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The Smoky Mountain News distributes 16,000 papers per week, comes out every Wednesday, and is distributed free at more than 600 locations in Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, and on the Cherokee Reservation. There are also stops in downtown Asheville. Smoky Mountain News has offices in both Waynesville and Sylva.

Just four days before the Primary Election, there's been another notable development in the Republican race to replace R...
02/29/2020
Another wild turn in Lynda Bennett “never Trump” saga

Just four days before the Primary Election, there's been another notable development in the Republican race to replace Rep. Mark Meadows.

Audio purporting to depict the full context of a discussion in which Lynda Bennett can be heard expressing disdain for President Donald Trump raises serious doubts about allegations that she’s a “never Trumper.” Since Bennett became the first Republican to file for the race to replace Rep. Mar...

The Berea Bluegrass Ensemble will perform Monday, March 2, while fiddler Andrew Finn Magill takes the stage on Thursday,...
02/28/2020
Mountain Heritage Center concerts

The Berea Bluegrass Ensemble will perform Monday, March 2, while fiddler Andrew Finn Magill takes the stage on Thursday, March 5.

Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center will host two old-time and bluegrass performances the first week of March. The Berea Bluegrass Ensemble will perform Monday, March 2, while fiddler Andrew Finn Magill takes the stage on Thursday, March 5.  Both shows begin at 7 p.m. and w...

02/28/2020

This week's Hot Picks from A&E Editor Garret K. Woodward

1 The 19-piece John Brown Big Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at the Bardo Arts Center on the campus of Western Carolina University.

2 Popular rock act The Captain Midnight Band will perform at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in The Gem downstairs taproom at Boojum Brewing in Waynesville.

3 Lazy Hiker Brewing (Sylva) will host The Maggie Valley Band (Americana/indie) at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29.

4 Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center will host The Berea Bluegrass Ensemble at 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, and fiddler Andrew Finn Magill at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5.

5 Frog Level Brewing (Waynesville) will host Heidi Holton (blues/folk) at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28.

Cades Cove has reopened following a two-month closure for repairs at Bote Mountain Tunnel.
02/28/2020
Cades Cove reopens

Cades Cove has reopened following a two-month closure for repairs at Bote Mountain Tunnel.

Cades Cove has reopened following a two-month closure for repairs at Bote Mountain Tunnel. Bryant’s Land and Development Industries Inc. of Burnsville finished the $950,000 tunnel repair along Laurel Creek Road ahead of schedule, allowing the popular area to reopen in time for the first full weeke...

The Helping Hands of Haywood will host a fundraiser with a performance by The Remainders at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at...
02/28/2020
Helping Hands fundraiser

The Helping Hands of Haywood will host a fundraiser with a performance by The Remainders at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at UpCountry Brewing in Asheville.

Helping Hands aims to assist people experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues. They are dedicated to filling in the missing pieces that existing nonprofits and programs currently provide.

The Helping Hands of Haywood will host a fundraiser with a performance by The Remainders at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at UpCountry Brewing in Asheville. The organization is completely run by volunteers. Its first goal is to raise money for a family in transitional housing to ease the burden of payin...

Americana/folk musician Meghan Hayes will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville.
02/28/2020
Singer-songwriter at The Strand

Americana/folk musician Meghan Hayes will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville.

Americana/folk musician Meghan Hayes will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville. Last year saw the release of the third record from East Nashville songwriter. Hard on the heels of a divorce from a 20-year marriage, the songs on “Seen Enough Leavers” are to...

The Highlands Performing Arts Center will present the Highlands PAC Youth Theater production of “A Ghostly Slumber Party...
02/28/2020
‘A Ghostly Slumber Party’

The Highlands Performing Arts Center will present the Highlands PAC Youth Theater production of “A Ghostly Slumber Party” at 10 a.m. Feb. 27-28 for the schools performances and again at 3 p.m. Feb. 29 and March 1 for the general public.

The Highlands Performing Arts Center will present the Highlands PAC Youth Theater production of “A Ghostly Slumber Party” at 10 a.m. Feb. 27-28 for the schools performances and again at 3 p.m. Feb. 29 and March 1 for the general public. The show includes “The Slumber Party” scenes by Luke Os...

Jackson County Public Schools recently took steps to intentionally confront inequity with a long-term plan to transform ...
02/27/2020
Schools confront inequity in education

Jackson County Public Schools recently took steps to intentionally confront inequity with a long-term plan to transform the district through a new instructional framework developed by Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity (ICS) at the University of Wisconsin. The ICS process seeks to maximize the learning potential of every student by shifting from a reactive deficits-based system to a proactive assets-based system.

Nothing represents a community’s diversity better than its public schools. Each school is a cultural melting pot of ethnicities, identities, beliefs and social classes that intersect at a single location. The challenge for educators is ensuring an equitable learning environment for every student t...

Right now, the town’s ad valorem tax rate is at 49.57 cents per $100 in assessed valuation. At that level, each penny on...
02/27/2020
Waynesville wastes no time in budget discussions

Right now, the town’s ad valorem tax rate is at 49.57 cents per $100 in assessed valuation. At that level, each penny on the tax rate accounts for about $115,000.

Aldermen will need every bit of that, if valuation increases comes to pass. Turnmire said that 165 submissions to the town’s capital improvement plan call for more than $33 million in projects over the next five years, but the town only has the ability to spend about $8 to $10 million over that period.

Waynesville’s elected officials, administrators and department staff were supposed to spend Feb. 21 talking about the year’s upcoming budget — which they did, for nearly six hours — but the board also took immediate action on several issues deemed too important to wait.  Finance Directo...

The consolidation of the Bryson City locations is a direct result of a recent decision by Rowland and his wife, co-owner...
02/27/2020
Big moves for Nantahala Brewing

The consolidation of the Bryson City locations is a direct result of a recent decision by Rowland and his wife, co-owner Jenn Huston, to sell a minority interest in the Nantahala Brewing brand to a Delaware-based private investment group. The couple still retains a controlling interest in the brewery, with the latest investment now a catalyst for future growth of the business.

On Monday afternoon, Joe Rowland of Nantahala Brewing announced the consolidation of its original brewery and taproom in Bryson City, a move which will shift the entire infrastructure of the production facility and taproom to its Burger Bar just down the road.   "Af...

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians hopes to see a recent $5.8 million purchase by Kituwah LLC generate revenue for the...
02/27/2020
Tribal LLC buys modular home company

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians hopes to see a recent $5.8 million purchase by Kituwah LLC generate revenue for the tribe while simultaneously improving tribal members’ access to quality, affordable housing.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians hopes to see a recent $5.8 million purchase by Kituwah LLC generate revenue for the tribe while simultaneously improving tribal members’ access to quality, affordable housing.  Kituwah LLC acquired the assets of Cardinal Homes, a bankrupt modular home comp...

No one is thrilled about the idea of having Swain County’s only public library located in a strip mall, but it may come ...
02/27/2020
A new chapter: Other options explored for Marianna Black Library

No one is thrilled about the idea of having Swain County’s only public library located in a strip mall, but it may come down to that unless residents want to pay higher taxes.

Even though the committee for a new Marianna Black Library has been working toward its plan to construct a brand-new facility on a piece of land donated specifically for the library, the county commissioners have made it clear the $7 million price tag is an issue.

No one is thrilled about the idea of having Swain County’s only public library located in a strip mall, but it may come down to that unless residents want to pay higher taxes.  Even though the committee for a new Marianna Black Library has been working toward its plan to construct a brand-new...

Dogwood Health Trust has awarded more than $3.7 million to a diverse range of 259 nonprofit and government agencies from...
02/26/2020
WNC charities receive Dogwood Health funding

Dogwood Health Trust has awarded more than $3.7 million to a diverse range of 259 nonprofit and government agencies from every county and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina through its Immediate Opportunities and Needs grant program.

Dogwood Health Trust has awarded more than $3.7 million to a diverse range of 259 nonprofit and government agencies from every county and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina through its Immediate Opportunities and Needs grant program.  Of the 492 applicants, 53 percent were awarded a....

Saturday, Feb. 29, is the last day to early vote in the March 3 Primary Election. Read The Smoky Mountain News' profiles...
02/26/2020
primaryelection2020

Saturday, Feb. 29, is the last day to early vote in the March 3 Primary Election. Read The Smoky Mountain News' profiles on all the candidates before heading to the polls.

News and information from the western North Carolina region covering Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain county

Campaign finance reports were released by the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Feb. 20, providing the first go...
02/26/2020
Paying the cost to be the boss: NC’s 11th Congressional District race, by the numbers

Campaign finance reports were released by the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Feb. 20, providing the first good look at how candidates have fared in their efforts to replace Mark Meadows as the next representative of North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District.

There are plenty of arguments for getting money out of politics, but anybody who wants to get money out of politics must first have money to get into politics to get money out of politics. That’s the current state of pay-to-play congressional elections, where you need $100,000 just to say “Hello...

Limited tickets are available. Great night and good cause to help students and teachers!
02/26/2020

Limited tickets are available. Great night and good cause to help students and teachers!

The 12th annual Mardi Gras Ball sponsored by First Citizens Bank is this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Laurel Ridge Country Club. Tickets are limited. Come out and support the Haywood County Schools Foundation, enjoy a delicious meal, and dance the night away. Call 456-2400 to purchase tickets or buy them online with PayPal here: http://www.hcsf.haywood.k12.nc.us/events/mardi-gras-ball/

The 30th is geographically one of the largest districts in the state, if not the largest, but the issues between the sev...
02/26/2020
Judicial race heats up

The 30th is geographically one of the largest districts in the state, if not the largest, but the issues between the seven counties are common — poor, isolated communities are reeling from the effects of the opioid crisis and the civil, criminal and juvenile matters that arise from it. Domestic relations, custody and child support matters are among the most contentious, difficult and heartbreaking cases that these judges hear.

When most people think about exciting election action, they don’t often think about judgeships.  Judicial races are not usually contested, they’re not usually competitive and so they’re not usually talked about much, for all of those reasons.  For example, the District Court’s 30th...

Cherokee resident Shannon White, 42, will face federal charges for allegedly distributing fentanyl that resulted in an o...
02/26/2020
Fentanyl overdose results in federal charges

Cherokee resident Shannon White, 42, will face federal charges for allegedly distributing fentanyl that resulted in an overdose death.

Cherokee resident Shannon White, 42, will face federal charges for allegedly distributing fentanyl that resulted in an overdose death. The bill of indictment, delivered by a grand jury sitting in Charlotte, alleges that on Jan. 28, 2019, White “did knowingly and intentionally distribute a mixture ...

The Smoky Mountain News is excited to be the media sponsor for this year's Richie's Alliance for Autism campaign. This y...
02/26/2020

The Smoky Mountain News is excited to be the media sponsor for this year's Richie's Alliance for Autism campaign. This year's events will be held April 27, 28 and 29. Take a look at their page and website for further ticketing and event information. A lot of great stuff going on! http://richiesalliance.org

BREAKING: Important updates to this story originally published on Feb. 22, including a candidate calling for Bennett to ...
02/25/2020
Sham endorsement linked to consultant who took thousands from Lynda Bennett campaign

BREAKING: Important updates to this story originally published on Feb. 22, including a candidate calling for Bennett to withdraw from the race.

A Smoky Mountain News investigation into a mysterious handout distributed at polling places during early voting casts serious aspersions on the legitimacy of an endorsement of congressional candidate Lynda Bennett by a previously unknown, hastily formed political action committee with ties to one of...

The generosity of Waynesville farmer Gene Christopher has allowed the Haywood Gleaners to gather, box and deliver more t...
02/25/2020
Generous donation feeds the hungry

The generosity of Waynesville farmer Gene Christopher has allowed the Haywood Gleaners to gather, box and deliver more than 4,000 pounds of apples to the food insecure of Haywood County in the past month.

The generosity of Waynesville farmer Gene Christopher has allowed the Haywood Gleaners to gather, box and deliver more than 4,000 pounds of apples to the food insecure of Haywood County in the past month.  For the past several years, Christopher has allowed the Haywood Gleaners to glean a varie...

Franklin Town Council recently approved purchasing two parcels of land in the downtown area for a total cost of $206,660...
02/25/2020
Council approves purchase of Franklin properties

Franklin Town Council recently approved purchasing two parcels of land in the downtown area for a total cost of $206,660.

Franklin Town Council recently approved purchasing two parcels of land in the downtown area for a total cost of $206,660.  In a 4-1 vote with Councilmember David Culpepper opposing, the town council approved purchasing the former Texaco property at 196 West Palmer Street for $180,000.  “...

Don't forget today is Pancake Day in Waynesville and it's FREE!
02/25/2020
Pancake Day fundraiser free to community

Don't forget today is Pancake Day in Waynesville and it's FREE!

The beloved community fundraiser known as Pancake Day will return Tuesday, Feb. 25, to First United Methodist Church of Waynesville. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the church’s largest fundraiser and also marks the second year the event will be free to community members. In past years, pe...

The schedule for this season’s Classic Hikes of the Smokies series from Friends of the Smokies is now available, with 10...
02/25/2020
Hike the classic trails in 2020

The schedule for this season’s Classic Hikes of the Smokies series from Friends of the Smokies is now available, with 10 guided day hikes planned on the second Tuesday of each month from March to December to help hikers experience the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while raising money to maintain the park’s nearly 900 miles of trails.

The schedule for this season’s Classic Hikes of the Smokies series from Friends of the Smokies is now available, with 10 guided day hikes planned on the second Tuesday of each month from March to December to help hikers experience the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while raising money to main...

Haywood County’s financial position remains strong ahead of talks about next year’s budget, but a host of challenges wil...
02/24/2020
Work begins on Haywood County budget

Haywood County’s financial position remains strong ahead of talks about next year’s budget, but a host of challenges will test commissioners’ resolve to keep spending low and fund balance high.

Haywood County’s financial position remains strong ahead of talks about next year’s budget, but a host of challenges will test commissioners’ resolve to keep spending low and fund balance high.  “We’re meeting our obligations by not spending more than we’re bringing in,” Haywood C...

Mark your calendars!
02/24/2020

Mark your calendars!

In Virginia this month, both the House and Senate passed versions of a bill that would allow for casino gambling in the ...
02/24/2020
Virginia casino bills move forward

In Virginia this month, both the House and Senate passed versions of a bill that would allow for casino gambling in the state, but if those bills are enacted as currently drafted the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will be out of luck on its plan to build a casino near Bristol.

In Virginia last week, both the House and Senate passed versions of a bill that would allow for casino gambling in the state, but if those bills are enacted as currently drafted the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will be out of luck on its plan to build a casino near Bristol.  "The bill a...

“We kind of started outreach as lone wolves doing this, and it worked for a while because we were young, we had a tremen...
02/24/2020
A time for change: Outdoor Mission Camp expands its focus under new name

“We kind of started outreach as lone wolves doing this, and it worked for a while because we were young, we had a tremendous amount of vision, a lot of experience, a lot of capacity ourselves. It could work for a while like that,” said Ruffin. “But as we get older, as our lives change, as the outreach expands, pretty quickly it goes beyond what two people could do or what a host of volunteers could even do.”

Neither Jamie and nor Ruffin Shackleford ever attended summer camp as children, but they believe they were built to lead it.  Jamie first heeded that calling at the tender age of 10, when she invited all the neighborhood 3- and 4-year-olds to attend her three-day-a-week backyard summer camp. Al...

This event will be held this Sunday, March 1 at HART Theatre. Proceeds support the Kiwanis Club of Waynesville, a civic ...
02/24/2020

This event will be held this Sunday, March 1 at HART Theatre. Proceeds support the Kiwanis Club of Waynesville, a civic organization that works hard to give back to the Haywood County community.

The Naturalist's Corner with Don Hendershot
02/23/2020
The Naturalist's Corner: Remember when hope was the thing with feathers?

The Naturalist's Corner with Don Hendershot

Emily Dickinson wrote of that feathered hope in 1861: “Hope is the thing with feathers — That perches in the soul — And sings the tune without the words — And never stops — at all” According to Birdwatching Magazine something else happened in 1861 that had great impact on things with fea...

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Waynesville, NC
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YOGI BERRA LOGIC ENTERS THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN The late deep-thinking philosopher and catcher of the New York Yankees, Yogi Berra, once famously observed about a popular restaurant that: “Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.” A similar logic is seemingly being adopted by some in the Democratic Party Establishment who are getting very nervous about the exploding popularity of Bernie Sanders and the increasing likelihood that he’ll win the Democratic Presidential nomination unless they can stop him. Why do they need to stop him? Well, the reason given publicly is that he’s so popular that he might win the nomination- and they think he’d be a weak candidate against Trump because he describes himself as a Democratic Socialist and “a Socialist can’t win” in the general election. Now, let me first say that I really appreciate Yogi Berra. I actually saw him play when I was a young child and my father would occasionally bring me to a game at Yankee Stadium about 10 city blocks away from where I was born in the Bronx. Yogi was a great catcher and hitter. And he became even more famous for his witticisms such as the aforementioned one that often reveal the humorous ironies of life. But, there are some people, believe it or not, who just don’t get it. They don’t understand this brand of humor. It’s not that they’re stupid or lacking in mental capacity in any way. But, Yogi’s humor and deep philosophical observations on life require a person to step outside his or her normal thinking patterns and accept a different perspective for a moment. For some people this is just asking too much, perhaps because they have so much invested in the prism through which they usually observe the world around them. This same phenomenon seems to be at work in some within the Democratic Party’s Establishment who cannot assimilate the fact that Bernie Sanders, a self-defined Democratic Socialist, is winning the Party’s nomination due to the enormous and growing popularity of his populist platform. Because they have always believed and repeated the mantra that “A Socialist can’t win in America”, they cannot bring themselves to recognize the reality that a Democrat Socialist is winning. There is denial about the fact that throughout his long political career spanning more than 40 years, Sanders has garnered the largest electoral victories of any Senator in the nation, achieving between 65-72% of the vote, always including more than 20% of the REPUBLICAN vote, which is unheard of and far beyond the reach of any other Democratic senator. And, by the way, as a self-described Democratic-Socialist in a small rural state that is actually historically conservative and Republican, he first entered Congress by soundly defeating an incumbent conservative Republican, in 1990. There are strong indications Bernie’s widespread and deep popularity that has so often cut across traditional political boundaries in Vermont, is also at play on the national level, despite the self-imposed label of “Democratic Socialist” that opponents have so unsuccessfully attempted to use against him in the past. This is perhaps because, as political scientists will often acknowledge, especially when it comes to Presidential elections, many, if not most voters primarily focus on the perceived personal character of the candidates, rather than on the issues or political labeling. There is simply no other candidate in the nation who can match the character references in Bernie’s resume, including his vast, long-respected reputation for honesty, integrity, consistency and overall authenticity. His colleagues in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, refer to him as the most honest person in Washington. Now, Bernie’s remarkable political career and history is a matter of public record and available for anyone to research. It’s no secret; nor is evidence of his current popularity. For the past 5 years, Bernie has defeated Trump in virtually every national public opinion poll in which the two are directly matched; most by a wide margin. This leads me to believe there are two possible, non-compatible conclusions that can be reached about the continued insistence by the Democratic Establishment that Bernie can’t win against Trump in the November election. The first possible conclusion is they just don’t have the emotional capacity to acknowledge the Yogi Berra-type irony of what they’re saying: essentially that we must stop him because he’s too popular and no one will vote for a Democratic Socialist in November (No one goes there anymore because it’s too crowded). The second possible conclusion is much more cynical, but I’m afraid perhaps closer to the truth. The heavily corporate-money-influenced Democratic Establishment is not trying to stop Bernie Sanders from gaining the nomination because they are afraid he can’t win in November. They are trying to stop him because they are afraid he will win in November. After Sanders overwhelming victory in the Nevada caucus on February 22 (that far exceeded all the polling expectations), on the birthday of George Washington, the leader of the first American Revolution, it’s easy to anticipate the barrage of attacks that will appear in the mainstream news media against Bernie, attempting to frighten the public into stopping the momentum now materializing. The corporatist wing of the Democratic Party will join the chorus by attempting in a probably futile effort to coalesce around one of the “centrist” candidates who will rail against the dangers of Socialism, comparing Bernie to Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro and Venezuela President Maduro in a frenzy of illogical and false associations. But, I believe the truth will prevail in the more accurate comparisons to Gandhi, M.L. King and Nelson Mandela. Meanwhile the battle cry of the establishment can already be heard echoing over the airwaves and throughout the internet in the spirit of Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!” So true.
One of the things I love most about Bernie Sanders is his courage to speak his truth regardless of who his audience may be. He never panders or dilutes his message. To remove any doubt about this, here he is giving an incredibly powerful speech before the student body of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, Lynchburg VA, in September of 2015,
Now that Bernie Sanders is favored to win the Democratic nomination, it's time to dispel the negative mythology about Democratic Socialism and what it means. Nobody does that better than Sanders himself in this speech he gave at Georgetown University in 2015.
Voters don't necessarily line up as expected if "Centrists" drop out in an attempt to coalesce in an Anti-Bernie campaign. Looks like Bernie still wins.
Former Senator Nina Turner is brilliant and powerful. She articulates the movement like no other:
If you have a problem with profanity you probably won't want to watch this. But, this hilarious commentary on the Iowa caucus debacle would be even funnier if all the facts were not real about the business connections entangled in this mess.
I am get news updates. I just made a mistake. Sorry.
I'm not getting the new news articles. Last I got was Jan. 29th.
To me everything seems different in the Smokies. So I was thinking of how the moon shines on those mountains and I decided to write a poem about the different full moon names. Anyway here is the poem: Moon O’er Gatlinburg Wolf moon o’er Gatlinburg Emitting an eerie glow Snow moon o’er Gatlinburg As the cold winter winds blow Worm moon o’er Gatlinburg Beaming on the thawing ground Pink moon o’er Gatlinburg As spring colors burst all around Flower moon o’er Gatlinburg Signaling the month of May Strawberry moon o’er Gatlinburg As summer moves in to stay Buck moon o’er Gatlinburg Winking while new antlers sprout Harvest moon o’er Gatlinburg As summer slowly bows out Beaver moon o’er Gatlinburg Gleaming with longer chilly nights Cold moon o’er Gatlinburg As ice and snow cover the heights Blue moon o’er Gatlinburg Seemingly shining out of place Black moon o’er Gatlinburg Unwilling to uncover its face. Written by Michael Tollison 01/31/2020 https://www.facebook.com/Godmountainsandlife/