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The Dixie Region Hosta Convention will be in Waynesville Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17, at Rux Gardens. Lovers of the shade tolerant plant will assemble for seminars, garden tours, vending and auction.

Plant vendors will be set up from 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday and 2 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday with hostas, ferns, conifers, Japanese maples and many more plant varieties from regional growers. A live auction will be held Friday evening.

Rux Gardens is located at 2930 Old Balsam Road in west Waynesville. 828.456.4621.

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Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market will have a festival in conjunction with the long-awaited arrival of  summer corn and tomatoes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 17.

The market has been bustling for weeks with colorful produce, homemade bread, cheese, eggs, fish and meat, plus locally made crafts. This weekend, vendors will pull out all the stops with food samples, including marinated and grilled pork and vegetable kebobs, grilled fish, fried green tomatoes and blackberry cobbler. There will be live music by Allan McRae and The Waynesville Wildcats.

“We’re working hard to make Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market the best market in Western North Carolina,” said Carol James, president of the market’s board of directors. “We’re currently one of the largest markets in the area, second only to Asheville City Market.”

Haywood’s Historic Farmers’ Market is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of HART Theater on U.S. 276 a few blocks down from Main Street in Waynesville.

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The Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River members and all who are interested in clean mountain streams are invited to the WATR Summer Public meeting on Wednesday, July 21, at the Sylva Town Hall in Jackson County. The Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River will meet at 6:30 for socializing and with the regular meeting starting at 7 p.m. The meeting will feature two speakers.

Fred Grogan of Equinox Environmental will speak about the riverbank restoration along the Tuckasegee River at the old Dillsboro Dam site.  Next, Dave Cozzo of the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources (RTCAR) program will present “Stalking the wild river cane: Finding canebrakes in the Tuckasegee Watershed.” The talk will be followed by a brief breakout session for group planning. Come join us, and leave knowing what dates and where you can help work for a healthy Tuckasegee River.

On Friday, July 23, WATR will have its Annual Walk ‘n Talk at Deep Creek in Swain County.  At 5:30 p.m., WATR will meet at the parking lot at the Deep Creek Entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a leisurely walk to a nearby waterfall. Glenn Liming and Dan Patillo, retired WCU professors, will be the leaders. Patillo will answer biological questions and Liming will assist.  Afterwards members will go to a local restaurant for dinner.  Check the website WATRnc.org for directions.

For answers to questions and to sign up for the Walk ‘n Talk, call the WATR office at 828.488.8418.

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From bark shingles to edible mushrooms, entrepreneurs across Western North Carolina are being encouraged to tap the resources of the national forests for creative business endeavors.

More than $1.2 million in federal stimulus money has been granted to 14 small business initiatives that use forest products.

“I believe these projects will help jumpstart the forest products industry and the economy of Western North Carolina,” said USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station Director Jim Reaves.

Historically, logging companies extracting timber for mass markets have comprised the bulk of the forest-products industry in WNC, but the grants seek to open the door to new innovations.

One such project called “Recovering Traditional Cherokee Delicacies” got $62,000 to harvest, grow, and market forest food products traditionally gathered by Cherokee tribe members, including edible greens and mushrooms.

Another project got $90,000 to create a cooperative of producers to grow, harvest, and market value-added ramp products. Ramps, a form of wild garlic used by Appalachian settlers and Cherokee, have become all the rage in recent years, and are now in short supply in the wild as a result.

Many of the businesses awarded grants will tap the timber trade, but not in the traditional logging style. Two businesses will launch sustainable firewood ventures. Another will cater to the demand for sustainable timber by using horse logging and small sawmills. Another will supply furniture makers with sustainably-harvested wood.

More than 60 people applied for the grants. The WNC forest stimulus initiative was earmarked for $1.9 million, but $700,000 will go to project managers, advisors and consultants, workshops and grant oversight.

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Cataloochee Valley, a popular section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Haywood County, finally has restrooms.

Cataloochee Valley offers a historical representation of an early mountain community with farmhouses, cemeteries, a church and school house. It also has numerous trails, fishing and — as home to the park’s elk herd — excellent wildlife viewing.

Despite heavy visitation, the site only had port potties. It now has three permanent restrooms at different points in valley with a rustic design that looks like an old-fashioned outhouse. Each structure has two vault-style toilets, one for men and one for women.

The park service also removed built up bat droppings from the historic chapel and gave it a fresh coat of paint.

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Mary J. Messer, author of the Haywood County based memoir, Moonshiner’s Daughter, will hold the kick-off launch for her newly published book from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 17, in front of the historic courthouse in Waynesville

Messer’s memoir is now available at the Bargain Book Store, 1032 Mauney Cove Road in Waynesville.

“It has been several years since I first sat down and hand wrote my memories of growing up ‘dirt’ poor in Haywood County in the ‘40s and ‘50s,” said Messer. “I hope the struggles I share in Moonshiner’s Daughter will help others who were abused or witnessed domestic violence as children to heal and see that there is a way out.”

Moonshiner’s Daughter is Messer’s early life story of a young girl raised in some of the most remote, backwoods parts of Haywood County.

Her father, an ardent moonshiner when he wasn’t in prison, and her mother, often showing mental illness from an earlier brain injury, raised their four children in some of the grimmest circumstances imaginable.

Messer is donating a portion of each book sold to REACH of Haywood to assist them with their mission of helping survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse as well as educating teenagers and the public in ways to avoid intimate partner violence.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 828.452.2539 or www.moonshinersdaughter.com.

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More than 350 dancers and musicians from across the globe will arrive in Waynesville on July 19 to participate in the 27th annual Folkmoot International Festival, and a project is under way to provide as much fresh food as possible for the dancers.

These dancers and musicians work up quite an appetite performing across Western North Carolina. Folkmoot staff and volunteers provide four full meals each day during the two-week festival. Feeding the dancers and musicians costs a lot of money, and Folkmoot has traditionally relied volunteer help and community contributions.

This year Folkmoot is in need of baked goods, fruits, vegetables, herbs and even flowers for the dining room tables. Folkmoot is searching for gardeners who would like to help “feed the world” through a donation of produce, herbs or fruit. If you are a gardener blessed with an abundant harvest and would like to make a contribution from your garden or other source, Folkmoot can provide you with a receipt for a charitable donation. Folkmoot is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization.

To find out how you can help “feed the world,” or to make a donation, please call Sybil Mann, Folkmoot Food Committee Chairperson, at 828.508.4336.

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The Original Twin Piano Twins, Mark and Clark, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 16, and Saturday, July 17, at Eaglenest Entertainment in Maggie Valley.

Mark and Clark Seymour have been playing the piano since they were 4 years old. At first, the family only had one piano and the boys would practice separately every day.  When they were 16, their parents bought a second piano, and the twins decided to put the two musical instruments together. It was then that they became an act.

The late columnist Forrest Duke described them as having “the flash of Liberace, a lot of Jerry Lee Lewis, and the piano artistry of Ferrante and Teicher.”

Their first album, first “Doubletake” on Columbia Records, went gold in five countries in Europe

The Twins’ self-composed pride and joy, “The Worn Down Piano,” went to Number 1 in several European countries and stayed there for 17 weeks. Since then, the twins have also recorded albums on their own label, Twinco, and have sold as many as half a million albums in their career through concerts and nightclubs alone.

Mark and Clark have made numerous national appearances on CBS, NBC and ABC. They have performed in Europe, Asia, South America and Mexico.

Buy tickets from noon until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Eaglenest box office or call 828.926.9658. Tickets range from $20 to $25. www.eaglenestnc.com.

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Craft artists are invited to submit digital images of their work by July 19 to be considered for inclusion in The Bascom’s juried exhibition “American Craft Today.” This national competition and exhibition will feature original works in all craft media: ceramics, metal, wood, glass, fiber, book arts, etc. Cash awards will be made for various categories including best in show.

This year’s juror, Carol Sauvion, will select some 40-50 handcrafted works for inclusion in the exhibition taking place from Oct. 2–Dec. 18 in The Bascom’s main gallery in Highlands.

Carol Sauvion is executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated “Craft in America” PBS television series, as well as creator and director of Craft in America Inc., a nonprofit odedicated to presenting the history, practitioners and techniques of craft in the United States and their impact on our nation’s cultural heritage.

Guidelines available at www.thebascom.org/exhibitions.

Visit www.thebascom.org or call 828.526.4949.

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The Haywood Arts Regional Theatre is pulling the stops out for its production of the smash hit “Chicago,” which opened July 9.

“Chicago The Musical” has become the longest-running revival in Broadway history, with more than 5,600 performances, along with inspiring an Academy Award-winning film.

The usual rule of thumb is that if a show is running in New York, the rights are restricted and no other theatre can produce it. Because of “Chicago’s” extraordinarily long run the rights have been released, and HART is one of the first theatres to be granted permission to do the show.

The musical is based on a play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, who had been assigned to cover the 1924 trials of murderesses Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the Chicago Tribune.

Annan, the model for the character of Roxie Hart, was 23 when she was accused of the April 3, 1924 murder of Harry Kalstedt. The Tribune reported that Annan played the foxtrot record “Hula Lou” over and over for two hours before calling her husband to say she killed a man who “tried to make love to her.” She was found “not guilty” on May 25, 1924.

Velma is based on Gaertner, who was a cabaret singer. The body of Walter Law was discovered slumped over the steering wheel of Gaertner’s abandoned car on March 12, 1924. Two police officers testified that they had seen a woman getting into the car and shortly thereafter heard gunshots.

Julie Kinte, who rocked the stage as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret,” returns as Velma Kelly, and Candice Dickenson, who blew everyone away last summer as Ulla in “The Producers,” is Roxie Hart. The production is being choreographed bymCord Scott and Music Director Chuck Taft will conduct the orchestra. “Chicago” is being directed by HART’s Executive Director Steve Lloyd.

“Chicago” will have performances at 7:30 p.m. July 9, 10 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 30, 31 and at 3 p.m. July 11, 18, 25 and Aug. 1.

$22 adult, $20 senior, $10 student/child with special $5 discount tickets for Students for Thursday and Sunday performances.

Box office hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 828.456.6322 or www.harttheatre.com for reservations.

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To the Editor:

The Smoky Mountain News and Western Carolina University’s Gibb Knotts and Chris Cooper are to be commended for a job well done (“Jackson County Political Poll” in the July 7 Smoky Mountain News).

County Commissioners Tom Massie and Brian McMahan seem to believe the polls’ questions too “generic” and do not answer the question of why people are critical toward government? Perhaps we can help with that.

People are tired and they’re angry. Many people (now in their 60s and 70s) have worked hard for over half a century, rarely been sick, never asking for help. Given the economy, for them, there is no retirement in sight ... unless they’re fortunate enough to work for the government.

People are tired of being told they have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have their work ethic, of having their hard-earned money given to people too lazy to earn it.

People are tired of being told they have to pay more taxes to help people who bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford and to bail out companies which made that possible, like “Fannie” and “Freddie.”

People are tired of being told how bad America is by millionaires who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In a few years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Christian people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela.

People are tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and Islamic schools to preach hate in America while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach tolerance.

People are tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and we must help and support them and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses?

People are tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught.

And people are really tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working but are living on welfare or crime. Should we call drug dealers, “undocumented pharmacists”?

And I’m definitely tired of being lied to. If you believe Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have any intention of reforming immigration in any meaningful way, I have a bridge up in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party know that if they can mange to legalize the millions of illegals presently living in the United States they will have a permanent lock on a Democratic majority in Congress (and the White House) for 50 years.

Jackson County Sheriff, Jimmy Ashe, asks a pertinent question. “Why, with government approval at its lowest, is voter turnout so abysmal?” Easy question, Sheriff ...  apathy and ignorance. And Ashe is painfully correct when he states, “it’s up to the people to take back the government.” Up until now, we Americans have failed miserably in accomplishing that task.

David L. Snell

Dillsboro

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To the Editor:

Let’s look at what truly stimulates an economy, creates jobs, drives markets and produces tax revenue to fund government services. Should it be a mystery that in a brief period of time the greatest economy in history suddenly had the pins pulled out from under it? We talk about jobs lost, the absence of bank lending, the bottom falling out of the real estate market, reduced consumer spending, and on and on. What do all of these occurrences have in common? They are all symptoms of a much deeper but simple problem. The root problem that drives all of these is simply a lack of confidence.

Confidence in the future creates jobs in every viable business in the country. It encourages banks to lend, individuals to spend and it generates tax revenue through increased commerce at every level. If business is not confident in future growth, it does not invest in people and the tools to produce. If banks are not confident in business markets to grow, they will not lend. It is the single most important ingredient in a vibrant economy.

Let’s examine what happened to confidence. That too is simple: government actions that defied logic, ignored public opinion, exhibited abject arrogance and flagrantly ignored warning signs. The predictability of government to make decisions that reflect the public’s wishes, and its reaction to issues in a logical way, drive confidence that the future will be business- and market-friendly.

Government actions like passing the bailout, stimulus spending and healthcare bills, all done in defiance of the public’s will and passed without our representatives even having read the bills, only serve to destroy confidence in our future direction.

What can we do to restore confidence? Change the players at all levels of government! The ones we now have will not suddenly be imbued with common sense and better judgment; nor will they abandon self-interest in favor of a calling to public service.

Bruce Gardner

Waynesville

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By Ken Murphy

Western North Carolina is a special place, a region with awe-inspiring scenic vistas, waterways and forested watersheds that are home to unmatched biodiversity, and rural landscapes and cultural sites that remind us of our heritage on a daily basis. However, the demands of the modern economy have led to the loss of many of our working farms and forests, the disappearance of wild areas, and threats to clean air and water.

Fortunately, our region is blessed with many community-based environmental and conservation organizations, each seeking to protect our land, water, and wildlife. These local organizations (including local offices of national organizations) are uniquely positioned to “make things happen” through decisions of local stakeholders and elected officials so that effective and innovative conservation efforts can succeed.

Because tax and spending policies are increasingly set on the federal level, the framework in which our local organizations act is largely determined on the national stage. Our local organizations — no matter how hard-working and resourceful — cannot continue to be successful if they work in an atmosphere of indifference to the challenges they face. Since federal policymakers act in a remote urban setting, and since future generations cannot vote, the risk of inadequate support for local conservation objectives is high. Thankfully, somebody is now listening.

Last April 16, President Obama established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, led by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture, the Administrator of the EPA, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. The Initiative recognized that our country is in many ways losing touch with — and in many cases losing — the places and traditions that have helped make America special. Importantly, the President ordered that the Initiative conduct listening and learning sessions throughout the country, sessions in which the full range of interested groups could speak to the problems and solutions involved with protecting special places. A listening session is scheduled for Asheville on July 15 (see www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors for details).

Given that somebody is listening, we have not only an opportunity, but in some sense a duty, to speak out in order to enhance means of protecting our landscape and sharing our natural treasures with those who are losing touch with them. By speaking of our accomplishments, we can encourage others to replicate and build upon our success. By speaking of our challenges, we can encourage decisions that help lower barriers rather than raise them.

For example, the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (LTLT), which primarily operates west of the Balsam Mountains, plans to speak of the success we have had in working with local landowners and in combining private contributions and government grants in order to acquire and protect significant portions of Cowee, the richest and most intact cultural landscape in the region we cover. Cowee was the principal commercial and diplomatic center of the Mountain Cherokee in the 18th century. William Bartram, who traveled through the area in 1775, described the setting as “one of the most charming natural mountainous landscapes perhaps any where to be seen.” The, LTLT has made great strides in securing this landscape, and in 2007 succeeded in conserving the Cowee Mound itself in partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and the state of North Carolina.

LTLT has plans for further work in the region, and these plans are not without challenges. For example, through a generous private donation and financing through a local bank, LTLT was recently able to purchase a 108-acre forested tract that includes Hall Mountain, which overlooks the Little Tennessee River and the Cowee Mound. As a result, LTLT has expanded to over 380 acres the network of conserved land surrounding the ancient mound site. LTLT is working with the EBCI and others to seek permanent protection of the Hall Mountain tract under the USDA-Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program.

Establishing the Hall Mountain tract as a community forest would provide tribal members and the surrounding community an opportunity for vocational education in forestry as well as an active demonstration site for quality forest stewardship. The tract could also be managed to provide artisan resources, such as white oak, to the Cherokee basket weavers.

While LTLT will speak to its successes and challenges in land conservation, the listening session in Asheville on July 15 is a rare opportunity to be heard on a number of outdoor-oriented issues. I hope to see you there.

Ken Murphy is vice chair of The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee

Comment

By Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts

Beginning in 2009 with a series of protests focusing on what participants viewed as excessive government taxation, the TEA Party movement has grown into one of the most prominent political stories of the past few years. Because it is a relatively recent movement and in most places it is still impossible to register with the Board of Elections as a member of the TEA Party, hard data on TEA Party supporters are difficult to come by.

The New York Times produced one of the only surveys focusing on the TEA Party. It found that that 18 percent of Americans self-identified as TEA Party “supporters” and that these supporters tended to be white, educated, fairly well-off, ideologically conservative, and members of the Republican Party. Not surprisingly, the Times survey also found that TEAPartiers are distrustful of the federal government.

Although these findings are illustrative of the country as a whole, what about the situation in Jackson County? To learn more about the degree of TEA Party support among locals, Western Carolina University’s Public Policy Institute and The Smoky Mountain News teamed up to poll about 600 registered voters in Jackson County on issues related to the TEA Party, as well as other political issues.

The survey data reveal that Jackson County registered voters are evenly split, with 42 percent holding a favorable view of the TEA Party, 40 percent holding an unfavorable view and the remaining 18 percent having no opinion. Although the question’s wording is different than that of the New York Times poll, it does appear that the TEA Party has more support here than in the nation as a whole.

Digging a little deeper into the data reveals that TEA Party supporters in Jackson County are more likely to be male, conservative and registered as Republican than those who do not support the TEA Party.  Given the national results, none of this is terribly surprising.

Considerably more surprising, however, is the influence of education. Recall that in the national sample, TEA Party supporters were more educated than the population at large. In the Jackson County sample, however, those with positive opinions towards the TEA Party have slightly less education than their counterparts.

The Jackson County poll also presents an opportunity to determine how TEA Party supporters feel about local as well as national government. Not surprisingly, TEA Party supporters do not hold a positive view off the federal government. What is more surprising is the size of this effect. A whopping 95 percent of TEA Party supporters hold an unfavorable opinion of the federal government, but among those with unfavorable opinions of the TEA Party only 36 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of the federal government.”

TEA Party supporters aren’t big fans of the Jackson County government, either, but the effect here is much smaller.

Approximately 70 percent of TEA Party supporters disapprove of Jackson County government, compared to 47 percent among those who do not support the TEA Party. Clearly the TEA Party movement, at least here in Jackson County, is much more dissatisfied with federal than local government.

Anyone who walked through the county on Tax Day knows that the TEA Party has some backing in Jackson County, and this polling information can tell us a little bit more about the nature and extent of this support. What our data cannot tell us, of course, is what the exact effect will be on the upcoming elections. The TEA Party has considerable support here in Jackson County, but a true understanding of the group’s electoral impact will have to wait until November.

Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts are associate professors of political science and public affairs at Western Carolina University, where Knotts also serves as department head and Cooper directs the Public Policy Institute.

By Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts

A creature once roamed the American South that many now presume to be endangered if not extinct — the conservative Democrat. For nearly a century following the Civil War, almost all white southerners were conservative Democrats. As late as 1978, more than a third of all Democrats in the South were conservatives. In most parts of the South today, however, finding a conservative Democrat is about as likely as spotting a bald eagle — they do exist but they are hard to find.

A recent survey conducted by the Western Carolina University Public Policy Institute and The Smoky Mountain News, however, suggests that Jackson County resembles a refuge for conservative Democrats. Today almost as many Democrats in Jackson County identify as conservatives as liberals (23 percent compared to 30 percent — the remainder are moderates). These numbers are even more striking when compared to an analysis of Republicans in the county.  Two-thirds of Republicans in the WCU PPI/SMN poll claim to be conservatives, compared to less than 4 percent who are self-proclaimed liberals. The message is clear: Democrats do not mind being called conservatives, but almost no Republicans in our county want to be called liberal.

So what does this mean for political candidates in Jackson County? First — it pays to be a Democrat. Results of the survey as well as analysis of voter registration records in Jackson County clearly indicate that there are many more Democrats than Republicans residing in the county. In the WCU PPI/SMN survey, 45 percent of the respondents claim to be Democrats, compared to 32 percent who identify as independents and 24 percent who consider themselves Republicans. The actual voter registration numbers are identical for Democrats, but indicate slightly higher percentage of registered Republicans.

Despite these positive numbers for Democrats, aspiring politicians in this county who align themselves with the Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid wing of the Democratic Party will find little support. Nationally, Republicans tend to be conservative, and Democrats are most often liberal. As we suggested above, however, few Democrats in this county consider themselves liberals. Most are moderates, and almost a quarter are conservatives. Among members of all parties, only 18 percent are liberals, compared to 42 percent who are moderates and 40 percent who are conservatives.

Given these trends, it is perhaps not surprising that more than half of the respondents in the WCU PPI/SMN survey who expressed an opinion on Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler hold a favorable view of him (54 percent favorable, compared to 46 percent unfavorable). Shuler has distanced himself from the Pelosi/Reid wing of the Democratic Party by casting votes against the healthcare plan and the stimulus package.

In fact, an independent analysis of roll-call votes in the House by political scientist Keith Poole finds that Shuler is the fifth most conservative Democrat in the House. Perhaps as a result, further analyses of Jackson County survey data reveal that Democrats are no more likely to approve of Shuler than Republicans, and conservatives are more likely to support him than liberals.    This trend is most evident at the extremes where twice as many conservative Republicans as liberal Democrats approve of Shuler (60 percent to 30 percent).

All of this portends well for Shuler this fall, at least in this county. Sure he is not popular with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, but fortunately for Shuler, this is a fairly small part of the Jackson County electorate. Moderate and conservative voters of both parties as well as independents approve of Shuler in fairly high numbers. A lot can happen between now and November, but Heath Shuler can probably rest fairly comfortably in the conservative Democratic refuge of Jackson County.

Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts are both Associate Professors of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University where Knotts also serves as Department Head and Cooper directs the Public Policy Institute.

By Michael Morris • Guest Columnist

The sale of alcohol has become a hot topic in Western North Carolina. In 2010, voters in Burnsville and Weaverville passed ballot measures approving alcohol sales, and last August voters in Clay County approved countywide alcohol sales.

Here in Jackson County, consumers have been able to purchase on-premises beer and wine in Dillsboro since 2005. In Sylva, the county seat, alcohol sales have been permitted in some form since 1967, and voters approved on-premises mixed beverage sales in 2006.

More recently, a Western Carolina University Public Policy Institute/Smoky Mountain News poll indicated that 56 percentof registered voters would support legalizing countywide alcohol in Jackson County.

One part of the county that has the potential to benefit from countywide alcohol sales is the area surrounding Western Carolina University. The university and its surrounding community is growing and expanding at a fairly rapid pace. With the expansion of the university, there is potential to attract business, expand infrastructure, and become a place that offers residents an enhanced array of goods and services.

Concerned residents of Jackson County may be fearful that alcohol consumption among the student population will increase, causing more alcohol-related illegal activity than previously seen in Cullowhee and surrounding areas. As a student at Western Carolina University, I am deeply concerned about the potential negative effects that legalizing the sale of alcohol will have on the student and non-students residents of Jackson County.

However, there are some real advantages to locating bars and restaurants within walking distance of the campus. I know too many students who make the dangerous drive between Sylva and Cullowhee, and on-campus establishments would make it possible to walk to a restaurant, have a couple of beers, then walk home safely.

Other areas in Jackson County may also benefit from the expanded sale of alcohol. Tuckasegee, Cashiers, and parts of Jackson County near Cherokee could attract restaurants that would normally not be interested in locating in an area without the option to sell alcohol.  These restaurants would enhance the quality of life in these communities and contribute to the county’s tax base.

Many locales within Jackson County are doing themselves a disservice by allowing or even pushing revenue away from their areas. It is likely that Jackson County residents also leave the county to purchase alcohol and eat at restaurants located just over the county-in Haywood, Macon, and Transylvania counties.

There are residents, however, who debate against alcohol sales by saying that the revenue generated would not be worth the funds it would take to increase law enforcement and deal with some of the social issues that come with alcohol and its users. If countywide alcohol comes to Jackson County, the county and the university should partner to implement an alcohol awareness campaign and collaborate on taxi and bus services.

In these tough economic times, it is worth considering countywide alcohol in Jackson County. If alcohol is to be legalized countywide, then it should be done in the most constructive and safe way possible.

(Michael Morris is a senior majoring in political science at WCU.)

By Christopher Cooper and Gibbs Knotts

Confidence in politics, politicians and government is low. President Obama’s approval rating hovers around 50 percent as he deals with two wars and what may turn out to be the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history.  Further down Pennsylvania Avenue, only 20 percent of Americans approve of the U.S. Congress, the country’s major legislative body and, for many, the very symbol of democratic government.

Although there is ample evidence about what the nation as a whole thinks of government, there is much less information about what people here in Jackson County think about the political system. Do residents of Jackson County view the federal government with the same level of disapproval? Does the lack of confidence at the national level translate to opinions of government here in Jackson County?

Fortunately, the Western Carolina University Public Policy Institute/Smoky Mountain News poll conducted last month provides some important clues about the vitally important relationship between citizens and government.

As reported last week in The Smoky Mountain News, Jackson County registered voters approve of the U.S. Congress at rates similar to, but slightly higher than, residents across the United States (29 percent favorable, 62 percent unfavorable and 9 percent not sure). A closer look at the results shows that self-identified conservatives, a group that makes up 40 percent of registered voters, displayed less support for the federal government than moderates and liberals.

Conservatives advocate smaller government, particularly when it comes to spending on public welfare, so it makes sense that they disapprove of the federal government with a Democratic President and Democratic majorities in Congress.  In addition to conservatives disapproving of the federal government at high rates here in Jackson County, college-educated respondents approved of the federal government more than respondents with lower levels of education.

For what is probably the first time in Jackson County history, there also is evidence about support for local government. This is a compelling time to investigate approval of local government given recent events in the county. In the last few years, commissioners passed countywide land use planning, mounted a legal battle against Duke Power over the removal of the Dillsboro Dam, and approved a controversial raise package for county employees. No matter your stance on these issues, most of us can agree that these events were controversial.

The WCU PPI/SMN survey found that a third of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Jackson County government. The question was designed to gauge an overall opinion of county government, but it is important to consider what respondents may have been considering when asked to approve or disapprove of Jackson County government. They could have been thinking about the county commissioners, the county manager’s office or some other agency in county government. As County Commissioner McMahan indicated in last week’s Smoky Mountain News, ideally the poll would have asked follow-up questions about why people felt the way they did. Unfortunately, given the time limitations of the survey and the many important issues to be covered, follow-up questions will have to wait for a future poll.

Looking behind the numbers, older respondents supported county government at higher rates than younger respondents. In addition, conservatives have a more negative view of Jackson County government than moderates or liberals, more highly educated respondents had higher levels of support than registered voters with less formal education, and residents of Cashiers expressed very low support for the county government.

In addition to a question about approval of county government, the WCU PPI/SMN survey also asked respondents’ opinions of the Jackson County school system. Attitudes toward the school system were generally positive (49 percent favorable, 27 percent unfavorable, and 24 percent not sure) and rated considerably higher than opinions of both the federal government and Jackson County government. Looking more closely at the numbers indicates higher support from older respondents — even though these individuals are less likely to have school age children.  In addition, support for the Jackson County school system was highest among residents with a Sylva address, indicating higher levels of support for schools in this area.

Politicians and readers can debate whether these numbers are higher or lower than expected. There are no other polls of Jackson County with which to compare these baseline results, so it is impossible to know for certain whether these numbers are increasing or decreasing in our county. Nonetheless, most observers would probably agree that more approval of government is a good thing, and these numbers indicate that it could be higher.

So, how does a government increase citizens’ confidence? Some issues are certainly out of a politician’s control. Factors such as the economy and increasing divisions between Democrats and Republicans in the electorate may be next to impossible for any politician — especially a local one — to solve. Given these constraints, the best way to address the lack of confidence in the political system is to enhance the dialogue between elected officials and the electorate.

Local politicians should create more opportunities for citizens to learn about county government and for citizens to communicate with their elected officials in a safe and partisan neutral environment. Jackson County Commissioner Tom Massie’s recent suggestion to televise commission meetings is an excellent start.  Of course, Jackson County citizens must take advantage of these opportunities for them to be successful. If politicians reach out to the people, the people must reach back. If citizens and politicians meet each other halfway, the result will benefit Jackson County, no matter the specific outcome.

Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts are associate professors of political science and public affairs at Western Carolina University, where Knotts also serves as department head and Cooper directs the Public Policy Institute.

 

The engineering, grounds and Behavioral Health Unit at Haywood Regional Medical worked together to brighten the hospital community by planting a rose garden.

Research has shown that hospital patients whose windows looked out at landscape scenery recovered from surgery quicker than those who faced a brick wall.

Marty Murray and the hospital’s engineering team prepared planting beds at the front entrance to the Haywood hospital. With the help and hard work of patients and staff of the Behavioral Health Unit, the team then transformed the space into a rose garden that will bloom throughout most of the year.

Comment

Southwestern Community College was one of only 11 colleges to earn an exceptional rating in the annual performance measures report recently released by the North Carolina Community College System. The performance measures were adopted by the State Board of Community Colleges to annually assess the performance of the state’s 58 community colleges in meeting key indicators of success.

In order to receive an Exceptional Institutional Performance rating, a college must meet or exceed the state standards in eight areas.

The complete report is available on the N.C. Community College System Web page at: http://www.nccommunitycolleges.edu/Publications/docs/Publications/csf2010.pdf.

Comment

The only woman to head a college or university construction management department in the United States has joined the faculty of Western Carolina University as the Joe W. Kimmel Distinguished Professor of Construction Management.

J.K. Yates began her duties as Kimmel Professor and head of WCU’s department of construction management June 15.

Prior to joining the WCU faculty, Yates served as chair and professor in the department of construction management and engineering at North Dakota State University.

WCU’s Joe W. Kimmel Distinguished Professorship in Construction Management was endowed in 2006 through gifts provided by Asheville businessman Joe W. Kimmel.

To contact Yates, call 828.227.2175 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comment

View the Smoky Mountain News archives

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.

A staggering 15 farms and gardens will open their fields and greenhouses to the public during the Jackson County Farm Tour held from 1 to 5 p.m. on July 10 and 11.

Tour-goers will recieve a map and descriptions of the farms and drive from one to next at their leisure. Mini-tours are then given by the growers. Get advice from expert gardeners, gather ideas for your backyard and capture an inside look at local food sources.
The diverse tour includes small organic hobby gardens to large-scale farms. Learn techniques like crop rotation, terraced hillside gardening, raised-bed growing, mushroom cultivation, organic soil care and how to raise pigs, goats and chickens.
Two of the larger farms on the tour are run by full-time farmers harvesting dozens of crops over the course of the growing season to supply “farm shares,” where locals pay a flat rate for a year’s worth of produce off the farm.
Also on the tour is Appalachian Homestead Farm & Preserve, a 65-acre historic mountain non-profit farmstead devoted to the preservation of mountain lifeways.
Maps are available at Spring Street Cafe, City Lights Bookstore, Guadalupe Cafe, Annie’s Bakery, the Mad Batter, Soul Infusion and at the library.
Cost per carload is $30 for both days, $20 for one day, $5 for one farm or $10 for students for both days.
Get tickets at any of the farms or the Jackson County Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to noon on farm tour day.

Farm tour sampling
A Local Foods Social to kick-off the farm tour will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 8, at Spring Street Café in Sylva.
Enjoy hors d’oeuvres made with ingredients found at the Jackson County Farmer’s Market, live music, and mingle with local farmers. $10 per adult, kids free.

Comment

A resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway is slated for passage by Congress.
“The Blue Ridge Parkway offers some of the most spectacular mountain views in the nation, as well as an important source of income for Western North Carolina and a convenient access point for residents and visitors to hiking, hunting and other recreational activities,” said U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. “I am proud to help introduce this legislation honoring the 75th anniversary of the Parkway.”
The resolution highlights the great contributions of the Parkway to the region and the unique characteristics that attract nearly 20 million visitors to the 469-mile scenic corridor.

Comment

A race with an international flare, the annual Folkmoot 5K, will be held on Saturday, July 31, in Waynesville.
The 5K Run/Walk and Kid’s Fun Run is held in conjunction with the Folkmoot dance and music festival, which brings 300 international performers from a dozen countries to the mountains for two weeks of performances.
The race starts at 8 a.m. in front of the Folkmoot Center and follows a nearly flat route on neighborhood streets in the Hazelwood section of Waynesville. The race is “walk-friendly” and open to people of all abilities but also caters to the serious runner. Racers will be given timing chips.
A one-mile Fun Run for ages 15 and under takes place after the main event. Cost is $8 and includes a T-shirt and a finishers’ medal.
Cost for the 5K is $20 in advance or $25 on race day and includes a T-shirt. Medals for top winners in age class. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. The race is put on in conjunction with Haywood County Parks & Recreation and Waynesville Parks & Recreation and has numerous local business sponsors.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.452.6789 or 877.365.5872.

Comment

Mountain Wildlife Days will bring a line-up of nature talks, wildlife programs and guided hikes to the Cashiers area on July 16 and 17.

The annual event attracts outdoors lovers from across the region. Friday has a series of three guided hikes, while Saturday’s lineup features nature experts and their live animals, from wolves to owls to reptiles.

A special program will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday called “Let Heaven and Nature Sing.” Rooted in the Caring for Creation philosophy, the multimedia presentation combines live music, inspirational narration and nature photography. A program for kids will be held simultaneously with a bonfire, singing and stories.

 

Hikes on Friday, July 16

 

• Granny Burrell Falls in Panthertown Valley. 3-mile hike led by Friends of Panthertown.

• Whiteside Mountain. Learn about the Cherokee history of the region when over 50 Cherokee towns and settlements were connected by a system of trails used for local trade and long-distance travel. Steep but rewarding climb involved to reach a rock outcrop overlooking the Cashiers Valley and headwaters region of the Chattooga River.

• Green Salamander Adventure. Join Wild South ecologists in search of the elusive, beautiful and endangered Green Salamander during a short exploration at Pleasant Grove and Heady Mountain.

All hikes depart at 10 a.m. from the Sapphire Valley Community Center. Bring lunch and water.

 

Programs on Saturday, July 17

 

• Get up close and personal with wolves. Meet the wolves of mountain man Rob Gudger and gain compassion and awareness for the plight of this misunderstood predator.

• Learn how to coexist with black bears with a program by the Appalachian Bear Rescue.

• Take flight with birds of prey. Eagles, hawks, owls and a variety of other birds will be shared by a ranger from Tennessee State Parks.

• Wildlife Warrior Steve O’Neil will have snakes, turtles and other reptiles on hand for his up-close presentation.

Saturday’s programs run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. There are exhibits and booths setup throughout the day.

The event is held at the Sapphire Valley Resort Community Center located 3 miles east of Cashiers off U.S. 64. It is organized each year by John Edwards, a Cashiers resident who loves wildlife, in conjunction with Wild South, and with support from the Sapphire Valley Master Association and Friends of Mountain Wildlife Days.

Saturday’s program is $7 for adults. The Friday evening program is $8. Children under 12 are free. Friday hikes are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance. www.wildsouth.org or 828.743.7663.

Comment

A new video podcast called “Day Hiking and Wildlife” has been created to educate hikers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — or anywhere in bear country for that matter — on proper etiquette.

The podcast covers park rules, keeping a safe distance from wildlife and what to do in the midst of an encounter.

The video comes on the heels of an unfortunate incident where a small bear repeatedly fed by visitors nipped a man on the foot while he was trying to get a close-up photo. While the man wasn’t injured, the bear was euthanized in keeping with park policy for bears that have shown aggressive tendencies toward humans.

“We hope that this video will be another tool to help hikers safely observe wildlife in its natural habitat, which is one of the privileges we gain by preserving this great landscape for all to enjoy,” said Cathleen Cook, Chief of Resource Education.

The 6-minute podcast is the second of a three-part series on hiking safety. The first one was called “Day Hiking: Expect the Unexpected” and covered how to prepare for the Smokies’ unique weather terrain, and other unexpected circumstances.

Go to thegreatsmokymountains.org/hike_smokies_challenge.

Comment

Smokies gala a successFriends of the Smokies raised $20,000 to support special projects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the “Spring for the Smokies” gala held last month in Waynesville.
More than 160 park supporters attended the fourth annual gala, a lively and spirited event. Silent and live auctions featuring finely crafted items, from art work to furniture, raised most of the money.
This year Friends of the Smokies expects to provide more than $2 million to support park projects and programs, including a trail endowment, education programs for local schoolchildren, exhibits for the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center, ongoing efforts to protect the park’s hemlock forests and support for the Cataloochee elk.
“Friends has done a great job raising friends and awareness for the park,” Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson said at the event.
www.friendsofthesmokies.org or call 828.452.0720.

Comment

After a tenuous state budget debate, The Farmland Preservation Trust Fund emerged with $2 million in funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
The Farmland Preservation Trust Fund helps permanently protect tracts of farmland by funding conservation agreements with working farmers. The N.C. Senate initially allocated nothing for the fund, as has been its fate on and off for the past decade. But the N.C. House of Representatives allocated $2 million for it, a sum that won out in budget negotiations.
The Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which preserve tracts of forested land, was awarded $50 million — half of what it has gotten historically.
“In a tight economy, our legislators demonstrated great leadership in supporting and protecting funding for land and water conservation that will boost our economy and protect our lands, drinking water, parks, trails and wildlife habitat,” said Kate Dixon, director of Land for Tomorrow, a nonprofit that advocates land preservation.

Comment

Matthew Baker will sign books from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at Dalton’s Christian Bookstore in Franklin. Baker’s first book is titled, My Mountain Granny.

After moving to Western North Carolina, Baker met Evelyn Beck of Whittier, and she became his “Mountain Granny.”

Indicative of enduring character of Appalachian natives, Beck was an unforgettable character to Baker and everyone who knew her. He documented her story in the format of the famed “Foxfire Series.”

Baker will be accompanied by four other regional authors at the book signing. 828.369.6464. www.csabooks.com.

Comment

A national bestselling author, a local icon, and a well-known regional outdoor writer and photographer will all make their way to City Lights Bookstore in Sylva soon.

• First, Gary Carden returns to the store for a special program on Appalachian literature and culture, entitled “Going Home with Gary Carden: A Discussion of Appalachian Literature” held 7 p.m. Friday, July 9.

Going home is an important theme in many Appalachian authors’ works and will serve as the focal point of the discussion. Featured books, each of them classics in their own right, will be Harriet Arnonw’s The Dollmaker, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, and Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller.

Carden will discuss various ways of looking at Appalachian culture and what makes it special. Each of the novels he will touch on reflects those elements in different ways.

• Bestselling novelist Sharyn McCrumb will read from her new book in her Ballad Series of novels, entitled The Devil Amongst the Lawyers, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 13.

The book takes up the story of a young woman accused in 1934 of murdering her father. Only one journalist really cares about the truth, and he gets help from his cousin, whom readers come to know in her later life as the mysterious Nora Bonesteel, who has “the sight.”

• Celebrate hunting and fishing with outdoorsman and author Jim Casada at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 19. Casada will read selections from his outdoor guidebooks, including Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and The Wild Bounty Cookbook.

828.586.9499 or www.citylightsnc.com.

Comment

The Waynesville Public Art Commission members would like to express their gratitude to all of the artists and all of the public that helped to make Salamander Splash, on Thursday, June 24, a huge success.

Forty-eight Haywood County artists stepped up to the plate and accepted the challenge of making an art work celebrating salamanders! The artwork came in all forms — oil and watercolor paintings, fiber wall art, wood, steel and pottery in various styles.

A huge thank you goes out to the following artists:  David Stone, Brad Dodson, Carolyn Taylor, Jane and Bill Cole, Teresa Pennington, Terrance Painter, Dominick DePaola, Nancy Blevins, Lill Parks, Nancy Bernard, Veronica Von Zwehl, Bonnie and Jere Smith, Chris Sylvester, Marilyn Sullivan, Vickie Beck, Kaaren Stoner, Grace Cathey, Melissa Burrell, Jo Kelley, Ben Kastner, Susan Phillips, J.R. and Kristen Page, Jane Stoner, Frances Williams, Carolyn Strickland, Scottie Harris, Trudy Rapp, Karen Bell, Char Avrunin, Jeanne Colburn and Margaret Remington, Mary Edwards, Mari Coneen, Keri Anna Kelley, Jon Bowman, Janice Swanger, Ed Kelley, Sherri Lesperance, Michael Gillespie, Tanya Collier, Jennifer Riddle, and Dane and MaryEtta Burr.

More than 150 folks plus many of the artists came out to enjoy the fabulous barbecue prepared by Frank McLeod and his team, the music of the Chance Keuhn Trio and the auction conducted by Stacy Woods.

Through ticket sales and sales of the artwork, nearly $12,000 was raised to help pay for the railing to be constructed by Ben Kastner and Richard Coley of Intracoastal Iron, Wilmington, N.C. The goal of raising $20,000, the contracted amount for the railing, is in sight.

Ben and Richard won the design contract  for an artistic railing to be installed at the mini-park at Main and Depot. The park is undergoing a transformation that will offer more seating, new plantings, and a new spot to relax in downtown Waynesville. The railing will be installed in late September and dedicated on Oct. 1, 2010. Richard attended Salamander Splash and answered questions about the work on the railing.

All monies used to pay for this project and the two previous projects undertaken by the Commission — “Old Time Music” and “Celebrating Folkmoot,” have been raised from local businesses and the public.

The Commission would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Ginny Boyer and Phyllis McClure at the Waynesville Town Hall for ongoing assistance in our activities; Jon Bowman and Jamie Cogdill for serving as our bartenders of the evening; Wells Funeral Home for lending chairs; The Downtown Waynesville Association for assistance in selling tickets; and to the Parks and Recreation Department for hauling tables and chairs to the event.

A huge thank you also goes out to HART Theatre for the generous use of their facilities and grounds.

The commission members: Kaaren Stoner, chair: Marilyn Sullivan, secretary and fundraising chair; Chris Sylvester, graphic artist for all commission publicity; Mieko Thomson, treasurer; and  Philan Medford,  David Blevins, Janice Griffen and William King all wish to express their deep appreciation for the generous support of the artists and citizens of Haywood County in this endeavor.

Kaaren Stoner

Haywood County

Comment

Full Spectrum Farms is accepting silent auction donations for its annual Starlight Night fundraiser, Oct. 2. The local non-profit helps individuals with autism. Event sponsorships are available for $500 or $1,000. Donations and sponsorships are tax deductable. To donate, contact Donna Harris at 828.293.2521 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comment

Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., has announced a series of job fairs throughout the summer month.

Workforce training and employer training seminars will run from 10 a.m. to noon July 9 at the Franklin Employment Security Commission Office at 427 Harrison Ave. The seminars will address issues such as resume development, job interview training, tax credits and more. The Economic Security Commission will offer assistance with job applications for local job offers.

A job fair will be held Aug. 14 at the former Coats American facility at 155 Palmer Lane in Marble. Murphy Medical Center will also hold a health fair in conjunction with this job fair.

Comment

Two informational sessions will be available for Western North Carolina’s small businesses.

“Ask the Experts: What’s new for small businesses in 2010” events will focus on access to capital and entrepreneurial development. They will offer updates about new opportunities as well provide a forum for attendees to ask questions about their small businesses or start-ups.

The first event will take place on Monday, July 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Flat Rock campus of Blue Ridge Community College in the Blue Ridge Conference Hall, Cortland Room.

The second event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 13, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Haywood Community College’s auditorium in Building 1500 on the Clyde campus.

Free. For advanced registration, contact the office of Congressman Shuler at 828.252.1651.

 

Comment

A raffle drawing and silent auction will be held on 6 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at Mountain View Intermediate School in Franklin with proceeds going to the Roy Rickman Scholarship.

The Rickman Scholarship is Macon County’s largest local private scholarship. Each year the Franklin Rotary Club awards a $10,000 scholarship and several $1,000 scholarships to deserving Franklin High School graduating seniors based on demonstrated academic achievements, civic involvement and financial status.

The winner of this year’s vehicle raffle grand prize can choose either $15,000 in cash or one of three automobiles: a Ford Focus from Franklin Ford, a Chevy Malibu LS from Smoky Mountain Chevrolet or a Dodge Caliber from Jim Brown Chrysler.

A ticket entitles the purchaser to admission for two to the silent auction and drawing for the grand prize as well as dinner during the event. Cost $100. For more information, call Ashley Vinson at 828.534.3321.

Comment

Haywood Habitat for Humanity marked its 20th anniversary at the organization’s Annual Meeting. To celebrate, Habitat Executive Director Marnette Colborne announced the creation of the annual Walton Garrett Award to recognize special volunteers. Garrett started the organization in the county and has worked on every house built. Four volunteers were recognized this year: Hugh Constance, Tom Henry, Ted Lazo and Steve Kirton.

Colborne summarized accomplishments of Haywood Habitat throughout the past year, including completion of the 39th house and ground breaking on the 40th, which was sponsored by Jay and Buckie Somers. The 40th house should be completed this fall.

Habitat for Humanity is a volunteer-based organization committed to eliminating sub-standard housing. For additional information or to volunteer, visit  www.haywoodhabitat.org or call 452-7960.

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1. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Jackson County government?

Favorable    33%

Unfavorable    46%

Not Sure    20%

 

2. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the federal government?

 

Favorable    29%

Unfavorable    62%

Not Sure    9%

 

3. Currently alcohol sales are legal in Sylva and Dillsboro but not allowed elsewhere in the County Would you support legalizing alcohol sales anywhere in Jackson County?

 

Yes    56%

No    39%

Not Sure    4%

 

4. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party movement?

 

Favorable    42%

Unfavorable    40%

Not Sure    18%

 

5. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Jackson County schools?

 

Favorable    49%

Unfavorable    27%

Not Sure    24%

 

6. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue?

 

Favorable    33%

Unfavorable    44%

Not Sure    23%

 

7. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of U.S. Representative Heath Shuler?

 

Favorable    46%

Unfavorable    39%

Not Sure    15%

 

8. If you are a Democrat, press 1. If you are a Republican; press 2. If you are an independent or identify with another party; press 3

 

Democrat    45%

Republican    23%

lndependent/Other    32%

 

9. What is the highest level of education you’ve completed?

 

Did not complete high school     10%

Graduated from high school,

but not college    30%

Graduated from college    61%

 

10. If you are a woman, press 1 if a man, press 2.

 

Woman    55%

Man    45%

 

11. ThinkIng about politics today; would you describe yourself as a liberal, moderate. or conservative?

 

Liberal    18%

Moderate    42%

Conservative    40%


*The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, surveyed 587 registered voters in Jackson County and was conducted in early June. It has an error margin of +/- 4 percent.

 

A few additional notes

People who approve of Jackson County government are more likely to be:

More educated

Ideological liberals

Older

Less likely to be from Cashiers

 

People who approve of the federal government are more likely to be:

 

Democrats

Educated

Liberal

 

People who approve of Jackson County Schools are more likely to be:

 

Older

Less likely to be from Cashiers

 

People who approve of Shuler are more likely to be:

 

Conservative

From Sylva

Interesting Note: Party ID has no effect

 

People who approve of Perdue are more likely to be:

 

Liberals

Educated

Democrats

Older

 

People who approve of the TEA Party are more likely to be:

 

Republicans

Conservative

Disapprove of the Federal Government (this is VERY strong)

Disapprove of Jackson County Government (not as strong as for federal government)

 

People who support alcohol being available and legal in the County are more likely to be

 

Educated

Male

Liberal

Younger

Less Likely to be from Sylva

More likely to be from Cashiers

The rich, downhome sound of the Josh Fields Band will be showcased from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 2, during the Concerts on the Creek series at Sylva’s Bridge Park Pavilion. This free live music series takes place every Friday evening through Labor Day weekend.

The Josh Fields Band, based in Haywood County, is emerging as a top act in Western North Carolina thanks to its ability to blend Southern rock, country and bluegrass into an enjoyable musical experience.

The band, also known for its tight, three-part harmonies, will play a mix of cover songs and original tunes. Many of the original songs will be from its forthcoming album, “Tobacco Road,” which will be released in August.

800.962.1911, or www.mountainlovers.com. www.joshfieldsband.com.

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What do you get when you mix the pristine vocals of Ella Fitzgerald with the guitar licks of Robert Johnson?

Find out as the “sweetest” singer in Dillsboro, Karen “Sugar” Barnes performs with Dave Magill at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 8, on the front lawn of the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City.

Sugar has been an aficionado of vintage blues styles for decades, and has created her own engaging persona as a result of singing and writing in the genre she loves most. She also plays guitar, slide guitar and the ukulele.

Dave Magill is one of those musical chameleons who blends in with whatever genre is currently on the playlist. He is equally adept on the guitar, piano and bass guitar. Together Sugar and Dave play their unique blend of standards and originals regularly in Western North Carolina.

The Friends of the Marianna Black Library will be there to provide snacks and refreshments. Concert is free.

828.488.3030 or visit www.fontanalib.org/brysoncity.

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The Lonesome River Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 10, on the Grand Old Stage at Stecoah Valley Cultural Center as part of the Appalachian Evening series.

Longtime band member and driving banjo picker, Sammy Shelor, will play, along with two lead vocalists, Andy Ball (mandolin) and Brandon Rickman (rhythm guitar), Mike Anglin on bass and Mike Hartgrove on fiddle.

LRB’s most recent album “No Turning Back” has garnered several nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Sammy Shelor is an inductee of the Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Traditional Appalachian dinner served family-style perform the performance. 828.479.3364 or www.stecoahvalleycenter.com.

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Marvin Cole, a Western Carolina University graduate famous for his impersonations of Mark Twain, will entertain at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 10, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Franklin’s Summer Coffee House.

Compelling performances by Cole as Twain have been lauded across the country and on major riverboats like the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and the American Queen. Tharon Giddens’ review of Cole in the Atlanta Journal Constitution says, “With the perfect timing of a stand up comedian and the flair and fervor of an evangelist, Cole entertains an audience with recitations of Twain’s tall tales and short anecdotes.”

Suggested donation of $15.

828.524.6777, 828.524.3161, or buy at the door of 89 Sierra Drive.

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Middle school students in the area will have an opportunity to learn about Cherokee heritage during a “Mini-Camp for Middle Schoolers” offered by Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center.

Designed for rising sixth-and seventh-graders, the camp will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon beginning Tuesday, July 20, and continuing through Friday, July 23. The cost is $35 per child.

With a theme of Cherokee heritage, the camp will allow participants to explore the history and contributions of the Cherokee people, past and present. Youth attending the camp will spend time with a Cherokee crafter, examine artifacts of historic value and visit significant Cherokee sites in the region.

For info, 828.227.7129. To register, 828.227.7397 or visit www.wcu.edu/13177.asp.

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Craft artists are invited to submit digital images of their work by July 19 to be considered for inclusion in The Bascom’s juried exhibition “American Craft Today.” This national competition and exhibition will feature original works in all craft media: ceramics, metal, wood, glass, fiber, book arts, etc. Cash awards will be made for various categories including best in show.

The exhibition will take place from October 2 to December 18 in The Bascom’s main gallery in Highlands.

Carol Sauvion will select 40-50 works. Sauvion is executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated “Craft in America” PBS television series.

www.thebascom.org/exhibitions or 828.526.4949.

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Regional artists are encouraged to take part in ColorFest, Art of the Mountains, an official event of the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary Celebration.

The art festival will be held on Saturday, October 23, on the streets of downtown Sylva, where festival-goers can watch artists at work. All month, downtown Sylva shops will spotlight the work of regional Western North Carolina artists.

Catch the Spirit of Appalachia is partnering with the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce & TTA and Jackson County’s Visual Arts Association to present ColorFest. Interested artists should visit www.spiritofappalachia.org or call 828.293.2239. Applications are due July 31.

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Witness the arresting culture of Apache, Totonac, Aztec, Crow, Navajo and Cherokee through ancient wisdom, song, dance, legend, arts and regalia all in one place. Indigenous tribes will gather for the 6th Annual Festival of Native Peoples on Friday, July 16, and Saturday, July 17, at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds in Cherokee.

Gates to the festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with performances throughout the day. The Art Market Preview will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 16.

Considered the finest showcase of native dance, song and art in the Southeast, the event honors the collective history, customs and wisdom of some of the oldest documented tribes from across the Americas, including the 11,000-year-old Cherokee civilization which hosts the weekend’s revelry.

“The tribes are so different, and when we come together to celebrate our collective native heritage, we gain a better understanding of our own history and customs,” said Mary Jane Ferguson, director of marketing for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Daily admission is $10 per person; children six and under free. 800.438.1601 or visit www.cherokee-nc.com.

 

The Hoop Dance

 

Four-time world champion Hoop Dancer Tony Duncan will create many designs and images from “The Circle of Life.” By weaving these hoops through his body the dancer creates designs such as, the eagle, a butterfly, the sun, the moon, a snake, and Mother Earth.


Laguna

The Laguna Youth Group dancers share various traditional dances that are both a means of prayer and personification of the animals the Pueblo people hold sacred.

 

White Mountain Apache

 

Centuries ago, the Apache believed that there were mountain spirits living in the highest mountains near a cliff or a cave. If sickness came among the people, the mountain spirits’ medicine man had to call these spirits down from the mountain to dance during the night hours of darkness for the people, in order to bless them and keep evil spirits away. Today, there are but a few Crown Dance medicine men among the younger generation, who know the Crown Dance songs and prayers.

 

Totonac

The spectacular Totonac dancers, known as the pole flyers, will hurl themselves from the top of a 90-foot pole in a spectacle of swirling color in honor of the sun and the Totonac calendar.

The Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers) represent 57 tribes in Mexico. This sacred ceremony is dedicated to the sun and is similar in intent to the sun dance of the Plains Indians of the United States.

 

Yurapik

 

The Yurapik Dance Group of Alazka performs two common styles of Eskimo dancing, Yuraq and Yurapik, a prayer dance and an inherited dance that has been passed down from generation to generation.

 

Navajo

The Pollen Trail Navajo Dancers have been the featured dance group in the Grand Canyon area for more than eight years. They will perform: the Navajo Basket Dance, in the spirit of Hozho “Blessing Way;” Bow and Arrow Dance; The Dancing Ye’iis; and The Weaving Dance.

 

Aztec

The Tezcatlipoca Aztec Dancers from Mexico City will perform colorful dances representing the sun, the eagle the earth ad other symbols from their land.

 

Estun-Bah

 

The band Estun-Bah combines the traditional melodies of the Native American flute with the contemporary sound of the acoustic guitar, creating a musical journey of traditional and contemporary songs.

 

Cherokee

New to the festival is one of Cherokee youngest dance groups, the Dora Reed Child Care Center Traditional Dancers. See this energetic group of dancers, ages 3 to 5, doing renditions of Cherokee dances such as Friendship, Quail, Bear, Buffalo, and Eagle. Performer Paula Nelson will share contemporary songs written in the Cherokee language.

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