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, as well as a Virginia delegation and other House representatives from both states as well.

Comment

A group of Christians paid a visit to Haywood County commissioners Monday night to urge them to pray to Jesus when opening each meeting.

Commissioner Kevin Ensley, the sole commissioner who referred to Jesus during invocations, decided in late January to refrain from praying at all since he couldn’t legally mention the word “Jesus” while leading public prayer.

Ensley’s decision was prompted by a recent court ruling in Forsyth County that struck down overt Christian prayers by commissioners. Generic prayer, however, is fully acceptable by legal standards.

The Forsyth ruling was not revolutionary. It has been widely established that prayers by government officials during public meetings specifically referring to “Jesus” violate the First Amendment, which holds that the state cannot endorse any one religion.

Speakers urged Haywood commissioners to engage in civil disobedience, arguing that there are some principles worth fighting for.

They vehemently opposed praying to an unknown God to satisfy the minority and called for a vote by citizens on the issue.

“The majority’s with the believers, with the Christians,” said one speaker, emphasizing that he only votes for conservative, Christian leaders.

“Prayer in any other name other than the name of Jesus is an empty prayer,” said Reverend Roy Kilby, who asked commissioners if they are Christians. All five of them raised their hands.

Shortly after the public comment period ended, Ensley said he had changed his mind and wanted to be included in the prayer rotation for meetings again. He said he would recite the opening and closing lines of the Lord’s Prayer, which does not expressly mention “Jesus” but still implies Christianity.

Ensley said he understood that folks were upset, but that he was glad that he helped revive the tradition of a prayer to open commissioner meetings shortly after he was elected.

“I’m glad we at least have it,” said Ensley.

Most commissioners indicated their devotion to Christianity, but said they must respect the separation of church and state.

Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick stated he went to one of the few Christian law schools in the country, while Commissioner Skeeter Curtis said he’d only stop praying when Washington did.

Commissioner Bill Upton emphasized that he doesn’t have to use “Jesus” to validate his prayer.

“I know who I’m talking to. That’s the important thing,” said Upton. “I know who the Heavenly Father is, and I don’t back up from that.”

Comment

The 3rd Annual Youth Art Festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Jackson County Green Energy Park.

Opportunities abound for hands-on art activities such as sidewalk chalk, mural painting, tile mosaics, paper weaving, hand-building with clay and tile painting. Experience professional artists demonstrating their abilities with hot glass, basket-weaving, pottery, blacksmithing, painting, drawing and more.

New this year, there will be a stage with entertainment throughout the day. Guest performing artists include a Mexican Mariachi band, Cherokee traditional dancers, a jazz quintet, numerous local musicians and performing artists, a dancing trash dragon, and Western Carolina University’s esteemed Gamelan group.

“The festival is a great opportunity for local youth to get creative themselves while they watch artists and entertainers perform and demonstrate,” said Carrie Blaskowski with the Jackson County Green Energy Park. “We hope to see many families come out and take advantage of the opportunity.”

Blaskowski said the event wouldn’t be possible without the support of Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College.

“Many of the participants, entertainers, volunteers and artists are students, faculty and staff from the university and from SCC. It has been a great collaborative effort,” Blaskowski  said.

This event is free and open to the public. The Green Energy Park is located off Haywood Road near the Huddle House in Dillsboro. Free shuttle and overflow parking runs every 10 minutes from the Monteith Park near downtown Dillsboro.

828.631.0271.

Comment

The second annual Sept. 11 “Never Forget” tribute and candlelight memorial will honor first responders who serve every day to protect the citizens of Haywood County. The tribute begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the historic Haywood Country Courthouse in Waynesville.  

The “Rolling Parade” of service vehicles begins on Main Street at 6:30 p.m. and will include vehicles from the fire departments, police station, sheriff’s office and EMS from across the county.

Two of the large ladder trucks will be set up on Depot Street to display the enormous American flag across the courthouse lawn.

Presentations will begin at 7 p.m. and will include live music and patriotic songs. It will close with a candlelight memorial for those first responders that lost their lives on 9/11 as well as at other times.

Comment

Assessing suicide risk is the topic of a daylong professional development workshop to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at Western Carolina University. Lunch is included.

“Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk” will include lectures, exercises, journaling and group discussion.

Participants also will watch a video and receive a training manual. They will gain knowledge in maintaining an effective attitude and approach; collecting accurate assessment information; formulating risk; developing a treatment and services plan; and managing care.

Glen Martin of Counseling and Wellness Services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will lead the workshop.

Registration required. Contact Susan Fouts at 828.227.3688 or visit learn.wcu.edu.

Comment

Grace Episcopal Church in Waynesville again will devote all the proceeds from its annual parish fair to mission outreach grants. The church invites local non-profit service agencies and organizations to submit applications by Sept. 15.

Last year the church awarded more than $8,500 to local service providers. Most grants are $500 or less. Greater consideration is given to applications that would aid a specific project rather than simply add to ordinary operating funds.

Forms for the applications may be picked up at the church office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Applicants should mail the information to the Mission Outreach Committee, Grace Church in the Mountains, 394 N. Haywood St., Waynesville. Additional information is available at the church office, 828.456.6029.

Comment

Haywood County resident and Lake Junaluska Peace Conference Committee Chairman Garland Young and United Methodist Bishop Ken Carder will appear on UNC TV’s “North Carolina People” with Dr. Bill Friday at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10, and at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12.

Dr. Friday, Young and Carder discussed the upcoming Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, which focuses on Peace for the World’s Children. Almost 200 persons will participate in this event, including children, youth, and adults.

The Lake Junaluska Peace Conference features Dr. Marian Wright Edleman, the president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, along with Dr. Jeni Stepanek, a noted advocate for children’s and families’ needs in health and education, Bishop Carder, and Dr. Luther E. Smith of the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

For more information about the Peace Conference, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/peace or call 828.454.6656.

Comment

Conservative candidates running for the Jackson County commission, state legislative offices and judgeships will be speaking at a “Meet Conservative Candidates” event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Savannah Community Center in Jackson Country. The Jackson County GOP is sponsoring the event and will be providing refreshments.

Voters interested in hearing the candidate platforms are urged to attend. Additional candidate events are scheduled for September 23 in Cullowhee, October 7 in Qualla, and October 21 in Sylva. Locations for the September and October events are to be announced. Contact Ralph Slaughter, 828.586.9895 or 828.743.6491. www.jacksoncountygop.com.

Comment

“The New Model for Youth Basketball” camp, led by former ASU and Georgia Tech Coach Kevin Cantwell, will take place at Waynesville Recreation Center from Sept. 13 through Oct. 26.

Cantwell is the current head basketball coach of Carolina Day School and former coach of UNC Asheville, Appalachian State and Georgia Tech. He has been in nine NCAA Tournaments, one Final Four, three ACC Championships, two NIT Tournaments and 15 in-season tournament championships. He also has coached and recruited a total of 24 NBA players.

The camp will held from 6 to 7 p.m. for grades four through six and from 7 to 8 p.m. for grades seven and eight on Monday and Tuesday nights. Space is limited. The cost is $125 per player for 14 sessions.

Register at www.oncourtacademy.com. For information contact the Waynesville Recreation Center at 456.2030 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comment

Dr. Kate Queen will address “Building Better Balance” during a lunch and learn session from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, at on the second floor of Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center. She will be joined by a team of professionals from the rehabilitation department who provide balance services.

Queen is a physician at Mountain Medical Associates in Clyde, specializing in rheumatology. She diagnoses and treats diseases and disorders of the joints and bones, and problems associated with arthritis diseases.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 828.452.8881.

Comment

The Haywood County Board of Realtors is organizing a Build Day for Habitat for Humanity on Sept. 16 at Barefoot Ridge in Clyde.

Realtors and others who would like to take part in the event should be ready to work from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lot 8 in Barefoot Ridge. Workers will help with the foundation of the house. Lunch will be provided.

To volunteer, contact Margie MacDonald at 828.734.9265 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comment

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina will raffle off a Smoky Mountain cabin to benefit its efforts to recruit, screen, train and support caring adults who want to make a difference in the life of a child.

The two-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot log cabin is in the Deep Creek area outside Bryson City. Tickets are available until Oct. 7 at www.LogCabinRaffle.org and the grand prize drawing will be held Oct. 14.

The Smoky Mountain Cabin Raffle will include bonus drawings on a one-week stay at a cabin provided by Hidden Creek Cabins, a whitewater rafting trip down the legendary Nantahala River provided by Paddle Inn Rafting and a $1,000 cash prize drawing.

Comment

Western Carolina University maintained its top 10 ranking on a list of leading public regional universities in the south in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guidebook released Aug. 17

For the second year in a row, the guide ranks WCU at the No. 10 spot among the south’s public regional universities.

In addition, the U.S. News & World Report ranks WCU third among southern universities whose graduates had the least amount of debt load in 2009.

The category in which WCU appears includes higher education institutions that offer a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and that tend to attract most of their students from surrounding states.

The annual rankings are based on a variety of indicators, including assessment by administrators at peer institutions, graduation rate, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

Comment

In hopes of transforming Cullowhee into a more vibrant college community, a group dedicated to reinventing the lackluster area around campus wants the Village of Forest Hills to expand its town limits and annex a portion of the university and its surrounds.

The restaurants, coffee shops and bars typically found around universities are markedly absent at Western— witnessed by a standing joke on campus that “Cullowhee is a state of mind.”

One barrier to revitalization in Cullowhee is the lack of legal alcohol sales. Alcohol sales, from a six-pack at a gas station to a glass of wine with dinner, aren’t allowed by the county. Incorporated towns have the option of allowing alcohol sales, however, as do Sylva and Dillsboro.

If the annexation goes through, and if the Village of Forest Hills in turn passed a law to allow alcohol sales, it would help attract restaurants and a grocery store.

But there are other ways incorporation might benefit Cullowhee revitalization. Lacking town designation, the community is missing out on state and federal grants, from funding for sidewalks to sewer lines. If incorporated, the area would also be entitled to a cut sales tax revenue collected by merchants in the town limits.

Another option, and one that remains if the Village of Forest Hills decides not to expand, is for Cullowhee to incorporate as brand-new town of its own. But the process would be more arduous and complicated.

Comment

To the Editor:

With the occurrence of each election cycle, more and more Americans are choosing to support and vote for candidates who do not have an “R” or a “D” after their name. That’s why it is not surprising that the Democratic Party of Jackson County disallows anyone unaffiliated with their party to participate in “meet and greet” opportunities (“Unaffiliated candidates denied access to party voters,” Sept 1 Smoky Mountain News).  

Denying independent candidates access to the voters has nothing to do with to whom the party itself is loyal (as Democratic Party Chair Kirk Stephens would have us believe). It has to do with the party in power scared out of their wits and that independent thinkers (in other words, someone with a brain) might actually appeal to the voters.

I, like many citizens, am hard-pressed to vote for candidates from either of the two major parties. I want to hear from independent candidates like District Court Judge candidate Kris Earwood and others who have the courage to challenge the status quo.

The presumption that the lack of party affiliation hurts an independent candidate’s chances may have some truth. There are (after all) a lot of people who wrongly believe that electing only a Democrat or a Republican is somehow preordained by God.

Voters have witnessed the downside of having one political party continually in power. I cannot really blame them, considering incumbents seem to be re-elected time after time. That’s our failure, of course, not theirs.

If “eternal vigilance is the price of freedom,” unceasing distractions are the way politicians take away our freedoms. The two major parties have found a new wrinkle — suppress our ability to choose better leaders by squelching the voices of independent office seekers.

David L. Snell

Dillsboro

Comment

To the Editor:

Congressman Heath Shuler just sent out an email talking once again about the wisdom of his “S.A.V.E. Act” immigration bill. And indeed it is a good first step that, in his words, “expands an existing and successful system of employee verification, and turns off the job magnet that draws hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens across our borders each year.”

But here is the catch — Shuler can introduce such bills all he wants, but the leadership of the House that he himself voted to install has no intention of allowing any serious immigration bill to ever see daylight.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, are both far left members of the “Amnesty and Open Borders Club,” and they have long since sent Shuler’s bill to the shredder.  Neither of them would be in control of the fate of immigration bills if Democrats like Shuler had not voted to give them control over the U.S. House.

If voters want real immigration action, it’s time to vote for people like Jeff Miller whose votes for the leadership in D.C. on issues like immigration will match the values of the voters back home.

Robert Danos

Hendersonville

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To the Editor:

I want to thank the League of Women Voters in Franklin for holding candidate forums for our community.  On Aug. 12, the candidates for the North Carolina House and Senate running in the November election were invited to speak. These forums give voters a chance to hear candidates answer questions about what they hope to accomplish and their vision for the future, and for this opportunity I am truly grateful. It was disappointing, however,  to see only one Republican choose to attend the forum while the other two (Roger West and Jim Davis) failed to show up. A candidate that is too busy (or some other excuse) to meet with the voters and discuss the issues is not someone I want to represent us in the North Carolina legislature.

I also want to comment on a letter to the editor I read last week from someone who attended the forum. The only “solution” she heard from one candidate was to blame Bush for the economic crisis. It is not blaming.  Rather it is reminding people of the Bush economic policies that drove us into this Great Recession: Bush came into office with a huge surplus of $230 billion —  the biggest surplus in generations — and squandered it with reckless tax cuts for the very wealthy while at the same time fighting two wars. We’ve had these tax cuts for the wealthy for eight years, and they’re not working. Where are the jobs that are suppose to “trickle down” to the rest of us?  

Now the Republicans want to keep the huge tax cuts for the top 2 percent — the multimillionaires and billionaires — while the bottom 98 percent of Americans pay for it by raising the Social Security retirement age to 70.

In addition to some disparaging remarks this woman made about some of the candidates, she used the word “elitist” to describe them. I would have to ask her what policy could be more “elitist” than giving huge tax cuts to the mega wealthy — the elite of our country — and making the middle class pay for it.  Nice try, lady, but voters are smarter than that.  

Cindy Solesbee

Franklin

Comment

Seniors will get a chance to see the Cataloochee elk up close and personal on Sept. 13. The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department is offering the trip to everyone age 50 and above.

Learn some of the rich history of the area with a guided trip to a few houses and a barn.

The group will get a chance to see young elk and possibly baby elk. Bring dinner and a folding chair, along with a camera and binoculars to record some beautiful memories.

The trip leaves Waynesville Recreation Center at 2 p.m. and return by 8 p.m. $3 for Waynesville Recreation Center members. $5 for non-members.

828.456.2030 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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A group of wildlife lovers area has launched an initiative to make the Cashiers and Highlands area a “Bear Smart” community.

“Black bears can live with people. Can people live with black bears?” asked Bill Lea of Franklin, both a black bear expert and world-class nature photographer.

The “Bear Smart” project aims to educate homeowners on how to prevent bear conflicts, and how to handle them if they occur.

The Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance is heading up the initiative, which also includes members Wild South and the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society chapter.

“Bears are a valuable and important part of the natural world,” said John Edwards, project coordinator for Wild South. “As stewards of our planet we are beholden to our creator to protect bears and their habitat as well as all creatures.”

To join the effort, contact Debbie at 828.526.0890, ext. 320 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Matt Kulp, fisheries biologist with Great Smoky Mountain National Park, will be speaking at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, at The Plateau Fly Fishing club meeting in Cashiers.

Kulp will discuss “What’s going on in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park — an aquatics and fisheries update including where to find the brook trout.”

A raffle will be held featuring various fly fishing accessories and an Orvis five weight fly rod.

The talk will be held the Albert Carlton Cashiers Library. Everyone is welcome. 828.885.7130.

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Visitors to Western North Carolina’s mountains can look forward to a vibrant display of color this autumn, predicts Kathy Mathews, Western Carolina University’s fall foliage forecaster and associate professor of biology.

“It’s been a hot year in North Carolina, with above-average temperatures this summer. Rainfall has been slightly less than average during the spring and summer. These are two factors I look at when thinking about the timing and quality of fall leaf color change in the mountains,” Mathews said.

Mathews believes that the formation of ample yellow, orange and red pigments in the leaves seems to correlate with dry weather throughout the year and that the drier the climate, the more brilliant the fall leaves tend to be.

“I predict this fall color change will be variable throughout the southern mountains, but on the whole we should expect to see rich and attractive color change this season,” she said.

Although peak fall colors typically occur during the third week of October, the peak may arrive a bit later this year, perhaps more toward the end of October because of the warm temperatures.

“Peak color corresponds to the first frost date of the year,” she said. “If frost comes later than usual, so will the peak color change of the leaves.

“Look for the earliest color change to take place on the sourwoods and dogwoods, which both turn red, as well as the tulip poplars, which become yellow but tend to turn brown early,” Mathews said. “Colorful maples, with hues of red, orange and yellow, and birches, which turn yellow, bring us into the peak period. Finally, oaks turn orange and red to round out the later color change in the season.”

Comment

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host two volunteer trail projects on Saturday, Sept. 25, in recognition of National Public Lands Day — the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy.    

The Park is currently recruiting volunteers for trail projects at the Cosby Nature Trail in the Cosby Campground, Tenn. and the Smokemont Nature Trail in Smokemont Campground. Work on both trails will involve installing waterbars, maintaining existing drainage structures, removing social trails, defining the trail tread and installing trail signs.  

Work will be conducted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old. RSVP by Sept. 17.

828.497.1949 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comment

A field trip to the Wykle family apple orchard in Macon County will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Learn about heirloom pommes, pick your favorites and press them into fresh cider. A home-made apple press will be set in front of a waterfall to make apple cider on the spot.

Bushels and pecks of apples will be available for sale.

The outing is part of the Gardening in Nature Series put on by the Friends of the Rickman Store. Meet at Cowee School’s parking lot at 6:30 pm to carpool. 828.349.5201.

Comment

A cyclist who was seriously injured during the Blue Ridge Breakaway race last month in Haywood County is showing some progress, but a full recovery is not expected, according to his doctors and family.

Gary Williams, 62, from the greater Charlotte area, flew off his bike and landed on his head when coming down a steep and curvy road. It had been raining.

He was in a coma for several days. The swelling of his brain has begun to come down. He is responding to some commands, like wiggling his toes, squeezing his hand or moving his right eye. He will be blind in his left eye.

A metric century bike ride in Crowders Mountain State Park in Gastonia, N.C., on Oct. 10, will raise money for Williams’ family. Williams remains at Mission Hospital in Asheville, and the family is incurring expenses for food and lodging to stay near him. There are 62-, 37-, and 22-mile routes.

Williams has been a cyclist for 18 years. He is an ordained minister who has done a lot of charity work including ministering to the prisons and helping the homeless. He has two children and five grandchildren.

www.gastoncountycyclists.com

Comment

A race for amateur paddlers will be held on the Tuckasegee River in Cullowhee on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Paddlers in the second-annual Citizens Race will canoe or kayak through 10 slalom gates on a flat section of river off Old Cullowhee Road. Canoes and gear will even be provided for those who don’t have their own.

The course will be set up for practice runs Friday afternoon. The gates are plastic poles suspended over the water, which paddlers have to pass between without touching.

A fundraiser for the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor, the race is sponsored by WCU’s Parks and Recreation Management program, Parks and Recreation Management Club, Base Camp Cullowhee and the Quality Enhancement Plan administration.

Registration is $5 per person. Forms can be picked up from Base Camp Cullowhee.

The Citizens Race is part of “Cullowhee Happening,” a cultural event to be held from 3 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Avant Garden farm in Cullowhee. The race awards ceremony will be held at the farm.

828.227.3844 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comment

A new video podcast emphasizing water safety for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now available for viewing.  

The podcast, “Water Safety and Day Hiking,” is a four-minute video that showcases creeks, waterfalls and rivers in the park and provides tips on safety around water while hiking — particularly the hazards of waterfalls.

It is one of several video podcasts produced by the Great Smoky Mountains Association and is part of the Reward Yourself Hiking Challenge project, made possible in part by a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Check it out at thegreatsmokymountains.org/hike_smokies_challenge.

Comment

Native American writers from the Southeast are invited to participate in the first-ever Southeast Indian Writers Gathering, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, and Friday, Sept. 17, at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee.

The free workshop includes group discussions and one-on-one sessions for Native authors. Registration is not required. The general public is invited to a free reading and book signing to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the museum.

The event is intended to bring together writers from the original Southeastern tribes to share and discuss their work, said Robert Conley, Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University. Conley, an Oklahoma Cherokee and the author of more than 80 works of fiction and nonfiction, organized the event.

828.227.2306, 918.708.5476 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 828.497.3481, ext. 306 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comment

Twenty-eight Carolina authors will be selling and signing their books at the Celebration of Books from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Highlands Civic Center.

There will also be workshops, readings, and entertainment for the whole family. The event is sponsored by members of the Cashiers Writers Group.

Anyone who comes dressed as a book character will receive a prize. In addition, door prizes will be awarded every 30 minutes.

With the growing interest in e-books, readers of all ages will enjoy learning about Storyrealm.com. Jesse and Janoah Rehmeier will be demonstrating the stories throughout the day from their reading website.

Young children can join in the fun of Cubby’s Corner from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and again from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., where they can hear stories and have activities. Josie Williams will be on the stage entertaining with Shert, her creative helping hand puppet.

Comment

Lin Stepp will sign copies of Tell Me About Orchard Hollow from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville.

The novel tells is second in the Smoky Mountain series and tells the story of New Yorker Jenna Howell who spent many pleasant hours listening to her older neighbor, Sam Oliver, spin stories about his beloved home place on Orchard Hollow Road in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. This rural world is far removed from Jenna’s life in downtown Manhattan, but when several shocking events and marital betrayal come her way, Jenna — a previously sheltered girl — decides to take Sam up on his offer to visit his cabin in the mountains.  

The Foster Girls is the first of 12 contemporary Southern romances in a series of linked novels set in the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.

828.456.6000.

Comment

“Women’s Work Preserving the Past, Educating the Future,” will exhibit from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, at The Appalachian Women’s Museum, located at the Monteith Farmstead in Dillsboro.

The opening of the exhibit celebrates the restoration of the farmstead’s 1908 Canning House Kitchen. The museum will host a series of programs, demonstrations and hands-on activities showcasing the original purpose of the traditional canning house. The canning house was used as a supplementary kitchen located near, but detached from, the Monteith home, used during hot weather to avoid overheating the house while preserving food for the winter. The exhibit will include a tour of the kitchen, wood stove cooking, canning and preservation, as well as an exhibit on the evolution of the home canning jar. Past and present aprons and cookbooks will be on display. Be sure to stop by the Flower House to see the heirloom flowers and plants.

Comment

The 6th annual Southeastern Tribes Cultural Arts Celebration will bring together master dancers, craftsmen, artists and athletes from the five main southeastern tribes:  Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole and Choctaw. The celebration takes place Friday, Sept. 17, and Saturday, Sept. 18, on the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds.

This educational and entertaining event teaches and perpetuates the history and culture of these tribes through live demonstrations of traditional tribal dance, storytelling performances, craft demonstrations, primitive skills encampment and juried competitions.

Encampment demonstrators will set up living history exhibitions and illustrate primitive survival skills used by tribes in the 1700s and 1800s, such as building bark huts, cooking, fire-making, flint-knapping and carving arrowheads.

Dancers from each tribe will explain the history and significance of each dance prior to exhibiting performances of Stealing Partners and the Bear and Quail dance, among others. The Stomp dance, a strong traditional dance of southeastern tribes, will be performed by the Mystic Wind Social Dancers and their entire community. The Warriors of AniKituhwa will perform age-old dances that have been resurrected using wax cylinder recordings — including the Cherokee War, Buffalo and Ant dances.

More than 50 artists and craftsmen will be on hand displaying their indigenous talents. Master craftsmen from each tribe will provide live demonstrations of rivercane basket weaving, finger weaving with beads, mask making, stone and wood carving and stamped pottery. Artists will exhibit their works and participate in a juried art competition. Archery, blowgun and running contests will test the prowess of the best athletes and competitors from each tribe as they compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes. Other special events include Cherokee Stickball demonstrations.

The original idea for the event was conceived by John Standingdeer Jr., who envisioned a special sort of “extended family reunion,” where tribes would come together to keep their traditions alive. This event is sponsored by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Cherokee Historical Association and the N.C. Arts Council.

828.497.3481.

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The Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealers Association’s 10th Annual Rally in the Valley will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 17 and 18 at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

The rally features two days of great riding, live bands, The American Hellriders motorcycle stunt team, Smoky Mountain Championship Wrestling, Harley-Davidson Ride-In Bike Show and Bike Games, vendors and much more. For many, the trip to Maggie Valley to attend the rally is an annual pilgrimage to one of Western North Carolina’s most motorcycle friendly towns. $10.

Comment

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2006 Inductee Artimus Pyle from Lynyrd Skynyrd is coming to Maggie Valley on Saturday, Sept, 11, for the Thunder in the Smokies Motorcycle Rally. Also appearing are Thunderfoot, DB Bryant, Preacher Stone and Big Daddy Love. The rally kicks off at 11 a.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

The amazing motorcycle thrill show, American Hellriders, will ride the Wall of Death where motorcycles go a mile a minute on the World’s Steepest Racetrack. Tour rides, a bike show, bike games, vendors and much more during this three-day event. More than $1,000 in cash will be given away on Saturday. Free pancakes for everyone as long as they last between 9 and 10 a.m. on Sunday. Church services to follow. All ages are welcome and passes are available online.

A portion of the proceeds benefits the Clyde NC Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of North Carolina.

For more information about this event call 828.246.2101 or visit www.handlebarcorral.com.

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Two Haywood Community College Professional Crafts—Wood students brought home awards recently from the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Joshua Janis and Melissa Engler took high honors in the biennial Design Emphasis student competition.

The contest draws entries from top design schools across the country, recognizing the rising stars in the woodworking field.  

Joshua Janis, a second-year student, received a Merit Award in the Commercial/Office/Hospitality category for his “Blue Wave” bench.  Melissa Engler, who graduated in May with an AAS in Professional Crafts Wood, took an unprecedented two of five first-place trophies, one in the category of Seating for her chair “Lift,” and another in Accent Furniture/Tables for her “Swallowtail” Desk.

828.627.4674.

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An all-star lineup of regional gospel performers will take the stage from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at the Bridge Park Pavilion in downtown Sylva. Artists scheduled to appear are: Tim Jamerson, Skeeter Hindman, Promises and 3 or More for Jesus.

The show marks the end of Concerts on the Creek’s 2010 season.

Jamerson, of Calhoun, Tenn., performs throughout the Southeast and recently released a gospel album titled “The Story Behind My Praise.” Hindman is a singer/minister based in Cleveland, Tenn., while 3 or More for Jesus is a locally-based group featuring the vocals of Reba Elders of Cherokee and Steve McFalls of Haywood County.

Concerts on the Creek are co-produced by the Town of Sylva; Jackson Country Travel & Tourism; Jackson County Parks & Recreation; Downtown Sylva Association; and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

800.962.1911 or www.mountainlovers.com.

Comment

Pianist Bruce Murray and violinist Jason Posnock will play a program of classical music at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12, at Franklin’s First Presbyterian Church. Works will include J.S. Bach’s Sonata in G, Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor, and Mozart’s Sonata in B flat, plus a set of lyric pieces by Edvard Grieg.

Murray has presented hundreds of concerts as recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra. He has played Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” on three continents and has given dozens of premieres. He now serves as the dean of the Brevard Music Center.

Posnock, Concertmaster of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, made his concert debut at age 10, and has since been featured as soloist with orchestras in the U.S., United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, and India.

Suggested donation is $7. Event sponsors Carol and Michael Vincent dedicate the concert to their friend Evelyn Manis, in celebration of her 90th birthday. The program is presented by the Arts Council of Macon County.

828.524.7683 or www.artscouncilofmacon.org.

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Arledge Armenaki, Western Carolina University associate professor of cinematography, is recipient of a Telly Award for his work as director of photography on “Wesley,” a historical movie about a co-founder of the Methodist church.

Armenaki won the bronze prize in the category of creative lighting, one of four Telly Awards given to the makers of “Wesley.” The motion picture, filmed in and around Winston-Salem and Morganton in 2007 and 2008, also received a silver award in the category of religion and spirituality production, and bronze awards in the categories of computer-generated imagery and special effects, and historical and biographical production.

Now in their 31st year, the Telly Awards honor the best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, top video and film productions, and work created for the Web.

Foundery Pictures’ John Jackman, director of “Wesley,” credited Armenaki with giving the movie an authentic look and feel.

“I asked Arledge to create a classical, naturally-lit look like the Renaissance painter Caravaggio, and he succeeded beyond my expectations,” said Jackman.

While serving as director of photography on the movie, Armenaki also guided 16 WCU students in the motion picture and television production program who worked as crew. WCU students and faculty also were cast in the movie.

Other winners included programs by National Geographic, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, NBC Universal, and other prominent networks.

Comment

Auditions for the fall production of the classic Broadway play, “The Little Foxes,” by Lillian Hellman will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, and at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12. The Haywood Arts Regional Theatre production is being directed by Wanda Taylor and will open on Nov. 5.

The show has great roles for six men and four women of various ages. Set in 1900 in the Deep South, this is one of the greatest plays of the American stage. It is full of twists and turns that make every role a jewel. The play was turned into a major film in the 1940s starring Bette Davis in a role originated by the great Tallulah Bankhead.

Actors will be given scenes to read from the script. Anyone interested in working backstage on the production is also encouraged to come by during auditions to sign up. Auditions will be held in the Feichter Studio of the HART Theatre, 250 Pigeon St. in Waynesville.

Comment

Local acting talent is being sought for Haywood Community College’s fall semester short film project called, “The Pond.”

Casting takes place from noon until 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, and from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Sep. 13, in the Charles Beall Auditorium on the college campus. Those cast into the project will receive screen credit.

“The Pond” is a story by David Blanton, developed into a screenplay by David Blanton with Cassidy Haynes and Ryan Robinson. The film is about five lifelong friends in their mid- to late-20s who set out on a routine camping trip only to find out one of them is not what he or she seems to be.

Cast of characters include:

• Dylan – the outdoorsman, the quiet one

• Matt – the pretty boy, rich, spoiled

• Brody – serious, mature, the leader of the group

• Linda – the “girl next door”

• Jamie – the party girl

HCC film and video students plan to enter the film into several student film competitions and festivals at the end of the year including the Cannes and Sundance student film festivals.

HCC Film & Video Production Technology students will assume all the major production roles for the film — from art design to director of photography to chief editor. Instructor and program coordinator Cheryl Fulghum will oversee the production, serving as producer.

“We began pre-production of the film the first day of class and have a tight schedule for the production. But with local talent and easy location access, I have confidence we’ll finish by our end of semester deadline. I’m thrilled with the work they’ve done so far and I expect their enthusiasm to continue. They clearly own this project as a team and crew, and that is a producer’s dream,” Fulghum said.

828.565.4280 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comment

Gunpowder, furnaces and kilns are used by three featured artists in the “Fire and Heat by Three” exhibit, which opens on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Bascom in Highlands. Experience traditional and innovative uses of materials glass artist Alex Bernstein, mixed media artist Mira Lehr and ceramist Tom Turner.

All three are known for their bold, unique perspectives. Lehr has been described as a visual poet. She uses nature-based images to explore the possibilities of painterly experiments. Turner, whose work focuses on classic, ageless beauty, is known for beautiful thrown forms with complex and difficult glazes. Bernstein explores visual form and storytelling with the impact and optical quality of glass. The exhibition is a fusion of their creative visions explored through multiple media.

Other exhibitions now at The Bascom: Kick-start! American Motorcycle Design; Small Works Challenge, Bascom Members; Selected Works from the Bascom Collection, Patrick Dougherty’s Do Tell environmental sculpture; and On View: Artists in Residence and Three Weavers.

828.526.4949, ext. 100 or www.thebascom.org.

Comment

Gunpowder, furnaces and kilns are used by three featured artists in the “Fire and Heat by Three” exhibit, which opens on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Bascom in Highlands. Experience traditional and innovative uses of materials glass artist Alex Bernstein, mixed media artist Mira Lehr and ceramist Tom Turner.

All three are known for their bold, unique perspectives. Lehr has been described as a visual poet. She uses nature-based images to explore the possibilities of painterly experiments. Turner, whose work focuses on classic, ageless beauty, is known for beautiful thrown forms with complex and difficult glazes. Bernstein explores visual form and storytelling with the impact and optical quality of glass. The exhibition is a fusion of their creative visions explored through multiple media.

Other exhibitions now at The Bascom: Kick-start! American Motorcycle Design; Small Works Challenge, Bascom Members; Selected Works from the Bascom Collection, Patrick Dougherty’s Do Tell environmental sculpture; and On View: Artists in Residence and Three Weavers.

828.526.4949, ext. 100 or www.thebascom.org.

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