Smoky Mountain News | May 1, 2024

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14 Cicada emergence offers scientific opportunity Page 30 Western North Carolina’s Source for Weekly News, Entertainment, Arts, and Outdoor Information May 1-7, 2024 Vol. 25 Iss. 49 New public defender office to defend the indigent

On the Cover:

North Carolina’s race for governor has gained national attention with many feeling that Republican Mark Robinson may be problematic enough to affect other races across the ballot, while Democrat Josh Stein is trying follow the footsteps of his predecessor, Gov. Roy Cooper, and move from the Attorney General’s office to the Governor’s Mansion.


Highway marker, exhibit to honor victims of incarcerated labor............................4

Rep. Edwards sanctioned for abusing communications standards ....................5 WNC gets new public defender office ......................................................................14

Macon still waiting on NCHSAA decision ................................................................16

Sylva extends term limits on local boards..................................................................17 Community Almanac........................................................................................................19


Pray for the best, prepare for the worst......................................................................20 Local food is the best choice........................................................................................21


Validation within the process: Sawdust + Me opens in Waynesville................22 Airing of the Quilts Comes to Jackson County........................................................28


Cicada emergence offers rare community science opportunity..........................30

Notes From a Plant Nerd: What a Lark......................................................................34

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C ONTRIBUTING: Jeff Minick (writing), Susanna Shetley (writing), Adam Bigelow (writing), Thomas Crowe (writing)


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May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News 2 CONTENTS
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The Cowee 19

Highway marker, exhibit to honor victims of incarcerated labor

Two projects will come to fruition this month that honor the lives of those who were victims of incarcerated labor in Western North Carolina during the Jim Crow era — a highway marker in Dillsboro, and an exhibit at the Mountain Heritage Center in Cullowhee.

“This story really needed to be told and brought to the community,” said Danielle Duffy, graduate student and guest curator at the Mountain Heritage Center.

The Jackson County branch of the NAACP recently proposed and wrote the copy for a historical highway marker to recognize the Cowee 19 — 19 incarcerated laborers who drowned in late December of 1882 building the Cowee train tunnel on the Murphy Branch of the Western North Carolina Railroad.

“[The NAACP] did the heavy lifting,” said Duffy. “They did the research, they applied for it and got the highway marker accepted.”

During that time frame, Duffy had proposed that an exhibit be set up in the Mountain Heritage Center about the Cowee 19, the incarcerated labor system and convict leasing. Because of that work, the NAACP asked Duffy and her team to take over the dedication event for the highway marker, which will precede the opening of the Mountain Heritage Center exhibit by just two days.

“The Mountain Heritage Center is a resource for the entire area when it comes to heritage or history or these kinds of cultural aspects,” said Duffy. “So, it fit really well within this organization.”

The highway marker will serve to recognize not just the Cowee 19, but also incarcerated laborers more broadly as well.

The practice of leasing prisoners, many of whom were sentenced for minor crimes and were disproportionately Black, was common in North Carolina and other states following the Civil War. The state cashed in on the labor of prisoners by employing them on public and private works projects and leased them out to farms and companies engaged in infrastructure projects.

According to a state press release on the highway marker, from 1870-90, an average of 65% of the state’s prison population was used to build the Western North Carolina Railroad, opening a more efficient method of transporting travelers and supplies into Asheville and locations further west.

“The brutality and racial inequity of the convict labor leasing system in North Carolina was illustrated by the December 1882 Cowee Tunnel disaster, in which 19 Black men drowned near Dillsboro,” the Historical Highway Program acknowledged in a press release. “A boat carrying

them across the Tuckasegee River capsized, and the prisoners, shackled with leg irons, were unable to swim to shore.”

The use of incarcerated labor to build railroads and other infrastructure projects continued well into the 20th century. By 1933, road construction and maintenance and incarcerated labor were so closely linked that the North Carolina General Assembly consolidated the state’s prison system and the highway commission. This continued until their separation in 1957.

The commemorative sign will read “Incarcerated Laborers: Many arrested under Jim Crow laws; leased from the state to build WNC Railroad. Many died, including 19 who drowned near Cowee Tunnel, 1882.”

The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker program has been operating since 1935 to share concise accounts of North Carolina’s history. There are over 1,600 markers statewide — the familiar looking silver and black plaques with a few sentences and the state seal — that cover a broad range of topics.

However, the rest of the community can join in the ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday at Innovation Station in Dillsboro. There will be live music by Liberty Baptist Church choir, remarks by Leslie Leonard, head of the historical highway marker program, Danielle Duffy and others.

Duffy is a graduate student at Western Carolina University in the history department focusing on public history. She is the guest curator of the upcoming exhibit “Shadows of Incarceration: The Cowee 19 Story,” that will be on display at the Mountain Heritage Center from May 6 through Dec. 13. The exhibit examines the lives of the individuals from across North Carolina that were trapped by the early Jim Crow judicial system and forced to work and sacrifice for the creation of the New South.

“The exhibit is a project that I started working on a number of years ago stemming from a class assignment to write a historical site nomination. I chose to do the prison labor camp, the tunnel, the trestle bridge and the approximate burial ground as a historical nominated site,” said Duffy. “Through that work, I really felt that this story needed to be told and brought to the community.”

Duffy had heard these stories, as many WNC residents have, swirling around in the community consciousness, but she felt like it needed something bigger. Something that the community and the people could interact with.

Duffy conducted research at the graduate school with the help of grants and came up with the concept for the exhibit in coordination with the Mountain Heritage Center and community stakeholders that included members of the local NAACP, other professors on campus, businesses in the Sylva area, Appalachian artist and storyteller Ann Miller Woodford and others.

The exhibit will open May 6 with an opening event on May 23 that will include an artist talk with Woodford who created an interpretive painting for the exhibit.

“We don’t have any imagery of the Cowee prison labor camp, of any of the incarcerated laborers on the Murphy branch of the Western North Carolina Railroad,” said Duffy. “So, we partnered with [Woodford] to create that imagery for us.”

This type of work and research has long been a passion for Duffy, who says that recognizing the lives of these individuals and trying to understand their human situation is of paramount importance to her.

“It’s really exciting for me to be able to create something that I hope the community can take something away from, and that can open their eyes to why we have the criminal justice system that we have today,” said Duffy. “My hope is that this work reflects not only the community that we live in, and the morals that we hold, but brings some kind of deeper understanding to where we are today.”

Want to go?

A ceremony for the unveiling of the highway marker commemorating incarcerated laborers and the Cowee 19 will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Innovation Station in Dillsboro.

“Shadows of Incarceration: The Cowee 19 Story,” will be on display May 6 through Dec. 13 at the Mountain Heritage Center in Cullowhee, with a grand opening to be held May 23.

The program is intended to spark interest and encourage deeper exploration of North Carolina history, both good and bad, tragic and heroic.

This new marker in Dillsboro will be officially unveiled on Saturday, May 4, at the intersection of U.S. 23/441 and Haywood Road. Because this is a busy intersection, the event at that location is open on an invite-only basis.

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News news 4
Cowee Tunnel, pictured here in the 1890s, was constructed using incarcerated laborers. Courtesy of Western Carolina University Hunter Library Special Collections The Cowee 19 were working to construct the Cowee tunnel when they drowned in the Tuckasegee River (above). Incarcerated laborers built much of the Western North Carolina Railroad, including the trestle bridge near Dillsboro (right). Braulio Fonseca photo

Busted: WNC Rep. Chuck Edwards sanctioned for abusing communications standards

Western North Carolina Congressman Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) has been unanimously sanctioned by the bipartisan House Communications Standards Commission for violating federal law and the rules of the House of Representatives, according to a press release issued by the Henderson County Democratic Party — the group that filed the complaint on March 13.

An April 24 letter from the ranking member and the chair of the Commission to HCDP chair Leslie Carey “found substantial reason to believe a violation occurred” and that “penalties against the office” had been issued.

The letter didn’t say what those penalties were, but pursuant to the House Communications Standards Division rules, he’s likely to face only a written warning and mandatory training, as it’s his first offense. Subsequent violations will result in the suspension of privileges.

the Commission, Carey disagreed with the decision and seemed satisfied with the results of her latest effort to hold Edwards accountable for his abuses.

“It is our belief that the commission improperly dismissed our first complaint, but we are gratified that they found merit in our recent complaint and sanctioned Chuck Edwards for his egregious violations,” Carey said.

Edwards, currently running for his second term against Asheville Democratic state Rep. Caleb Rudow, did not respond to a request by The Smoky Mountain News for comment.

The violation in the complaint stems from allegations that email newsletters sent out by Edwards in May, June, July and December of 2023 included personal attacks and disparaging comments about President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Such political attacks are prohibited in official communications. The Commission’s vote was 6-0.

“Edwards should have been aware of those prohibitions,” said Carey.

The sanctions come after a previous, unsuccessful complaint filed by the Henderson County Democratic Party earlier this year, alleging Edwards abused the taxpayer-funded franking system when he disparaged Asheville and its Democratic officials in a series of mailers.

Although that complaint was dismissed by

Jackson County man sentenced on drug and gun charges

U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced John Allen Wise, 45, of Cashiers, to 121 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for distribution of methamphetamine and illegal possession of firearms, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

According to court documents, Wise was on court-ordered supervised release after serving a term of imprisonment on a federal drug conviction. On Aug. 5, 2022, law enforcement with the U.S. Probation Office and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrived at Wise’s residence to

“This is part of a larger pattern of multimillionaire, D.C. insider elites like Chuck Edwards breaking the rules for personal gain,” Rudow said. “Instead of focusing on serving constituents in WNC, he disregarded well-known prohibitions and abused the power of his office to score political points.”

Hendersonville attorney Bruce Macdonald authored both of the complaints against Edwards, which were filed by Carey on behalf of the HCDP.

“No one is above the law, as Chuck Edwards often says, and of course that includes him. He should stop attacking the Biden family in these illegal newsletters and spend more time working on the issues that really matter to his constituents,” Carey said. “He needs to do two things to make this right with the voters of the 11th District: acknowledge his error, and assure his constituents that it will not happen again. That certainly is not too much to ask for a breach of the public trust.”

arrest him on a supervised release violation warrant and to conduct a planned search. Law enforcement encountered Wise sitting on his front porch with a small bag containing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Law enforcement proceeded to search the residence, seizing fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine, digital scales and items consistent with drug distribution, a loaded semiautomatic pistol and multiple rounds of ammunition. Wise’s criminal conviction prohibits him from possessing firearms and ammunition.

On April 24, 2023, Wise pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Wise is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

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Chuck Edwards. File photo


Robinson, Stein offer competing visions of the future in North Carolina

They couldn’t be more different. But it’s not about race, religion or party affiliation.

Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, and Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, a Republican, present strikingly different views not only on their priorities if elected governor but also on the 30,000-foot view of what North Carolina is and will be.

For North Carolina to truly exist as its Latin motto implies, not just in appearance but in substance, Stein and Robinson will have to engage in a precarious balancing act — not one of right versus left, but instead one considering myriad complexities that define the state.

It’s about the east and the coast. The Triangle and the tribes. The mountains and the west. It’s about small towns and big corporations. It’s about workers and businesses. It’s about teachers and parents and taxes and services and grappling with the growth that is both a blessing and a curse.

Ultimately, how these individuals with such contrasting personalities and perspectives tackle these shared issues will shape a new era in one of the nation’s most politically nuanced states, precisely when it stands at the crossroads of transformation.

out in Raleigh next year will likely be the sole determinant of what the state looks like, policy-wise, for the better part of the next decade. In the rural west, where poverty gazes up at million-dollar mountaintop mansions, local governments look to Raleigh for out-of-reach resources, but there’s always been a sinking feeling that Charlotte and the Triangle — even Asheville — get far more than their fair share. One of the best and most recent examples is the conversion of the old Haywood Hospital to affordable housing for seniors and veterans. Despite logging multiple perfect scores, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency for years rejected tax credit applications for the project, causing the county to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on continued maintenance as the building sat rotting amid an affordable housing crisis.

Robinson said by phone April 18 that he doesn’t necessarily think the west always winds up with the short end of the stick, and he does have a point; witness Macon County Republican Sen. Kevin Corbin’s recent $62 million haul for a new Franklin High School, as well as the substantial inflows secured by the rest of Western North Carolina’s legislative delegation last year. Much of that money, however, isn’t earmarked for growth but rather for rebuilding from a pair of disasters in Haywood County. Deadly flooding cut a half-billion dollar swath of destruction in 2021, and the closing of Pactiv Evergreen’s Canton paper mill left more visceral wounds on the families of a thousand workers in 2023.

“We all know that each part of the state, whether it be the east, whether it be the west, the middle or the coast, they all face different challenges,” said Robinson. “But I think we have the ability now to start the

“We have to be focused on making sure that people are doing well — that we’re building the economy from the bottom up and the middle out. Because the people at the top are already doing well and we have to make sure the economy works for everybody.”

— Josh Stein

Stein finds himself in a bit of a conundrum. Polls — if they can be believed — show him with a lead over Robinson, but if Stein wins, his agenda will be largely reliant on the composition of the General Assembly. Currently, Republicans hold a veto-proof supermajority. If they maintain it, Stein’s only political currency will be advocacy and admonition.

“What I tell folks is, we’ve got to make sure that we focus on electing a Democratic governor and breaking the supermajority so that we have balance in state government because right now, we don’t have balance,” Stein told The Smoky Mountain News during an interview in Canton on April 16.

Robinson, on the other hand, would enjoy what most believe will still be a solid Republican majority in both chambers after November’s election, hastening the implementation of his goals.

Whoever wins, how those dynamics play

process in earnest of starting to meet those challenges, make those investments and start that growth.”

Still, it’s hard to ignore the steady stream of press releases from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office touting economic development victories anywhere but the far west — 157 construction services jobs and $40 million in investments in Chatham County, 113 manufacturing jobs and $27 million in Rockingham County, 58 warehouse jobs and $31 million in Catawba County, 400 pharma jobs and $371 million in Wilson County, 680 biopharmaceutical jobs and $1.2 billion in investments in Wake County and most recently 908 green energy jobs and $294 million in Pitt County.

The west’s only recent economic development news came in March, when Cooper announced Duotech Services would create 95 jobs and a $6.5 million investment in Macon County. That’s a F

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News news 6
Josh Stein has served two terms as North Carolina’s attorney general. Jeffrey Delannoy photo

welcome expansion of an existing business, but not exactly an addition of a new business. With a number of economic development sites still sitting vacant in Western North Carolina, there remain significant questions over whether western sites are being marketed as aggressively as those elsewhere.

“I do think that we can do a much better job,” Robinson said. “I know in the legislature, we talk a lot about ‘megasites,’ which are 1,000 acres or more. The legislature did make provisions for what’s called ‘selectsites.’ I believe those selectsites, which are sites of less than 1,000 acres, are going to be very beneficial to the western part of the state.”

The megasites are all in the eastern and southeastern part of the state, although some of that has to do with topography. Selectsites are smaller but still suitable for major manufacturing. The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina is currently reviewing RFPs for selectsites and is expected to make recommendations in May, but the program is likely worthless to the far west. The 50-acre minimum requirement eliminates nearly all established sites west of Asheville, and the need for “an established price and terms for the sale or lease of the property” eliminates the former paper mill site in Canton, which is still owned by Pactiv — and they’re not talking.

Despite the best of intentions, the state’s economic development incentivization programs don’t appear to be working for the west.

“We all know that each part of the state, whether it be the east, whether it be the west, the middle or the coast, they all face different challenges. But I think we have the ability now to start the process in earnest of starting to meet those challenges, make those investments and start that growth.”

“This system is designed to reward the lower-tier counties, the ones that are harder to recruit into, so that they get a higher incentive,” Stein said. “We have to constantly evaluate and make sure that we have the equation right, that we’re properly incentivizing the areas that are harder to reach.”

Part of that system is the tiered economic distress ranking system used by the North Carolina Department of Commerce to designate which counties get more resources. For 2024, Buncombe and Henderson counties are the only tier-3 (most prosperous) counties in the entire region. Cherokee and Graham counties are tier 1 (most distressed), and everything between them is tier 2. In the past, some have called for the system to be more granular — there are big economic differences between Swain County and Haywood County, both tier 2 — to better reflect the schism between the haves and have nots. Stein reiterated his opinion that the state should “always be constantly rewriting all of our incentive programs, to make sure they are achieving what it is we want them to do.”

Lately, presenting an enticing economic development atmosphere has become something of a two-sided coin.

In 2022 and 2023, CNBC ranked North Carolina the best state in which to do business, citing strong performance in the workforce, the economy, technology and innovation. In 2022, international nonprofit network OxFam ranked North Carolina as the worst state in which to work, citing wage policy, worker protection and right to organize.

Stein feels the Republican supermajority hasn’t been focused on working families and calls for an increase in the minimum wage, as well as a tax cut that appears similar to

the Pandemic-era expanded tax credit that reverted to the pre-expansion $2,000 in 2022. He says his signature “working families tax cut” plan would be worth about $500 per child.

“We have to be focused on making sure that people are doing well — that we’re building the economy from the bottom up and the middle out,” he said. “Because the people at the top are already doing well and we have to make sure the economy works for everybody.”

Robinson, who has blue-collar credentials, presents a bottom-up solution to contrast Stein’s top-down approach to

economic justice and some sense of symmetry for the workers who actually produce the wealth.

“We are putting a real emphasis right now in places like our community colleges and our high schools, on real workforce development, not just guiding people towards trying to find a ‘job,’ but actually getting our young people and our adults focused on building careers,” Robinson said. “I really want to start getting folks to be focused on building a great career and having a great skill that will allow you to build a

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News news 7
Mark Robinson is nearing the end of his first term as lieutenant governor. Facebook photo

career. I think that will change a lot of those perceptions, and quite frankly, a lot of statistics that we may see.”

Some of the most disturbing statistics, for working families at least, come out of the regional and local housing markets, making economic development even more challenging. Off-record comments made by some in the economic development community suggest the affordable housing crisis doesn’t just affect those who are already here, but those who may move to the region. If workers can’t afford to live where their employer needs them, the jobs won’t come — no matter how inviting the Western North Carolina views and brews may be. Canopy Realtor Association says the average home sales price in Haywood County for February was $425,000, while the U.S. Census bureau says the individual median income as of 2022 was $32,533. A 30-year fixed mortgage of $425,000 at 5% interest with 10% down would cost $33,540 a year. Jackson County’s 2022 individual median income was $27,669, with a February average home price of $391,500. Swain County’s 2022 individual median income was $28,063, with a February average home price of $394,400.

“State government has a role to play in sparking more housing construction,” Stein said, in line with those who believe skyrocketing prices are mostly a supply issue. “What the state can do is create programs to reward local governments that make it easy for more housing to be developed. If a local government creates rules that stimulate the construction of more housing, then we can help pay for some of that cost.”

take a look at ways where we can ease restrictions. Quite frankly, we’re going to have to get municipalities to buy in with this as well.”

Any state funding associated with municipal cost-share incentives would come as the General Assembly continues its march toward reducing personal income taxes and eliminating corporate taxes by 2030. Personal income taxes have and will continue to decrease each year, from 7.75% in 2013 to 3.99% in 2026. In his final budget, Cooper last week asked that the corporate rate remain at 2.5% despite scheduled decreases in each of the next five years. Although the cuts are part of the reason North Carolina’s business climate is thriving, some worry they pave the way toward an unsustainable future and eliminate any equilibrium between manageable taxes and robust public services. But not Robinson.

“The more money we allow the people to keep in their pockets, the more money they will invest in themselves, their families, their businesses. I think revenue will rise instead of fall. There were a lot of naysayers who said revenue would go through the basement,” he said. “It hasn’t.”

Projections by the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, an independent nonpartisan nonprofit not affiliated with state government, suggest that it eventually will, with a $10 billion decrease in revenues before the end of the decade and $13 billion by fiscal year 2031. There’s no way to write around that hole in a $35 billion budget without, in some cases, drastic cuts to services.

“We’re 49th in the country in what we invest in K-12 [schools] as a share of our state’s economy. A total disgrace.

money on vouchers so families can choose to send their children to sectarian private schools that discriminate based on religion, and charter schools where only half of teachers need to be licensed. Recently, the General Assembly put $300 million of public money toward these vouchers and is now exploring an additional $300 million, while public school teachers rank 36th in the nation for pay.

“I believe that we can cut our state school budget. I don’t think it needs to be grown,” Robinson said. “I think it needs to be slashed. But when I say slash, I don’t mean redirected from education, I mean redirected to education.”

At the top of that list, Robinson said, is teacher pay, but only after eliminating what he calls unneeded spending.

“Many of the dollars that we spend in education right now are on bureaucrats and much of the money that we spend on unnecessary things should be directly taken from those things and put right into future salaries,” he said. “I tell people all the time, teachers are not paid well, they’re not respected and they’re not protected. If we’re not doing those three basic things for our teachers, we can’t ask much more of them.”

Residents of the far west invariably see their fortunes rise and fall based on statewide trends in governance, but they’re also beset with a number of other local economic development challenges unique to the region, many centering on the hulking husk of a once-proud paper mill that stood at the heart of Canton for more than a century.

During a March 6, 2023, employee meet-

The National Association of Homebuilders — credible, but with an obvious lean — said in 2021 that development and construction regulations together account for as much as 24% of the cost of a new home. If that’s remotely accurate, Robinson’s approach is also worth exploring further.

“Much of what you see in housing, the rising cost of houses, is due to overburdensome regulation. That cost is then passed on down to the homeowner or to the renters,” he said. “We are definitely going to have to

through the end of 2024.

The mill has stopped producing paper but continues to produce environmental violations; Pactiv has received 22 notices of violation from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since May 2021 and seven since the mill closed last June, an average of about 1.3 per month.

Local leaders are looking for both accountability and advancement.

“We need to make sure that we use everything at our disposal to hold companies accountable for bad performance that really costs our folks in our communities,” Robinson said. “I was the person who had the rug pulled out from under me in a place called High Point, but fortunately, I was with a company that did everything right. It sounds like this company did everything wrong. Those are the companies that we need to go after full force with whatever we can, to make sure that they pay the penance for what they’ve done.”

A lawsuit by the attorney general over the terms of the grant has yet to be filed, leading some to speculate that the threat of suit is being used as a bargaining chip to wrest control of the site from Pactiv so it can be placed back into productive use. Stein refused to elaborate on that theory, saying simply, “We want to be part of the solution.” One thing, however, is certain — Stein won’t be North Carolina’s attorney general after this election. While he could use his influence as governor to press Pactiv, any forthcoming suit will largely be dependent on which congressman, Republican Dan Bishop or Democrat Jeff Jackson, wins the AG election. Both Bishop and Jackson told The Smoky Mountain News in January that they would continue to hold Pactiv responsible for their obligations if elected.

“Whoever the Attorney General is, their job is to represent the state and our interests,” said Stein, who’s served in the role for eight years. “And if a company has a contract with the state and violates that contract and enforcement needs to happen in court, that is the role of the attorney general, and I’m confident that will happen no matter what happens in terms of the election.”

Instead, Stein’s role as governor would likely mirror Cooper’s and build upon the dialogue Stein has already had with Pactiv and local leaders.

Meanwhile, instead of investing more money in public schools, [Republicans] want to essentially dry up state funding by creating a $13 billion hole if all of their tax cuts go into effect,” Stein said. “That is not sustainable, and It’s not in our long-term interest. We should not be cutting taxes on wealthy people at the same time we starve our public schools, which is the primary way for regular folks to have an opportunity to have a better life for their kids.”

It’s estimated that by 2032, the state will also spend a half a billion dollars of taxpayer

ing, Pactiv brass told workers out of the blue that within three months, their high-paying union jobs would be gone. They didn’t notify local elected officials and didn’t notify their health insurance carrier, but executives did dump more than $660,000 in stock less than a week before the announcement and then asked the county for a tax break on their 185-acre parcel. They also, according to Cooper and Stein, violated the terms of a 2014 economic development agreement that sent the company $12 million for upgrades by failing to maintain at least 800 jobs

“In dealing with Pactiv there have been many, many, many conversations that have been happening with the town, the county, the governor’s office and my office about possible solutions and opportunities for that property,” Stein said. “And what we want to do is be part of that solution. I will not hesitate to hold Pactiv Evergreen accountable for its failure to live up to its promises to the state when it accepted that $12 million, but I also want to be part of the solution, so I’m hoping those conversations bear fruit.”

Robinson presented an aggressive posture on protecting the state and the regional workforce from Pactiv’s actions and inactions, but didn’t issue an outright call for the suit to be filed.

“You know, those things are oftentimes

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News news 8
The future of the Pactiv Evergreen paper mill in Canton remains uncertain. A Shot Above photo

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very tricky. I certainly would love to know that everything is being done to investigate that and to see if we could go down that that route. If we can, it certainly would be a great thing if we do,” he said. “But again, this is not something that we should lay back on our laurels on. I think the governor, the attorney general, this should be a top priority for them because I can remember the day when I lost that job that I desperately needed, through no fault of my own, and I can remember the financial turmoil. We have a lot of folks out there that are going through that right now, and I think the governor and the attorney general need to keep that in mind and pursue every remedy necessary. And I can assure you, if I was the governor, I certainly would be.”

Weighing Pactiv’s property rights against the general welfare of the far west is tricky business indeed, but the tenor of those closed-session conversations taking place in Canton, in Raleigh and in Lake Forest, Illinois — Pactiv’s American headquarters — should also be of concern to taxpayers across the state burdened with an aftermath that reaches far beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. Thus far, General Assembly appropriations to plug Canton’s budget holes and to provide for a new municipal wastewater treatment plant have topped $42 million, not counting untold millions more from the state’s unemployment system. If the parcel languishes, those numbers can only go up.

“I want to work with the town, work with the county, and make sure that Canton is well positioned for success over the long term,” Stein said. “That is a huge parcel of land that has incredible potential if it gets redeveloped the right way. I want to be part of helping this community solve that issue for itself.”

house — have brushed off assaults on their independence but still face unprecedented challenges to their business model as the result of state legislation.

“The Cherokee are an incredible economic driver in Western North Carolina and have played an incredibly positive role, not only for its tribal members in terms of

mobile sports betting earlier this year can’t be good for the tribe, which opened its own sports betting facility in March 2021. Since Harrah’s Cherokee Casino opened in 1997, a competitor has opened in King’s Mountain, and there’s talk of more. Stein believes there are “more durable, more sustainable” forms of economic development than casinos, but bringing harmony to tribal interests and those of the state as a whole will be a concern for the state’s next governor either way.

“I think you have to do a cost-benefit analysis whenever you are making a decision like that,” Robinson said. “There was a great call across the state, from folks all over, and not just the folks in the legislature. It was a very hot issue. We certainly don’t want to do anything to damage our Cherokee friends, but at the same time, we have to take into account that competition is a thing that exists in a capitalist society. It’s one of those things where you just have to say, you know, this is all about competition.”

Canton isn’t the only Western North Carolina community looking to solve issues for itself; over the past few years, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians — a sovereign nation that has developed into a casino-fueled economic development power-

the quality of the healthcare system and the educational system, but for employing people all across the western part of the state, so I’m grateful to the Cherokee for their leadership,” Stein said.

On the state level, the legalization of

That being said, Cherokee is now competing with other states that have ended prohibition on medicinal and recreational cannabis and has invested heavily in its own tribal cannabis enterprise, growing and retailing all manner of cannabis products. But last September, Congressman Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) attacked the tribe by threatening to withhold federal funding just prior to 70% of its enrolled members voting to pass the ballot initiatives that made the cannabis sales possible.

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News news 10
The expansion of gambling — both casino and mobile sports betting — remains a controversial issue. File photo

Now, the Cherokee cannabis initiative is reigniting larger questions about the plant’s place in North Carolina. Last year, more bills in the General Assembly proposed taxing and regulating the adult use of medicinal and recreational cannabis, but they’ve gone nowhere despite the nine-figure tax receipts collected by other states.

“I’m very much open to studying the idea of legal recreational cannabis, because right now, you can go to almost any convenience store and buy delta 8, delta 9, and it’s unregulated,” Stein said. “They can sell to children, it’s potent, nobody has any idea what’s in it, so I want to make sure that kids are protected. But we need to have a stakeholder process where all the voices get heard before that happens.”

Robinson bluntly stated that he is not in favor of recreational cannabis, but that he struggles with the issue of medicinal cannabis, which Stein supports.

Mexico, eventually to cross America’s southern border. Stein had worked with former WNC Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon) on the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act, which imposed prescribing limits on physicians, but a similar strategy isn’t possible with fentanyl because prescription abuse isn’t the real problem. Stein said he’s called upon the Biden administration to put more pressure on China and Mexico and will attend a roundtable with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a component of the Executive Office of the President, later this month in Morganton. Stein’s also put together a task force of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to coordinate efforts and spark new ideas on what can be done, while asking the General Assembly to fund a fentanyl control unit to provide assistance to local district attorneys because cases are time consuming and complicated. Robinson’s two-prong approach involves

“I have a couple of personal friends who found themselves dealing with cancer,” Robinson said. “They both told me that the thing that brought them through it was medical marijuana. I struggle with it because I’m afraid of what it may lead to. I do not like the idea of recreational marijuana, but I’m afraid if we open that door for medical use that is going to lead to recreational. But I can tell you this — many people think I’m a closed-minded person. I am not. I am ready and willing to have that conversation with well-meaning people who want to find a great solution to that issue, and everything will be on the table to take a look at … because this is an issue that is not going to disappear.”

Although Robinson’s top priority is the economy, he likes to say that the economy is supported by five pillars — housing, infrastructure, health care, public education and public safety.

“If you do not have any of those pieces, if any of those pieces are weak,” he said, “your economy is going to be weak.”

Public safety concerns in the west have long focused on illegal drugs. First it was opioids, now it’s deadly fentanyl made with Chinese precursor chemicals first shipped to

“I have a couple of personal friends who found themselves dealing with cancer. They both told me that the thing that brought them through it was medical marijuana. I struggle with it because I’m afraid of what it may lead to.”
— Mark Robinson

heavy emphasis on securing the southern border, and on giving law enforcement the tools to be proactive, rather than reactive. Both candidates support increasing funding to the state’s overworked criminal justice system, adding more judges, more courts and more courtroom time. Both also realize that reducing drug demand through educa-



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Recent action by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have thrust legal cannabis — both recreational and medicinal — back into the spotlight. File photo
May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News news 12

tion is critical, and both want to help with a push from western counties — through their legislative delegation of Corbin and representatives Mike Clampitt (R-Swain), Karl Gillespie (R-Macon) and Mark Pless (R-Haywood) — to pool opioid settlement money won by Stein and other state attorneys general in a nationwide class-action suit on a badly-needed inpatient treatment center for the west. A requested capital allocation in the tens of millions didn’t materialize from the General Assembly last session, leaving the proposed collaborative center dead in the water, for now.

Stein said the settlement is structured so that 85% of the money goes to counties, and 15% goes to the state. He supports using that 15% to fund similar endeavors. Robinson isn’t sure on how it would be funded exactly, but recognizes the need and supports the idea.

“ doesn’t matter who you are, we’re going to protect your constitutional rights and protect your absolute right to declare yourself whoever you are, however you are, whether that be your religious preference or your sexual preference. No law will be passed in this state that will stand in the way of that, and we will protect people’s constitutional rights.”

“One of the problems when you talk about rehabilitation when it comes to drugs, or another big one, when you talk about mental health, the question is always who is going to pay for it? Lots of these folks are some of the poorest people in our society who don’t have the resources to be able to afford the very treatment they need to save their lives,” he said. “What I think we’re going to have to do is, we’re going to have to talk to private entities and we’re going to have to put our heads together with those folks to bring some solutions.”

Stein and Robinson hold predictable positions on most major issues based on their party affiliations and even see small strips of common ground in places, albeit

with different paths leading them there. Robinson’s messaging, though, has been somewhat overshadowed by the very thing that propelled him to prominence prior to 2020 — his mouth.

That Robinson is outspoken on social issues is an understatement. He’s said rainbow pride flags flying on churches make him “sick.” Transgender people who use public restrooms should be arrested, he said, or defecate “outside.” He thinks straight couples are “superior” to LGBTQ+ partnerships, and that they’re all “maggots.”

“The voters have an incredibly stark choice when it comes to this election in November,” Stein said. “Two competing visions — mine is forward-looking and inclusive. It’s about tapping the potential of every person. Mark Robinson is divisive and hateful. He calls gay people worse than maggots. He mocked school shooting survivors. He wants to defund public schools and ban abortion entirely. He denies the 2020 election results. He denies the climate crisis. He even denies the Holocaust. I am committed to denying him the governorship in North Carolina.”

If that happens, Stein would be the first Jewish governor of North Carolina.

In March, the New York Times went so far as to call Robinson, who would be North Carolina’s first Black governor, an antisemite — a charge he vehemently denies.

“That is a ridiculous assessment. Look, one month after the attack on Israel, one month after that attack, I not only stood up in front of the entire state and stood with Israel, I actually got on an airplane, flew there and stood in Israel with Israeli people,” Robinson said. “My support of the Israeli people is solid, my support of the Jewish faith is solid. It comes from my faith, and for somebody to make those statements, it’s just blatantly false.”

In a state that’s essentially 50-50 politically — Trump won here by just 1.6% in 2020 — rank-and-file Republicans have wondered aloud whether Robinson’s rhetoric would be a drag on the entire ticket, depressing Republican votes in congressional races, the council of state, maybe even on down to state legislators or county commissioners. As far back as Robinson’s Primary Election against State Treasurer Dale Folwell, many Republicans felt that Folwell couldn’t beat Robinson but could beat Stein, while simultaneously feeling like Robinson could beat Folwell but not Stein. After losing the Primary by more than 45 percentage points, Folwell told a Charlotte television station he has no plans to endorse Robinson. There’s no telling what effect Robinson’s close relationship with indicted former President Donald Trump will have on North Carolina voters sick of hearing from them both.

your religious preference or your sexual preference,” he said. “No law will be passed in this state that will stand in the way of that, and we will protect people’s constitutional rights.”

Stein, meanwhile, may have problems of his own in a state where he’s reasonably popular but President Joe Biden is less so; Stein’s been clear about his relationship with the president, and was just with Biden in Raleigh a month ago to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the one-year anniversary of North Carolina’s decision to expand Medicaid, but Stein didn’t answer when asked if he’d be inviting the president to campaign with him here in North Carolina. It’s entirely possible that Biden could be a drag on Stein in the same way Robinson could be a drag on down-ballot candidates.

“Mark Robinson is divisive and hateful. He calls gay people worse than maggots. He mocked school shooting survivors. He wants to defund public schools and ban abortion entirely. He denies the 2020 election results. He denies the climate crisis. He even denies the Holocaust. I am committed to denying him the governorship in North Carolina.”

The wildcard here remains Roe, the overturning of which in June 2022 may be a poison pill for Republicans; they got what they wanted despite longstanding support for abortion rights among a majority of Americans but lost six anti-abortion ballot initiatives that same year, including in conservative states like Kansas, Kentucky and Montana. Anger over the ruling likely contributed to the so-called 2022 General Election “red wave” washing out well short of Washington and may do the same come November.

“I don’t know how it’s going to play out,” Stein said. “As a candidate, my job is to talk to as many North Carolinians as I can and then make my case on what I want to do to fight for people here. At the same time, I want them to understand exactly who Mark Robinson is, and the real risks that his division and hate will create for the future of this state. I’m optimistic in the choice that voters will make.”

North Carolina paid a heavy price a few years ago with the so-called HB2 debacle, which required transgender people to use the bathroom aligned with the gender on their birth certificates. Entertainers and corporations rushed to pull out of the state, depriving municipalities and local businesses of more than $3.76 billion in revenue until HB2 was overturned, per the Associated Press. Stein thinks a Robinson victory would have similar consequences.

“No question. How can a man who says that gay people are worse than maggots sit across the table from a CEO of a major corporation who’s gay? How can he sit across the table from somebody who is different, or somebody he disrespects or says awful things about? These companies have incredible opportunities and choices around him,” Stein said. “We want North Carolina to be number one, and we cannot afford the risk that Mark Robinson would present if he were governor.”

Robinson seems to hold that his personal opinions are his own, and ultimately shouldn’t matter in the context of legal protections afforded to people who are different than he is.

“People are going to have myriad opinions about social issues across the spectrum, but here in North Carolina, it doesn’t matter who you are, we’re going to protect your constitutional rights and protect your absolute right to declare yourself whoever you are, however you are, whether that be

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News news 13
North Carolina is expected to be a battleground state during the 2024 Presidential Election. Cory Vaillancourt photo
File photo
President Joe Biden’s popularity, or lack thereof, may have an effect on many North Carolina races in November.

WNC gets new public defender office

Western North Carolina courts were saddled with a sizable backlog of cases following the shutdowns related to the COVID pandemic, and while much of the overload has abated, especially in Haywood and Jackson counties, there have still been problems.

But with the opening of a public defender office, tasked with representing indigent defendants, cases may start moving faster in the near future.

The public defender office was approved as part of last year’s budget. The purpose of the office is to provide legal counsel to criminal defendants without the means to hire their own attorney. Many believe this is the most impactful change the judicial district has ever seen, considering the court-appointed list, currently made up of attorneys with private practices who take on indigent criminal defendants, has dwindled in recent years.

The push for a public defender office had been in the works for a while. In a December 2021 letter from the Committee on Indigent Appointments for the Superior Court Judicial District 30B — made up of Superior Court Judge Bradley B. Letts, Chief District Court Judge Roy Wijewickrama and Indigent Defense Services Executive Director Mary Pollard called attention to the worsening situation. At the time that letter was written, there were no attorneys on the court-appointed list for high-level felonies in Haywood. Up to now, attorneys on that list were typically the only means to ensure adequate representation for indigent defendants who can’t afford an attorney.

In March 2022, Letts wrote a letter to Pollard formally requesting a public defender’s office. In that letter, Letts references a bar meeting, writing that a consensus was reached

among attorneys present calling for a public defender’s office.

“Our local bar has made numerous efforts and, without exception, valiantly done all which could be reasonably asked of them to assist … Haywood and Jackson counties continue to lack sufficient attorneys on the court-appointed lists and in turn regularly encounter barriers in maintaining a timely and efficient system for providing sufficient and effective legal representation and related services to indigent defendants,” the letter reads.

To select the public defender, the bar convened and selected a nominee for the position, as did the Administrative Office of the Courts. In addition, Letts and then Superior Court judge William Coward worked together to come up with their own nomination. Ultimately, Waynesville attorney Janna Allison was selected.

“This new office goes a long way toward ensuring defendants have the required competent, professional representation guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.”

Allison was sworn in as the public defender back in January, and the office started taking cases at the beginning of April. Allison has practiced as a criminal defense lawyer for 25 years, including multiple stints at Buncombe County’s public defender office. She said she was thrilled to have the opportunity to head up a public defender office and noted that the office has already made a positive difference.

“I’m excited about this opportunity,” she said. “We’re off to a great start, and we’re happy to be helping indigent defendants.”

Others have expressed excitement, as well. In an email, District Attorney Ashley Welch said she was happy to see the public defender office open.

“I am a longtime supporter of creating a public F

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Janna Allison is the first-ever public defender in the judicial district. Donated photo

defender’s office for the state’s seven westernmost counties, the 43rd Prosecutorial District,” she said. “This new office goes a long way toward ensuring defendants have the required competent, professional representation guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. From a practical standpoint, I anticipate the opening of a public defender’s office will help move cases more quickly district wide.”

Likewise, Wijewickrama said the long-term effect of having the public defender office will “transform the courts for the better.” But he also agreed with Allison that he’s already seen the difference, something he said is a testament to the work she’s put in.

“Ms. Allison has done a fantastic job reaching out to local attorneys and making offers to local attorneys to come work in the public defender office,” he said.

Wijewickrama noted specifically that he was recently presiding over District Court in Clay County and there were several first appearances, situations where in the past a defendant perhaps wouldn’t yet have representation and would stumble through things like bond motions on their own.

“We had two assistant public defenders there, so that issue was basically off the table,” he said.

“Ms. Allison has done a fantastic job reaching out to local attorneys and making offers to local attorneys to come work in the public defender office.”

— Chief District Court Judge Roy Wijewickrama

To draw a contrast, Wijewickrama described a day about two years ago where he was presiding over District Court in Clay County. Like the more recent situation, he had several first appearances to hear tied to one drug case, but there weren’t enough courtappointed attorneys available, so he had to step off the bench to call lawyers from other counties to come in.

“I had lawyers from Cherokee, Macon, Jackson, Haywood and Buncombe coming in,” he said. “And that was 45 minutes away from court.”

“I’m very excited it’s here,” he added. “I look forward to the public defender office being an integral part of our system from here forward.”

Sometimes, the public defender office will have a conflict of interest with certain defendants. In those instances, the cases will be assigned to another defense attorney not employed by that office, meaning the few attorneys who currently take on clients by being on the court-appointed list should still have plenty of work.

Public defenders have a dedicated staff that roughly mirrors the district attorney’s. In this case, the budget includes one chief public defender, 14 assistant public defenders and seven administrative staff.

But for those who want a change of pace, employment as an assistant public defender can be rewarding and perhaps less stressful, Allison said. Along with being fully staffed and eliminating the overhead that comes with a private practice, assistant public defenders are entitled to everything state employees enjoy.

“The main difference is a steady salary and benefits,” Allison said.

In addition, because the assistant public defenders only have to focus on a county or two, there will be less travel. Right now, the main office is located in Haywood County, and they’ve either already opened or are finalizing opening offices in the district’s other counties.

“You won’t have attorneys having one hearing in Haywood and then one in Clay the same day,” she said.

Chief District Court Judge Roy Wijewickrama. File photo

The public defender’s office isn’t the only help coming to the judicial district. Under that same budget that provided for the new office was funding for a new District Court judge, the first in the judicial district in almost two decades. Both ideas had been floated in previous budgets, along with splitting the judicial district, but were ultimately shot down. The district split has still not been greenlighted.

The race for the new District Court seat came down to two Republicans, Virginia Hornsby and Assistant District Attorney Andy Buckner. Because there were no Democrats running, their primary decided who would take the new seat on the bench, with Hornsby pulling 52.77% of the vote to come away with the victory. Hornsby will be sworn in at the beginning of next year.

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News news 15
District Attorney Ashley Welch. File photo

Macon still waiting on NCHSAA decision

Macon County Schools may have to wait until the end of the summer for a decision on the athletic division restructuring coming down the pipe from the North Carolina High School Association. In the meantime, the board continues to hear from Macon Early College families who want to remain a part of high school sports in the county.

“I must express strong opposition to any decision that would deny student athletes of MEC equal access to school sponsored athletics,” said Adrian Holt, parent to an MEC student athlete, in a letter to the school board.

As things stand now, Franklin High School is a 3A school, placing it in the second highest division within North Carolina high school sports. Divisions are determined by the size of a school. Current classifications for high schools go as high as 4A, but the NCHSAA is currently considering a change that would split high schools in the state into eight divisions, 1A through 8A.

“That is a pretty big, significant jump, but officials believe the growth in the state of North Carolina in the next several years is going to be unbelievable,” said Chief Academic Officer and Director of Federal Programs Mickey Noe during a March 25 school board meeting. The reason they’re growing their classifications is because of how many teams you can fit in the playoffs.”

The realignment into the expanded classifications would not take effect until the summer of 2025 and would use data from the first month of the 2024-25 school year. NCHSAA has not yet determined what the cutoff will be for the ADM numbers within each classifi-


There are currently about 25 Macon Early College students that participate in athletics with Franklin High School and because of this, the entire student body of MEC counts in the Average Daily Membership of FHS in the NCHSAA data that determines the school’s classification. In fact, even if just one MEC student participated in FHS sports, the whole student body of the early college would count in the FHS count for its sports division.

The school board received two letters from MEC parents during its last meeting advocating for MEC students’ right to participate in high school sports.

“Many of these students have made significant personal and academic choices based on the availability of these athletic opportunities,” said Holt. “These students along with their families made a pivotal decision to attend MEC which for some was influenced significantly by the assurance that they would be able to engage in school sponsored sports programs.”

Part of the fear about moving up in division is that FHS athletics would be required to drive much further distances to compete, causing more time out of school for student athletes and longer hours for support staff.

“Being in charge of curriculum for the county, I don’t want our students to have to drive three or four hours for a game,” said Noe. “And on the other side you don’t want to deny any student the opportunity to play sports.”

Now, the school system is awaiting a decision from the state, which could come as late as just days before the start of the new school year.

“We really don’t have a whole lot of new information, most of it just kind of lies on what the state decides to

do,” Noe told the board during its April 22 meeting.

But the school system is trying to plan for whatever may come and has discussed the idea of Macon Early College starting its own sport program with teams independent of FHS.

“We’re trying to be proactive and come up with two or three different plans depending on what the state passes down to us,” said Noe.

The realignments come from NCHSAA every four years. But the ADM information that determines which schools are placed in each division is not released until a few days before the school year starts.

“I’d love to tell you right now that we’ve reached an agreement with the state, they’re going to allow all students to participate, but unfortunately I don’t have that kind of information and the state is not ready to make that final decision yet,” said Noe.

School board attorney John Henning told the school board that he had been working to develop contacts that might be helpful in shaping the outcome that Macon County Schools wants to see.

“There is a perception that every time a school must change how its conferences are lined up, it’s only trying to get into one where it can whip everybody in the conference. Because there’s a lot of gaming the system that has always happened,” said Henning. “I think one of the challenges is making sure that the concern here cuts through that noise and understand, we’re willing to compete, we want to compete.”

In May, the NCHSAA board will hold a meeting and Noe said he hopes and expects to have some sort of update following that meeting.

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Sylva extends term limits on local boards

Sylva Town Council voted last week to extend term limits on local boards, allowing for the renewal of veteran members on the ABC board.

“The only two boards we have that this affects is the ABC board and the planning board,” said Mayor Johnny Phillips.

Mayor Phillips brought the issue before the Sylva board during its April 25 meeting and originally asked for a motion to eliminate term limits completely on local boards. He cited the N.C. 107 project as part of the reason to do away with the limitation at this time, saying that the town was in “crisis mode.”

The board had not previously discussed the issue when it was brought up at the April 25 meeting. Commissioner Mark Jones made the motion to eliminate term limits, but Commissioner Brad Waldrop urged caution, saying he was concerned about voting on the matter without having given it due consideration.

Despite Waldrop’s hesitation, Phillips said a vote on the issue was essential at the Thursday meeting because the town needed to reappoint Sylva’s member on the ABC board, Maurice Moody, whose term was set to expire. Moody had already served three terms and was not eligible for a fourth consecutive term.

“Being our former mayor and former chairman of the ABC board, he is the most experienced man on our board, and we have a unanimous vote from our ABC board to reappoint him,” said Phillips.

In 2014 the town and county agreed to a merger and created a countywide ABC board. At that time board members were permitted to serve two terms. However, in 2018 the town and county both approved a request from the ABC board to strike term limits from the board rules.

When the ABC board made that request in 2018, Moody’s second term was set to expire, along with Tom Albert’s, and the board wanted to retain both members.

However, in 2022 Sylva reinstated term limits on its board, which would limit its members on the ABC board to three consecutive terms. (The county did not reinstate term limits for its members on the board.)

With Moody’s third consecutive term set to expire, the issue was brought back before the board last week.

“I know it was a very fluid, wholesome idea to try to have term limits to give new

people or younger people an opportunity to serve on some of our boards and I think we can still try to achieve that goal,” Phillips said. “But at the present time the most experience is what we need on these boards while we’re trying to rebuild Sylva.”

Commissioner Mary Gelbaugh said that she would support eliminating term limits, but that she also wants to see more people involved on local boards.

“I want to make clear that I do want folks to feel welcome to submit their names to get involved,” said Gelbaugh. “It’s very important that you get involved, volunteers are getting harder and harder to come by which I think is partly why this has come to light. We need folks to serve.”

Phillips noted that his intent was not to permanently end term limits.

“We’re in a crisis mode with the 107 project for the next three years,” Phillips said. “When that time is up, and our budgets are back to normal and things are where we need them to be … I’m very much in favor of going back to the term limits we have.”

The ABC board has five members with two appointed by the Town of Sylva and two appointed by Jackson County. The chairman is a joint appointment made between the town and the county. Board members make $150 for each monthly meeting attended.

When the town and county merged the ABC board in 2014, Moody, Marion Jones, Donald Ferguson, David Noland and Albert were appointed to the board. Today, four of those members remain the same, with Marion Jones the only original member not still on the board. Phillips, who won the race for mayor of Sylva in 2023, was appointed to the ABC board in July of 2022.

But rather than revoke the term limits completely, as the mayor called for, Gelbaugh suggested changing the rule to allow for four terms instead of three.

“So that we’re not just going back to ground zero,” Gelbaugh said. “That would serve our goal for now.”

“That would seem like less of a revocation of term limits and more of a temporary measure for the situation that we’re in right now,” said Waldrop.

Jones agreed to change his motion and the board unanimously agreed to extend term limits from three to four on both the ABC and planning boards.

The board then unanimously approved Moody for a fourth term on the ABC board and reappointed Noland as chairman of the board for another year.

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Community Almanac

WCU hosts exhibit ‘Shadows of Incarceration’

Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center will host a new exhibition, “Shadows of Incarceration: The Cowee 19 Story,” starting May 6.

The exhibition examines the history of incarcerated labor in Jackson County. It details how the Reconstruction-era legal system allowed private companies to “lease” the labor of prisoners.

The student-curated exhibit provides an opportunity to learn about a local tragedy when 19 men and boys drowned in the Tuckasegee River in 1882. The incident happened as they crossed the river to work on a tunnel for the Western North Carolina Railroad.

In addition to biographies of the people who perished, the exhibit includes a prison camp life diorama and an original painting by noted visual artist Ann Miller Woodford of Andrews. Due to the lack of photographs from prison camps in the 19th century, Woodford’s work and eraappropriate vignettes add to the exhibition experience.

heard many coyotes and tracked a variety of wildlife. In 2004, while in the woods with his son, they began to find strange signs such as tree twists and very large and unique footprints. Eventually overcoming his reticence of being with a bunch of “crazy people” on the “fringe” of society, his interest in Sasquatch led to his involvement as a Field Investigator for the Appalachian Sasquatch Research Project as well as the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.

In his presentation, he will be sharing his knowledge and experience from 20 years of research in the Sasquatch (Bigfoot) legend as well as local history/legends from these mountains, local witness reports and his own experiences with the Sasquatch. Jeff has presented research findings to groups in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio and has appeared on numerous podcasts on the subject.

Please join us for this presentation on Thursday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Swain County Regional Business Education and Training Center.

Macon launches health assessment survey

The new exhibit is free to the public and will be on display through Dec. 13. The MHC is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment and is closed on weekends and university holidays.

For more information, contact Andrea Spooner, MHC museum operations coordinator, at aspooner@wcu.eduor 828.227.3191.

Franklin welcomes new pottery gallery

Students may either attend the event by themselves with a signed form in their possession, or parents/guardians may attend the event with their student and sign the form during the event.

The Franklin Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed Limberlost Pottery to the Franklin business community.

Limberlost Pottery has three resident potters who work in the attached studio and each has a unique style and expertise. All three offer functional pieces for the home.

In the gallery, you can find other art such as paintings, turned wood bowls and fiber. The shop’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Harris Regional hosts free sports physicals

Harris Regional Hospital, in partnership with PT Solutions, will host its annual free sports physicals event for Jackson County student athletes on Thursday, May 16, from 5-7 p.m. inside the west entrance of the hospital at 68 Hospital Road in Sylva.

The event is open to all rising 6th grade through rising 12th grade student athletes in Jackson County.

Students may reach out to their athletic directors or coaches at their respective schools for more details and to obtain a NCHSAA Health & Safety release form that must be signed by a parent or guardian prior to attending the event.

Students who do not have either a signed form or a guardian in attendance with them will not receive a physical.

The event does not require pre-registration. While the event occurs across the full two-hour period, attendees are encouraged to arrive at 5 p.m. to join the queue. Directional signs will be in place to guide attendees to the correct waiting areas.

For more information, please call 828.586.7425.

Mother’s Day lunch at Lake Junaluska

Along with a beautiful view, enjoy a menu that includes Chicken Florentine with ramp cream sauce, snapper with sorrel sauce, a trio of quiche, French toast and an array of vegetables, desserts and many other offerings. All Mother’s Day honorees will be given a flower.

Lake Junaluska also invites shoppers seeking Mother’s Day gifts to visit Junaluska Gifts & Grounds in advance for unique items including jewelry, local pottery, books and apparel, or to make a gift to have a brick on Lake Junaluska’s Brick Walk in the Colonnade inscribed with a personalized message.

Pricing for the buffet is $38.95 plus tax and an

18% service charge for adults (age 12 and older); $19 plus tax and an 18% service charge for children ages 5-11; and free for children age 4 and under. Make reservations online at

Make reservations now for a delicious Mother’s Day Lunch Buffet, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12, at The Terrace Hotel Dining Room at Lake Junaluska.

For guests who wish to spend the whole holiday weekend at Lake Junaluska, lodging is available at The Terrace Hotel and historic Lambuth Inn. To book, visit or call 800.222.4930. For more information, visit

Hear about the legend of Sasquatch

The Swain County Genealogical and Historical Society presents “Myth and Reality: Discovering The Appalachian Legend of Sasquatch.”

From the earliest recorded history, legends of large, human-like creatures living in wooded regions of the backcountry have been embedded in regional culture with many sightings and stories and sightings from this area.

Jeff Carpenter has gleaned first-hand knowledge of these stories from a broad range of mountain folk, as well as his own experience. Jeff grew up learning outdoor craft of hunting, tracking and orienteering from his father. He has spent many nights in the backcountry, has seen many bears,

Over the next few weeks, Macon County residents will play a crucial role in helping Macon County Public Health (MCPH) identify important health needs in our community and the surrounding area. MCPH has collaborated with the national research firm PRC based in Omaha, Nebraska, to conduct the Community Health Assessment (CHA) survey with western North Carolina (WNC) residents between April and October of this year. The confidential survey will ask about residents' health, behaviors, and experiences. Randomly selected households will receive a call from “WNC Health” and the survey will take around 20 minutes to complete.

Macon is one of 18 counties participating in the CHA across WNC. The survey covers various health-related factors, including demographics, socioeconomics, health status, disparities, behaviors, clinical care, physical environment and quality of life. This data is the basis for efforts to prioritize and address health challenges over the next three years.

Macon plays a vital role in the regional CHA strategy, which is led by the WNC Healthy Impact initiative, a collaborative endeavor involving hospitals, health departments and dedicated partners committed to enhancing community health across the region. The Community Health Assessment is generously supported by the hospitals of Western North Carolina and bolstered by contributions from the Dogwood Health Trust and aims to collect comprehensive data essential for understanding and addressing regional health challenges. The WNC Community Health Assessment survey, made possible through this collective funding, equips stakeholders, including valued funders, healthy impact partners and policymakers, with invaluable insights to guide targeted public health interventions for the betterment of residents across WNC.

Residents can also contribute through an online survey option at

Smoky Mountain News 19
“Dinner Time. Laurinburg & Southern R.R.” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077). North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

Pray for the best, prepare for the worst

After what Haywood County has been through does anyone want to think about the hurricane season from June 1 to November 30? After watching my office being destroyed in 2004 along with most of Downtown Canton, I sure don’t want to be reminded. But we need to be. (So here is the excellent Red Cross hurricane/flood preparedness website — just in case

In September 2004 Hurricanes Frances and Ivan combined to dumped 40 inches of rain on WNC. Fifty-four people in the USA died due to Ivan, which off the coast of Florida produced a 91-foot wave, the largest ever recorded. Twenty billion dollars in damage and untold sorrow. Five people died in Franklin, but miraculously no one in Haywood County. This was spoken of as a 100-year, or even a 500-year event. But only 17 years later, Tropical Storm Fred dumped 19 inches of rain in the Pigeon River area. We all remember in sorrow the six people who perished and hundreds of damaged homes.

Last year, it got to 103 degrees — in Siberia! Waters off southern Florida recorded 101 degrees. This season’s forecasts are very worrisome, predicting 20 to 24 named storms and 8

I fear we will go back in time

To the Editor:

In North Caroline we have a candidate for governor who is reputed to have said “I absolutely want to go back to the America where women couldn’t vote … We want to bring back the America where Republicans and principles and true ideas of freedom rule.” There’s a lot to unpack in that statement but what strikes me foremost is what it would mean to women.

In the beginning of this country American law was based on English Common Law wherein it was understood that the “very being and legal existence of the woman is suspended during marriage, or at least incorporated into that of her husband, under whose wing and protection she performs everything.” (Blackstone Commentaries)

It wasn’t until 1848 that women, chafing under that idea of servitude, organized to petition the government for the right to vote. Over the course of the next 70 years, a period in history marked by protests, arrests and hunger strikes, this request was repeatedly denied. It was only due to the inclusion of western states, who throughout this time granted suffrage to women, that the nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 26, 1920. But the right to vote was only the beginning of the fight for civil rights for women.

Fighting for the right to use birth control, to determine the size and timing of their families, became paramount. That and the right to work, doing away with discrimination in hiring practices, the right to work while pregnant and the right to equal pay for equal work were

to 12 hurricanes. Six may hit the U.S. There is little debate among climate scientists about what is happening on our planet. Ice core samples from Antarctica date back 800,000 years. They show that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800’s the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has increased by over 50 percent. The result is the frightening warming of the north and south polar regions and events like the 2020 wildfires in Australia that destroyed 60 million acres (120 Great Smoky Mountain National Parks). We now see more intense and chaotic weather patterns virtually everywhere.

A recent Mountaineer editorial quoted 2022 Nobel Prize-winning physicist John Clauser as denying any link between the burning of coal, oil and natural (methane) gas and the increase in climate disasters. Dr. Clauser was a brilliant physicist whose work back in the 1970s involved the study of particles of light. But this had nothing to do with climate. He is not a climate scientist and


among the many social injustices addressed over the next century. According to the “Timeline of Legal History of Women,” between 1920 and 2020, over 50 laws and Supreme Court rulings were passed that addressed the injustices under which women had lived. These were decisions and laws that made it easier for women to have agency to be their own person.

In 1971, before I married, my prospective mother-in-law encouraged me to open a bank account and get a credit card in my own name. However, it wasn’t until 1974 and the passing of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act that women were guaranteed the opportunity for both.

Born in 1920, my mother-in-law lived through all the legal and social changes which were responsible for her concern for me as a woman. She knew that the freedom to be my own person was not easily won and she encouraged my autonomy. I am glad she is not alive today to see women’s fundamental rights coming under attack and being threatened by this election.

We need to pay attention to what candidates say. If they can think it, if they can say it and if they are given the power, they can do it. The rights we think are enshrined in the law are never guaranteed. Witness the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the rumblings of outlawing birth control and other methods of family management. If all the means of reproductive control are taken away from women, as well as their partners, we could find ourselves back in the time before women could vote. My mother-in-law was right to be concerned.

Margaret Pickett Highlands

has never produced any climate related research.

The editorial didn’t mention that just one year before Dr. Clauser won his Nobel Prize, three actual climate scientists won the 2021 Nobel prize in physics for their work demonstrating the disastrous link between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change. It will take years, but the transition to clean energy must happen.

To quote the Nobel Prize Committee: “Dr. Klaus Hasselmann created a model that links together weather and climate, thus answering the question of why climate models can be reliable despite weather being changeable and chaotic …. An important result is that the increased temperature in the atmosphere is due to human emissions of carbon dioxide.

If you have a broken hip, you don’t go to a neurosurgeon to fix it, no matter how brilliant the neurosurgeon may be. If you want to understand why our climate is changing dramatically, you ask someone who made climate research their life’s work.

Pray that we in Haywood County don’t face another Ivan or Fred. But just in case, be informed and prepared. (Dr. Steve Wall is a retired pediatrician who lives in Waynesville.)

Let me know when this is published

To the Editor:

The only extremists in this country are the people who support publications like yours. Liberals support child groomers and other vile people and live in some fantasy where they think the world belongs to them.

If you vote Democrat, you hate the U.S. So just move to another country and leave this one to the true Americans. Take your evil ideas elsewhere and see how that goes. Your brainwashing has been completed. Liberals sound and act like the confused, obedient peasants that your Democrat-led government loves to control.

Fortunately, I was raised to think for myself and not believe what I hear from a completely incompetent news source. Careful what you wish for with the Marxists and communists. They’ll treat you like trash too, if you get in their way. Watch RAV (Real America’s Voice) from 10 a.m. to noon on weekdays if you want to know what’s really happening to our country. But, being America haters, you won’t understand. Trump is not perfect but he loves the U.S. and he’s got more courage, by far, than anyone on your staff could imagine. Watch what happens. I hope your heads explode when conservatives return some common sense to our way of life.

Your bashing of conservatives is obvious. Your trashy publication would have more credit if you posted views from both sides. But you can’t control or brainwash or manipulate others then. You liberals have no arguments on policies. All you can do is spew lies and try to demean those you don’t like. Typical liberal

played out narrative.

Oh yeah, I’m probably a racist, too, huh. Let me know when this is published on your editorial page.


Corbin should vote against more vouchers

To the Editor:

Since the beginning of the new year, I have seen several photos of Sen. Kevin Corbin, RFranklin, handing out oversized checks in some of Western North Carolina’s eight counties. I guess the message of these photos is that the senator has used his clout to bring these funds to the district. If that’s true, I think it’s great and I urge him to keep it up. Sen. Corbin should continue to use this clout during the upcoming short session of the General Assembly to properly fund some of the urgent needs of this area.

Our local schools are facing impending budget gaps due to the end of federal money provided in response to the pandemic. Our healthcare systems are stressed if not overwhelmed. Meanwhile, the General Assembly is considering expanding cash vouchers for private schools and additional tax cuts for the wealthy.

I urge Sen. Corbin to reject those attempts and instead make sure that state funds are used for the benefit of our local schools and people. When we have fulfilled our responsibility for public health and public education, we will all be better off.

Opinion Smoky Mountain News 20
Russell Bramlett Waynesville Adam Tebrugge Cullowhee Guest Columnist Stephen Wall

Local food is the best choice

If you need a reminder of the sweet soul of humanity, visit your local farmers market on a Saturday morning. Since my early 20s when I stumbled upon a farmers market in North Asheville, I’ve been hooked. Where else can you purchase fresh flowers, local produce, eggs from happy hens, raw honey and pottery while at the same time listening to live music and munching on a fresh-baked pastry while carrying your mug of coffee and smiling at each passerby? Never do I leave a farmers market without feeling content and more hopeful about life.

This past weekend we frolicked around the Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market then stopped by Christopher Farms Produce Market.

When we got home we unloaded our bounty of local strawberries, kale, spinach, ramps and purple sweet potatoes. I popped a raw piece of spinach into my mouth, then did the same with the kale and marveled at the explosion of flavor. It’s no wonder a salad made with local greens only requires a little salt, pepper and lemon juice as opposed to the dousing of dressing needed for mass-produced greens.

When we walked by the ramp stand, I couldn’t help but smile. For me, ramps are a happy memory from the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, I was not a big ramp eater. I grew up with the misconception that consuming ramps would make me sweat an onion-smelling odor for multiple days. Who knows where this belief came from? I was a child of the 80s and one off-handed or sarcastic comment about ramps must’ve really stuck in my brain.

Fast forward to the pandemic when my dad would bring over a slew of fresh produce on a weekly basis. With everything shut down, we got into the habit of cooking elaborate meals at home then sitting outside for the rest of the evening to enjoy a campfire. My dad would bring the goods and I would do the cooking. The pandemic went into full swing in March right when ramps started popping up on forest floors, so they were a bountiful addition to our pandemic menu. My dad befriended the folks at the Owl Produce Market in Canton, which apparently always had plenty of ramps so whatever plethora of goods he brought always included these unique onions.

I learned how to wash, chop and utilize ramps in just about every dish I could think of because honestly, if you’ve eaten them, you know how delicious they are and how much pizzazz they add to foods like potatoes, eggs, vegetables, stews, soups and salads. So, the other day at the farmers market when I caught a glimpse of those delicious green, pink and white onions with rooty tips covered in dirt, I couldn’t help but smile and buy a couple bunches.

Throughout the week we’ve been pur-

chasing strawberries from the Darnell Farms crew who set up each day in the parking lot of Papas and Beer in Hazelwood, outside of Waynesville. They sell gallon buckets and with a lot of fruit-eating people in our family, that doesn’t last very long. If we do have lingering berries, I chop them and freeze them for later use in baked goods or smoothies.

Each year when farmers markets open, I’m reminded of the importance of local farming and agriculture, not only for our community’s economy but also for our health. One of the primary reasons local produce is more flavorful and nutritious is because the amount of time it takes for the food to get from farm to pantry is greatly reduced. Think about it. When we buy produce from another country or even the other side of the United States, the amount of time it takes to travel increases the likelihood the food possesses additives and pesticides and decreases its flavor and nutritional value.

Local and organic is always the best way to go, but even local farmers sometimes use pesticides and organic can be very pricey. If you can’t always afford organic produce, at least take the time to rinse off the pesticides. I recently learned of a way to rid fresh produce of most pesticides before you consume them. Simply place the produce in a bowl with cold filtered water, add a quarter cup baking soda and a quarter cup white vinegar and massage the fruits or vegetables then let sit for one minute only. Rinse with cold water and enjoy. This process really does not take very long and then you can feel confident that you and your family are eating healthier produce. It’s also a good idea to use this same method with organic produce to  make sure you clean it of bugs, dirt and debris.

Our older family members and those who came before them already had everything figured out. They ate food from their own gardens or from farmers in their community. When they had an abundance of vegetables or fruit, they canned them and stored them for use in colder months when fresh produce was hard to come by. They even pickled vegetables which now is touted all throughout the wellness world as a great way to nurture our gut’s microbiome.

Even though the conveniences of our modern world make things easier and perhaps more efficient, sometimes it’s helpful to embrace the ways of simpler times. When it comes to the foods we put in our body, we have no idea where it’s been or what it’s been through before it reaches our kitchen. With local and regional farms and growers, however, we can at least be confident the food is better taken care of and has to travel less distance to reach your grocery bag. As we fully step into the spring and summer seasons, consider shopping locally for as much of your food as possible. Your fellow community members and your body will be so grateful you did.

(Susanna Shetley is a writer, editor and digital media specialist.

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News 21
Columnist Susanna Shetley

Validation within the process

Sawdust + Me opens in Waynesville

At the corner of Depot and Haywood streets in downtown Waynesville sits an old building. Originally a gas station, it was also a longtime mechanic’s shop and later a car wash for a period. But, in recent months, the charming, somewhat dormant 147 Depot St. location has had new life breathed into it.

“This place spoke to me,” said Deborah Bragg. “This building is almost a hundred years old, and we feel like we’ve been able to love it back to life — it’s been quite the transformation.”

Alongside her business partner, Rob Huffman, the duo recently renovated the property and transformed it into Sawdust + Me. A one-stop shop for wood service, the business can seemingly do it all in whatever they either harvest themselves or what may simply come through the front door.

“We have the unique opportunity to let each tree tells its own story through the creation of the furnishings that we hand make,” Bragg said. “And you can bring your own wood in and we’ll surface it — you don’t have to buy from us.”

Within Sawdust + Me, one can find wood broking, design, kiln drying, surfacing flatten-

In need of wood?

Located at 147 Depot Street in Waynesville, Sawdust + Me is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tuesday through Thursday is by appointment only.

For more information, call 828.246.0036 or email Deborah Bragg at

paths with Huffman, who himself has been an artisan for more than 25 years. They quickly began to collaborate on numerous projects throughout the Southeast.

“He came aboard on some of my projects and we were able to work well together,” Bragg said. “It’s been close to 10 years that we’ve worked on various projects of interior design and home remodels.”

Several years ago, both of their respective families relocated to Western North Carolina. What was initially a planned as a retirement

ing, wood engraving, logos, signs and more. It’s a wide gamut of skills and options, this ideal, seamless combination of Bragg’s vast imagination and Huffman’s intricate wood artistry.

“Our love and enthusiasm for the mountains and the trees opened our creativity to the rustic modern approach to mountain furnishings,” Bragg said.

Bragg hails from Tennessee, with Huffman a Kentucky native. As a general contractor and interior designer for over 30 years in The Volunteer State, Bragg eventually crossed

to Haywood County for Bragg soon turned into the seed being planted for Sawdust + Me when numerous clients started calling Huffman from Waynesville, Cashiers and Sapphire.

“My husband and I moved here thinking I’m not going to work anymore,” Bragg chuckled. “But, Rob kept telling us, ‘There’s a market. We need to do this.’ And he was right, so we dove in — there’s a niche for this work here.”

Slowly putting the pieces into place to putting down not only personal roots in this area,

but also professional, Bragg and Huffman signed the lease on the 147 Depot St. property in August 2022. What followed was an extensive retrofitting of the building it to meet the needs of the company.

“What kind of feel and ambiance are you trying to create with this space?” Bragg said. “It’s important to me that when people walk in, that each space they go into speaks to them in some form.”

To note, the name Sawdust + Me is a reference to Bragg and Huffman, the latter business partner in a seemingly perpetual state of being covered in wood particles. In terms of the wood that’s procured by Sawdust + Me scour Southern Appalachia and beyond for materials that’ll be used to inspire and complete their projects.

“Once you get it milled, then you’re able to see these scars and points in the wood that signify something happened right there,” Bragg said. “Something penetrated the wood

and it stayed in the wood, then we try to capture that in a piece.”

Beyond the workshop and storefront, there are also plans in the works to add in a live music and bar component, where a singer-songwriter would perform in the patio area facing Depot Street, all while beverages would be available for purchase.

But, for now, Bragg and Huffman are flipping the sign around on the front door of Sawdust + Me from “Closed” to “Open” with the official launch celebration taking place last month — this literal and figurative gesture at the heart of a long held dream now becoming a reality unfolding within each new day.

“Customer satisfaction is the number one goal — that’s the biggest reward,” Bragg said. “When that customer comes in sees their piece completely finished and say, ‘I knew it would be great, I just didn’t know it would be this great,’ there’s validation that we’ve done the best we could for them — that’s the blessing of it all.”

A&E Smoky Mountain News 22
The newest wood broker and artisan wood crafting shop in Haywood County, Sawdust + Me recently launched its brick and mortar location in downtown Waynesville. Deborah Bragg. Rob Huffman. Sawdust + Me houses around 20 different types of wood that can be used for all kinds of projects. Donated photos A recent work by Sawdust + Me.

This must be the place

‘I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all’

Is there a more exhilarating feeling within your heart than that of preparing for a road trip? I think not. The wandering, pondering rambler inside my soul vibrates wildly thinking about what routes to take, where to stop, who to stop and see and what kind of wondrous happenstance will occur throughout the journey.

The current endeavor of dirt roads, paved highways and byways, mountain peaks and steep valleys below, gas stations and truck stops, roadside diners and dive bars lit up by the neon lights of the unknown night now aims in one direction — westward.

The two main anchor points are the Telluride Bluegrass Festival (Colorado) and Under the Big Sky Festival (Montana). Beyond my coverage from the trenches of these gatherings, there are several “must stop” spots to see old friends and meander through familiar places and well-worn paths from my extensive past within the West.

I’ve mentioned many-a-times throughout the 11 years of this weekly column of my time living in and traversing the West. First news reporting gig post-college was the Teton Valley News in Driggs, Idaho. I was 22 years old when I rolled into the tiny town. The year was 2008. By that point, I’d been around the West several times as a kid from Upstate New York vacationing with family in the 1990s.

Since I headed back east in September 2008, since I took this position of arts/entertainment editor of The Smoky Mountain News in August 2012, I’ve tried my damnedest to hop in the rusty, musty pickup truck and aim the nose of the vehicle towards Interstate 40 West, onward to the ancient Rocky Mountains and points beyond.

In those 16 years following the “Driggs Experiment” of a “Damn Yankee” taking on the high desert of Eastern Idaho, Western Wyoming and surrounding states of vastness, emptiness and glorious solitude, I’ve been lucky enough to head that way a handful of times, more so in recent years postCOVID, where closely-held dreams of travel have become more urgent to do so.

Pack up the backseat of the quad-cab truck with just barely enough clothes and supplies to make the out and back crosscountry trip without overloading the pickup with too much unnecessary crap. Take what you really (truly) need to be comfortable in constant transit, in campgrounds and hotel rooms, onsite at music festivals and in the midst of unexpected events.

Last year, however, was my first non-solo trip in ages. My girlfriend, Sarah, and



The Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) will present the Haywood County Jazz Festival at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Tuscola High School in Waynesville.


myself. Two weeks of organized chaos up and down the Rockies last July. An inexpensive direct flight via Allegiant from Asheville to Denver. Hustle to acquire the rental car. Get quickly acquainted with the vehicle and merge onto I-470 in the fading sunshine behind the towering mountains cradling the Mile High City.

A joyous rendezvous and dinner with my former photographer and cosmic brotherfrom-another, Andrew, and his wife, Greta, at their Boulder home. Having traveled around 42 states together as journalists back in the day, I hadn’t seen him in 11 years. Never met Greta, either. Hearty laughter and genuine conversation before goodbyes and plans to do it again next year. Honk the horn of the rental car in solidarity. Merge onto I25 North for the Wyoming line.

The better part of the next two weeks became a blur of humanity and existence. This barrage of random hotels, restaurants, bars, faces (known and unknown) and miles ticking away like some universal clock of time and space high above in the grand ether. Handshakes and pats on the back. Big bear hugs and ear-to-ear grins in sheer gratitude for the unfolding moment at-hand.

An old motor lodge in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Late afternoon trail run and toes in the ice-cold waters of Clear Creek in Occidental, Wyoming. Cowboy bunkhouse for the night in Billings, Montana. Breakfast along I-90 West. Tractor-trailers flying by. The last sign of winter in July being snowcaps atop the nearby peaks. Greasy burgers and cold Rainier beer at the Missoula Club. The fading sunset as darkness consumes you along Route 93 towards Flathead Lake. Memories of childhood trips and seeing the pristine waters of the massive lake. Surreal, just like I remembered.

Awaken at a Apres lodge in downtown Whitefish, Montana. Head to the Under the Big Sky music festival for the weekend. Scribble down notes in haste. Loud music and manic fandom. Thousands of folks from seemingly every corner of the United States and Canada. Immersed in music, together. Late night shenanigans at the Remington, Great Northern and Palace bars. More loud music and camaraderie. More handshakes and bear hugs. More Rainier.

It was all a blur come Monday morning. Grab some strong coffee, your laptop and notes, too, and head for the front patio of the Apres Whitefish. Crank out the festival

Folkmoot USA will present Maritzaida & Raíces EmmaErwin Latin America Dancers at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville.


Dr. Kevin Young will present his new book, “The Violent World of Broadus Miller: A Story of Murder, Lynch Mobs, and Judicial Punishment in the Carolinas” at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.


The Appalachian Women’s Museum “Airing of the Quilts” will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the museum in Dillsboro.


Author Ann Miller Woodford will interpret the legacy and culture of Western North Carolina’s African Americans at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center, located at 450 Pigeon St. in Waynesville.

coverage and slam the laptop shut an hour or two later. Pack up the travel bags, but not before a quick load of laundry on the second floor. Say your goodbyes and merge back onto Route 93, south towards Missoula and thereafter.

Take the long way back to Denver. Random stops at unknown lakes and streams to dip our toes and eventually jump into the refreshing waters. Two-lane roads and not much traffic. Return to I-90 East. Exit at Butte, Montana. Head south on I-15 towards Route 287. Pull into Wade Lake, jump in and then catch some much-needed sunshine. Stumble upon a roadside cabin for the night.

One more daytime stop at the beloved Knotty Pine Supper Club in Victor, Idaho, before the long trek into the utter desolation of Wyoming. More handshakes and bear hugs with old friends from the “Driggs Experiment.” Over the Teton Pass into Jackson, Wyoming. Endless miles through the Wind River Mountains and Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. More trail runs and cold lakes. Down to Colorado and the Denver International Airport. Back home. It all happened and more. And it’ll all happen once again in due time, hopefully late June or early July, depending on when I can finally slip my collar and run with a reckless abandon towards the open gate of freedom from 9-to-5 workloads, obligations and responsibilities. And I can’t wait. For what else is there in the big ole world of mystery and discovery, nature and nurture, eh? Life is beautiful, grasp for it, y’all.

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Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest in Wyoming. Garret K. Woodward photo

Haywood County Jazz Festival

The Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) will present the Haywood County Jazz Festival at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Tuscola High School in Waynesville.

Sponsored by the HCAC, this event will be an evening of musical celebration, showcasing the remarkable talents of area middle and high school jazz groups.

This year’s festival will also feature two exceptional headlining acts: the renowned 208th Army Jazz Messengers (7:15 p.m.) and the Blue Ridge Big Band (8 p.m.).

The Haywood County Jazz Festival is a celebration of both local talent and military excellence, offering an opportunity to honor and appreciate the dedication and skill of our nation’s service members. The event serves as a platform to unite the community in a shared appreciation for jazz music and the arts.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Tonya Harwood, executive director of the Haywood County Arts Council, at

• American Legion Post 47 (Waynesville) will host an “Open Mic” 3 p.m. every Tuesday. Free and open to the public. 828.456.8691.

• Balsam Falls Brewing (Sylva) will host an open mic from 8-10 p.m. every Thursday. Free and open to the public. 828.631.1987 or


• Balsam Mountain Inn (Balsam) will host an “Open Jam” 6 p.m. every Tuesday.

• Blue Ridge Beer Hub (Waynesville) will host the Main Street NoTones from 7-9 p.m. every first/third Thursday of the month and Doug & Lisa (Americana/folk) 5 p.m. April 20. Free and open to the public. For more information, go to

• Boojum Brewing (Waynesville) will host music bingo 7 p.m. Mondays, karaoke 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, trivia 7 p.m. Thursdays, “Open Mic Night” 10 p.m. Thursdays, Bald Mountain Boys (Americana) May 4 and Trusty Hucksters Band (rock) May 11. All shows begin at 9 p.m. unless otherwise noted. 828.246.0350 or

• Breadheads Tiki Shak (Sylva) will host “Tiki Trivia” at 7 p.m. every first Thursday of the month and semi-regular live music on the weekends.

• Classic Wineseller (Waynesville) will host Mean Mary (singer-songwriter) 7 p.m. May 17. 828.452.6000 or

Folkmoot celebrates Latin American heritage

Folkmoot USA will present Maritzaida & Raíces Emma-Erwin Latin America Dancers at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville.

Maritzaida’s professional music career began while singing for the U.S. Air Force Bands and touring internationally alongside her husband and guitarist, Aaron Weibe. Their sounds resurrect the classic style of traditional bolero music with the authenticity of past generations, bringing it to a global audience in the modern age. Enjoy the timeless melodies of Latin America’s romantic heritage.

Raíces Emma-Erwin offers a celebration of the traditional music and dance of Latin America. Their mission is to build greater awareness and understanding of Latino culture through the arts and bring unity to our diverse communities through the beauty and fun of traditional Latin American music and dance.

• Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center (Franklin) will host semi-regular live music on the weekends. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, go to

• Currahee Brewing (Franklin) will host “Music Bingo” 7 p.m. Thursdays and Gavin Byrd (singer-songwriter) May 4. All shows begin at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public. 828.634.0078 or

• Farm At Old Edwards (Highlands) will host the “Fireside at the Farm” sessions on select weekends. For more information, go to

• Folkmoot Friendship Center (Waynesville) will host Maritzaida & Raíces Emma-Erwin Latin America Dancers 7 p.m. May 2 and Smoky Mountain Ukulele Group (free) 7 p.m. May 8. For a full schedule of events and/or to purchase tickets, go to

• Frog Level Brewing (Waynesville) will host its weekly “Tuesday Jazz Series” w/ We Three Swing at 5:30 p.m. and semi-regular live music on the weekends. All shows begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public. 828.454.5664 or

• Frog Quarters (Franklin) will host live music from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Free and open to the public. Located at 573 East Main Street. or 828.369.8488.

• Happ’s Place (Glenville) will host Darren Nicholson (bluegrass/country) May 3, Blue Jazz May 4, Doug Ramsey (singer-songwriter) May 10 and JW Band May 11. All shows begin

Raíces Emma-Erwin is a nonprofit organization that works with youth from the community of Emma/Erwin and surrounding areas. One of the programs is the Ballet Folklórico that disseminates among our youth, the culture and dances of the regions of Latin America.

at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public. or 828.742.5700.

• Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (Cherokee) will host Mammoth WVH (rock) 8 p.m. May 10. For a full schedule of events and/or to buy tickets,

• Highlander Mountain House (Highlands) will host “Blues & Brews” on Thursday evenings, “Sunday Bluegrass Residency” from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and semi-regular live music on the weekends. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, go to

• Highlands Performing Arts Center will host Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies (zydeco/Cajun) 7:30 p.m. May 4. For tickets, go to

• Innovation Brewing (Sylva) will host “Monday Night Trivia” every week, “Open Mic w/Phil” Wednesdays, Shane Davis (singer-songwriter) May 4 and Andrew Wakefield (singer-songwriter) May 11. All shows and events begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public.

• Innovation Station (Dillsboro) will host “Music Bingo” on Wednesdays and semi-regular live music on the weekends. All events begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public.

• Lazy Hiker Brewing (Franklin) will host Karaoke on the second/fourth Friday of the month, Rich Nelson Band (Americana) May 4 and Old Souls Duo (country/bluegrass) May

Tickets are $22 for adults, $5 for students (promo code: STUDENT). The Delish Venezuelan Food Truck will also be onsite.

Folkmoot is honored and grateful to be awarded a grassroots grant from Haywood County Arts Council. This project was also supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

For more information and/or to purchase tickets, go to

11. All shows begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public. 828.349.2337 or

• Lazy Hiker Brewing (Sylva) will host “Music Bingo” 6:30 p.m. Mondays, Rich Nelson Band (Americana) May 3 and Canon Tyler Trio (bluegrass/folk) May 10. All shows begin at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public. 828.349.2337 or

• Legends (Maggie Valley) will host an “Open Mic Night” 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday. Free and open to the public. 828.944.0403 or

• Marianna Black Library (Bryson City) will host a “Community Music Jam” at 6 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month. Free and open to the public. All musicians and music lovers are welcome. 828.488.3030.

• Mountain Layers Brewing (Bryson City) will host an “Open Mic w/Frank Lee” Wednesdays and semi-regular live music on the weekends. All shows begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public. 828.538.0115 or

• Otto Community Center (Otto) will host James Thompson (singer-songwriter) 6 p.m. May 3. Bring a beverage and snack of your choice. Free and open to the public. or 770.335.0967

• Peacock Performing Arts Center (Hayesville) will host semi-regular live music on the weekends. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. unless

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News arts & entertainment 24 On the beat
Maritzaida and Aaron Weibe will play Waynesville May 2. Donated photo

otherwise noted. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, go to or call 828.389.ARTS.

• Pickin’ On The Square (Franklin) will host Jason Passmore (country/southern rock) May 11. All shows begin at 6 p.m. at the Gazebo in downtown. Free and open to the public.

• Pinnacle Relief CBD Wellness Lounge (Sylva) will host The Fuzzy Peppers (rock/jam) May 4. Free and open to the public. or 828.508.3018.

• Quirky Birds Treehouse & Bistro (Dillsboro) will host Open Mic Night at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and semi-regular live music on the weekends. Free and open to the public. 828.586.1717 or

• Salty Dog’s Seafood & Grill (Maggie Valley) will host “Karaoke w/Russell” every Monday and semi-regular live music on the weekends. Free and open to the public. 828.926.9105.

Bluegrass legend comes to Glenville

Americana/bluegrass artist

Darren Nicholson will hit the stage at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, at Happ’s Place in Glenville.

A Grammy-nominee and winner of 13 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, Nicholson has taken his own brand of mountain music around the world.

A regular for years on the Grand Ole Opry, and a founding member of acclaimed bluegrass group Balsam Range, Nicholson now spends his time recording, writing new songs and performing as a solo act.

Free and open to the public. or 828.742.5700.

On the street

‘Conversations with Storytellers

As part of the “Pigeon Community Conversations with Storytellers Series,” author Ann Miller Woodford will interpret the legacy and culture of Western North Carolina’s African Americans at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center, located at 450 Pigeon Street in Waynesville.

Upcoming installments of the Pigeon Center series include artist DeWayne Barton (June 13), author/painter Marsha


Almodovar (July 11) and author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle (Aug. 8).

Tickets are $10 for community members, $7 for seniors age 65 and older and $5 for students. Children ages 12 and under are free. Purchase tickets in advance at or at the door. Series passes are available at a discount. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Sponsored by Friends of the Haywood County Public Library, The Smoky Mountain News and Janet & Bob Clark.

• SlopeSide Tavern (Sapphire) will host ALR Trio May 2. All shows begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public. 828.743.8655 or

• Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts (Franklin) will host semi-regular live music on the weekends. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, go to or 866.273.4615.

• Stecoah Valley Center (Robbinsville) will host a Community Jam 5:30-7:30 p.m. every third Thursday of the month and semi-regular live music on the weekends. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, call 828.479.3364 or go to

• Swain Arts Center (Bryson City) will host The Legacy Motown Revue (R&B/soul) 6 p.m. May 10. Tickets are $10 per person.

• Ugly Dog Pub (Highlands) will host “Bluegrass Wednesday” at 6:30 p.m. each week. 828.526.8364 or

• Scotsman (Waynesville) will host Abby Bryant (Americana/soul) May 3, Old Sap (Americana/old-time) May 9 and Spiro Nicolopoulos Blues Apocalypse (blues/rock) May 10. All shows begin at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public. 828.246.6292 or

• Find more at

Bryson City community jam

A community jam will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City.

Anyone with a guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dulcimer or anything unplugged is invited to join. Singers are also welcomed to join in or you can just stop by and listen. The jam is facilitated by Larry Barnett of the Sawmill Creek Porch Band. The community jams offer a chance for musicians of all ages and levels of ability to share music they have learned over the years or learn old-time mountain songs. The music jams are offered to the public each first and third Thursday of the month — spring, summer, fall. This program received support from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment of the Arts. For more information, call 828.488.3030.

‘Thunder in the Smokies’

The 21st annual “Thunder in the Smokies” spring rally will be held May 3-5 at the Maggie Valley Fairgrounds.

The oldest and largest motorcycle rally in the Great Smoky Mountains, the weekend celebration will feature live music, dozens of vendors, motorcycle shows/games, prizes and much more.

For more information, a full schedule of events and/or to purchase tickets, go to

Franklin arts and crafts fair

The Friends of the Greenway (FROG) will host an arts and crafts fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the FROG Quarters, located at 573 East Main St. in Franklin. A wide array of artisan booths will be onsite. Vendor fees, food purchases and purchased raffle tickets will benefit FROG. Live music will also be ongoing during the event. For more information, call 828.369.8488 or go to

‘Airing of the Quilts’

The Appalachian Women’s Museum “Airing of the Quilts” will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the museum in Dillsboro.

If quilts could talk, they would tell of decades of cold nights and warm bodies, of wrapping up babies and comforting the elderly. A quilt might tell of the loving hands that created it and even the individual pieces — the tan from a loved one’s shirt or stripes from an old tie — can tell stories of years past.

The airing of the quilts is a traditional rite of spring in the mountains. After a long winter with families snuggled under layers of warm handmade quilts, the warmer weather of springtime gave women a chance to freshen up and air-out these essential covers.

To honor this tradition, the AWM held its first event in 2018 with more than 65 quilts hanging on the wraparound porch, from


clotheslines in the yard and on quilt racks and other surfaces throughout the first floor of the museum.

There will also be a fabric scrap exchange, a quilt pattern and book exchange, raffle and music. Unlike previous events, organizers are allowing repeats for those who have something so special they want to air it again.

For more information, email the museum at or go to

‘Airing of the Quilts’ will be May 4 in Dillsboro. File photo

• Pigeon Community “Cinco de Mayo Party” will be held from 5-9 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center, located at 450 Pigeon St. in Waynesville. An evening filled with vibrant music, delicious food, beverages and activities. This outdoor celebration promises to be a memorable experience for all attendees. To purchase tickets, go to For more information, go to or call 828.452.7232.

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News arts & entertainment 25 On the beat
Ann Miller Woodford will speak in Waynesville May 9. File photo ‘Thunder in the Smokies’. File photo Darren Nicholson will play Glenville May 3. File photo

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May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News arts & entertainment 26

On the wall

Waynesville art walk, live music

A cherished gathering of locals and visitors alike, “Art After Dark” will launch its 2024 season from 6-9 p.m. Friday, May 3, in downtown Waynesville.

Each first Friday of the month (May-December), Main Street transforms into an evening of art, live music, finger foods, beverages and shopping as artisan studios and galleries keep their doors open later for local residents and visitors.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to

Teresa Pennington is a featured artisan at ‘Art After Dark.’ File photo


• “Challenge Me” exhibition will run through June 2 at the Haywood County Arts Council in Waynesville. In the showcase, “Wings are used by animals and in man-made vehicles. They provide lift and propulsion through the air. Artists let their creativity take flight in an exhibit to dazzle and delight us.” The HCAC gallery is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to

• “Far From Home” art exhibition featuring works by Jesse Butner will be displayed through May 3 at the Lo-Fi Gallery in Sylva. Mixed media collection. Opening reception will be held from 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 5, at the gallery, which is located at 503 Mill Street. For more information, email

• “Spark of the Eagle Dancer: The Collecting Legacy of Lambert Wilson” will run through June 28 in the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. This exhibition brings together a selection of baskets, pottery, carving, painting, photography and more. To learn more about the exhibition and reception, please go to The Fine Art Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

• Marianna Black Library (Bryson City) will host an adult arts and crafts program at 1 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. Ages 16 and up. Space is limited to 10 participants. Free and open to the public. To register, call 828.488.3030 or email

• CRE828 (Waynesville) will offer a selection of art classes and workshops at its studio located at 1283 Asheville Road. Workshops will include art journaling, watercoloring, mixed media, acrylic painting and more. For a full list of classes, go to For more information on CRE828, email or call 828.283.0523.

• Gallery Zella (Bryson City) will be hosting an array of artist receptions, exhibits and showcases. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, go to or call 517.881.0959.

• Waynesville Photography Club meets at 7 p.m. every third Monday each month on the second floor of the Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center in Clyde. The club is a nonprofit organization that exists for the enjoyment of photography and the improvement of one’s skills. They welcome photographers of all skill levels to share ideas and images at the monthly meetings. For more information, email or follow them on Facebook: Waynesville Photography Club.

• Haywood County Arts Council (Waynesville) will offer a wide-range of classes, events and activities for artisans, locals and visitors. The HCAC gallery is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information and a full schedule, go to

• Jackson County Green Energy Park (Dillsboro) will be offering a slew of classes, events and activities for artisans, locals and visitors. For more information and a full schedule, go to

• Southwestern Community College Swain Arts Center (Bryson City) will host an array of workshops for adults and kids. For more information on the upcoming classes and/or to sign-up, go to

• Dogwood Crafters in Dillsboro will offer a selection of upcoming art classes and workshops. For more information and a full schedule of activities, go to or call 828.586.2248.

• Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center (Franklin) will host semi-regular arts and crafts workshops. For more information, go to

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News arts & entertainment 27 orylane COME IN!! pets w y l elcome • veterans dis m scount

Renowned woodturner joins Gallery 164


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Gallery 164 in Waynesville welcomes esteemed woodturner Mike McKinney to its roster of talented artists. In celebration of this exciting addition, Gallery 164 will host a reception for McKinney during Art After Dark from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, in downtown Waynesville.

McKinney, a fourth-generation woodworker, brings a rich legacy of craftsmanship and familial tradition to Gallery 164. With a profound connection to his woodworking roots, McKinney’s work is characterized by exquisite craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. From natural-edge bowls to intricately carved ornaments, his creations evoke timeless beauty and admiration for the natural materials.

“We are delighted to welcome Mike McKinney to Gallery 164,” said Jerry Jackson, owner of Gallery 164. “His dedication to excellence and mastery of the craft aligns perfectly with our commitment to showcasing exceptional artists. We eagerly anticipate sharing his extraordinary talent with our discerning clientele.”

McKinney’s journey into woodworking began as a cherished bond with his grandfather and flourished under the mentorship of his father. After a distinguished career in banking, McKinney redirected his focus to woodworking, spending countless hours in his woodshop in Maggie Valley, turning locally sourced and reclaimed wood into stunning pieces of art.

Gallery 164 is located at 164 South Main Street in Waynesville. It features diverse traditional and contemporary work, including paintings, photography, ceramics, wood, glass and metals.

For more information, call 252.813.3489 or go to To learn about McKinney, go to

On the table

• “Flights & Bites” will be held starting at 4 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays at Bosu’s Wine Shop in downtown Waynesville. As well, the “Spring Fling” wine dinner will be taking place April 16-17. For more information on upcoming events, wine tastings and special dinners, go to

• “Take A Flight” with four new wines every Friday and Saturdays at the Bryson City Wine Market. Select from a gourmet selection of charcuterie to enjoy with your wines.

Educational classes and other events are also available. For more information, call 828.538.0420.

• “Uncorked: Wine & Rail Pairing Experience” will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on select dates at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City. Full service all-adult first class car. Wine pairings with a meal, and more. There will also be a special “Beer Train” on select dates. For more information and/or to register, call 800.872.4681 or go to

On the stage

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News arts & entertainment 28
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On the wall • Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (Cherokee) will host comedian Rickey Smiley 7:30 p.m. May 11. For a full schedule of events and/or to buy tickets, ALSO:
Mike McKinney is a Maggie Valley wood turner. File photo

Two faces of war: America 1861, Spain 1812

Anyone interested in the history of our country will benefit by reading “The Dogs of War: 1861” (Oxford University Press, 2011, 128 pages). Here lifelong Civil War historian Emory Thomas, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, examines the principal figures and events of a year which included the formal creation of the Confederate States of America, the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, and the Battle of Bull Run.

Near the end of “The Dogs of War,” Thomas remarks of that spring of 1861, “the actors seemed to sleepwalk through the plot of a melodrama.” Of our current age, he then notes “I believe that the American Civil War offers insight and enlightenment about the human condition to inform the present.

Though I’ve read a good amount of Civil War history over my lifetime, ranging from Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War” to Michael Shaara’s novel about Gettysburg, “The Killer Angels,” Thomas’s look at this year that forever changed American history brought some surprises. I wasn’t aware, for example, of the extent to which Abraham Lincoln had so grossly underestimated the support of average Southerners for the cause of succession, believing as he did well in into the spring of 1861 that he might somehow convince them to remain with the Union.

Those who have seen “Gone with the Wind” will remember the scene near the beginning of that film when a group of Southern hotheads at a party boldly declare how they’ll easily send the Yankees running and win the day in a war. Thomas references this moment when discussing the naivete of most Southerners and Northerners regarding war. Many believed right up to the fall of Fort Sumter that there would be no war, that reason would prevail, just as many also thought that if fighting occurred, the war would be brief. And as in “Gone with the Wind,” Southerners in particular believed that one of their own could whip half-adozen Yankees or more.

“To understand why the American Civil War happened,” writes Thomas, “we’re forced to resort to descriptors such as ‘rash,’ ‘imprudent,’ ‘heedless,’ and ‘foolish.’ Within the rhetoric of the martial moment was an astonishing amount of downright stupidity.” As Thomas asks in his Preface, “What were they thinking?” and then concludes that no one was thinking very well. “I contend here,” he says of his book, “that the Civil War happened because nearly no one had a clue about what they were doing.”

Those dogs of war, once loosed, seldom go where we want them to go. Once slipped, they run wild.”

Right now, those dogs have war have slipped and turned vicious in several places around the world. The wise among us, especially those who are our leaders, will do well to keep their wits about them and exert caution before joining that baying pack of canines.


In “Sharpe’s Command” (Harper, 2024, 320 pages), Bernard Cornwell takes us across the Atlantic to Spain and the Napoleonic Wars. French forces from the north and the south are aiming to join together at the Almaraz Bridge, which will spell disaster for the British forces and their Spanish allies.

Enter Maj. Richard Sharpe and his green-

‘The Violent World of Broadus Miller’

jacketed sharpshooters, who are sent to reconnoiter the bridge and the French fortresses in the area. Though under orders not to engage the enemy, Sharpe and his men meet with a Spanish guerilla leader, El Héroe, supposedly an English ally. As the story continues, however, we discover that “The Hero” in fact sells his services for gold to both the French and the English. Moreover, Sharpe quickly finds it impossible to avoid battle with the French, and plans swiftly and drastically change.

Throughout this novel of battle and maneuver, its gravity broken by the rough humor of the English troops and by the love between Sharpe and Teresa, the guerilla leader whose skills with the knife have won her the title “The Needle,” Cornwell teaches us a good deal about early 19th century warfare. Lt. Love, the young artillery officer who accompanies Sharpe, turns out to be a walking encyclopedia regarding the different types of cannons and their uses, the commanders in this series of skirmishes and battles remind us of the vital role of terrain in soldiering, and Sharpe himself shows us the dangers of the escalade, the taking of a fortress by soldiers climbing up ladders and over the walls.

As in his other Richard Sharpe novels, Cornwell also gives us a lesson in history. Behind the drama of the book is the very real story of this British victory and its part in Arthur Wellington’s Peninsular Campaign, which Cornwell illuminates with both maps and a “Historical Note” at the novel’s end.

Sharpe fans will find “Sharpe’s Command” up to snuff with the other novels in this series, with Sharpe’s old comrades in arms, like rifleman Daniel Hagman, Maj. Hogan and the Irishman Sgt. Harper, very much present. Meanwhile, newcomers may take delight and relief in exchanging the problems and mores of our present age for those of another place and time.


(Jeff Minick reviews books and has written four of his own: two novels, “Amanda Bell” and “Dust On Their Wings,” and two works of nonfiction, “Learning As I Go” and “Movies Make the Man.”

Dr. Kevin Young will present his new book, “The Violent World of Broadus Miller: A Story of Murder, Lynch Mobs, and Judicial Punishment in the Carolinas” at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.

In the summer of 1927, an itinerant Black laborer named Broadus Miller was accused of killing a 15-year-old white girl in Morganton. Miller became the target of a massive manhunt lasting nearly two weeks.

More than an account of a single murder case, this book vividly illustrates the stormy race relations in the Carolinas during the early 1900s, reminding us that the legacy of this era lingers into the present. For more information, call the bookstore at 828.586.9499 or click on

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News arts & entertainment 29 Get Ou &Read ut d! & R ill45660 W WOOD A W 428 HAZEL Magazines & Newspap Yoour Ho Y metown Bookstoresince2 00 Ave. v ers 007 9- T MON-FRI 9-5 | SA aynesville • 456-60 a -3 R DINNERS INE & ASTINGS INE AILET VILLE A S W YNE Y N TOW OWN D
On the shelf
Writer Jeff Minick


Word from the Smokies

Cicada emergence offers rare community science opportunity

During the summer of 2011, billions of cicada eggs hatched inside tree twigs across the Southeast. The hatchlings, called nymphs, dropped down and burrowed into the ground, where they’ve been sucking on tree roots ever since.

This spring, the insects will return to the surface, where they will crawl up onto the trees, shed their skin, and emerge as adults, ready to mate and start the cycle again.

Dubbed “The Great Southern Brood,” this group of periodical cicadas is expected to appear in more than a dozen states, including East Tennessee, part of which is home to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Unlike other cicada species, which are green in color and emerge in the summer each year, these periodical cicadas are smaller, with red eyes and wing veins. In the years they appear, they come out in late April and early May, remaining present for four to six weeks.

The cicadas set to emerge this year are

“They were unmistakably periodical cicadas,” he said, “so we think they’re probably from this brood.”

Periodical cicadas’ adherence to primenumbered 13- and 17-year schedules is likely a hedge against predation, Kuhn said. Predator species tend to follow a boom-or-bust cycle that takes just a few years to complete, so the cicadas’ reproductive rhythm reduces their chances of colliding with a predator boom year too often. Mass emergence offers an additional protection — not so much for individual cicadas, which are a coveted food source for everything from birds to bears, but for the population as a whole.

“This mass emergence functions to inundate the predators so that, even after all the predators are full, there are still more cicadas that can lay eggs and pass their genes on to the next generation,” Kuhn said.

part of Brood XIX, one of 15 periodical cicada broods in the United States. Of those, 12 reproduce in 17-year cycles and three — including Brood XIX — in 13-year cycles. Two broods will appear in the United States this year, with the second being the 17-year Brood XIII in the Midwest. Next year, the 17-year Brood XIV, whose recorded range encompasses a larger portion of the park, will come out for the first time since 2008.

While the park doesn’t list any records of Brood XIX, during the last emergence in May 2011, there was one report of a periodical cicada calling near its western boundary. To verify this brood occurs inside the park, scientists will visit the same area this spring to listen for the cicadas’ distinctive calls. They’ll have more help this year than they did in 2011, when smartphones were less prevalent and community science tools like iNaturalist were still in their infancy. This time around, anybody visiting the park can help gather data by recording what they see and hear.

Other evidence also points toward Brood XIX’s existence within the park. Will Kuhn, director of science and research for Discover Life in America, one of the park’s four nonprofit partners, explained that periodical cicada broods often have “stragglers,” and they can come out a little early or a little late. Last year, Kuhn heard some of these stragglers in multiple places within the park and received reports from others who heard them too.

Any given brood of periodical cicadas emerges in sync, once the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees, said Smokies entomologist Becky Nichols. They’re already appearing in Georgia and likely to do so in East Tennessee — and possibly the Smokies — in late April or early May.

“Some of the people that have been calling in to the park have been wanting to avoid camping during that time because they figure it’s going to be too noisy or there will be too many bugs flying around,” she said. “They probably picture millions of cicadas flying around, and it won’t be like that.”

Cicadas can be noisy — an especially robust chorus can be as loud as a motorcycle heard from 25 feet away — but the adults don’t fly much and don’t swarm in flocks.

However, people experiencing a cicada hatch might notice the husks the larvae shed as they emerge scattered on the ground or stuck to trees. After molting, the adults will often sit on

nearby until later ascending to the

trees canopy. F Adult periodical cicadas spend four to six weeks above ground to mate and lay eggs after living underground as immature nymphs for either 13 or 17 years, depending on which brood and species they belong to. Photo by Will Kuhn, Discover Life in America. Cicada husks, called exuviae, cling to the back of a maple leaf after the adult cicadas have emerged out of them. Photo by Will Kuhn, Discover Life in America An adult cicada from the last Brood XIX emergency in 2011 rests on a tree trunk. Brian Stansberry photo

Then, the males will start calling — an invitation for the females, which remain silent, to come over and mate. A single female can lay up to 600 eggs, nestling about two dozen at a time in slits she makes in tree twigs. After four to six weeks, the adults die off, and the chorus stops.

This spring, Kuhn and Nichols are excited to learn something new about cicada biodiversity in the Smokies that won’t be possible again for another 13 years. While typically referred to as a monolith, Brood XIX is actually made up of four different cicada species, three of which have been documented to occur nearby. Because

they spend so much time high in the trees, it can be hard to get close enough for visual identification, but their call gives them away.

Kuhn is encouraging anyone visiting the park this spring to record any cicada calls they may hear and submit those observations — along with location data — via the app iNaturalist. Other cicada species, which are present every year, don’t start calling until later in the summer, so any cicada calls heard over the coming weeks will certainly belong to periodical species. Currently, ten different cicada species have been confirmed in the park. If all three of the nearby species that make up Brood XIX are documented this year, that number will rise to 13.

Kuhn is especially interested in monitoring Look Rock Campground and other spots where the stragglers were heard last year. Based on current range mapping, the west end of the park is the most likely place to experience the cicada emergence, Nichols said, including Foothills Parkway West, the Chilhowee area, and the Abrams Creek Campground area. Wherever they appear, the cicadas indicate a healthy subterranean environment — and a smorgasbord for wildlife.

“A lot of different wildlife,” Nichols said, “will be spending a lot of time feeding on cicadas.”

(Holly Kays is the lead writer for the 29,000member Smokies Life, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the scientific, historical, and interpretive activities of Great Smoky Mountains National Park by providing educational products and services such as this column. Learn more at and reach the author at

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An adult cicada emerges from its husk during the Brood X emergence that took place in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2021. Photo by Will Kuhn, Discover Life in America. After emerging, cicada nymphs typically find a tree or plant to climb before shedding their skin. Photo by Will Kuhn, Discover Life in America.

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The trout stocking event will be held May 6.

Memorial Day

Trout Tournament

The annual Memorial Day Trout Tournament is again coming to Cherokee.

The tournament is open to all ages and will be held on the beautiful Freestone Streams.

Wildlife Commission Announces CWD Surveillance Areas

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Executive Director, Cameron Ingram, signed a proclamation outlining the state’s Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) primary and secondary surveillance areas as well as the 2024-25 deer season dates in which mandatory sample submission is required.

The CWD primary surveillance areas, designated by county, are Cumberland, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.

Help stock the Pigeon

River with trout

TU-Cataloochee’s next trout stocking event is coming up Monday, May 6, along the delayed harvest section of the West Fork of the Pigeon River. Anyone interested can meet at the West Fork upper parking lot at 10:30 a.m.. Bring a 5-gallon bucket or two along with some friends. Waders are recommended but not required. A minimum of 25 volunteers is needed, and the public is invited. The stocking takes about three hours. Kids are welcome.

$10,000 in cash prizes will be offered. Register anywhere fishing permits are sold near Cherokee or online.

sites, as surrounding soil and vegetation can be contaminated by infected feces, urine, and saliva; once CWD prions are present, they are practically impossible to remove or destroy, and can infect healthy deer for years.

Put out bait, food or food products to purposefully congregate wildlife from January 2 through August 31 each year.

Any hunter who harvests a cervid within the dates and counties listed below is required to submit a sample for testing to the Commission not later than two weeks following the harvest:

Chronic wasting disease isn’t a danger to humans but poses a serious threat to the deer population. Stock photo

The secondary surveillance areas are Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Bladen, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Iredell, Robeson, Rockingham and Sampson counties.

The Commission reminds the public that within surveillance area counties, it is illegal to transport fawns for rehabilitation, given CWD can easily spread to new areas whenever infected deer are transported by people. Fawns can be infected with CWD by their mother even before birth and not show any visible signs of illness until the late stages of disease.

Place new salt or minerals in existing mineral lick sites or to establish new mineral lick

Nov. 23-25, 2024 in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.

Nov. 16-23, 2024 in Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Robeson, and Sampson counties.

This information will be published in the 2024-25 Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest this August. Learn more about CWD in North Carolina at

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News outdoors 32 44 & C ULLOWHE E 54L EGACY L ANE , R ,N O RT T H C AROLINA
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Haywood waterways hosts tree identification hike

On May 18, Haywood Waterways Association and Haywood Community College will lead a moderate 6-mile hike in the Sunburst area of Haywood County.

Shannon Rabby, Lead Instructor of the Fish and Wildlife Management Technology Department, will share his knowledge of local trees and woody plants on our way to a waterfall. The event is free for Haywood Waterways’ members and a $5 donation for nonmembers; memberships start at $25. The event is part of Haywood Waterways’ “Get to Know

Your Watershed” series of outdoor recreation activities. The organization works to maintain and improve Haywood County’s waterways through education, citizen engagement, and partnerships.

The group will meet at 10 a.m. at the picnic tables behind the Jukebox Junction Soda Shoppe, 6306 Pigeon Road, Canton. The hike will conclude by 4 p.m. Hikers should be prepared to hike through mud and several small streams. Bring lunch and water. Please leave pets at home.

Space is limited to 15 individuals. Haywood Waterways’ members can RSVP now to Mackenzie Tenan at or 828.476.4667 ext. 2; non-members can reserve a spot starting May.

Enjoy ‘Art in the Gardens’ at Lake Junaluska

Lake Junaluska’s Artists in Residence invite the public to visit “Art in the Gardens,” now through Wednesday, May 15. The event features works by Lake Junaluska community artists displayed at a number of the 16 gardens and places of meditation throughout the grounds. In addition, an exhibition called “Legends” is located outside the Harrell Center library. Paintings, environmental art, mobiles and sculptures will all be exhibited and will be available for sale. However, one particular exhibit was designed to be given away, said artist in residence Jody Lipscomb.

“Joy in the Garden,” a community art project by artists Joy Clairborneand Betsy Eaves, invited community members to help paint 60 to 80 rocks, which were placed in heart shapes near Memorial Chapel. Visitors to the exhibition were then invited to take a rock.

To learn where art will be displayed, as well as the contact information for each participating artist, guests can pick up an Art in the Gardens guide at Bethea Welcome Center, 91 N. Lakeshore Drive or email For more information about the gardens and places of meditation at Lake Junaluska, visit

Cemetery decoration days this weekend

On Sunday, May 5, in cooperation with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the North Shore Cemetery Association will decorate the Woody and Hoyle Cemeteries on Forney Creek.

JL Woody deeded the land to the State of North Carolina in 1932 as part of the original Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The land was described as Forney Creek Cemetery containing 0.65 acres with 40 graves and a request it be maintained as a burying ground by the Park. In 1942, TVA noted there were 146 graves and 80 were removed and reinterred at Lauada, leaving 66 graves.

Hoyle Cemetery is the family cemetery of the Michael and Sarah Hoyle family. It was deeded to the State in 1929 as part of the original Park. The Hoyle homestead is on the left about a quarter-mile before you reach the cemetery, which contains 5 graves. Hoyle is a steep 1.25 miles hike.

Meet the boat at Cable Cove at 7:30 a.m. or Wilderness Marina (Flat Branch) at 9:30 a.m.

There are no charges for any participation. Decorations consist of placing flowers on the graves followed by a short service in song and a devotion.

People should wear sturdy shoes and clothing suitable for hiking. Participants may bring their own lunch and drinks or a dish to share with those who pot luck. The Association provides plates and tableware. There are picnic tables near the cemetery. Please, no pets.

State announces funding opportunities for weatherization training and technical assistance

The Department of Environmental Quality’s State Energy Office is accepting proposals for weatherization training and technical assistance projects, with $14.68 million in federal funding available. The funding is a portion of the $89.7 million provided to the state by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). This funding is in addition to the annual amounts allocated to the agencies supporting the Weatherization Assistance Program and does not affect those allocations.

The Requests for Proposals (RFPs), cover three focus areas as described in the Weatherization Assistance Program’s 5-Year BIL State Plan.

Focus Area 1 – Weatherization Collaborative Lead Agency ($2.25 million)

DEQ seeks proposals for a Collaborative Lead Agency (or agencies) equipped to train the regional Collaborative Facilitating Agencies at each weatherization hub in the implementation of the collaborative approach for home upgrades. The Collaborative Lead Agency will be responsible for training the Collaborative Facilitating Agencies at each of the eight regional weatherization hubs.

Focus Area 2 – Upgrades to Weatherization Training Program ($7.35 million)

DEQ seeks proposals to fund an agency to lead North Carolina’s Weatherization Training Program who is equipped to track the weatherization training requirements for participants and conduct both required and optional training courses. The intention of the training program is to elevate weatherization from a trade to a profession.

Focus Area 3 – Weatherization Workforce Development Program ($5.08 million)

DEQ seeks proposals for a Weatherization Workforce Development Training Program (or programs) equipped to train pre/apprentices in skills related to weatherization. For each workforce development program funded, DEQ envisions hiring a single entity that would lead the coalition of universities, community colleges, state agencies and educational non-profits.

Applications will be accepted until 10 a.m. Monday, May 6. Eligible organizations should review the RFPs online. Proposals must be submitted through the application portal and questions may be submitted through the question portal here. Since these RFPs are reposting, previous applicants must reapply to be considered.

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News outdoors 33
Instagram photo Shannon Rabby. File photo

What a Lark

Notes from a Plant Nerd

I wear a few different hats in my world. A big straw hat for working in the garden or walking out in the sun. Wool caps and toboggans for the colder mornings of spring. Party hats for the celebrations. I’ve even been known to wear a tricorne hat when visiting Colonial Williamsburg as a kid.

stem. The small, black seeds are released when the seed heads split open and are easily collected and for sowing in your shade garden.

One of my favorite hats to wear is as an environmental educator teaching people of all ages about the beauty and interconnected diversity of plants and wildflowers. I get to lead merry, carefree adventures frolicking among the wildflowers on weekly escapades.

And I love my work.

Among my favorite springtime blooms is that of the dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) whose numerous purple blooms fill the hillside above my home and are lining some of the roadsides along the Blue Ridge Parkway right now. These small and stunning flower are filled with stories of mythology and ecological relationships, some of my favorite parts of teaching plants.

Dwarf larkspur leaves are toxic to most mammals, so they are rarely eaten by herbivores like deer, or even your four-legged companions. Make sure you don’t eat them, as all parts of the plant are toxic to Humans. Delphiniums do offer host plant support for the flower eating caterpillars of the darkerspotted straw moth (Heliothis phloxiphaga) which also eat the flowers of phlox (Phlox spp.); as the moth’s Latin name suggests, the suffix “-phage” means to eat.

The Botanical Latin name begins the story of the larkspur flowers. Delphinium is a reference to the Greek word from where we also get the word dolphin, Delphos, which means womb. I used to not understand the reference to dolphins in this beautiful flower of the mountains until I noticed in one of my photos that the unopened flower buds look exactly like a dolphin, or possibly their relative the orca.

Once the flowers open, they take on the look of an old, grizzled forest wizard’s hat as their petals. These are called sepals, modified leaves that protect the unopened flower bud and then offer the same attractive benefit as flower petals. These beautiful flowers, ranging from blue to purple to white, often showing all of those colors at once, are borne on a raceme or stalk above the geranium-like leaves.

The five showy sepals are arranged around the central flower and curve backward to show the pollinating insects and hummingbirds where to find the nectar. The top sepal forms into a long curving tube called a spur, which is where the sweet nectar is contained. Long-tongued pollinators must reach deeply into this flower to get their sugary reward and are depositing and picking up pollen as they do.

Once pollinated, the ripening seed pods take on the shape of a tricorne hat with three corners arranged radially above the central

I see a beautiful stand of Delphiniums frolicking in the waves of your forest garden, as if foretold by the Oracle of Delphi of Greek Mythology. Or rather, the dolphin oracle. Go dance and play in the waves of springtime, my friends. And be careful not to crush the many beautiful flowers you see along the way, or you may just suffer the gentle wrath of the goddesses of old.

(Adam Bigelow lives in Cullowhee. He leads weekly wildflower walks most Fridays and offers consultations and private group tours through Bigelow’s Botanical Excursions.

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News outdoors 34 Great Smokies STORAGE LLC R Y EASY S 4 & onein e a fe v e ha W CU S W RENTTAAL ONLINE Cantonin ynesaWville age units: stor w open TUDENTS! ORST Smmok AGE L L LC g reatsmo k C all 828.50 6 21HollonCoveR Champion D 34 4 iesstorag e 1 12 .4 WaynesvilleN Rd C rive, Canton, N .com C28786 N 21 Hollon Cove R , Waynesville , C 28786 100 Charles St. WAYNESVILLE FREE ESTIMATES Puzzles can be found on page 38 These are only the answers.
Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne). Adam Bigelow photo

WNC events and happenings


• The Jackson County Farmers Market meets every Saturday November through March 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and April through October 9 a.m. to noon at Bridge Park in Sylva, 110 Railroad St. Special events listed on Facebook and Instagram.

• Cowee School Farmer's Market is held Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m., at 51 Cowee School Drive in Franklin. The market has produce, plant starts, eggs, baked goods, flowers, food trucks and music. For more information or for an application, visit or call 828.369.4080.

H EALTH AND WELLNESS or call 828.356.2561.

• Knit Night takes place at 5:30-7:30 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month at The Stecoah Valley Center. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP is recommended: 828.479.3364 or

• A Novel Escape Book Club takes place at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the Novel Escape Bookstore (60 E Main St, Franklin). Every other month one book is selected for discussion. On alternate months the meeting is round-table discussion in which participants share what they’ve read lately. For more information call the bookstore at 828.369.9059 or visit

years old. For more information contact Ashlyn at or at 828.356.2567.

• Mother Goose Storytime takes place 10:30-11 a.m. every Wednesday at the Waynesville branch of the Haywood County Public Library. Ideal for children from birth to 2 years old. For more information, contact Lisa at or call 828.356.2511.

• Wiggle Worms Storytime takes place 10:30-11 a.m. every Tuesday, at the Waynesville branch of the Haywood County Public Library. Ideal for children 2-6 years old. For more information contact Lisa at or call 828.356.2511.

• The Pollinators Foundation offers weekly Mindful Movement Qigong classes for all ages to reduce stress and improve health and well-being. Classes take place 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Folkmoot Center in Waynesville. For more information visit or contact Marga Fripp at 828.4224.1398.

• Silent Book Club takes place at 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Novel Escape Bookstore (60 E Main St, Franklin). Bring your own book and whatever makes you feel cozy and enjoy a quiet, uninterrupted hour of reading amongst friends.


• Toddler’s Rock takes place at 10 a.m. every Monday at the Macon County Library. Get ready to rock with songs, books, rhymes and playing with instruments. For more information visit or call 828.524.3600.

• The Pollinators Foundation and The Share Project host weekly Happy Hour Nature Walks 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at Lake Junaluska. The group meets at the Labyrinth. For more information visit or contact Marga Fripp at 828.4224.1398.

• Mountain Area pregnancy Services and the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor work together to provide a casual support group for prenatal and breastfeeding individuals from 1-2 p.m. on Tuesdays at Mountain Area Pregnancy Services, 177 N Main St. Waynesville, NC. All are welcome, registration is recommended. For more information, please call 828.558.4550.


• The Western Carolina Cribbage Club meets every Monday at 6 p.m. An eclectic group of young and old, male and female. The group supplies boards, cards, pegs and are always willing to help those still learning the finer points of the game. For more information contact

• Chess 101 takes place 3:30-4:30 p.m. every Friday at the Canton Branch of the Haywood County Library. For more information, email Ashlyn Godleski at or call 828.356.2567.

• The Canton Branch of the Haywood County Public Library Creative Writing Group meets 10:30 a.m. to noon on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. For more information, email Jennifer at jennifer.stu-

• Lucky LEGO STEAM, a St. Patrick’s Day-themed STEAM edition of LEGO Club will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at the Jackson County Library. For more information visit or call 828.586.2016.

• A special "Rain and Rainbows” themed family night will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at the Jackson County Library. There will be light refreshments along with science experiments and activities. For more information visit or call 828.586.2016.

• On Mondays, the Macon County Library will host Lady Violet, a King Charles Spaniel service dog, for children to practice their reading skills. Children who feel nervous reading aloud to an adult tend to feel more comfortable with a pet or a service animal. Sign up for a time to read with Lady Violet or to one of the library’s reading friends at the children’s desk or call 828.524.3600.

• On Tuesdays, Kelly Curtis will offer reading services to families from 3:30 -5:30 p.m. at the Macon County Public Library. Families may sign up for a 30-minute time spot at the children’s desk or by calling 828.524.3600.

• Creative Writing Club will take place at 3:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Macon County Public Library. The writing club is intended for ages 8-12. For more information visit or call 828.524.3600.

• Move and Groove Storytime takes place 10:30-11 a.m. every Thursday at the Canton branch of the Haywood County Public Library. Exciting, interactive music and movement story time ideal for children 2-6

• Art afternoon takes place at 3:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Macon County Public Library. For more information visit or call 828.524.3600.


• Uptown Gallery in Franklin is celebrating Youth Art Month. During the month of March, stop by the gallery to see Macon County Schools K-12 student artwork on display. A reception will be held 3-5 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at Uptown Gallery. For more information visit

• The Pollinators Foundation at Folkmoot offers creative arts playshops to reduce stress and cultivate joy and compassionate connection. More information at, or contact Marga at, or 828.424.1398.

• Trivia Night is hosted 6:30-8:30 p.m. every Thursday evening at the Meadowlark Motel in Maggie Valley. For more information visit

• Paint and Sip at Waynesville Art School will be held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7-9:30 p.m. To learn more and register call 828.246.9869 or visit Registration is required, $45.

• Mountain Makers Craft Market will be held from noon to 4 p.m. the first Sunday of each month at 308 North Haywood St. in downtown Waynesville. Over two dozen artisans selling handmade and vintage goods. Special events will be held when scheduled.

May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News 35 . K Dr Keev Young presents his new b orld o t W e V Th Viiolen Wo of f B y o tor Miller: A Story of f M vin g book, adBrro o duus r r M Muurdder, , 828/586-9499 • more@citylights TR 3 EAST JACKSON S REEET • SY , Ma Sundayayy, ay y 5th • 2:00 d J bs h M L Lyync Mo o s, , an Ju u Punishment in the Ca p YLVLVVA A p. . m. udicial arolinas Sun y erEv kFol elticC bledi ncreI rio - 2-5 gerich T er Gie t ar W/The C eltic Sunda y EV C ENTS nday pm s Mus SpecialsLive Food and Drink midnigh to 4pm er Dark • t f t A rA oul Americana/ S • 10pm to 8pm mtain nter damas E y A d b entepres yant y Br Abb rd riday, May 3 F Country 10pm - 8pm x • o Jon C Thursday, May 2 n our Guin ong with y l tion a Relaxapecials! ht h att! t ha V. the n TV 4th ic t ent nd ess! E com S Teequila and Margarita Specials. Food T midnig to 12pm o • ay e M o D incC t Sunday, May 5 bes your Wear ayy! All Juleps Mint $7 Da o Races • midnight to 12pm y • Da erbyD day, May Satur ls Liv cia Sp VILL W OWNTOWND • TREETS HCHUR 37 C • ScotsmanPublic. hl l 1un:S PM-12AM t: ari-SF AM 214PMTh: @thescotsmanwaynesville 1AM-12AM e TAKE A LOOK AT OUR NEW ONLINE EVENTS PAGE!

MarketPlace information:

The Smoky Mountain News Marketplace has a distribution of 16,000 copies across 500 locations in Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, including the Qualla Boundary and west Buncombe County. Visit to place your ad!


• $15 — Classified ads that are 25 words, 25¢ per word after.

• Free — Lost or found pet ads.

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• $1 — Yard Sale Rain Insurance Yard sale rained out? Call us by 10a.m. Monday for your ad to run again FREE

• $375 — Statewide classifieds run in 170 participating newspapers with 1.1+ million circulation. (Limit 25 words or less)

• Boost Online — Have your ad featured at top of category online $4

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Note: Highlighted ads automatically generate a border so if you’re placing an ad online and select a highlight color, the “add border” feature will not be available on the screen.

Note: Yard sale ads require an address. This location will be displayed on a map on

p: 828.452.4251 · f:828.452.3585




Case No.2024 E 000225

Wanda Parton, having


Louise Putnam Price

Jul 24 2024 Fiduciary

79 Little Oak St Canton NC 28716


Case No.2024E000239




Case No.2024 E 000230


Marcus Rhymer WestJul 31, 2024, or

CHERYL ANN RHODEN Aug 01 2024, or

May 1-7, 2024 WNC MarketPlace 36
Executor 313 Circle Park Place Chapel Hill,
------------PRESCHOOL DIRECTOR PRESCHOOL ASSISTANT TEACHER May 1-7, 2024 WNC MarketPlace 37 ea Find your dr als tne ion R VaacatSunburstV ERA Sunbu r 828.456.7376 • 8 www.sunburst 147 Walnut St • W Sunburst Realty is a f real estate company s m home omc unburs swww als tne y RunbursRealtt S st Realty 00.627.1210 aynesville ull service,family-owned and operated ving W er Western North Carolina since 1970. t 3 x 018 E 0-46 828-5 om iontaca unburs s.www L t 2 x 4 E 411-254 828y Man ty opr m P rme Te ong T r t s www 71 N. Main St., Waynesville office 828.564.9393 Years of Experience. Reputation for Results. 38 North Main Street | Waynesville RON BREESE Broker/Realtor® (828)400.9029 LANDEN K. STEVENSON Broker/Realtor® (828)734.3436 MELISSA BREESE PALMER Broker/Realtor® (828)734.4616 THE #1 NAME IN HAYWOOD CO. REAL ESTATE! WWW.RONBREESE.COM See Virtual Tours of listed homes at Market Square, 3457 Soco Rd. • Maggie Valley, NC • 828-926-0400 Real . ood Co ywHay gents Estate A ADDVVEER TO ADV ESI T RT ymountads@smoky 828.452.4 T EXXT NEHTNI EX 4251 EUSSIT


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7 Butcher's cleaver

14 Winter melon variety

20 Replacing, with "of"

21 Privy person

22 Ill-willed sorts

23 Arranged cheddar brands in order of sharpness?

25 Arctic jacket

26 Capitol fig.

27 Collectible toon frame

28 Per each unit

29 Set to move forward, as a car

30 Boldly


a board

81 Not worth -(valueless) 83 Perplex

Belittle, informally

Ill-fated flier of

Actor Joseph Gordon-

"Cocoon" co-star Don

Home Goods




Charged toward

Casual eatery

Best players

-- -Croatian


Family mem.

African nation

"Not likely!"

Thumbs-up 109 Motor oil additive brand

110 Nasser's fed.

111 River of Bern 112 Yoga surface



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HOUND MIX, BLACK/ WHITE/BROWN — BODIE 1 year old boy; shy but sweet and playful. Loves other dogs! Asheville Humane Society (828) 761-2001 adoptions@

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May 1-7, 2024 WNC MarketPlace 38
courageous after January 1?
Second shoot of a
37 Nevertheless
"-- -daisy!"
39 Paleolithic period 41 Letter-shaped track in metalworking
Attach, as to a lapel
Pre-TiVo machine 49 -- Lanka
50 Comparable in humility to one particular sorority member?
Quick glance
Not durable
Groups of four
Underscore 61 Law school beginner
Think up 64 Big Steinway played by your father's father?
policy about animals
69 Condo
73 Canonized seventhcen. pope 76 Hotel bar 78 Tug sharply 79 Wrapping a wound on the noggin? 82 Sit-up targets 85 Chou En- -86 2003 #1 hit for OutKast 87 Artist's stand 88 Raconteur's offering 90 "... and -- it all over again!" 91 Young boy 93 Complained petulantly 94 Lion's hunting recollections? 102 River in central Jersey 103 Certain shade provider 104 Certain shade provider 105 Chinese chairman 108 More asinine 109 Reversible fabric used during operations? 113 Rich, filled pastry 114 Daughter on "Bewitched" 115 And others, to Caesar 116 Rages 117 -- & Gamble 118 Confirm officially DOWN 1 Large trucks 2 Apropos of 3 Ladd or Alda 4 Pot cover 5 Petit four and Sally Lunn 6 Piercing spot, often 7 Prefix with air 8 Coop up 9 Fireplace receptacle 10 Secure with string, say 11 Skilled 12 Ballot marks 13 Afore 14 Lon of old horror films 15 Classic root beer brand 16 Raconteur's offering 17 Eagle's nest 18 Cry to a prima donna 19 Interrogator 24 Part of REO 29 Put into office 30 Ex-veep Quayle 31 "Science Guy" Bill 32 Island dance 33 Heroic poetry 34 Answers an evite, e.g. 35 "And so on and so on": Abbr. 36 Bullfight hero 40 PC image file 41 High-voltage transformer 42 Cloudland 43 Peppermint -- (York treat) 44 "Bring it on!" 45 Nuggets' org. 46 Unusual 47 "Stillmatic" rapper 50 Prized Chinese vases 51 The "E" of FEMA: Abbr. 52 Big jumps 54 Eisenhower's successor 56 Politico Trent 59 Floor-scrubbing robot brand 60 Old photo tint
Carding at a club, e.g. 63
shoot!" 65
back 66
often 67 Comedian Kevin 68 Very fancy 72 Did
slopes 73 "Quit talking!" 74
Ecuador 80
70 Dime, e.g.
Passover feasts
Adjective follower,
75 Set (down)
Bigger than med.
Suffix with
Groove for receiving the end of
Structured frameworks
Big fuss
Poet's Muse
on 34
May 1-7, 2024 Smoky Mountain News 40
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