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Nov. 20-26, 2013 Vol. 15 Iss. 25
Public overwhelmingly supports hospital sale Page 8-9
Cataloochee Ski Area pours on the snow, opens Page 32
November 20-26, 2013
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On the Cover: Interactions between humans and elk have turned deadly for the elk as park rangers recently euthanized the animal pictured on the cover. It had become so accustomed to getting handouts from humans that it was deemed dangerous. (Page 6) Cover image: Vince M. Camiolo / RunVMC.com and YouTube.
News Haywood public shows overwhelming support for hospital sale . . . . . . . . 8-9 State reverses initial decision, gives North Shore payment to Swain . . . . . 11 Educators say state is shortchanging public schools, teachers . . . . . . . . . 12 Waynesville discusses proposal for Haywood, N. Main St. intersection . . 13 Haywood move would bring EDC, chamber under one roof . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Candidates lining up for run for DA job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Fire tax issue opens fairness debate in Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
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Doing the two-step in Swain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Cataloochee pours on the snow, opens for season . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
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Human interaction can be fatal to elk Once animals start eating handouts, problems multiply
BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER young male elk in Cataloochee Valley was put down by park rangers last week for repeatedly rushing and taunting visitors. A love of junk food led the elk to lose its leeriness of humans. Despite a barrage of rubber bullets and pepper spray by park rangers in recent weeks, the elk couldn’t be convinced to leave people alone. “This was not a rash decision. We tried a lot of aversion conditioning,” said Joe Yarkovich, an elk biologist in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “Euthanasia is a last resort for us but this one bull was such a safety risk we had to put it down.” Meanwhile, a bull elk in the Oconaluftee herd had its antlers sawed off by park rangers after it charged people and even smashed into a car during mating season. While the elks’ forays toward humans were deemed too close for comfort, the elk were actually the victims of people — not the other way around, according to Yarkovich. Visitors routinely try to cozy up to the elk, walking up into the fields where they graze to get a better look — or a better photo. And some people actually feed the elk. An online video captured the young bull elk in Catalooche, which is now dead, sparring, head butting and nuzzling a man from Weaverville. The video went viral last week, pulling in more than 1 million views. In the video, the man was sitting on the edge of the road that runs through Catalooche Valley in an apparently defenseless position as the elk stamped around just inches from him. After several minutes, the man finally pushed the elk in the chest with his hands, got up and walked away. He was one of several photographers lining the field taking pictures of the elk that day back in October. The incident was captured on video by another photographer who had been nearby. It’s unclear why the many onlookers didn’t intervene by yelling or throwing things to scare the elk off, or why someone in one of the nearby cars didn’t drive up to the elk to get it to move back. Park rangers also aren’t sure exactly what led up to the elk approaching that man and sparring with him in the first place. Technically, based on the video footage, the man didn’t break the law. “It is illegal to willfully approach a bear or elk within 50 yards or any distance that disturbs or displaces the animal,” Yarkovich said. “The problem with the wording is it doesn’t say anything about them approaching you.” A statement from the park suggests the man should have taken steps to move back as the elk approached. “If an elk approaches you, it is your respon6
the elk could continue to pose a danger to people wherever it was moved to. “By initiating physical contact with a visitor, the elk displayed an unacceptable risk to human safety,” according to a statement by the park. “When wildlife exhibits this behavior it often escalates to more aggressive behavior creating a dangerous situation for visitors.” The park likewise couldn’t give it to a zoo or captive wildlife preserve due to state and federal regulations, which prevent the transport of elk due to fears of chronic wasting disease.
Smoky Mountain News
November 20-26, 2013
James York photographed this young elk in the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, sitting in a road as the human-acclimated elk head butted him relatively gently for several minutes. Another park visitor, Vince M. Camiolo, caught the interaction on a video that went viral and ended up getting more than 1 million views on You Tube. Park rangers warn against getting this close to any wild animals in the park, and this particular elk had to be euthanized because it regularly went too close to humans after it had become accustomed to food handouts. James York photo sibility to back away slowly to provide space for the animal to pass,” according to the park. Yarkovich said the photographer’s behavior wasn’t ideal. But, “The real problem was contributed by the 2,000 people before him,” said Yarkovich. “It was basically a beggar.” Park wildlife biologists first noticed this particular elk approaching people back in September. Yarkovich suspected it had been fed by people in the past and was now actively looking for handouts. To confirm his theory, Yarkovich filled an empty potato chip bag with rocks and tossed it on the ground when the elk was watching. When elk sprinted over to it, it was clear this elk had developed a predilection for human junk food. Park rangers tried to discourage the elk’s bad eating habits. They would stand in the field and crinkled a potato chip bag, let the elk come running up and then douse it with pepper spray. After a few times, the elk wasn’t so keen on the sound of crinkling potato chip bags anymore. “It would run the other way at the sound,” Yarkovich said. “It was working.” But the elk’s fear of crinkling potato chip bags stopped there. He wasn’t fazed by people in general. But neither the elk’s repeated advances toward the photographer nor the video’s rampant rounds on the internet were the tipping point, however. Twice last week, the elk charged at a local man who regularly walks his dog along the road in Cataloochee Valley. It became clear to park rangers then that their attempts to instill a natural fear of humans simply weren’t working.
Keep your distance from elk and all wildlife The elk herds of Cataloochee and Oconaluftee lie inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park rules make it illegal to approach within 50 yards of wildlife. If people are approached by an elk, they should slowly move away. If charged by a male elk, especially during mating season in early fall, run. Unlike charges by black bears, where people should resist the temptation to run, elk rarely bluff charge and hightailing it in the other direction is the best course of action.
The video going viral at about the same time was a case of unfortunate timing. The morning before the video made primetime, Yarkovich had sat down with fellow Smokies Wildlife Biologist Bill Stiver and talked about what to do, concluding they should put the elk down. Now, it looks like the park rangers were pressured to put the elk down because of the negative publicity, but that isn’t the case, Yarkovich said. The park had considered relocating the elk to another area, or even moving it to other public lands outside the park. But park rangers concluded they couldn’t do so in good faith, since
This is the first elk to be euthanized due to nuisance behavior inside the park. But as the elk population grows and tourists flocking to see them show no signs of letting up, more conflicts can be expected. Yarkovich pointed to Rocky Mountain National Park, where elk are a long-established part of the landscape and a tourist darling. “When you have crowds of people around male elk in September and October there is inevitably going to be a defensive maneuver by that animal,” Yarkovich said. The Smokies have borrowed from the practices used out West by establishing an Elk Bugle Corp. These teams of volunteers patrol elk viewing areas and run interference with visitors. “Responsible wildlife viewing is the best thing we can ask for from visitors,” Yarkovich said. While the national park has never put down an elk for its behaviors inside the park boundaries, twice elk have been intentionally put down for human encounters outside the park. Once, park rangers themselves put down an elk that was causing problems in populated areas outside Cherokee. And once, a dairy farmer in Haywood County shot an elk that was routinely damaging his property. As the growing herd begins to migrate outside park boundaries, a few have become known as saboteurs to farmers and property owners. They’ve been blamed for desecrated graveyards, leveled plots of corn, trampled gardens, broken fences — the list goes on. This summer, the N.C. Wildlife Commission issued permits to two farmers in Haywood County giving them permission to shoot an elk if it is caught in the act of damaging crops or fields.
ILLICIT FIELD DAY WITH THE ELK
Meanwhile, an 800-pound elk in Oconaluftee had its antlers sawed off recently after it charged people and even smashed into a car while defending its turf. A couple of close encounters with the bull elk happened during the federal government shutdown in October, which had essentially closed down the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The main road leading through the park
This is a screen shot of the video shot in Cataloochee that appeared on Time’s Facebook page. The video, shot by Vince M. Camiolo and posted on YouTube, also appeared on other major news websites such as the Huffington Post. From Facebook
When elk show signs of being too friendly with people, park rangers try to teach it a lesson. “The simple way of looking at it is us trying to put the fear of humans back into the animals,” Yarkovich said. They try a dose of old-fashion scolding — hollering, screaming and waving their arms at the elk. They can ramp it up by firing rubber bullets, bean bag rounds and even paint ball pellets at the elk, using clear paint though so the
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HOW TO HAZE AN ELK
elk’s coat doesn’t get spotted. This isn’t sniper-style, however. The rangers want it to be perfectly clear that they — i.e. humans — are the ones being such a pain in the derriere. “So when the animal is in a situation we want it to avoid, like sticking his head in a car window, we get the elk to focus on us by yelling, ‘Hey elk, hey elk, over here,’ and then we hit it,” Yarkovich said. “Every time that elk comes up to a car we chase it away, and eventually that elk learns not to approach vehicles.” At least, that’s what is supposed to happen. Sometimes, the gauntlet of rubber bullets isn’t enough to deter the elk from the Cheetos waiting on the other side. “If we don’t see a return on those aversive efforts at first, we try capture and release,” Yarkovich said. The rangers shoot it with a tranquilizer dart and put it inside a cattle trailer. When it comes to, it spends some time in the trailer purgatory before being let it go. Theoretically, being captured is supposed to be so distressing that they abhor humans afterwards. It works brilliantly for bears, who have an impeccable sense of smell and wake up covered in human scent as a stiff reminder of who did this to them. “For bears it is a really negative experience to be handled by us,” Yarkovich said. Elk aren’t quite as turned off. “Elk are just really tolerant of non-lethal pressure,” Yarkovich said. Hoofed animals, after all, were the easiest for humans to domesticate. Cows, horses, llamas, camels, bison — they aren’t terribly hard to tame or terribly hard to hunt. The Smokies park rangers are among the best when it comes to their deterrent tactics. “Our aversion conditioning program has national recognition,” Yarkovich said. “We have hosted elk aversive conditioning workshops here that other states and natural resource managers have come to. We even travel around and put it on for other agencies.” Sadly, it just didn’t work this time.
November 20-26, 2013
was open to thru-traffic during the shut down, but the rangers and volunteers who are normally posted along the roadside for crowd control at the more popular elk hangouts had been sent home. With no one there to enforce the rules, some visitors had a field day with the elk — literally. It was the worst possible timing. The elk were in the middle of their rut, or mating season. Bulls get highly territorial as they spar with each other for control of female harems. They aren’t very tolerant of people venturing into the fields. Yarkovich said the visitors violated federal law by approaching the Oconaluftee elk so closely. The bull was within his rights, so to speak to fend off a perceived threat from a visitor. “Defending a harem is natural behavior for a bull elk,” Yarkovich said. But as wildlife biologists analyzed the overt and unprovoked advances by the elk in Cataloochee, there was a clear distinction. “The spike bull in Cataloochee was displaying offensive behavior by actively seeking contact with humans in search of food handouts and had charged visitors along the roadway multiple times,” according to a statement by park officials. “Animals displaying offensive behavior towards humans pose a greater risk to human safety.” That was the rationale behind the fateful decision to put one bull down, while another bull only had to part with his antlers — which for elk fall off every winter anyway.
Haywood hospital leaders vote ‘yes’ to Duke LifePoint sale amid outpouring of public support
The board of Haywood Regional Medical Center voted unanimously last week to proceed with the sale to Duke LifePoint Healthcare. The sale should be finalized by the end of March. Becky Johnson photo BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER parade of community leaders, doctors, nurses and hospital supporters voiced overwhelming support for the sale of Haywood Regional Medical Center to Duke LifePoint during a public hearing on Nov. 12. “We really didn’t expect this kind of outpouring. We think we are on the road to making the right decision. It looks like we have support at least in this room,” Frank Powers, chairman of the Haywood Regional hospital board of trustees, told an audience of nearly 250 people. A universal message emerged among the two dozen who spoke at the microphone — selling the hospital is the only way to save it. “It is evident that we can’t sustain the hospital under the present system. That is what is at stake,” said Wallace Leatherwood, a Haywood resident. Selling the hospital is “a realistic and desirable solution to our present hospital crisis,” said Dick Maples, another resident who spoke at the hearing. “It has been pointed out so clearly tonight,” he said. “Without a merger with a financially sound entity we are faced with the prospect of losing our hospital.” Haywood Regional has been teetering on the edge of a financial cliff the past several years. It’s lost money or barely broken even. This year, however, it made almost $5 million — but given the annual budget of $110 million such a small profit margin is barely above the “survival threshold” and no cause for celebration, according to Jeff Summer, a strategic hospital analyst with Stroudwater Associates consulting firm. “MedWest-Haywood is undercapitalized 8 and operating with very little margin for
Smoky Mountain News
November 20-26, 2013
error,” Summer said. “You are entering a period of great uncertainty and upheaval with no reserves. How would you pay suppliers and meet payroll? Those things are at critical levels for Haywood Regional Medical Center.” Powers said called the sale to Duke LifePoint a “generational move” for the hospital. “For the first time we will be on sound financial footing and that will solve our problem,” said Powers, a retired financial executive at Smith Barney. “We do have the best doctors. There is no reason why we can’t succeed. All we need is the money — and the expertise — of Duke LifePoint.” Hospitals nationFrank Powers wide are struggling, with 5 percent predicted to close by 2020, according to a presentation by Duke LifePoint officials. But simply making sure Haywood sticks around isn’t the goal. “We want to have a plan to make sure your medical community is here for the long run and not just here but thriving,” said Jeff Seraphine, president of Duke LifePoint’s eastern division. It’s a similar business model to the one LifePoint employs at the other 58 community hospitals it owns across 20 states: build up the footprint to capture market share currently being lost to bigger, urban hospitals nearby. “Our sole motivation is to expand service lines close to home and keep care local that needs to be done locally,” said David Dill, LifePoint’s chief operating officer.
A UNANIMOUS VOTE
The Haywood Regional Medical Center board of directors voted unanimously following the public hearing to proceed with the sale of the hospital to Duke LifePoint Healthcare system. “What the board has done hopefully will be able to position us for a long and healthy future,” said Dr. Al Mina, a surgeon who also serves on the Haywood Regional Medical Center board. The hospital and Duke LifePoint will now enter a due diligence period. A final deal should be in place by spring. Duke LifePoint has offered $26.2 million for Haywood Regional Medical Center and pledged a capital investment of $36 million in hospital facilities, equipment, technology, staff training and physician recruitment over the first eight years. Duke LifePoint is also buying WestCare, which includes Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva and Swain County Medical Center. The sale price for WestCare has not been disclosed. The sale of the hospitals will include all their related assets: urgent care clinics in Canton, Waynesville and Sylva; medical complexes under the hospitals’ names; doctor’s practices owned by the hospitals; and the Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center.
The high-caliber doctors and robust, wellHYSICIAN SUPPORT rounded line of medical services in Haywood Several doctors spoke in favor of the sale County is critically important to the commuto Duke LifePoint at last week’s hearing. They nity, according to several speakers. Diane Phelps said the large population of said they have grown weary of up the uphill baby boomers in Haywood County value the battles in recent years and are anxious to finally put them in the rearview mirror. quality of the doctors and the hospital. Since 2005, there has been some sort of It’s also a top imperative for people moving here, added Brian Cagle, president of the drama playing out — clashes between doctors and the former heavy-handed CEO, Haywood County Board of Realtors. clashes with Mission “As Realtors we Hospital in Asheville, spend time with clashes with the thousands of people Harris side of who are considering Track the developments in the unfolding MedWest, and, of moving to this area story of the hospital buyouts and what it course, the ultimate every year. As you means for medical care in Haywood, clash with federal might imagine, they Jackson and Swain counties. Find all our inspectors who want to know how past coverage, including an in-depth artiyanked the hospital’s our health care syscle on ‘Who is Duke LifePoint,’ at ability to be reimtem is,” said Cagle, www.smokymountainnews.com/news bursed by Medicare managing broker under Special Coverage. and other insurance for the Waynesville companies. branch of the There have been Beverly-Hanks real other tribulations even before that. Haywood estate firm. Although 250 people came to the public Regional saw an exodus of its orthopedic dochearing, at least half appeared to have direct tors, an exodus of its anesthesiologists, and the wholesale ousting of emergency room ties to the hospital industry. Along with the hospital’s top brass and doctors after they dared speak up against the many rank-and-file hospital workers, there former CEO. And there have been layoffs — three were at least two dozen Haywood doctors, several hospital volunteers, the board of the rounds of them in a five-year span Security and stability will be liberating, hospital foundation, and Haywood County commissioners — not to mention a corporate despite the hospital being sold. “We are ready to move forward and put team from Duke LifePoint and hospital consultants who helped guide the process of put- the trials and tribulations behind us so we can focus once again on patient care and not ting the hospital on the market. Even Mission Hospital officials from politics,” said Dr. Shannon Hunter of WNC Asheville and Park Ridge Hospital officials Ear, Nose and Throat who served as chief of from Hendersonville came to witness how the staff during one of the hospital’s rocky political climates. evening would play out.
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AN IRREVOCABLE DECISION
A couple of speakers questioned why the public should have faith this time, when MedWest in hindsight was a failed experiment. “We have done this dance before,” Vince Stringfellow said to the hospital board. “Tell me if you learned anything from this merger and what process do you have in place to keep us from having to go through this every four or five years?” Haywood Regional won’t be going through this again because, simply put, the sale to Duke LifePoint can’t be undone. “It is a final decision,” Powers said. “The decision we are going to make tonight is going to affect us for decades to come.” When Haywood Regional hospital officials began shopping for buyers in earnest last May, they stopped short of saying the hospital was up for sale. Instead, they called it an “alignment with a capital partner.” But reading between the lines, an outright sale was the only move that would actually realize the cash infusion the hospital wanted and needed. Some speakers at the hearing, however, voiced support for the “partnership” or “merger” with Duke LifePoint, prompting one hospital board member to set the record straight. “It is an acquisition, not just a merger. Let’s make sure everybody understands that,”
Norm Yearick, a hospital board member, told the audience at the public hearing.
‘A VERY TRICKY WALK’ The trio of hospitals that forged the MedWest alliance in 2010 contracted with Carolinas HealthCare System based in Charlotte to oversee and manage them. MedWest has paid Carolinas annually for its management services. But Carolinas has been criticized and blamed by some for missing the mark. “Let’s get the right one this time,” Harley Caldwell, a retired Haywood resident, said at the public hearing last week. Hospital board members defended Carolinas, however. They were the right partner at the time, Kirkpatrick said. Haywood Regional was able to remain independent and keep its seat at the decisionmaking table — which the community wanted — yet still benefit from the expertise of a major hospital company. Besides, even if Haywood Regional had put itself up for sale back then, it wasn’t in a very good bargaining position. The hospital had been forced to close in 2008 for more than four months, burning through nearly all its cash reserves in the process, after failing federal Medicare inspections. “If you are a potential buyer looking for a
A CLOSE CALL Haywood Regional Medical Center actually posted a profit of $4.9 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. It was the biggest profit in more than seven years, which have been marked by losses or barely breaking even. The bump this year was due partly to layoffs last fall, resulting in about $3 million in payroll savings, along with other cost-cutting
S EE HOSPITAL, PAGE 10
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Until recently, the thought of selling the independent, locally owned and locally operated hospital would have been unpalatable to the community. Four years ago, Haywood Regional tried to shore up its financial footing by forging a partnership with neighboring WestCare under the new banner of MedWest and a management agreement with Carolinas HealthCare out of Charlotte. The pseudo merger allowed WestCare and Haywood to retain an element of autonomy. “The key at that point in time that I heard the most from the public was, ‘We want to retain local control,’” said Kirk Kirkpatrick, an attorney on the hospital board and a county commissioner. Since then, things have changed. “It has become a lot more difficult to operate a hospital under those terms and conditions,” Kirkpatrick said. In other words, the hospitals couldn’t reap the financial benefits of belonging to a larger system but also remain independent. Only 22 out of 120 hospitals in North Carolina are still stand-alone hospitals. “What we are seeing is one hospital becomes three hospitals and three hospitals become 60 hospitals. I’m afraid we will eventually see 60 hospitals become 200 hospitals,” said Dr. Al Mina, a surgeon who also sits on the hospital board.
Haywood County physician Nancy Freeman addresses the hospital board during last week's public hearing on the sale of Haywood Regional to Duke LifePoint. Becky Johnson photo
hospital are you seriously going to look for a decertified hospital?” Powers asked. “Carolinas served one heck of a purpose for us because they made us valuable and made us last.” In hindsight, Carolinas inadvertently acted as a bridge, but it had signed on to go the distance with MedWest as long as MedWest wanted them, according to John Young, the regional vice president for Carolinas. “Our goal was to make MedWest a viable stand-alone system in a very competitive marketplace,” Young said. But instead, “Our role was to help get them into an attractive position, although we didn’t know it at the time.” Young said he isn’t necessarily surprised by the turn of events. “We knew that a hospital system without much access to capital was a very tricky walk and always along the edge,” Young said. Carolinas will cooperate with MedWest to terminate the outstanding management contract, even though there are six years left on it, John Young according to John Young, the regional vice president for Carolinas. “We want to make this the best hand off ever,” Young said. Young said Carolinas would continue to manage and oversee the hospital up until the last day with the same attention and diligence as the first day it came in. Young explained why Carolinas was supportive and understanding of MedWest’s decision to sever ties with Carolinas and put itself up for sale. “What they needed is what our product isn’t,” Young said. “They needed capital.”
The hospital’s decertification created both fear and anger among staff, and those emotions have lingered, said Diane Phelps, a nurse. “In the last few months I’ve had hope we are going to turn around and be even better than what we are today,” said Phelps. After the public hearing, Dr. Chris Wenzel reflected on the changes he’s seen in the past decade compared to his dad’s career as a doctor in Haywood County. “During his 30 years, nothing ever changed,” Wenzel said. Dr. Henry Nathan, a gastroenterologist and hospital board member, echoed the comments made by the public during the hearing. “I don’t think we had a choice. We do lose some control,” Nathan said. But, “Today, the county needs the hospital to be safe and secure and that requires somebody to come in and rescue it.”
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HOSPITAL, CONTINUED FROM 9 measures. “You can only do that so many times before you are cutting the bone. It is only a matter of time until you transform a community hospital into something that is less than that. So that is not a viable path,” said Jeff Summer, a strategic hospital analyst with Stroudwater Associates consulting firm. Dr. Nathan agreed. “You can’t survive by becoming more and more frugal,” Nathan said. The finances of Haywood Regional Medical Center were so bad two years ago the hospital teetered on the brink of insolvency. A concatenation of bad luck sucked millions from the hospital in 2011 — including a pricey transition to digital medical records, a broken generator, one lawsuit settlement over the wrongful firing of ER doctors and another over the ousting of the former CEO. Meanwhile, the hospital was trying to grow its footprint. It bought up physician practices, opened a new urgent care, and contributed to a new outpatient surgery center and new hospice house on its campus. The growth seemed like a good strategy in the never-ending battle to get more patients, but it meant spending money upfront — more than the hospital really had at its disposal to spend. Making matters worse, malfunctions in patient billing choked the incoming revenue stream at the same time. Finances reached a dire point by early 2012. Haywood Regional lacked enough cash to make payroll had it not been rescued at the
last minute by a $10 million line-of-credit from Carolinas Medical Center. “Carolinas was a terrific help to us. They came to our rescue,” said Powers, the hospital board chairman. “If we didn’t have that $10 million loan we would have been bankrupt.” The outstanding debt on that line of credit has remained at a stubborn $8.5 million. Cash from the sale to Duke LifePoint will wipe that debt off the books — something the hospital hasn’t been able to do on its own. “We think we have found a partner, although I should say I think we have found an acquirer, with a lot of money to pay our debts off and from that point we will be healthy from now on,” Powers said.
WHO IS DUKE LIFEPOINT? Several speakers at the public hearing said they are head-over-heels that Haywood Regional will soon be an affiliate of Duke University Medical Center. “If the Duke name was to be associated with a medical facility in Haywood County, you can note it with pride,” said Bill King, a Haywood County resident who spoke at the public hearing. Robert Fulbright said he was “thrilled when I saw that Duke would be buying the hospital.” “To think our local hospital could be identified with Duke is amazing,” Fullbright said. While the “Duke” in DukeLife Point indeed stands for Duke University Medical Center, Duke is only a minor player. Duke has a 3 percent stake in Duke LifePoint.
LifePoint is the managing partner, the one behind the joystick of daily operations, calling the shots on staffing and hiring, expansion priorities and long-range strategy. Meanwhile, Duke brings clinical expertise, training and best practices to the table. That role shouldn’t be underestimated, however, said Dr. Harry Phillips, a cardiologist with Duke Heart Center and advocate for Duke LifePoint. “Our quality program is designed to meet you where you are and help you build on that,” Phillips told the audience at the public hearing. “You have a lot to be proud of. We are very excited about the opportunity to be able to work with you on quality.” Four of LifePoint’s 58 hospitals are operated under the relatively new Duke LifePoint brand. Two are in North Carolina, in small towns north of Durham, where Duke Medical Center is located. There could soon be a third, however. A deal is in the works to buy Rutherford Hospital. “We came together around a shared vision that we could transform community health care,” Phillips said. “Haywood would fit perfectly at the table and be a valued partner in this process.” Limited information was made available to the public about the sale to Duke LifePoint — and more importantly, what the hospital might look like once the keys are handed over to the for-profit hospital chain. The public got its first glimpse of who Duke LifePoint is in a brief slide presentation by company representatives only moments before the public hearing, allowing little time to digest
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what they had learned before going straight into the hearing and hospital board vote. News that Duke LifePoint was poised to buy Haywood Regional was announced just three weeks ago. Despite the hospital board going through the motions of a public hearing, the sale was essentially a fait accompli. For WestCare — the partnership between the hospitals in Sylva and Bryson City — the sale to Duke LifePoint was literally a done deal by the time it was announced. WestCare trustees didn’t tell the public it planned to sell the hospitals to Duke LifePoint until after they had already voted to do so. Hospital leaders have defended the tightlipped process, citing the need to keep business strategy and negotiations confidential. WestCare and Haywood Regional are negotiating their respective deals with Duke LifePoint individually. However, Duke LifePoint’s purchase offers are contingent on both sides agreeing. The hospitals had been given new names under MedWest, but the branding effort didn’t go over very well. For decades, patients knew the hospitals as Harris Regional Hospital and Haywood Regional Medical Center. The public largely rejected the new nomenclature of MedWest-Haywood and MedWest-Harris. It is now likely the hospitals’ former names will once again be their official name of record. Duke LifePoint almost never changes the names of the hospitals it buys unless there is a serious perception or public image problem.
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What’s the North Shore Settlement trust fund? The trust fund was created in 2010 with a $12.8 million payment from the federal government intended to compensate Swain County for a road that was flooded by the damming of Fontana Lake in the 1940s for hydropower. The federal government was supposed to build back the destroyed road — one of the few arteries in and out of the isolated, mountainous county — but doing so became financially and environmentally problematic since it passed through a remote, backcountry area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So, the government instead made a cash payment of $12.8 million to Swain County in lieu of building the road. The money was put in a trust fund that has earned more than $1.5 million in interest for the county over the past three years. Here’s a summary of the fund: ■ 2010: $12.8 million trust fund created ■ 2011: $150,000 in interest taken out ■ 2012: $637,000 in interest taken out ■ 2013: $382,000 in interest taken out The remaining balance is around $13.2 million.
Library branches collecting food for holidays
All branches of the Haywood County Public Library are currently collecting food to help meet the needs of local residents through Dec. 18. Citizens can bring their contributions to the front desk and give it to library employees. The most-needed food items include canned items, such as meats, stews and chili, pasta, sauces, vegetables and fruits, juices, beans and canned or dry soups; peanut butter; jelly (no glass containers); hot and cold cereals, rice, packaged pasta, juice boxes, baby food and cereal (glass containers acceptable); baby formula; granola and cereal bars; diapers (all sizes); personal items, such as shampoo and soap; and paper goods, like toilet paper and paper towels. Dog and cat food will also be accepted. 828.452.5169.
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September.” Last fiscal year, the county wanted to tap $750,000 in interest from the account. The state issued an opinion letter advising them to take out no more than $300,000. But the state remitted $637,000 in the end — nearly what the county had wanted. But technically, the state could refuse to turn over the interest money, even though the trust fund is in Swain’s name. That’s why King got nervous when the state issued an opinion that no interest be touched. But in the end, the state agreed to release the $382,000 after all. There is still almost $400,000 in interest left in the account that will remain there as a cushion against losses.
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BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER wain County leaders were relieved this month when the state gave them the go ahead to tap $382,000 in interest from the North Shore Road settlement trust fund. County commissioners planned on tapping $382,000 in interest from the account to help plug a budget shortfall. But the N.C. Department of State Treasurer, which manages the trust fund on the county’s behalf, indicated the county couldn’t draw down the interest as hoped. “In their opinion they felt we didn’t need to take any interest money out. In their opinion, it should be left in the account in case we had some downturn in the fund,” said Swain County Manager Kevin King. The trust fund has earned more than $1.5 million in interest since 2010 when it was initially set up with a principle sum of $12.8 million. Some years have seen better returns than others. The past year was a bad one — it made only $30,000 in interest. But thanks to bigger earnings the previous two years, the account still had $780,000 in accrued interest. However, the state thought it should be left in there as a cushion to safeguard the account from dipping below the principle of $12.8 million should markets take a dive. That put the county in a quandary. County commissioners were banking on interest from the trust fund to balance this year’s budget, which was crafted and passed in June before the new fiscal year began. Two months later, however, the county got a letter from the state advising it not to take any money out. “Each year, according to the law, the state treasurer’s office is to present the board an opinion letter that states what their perception is — can you take money out or not and the methodology for why they felt that way,” King said. “That has been the controversy the last two years. We pass a budget in June with a number we are expecting to get, but we don’t get the opinion letter until August or
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Education changes, woes discussed at forum
ing gap grows. “What is our community going to look like in five or 10 years if we keep making these cuts? The county can’t and won’t keep up,” he said. “If the state continues these cuts and layoffs, what will happen to our tax base, our police and fire departments? I’m guessing even if people don’t have children in our schools, they still want their homes protected, and that these kids someday become productive members of the community.”
ON THE FRONT LINES
From left to right: Macon Middle School Teacher Darlene McDowell, South Macon Elementary Teacher Melissa Faetz, East Franklin Elementary Teacher Darlene Fromknecht, South Macon Elementary Teacher Dan Kowals, South Macon Elementary Principal Tolly Bowles, Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin and Iotla Valley Elementary School Principal Gary Brown were speakers at the Macon County School District education forum on Nov. 14. Garret K. Woodward photo
BY GARRET K. WOODWARD STAFF WRITER hat was billed to be a town hall style education forum for the Macon County School System, filled with parents and teachers, was held at an almost empty Franklin High School auditorium. But, that didn’t stop the passionate message being addressed by those onstage and in the crowd. “We are in a crisis situation in Macon County,” said moderator and retired teacher Joan Maki. “We can’t seem to get that across to people. I don’t want to think parents don’t care, and I wish this auditorium was full tonight with parents, but we need more community involvement in the schools.” Hosted by the League of Women Voters and the Macon County Democratic Party, the Nov. 14 parent-teacher-community education forum, “A Reality Check — The State of our Schools,” included remarks from teachers and administration alike. The emphasis was on new state legislative changes out of Raleigh whose ripple effect will be felt across the state. “Community support and attitudes tell me the education system isn’t broken in Macon County — North Carolina schools aren’t broken,” said Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin. “These are strong institutions working harder to get better and improve. Our students deserve the best resources and best teachers we can provide.”
Smoky Mountain News
November 20-26, 2013
THE MOST WITH THE LEAST
Under the new state legislation, school districts will eliminate tenure, or “due process” for possible job termination. This in turn leaves superintendents in charge of recommending bonuses for the top 25 percent of teachers. These $5,000 bonuses will be dispensed throughout the course of four years. Recommended teachers will ultimately have to give up their tenure rights in exchange for the money and a new four-year contract. “What really gets me is that we teachers 12
would get together and talk about what’s best for the kids, but now do we share our lesson plans? It’s about competition and not about the children anymore,” said Darlene McDowell, a social studies teacher at Macon Middle School. “We’re turning teachers against teachers,” added Melissa Faetz, a first-grade teacher at South Macon Elementary. “Do I share my lesson plans? My books? My resources? We’re better when we work as a team. I can’t imagine what would happen with this 25 percent selection. This environment is so unhealthy for our children.” Over the last five years, many directives from the General Assembly have affected the state’s schools and teachers. Between teachers losing their payroll deduction for North Carolina Association of Educators dues, a lack of raises, cuts to teacher assistants and decreasing the student-teacher classroom ratios, the educational system is under increased pressures. “I don’t believe anybody is crying for a raise. Times are tough, and we understand what it is to share in the sacrifice when a sacrifice is called for,” said Dan Kowal, an ESL teacher at South Macon Elementary. “But, we’re stealing from our children, stealing from our future, with these cuts.” Kowal’s words echoed throughout the nearly empty auditorium. The 30 people who attended were mostly fellow educators and their supporters. An earlier forum on the same subject attracted a much larger crowd, said Baldwin. “The state is setting us up to fail,” Kowal said. “They give us more responsibility, but few resources are available. We believe in fairness and we try to teach our children fairness.” Kowal pointed out how the number one employer in Macon County is the school system. With more than 20 percent of the annual school budget supplemented by the county commissioners, Kowal pondered what may happen as the years roll along and the fund-
Throughout the forum, classroom battle stories emerged. Voices piped up with tales of overcrowded classrooms, falling test scores due to lack of teacher assistants, and even an account of literally not having any textbooks to instruct students. “I have 28 seventh-graders with no textbooks and limited supplies,” McDowell said. “If we don’t have the materials to teach, that money and those resources, then there will be a lot of kids that will fall by the wayside.” A couple seats down on the dais, Darlene Fromknecht, an exceptional children’s teacher at East Franklin Elementary, read aloud messages sent to her from concerned teachers around the district. “I am broke all the time, have to work two jobs and summer jobs,” one message stated. “I need help in the classroom. We have more behavior problems and less learn-
programs, both of which have been assets to educators but have lost funding as of this year. “STAR reading and math are extremely important in terms of looking at a baseline, a progress monitor and moving students forward,” Kowals said. “It’s extremely affective in tracking out students and now it’s gone.” South Macon Elementary Principal Tolly Bowles echoed similar sentiments. “Raising the bar isn’t an issue, we all want to raise the bar, but when the state raises the bar, then lowers the resources, it’s a hard climb up that mountain,” he said.
Following the speakers, Franklin High School teacher John deVille gave an extended powerpoint slideshow explaining the slow decline in state and national education standards and resources. He showed economic and geographic factors involved in the deterioration of the American school system. But, he concluded, it comes down to organization on a local level in regards of creating change. “Why aren’t there more people here tonight? It’s not that they don’t care. I think they’re worn out, too tired, working too hard, don’t have the emotional or physical energy to be here,” he said. “There has been a war on the working middle class the last 30 years and it’s accelerating.” When the floor opened up to the audience, a solemn quiet reverberated through the room. Asked if there was any opposition ready to present their comments to the forum, not a single voice or person emerged. The energy of the crowd seemed to side with those onstage. Soon, one by one, members of the community stood up in solidarity with the educators and administration. “The teachers at these schools are wonderful. They care, but they need help,” said Franklin resident and school volunteer Selma Sparks. “You need to get something going. Talk to everybody, let them know — these are your children, this is your tomorrow. You’ve got to get out there, something needs to be done.” Maki said local state representatives Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and Rep. Roger West, R-Marble, were invited to the forum. “They say they’re big supporters of education, but where are they tonight? I’d love to see their thoughts on this presentation,” said Franklin resident “We are in a crisis situation in Dr. Ed Morris. “Teaching is a profession like a Macon County. We can’t seem lawyer, a doctor or business tycoon,” to get that across to people.” said Franklin resident Shirley Ches. “This is a profession these people are — Joan Maki, forum moderator passionate about, and they deserve the and retired teacher best.” Baldwin ended the forum by thanking, which means we’re not able to meet the ing everyone in attendance and proclaiming students needs.” that those who work in public education will “Everything else in the world is going up push forward. and I have yet to get a pay raise and be able to “Public education isn’t a partisan issue, start a family,” another statement read. it’s a bi-partisan issue. We need to get the Numerous speakers pointed out the message out,” he said. “I refuse to believe that importance of the STAR reading and math public education is dead.”
Waynesville listens to plan for reconfiguring N. Main, Walnut
Don Kostelec, owner of Waynesville-based Kostelec Planning, presented a blueprint to the Waynesville town board last week for reconfiguring part of North Main Street. Caitlin Bowling photo
otherwise, to warrant changing the layout. “It’s not a big problem right now,” Norris said. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Waynesville Alderwoman Julia Freeman agreed. She drives through the area every morning on her way to work and doesn’t notice any traffic flow problems, she said. But what she does see are people frequenting DuVall’s and the muffler shop. “There are lots of people there,” Freeman said. “We will lose both of those.” Fellow Alderman and bike rider LeRoy Roberson, however, felt the addition of sidewalks and bike lanes would greatly improve the area. “I know I’ve ridden through there before, and I think that would be significant,” Roberson said.
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As for the businesses, he thinks they would be just fine, even if they had to move locations. “If they are doing good now, they could still exist,” Roberson said. However, even if the board approves of the realignment plans, it will have to wait on the state to make the project a priority and find the funding for it — something that could very easily take decades. The businesses could remain in their current locations in the meantime. Waynesville resident Maleah Pusz spoke at the end of the public hearing on the plan and summed up most people’s general feelings. “I live over there, and I would like to walk my dog,” said Pusz in support of the sidewalks. “But I really hope we keep DuVall’s because I’d really like to walk my dog there too.”
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BY CAITLIN BOWLING STAFF WRITER aynesville leaders haven’t decided whether they will back a plan to reconfigure the intersection of North Main and Walnut streets, but at least one resident thinks it would harm businesses. “I really think it would be like a bomb; you would kill every business around it,” said Bill Norris at a public hearing to gather input on the project. The proposed plan, drafted by J.M. Teague Traffic Engineering and Kostelec Planning, would call for a major realignment of the intersection of Walnut and North Main streets. The project would widen and realign the roads around the intersection of the two streets, add sidewalks and more parking, and create bike lanes. The estimated cost is $3.2 million, which would mostly be covered by the state since it owns Main Street. Proponents of the project say it will fix the tricky intersection and finally complete the town’s sidewalk circuit running from the Waynesville Recreation Center to Lake Junaluska. “The catchword of the day today is ‘complete streets,’” said Town Planner Paul Benson. Other alternatives didn’t seem to work as well. A roundabout like the one further up North Main Street was considered but deemed too big for the space. “All of us were like this is just not going to work,” said Mark Teague, owner of J.M. Teague Traffic Engineering. But the project is not without its causalities. It would knock DuVall’s Restaurant and the muffler shop out of their current homes, which Norris considered a catastrophe that would mean the demise of the other businesses in the area. “All this parking that would be created, it wouldn’t be needed if there weren’t any businesses there,” he said. Norris has driven through the intersection multiple times a day for decades and doesn’t think there is enough traffic, foot or
Haywood to embrace dual chamber-economic development model
November 20-26, 2013
develop a plan for what a merger with the economic development commission would look like. Chamber representatives shared their findings in a meeting with county commissioners this week. Commissioners unanimously supported the plan in concept. The next step is to develop a detailed transition, with a target date of July 1. “Other stakeholders will now need to be involved in the strategic planning process,” said CeCe Hipps, the president of the chamber. Bringing economic development functions under the same roof as the chamber of commerce will result in savings of $30,000 to $50,000 in salaries, benefits, overhead and facility costs. The savings could go toward economic development initiatives like marketing and outreach in the name of recruiting businesses and growing jobs. The county’s economic development director, Mark Clasby, said he supports the new structure if it will bring additional resources for economic development initiatives. Clasby, 70, said he plans to continue as the
Ron Leatherwood (standing), the former chairman of the board of the chamber of commerce and a former county commissioners, speaks about the plan to bring the chamber and the EDC under one roof while EDC Executive Director Mark Clasby (left) and current chamber board chairman Greg Boothroyd listen. Becky Johnson photo economic development director but would become an employee of the chamber instead of a county employee. Both commissioners and chamber leaders emphasized that this shift is no reflection on the job that Clasby has done over the past decade. “This is a hard job and one person cannot do it alone,” said Hipps. “When you have an organization with hun-
dreds of people it provides a larger base and more resources,” agreed County Commissioner Mark Swanger. Indeed, tapping the talent, ideas and skills of private sector business leaders through the chamber will give economic development initiatives a broader scope and bigger footprint, said Nyda Benton-Neville, a chamber board member who works for Asheville Savings Bank.
BY BECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER plan to move the Haywood County Economic Development Commission under the umbrella of the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce is moving forward. “The chamber is made up of businesses and they know business and they will bring that to the table,” said Haywood County Commissioner Kevin Ensley. A county-run economic development office currently operates as a stand-alone entity. It would be more efficient and effective, however, to join forces with the chamber and its savvy private sector business leaders, according to those behind the plan. County commissioners earlier this year expressed an interest in outsourcing the county’s economic development operations to the chamber. The county would give money to the chamber, presumably consistent with what it spends now, to carry the ball of economic development. A task force of chamber members have met for several months to study the issue and
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Hendersonville, but making the move to the Bonfoey’s office would allow her to try higher level cases. “He asked me where do you see yourself in 10 years, and I said somebody’s chief assistant DA or elected DA or a federal prosecutor,” said Welch, who has always had bigger career ambitions. “I am not good at sitting still and I never have been.” Welch’s husband, Brian, is the attorney for the Macon County Sheriff ’s Office. They do not have children. Both Moore and Welch will have to run in a primary on their party’s ticket in May before facing off against each other in the general election next November. Whether additional candidates step forward to run in either party won’t be known for sure until the candidate sign-up period in February comes and goes. Republican Party leaders are working behind the scenes to discourage any other Republican candidates from running against Welch in the primary. Meanwhile, Attorney Bill Jones, who has a private practice in Waynesville, has dropped out of the DA race after initially announcing plans to run on the Democratic ticket a couple of months ago, leaving Moore as the only Democratic currently in the running. To read a past article on Jim Moore’s candidate announcement, go to www.smokymountainnews.com and click on this story.
Applicants sought for Haywood boards
The Board of County Commissioners is seeking applicants to fill three vacancies on the Haywood County Agriculture Advisory Board (Farmland Preservation) and three vacancies on the Tourism Development Authority Board. The three positions on the Agriculture Advisory Board are at-large positions for three-year terms. The positions on the Tourism Development Authority are for three-year terms, for representatives of accommodations with more than 20 units; accommodations with 20 units or less; and a tourism-related business. Application deadline is 5 p.m. Dec. 4. Download a form at www.haywoodnc.net and attach in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or pick up and drop off a form from the third floor of the Haywood County Courthouse, 215 North Main Street in Waynesville.
“There is no perfect model and there is no one size fits all,” said Leatherwood. “The one thing we need to do is be flexible. Haywood needs to be poised to look out for ourselves.” A separate economic development commission board would exist apart from the chamber’s board of directors. Although it would be a subset of the chamber, the economic development board would have its own specific focus. “The thing that generated the most discussion was the board composition. We wanted to err on the side of inclusion,” Leatherwood said. A big board means more knowledge, more ideas and more fundraising outlets to tap. “People who are going to make an investment want a seat at the table,” Leatherwood said.
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It will also be more effective by providing a one-stop shop for prospective companies. “This is really a must for our day and age. They want to go to one web site, one source, for all the information on schools, tourism, health, our culture, housing, wages and other topics,” Benton-Neville said. Bringing economic development under the umbrella of the chamber will “take it to the next level,” according to Laura Leatherwood, a Haywood Community College vice president. Measureable benchmarks and an accountability matrix would be built in, Leatherwood said. A chamber task force studied the structure used by 17 other communities in the state with dual chamber-economic development bodies.
JOHN HAMEL M.D.
November 20-26, 2013
BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch, a Republican from Macon County, announced this week she will be running for district attorney next year. District Attorney Mike Bonfoey, who has been the top prosecutor for the seven western counties for 10 years, is not running for reelection. Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney Jim Moore, a Democrat from Waynesville, announced his plans to run for DA a couple of months ago. Moore had begun campaigning since back in the summer. Welch, 36, and Moore, 52, have worked together as assistant prosecutors for eight years. They are both involved in trying a case this week against a Swain jailer accused of helping a man charged with murder escape from jail. Welch said Moore was one of the first people she told of her plans to run, and he was not surprised. Welch believes it will be a cordial race. “I am not running against him, I am running for the office,” Welch said. Welch, who attended law school at UNC-Chapel Hill, is from Hendersonville. Upon graduating, she worked as an assistant district attorney in Hendersonville for two years. She got a cold call one day from Bonfoey asking her to come meet with him and she was offered a job. Welch was working as a district court prosecutor in
Macon assistant prosecutor to challenge Moore for DA job
Affairs of the Heart
————————————————————————————— 120 N. Main St. • Waynesville, NC • 828.452.0526
Jackson leaders search for equity in fire tax debate BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER ome Jackson County commissioners expressed trepidation this week over changing the way the county’s seven volunteer fire departments are funded. The county currently spends $1.428 million annually to fund the fire departments. Each gets an operating budget and one full-time paid staffer to man the department. Equipment and construction is funded on an as-needed basis. County commissioners have considered ending direct funding for fire departments and instead creating fire districts. Each would levy its own separate property tax to fund their fire departments. That kind of system is used by most counties in the state. “Why consider a fire tax? Well, each fire district would stand on its own accord,” said Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten, who seems to favor the switch. Districts with higher property values like Cashiers would be better off, needing a much lower tax rate compared to communities with a lower property values, which would actually see a tax hike in order to bring in the same amount they now get from the county. Commissioners Mark Jones, Charles
Smoky Mountain News
November 20-26, 2013
Jackson County Commissioners (from right) Vickie Green, Mark Jones and Charles Elders, along with attorney Jay Coward, listen on during debate about how best to pay for county fire departments. Becky Johnson photo Elders and Doug Cody questioned the impact fire taxes would have on those communities with lower property values, however. Residents in Whittier, Canada and Balsam would see a property tax increase of 2 to 3.5 cents, for example. “What kind of a hardship would this put on them?” Elders asked, citing the fire districts he called “less fortunate.” The across-the-board-funding formula used now means people in wealthy districts like Cashiers offset the cost of fire services for those in less wealthy areas.
If each community had to fund its own fire department without any help from the county at large, it would effectively amount to a tax hike for thousands of residents in the less wealthy areas in order to raise the same amount of money for their fire department. “My biggest problem is probably the poorest people are going to get hit the hardest,” Cody said. “If this goes through some people will be paying more taxes and that is definitely true,” Wooten said. Commissioner Chairman Jack Debnam
said a countywide vote would be the best way to settle it by letting the people decide. “I think the people of Jackson County have a right to vote on it,” Debnam said. Commissioner Vickie Green agreed. But Cody asked whether those in less wealthy areas would be represented in a countywide vote. “They don’t have the votes to speak on that,” Cody said. “I think we need to start educating people that this will be on the ballot,” Debnam said, pushing for consensus among commissioners to hold a referendum. But Cody, Jones and Elders weren’t ready to commit. “Is this the only option?” Cody asked. “I’d like to discuss it a little bit more.” “I would, too” Jones replied. Jones and Cody asked whether the county could levy a 1-cent to 2-cent fire tax countywide and use it as a revenue stream to fund all fire departments rather than a patchwork of different tax rates for each geographic area. “That way the impact across the board would be more equitable,” Cody said. But from Wooten’s perspective, that seems inequitable. Should people in Cashiers be asked to offset the cost of fire service countywide? Wooten asked. “They pay a big supplement for the other districts,” Wooten said of the current system. “That’s the way it is on any tax we levy now,” Cody pointed out. All property taxes are based on someone’s property value, so if
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Davis to hold Q&A in Waynesville Nov. 21
“You are not going to be able to fund the capital needs and all the operating funds of the departments at the current tax rate.” — Chuck Wooten, county manager
Better or worse off? Jackson County currently spends $1.4 million in direct funding for fire departments. That amounts to about 1.3 cents on the property tax rate. If the county no longer funded fire departments, it could lower the property tax rate by 1.3 cents, since it no longer has that expense. Meanwhile, individual fire districts would impose a new property tax to fund the fire departments. While the county tax rate might go down, whether you would see a net loss or net gain depends on where you live. This list shows the tax rate each fire district would need to levy to bring in the same amount they currently get in direct funding from the county, based on current property values. Cashiers........................................0.3 cents Canada .........................................5.4 cents Balsam .........................................3.6 cents Cullowhee ..........................................1 cent Qualla ...........................................2.8 cents Savannah......................................4.1 cents Sylva .............................................2.3 cents
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Smoky Mountain News
money they need without going hat in hand to the county commissioners. “A tax would provide a consistent level of revenue for the fire departments,” Wooten said. What if a fire department decided to have gold plated faucets, asked County Attorney Jay Coward. “Commissioners could say they think that is a little extravagant,” Wooten replied. Commissioners have to rubber stamp the tax rates for each fire district, and thus could put their foot down if it seems a fire department is bilking residents. Further, the county’s current formula of giving each fire department the same amount for operations doesn’t take their call volume into account, Wooten said. Fire departments that answer lots of calls get the same amount as those who don’t have as many. “Perhaps there is an inequity of funding among our fire departments because of the variance in call activity,” Wooten said.
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November 20-26, 2013
your property is more valuable than your neighbor’s, you pay more. Wooten said the bigger issue, however, is a single countywide tax wouldn’t get commissioners out of the cat bird seat when it comes to deciding how much each district gets for buildings and equipment. “It still puts somebody back in the position of deciding how to allocate those dollars,” Wooten said. “Do you want to be the ones deciding who should receive and who shouldn’t receive it?” Cody and Jones said perhaps a countywide board could be appointed for that purpose with representatives from all the fire departments deciding that together. Currently, any fire department wanting to build or renovate has to ask commissioners for the money. This year, the ask included: • $4 million from the Cullowhee fire department for a new main fire station • $350,000 from the Savannah fire department for a new Greens Creek substation • $100,000 from the Cashiers fire department to renovate the Norton Road substation. The county can’t afford it all unless it raises taxes or cuts another area of the county’s budget, Wooten said. “When you have three coming and there would likely be another one or two behind them that would like to have an expanded building, so how much can you continue to provide?” Wooten said. “You are not going to be able to fund the capital needs and all the operating funds of the departments at the current tax rate.” Wooten said some fire departments like the idea because they would have the flexibility to set their own tax rate and bring in the
Macon County CareNet has joined with the organizers of the Santa’s Gift Shop to conduct a food drive to help replenish the shelves of the CareNet Food Pantry from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 29 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Macon County Community Facilities Building in Franklin. CareNet was founded in 1988 by a group of local people who attended different churches but wanted to come together to form an alliance between their churches and other groups who provided assistance to the community. Their goal is to better serve the community in times of crisis and to do so by working from one central location. 828.497.9425 or 828.736.3245 or www.mvcraftshows.com.
8285 Georgia Rd. Otto, NC 28763
North Carolina Senator Jim Davis will be meeting with all interested constituents at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Haywood County Agricultural Extension Center in Waynesville. Davis, R-Franklin, will be available to answer questions and provide a legislative update on current topics such as Obamacare in North Carolina, the education budget for the state including discussion on Common Core, implementation of the Voter Registration laws, ways in which the state is eliminating waste and fraud, and other state laws passed in recent legislative session. There will be a light dinner at the beginning of the meeting as a fundraiser for the senator. Plates will be $10. 828.506.0939.
CareNet, Santa Claus hold Franklin food drive
366 RUSS AVE | WAYNESVILLE | 828.452.0911 BiLo Shopping Center Find us on facebook: www.facebook.com/kimscompounds
Smoky Mountain News
SCC schedules pair of table gaming information sessions ver the next few weeks, Southwestern Community College will host a pair of information sessions for anyone interested in pursuing a career in one of Western North Carolina’s fastest-growing industries. Jobs are available now in the field of table gaming, and SCC currently offers the state’s only certification in the field. Including tips, these jobs typically pay $20 or more per hour. The first upcoming information session will be Nov. 21 at the SCC Macon Annex. A second session is set for Dec. 5 at the college’s Jackson Campus. Each session runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “By attending one of these sessions, you’ll gain valuable information on career options,” said Scott Sutton, SCC’s director of occupational training. “You’ll also learn about industry requirements as well as training opportu-
nities, and you’ll get the chance to interact with an instructor to get a feel for what the training entails.” New classes begin in January. Information session attendees will get the first opportunity for enrollment. For more information or to schedule a time and location for your visit, contact Latresa Downs at 828.339.4426 or email@example.com.
Big bucks for a great plan
in Hartford, Conn.; Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.; and the Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology in London. Morrison-Shetlar holds a doctorate in biomedical science from Dundee College of Technology, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. She earned a management and leadership in higher education certificate from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.
A grand prize of $5,000 is up for grabs for the best business plan in the Macon County Small Business Plan Competition. Sponsored by Southwestern Community College and the Macon County Certified Entrepreneurial Community (CEC) Leadership Team, the competition begins Nov. 14 and will include 14 sessions with a number of area business owners to help participants develop their business plans. Having local business owners serve as mentors to the aspiring business owners is vital to the health of the competition, said Tiffany Henry, director of SCC’s Small Business Center. “There is no substitute for having someone show you what works while also pointing out potential challenges to watch out for,” she said. 828.339.4211 or www.maconedc.com.
WCU’s new provost has prolific resume
Alison Morrison-Shetlar, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Elon University, has been appointed provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Western Carolina University, effective Jan. 15. Morrison-Shetlar, also a professor of biology, has served as a dean at Elon since 2010. She previously served as vice provost, dean of undergraduate studies and director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Florida and as director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching at Georgia Southern University. A native of Scotland, Morrison-Shetlar also has served as founding chair of the molecular biology unit at the Max Planck Institute in Dortmund, Germany, and has taught at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany; Trinity College
Franklin resident Rock Wing (third from left) is a current student in Southwestern Community College’s table gaming school. Pictured with Wing here are, from left, Waynesville’s Melanie Gordon, Will Proctor of Waynesville, Brad Parris of Whittier and instructor Anna Rowe. Donated photo
New integrated health center opens Pediatric nurse practitioner Lillian Norris is expanding her client base with a new business to assist clients of all ages. Norris, R.N. M.S.N., has opened Wellbeing For All, PLLC, an Integrative Health Center, 576 Dellwood Road in Waynesville. Norris will also continue to see patients at Haywood Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Group, P.A. in Clyde. Wellbeing For All, PLLC offers personalized integrative health care Lillian Norris services that incorporate different healing modalities to support and enhance an individuals’ natural health and healing ability. Norris offers services in the areas of pain relief, stress reduction, health promotion and disease prevention. As a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association and the head of the Blue Ridge Holistic Nurses, Norris offers care that considers the whole person, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and relational. Working in conjunction with conventional health care she offers individual sessions of healing touch, clinical hypnosis and holistic
stress management. She also provides stress management retreats for businesses, church groups and other interested groups. Hours are by appointment only. 828.734.4399 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Fund grants make an impact The Cashiers Community Fund recently awarded $97,260 in grants to the following organizations and businesses: Blue Ridge Mountains Health Project toward additional operating costs to fully utilize the recently expanded facilities at the dental clinic in Cashiers; Blue Ridge School Educational Foundation toward the purchase of SRA Reading Mastery Program to improve student reading in K-6th grades; Cashiers Big Brothers Big Sisters to expand a mentoring program at Summit School; Community Care Clinic of Highlands-Cashiers to support medical services to uninsured families; Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry toward installation of a walk-in freezer/cooler; Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation toward the purchase of a commercial treadmill for Cashiers Physical Therapy; and Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust to fund the Preserving the Cashiers Corridor project. The Cashiers Community Fund provides grants between $2,500 to $10,000 to non-profit organizations and public agencies for charitable purposes, including programmatic needs, capital campaigns and operating expenses. 828.254.4960 or www.cfwnc.org.
Using math in the real world A trio of Southwestern Community College instructors is offering a new math class that emphasizes the real-world applications of
arithmetic and basic algebraic skills. Vicky Todd, Terry Tolle and Hilary Seagle are currently piloting a Quantitative Math course designed to turn their students into savvy consumers who can better understand the daily data that overwhelms society every day, said Seagle, citing as an example, the increased usage of compact fluorescent and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. And that’s not all, Seagle said. Students might also look into the disposal issues related to the mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs. “Essentially, we can turn a trip to the hardware store into an economics and science lesson by introducing a few welldesigned quantitative questions,” Seagle said. The new course is currently being offered at only four of North Carolina Community College System’s 58 institutions.
Cherokee garden supports Community Table
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort employees harvested 3,775 pounds of potatoes to donate to those in need in Western North Carolina. The garden, located at Kituwah Fields, was maintained throughout the summer by employees volunteering with Harrah’s Employees Reaching Out (HERO) and the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service. The majority of the potatoes were delivered to the Community Table in Sylva, a MANNA FoodBank partner, for distribution to families in Western North Carolina. Two rows of potatoes were donated to the Cherokee Boys Club Family Support Services Food Pantry, and two rows were used to stock Harrah’s Cherokee’s employee food pantry. The Community Table is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been serving nutritious meals to neighbors in need since 1999. Free meals are served from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
and protect Tribal Nations. • Ryan Scaggs, chief operating officer of Macon Bank, helped kickoff Southwestern Community College Foundation’s Student Success Campaign, with a check for $33,333.33, the largest single donation to the campaign so far. The goal is to raise $1 million for student scholarships. • David Stroud, a member of the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce board and executive director of the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society, was recently appointed to the NC Animal Federation Legislative Committee. • RIBN, the new Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses educational track, is a four year nursing option that will dually admit and enroll students to Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College so that nursing students
complete the program with a bachelor of science in nursing degree. • Franklin’s only locally owned and operated pharmacy, Smart Pharmacy, recently opened at 10 W. Palmer St. Among the pharmacy’s many services are free next day local delivery within a six-mile radius of the store, a drivethrough window, automatic refills and specialty compounded prescriptions. • Haywood Community College celebrated Massage Therapy Awareness Week recently. Instructor Susie Hale held a free presentation on the benefits of massage. Students, faculty, staff, and community members received free chair massages in the HCC library. HCC offers a Therapeutic Massage diploma that can be completed in three semesters. haywood.edu/class_schedules or 828.627.4500.
Smoky Mountain News
• “Uncle Jimmy” Childress, a founding member of the Southwestern Community College Foundation, donated $1,000 to the SCC Foundation’s Student Success Campaign to support the college’s continued outreach to area residents. • The 2013 Board of Directors annual meeting of the South and Eastern Tribes of Cherokee Indians and Business Expo was held at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort in Cherokee. The United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) discussed ways to promote
ElectriCities recently honored the Western Carolina University electric resale department with a safety award for 2012—the fifth consecutive year the crew has been recognized with an award for not losing any work time as a result of accidents.
November 20-26, 2013
• WNC.DWI.Treatment Services of Waynesville has changed its name to Assessments and Addictive Behavioral Alternatives of North Carolina, PLLC. AABA NC is located at 416 S. Main St., Waynesville. 828.648.7111 or DKYJG4U@aol.com • Harris Regional Hospital has been named a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®” by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of healthcare organizations in the United States, for its performance on the measure sets of heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. • The Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce will host its Annual Meeting & Celebration, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Clubhouse of Trillium Links & Lake Club. Tickets are $45 per person. RSVP to Holly at 828.743.5191. • Altrusa International of Waynesville participated in the national Make a Difference Day, Oct. 26, by volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity House under construction at Barefoot Ridge in Clyde. • Thirteen students from Hayesville High School recently toured the department of chemistry and physics at Western Carolina University, a visit that included demonstrations of experiments and hands-on experiences in the university’s laboratories. • Angel Medical Center raised more than $27,000 to benefit its new cancer center, during its 5th annual Oktoberfest at Snow Hill Inn. The evening included silent and live auctions, yodeling and lederhosen contests and music. • Brittany Murphy invites shoppers to her new boutique, Robyn B’s at 76 E. Main St. in Franklin, which features clothing and products for babies and young children. • David Stroud, executive director of the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society (CHHS), was recently appointed to the NC Animal Federation Legislative Committee. The CHHS also was named one of only four field rescue partners in North Carolina by the Humane Society of the United States. • OnTrack WNC has opened a new branch office at the Macon Program for Progress Training Annex in Franklin. WNC provides financial counseling services, including home pre-purchase, budgeting, credit report review, and foreclosure prevention. • The 15th annual Smoky Streak raised more than $15,000 for early breast cancer detection. Female winners were Shannon Grant for the 5K and Kimzey Ellis for the 10K. Male winners were Jonathan Dean for the 5K and Frank Cline, 33:52 for the 10K. • Owners Donna and Jerry Qiu have opened the new Sakura Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar at 57 Highlands Road in the Riverwalk Shopping Center in Franklin. • Emily McSwain, Jared Williams, Derrick Clayton, Kenny Carden, Hannah WallisJohnson and Jessica Weikel, members of Western Carolina University’s student mediation team, recently won six trophies, including two first place trophies, at a regional mediation tournament at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga. • Angel Medical Center celebrated its volun-
teers with a luncheon, to recognize the hours they contribute to the hospital. About 150 active volunteers contributed to more than 30,000 volunteer hours to AMC last fiscal year. • Harris Regional Hospital honored 28 of its employees recently for their years of service. The employees were recognized for milestones ranging from five to 40 years. Each employee’s manager shared brief words of praise for the staff member before awarding a framed certificate. • In honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Harris Regional Hospital will honor those patients and families served by hospice care with a dedication of the 2013 Tree of Remembrance at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in the main lobby of the hospital. • The last beam has been raised on the new home for Angel Medical Center’s new 25,000-square feet, three-story Cancer Center. The new cancer center allows Macon County residents and those from surrounding counties to stay close to home for cancer treatment. • Douglas Gates, M.D., a new surgeon at Sylva Orthopaedic Associates, will see patients every third Thursday at the WestCare outpatient center in Franklin beginning Nov. 21. Gates completed a residency in orthopedic surgery and additional training in general surgery at UNC Hospitals. • Isabella Saunooke, a seventh-grade student at Heritage Christian Academy, is the winner of the school’s mascot search competition. Isabella is the daughter of Brandon and Cynthia Saunooke of Sylva and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. • Franklin resident Isabella Saunooke Debra Green owns and operates Luxury Therapeutics with her mother, Karen Kneeland. Green is part of a panel of area small business owners who’ll work with participants in the upcoming small business plan competition.
96 W. Sylva Shopping Area, Sylva NC 28779 828.631.0232 www.fusionsspa.com
Smoky Mountain News
Once we did it, dancing with the Mouse was well worth it all
Civility begins with us
BY DOUG WINGEIER COLUMNIST The cover story in the Oct. 30-Nov. 5 issue of The Smoky Mountain News described divisions in the Haywood County Republican Party caused partly by differences in ideology and partly by conflict over strategy and approach. Some prefer sober deliberation, healthy dialogue and respectful debate in the process of setting priorities, choosing leaders, and making decisions. Others are quoted as advocating being “blunt,” “turning up the volume,” and no longer being “nice and pleasant and proper.” This style has led some to view them as employing personal attacks, disruption of meetings, backroom agenda-setting, name-calling and parliamentary quarrels to make their points and get their way. On my jacket I wear a button that reads, “Civility is Catching: Pass It On!” This column is my effort to do just that. The button is distributed by the Institute for Civility, which defines civility as “claiming and caring for one’s identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else’s in the process.” In addition to politeness, civility
dolls and watched cartoons. On others, she texted her friends, perfected new ways to roll her eyes at the ceaseless travesties of her existence in our home, and cried an hour for no discernible reason. Adolescence was just about to toss a Molotov cocktail right into the middle of our Disney fantasy, and we knew it. Wait another year or two, and our daughter would be too, too cool and angst-ridden to stomach a week of Mickey Mouse. It was now or never for Never Never Land, so we (and by “we” I mean my wife) began researching the Internet and making travel plans, and within three weeks, we had it all planned and booked. Columnist On paper, the plan looked flawless. We would do five theme parks in five days — Universal Studios, Legoland, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom. We decided on a meal plan and made reservations for restaurants that looked particularly appealing, or ones that had been recommended by friends. We sought counsel from anyone we could find who had “done Disney” so that we could develop a strategy for how to maximize our trip, we bought cheap headphones and portable DVD players for the kids for the drive to Orlando, and we hit the road with an alarming volume of DVDs, CDs, books, crossword puzzles, bottles of water, and about a gallon of hot coffee. If we ran out of money and maxed out every credit card — which seemed all too likely — we could always open a roadside flea market with all the “stuff ” we brought along to get us through the drive there and back. Did someone say “money”? I tried not to think about it. The best advice we heard was to think of the trip as a priceless family milestone, a once-in-a-lifetime event, something we would reflect on and cherish for the rest of our lives. Who could put a price tag on such a thing? Well, Disney could, but we shouldn’t. “Don’t look at or think about what anything costs while you’re there,” my brother said. “Just savor it and focus on the experience.”
e had talked about going to Disney World for so long that it had become an abstraction, so distant and unreal that we might as well have been talking about taking a trip to Saturn. Still, the notion kept forcing itself upward though our cluttered and chaotic family life and back into our consciousness, like a dandelion that finds a way to grow through a crack in the sidewalk. About three years ago, we decided to put a big Mason jar on the kitchen counter that would be devoted solely to our Disney adventure. We decided to make it something more tangible and present — every day, we would see the jar, and every day, we would be reminded. We devised schemes and strategies and even punishments that would result in adding money to the jar. If we wanted to go out for pizza, but chose to make sandwiches at home instead, we would take the money we would have spent on the pizza and put it in the jar. If the kids misbehaved in some particular agreed upon way, they contributed to the fund. If the parents said a bad word, they would contribute. If we had change left over for any reason at the end of each day, into the jar it went. After a few months of this, we managed to save nearly $200 toward our trip. The kids were thrilled. “Boy, we’re getting CLOSE now!” they exclaimed. “Will we be able to go this summer, dad?” I didn’t have the heart to tell them that, at the current rate of saving and scrimping and taxing bad language, we would have enough to make the trip in approximately 78 more years. My wife has a fragrant and colorful assortment of bad words in her vocabulary bouquet, but not nearly enough to fund a trip to Disney, or even to Dollywood. Even worse, we had taken to plundering the Disney jar in emergency situations, such as funding impromptu trips to the movies or slipping some cash into a kid’s birthday card. Sometimes we’d replace it, sometimes we’d forget. Finally, last summer, my wife and I took inventory of the jar, of our bank account, and of our lives. Our daughter would be a teenager on her next birthday. On some days, she played with
involves “disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, staying present with those with whom we disagree, and negotiating interpersonal power such that everyone’s voice is heard and nobody is ignored. And civility begins with us.” There are basically five approaches to dealing with disagreement and conflict — withdrawing, smoothing, compromising, forcing, and negotiating. They differ in terms of the value we place on our relationships versus our goals. • We withdraw when we throw in the towel and give up any hope of achieving our goals or preserving the relationship. We prefer keeping safe and protecting ourselves to what seems like the only alternative — battling it out to a “winner take all” resolution. “Those who fight and run away live to fight another day.” • When we strive to smooth or harmonize a situation, we avoid conflict by giving up on our goals in order to preserve our relationship with those with whom we disagree. We accommodate to their wishes in hopes they will reciprocate by staying in relationship with us. The relationship tends to be superficial, however, as we are not being real with each other. • Compromise is the “art of the possible,” the
Sage advice, that. I decided to take it and bravely spent the week without a second thought to how much money we were spending, regardless of how frivolous it might have seemed at any given moment. It felt like being in college again! On our very first morning, we went to Universal Studios, and the very first thing we did when we arrived was walk all the way back to Hogwarts, home of one Harry Potter. On some days, my daughter, who has read every Harry Potter book and has seen every Harry Potter movie at least twice each, is just too fed up with the world to be impressed with much of anything. But not today. As we entered, the castle towering before us, she literally jumped and shouted with unbridled glee. Then I noticed that my wife, the original Harry Potter fan in our home, was weeping with happiness. That was just the beginning. Each day contained similar “I can’t believe this is really happening right now” moments. We forced ourselves to get out of bed every morning at 7 a.m. so that we could be at each park when it opened, and we stayed until we could take it no longer, sometimes well after dark. By the end of the week, we had all reached a level of exhaustion we had never known from the relentless walking and standing, as well as the endless navigation around tens of thousands of tourists squeezed into each of the parks. But we did just about everything that we wanted to do, everything that is humanly possible to do at Disney in five days. And we made pictures of everything, documenting the trip as if we were scientists who had just discovered a new species. Our Disney jar is gone now, but we have about 10,000 photographs and countless memories to replace it. When “the world is too much with us,” as Wordsworth said, we can always close our eyes and be transported back to Hogwarts in an instant, playing quidditch with Harry Potter himself. No matter how old she gets, I will always think of my daughter just as she was on that day, unselfconscious and filled again with wonder and joy. Come to think of it, we all were. (Chris Cox is a writer and teacher who lives in Haywood County. He can be reached at email@example.com.)
give-and-take approach. “Half a loaf is better than none.” “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” We bargain to achieve as much of what we want as we can get and let others do the same. Neither of us is fully satisfied, but we can learn to live with the outcome. We maintain a relationship — of sorts — but it doesn’t go very deep. • Forcing is the win/lose approach. “We will employ any means, fair or foul, to achieve our goals. Attack, insult, deception, disruption, manipulation, even violence — all are fair game. Our values, beliefs, principles, profits, control take precedence over the personhood and dignity of our opponents. “Win at all costs; the relationship be damned.” • Negotiation involves honest, direct, mutual sharing of one’s goals and beliefs while encouraging the other to do the same. We listen carefully, state frankly and openly, examine our assumptions, brainstorm alternatives, seek consensus, and patiently and persistently stay with the process until a win/win solution is reached. Civility can be employed in all these approaches except forcing. But only in negotiating — and to a lesser extent in compromising — is it possible to gain a satisfying, productive result. Whether the issue is budget priorities, same-sex marriage, health insurance, food
stamps for the poor, tax cuts for the rich, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, or pro-life vs. pro-choice, we serve our cause best, have the best chance of achieving our goals and building alliances for struggles lying ahead when we practice civility in the process. If we withdraw from the debate, we forfeit the chance to find a solution or influencing the outcome. If we attempt to smooth over differences to give the appearance that “all is well,” we merely postpone the conflict, letting it fester until it becomes irresolvable. If we seek to achieve our goals by demeaning, attacking, or destroying the other, we lose the respect and trust of the larger community — and with it the possibility of building lasting solutions. But if we treat others with respect, listen for understanding, try to understand their reasons and needs, manifest patience and humility, acknowledge our own fallibility, show a willingness to forgive, speak the truth in love, and honor the dignity and sacred worth of all as sons and daughters of God, we have the best chance of building and maintaining a real democracy. Civility begins with us. (Wingeier is a retired seminary professor and minister who lives at Lake Junaluska. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
AMMONS DRIVE-IN RESTAURANT & DAIRY BAR 1451 Dellwwod Rd., Waynesville. 828.926.0734. Open 7 days a week 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Celebrating over 25 years. Enjoy world famous hot dogs as well as burgers, seafood, hushpuppies, hot wings and chicken. Be sure to save room for dessert. The cobbler, pie and cake selections are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Blue-plates and local fresh vegetables daily. Brown bagging is permitted. Private parties, catering, and take-out available. Call-ahead seating available. BOGART’S 35 East Main St., Sylva. 828.586.6532. Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Serving classic American food and drink in a casual environment. Daily lunch and dinner specials. Children’s menu available. Call for catering quotes. Private room available for large parties. Accepts MC/Visa, Discover and American Express.
ANTHONY WAYNE’S 37 Church St, Waynesville. 828.456.6789. Open for lunch Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; open for dinner Thursday-Saturday 5 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Exceptional, new-American cuisine, offering several gluten free items.
BOURBON BARREL BEEF & ALE 454 Hazelwood Ave., Waynesville, 828.452.9191. Dinner nightly from 4 p.m. Closed on Sunday. We specialize in hand-cut, all natural steaks, fresh fish, and other classic American comfort foods that are made using only the finest local and sustainable ingredients available. We also feature a great selection of craft beers from local artisan brewers, and of course an extensive selection of small batch bourbons and whiskey. The Barrel is a friendly and casual neighborhood dining experience where our guests enjoy a great meal without breaking the bank.
BLUE ROOSTER SOUTHERN GRILL 207 Paragon Parkway, Clyde, Lakeside Plaza at the old Wal-Mart. 828.456.1997. Friendly and fun family atmosphere. Local, handmade Southern cuisine. Fresh-cut salads; slow-simmered soups; flame grilled burgers and steaks, and homemade signature desserts.
BREAKING BREAD CAFÉ 6147 Hwy 276 S. Bethel (at the Mobil Gas Station) 828.648.3838 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (takeout only 5 to 6 p.m.) Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Serving Mediterranean style foods; join us for weekly specials. We roast our own ham, turkey and
Bed & Breakfast and Restaurant
Book your family or company holiday party now! 8-40 people • 7 days a week
94 EAST ST. • WAYNESVILLE
Details & menus: www.herrenhouse.com Serving Lunch Wed-Fri 11:30-2 & Sunday Brunch 11
STEAKS • PIZZA CHICKEN • SEAFOOD SANDWICHES
Thursday, Nov. 28 SERVING TIMES:
Noon • 2 p.m. • 4 p.m. • 6 p.m. Seasonal Soup • Mixed Greens Salad Pasta Salad • Apple, Walnut, Raisin Salad Sliced to Order Roast Turkey and Honey-Glazed Ham • Poached Salmon Traditional Stuffing • Sweet Potato Casserole Cranberry Sauce • Corn on the Cob Green Beans Almondine • Macaroni & Cheese Assorted Rolls with Honey Butter Housemade Pumpkin, Apple and Pecan Pies with Ice Cream
Adults $25.95 • 10 & Under $12.95 5 & Under Free Beverage, Tax & Gratuity not included
9400 HWY. 19 WEST
828-488-9000 RESERVATIONS REQUIRED TUES– THURS 5:30-9 • FRI– SUN 5:30- 10
BAR OPENS AT 5
Twin Pork Chops w/Sherried Onion & Mushroom Sauce: $18
w/Aus Jus: $21
Fresh Local Trout
Pan Fried, Wood Grilled or Blackened: $20
Smoky Mountain News
Slow Roast Turkey w/Stuffing & Gravy: $17
OPEN FOR LUNCH & DINNER 7 DAYS A WEEK 1863 S. MAIN ST. WAYNESVILLE 828.454.5002 HWY. 19/23 EXIT 98
Thanksgiving at the Moonshine Grill THANKSGIVING DAY, NOON-6 - RESERVATIONS SUGGESTED
Wednesday through Saturday 4:30 to 9 Located at Smoky Falls Lodge 2550 Soco Rd Maggie Valley
CATALOOCHEE RANCH 119 Ranch Dr., Maggie Valley. 828.926.1401. Family-style breakfast seven days a week, from 8 to 9:30 am – with eggs, bacon, sausage, grits and oatmeal, fresh fruit, sometimes French toast or pancakes, and always all-you-can-eat. Lunch every day from 11:30 till 2. Evening cookouts on the terrace on weekends and Wednesdays (weather permitting), featuring steaks, ribs, chicken, and pork chops, to name a few. Bountiful family-style dinners on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with entrees that include prime rib, baked ham and herbbaked chicken, complemented by seasonal vegetables, homemade breads, jellies and desserts. We also offer a fine selection of wine and beer. The evening social hour starts at 6pm, and dinner is served starting at 7pm. So join us for mile-high mountaintop dining with a spectacular view. Please call for reservations.
A T N A N TA H A L A V I L L A G E
Roast Prime Rib
BRYSON CITY BAKERY AND PASTRY SHOPPE 191 Everett St., Bryson City. 828.488.5390 Offering a full line of fresh baked goods like Grandma used to make. Large variety to choose from including cakes, pies, donuts, breads, cinn-buns and much more. Also serving Hershey Ice Cream. Open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
November 20-26, 2013
roast beef just like you get on Thanksgiving to use in our sandwiches. Try our chicken, tuna, egg and pasta salads made with gluten free mayo. Enjoy our variety of baked goods made daily: muffins, donuts, cinnamon buns and desserts.
Taste the Mountains is an ever-evolving paid section of places to dine in Western North Carolina. If you would like to be included in the listing please contact our advertising department at 828.452.4251
All Dinners Include: Choice of Caesar Salad, House Salad or Cup of Soup, Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole & Orange Glazed Carrots Appetizers: Onion Soup, $6; Shrimp Cocktail $8 All Entrees include one of our Holiday Deserts: Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie or Ice Cream
ARTISAN BREADS & PASTRIES
START A NEW THANKSGIVING TRADITION:
Mediterranean Style Foods Let us Help you with your Holiday Cooking !!!
LESS STRESS WE'LL DO THE BAKING! PLACE YOUR ORDERS BY MONDAY, NOV. 25. 215-02
Available for Thanksgiving: Dutch Apple Pie, Honey Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Roll, Triple Chocolate Cake, Cookie and Bar trays and more
Appetizers Side Dishes and Desserts
BREAKFAST • LUNCH TAKE-OUT • EAT-IN • CATERING
Fair Trade Coffee & Espresso
6147 Highway 276 S. Bethel, North Carolina
18 North Main Street Waynesville • 452.3881
(at the Mobil Gas Station)
MON-FRI: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. SAT: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. SUN: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
ASHEVILLE: 60 Biltmore Ave. 252.4426 & 88 Charlotte St. 254.4289
November 20-26, 2013
M-F 8-6 (takeout only 5-6) • Sat 8-3
CH R I S TMA S
Party at Rendezvous
Smoky Mountain News
CITY BAKERY 18 N. Main St. Waynesville 828.452.3881. Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join us in our historic location for scratch made soups and daily specials. Breakfast is made to order daily: Gourmet cheddar & scallion biscuits served with bacon, sausage and eggs; smoked trout bagel plate; quiche and fresh fruit parfait. We bake a wide variety of breads daily, specializing in traditional french breads. All of our breads are hand shaped. Lunch: Fresh salads, panini sandwiches. Enjoy outdoor dinning on the deck. Private room available for meetings.
FRYDAY’S & SUNDAES 24 & 26 Fry St., Bryson City (Next To The Train Depot). 828.488.5379. Frydays is open; but closed on Wednesdays. Sundaes is open 7 days a week. Fryday’s is known for its Traditional English Beer Battered Fish & Chips, but also has burgers, deep fried dogs, gyro, shrimp, bangers, Chip Butty, chicken, sandwiches & a great kids menu. Price friendly, $3-$10, Everything available to go or call ahead takeout. Sundaes has 24 rotating flavors of Hershey's Ice Cream making them into floats, splits, sundaes, shakes. Private seating inside & out for both locations right across from the train station & pet friendly.
CITY LIGHTS CAFE Spring Street in downtown Sylva. 828.587.2233. Open Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tasty, healthy and quick. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, espresso, beer and wine. Come taste the savory and sweet crepes, grilled paninis, fresh, organic salads, soups and more. Outside patio seating. Free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly. Live music and lots of events. Check the web calendar at citylightscafe.com.
CORK & CLEAVER 176 Country Club Drive, Waynesville. 828.456.7179. Reservations recommend-
Enjoy a Family Style dinner – Pizza parties available at $8/person
ed. 4:30-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Tucked away inside Waynesville Inn, Cork & Cleaver has an approachable menu designed around locally sourced, sustainable, farm-to-table ingredients. Executive Chef Corey Green prepares innovative and unique Southern fare from local, organic vegetables grown in Western North Carolina. Full bar and wine cellar. www.waynesvilleinn.com.
BRYSON CITY CORK & BEAN A MOUNTAIN SOCIAL HOUSE 16 Everett St.,Bryson City. 828.488.1934. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday brunch 9 a.m. to 3p.m., Full Menu 3 to 9 p.m. Serving fresh and delicious weekday morning lite fare, lunch, dinner, and brunch. Freshly prepared menu offerings range from house-made soups & salads, lite fare & tapas, crepes, specialty sandwiches and burgers. Be sure not to miss the bold flavors and creative combinations that make up the daily Chef Supper Specials starting at 5pm every day. Followed by a tempting selection of desserts prepared daily by our chefs and other local bakers. Enjoy craft beers on tap, as well as our full bar and eclectic wine list.
Book your Breakfast Parties Available
CHEF’S TABLE 30 Church St., Waynesville. 828.452.6210. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday dinner starting at 5 p.m. “Best of” Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine. Set in a distinguished atmosphere with an exceptional menu. Extensive selection of wine and beer. Reservations honored.
Including our famous fried chicken, ham, beef tips, vegetables, salad bar and dessert
HERREN HOUSE 94 East St., Waynesville 828.452.7837. Lunch: Wednesday - Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday Brunch 11 a. m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy fresh local products, created daily. Join us in our beautiful patio garden. We are your local neighborhood host for special events: business party’s, luncheons, weddings, showers and more. Private parties & catering are available 7 days a week by reservation only. J. ARTHUR’S RESTAURANT AT MAGGIE VALLEY U.S. 19 in Maggie Valley. 828.926.1817. Lunch Sunday noon to 2:30 p.m., dinner nightly starting at 4:30 p.m. World-famous prime rib, steaks, fresh seafood, gorgonzola cheese and salads. All ABC permits and
Many other menu options available
Starting at $10.95/person
Complete Thanksgiving Meal Noon-7pm • Adults $19.99; Kids $9.99
Private dining area available No set up fee • Call for details
Other menu favorites available.
Our Christmas Tree is up! Come enjoy the holiday’s in our beautifully decorated space. MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED ~ ALL ABC PERMITS
AT MAGGIE VALLEY INN
70 Soco Road • Maggie Valley
Highway 19 v Maggie Valley
FROGS LEAP PUBLIC HOUSE 44 Church St. Downtown Waynesville 828.456.1930 Serving lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Mondays. Frogs Leap is a farm to table restaurant focused on local, sustainable, natural and organic products prepared in modern regional dishes. Seasonal menu focuses on Southern comfort foods with upscale flavors. Come for the restaurant’s 4 @ 4 when you can choose a center and three sides at special prices. Offered WedFri. from 4 to 6. frogsleappublichouse.org.
WINTER HOURS: Sunday Noon-8pm Open for Dinner Wed.-Sat. at 4:30
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 22:
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 23:
Paradise56 83 Asheville Hwy. Sylva Music Starts @ 9 • 631.0554
tasteTHEmountains open year-round. Children always welcome. Take-out menu. Excellent service and hospitality. Reservations appreciated.
beer selection. Casual atmosphere, dine indoor, outside on the patio or at the bar. Reservations appreciated.
JUKEBOX JUNCTION U.S. 276 and N.C. 110 intersection, Bethel. 828.648.4193. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Serving breakfast, lunch, nd dinner. The restaurant has a 1950s & 60s theme decorated with memorabilia from that era.
PASQUALINO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT 25 Everett Street, Bryson City. 828.488.9555. Open for lunch and dinner everyday 11:30 a.m.-late. A taste of Italy in beautiful Bryson City. Exceptional pasta, pizza, homemade soups, salads. Fine wine, mixed drinks and beer selection. Casual atmosphere, reservations appreciated.
LOS AMIGOS 366 Russ Ave. in the Bi-Lo Plaza. 828.456.7870. Open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy the lunch prices Monday through Sunday, also enjoy our outdoor patio. MAD BATTER BAKERY & CAFÉ Located on the WCU Campus in Cullowhee. 828.293.3096. Open Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Earth-friendly foods at people-friendly prices. Daily specials, wraps, salads, pastries, breads, soups and more. Unique fare, friendly service, casual atmosphere and wireless Internet. Organic ingredients, local produce, gourmet fair trade and organic coffees. MAGGIE VALLEY CLUB 1819 Country Club Dr., Maggie Valley. 828.926.1616. maggievalleyclub.com/dine. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Fine and casual fireside dining in welcoming atmosphere. Full bar. Reservations accepted.
NEWFOUND LODGE RESTAURANT 1303 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee (Located on 441 North at entrance to GSMNP). 828.497.4590. Open 7 a.m. daily. Established in 1946 and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Family style dining for adults and children. PASQUALE’S 1863 South Main Street, Waynesville. Off exit 98, 828.454.5002. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Classic Italian dishes, exceptional steaks and seafood (available in full and lighter sizes), thin crust pizza, homemade soups, salads hand tossed at your table. Fine wine and
SOUL INFUSION TEA HOUSE & BISTRO 628 E. Main St. (between Sylva Tire & UPS). 828.586.1717. Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday noon -until. Scrumptious, natural, fresh soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and desserts. 60+ teas served hot or cold, black, chai, herbal. Seasonal and rotating draft beers, good selection of wine. Home-Grown Music Network Venue with live music most weekends. Pet friendly and kid ready. SPEEDY’S PIZZA 285 Main Street, Sylva. 828.586.3800. Open seven days a week. Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Family-owned for 30 years. Serving hand-tossed pizza made to order, pasta, subs, gourmet salads, calzones and seafood. Also serving excellent prime rib on Thursdays. Dine in or take out available. Located across from the Fire Station. TAP ROOM SPORTS BAR & GRILL 176 Country Club Dr. Waynesville 828.456.5988. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Enjoy soups, sandwiches, salads and hearty appetizers along with a full bar menu in our casual, smoke-free neighborhood grill. THE WINE BAR 20 Church Street, downtown Waynesville. 828.452.6000. Underground cellar for wine and beer, served by the glass all day. Cheese and tapas served Wednesday through Saturday 4 p.m.-9 p.m. or later. email@example.com. Also on facebook and twitter. VITO’S PIZZA 607 Highlands Rd., Franklin. 828.369.9890. Established here in in 1998. Come to Franklin and enjoy our laid back place, a place you can sit back, relax and enjoy our 62” HDTV. Our Pizza dough, sauce, meatballs, and sausage are all made from scratch by Vito. The recipes have been in the family for 50 years (don't ask for the recipes cuz’ you won't get it!) Each Pizza is hand tossed and made with TLC. You're welcome to watch your pizza being created.
are available at our award-winning inn for mountaintop dining and overnight stays.
Call us to complete your Christmas Shopping
2300 SWAG ROAD WAYNESVILLE
828.926.0430 • TheSwag.com OFF OF JONATHAN CREEK RD./HWY. 276 AND HEMPHILL ROAD
Traditional Thanksgiving Holiday Feast Thanksgiving Day, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $20 Adults • $8 children 6-12 (5 and under are free) RESERVATIONS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
117 Main Street, Canton NC 828.492.0618 • SidsOnMain.com Serving Lunch & Dinner • MON.-THURS. 11 A.M.-9 P.M. FRI. & SAT. 11 A.M.-10 P.M. • SUNDAY BRUNCH 11 A.M. TO 2:30 P.M. 215-47
FRIDAY, NOV. 22 • 7PM
WYATT ESPALIN PLAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
ORDER YOUR PIES, BOTH GLUTEN-FREE & REGULAR
Holiday events & Catering • Gift Baskets
S PRING S TREET, D OWNTOWN S YLVA CREPES, PANINIS, SOUPS, SALADS, GOURMET PASTAS WINE & BEER
Now Booking Holiday Parties. Full Service Catering for 15-500 BBQ to Caviar Bon Appetit Ya’ll! 828.456.1997 207 Paragon Parkway Clyde, NC
Thanksgiving by the ﬁre, not by the stove.
Smoky Mountain News
MOUNTAIN PERKS ESPRESSO BAR & CAFÉ 9 Depot St., Bryson City. 828.488.9561. Open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. With music at the Depot. Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Life is too short for bad coffee. We feature wonderful breakfast and lunch selections. Bagels, wraps, soups, sandwiches, salads and quiche with a variety of specialty coffees, teas and smoothies. Various desserts.
RENDEZVOUS RESTAURANT AND BAR Maggie Valley Inn and Conference Center 828.926.0201 Bar open Monday thru Saturday; dining room open Tuesday thru Saturday at 5 p.m. Full service restaurant serving steaks, prime rib, seafood and dinner specials.
Great Christmas Gift Idea?
November 20-26, 2013
MOONSHINE GRILL 2550 Soco Road, Maggie Valley loacted in the Smoky Falls Lodge. 828.926.7440. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 4:30 to 9 p.m. Cooking up mouth-watering, woodfired Angus steaks, prime rib and scrumptious fresh seafood dishes. The wood-fired grill gives amazing flavor to every meal that comes off of it. Enjoy creative dishes made using moonshine. Stop by and simmer for a while and soak up the atmosphere. The best kept secret in Maggie Valley. themoonshinegrill.com
PATIO BISTRO 30 Church Street, Waynesville. 828.454.0070. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Breakfast bagels and sandwiches, gourmet coffee, deli sandwiches for lunch with homemade soups, quiches, and desserts. Wide selection of wine and beer. Outdoor and indoor dining.
Looking for a
Cataloochee Ranch 119 Ranch Drive, Maggie Valley, NC 28751 | (828) 926-1401 | www.CataloocheeRanch.com
Smoky Mountain News
Stepping to old-time rhythms in a Swain County gym
BY JACOB FLANNICK SMN CORRESPONDENT fter ending a series of lessons in which she learned the basic steps of clogging, Dee Decker did not want to stop dancing. So she held out hope for another floor, eventually moving into a classroom in a vacant church in Bryson City a couple years ago. That is where she — along with a handful of others who regularly take clogging lessons — spent hours during the winter and summer months, stomping and twirling to the old-time folk rhythms of Appalachia. “We were serious,” smiled Decker, 52, who led the lessons, which also involved square dancing. She noted that the space, owned by a local businesswoman who offered to lend it to the group, was without a heating or cooling system. That enthusiasm has since carried over to a Swain County gymnasium, where Decker now is among dozens from in and around the county who have gathered over the past year to learn the kinds of dance routines that have long played out at street festivals and gatherings across the region. The lessons, spanning eight to 12 weeks, are offered twice a week in Southwestern Community College’s Swain Center. They are part of a program, called “Moving in the Mountains,” run by the N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Swain office, for which Decker works as an agent. The office is among a number of art and educational programs housed at SCC’s Swain Center. On a practical level, they are seen as a way to improve cardiovascular health and motor skills, with choreographed routines like square and line dances involving a certain hand-eye coordination. But the dances also are spirited, offering people in their grip a moment of release. “Dancing, it just makes you feel good,” Decker said on a recent evening in the gymnasium, to which she regularly wheels a small shopping cart full she keeps in her office down the hallway that is full of clogging shoes for participants. “We want to see people do what they love to do.” For Kerry Plemmons, 28, a certified public accountant at a Franklin tech company who has led the dance lessons over the past year, such an activity is essential. Dancing since before she can remember — she learned to clog from her mother
shortly after taking her first steps at age 2 — Plemmons has used her role to spread her enthusiasm for what has remained a major theme in her life, so “I can pass it down to other people, and they can love it as much as I do.” The lessons have drawn a regular following, sometimes involving as many as 40 participants, their ages ranging from 4
“Dancing, it just makes you feel good. We want to see people do what they love to do.” — Dee Decker
to older than 70. Plemmons and others have sought to use social media and local news outlets as a way to spread word about what still is an important part of the culture of this region, where clogging and other folk dance groups abound. “It’s a part of our heritage” Decker said, adding that the lessons are the only of their kind offered in Swain. She is among others involved in the class who sometimes are seen donning traditional red and white dresses while performing across the region at street festivals and other settings — such as nursing homes — as part of a folk dance group called the Tangled Feet Stompers. For Chester and Mary Huckaby, who moved to the area from Florida a year ago, the lessons have helped renew their vigor. They acknowledged that they might have lost a step over the years. But the couple, now in their mid-60s, regularly appears at the lessons on Tuesdays, which are open to all ages and skill levels, seeking to apply what they have learned elsewhere. “I got tired of just watching,” Huckaby said after finishing a routine on a recent evening, referring to the dancing at festivals across the region that she and her husband now are more likely to join.
Left: Dancer Dee Decker (right) hosts an array of Appalachian clogging classes amid old-time string music at Southwestern Community College’s Swain Center in Franklin. Jacob Flannick photos
BY GARRET K. WOODWARD
Editor’s Note: After receiving a heartfelt letter in the mail recently from an inmate at a North Carolina correctional facility, Garret decided to write back. Here is his response.
appreciate the small things in such astronomical ways. Like adequate shower pressure or a walk in a park or just looking upwards into the heavens, into vast unknowns that only seem to make you smile in the face of things you cannot explain, but are constantly in awe and appreciation of. You had mentioned about the subjects I
A GUAR ANTEED GRE AT NIGHT OUT KOOL & THE GANG S U N D AY, D E C E M B E R 2 9 , 2 0 13
ROBIN THICKE WITH JESSIE J T U E S D AY, F E B R U A R Y 2 5 , 2 0 14
GABRIEL IGLESIAS S AT U R D AY, M A R C H 2 2 , 2 0 14
Smoky Mountain News
HOT PICKS 1 2 3 4 5
Sincerely, Garret K. Woodward
November 20-26, 2013
Dear A***, First off, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the letter you sent. It was filled with such kind words. I often wonder myself if Lake James anyone actually reads what State Park. I put out there, if my Garret K. words find themselves in Woodward photo the hands of those looking for something that day, whatever that something might be. At the moment, I’m sitting alone in a wine bar in downtown Asheville. They don’t open until 2 p.m., but the cute bartender let me stay when I wandered in an hour early. The crisp late fall sunshine is trickling into the large bay windows facing south onto a busy side street. The bartender always seems to intrigue me, each and every time I step foot in here, whether it be on a chaotic, thirsty Saturday night or solemn Tuesday afternoon amid a rainstorm. Something about the way she carries herself holds my attention. Maybe today will be the day I actually ask her out, eh? Who knows? That’s just the beauty of life — chance, opportunity and determination. I must say, your letter was well written. You definitely have a great command of words and senStrung Like A Horse will play Nov. 21 and 23 at No tence structure. Do you Name Sports Pub in Sylva and Nov. 22 at the write stories at all? Who Water’n Hole Bar and Grill in Waynesville. are you reading? Anyhow, I admire your “Ring of Fire — The Music of Johnny Cash” hits sheer ambition to make a the stage at WCU on Nov. 24. better person of yourself and of your situation. I don’t think anybody truly Bluegrass legend David Holt performs Nov. 29 at can know themselves until the Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center in faced with struggle and Highlands. adversity. I can’t imagine what being incarcerated The “Hard Candy Christmas Arts & Craft Show” must be like. I myself will be Nov. 29-30 at WCU. spent a night in jail once and, believe me, I don’t ever want to be a return Soldier’s Heart and Petticoat Government play Nov. customer. 29 at the Water’n Hole Bar and Grill in Waynesville. I wonder if being behind bars makes you
find myself in total wonder overhearing a conversation, interacting with a stranger or simply just listening to a slight breeze cascade by my front porch. I wish you all the best now and when you do finally get out. The world is yours. I may be young, but I’ve picked up simple pieces of wisdom that help guide me through life, that seem to make my existence that much more rich in enjoyment and opportunity. 1. Start a conversation with at least one stranger a day, everyday. 2. Do at least one thing a day, whether it be a phone call, email or interaction, that will put you in the direction you need to go to pursue your dreams. 3. Always open the door for anyone following in behind you. 4. Kindness breeds kindness. 5. You can never say “thank you” too much, in any situation. 6. If there is a God, he/she can be found anywhere in nature. 7. Music is food for the soul, especially when performed live. 8. Your happiness is a result of your actions and intent. 9. Always tip your waitresses/servers more than 15 percent. 10. Always be in awe of the world and your surroundings, for life is short yet miraculous and bountiful to those who seek passion and beauty. I look forward to hearing from you.
arts & entertainment
This must be the place
write about. You know, nature, people, unique things and places? I guess my fascination with all of that comes from my Celtic sentimentality. As much as I revel in the present and look forward to the future, I’ve always had one leg stuck in nostalgia. Not the kind of nostalgia that leaves one wearing a 20-year-old Mickey Mouse T-shirt from a long forgotten trip to Disney World, but the kind that stops you in your tracks when a smell, word, sound or sight triggers a memory, an emotion held tightly in the back of your mind, like an old sweater of your grandfathers that you don’t have the heart to throw out, but there will always be space for it in an attic trunk, carefully locked. I find my time here in Western North Carolina has peeled away ancient layers of my soul, revealing notions, sentiments, and most importantly, levels of love and kindness I never knew I was capable of giving and receiving. All of this rambling and sentimentality may just be the seasons shifting, where a decaying fall morphs into a silent winter. But, I don’t think so, personally. I think something is in the air, at least in the air I’m currently breathing. It keeps me on edge, keeps me passionate about almost everything I come in contact with. I hope everyone can experience that at least for one day in their lives. The world, for good or ill, is an incredible place, which can offer the most beautiful things to those who look at it through the right lens. My lens nowadays tends to be a kaleidoscope, where my senses have become so sensitive that I
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Fly Fishing the South
On the beat
arts & entertainment
Music, art converge in Bryson
Two locations to serve you ASHEVILLE 252.3005
Bookstore Thur., November 21 at 10:30 a.m.
COFFEE WITH THE POET SERIES with Kathryn Stripling Byer
Saturday, November 23 at 3 p.m.
TOMMY HAYS will present What I Came to Tell You
Asheville blues/rock group Mojomatic will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Swain County Center for the Arts Bryson City. Following the concert there will be a meet and Mojomatic. greet reception for Donated photo the musicians and exhibiting artist, Vickie S. Beck, whose baskets and realistic acrylic landscape and still life paintings will be on exhibit and for sale through midJanuary. Beginning from a primarily traditional blues format, Mojomatic has expanded its reach to include originals and original arrangements of rock classics. The originals span a wider range with a strong jazz and Americana influence. Beck is a graphic artist, acrylic painter, basket maker and former gallery owner who lives in Haywood County. Many of her paintings are inspired by the ever-changing Blue Ridge Mountain landscape. She paints mostly in her studio from her own photographic references and especially enjoys painting landscapes, flowers and still life. Free. 828.488.7843 or www.swain.k12.nc.us/cfta.
Holt brings holiday bluegrass cheer to Highlands Four-time Grammy Award winner David Holt will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at the Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center in Highlands. Holt will be joined by musician Josh Goforth. Holt is a musician, storyteller, historian, television host and entertainer, dedicated to performing and preserving traditional American music and stories. He plays 10 acoustic instruments and has released numerous award-winning recordings of traditional mountain music and Southern folktales. In 2002, Doc Watson and Holt won two Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Folk Recording for “Legacy,” a three-album collecDavid Holt tion of songs and and Josh stories reflecting Goforth. Watson’s inspiring Donated photo life story. An evening with Holt offers tales, ballads and tunes told, sung and played on the banjo, slide guitar, guitar, harmonica, bones, spoons and jaw harp. The songs and tales Holt has collected for the past 20 years have become a part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Tickets are $25 and available online. www.highlandspac.org or 828.526.9047.
3 EAST JACKSON STREET • SYLVA
828/586-9499 • citylightsnc.com
Bryson City community jam
November 20-26, 2013
We’ve Moved! 142 N. Main St.
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A community music jam will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City. Anyone with a guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dulcimer, 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 Grampa’s Music in Bryson City. Normally, Larry starts by calling out a tune and its key signature and the group plays it together. Then, everyone in the circle gets a chance to choose a song for the group to play together. 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 to learn old-time mountain songs. The music jams are offered to the public each first and third Thursday of the month year round. Free. 828.488.3030.
Registration open for Jackson County Junior Appalachian Musicians Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) is now accepting applications for new students. JAM is an after-school program that provides young people instruction and performance opportunities in Mountain Heritage Music on traditional Appalachian instruments. Some musical experience is required for those regis-
tering mid-year. Semester II classes will run January through May 2014. The classes offered are based on student interest and instructor availability in autoharp, banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin. The program is open to all Jackson County students and is held after school on Thursdays at Cullowhee Valley School. The cost this semester is $100 per student. The Jackson County JAM program is made possible in our community thanks to generous funding from the Jackson County and NC Arts Councils, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. The program is run through the Jackson County 4-H. 828.497.4964 or firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.586.4009 or email@example.com.
Circle up at Waynesville Community Dance The Waynesville Community Dance will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at The Gateway Club ballroom. Dancing will include circle and square dances, as well as contra dances. All dances will be taught and walked through before dancing. No previous experience is necessary and no partner is required. Keith Cornett-Eustis will call the dance to the live music of Out of the Woodwork. The band is composed of local musicians, who invite anyone who plays an instrument to sit in with the band, to jam and learn how to play music for dancing. $5 admission per person. www.dancewnc.com.
• Strung Like A Horse and Positive Mental Attitude will perform at No Name Sports Pub in Sylva. Strung Like A Horse plays Nov. 21 and 23, with Positive Mental Attitude, Nov. 22. All shows are free and begin at 9 p.m. 828.586.2750 or www.nonamesportspub.com. • Ben Wilson and The Wilhem Brothers tap into Frog Level Brewing Company in Waynesville. Wilson performs Nov. 22, with The Wilhem Brothers, Nov. 23. All shows are free and begin at 6:30 p.m. 828.454.5664 or www.froglevelbrewing.com.
• Strung Like A Horse, Stevie Tombstone & Buck Thrailkill, Soldier’s Heart and Petticoat Government hit the stage at the Water’n Hole Bar and Grill in Waynesville. Strung Like A Horse performs Nov. 22, with Tombstone & Thrailkill, Nov. 23, and Soldier’s Heart and Petticoat Government, Nov. 29. All shows begin at 9 p.m. 828.456.4750. • Wyatt Espalin will play at 7 p.m. Nov. 22, at City Lights Café in Sylva. Free. 828.587.2233 or www.citylightscafe.com. • Steve McNair, Joe Cruz, Ben Wilson and Jacob Johnson will perform at The Classic Wineseller in Waynesville. McNair plays Nov. 22, Cruz, Nov. 23, Wilson, Nov. 29 and Johnson, Nov. 30. All shows begin at 7 p.m. $10 minimum purchase. 828.452.6000 or www.classicwineseller.com.
On the streets
“Christmas On the Green” will run Nov. 29 through Jan. 6 at the Village Green in Cashiers. This year the park will be brighter than ever with thousands of twinkling lights and mirthful decorations that will bring cheer to residents and visitors. While strolling the park pathways near the crossroads in Cashiers, guests can enjoy a Festival of Trees decorated by local merchants and area organizations. With a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus, children of all ages can share their Christmas wishes with them from noon until 3 p.m. Nov. 29, at the gazebo. Warm drinks and tasty treats will also be available. Later that evening, from 6 to 7 p.m., will be the Cashiers Christmas Tree Lighting in The Village Green, where visitors can enjoy holiday music and “S’Mores and More” around the fire pit before the switch is flipped to light the 60-foot spruce tree. The Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society will also bring the H.E.A.R.T. for a “Stop and Adopt” during that time. Free. www.villagegreencashiersnc.com.
Santa Claus, author bring cheer to Franklin
Joe Moore, author of the Santa Claus Trilogy, will make a special appearance from 9
www.santaclausunplugged.com 828.497.9425 or 828.736.3245 www.mvcraftshows.com.
The Polar Express returns to Bryson City
a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 29 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at Santa’s Gift Shop at the Macon County Community Facilities Building in Franklin. Santa and Mrs. Claus will meet families and take pictures for both days. Santa will listen to wishes and talk with all who visit him. A picture purchase is not required to visit Santa. Moore not only writes about Santa Claus and the North Pole, but he also spends much of the year portraying Santa all over the East in his custom-made suits. Along with the photos, Santa (Moore) will be selling and autographing his works.
Take a holiday adventure with the Polar Express through Dec. 29 at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad train depot in Bryson City. In 1985, Chris Van Allsburg wrote The Polar Express, a story of a magical train ride on Christmas Eve. The train takes a young boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus. The one-hour roundtrip excursion comes to life as the train leaves the Bryson City station for a quiet journey through the wilderness to an exciting visit at the North Pole. Set to the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat, while listening and reading along with the magical story. Santa will board the train, greet each child and present them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Ticket prices begin at $40 for adults and $26 for children ages 2-12 years. Children 23 months and under ride free. Crown Class ticket prices start at $50 for adults, $36 for children 2-12 years, $10 for 23 months and under. Prices vary for Christmas Eve Limited train. 800.872.4681 or www.gsmr.com.
Thursday, Nov. 28 Terrace Hotel
• “Cookies with Santa” will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, at Town Hall in Franklin. 828.524.2516 or www.franklin-chamber.com. • Fontana Village Resort will have the Thanksgiving table set from noon to 7 p.m. Nov. 28, with a full plate of holiday favorites prepared by the Mountview Restaurant and an even bigger plate of outdoor activities. The holiday schedule includes live music, hayrides, square dancing, kid’s crafts, tree-trimming parties, lake cruises, guided hikes in the forest, field games and marshmallow roasts around the campfire. Dinner reservations are required. 828.498.2115 or www.fontanavillage.com.
APPALACHIAN HRISTMAS CDecember 13-14 The Lake Junaluska Singers The Cockman Family Handel’s Messiah, featuring the Lake Junaluska Singers, combined choirs, and orchestra
Adults: $21.95 Children 6-11: $11 Children 5 and under Free
Reservations Required DESSERT OFFERINGS Pecan Pie • Pumpkin Pie • Banana Pudding Caramel Cheese Cake Pie • Coconut Sour Cream Cake Chocolate Éclair Cake • Oreo Cheese Cake Many other Desserts including Sugar Free Selections
$20 Reserved Seating $17.50 General Admission Youth 18 and under free in General Admission seating only
SIDE DISPLAY OFFERINGS Fresh Fruit Display Assorted Cheese Display Including Cheese Gourmet An Assortment of Sweet Breads and Homemade Rolls
For tickets and a schedule of events: www.lakejunaluska.com/christmas 828-452-2881
Smoky Mountain News
SALAD OFFERINGS Mixed Green Salad with Assorted Dressings Cranberry Congealed Salad • Red Potato Salad • Deviled Eggs Fresh Spinach & Strawberry Salad • Broccoli Salad Roasted Tom Turkey with Sage Dressing and Gravy Chef Carved Roast Beef • Baked Salmon • Herb Mashed Potatoes Apple & Cranberry Casserole • Vegetable Medley Green Beans Almandine • Macaroni & Cheese
11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
• The “Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Service” will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, in downtown Franklin. Live music. Free cider and cookies. 828.524.2516 or www.franklinchamber.com.
November 20-26, 2013
• “Thanksgiving: Give thanks for beer” will be from 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28, at Innovation Brewing in Sylva. Celebrating the holidays over fresh, handcrafted beer. www.innovation-brewing.com or www.mountainlovers.com.
arts & entertainment
Christmas in Cashiers
For Reservations and Tickets: Purchase online at www.shop.lakejunaluska.com Call 828-454-6662 Visit the Bethea Welcome Center at Lake Junaluska, open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 215-65
arts & entertainment
On the wall
The Appalachian Toymaker will do craft demonstrations from 4 to 10 p.m. everyday through Dec. 5 at the Storytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians in Bryson City. Watch the Toymaker craft Appalachian wooden toys by hand and hear the story of why oranges mean Christmas in the mountains. See and smell frankincense and myrhh while the Toymaker tells the story of the first Christmas, and listen to sleigh bells ring as the story of St. Nicholas is told. 828.488.5705 or www.greatsmokies.com.
Recession film to be screened in Franklin
November 20-26, 2013
The award-winning film “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?” will be shown at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at the Franklin Public Library. A new, groundbreaking feature film about the roots of the American economic crisis and the continuing assault on working and middle class people in the United States, the film reveals the crumbling structure of the U.S. economy — the result of four decades of deregulation, massive job outsourcing and tax policies favoring mega-corporations and wealthy elites, implemented by both Republican and Democratic parties. After detailing how the economy has been derailed, it offers a robust “Take Action” section with real world solutions and up-to-the-minute footage from the recent Occupy Wall Street movement. Free. www.heist-themovie.com.
Smoky Mountain News
• The films “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” and “The Lion, the Watch, and the Wardrobe” will be screened at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” runs at 7:45 p.m. Nov. 22-23, with “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” at 2 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Nov. 2930. Tickets are $6 per person, $4 for children. 828.283.0079 or www.38main.com.
‘Appalachian Toymaker’ in Bryson City
• A “Wreath Making” workshop will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25, at the Presbyterian Church in Sylva. Greenery will be supplied. Cost is $10-$15 for a wreath frame, though you can bring your own. 828.586.4009.
The “Hard Candy Christmas Arts & Craft Show” will be Nov. 29-30 in Cullowhee. Donated photo
‘Hard Candy Christmas’ returns to WCU The 26th annual “Hard Candy Christmas Arts & Craft Show” will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 29-30 at the Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University. This popular event features the original work of over 100 regional artisans. Customers line up early for the first selection of pottery, woodcrafts, jewelry, folk art, glass art, and specialty sweets and breads. Collectors of Old World Santa’s, heirloom ornaments and miniatures always find something new. You can even purchase a fresh mountain greenery wreath or scented dried fruit rope for your house. Admission is $4 for an adult weekend pass, with children under 12 free. www.mountainartisans.net or firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.524.3405.
• The “Handmade Holiday Sale” will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum. This event offers high quality crafts and gift items created by students, employees and alumni from WCU. Refreshments will be served. Wine reception at 5 p.m. www.wcu.edu.
• “Santa’s Giftshop Craft Show” will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 29 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Macon County Community Building in Franklin. Christmas-themed arts and crafts show, baked goods and live music will be onsite, with an appearance by Santa Claus. Admission is $1 or one non-perishable food item to be donated. 828.497.9425 or www.franklin-chamber.com. • The Stecoah “Drive-About” will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 29-30. Gallery tour features Pincu Pottery, Bee Global Studio Gallery, Yellow Branch Pottery & Cheese, and Stecoah Artisans Gallery. Free. The Schoolhouse Café at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center will be open for light snacks and lunches. www.stecoahvalleycenter.com.
On the stage Civic Orchestra to present adaptation of Ibsen’s ‘Peer Gynt’ The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra will present its fall concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, at the Coulter Building in Cullowhee. Along with a cast of singers and actors, the orchestra will present a unique concert adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt” with music by Edvard Grieg. The title character, Peer Gynt, is a loveable liar and hopeless braggart who wanders the world in search of adventure and of himself. Ultimately, he discovers that love and redemption were waiting for him at home. The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra consists of WCU music students and faculty, and community musicians from Jackson, Macon, Haywood, Swain, Cherokee and Buncombe counties. The group is sponsored by the WCU School of Music and a WCU Visiting Scholar Program grant. It also received a Grassroots Grant from the Jackson County Arts Council, supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. Free. 828.227.7242.
• Encore Dance Studio presents “Chronicles of Narnia,” 6 p.m. preshow, 7 p.m. Narnia, Friday, Nov. 22, in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University. $5 admission. Proceeds support perform28 ers’ mission trip. 828.508.6963 or www.mountainlovers.com.
“Ring of Fire — The Music of Johnny Cash” will be performed on Nov. 24 at WCU. Donated photo
Salute to Johnny Cash at WCU “Ring of Fire — The Music of Johnny Cash” comes to life at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University. Cash’s hits from his songbook will be featured as a
multi-talented cast tells an inspiring story of family values amidst struggle and hardship. Actors and musicians will bring the iconic singer’s musical journey to life through “Folsom Prison Blues,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Ring of Fire” and many popular songs from the performer who was known as the “Man in Black.” Cash had a legendary way of playing, singing and songwriting that could make the listener laugh, cry and be inspired all at once. The performance is sponsored by Fun Things To Do In The Mountains. Tickets are $20 for adults and seniors, $15 for WCU faculty and staff, and $5 for students and children. 828.227.2479 or www.bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.
BY B ECKY JOHNSON
Dear Pottery Barn photographers,
entries judged on a scale of 1 to 5 based on overall appearance, originality and difficulty. I think everyone, unless perhaps they enter a lean-to, should automatically get a 5 on difficulty. As is the whole allure of gingerbread houses, everything on it must be edible. Granted, kids would eat Styrofoam if coated with icing, but we know what they mean. The entries will be exhibited in Franklin’s Town Hall. While it’s no Grove Park, Town Hall fits the bill, especially for kids who love the idea of their creation being displayed for others to see. A public viewing, including voting for the “people’s choice award,” will be held during the annual Winter
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Open 6 days a Week. Closed Sunday
for All WCU STUDENTS & Faculty Expires: 11/30/13
CONVENIENT CHEROKEE LOCATION
November 20-26, 2013
Please consider hiring a consultant who actually has kids before you shoot your next product magazine. Otherwise, your catalogs will be reclassified and shelved in the comedy section. From, Been-there-done-that-and-it-suredidn’t-look-like-that. Personally, I love rifling through the Pottery Barn magazines and imagining how perfect and pretty my life would be if only I transferred my flour from its paper bag to a decorative antique tin on the counter. Of course, I’m lucky if I can just get the cold items transfered There was no icing in their hair. from the grocery bags to the fridge before realizing the sound Nary a gumdrop or peppermint of running water has been comhad spilled from the perfectly ing from down the hall for far too long for the kids to just be rounded bowls of candy sitting on washing their hands back there. the table. And neither child was It was my husband, however, who pointed out how ludicrous trying to lick the other’s house. my latest Pottery Barn catalog was — in particular a picture of two kids making gingerbread houses. Wonderland Celebration in downtown There was no icing in their hair. Nary a Franklin, Fridays, Dec. 6 and 13. You have to gumdrop or peppermint had spilled from register by Monday, Nov. 25. the perfectly rounded bowls of candy sitting www.VisitFranklinNC.com on the table. And neither child was trying to If a gingerbread house is too daunting, try lick the other’s house. the Christmas card contest in Jackson County Even more amazing, their houses were instead. The theme this year is “My Favorite actually standing upright. I’ve only tried to Christmas Gift” and is open to third- through make a gingerbread house once, pre-kids no eighth-graders in Jackson County. The deadless, and it was tougher than trying to diaper line is Dec. 9. Stop by the Jackson County a baby with one hand. My roof kept sliding Recreation Center in Cullowhee for more info off so I finally decided on a gingerbread lean- or call 828.293.3053. to in honor of my Appalachian ancestors. And, before it’s too late, check out the I’ve been itching to give it another whirl moon exhibit at the Haywood County though, and now I finally have the inspiraLibrary in Canton this month. The traveling tion I need. exhibit from NASA’s Lunar Science Institute A gingerbread house competition is com- features 3D images of the moon’s surface. ing to Franklin this year, organized by the “The Moon: Cosmic Decoder Ring” includes Franklin Chamber of Commerce. 3D glasses to examine images of craters There’s an adult and kid category, with formed by volcanoes and asteroid impacts.
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Tarrt delivers once again — a decade later
business card (“Hobart and Blackwell”), urging him to “ring the green bell.” Theo remembers that the old man had been accompanied by a girl with red hair who has vanished. In this singular moment, the old man urges Theo to take a small painting (a goldfinch) which has been blown from its frame. Although Theo is unaware of the significance of the dying man’s message, the small painting becomes inextricably bound to Theo’s future. Wrapped in tisWriter sue and stashed away
first encountered a Donna Tartt novel some 20 years ago when a friend reverently placed a copy of The Secret History (1992) in my hands, and said, “You will never forget this one.” He was right. The book stunned me, and I spent a month rereading Tartt’s tale of murder and betrayal in a private school. Critical reaction bordered on hysteria as reviews proclaimed that Tartt was “new voice that is destined to redefine American fiction.” However, it quickly became evident that Tartt did not welcome publicity and except for a few interviews, she quietly withdrew from public scrutiny. The critics speculated about her next novel, but it did not appear. Several years passed and Tartt’s name vanished from the literary journals. Then, in 2002, The Little Friend appeared and the critics raved again. A kind of literary cult sprang up on the internet. Predictably, the author vanished again and now, 10 years later, The Goldfinch has appeared. Apparently, Tartt needs a decade to create her novels. Is this one as remarkable as its predecessors? Yes, it is, but with a significant difference: it has the complexity of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov with a cast of characters that could have stepped from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. The protagonist has much in common with both Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye and Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones. Is that combination even possible? The narrator of The Goldfinch is Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker who is struggling to find stability in a world that is proving to be both whimsical and unstable. First, Larry, his alcoholic father, abandons Theo and his mother, Audrey; then a bizarre disaster at the New York Museum of Modern Art (a terrorist bomb) kills Audrey and leaves Theo with psychic scars that he will carry the rest of his life. Lying in the burning wreckage of the museum, Theo finds himself talking to a dying old man who gives him a ring and a
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. 771 pages. in secret spots, the painting becomes both a secret treasure and a curse. Eventually, Theo is taken in by the Barbours, who had been close friends and associates of Theo’s mother. It is an awkward transition, and although he is fed and clothed, the orphaned boy quickly senses that his presence is resented by the Barbour children. Eventually, Theo learns that Hobart and Blackwell is an old antique store that is rarely open. Theo finds the store and “rings the green bell” and encounters Hobie, who turns out to be a gentle, lovable fellow who restores antiques. Theo also learns that the girl with red hair was severely injured in the explosion and is now recuperating in the antique store. Theo perceives her as a soulmate and becomes obsessed with the idea that they are “meant to be together.” Returning to the Barbour apartment, Theo encounters his father, Larry Decker, who has come to clean out the old apartment and take charge of his son. Theo’s father is a professional gambler, and suddenly Theo is transplanted to Las Vegas to live with Larry and his girlfriend,
Holiday Giving Tree returns to City Lights The 15th annual Holiday Giving Tree kicks off Thursday Nov. 21, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. The store has partnered with local service agencies that have offered anonymous lists of children in need this holiday season. You can help provide one of these children with the gift of a good read. Stop by City Lights and select an ornament from its Giving Tree and match-up a book for the age, gender and language of a child listed. City Lights will then collect all the books and give them to the agencies in time for the children to receive books for Christmas. All Giving Tree purchases will receive a 20 percent discount. 828.586.9499.
Hays presents new Appalachian drama Asheville author Tommy Hays will present his latest book, What I Came to Tell You, at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov.23, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. Hays is the author of The Pleasure Was Mine, In the Family Way and Sam’s Crossing. He’s the
Xandra (who, in her high heels and the everpresent smell of Juicy Fruit, is as bizarre as the world she inhabits).The disoriented Theo ends up living in a section of Las Vegas where vistas of abandoned mansions (foreclosures) — many of them without utilities and electricity — bask in the silent “chemical heat.” It is here on Desert End Road that the bored and abandoned Theo begins to experiment with Vicodin, Corona and weed. This is also where he meets Boris, a delinquent and juvenile dealer who will become his best friend. The friendship that begins in Las Vegas will continue for the next decade and although Theo often comes to feel that this fast-talking, chain-smoking delinquent from the Ukraine is totally destructive and unredeemable, their friendship endures. Because of Theo’s nerdy, bespectacled and timid appearance, Boris nick-names him Harry Potter. Boris has lived in a dozen countries because his father is a miner who works for a universal mining company. He also abuses Boris, leaving him with black eyes and broken ribs. In time, Boris comes to live with Theo (Larry and Xandra are rarely there), and in the company of a marvelous little dog named Popper, the two friends argue, read, listen to music, experiment with drugs, and without realizing it, become confirmed drug addicts. In time, Theo learns that his father’s decision to accept his responsibilities as a father are purely selfish. Larry knows that Theo has an inheritance and the gambler needs “seed money” for a new venture. He is also in debt and a Las Vegas “collector” has been to see him several times with a baseball bat. It is not surprising when Larry mysteriously dies “in a car accident” and Xandra vanishes into “the Strip” that Theo, now fifteen, finds himself once more abandoned. He decides to return to New York and manages to smuggle the tiny Popper (and the painting) on board a Greyhound and ends up on Hobie’s doorstep. For the next eight years, Theo works in Hobie’s restoration shop where he learns the arcane details of furniture restoration. He also
learns how to pass off a fake artifact as the genuine article. Unknown to the trusting Hobie, Theo makes a fortune on reconstructed and antique items and Hobart and Blackwell flourishes. In time, Theo becomes engaged to Kitsey, one of the Barbour daughters, who had spurned him when he arrived in the Barbour household. Then, Theo is confronted by a former customer who not only knows about the fake antiques, but has strong suspicions about Theo’s connection with the missing painting. Then, in the midst of blackmail threats and a pending marriage that is sidetracked due to suspicions of betrayal (yes, Kitsey has a lover), Boris appears. Boris has thrived and he is a major drug dealer who operates in several countries. He has come to confess a theft to his friend and he intends to make it right. Exuding charm and good will, Boris tells Theo that back in Las Vegas, he “borrowed” the painting. Poor Theo has been hiding a package that no longer contains the painting. Well, where is it? It is in Amsterdam where it has been used as “collateral” in drug deals several times, and Boris has now come to reunite Theo with the painting. The trip to Amsterdam is surreal and memorable. The novel’s atmosphere has darkened considerably, and before Theo and Boris return to New York, there will be daunting episodes involving murder, attempted suicide and a resolution that may qualify as both melancholy and comical. At the end of this novel, the future is still uncertain. Indeed, it there is a unifying theme in this novel, it is simply “nothing lasts.” The Goldfinch is filled with dark passages in which Theo contemplates this world which seems to be in a constant state of flux. Even as he settles cautiously into an easy chair with a glass of wine, he is always aware that the floor is shifting beneath his feet and time is moving forward. What should we do then? Theo says we should keep moving, step forward, and we should do so eagerly. Is there a purpose to our existence? Probably not, but there is art and music and food. Enjoy!
executive director of the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNCA, which publishes The Great Smokies Review. 828.586.9499.
Frady releases tribute to late husband Writer Jean Frady will host a book signing for her new work, Going Home — Living in Green Pastures, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at the Tuckasegee Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. In 2011, at age 84, Frady sat down to write the story of her life, God Will Make A Way. At that point, Frady’s husband, Cecil, was 83 and very ill, but he very much wanted to see his wife finish her book, which she did that year when it was released in time for the holidays. Cecil Frady passed away about six months later in July 2012. Frady’s new book is a tribute to her husband, a “minister who was not only God’s man, but the people’s man, too — a man who loved above all else,” she said. 828.293.9677.
‘Moonshining in the Mountains’ comes to Canton Library Author Daniel S. Pierce will discuss his acclaimed book, Corn From a Jar: Moonshining in the Great Smoky Mountains, at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Canton Public Library. Pierce is a professor of history and chair of the department, at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, where he worked with distinguished Southern historian James C. Cobb. Pierce is also the author of Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France, as well as The Great Smokies: From Natural Habitat to National Park. He has had his work published in The New York Times, Southern Cultures, Smokies Life, and numerous encyclopedias including the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. He has appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, The History Channel, North Carolina People with William Friday, North Carolina Bookwatch, and the South Carolina ETV Emmy Award winning program Take on the South. 828.648.2924.
Rash honored in both Carolinas, Canada November 20-26, 2013 Smoky Mountain News
Western Carolina University faculty member and author Ron Rash was honored for his literary body of work by organizations in both Carolinas, while also winning an award for his latest book from a prestigious book and film festival in Canada. Rash, who has been Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture at WCU for 10 years, traveled to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill early in October to be recognized as recipient of the 2013 Thomas Wolfe Prize, which is bestowed by that university’s English department to recognize contemporary writers with distinguished bodies of work. Also in October, Rash received a 2013 Governor’s Award in the Humanities from the Humanities Council of South Carolina. In mid-October, Rash learned that his most recent literary release, the short story collection, Nothing Gold Can Stay, was named winner of the Mountain Fiction and Poetry Award at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Rash’s book was one of five category winners chosen from a field of more than 130 titles. Rash’s 14 published works include 10 books of fiction (five novels and five books of short stories) and four volumes of poetry. Filming for a movie adaptation of his bestselling novel Serena took place in early 2012 in the Czech Republic. The movie features Hollywood heavyweights Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and Rash said he expects it to be released early in 2014.
Smoky Mountain News
JAKE FLANNICK SMN CORRESPONDENT ichael Wagenseil is settling into his element, arranging displays of ski equipment and clothing as he finishes a flurry of preparations at a new rental shop in Maggie Valley amid the beginning of what is considered a rite of the winter season here. It is familiar territory to a man who has spent years working at ski areas across the country, including in Colorado, whether as a lift attendant or a member of the ski patrol. But Wagenseil is making it a point to distinguish this space, hanging on its walls relics of ski equipment and photographs of local figures widely known in the ski community, so it “becomes part of the Valley, instead of just another ski shop,” he said. He moved to the area late last month from upstate New York, where his family still lives, to help manage the shop. The new rental shop, Cataloochee Ski & Sports, is run by Cataloochee Ski Area, which acquired the lodge on Maggie Valley’s main strip in the spring shortly after it emerged on the real estate market after operating as a restaurant. Beyond rentals, it offers lift tickets, clothing and other merchandise the ski area had long offered only at its mountaintop lodge. Cataloochee has not faced any long lines or shortages of equipment at its mountain shop, said ski area general manager Chris Bates. But the thinking over the last couple of years was that expanding into the Valley was a way to “increase the experience” of visiting Cataloochee. “We were just looking for the right place,” Bates said of the new shop. Directly across the main thoroughfare in the Valley from the new shop is another rental shop and retailer, Maggie Valley Skis & Tees, which has remained the largest of its kind here since opening about 25 years ago. While its longtime owner, Danny Blitch, acknowledged that rentals of skis and snowboards and other equipment are a significant part of his business — “we live for this time of year” — he said he welcomes the presence of the new shop. “Competition doesn’t hurt,” he said on a recent weekend in his shop, adding that his shop is still the largest ski retailer west of Asheville.
Cataloochee Ski Area opens with new shop, upgrades
Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley is now open for business. General manager of the ski area, Chris Bates (far left) is open arms to those looking to take advantage of the new rental shop (left) and other vital upgrades to the mountain. Jacob Flannick photos
SNOW MAKING, SLOPE GROOMING
AND DECK LOUNGING
The opening of the new rental shop is a reminder that the offseason at Cataloochee is not as stagnant as some might think. It is a time of preparation, albeit among a skeleton staff, involving upgrades to equipment and discussions about new projects and ways to spread hype about the coming season. “We’re always trying to push the envelope,” Bates said of improving the ski area, which employs about 20 staff year-round compared with as many as 300 during winter months. Beyond replacing a dozen snow-making machines and buying two slope grooming tractors over the past year, the ski area has built a new deck at its lodge facing the slopes, Bates said. He added that the ski area has carved five new trails over the past seven or eight years, and expects to add an additional three in coming years. The work is part of a broad plan by Cataloochee to increase its prominence among the five other ski areas in Western North Carolina. Among the components of that plan is an increasing emphasis on customer service. To accomplish that, the ski area has taken steps such as extending the length of lessons and working to expand rac-
ing and other programs by recruiting more instructors. But perhaps the most crucial component in the plan is timing. “We just make snow, and get open,” said Tammy Brown, the marketing director of the ski area.
THE LONG ARM OF THE MOUNTAIN Streams of skiers and snowboarders from across the region and beyond have ascended to Cataloochee since it opened on Nov. 14, gliding or tumbling down the six trails its snow-making machines started blanketing with one to three and a half feet of powder about a week before. The ski area is working to cover its remaining 10 trails, most of which are more steep, bearing names like Lower
and Upper Omigosh and Wild Cat Glade. The opening was not the earliest Cataloochee has seen in recent years. In 2008, the ski area opened on Oct. 28, the earliest in its history since the resort opened in 1961 as the first ski area in the state, Brown said. And while Mother Nature determines the length of each ski season — the automatic snow-making machines at Cataloochee do not start rumbling until their temperature gauges dip to at last 28 degrees — the ski area takes pride in its reputation as one of the first to open every year. To accomplish that, ski area workers are always seeking ways to increase snow-making capabilities and reduce energy consumption. It is a shared approach in what remains a competitive industry whose economic impact in North Carolina is
considerable. Business involving skiing and snowboarding generated some $146 million during the 2009-10 ski season, according to the N.C. Ski Areas Association, when more than 670,000 people visited ski areas that employed nearly 1,600 workers. For many skiers and snowboarders, the beginning of the season cannot come soon enough. That’s because skiing is “just a lot of fun,” said Sherrie Bruner, a college professor in Knoxville who regularly makes the trip to Cataloochee around this time of year. She and a friend had just finished tucking their clothes and ski equipment into the car after spending a recent weekend afternoon on the slopes at Cataloochee. For others like Kelley Eyster — who is among dozens training to work as ski instructors at Cataloochee — it is more a matter of endurance. “They’re serious about making snow, and they’re open until the end,” said Eyster, a K-12 special education teacher in Transylvania County.
The Naturalist’s Corner BY DON H ENDERSHOT
Fire in the landscape – still a burning question It will likely take awhile for the smoke to clear after the Table Rock Fire near Linville Gorge in the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest either burns out or is suppressed. The fire was first spotted Tuesday, Nov. 12 — the very same day that prescribed burns were scheduled in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. Those burns had been cancelled previous to the discovery of the wildfire due to high winds. It hasn’t been confirmed, but some monitoring the fire believe it was caused by a campfire at the Table Rock Picnic Area that wasn’t completely extinguished. The Forest Service (USFS) is trying to contact a group
Then, before USFS personnel could light the first torch, fire, hotheaded as it is, took matters in its own hands. The debate about fire in the landscape is complicated, often contentious and if you are open-minded (not simply looking for a place to espouse your particular beliefs) thoroughly engrossing. But the Table Rock Fire is not so abstract – it happened. It offers both sides the opportunity to document what fire means – to Linville Gorge and perhaps by extrapolation to the Southern Appalachians. Proponents of fire in the ecosystem get to monitor the burn and see if the kind of benefits they espouse – uptick in fire-adapted species and a healthier fire-adapted (oakpine) ecosystem on appropriate sites appear post-fire. Those who oppose fire in the ecosystem will get to monitor the burn and
November 20-26, 2013
The Linville Gorge area below Table Rock Mountain. Lynn Willis photo see if the outcomes they predict — damage to ecosystems and waterways, destruction of scenic values, loss of animals and habitat and damage to local economies, etc., come to fruition as a result of the Table Rock fire. There area couple of caveats. Results need to be documented, not simply anecdotal observations. If you’re an avid hiker and one of your favorite trails was burned over and you go hike it next week and it’s charred and black instead of green, I don’t think that counts as destruction of scenic value — you need to hike that trail again next spring and next fall and the next summer to see if the forest you love is dead and gone or alive and regenerating, perhaps more diverse and even greener. The other caveat is time. We humans are so biased when it comes to the concept of time that we can generally only think in terms of human generations. Go to Joyce Kilmer and rest your hand on the side of a 400-year-old poplar and think of the fires, storms and changes it has seen. Think of what forests once were and be patient. (Don Hendershot is a writer and naturalist. He can be reached a email@example.com.)
Smoky Mountain News
that was camping at the picnic area the night before. The winds that cancelled the prescribed burn scooped the Table Rock fire up and ran with it. It was estimated to cover about 40 acres when first discovered last Tuesday; by Thursday the USFS said 1,800 acres had burned and by early Monday (11/18) morning the acreage was estimated at nearly 2,300. One could say there was already a cloud of smoke hanging over the scheduled prescribed burns in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. While the USFS’s decision to use fire as a restoration tool in the Linville Gorge Wilderness and adjacent areas was greeted with support from local/regional conservation groups like Western North Carolina Alliance and Wild South, it was also met by concerted opposition from local groups like Friends of Linville Gorge and Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. Debates played out online, at various meetings and in local newspapers, but in the end, after public comment the USFS chose the fire alternative.
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outdoors November 20-26, 2013 Smoky Mountain News
Canton - 2BR, 1BA $79,000 #551328
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Grants available to help Appalachian Trail
To Fr : om :
The Denture Shop
Micah McClure photo
Have an idea for a project that will benefit the Appalachian Trail but have limited funds to make it happen? Apply for an Appalachian Trail Special License Tag Grant through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The deadline is Jan. 10, 2014. The Appalachian Trail Special License Tag Grant program is funded by the sale and renewal of North Carolina Appalachian Trail license plates as part of the North Carolina Friends of the Appalachian Trail specialty license tag program authorized by the NC General Assembly. Revenue generated through this program is used to benefit the Appalachian Trail and its environs in North Carolina. ATC will award $35,000 in grants during 2014 from these revenues. Grant requests cannot exceed $5,000 and applicants must provide matching funds in cash, labor and/or in-kind services. The goals of the grant program are to help the ATC fulfill its mission for the portions of the Appalachian Trail located within the state of North Carolina and along its common border with Tennessee. ATCâ€™s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail, ensuring that its natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed for centuries to come. This means a wide range of grant proposals
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November 20-26, 2013
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Smoky Mountain News
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